Transcript – Episode 6

[Show music begins]

Noah Fried: Welcome to Episode 6 of Alohomora!, for July 1st, 2012.

[Show music continues]

Noah: Okay guys, welcome to another new episode of Alohomora!. We have a special guest host this week. But first, I’m Noah Fried.

Caleb Graves: I’m Caleb Graves.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller, and I want to welcome that special fan guest. It’s Steve Vander Ark, the writer and creator of the Harry Potter Lexicon. Hey Steve!

Steve Vander Ark: Hey, how are you doing?

Kat: Good. Thanks for coming on the show.

Steve: Oh, my pleasure.

Noah: So, Steve, tells us a little bit about what you’ve been doing since writing the Lexicon a few years ago.

Steve: You mean writing the Lexicon website?

Noah: Right.

Steve: Well, I’m still writing the Lexicon website because that never ends. But aside from that, basically working on – I have a podcast that I’m doing now, which is the Lexicon Podcast which is kind of like this one, just digging into canon because that’s the best.

Noah: Yeah.

Kat: It is the best, I agree.

Steve: And writing a couple of books and things like that. But I’m just excited to talk about the books. Always talking about the books.

Noah: Yup. And you’re a school teacher.

Steve: Yeah, in my spare time.

[Kat laughs]

Steve: Which means that’s all I do [laughs] from September through May. But yeah, school teacher in Texas and Harry Potter geek in the summer.

Noah: Oh, that’s perfect.

Kat: Do you bring Harry Potter into your classes at all?

Steve: I don’t really. They’re second graders, so they don’t even know who Harry Potter is, which is sad.

Kat and Noah: That is sad.

Steve: Because back in the day, second graders all were itching to be able to read the books.

Kat: Right.

Steve: But it’s changing.

Noah: Yup. Well, part of the reason for this show is to get fans reoriented with reading a book series with thousands of others.

Steve: Sure.

Noah: So, maybe some younger people could listen to this show, and maybe listen to you…

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: …and follow along with us again.

Steve: Oh, definitely. Oh yeah, and that’s the thing about the Harry Potter books, is that every time – I mean, how many times have we read these and we still find new things to talk about, new ideas? I’ll listen to the audiobooks, and I’ll grab a sheet of paper and quickly write something down that never struck me before.

Noah: Right.

Kat: Mhm.

Steve: It’s like it constantly happens.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: There’s not that many book series that you just never run out of things to explore and discover. It’s like they’re magical or something.

[Kat and Noah laugh]

Kat: It happens to us all the time on the show, we know exactly what you mean.

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: So, we’re kind of hoping you’re going to help us out big time when we go through Chapters 13 and 14 today.

Steve: Oh, they’re fascinating chapters.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: Sometimes for all the wrong reasons.

Kat: Yeah.

Noah: Well, we’ll get there pretty shortly.

[Steve laughs]

Caleb: So yeah, before we do that, we do want to do a quick recap of our last episode which I unfortunately was not around for, but I’m definitely happy to be back. So, recapping Chapters 11 and 12 – we’re going to go through a couple of the comments and just give a couple of thoughts to those. So, first off, we have a comment from someone on the forums, username Citysson. If I mispronounced that, I apologize. But this was on our discussion about chess pieces, and this user says:

“Chess pieces seem like basic programming. They can respond to the game because it is a fixed field of play and a limited number of moves. They can respond within their narrow band of knowledge with what are likely a fixed set of responses, much like a computer can be programmed to speak, but not to think independently.”

Noah: Yeah, this was in regards to my question I brought up. Seeing the chess pieces – wizard chess pieces, they’re alive. That might be a direct quote from the book or it was something to that effect, and it seemed like they could talk to people who were leading them, like this would be – if two kids were playing chess, they could have a conversation with their pieces as they send them out. I think there was one line in the books where one of the pieces was telling Harry, “No, don’t send me. Send him. We can afford to lose him.” So, that kind of speech made me think, are these creatures sentient? Are these chess pieces actual trapped souls in a children’s game, forced to fight each other? And this is one response.

Kat: Yeah, I think that comment makes sense. It’s more like a video game where it’s kind of programmed into the pieces, and they’re not alive but this is all they can think about, and I like it.

Noah: Right.

Kat: That makes sense.

Noah: The game is their world, for sure, but I think – they couldn’t talk about something outside of the game, is what we said.

Kat: Right. Yeah, exactly.

Caleb: Yeah, I think you guys pretty much covered it. So, thanks for that great comment. And we got another one, so this was something I – this discussion I really enjoyed listening back, even though I wasn’t on the show, the topic of Halloween and how it’s not really discussed as far as the spirit world interacting more closely on this…

Noah: Yeah.

Caleb: …traditional pagan holiday. And this came from Cassandra1447 on the forums, and she says:

“What if Lily’s sacrifice was so powerful partially because it was made on Halloween? If it’s the day when the veil between the dead and the living is thinnest, it might make sense that Lily’s protection of Harry could continue even after she died.”

I thought that was pretty interesting.

Noah: Well, we know – we did that anyway. Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah. I mean…

Noah: There’s something about the pagan religion of the woman as the highest character. Isn’t femininity very strong in pagan myth?

Kat: It is, yes. Very much.

Noah: So, that’s a really great comment.

Kat: I mean, that makes sense that it – I mean, we know it was powerful anyway, but maybe the fact that it was made on Halloween just makes it all the more so.

Noah: Gave it that special boost?

Kat: Yeah. The love juice, right? Extra love juice.

Caleb: Yeah, there we go.

Noah: Yeah, but I don’t know. It being Halloween, though – and this particular comment saying that the spirit world is closer to the living world. I mean, her magic was done when she was alive so I don’t know if…

Kat: But it was sealed when she died.

Noah: Right. All right, so maybe. But I don’t think she was evoking spirits of the underworld in this process or spirits from anything outside of the real world.

Caleb: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s true but I do think that – I don’t know. I would like to think that it – J.K. probably – she picked this holiday for a reason, so maybe this is it.

Kat: Makes sense to me.

Caleb: It strengthens it in some way.

Steve: And I think Halloween, in her way of looking at it, symbolizes the fact that the Muggle world and the wizarding world tend to be together closer. And we also see magic often through the series being dependent on full moons and…

Noah: Right.

Steve: …things like that, which is why they study Astronomy. And so I can easily imagine that even if she wasn’t thinking of the specific aspects of Halloween as a pagan holiday in our world, just the fact that Halloween is a connection point for magic…

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: That would be somehow – make magic more powerful.

Noah: Right.

Steve: I think that’s a really good thought.

Caleb: Yeah, I really like that point, actually. I hadn’t thought about that. So, that’s – yeah, that’s really cool, actually.

Steve: And it really helps with the problem that we keep running into, is that, well, does that mean every time somebody dies for somebody else, there’s this magic that happens and it seems like this is something unusual…

Noah: It should be more common.

Steve: Well yeah, this seems like such a huge magical effect. Now, you do have to have spells that follow it up. But even so, such a huge magical effect to have happened just from a sacrifice – and I’m not trying to belittle the sacrifice, but that’s got to happen more often, right?

Noah: Steve, I want to hear your opinion real quick about this.

Steve: Sure.

Noah: I’ve been thinking about that sacrifice a lot.

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: And I feel as if – there is some myth in the fandom that Lily knew some intense charms work, and that went into her sacrifice and her protecting Harry. But I think she might not have done anything. She might not even have been aware of the effect and she just sacrificed herself, and it was simply the act that did it.

Steve: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think that if you look at it storywise, I think that Lily was reacting from a purely gut level as a mother. And you can say that any mother would have that, hopefully, that sense of wanting to protect her child. And I think – and not to – my idea of Lily is that selflessness. She didn’t think through some magic in that moment, she just basically defended her child. That’s the way I look at it, anyway.

Noah: Right, and then I believe Harry – it said Harry does the same thing for everybody at the end, and then the same spell goes into effect.

Steve: Right, exactly.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: Interesting, because I don’t see anybody casting that subsequent magic which…

Kat: I was just thinking that, yeah.

Caleb: Mhm, yeah.

Steve: But I guess Harry is in this state at that point of almost complete detachment from the world, from the wizarding world, from everything. He has transcended mundane reality at that point. Of course, mundane reality being the wizarding world full of all sorts of magical stuff, but…

Kat: Right.

Steve: He is – his very existence has altered almost at that point.

Noah: Well, it’s the “epic story” story arc…

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: …in which the character goes through, and he’s introduced to the new world, and then he leaves the new world, and he must lead it or he must…

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: Right.

Noah: But anyway, we will touch on all of that in a few years when we get to Deathly Hallows.

[Steve laughs]

Caleb: Yeah. [laughs] So, our next comment comes from our usual contributor SnapeEscape from the forums, and the comment says:

“How long has Filch been at Hogwarts and would he have been caretaker when Snape was still a student? Apollyon Pringle was caretaker until about 1973 when he was replaced by Argus Filch. Severus Snape attended school from 1971 to 1978, so Filch must have started in his third year. We know they probably both felt like outsiders, Snape because of Potter and Filch because he was a Squib, and maybe they built up something resembling a friendship, based on their mutual feelings of rejection?”

I’m almost willing to bet that SnapeEscape did that research on possibly the Harry Potter Lexicon.

[Steve laughs]

Kat: Yeah, we do think. [laughs]

Steve: That’s where I’d do it!

[Noah laughs]

Kat: Yeah, that makes sense. What other reason would they have to be friends in this first book here?

Noah: I mean, this would explain the situation where you have Snape and Filch treating Snape’s wound in the staff room.

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: Kind of an odd two people to do that. [laughs]

Steve: Very odd. Especially when we hear that Madam Pomfrey is very good at not telling about injuries and making a big fuss about it. She’s very good at her patient confidentiality stuff. We find that out with Ron in another couple of chapters.

Caleb: Mhm. Yeah.

Noah: Right.

Kat: But she probably has no idea what’s beyond the trapdoor, so…

Caleb: That’s true.

Kat: …that’s probably why they kept her out of it, right?

Caleb: Yeah, probably.

Steve: Right.

Noah: And nobody actually talks to Filch, so he can really keep a secret.

Steve: Yeah, that’s true.

Kat: [laughs] That’s true.

Caleb: But I also just…

Steve: Except Madam Pince.

Caleb: Yeah well, my one true pairing.

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: But I don’t know, I just still – I’m really hesitant to say that Snape considers Filch a friend. I can definitely see him as someone that he would maybe rely on, but I still…

Kat: Allies?

Caleb: Yeah. Maybe a temporary ally more than an acquaintance, but I still think that Snape doesn’t really – I don’t think he likes anyone really.

Steve: Well, he’s a Slytherin. He wouldn’t like a Squib.

Caleb: Well, that’s also very true. But I don’t know, I think that sort of mindset would have been changed by his relationship with Lily, especially the way their relationship broke off when they were in school.

Noah: I mean, we know that Umbridge inevitably uses Filch as a tool to kind of organize things around the school, but…

Caleb: So yeah.

Noah: …I think Snape and Filch just kind of both sort of know they equally want to make students have a hard time, maybe?

Kat: Yeah, well – and Snape is a leader. He’s a pusher and Filch is very impressionable. So, I could see that being…

Noah: He enjoys that.

Kat: Yeah, exactly.

Caleb: Well, also on that note though, they both do – I would say that it’s safe to say that they both definitely care about the safety of the school. I mean, Filch obviously, as hard as he is on the students, does care a lot about the protection of the school. We see that coming up a lot, and so maybe that’s the basis for at least this alliance at this point, because they’re trying to protect the school. I don’t know.

Steve: And I think maybe we’re putting too much of an equal footing on there. I think Snape – if you think about the way he acts, he probably orders Filch around.

Caleb: True.

Kat: Yeah.

Steve: “Come here, do this for me. I’ve been given -” he doesn’t tell him that he’s supposed to be taking care of Harry or whatever, but he’ll order Filch around.

Noah: And Filch will do it…

Caleb: Exactly.

Steve: Absolutely.

Noah: …because he’s a big fan boy.

Steve: Oh yeah.

Kat: Did you call him a fan boy?

Noah: I did.

Steve: Filch is a fan boy.

[Kat laughs]

Steve: But you can also – when you do the other levels, step out of the story and look back on it, you can see, okay, why did she put that together? It was because the whole thing is trying to make Snape look bad.

Noah: And we already associate Filch with bad.

Steve: Right, and so she’s writing this as one more way to lead us off the track and think that Snape is doing something bad. So, everything that you run into, you have to look at it – stepping out of the story as well and say, why did Rowling do that? Why did she put that in here? And that would be why, is because she wants to give as many bad connections to Snape as possible so that we go through the whole book assuming that Snape is bad.

Noah: Yeah.

Kat: Right. Very true.

Noah: We try to do that on the show a lot.

[Caleb laughs]

Noah: The multiple levels of understanding of the Harry Potter series.

Steve: Even though we all know it’s real.

Noah: Oh.

Kat: Of course.

Caleb: Of course.

Kat: Absolutely.

Caleb: So, another great comment comes also about a holiday, this time though about Christmas. And it comes from LumosNight3 on our forums, and this user says:

“In France, there is a similar tradition done at Christmas that involves hiding small items in food. My memory on this might be a bit hazy, so if anyone has more accurate details, please share! But I believe that what happens is that a cake called ‘king cake’ is made and a small trinket, hopefully a crown, is hidden in one of the slices and whomever finds it is made king for the day and has various rights and special privileges to carry out.”

I would just like to say that if this is true, I want that crown always.

[Kat laughs]

Noah: This was about the coin that Percy finds in his turkey?

Caleb: Right, yeah.

Kat: I believe so, yeah. The fifty p.

Steve: No, in the pudding.

Noah: Is it pudding?

Steve: Mhm. It’s Christmas pudding.

Kat: Yeah.

Noah: Oh.

Steve: And of course, pudding means dessert, not literal pudding.

Kat: Right.

Caleb: Right.

Noah: Yeah, we had a few comments about this and we’re trying to look at the symbolism, and what we ended up coming up with is that Draco Malfoy would be having a real good time if he saw all these Weasleys finding various coins in different places.

[Kat laughs]

Noah: As Ron gets really excited in an earlier chapter about the fifty pence piece.

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: But yeah, it’s pretty symbolic to find a coin there. It’s a tradition. And also someone brought up Louisiana tradition. I’m not sure if it’s also called a king cake, but during the holiday you find money.

Kat: During Mardi Gras.

Noah: Mardi Gras, yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, Mardi Gras has king’s cake. Yeah.

Kat: Yup.

Noah: So, that’s pretty cool. But why does this happen to Percy? What was Jo doing? Or nothing at all. [laughs]

Steve: Yeah, you’re assuming that that was an intentional – if it was a crown, I’d say it’s because he wants to be in the Ministry. But…

Kat: Right.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.

Noah: Well, it might not have been intentional, but you never know.

Kat: Maybe foreshadowing that he’s going to be kind of successful.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: He’s going to be a successful Weasley.

Steve: Yeah, but then you think she’d have given it to Fred and George.

Kat: That’s true.

Steve: But then again, everything doesn’t mean something.

Kat: No, that’s very true.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: There’s always Mark Evans at the beginning of Book 5…

[Noah laughs]

Kat: Oh gosh. [laughs]

Steve: …that we spent years trying to parce that one out.

Caleb: Yup.

Kat: That’s true.

Steve: Turns out, oh I just threw that in there, never dawned on me. It’s like, seriously?

Caleb: So many dead ends. Ugh. Well, thank you for sharing that tradition. Definitely interesting to hear about. And our next comment comes from LiveLaughLoveToReadHP on our forums, and it says:

“From now on, you are the ACPA.”

Which this person has named the Animal Cruelty Police of Alohomora!.

Kat: [laughs] Great!

Caleb [continues]

“I was listening to Sheriff Noah…”

Which I am so glad this person has dubbed Noah the sheriff.

[Kat and Noah laughs]

Caleb: So:

“I was listening to Sheriff Noah of the ACPA talking about the owls flying in the snow storm and I was thinking: birds fly in storms all the time. When birds migrate they have to fly south so that they do not die, and if there is a storm they are not just going to stop, they are going to keep going so that they can get to a warmer place. I think it would be more dangerous for the owls to wait the storm out in a tree, they were smarter to fly.”

Noah: All right. I mean, if you want to send your owls in the snow storms, be my guest. I would care more for my owl. I would just throw it straight in the hearth.

Kat: Right, but see…

Noah: Come out the other side.

Kat: Hippogriff on the main site actually has a comment about what you just said, Noah. He or she says:

“I think the reason Floo powder is not used more widely in the postal service is because all those little pinches of dust used to deliver mail to wizards across the world could add up to a lot of Floo powder. This could get much more expensive than just re-using the same owl over and over to deliver mail. This also raises the questions of how much Floo powder costs, and what it is made out of.”

So, there’s a good argument against your throwing them in the fire.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: Are you…

Noah: Well, we’re not sure how expensive it is.

Caleb: Well yeah, I think…

Steve: But Floo powder requires – I think requires a wizard to do the “flooing.” I don’t think that an owl would be able to use Floo powder anyway, because it requires intention. Floo powder requires intention.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s what…

Steve: When Ron or Harry says the wrong thing, he ends up in the wrong place. Well, your owl is not going to say anything, so it’s just going to sit there.

Caleb: Yeah, I agree. That’s actually exactly what I was thinking listening to the episode from last time. I don’t know if owls would be able to do it. And also, we know that Floo powder must be at least something of a price concern because we know the Weasleys at least struggle to keep enough of it, so it can’t be super cheap.

Noah: Yeah, I thought in my head that you could kind of scream it and then throw the owl and hope for the best.

[Caleb and Kat laugh]

Steve: I want to see this.

Caleb: Well, if you want to talk about animal cruelty, Noah…

Steve: That sounds cool. [laughs]

Caleb: …what if you just incinerated the owl?

Noah: Well, it’s all about timing, Caleb.

Caleb: Okay.

Steve: Or there’s some place in the wizarding world called Hoot and every owl ends up there because that’s all they can say.

[Caleb laughs]

Steve: Darn it! I went to Hoot again!

[Kat laughs]

Noah: However, the owls in the story have a degree of intelligence, Steve. Wouldn’t you say?

Steve: They do. Mhm.

Noah: So couldn’t they, in owl speak, say the appropriate thing and get where they have to go?

Steve: Mhm. But I still think – and this is my opinion, but I still see Floo powder as requiring the intention of a wizard and the saying of it. Because what is it that Harry says wrong that puts him one grate off? If you really analyze it, he doesn’t say the name of some other place. And so, it’s the intention. He just – his intention is close, but it’s not right there because he doesn’t know how to do it. And you’re not going to get that kind of creative thought out of an owl, I don’t think.

Kat: I would agree.

Noah: There are some very creative owls, though.

[Kat laughs]

Steve: That’s true. That’s true.

Noah: Anyway, fans out there, if any of your owls manage to do this, write us an e-mail, please.

[Caleb and Kat laugh]

Noah: I am very curious.

Steve: Or if you’ve got any spare Floo powder, just write us about that, too.

Kat: Yeah. Break it down, let us know what it’s made of.

Noah: But don’t send it to us because that could be trouble.

[Everyone laughs]

Steve: Some white powder turns up in an envelope…

Caleb: Oh my gosh.

Steve: …and then everybody panicks, and it’s just Floo powder, sorry.

[Noah and Steve laugh]

Kat: Isn’t it green?

Steve: Yeah, it is.

Kat: Isn’t it green or black?

Steve: I think it’s green, yeah. I’d have to go back and look.

Noah: Even worse. All right.

Kat: Yeah.

[Kat and Steve laugh]

Caleb: So, we’re next going to put a final word, so we say, to the topic of wrong sortings, and this comment comes from wand_stone_cloak from our forums. It says:

“In the long run, though, houses do not matter. You are destined to become the person that you are destined to become. If Harry was sorted in Slytherin, what would have really changed? Would he have become a pureblood-loving hot head? Would he join with Voldemort? No, his destiny, and the destiny of all students, has little to do with what house you are sorted into.”

Hmm, definitely a polarizing statement.

Kat: Yeah, in a way that makes sense. I mean – but also, I think you’re a product of your environment. So, if you’re leaning in one direction and then you get sorted in a house that is a polar opposite of the direction your personality was already headed in, does that change you? I don’t know.

Noah: I mean, it seems the Hat wouldn’t put you in that position in the first place.

Caleb: Yeah. That’s kind of the whole point of the sorting. I would – yeah. I would push back on this statement a little bit just because I think that Harry would not have been in Slytherin solely because of – I mean, that was his choice and that’s kind of the whole purpose behind it.

Kat: Yeah and that’s what it comes back to, right? Is it your choices or the Hat’s final word? Which is more important?

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: Or does the Hat merely legitimate your choice, that you just haven’t formulated yet? We’re never going to get a full answer out of this, but for everyone – for all the times we’ve been saying that certain characters don’t belong in houses that they are in or could work better in other houses, I don’t think we can ever really say that because the whole way the Sorting Hat works is it kind of knows and it kind of – it puts you there. And even Peter Pettigrew is a Gryffindor. A lot of people were saying in the comments he’s not a Slytherin or a Hufflepuff because he is patient being a rat, but there is some essential Gryffindor there that we fail to see because he wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

Kat: I know, but what about Snape? I mean, a lot of people think that in the end, he should have been a Gryffindor.

Noah: But no, he values Slytherin values more than Gryffindor values. He likes being part of a tightly knit group of people who think that they’re kind of special and think that they’re skilled and praise skills. Not to say Gryffindors don’t also like skilled players, but they’re more willing to pucker up somebody like Neville Longbottom as we’ll see, whereas I think in Slytherin, Snape isn’t one of those people who desires to lift people who aren’t as talented, right?

Kat: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. So, you think he’s a true Slytherin?

Noah: I do. I think it’s a matter of values.

Caleb: I think so, yeah.

Noah: I mean, Cedric shows great bravery, so does Snape. You don’t have to be in Gryffindor to be brave. It seems to be a matter of values.

Steve: No, I think most wizards are in some way more than one house. It’s more a matter of at that moment when they’re sorted, which one is their immediate destiny, you might say. But I don’t think destiny really comes into it. I think it’s – a lot of it is in Jo’s way of telling us a story. I think it’s all choices. What choices do you make? And the Sorting is at that moment and you do have input into it, but every – if you think about most characters, you could put them in two or three houses easily.

Noah: Right.

Steve: And so it’s not just like if you get sorted into Slytherin it’s going to change you. No, you’re not going to be sorted into Slytherin if you could be changed in that way, or that kind of a thing.

Noah: Yeah, so it’s worthy conversation to be had.

Steve: Mhm. I think you’re right, we’re never going to come to the end of it. We’re never going to say, okay we’ve got this all worked out now.

Kat: And…

Noah: When we get to Chamber of Secrets Harry has that whole bit with the Sorting Hat. “Are you sure about this?” And then he pulls out the sword at the end. We’re going to be talking about Sorting a lot on this podcast.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: And I have a final, final word on something we laid to rest last episode. I just want to say this because there’s a great comment – I don’t remember where it came from or where I heard it, so if it was you, I apologize. But someone made a great comment to me about the nutrients in deskpig.

Noah: The deskpig.

Kat: Yeah, sorry to bring it up yet again.

Caleb: Yawn.

Kat: [laughs] But this person said if we are correct – saying that we are correct in that objects transfigured into food aren’t nutritious, then does that explain why the trio was hungry for most of Deathly Hallows?

Noah: Well, did they transfigure many things into food?

Kat: Well, I mean yeah. Hermione transfigures things that she finds that are already food, like twigs and berries and that type of thing, branches.

Noah: Well, we’ve said that you can do that, but then I thought we kind of finalized in the fact that if you transfigure a desk into food, you would only get the nutritional value of the desk.

Kat: Right, that’s what this comment is saying, that is this – is that why they were so hungry for most of Deathly Hallows, because they were transfiguring things that weren’t food in the first place?

Noah: Well, it sounds like they were transfiguring things that were food. Like the berries. They were just…

Kat: Right, but branches aren’t food.

Noah: Were they eating branches?

Kat: Twigs, I remember.

Noah: Steve, maybe you can weigh in on this one.

[Steve laughs]

Noah: On the old deskpig discussion.

Caleb: Oh my God.

Steve: Yeah, I’ve been hearing about the deskpig, yeah.

[Kat laughs]

Noah: We must know, and maybe you can finish this off for us. McGonagall transforms a pig.

Steve: Right.

Noah: She takes her desk, she transforms it into a pig and then back again.

Steve: Right.

Noah: I have a few questions for you.

Steve: Mhm?

Noah: Did she create life from nothing and then kill that life? And if that pig had remained a pig, could it have been a pig for all time? Was it a real pig? Could you eat that pig and would you get the nutritional value of a pig from eating it?

[Noah and Steve laugh]

Steve: Well, see I think – my only thought on that – and this is by no means some sort of definitive thought, because obviously we go on and on about these details…

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: …but that’s very, very, very difficult for us as Muggles to disconnect science from our thinking about magic.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: And frankly, there is no connection, and so you don’t have the conservation of mass, you don’t have nutrients, none of this stuff actually – we are going to talk about it and we’re going to focus on it because we cannot get the Muggle out of our brain. But if you’re a wizard, that simply is not an issue. It doesn’t even exist. It’s like if you’re a wizard, when you go up to a peg that you need to pound into the ground, you’re going to use your wand and it’s never going to occur to you that you could use a mallet. I mean, that just seems so completely foreign to the way life works. And it’s the same with when we talk about things like this. She transfigures it into a pig, that could be – it’s a magical effect. We have no idea if that’s a real pig or if it’s a pig that would stay a pig forever. A lot of transfigured stuff doesn’t stay forever, and we as Muggles want to start getting scientific about it. And it’s fun to do and I say by all means do it, but we’re never going to be able to really understand a magical effect.

Kat: We’ve got to find a real wizard, bring him on the show.

Steve: How’s that, though, for sidestepping the whole issue, hmm?

Noah: You’ve dismissed quite a lot, Steve.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Good job.

Steve: There you go.

Noah: That is one answer to…

Steve: Yeah.

Noah: …pretty much everything. [laughs]

Steve: Exactly! See, that’s what I mean. You can just sidestep everything right there.

Kat: All right.

Noah: Now, would you eat the pig?

Steve: Would I eat the pig? If it’s bacon.

[Kat laughs]

Noah: Well, if it was transformed into bacon from there…

Steve: Yeah.

Noah: …through the normal means.

Steve: Because I will always eat bacon.

Noah: Okay. [laughs] Well, that’s the answer to one question, then.

Kat: Good, so let’s move on and discuss last week’s special feature. We did an artifact inspection on the Mirror of Erised. We have so many comments on this. I picked just a couple because we could probably talk about this for hours on end. This first comment here came from Nana from the forums. She says:

“In the discussion of the Mirror of Erised, it was mentioned in passing Dumbledore’s reply to Harry when he was asked what he saw in the Mirror. Noah said that he was lying, just making something up. We discussed this on the forum, but I wanted to address it again here. I think Dumbledore’s comment was actually quite revealing. Mrs. Weasley, an extremely caring and motherly sort, had sent Harry a hand-knitted jumper for Christmas as she does for all her kids. It’s a very intimate sort of gift. Dumbledore says he sees a pair of warm wooly socks, and that most people give him books. I think he laments the fact that people only relate to him as a bookish, brilliant minded person. It kind of means that there is no one who cares enough to knit him a pair of socks. No one who thinks of him as a real man with human needs for warmth and nurturing care. Jo always said it was sad that Dumbledore, who knew the value of love, had lived a long life without it. I think he wasn’t lying, but speaking in riddles. The socks represent a cozy family and seeing himself with socks meant seeing what Harry saw: a happy family.”

Noah: That’s very nice, Nana, but why wouldn’t he have just seen his family instead of the socks then if they are symbolic?

Steve: No, what she is saying is that his real answer is, “I would see my family and I’m going to answer it to Harry in a riddle.”

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: “I’m going to use that object to represent the feelings that I have of wanting my family back.” So, even though he wouldn’t actually see socks, he would actually see his family. He is answering Harry’s question without lying exactly, but by using a bit of a symbol for what he sees.

Noah: That’s true, but it seems like a slight jump. I mean, we don’t – do we get many instances in the series of him being very appreciative of socks? A few times.

Kat: No, but…

Steve: Well, there’s sock all through the series.

Caleb: I don’t think that discounts the theory just because he doesn’t…

Kat: I mean, that’s Dumbledore’s nature. I feel like this is a very common Dumbledore answer. But I agree with Nana. I read that and I thought it was brilliant.

Caleb: Yeah, I like it.

Kat: What would you guys see in the Mirror? We never did really discuss that.

Noah: That’s kind of a personal question, Kat.

Caleb: Well…

Kat: Would you see socks?

Caleb: I would not.

Noah: I’d see socks. No. That’s not a riddle either.

Kat: We don’t have to answer.

Noah: I’d see myself exactly as I am.

Steve: Oh yeah, I knew that was going to happen.

[Everyone laughs]

Noah: No, I’m pretty…

Steve: Only with a bag of Doritos, right?

Noah: [laughs] Right.

Kat: Ooh, yum.

Noah: I don’t know, do you think it’s the case that most people would see dead relatives or food or glory? These – the Mirror only seems to reflect the deepest and biggest most desires, unless you were truly content.

Steve: I don’t think most people would see past relatives. I think that’s pretty unique to Harry because most of us are not in that – and I guess I shouldn’t speak for everybody, but I think for a lot of people, having this lost relative or whatever doesn’t necessarily become the number one thing that you long for. It does for Harry because of his particular circumstances, but…

Noah: Right.

Steve: I don’t know, I was just – I see that as pretty unique.

Kat: Yeah, I mean other orphans would probably feel the same way, but yeah.

Steve: Mhm.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: I know what you mean.

Steve: And Jo does because of her situation, which is unique.

Caleb: Right.

Noah: What would Voldemort see?

Kat: Hmm.

Steve: Hmm.

Caleb: He would see himself living forever.

Steve: Yeah.

Kat: Yeah.

Noah: Probably.

Kat: I feel like that – I feel like Jo has answered that before.

Caleb: Well, she answered I think what his Boggart would be, that it would be him…

Kat: Oh, right. Him dead.

Caleb: …dead or something like that.

Noah: So, is the Mirror the same thing or does he – would he see his mom in a – like, growing up in a wizarding family?

Steve: Actually, she said – this is in one of the interviews she did. She said that Voldemort would see himself powerful and eternal.

Kat: There you go.

Caleb: Yeah, there we go.

Noah: All right.

Kat: Did you look that up on the Lexicon?

Steve: The Lexicon book, yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Wonderful.

[Caleb laughs]

Steve: Looked up “Mirror of Erised” and it lists what everybody would see. [laughs]

Caleb: Awesome.

Noah: Well, I mean that’s one answer. [laughs]

Kat: Okay.

Steve: Well, it’s J.K. Rowling’s answer, but you’re right. It’s one answer.

[Noah laughs]

Kat: Well, speaking of socks and such, SocksForDobby, one of the users on the forum has a great comment about the Mirror again. He or she says:

“I thought it was interesting when you were talking about the Mirror of Erised, you mentioned the Horcruxes. It got me thinking about how they relate. Take Ron, for example. The Mirror shows him his deepest desire to be recognized by his family and not have to feel jealous and the Horcrux magnified his feeling of jealously and feeling of being unimportant especially about Hermione and Harry’s relationship. I wonder if when Harry is wearing the Horcrux he feels especially alone and without family. It would be interesting to know what Hermione sees in the Mirror and if it relates to her experience when wearing the Horcrux.”

Noah: Steve?

Steve: Oh, I definitely – there’s a number of these items in the books, which show aspects of personality, the Mirror being one, Boggarts being another. And I think that’s a great connection between that and the Horcruxes. I’d never thought about that, so I think that’s a really good point.

Kat: Do we know what Hermione sees in the Mirror? I don’t think we do.

Steve: No.

Caleb: No.

Steve: It’s never given.

Noah: Another question though, do we think the Mirror possesses some kind of, as you say, personality or some kind of motivation, or is it simply an object? It seems to potentially put a lot of people in distress or kind of bring you in magnetically. We know about mirrors and the myth of Narcissus falling in love with himself and the dangers of being enraptured by your reflections, but we also know about objects in the wizarding world having a sort of personality to them a little bit. Is the Mirror kind of devious? Do we assign it a kind of personality or is it just an object?

Steve: I think it’s a mirror, which means it’s reflecting what it sees at that moment. I think what you would see in the Mirror changes as your life changes, and so it is a mirror. It is showing what at that moment is most important. Do you think that Ron would still want to be Quidditch Captain and everything if he stepped in front of the Mirror ten years later?

Noah: No.

Steve: No, I think his desires would have changed and what he sees in the Mirror would have changed.

Caleb: He probably would have just seen himself as he was.

Noah: Ron?

Caleb: Yeah, ten years later.

Kat: He seems pretty happy at the end, doesn’t he?

Caleb: Yeah, he got the girl.

Steve: And he can drive.

[Kat and Noah laugh]

Noah: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah. [laughs]

Noah: So, we’d say the Mirror is kind of innocent in terms of itself. It has no motivations, but it is simply a mirror and we as humans are kind of our own – we set traps for ourselves, we’re our own darkest…

Steve: Oh, that’s a good way to put it.

Kat: Absolutely.

Steve: I think the weirdest thing about the Mirror to me is that you can hide something in it.

Noah: That’s a tricky one.

Steve: So, there’s something – there’s an entirely different aspect to this magical device that – and if Dumbledore hid the Stone in the Mirror and the Mirror was on third floor, what was underneath the Hogwarts castle? What was everything guarding? If the Stone was in the Mirror and the Mirror was on the third floor until December 27th.

Noah: Ooh.

Caleb: Yeah, why did Dumbledore leave it in the open where somehow…

Steve: Well, I would. I would say – I always say that if I really wanted to hide something, I’d put it in an old cigarette box in the garage as opposed to…

Kat: And next to the locked safe, right?

Steve: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, but…

Steve: And the locked safe with the dragon on it would be somewhere else.

Caleb: But do we think that he perhaps suspected Harry might discover it, especially now that he has given him the Invisibility Cloak?

Steve: I think he wanted him to.

Kat: Yeah, I do too.

Caleb: Do you think he had some sort of foresight that Harry would end up with the Mirror with – to get it out, to save it from Voldemort getting his hands on it?

Steve: He didn’t know Voldemort was involved at that time.

Caleb: Well, that’s true.

Steve: But the point being that, I think – and this is again my way of looking at it. I can’t really make good sense of the entire plot of Book 1 without assuming that Dumbledore is kind of running things behind the scenes.

Noah: Right.

Steve: Because there’s too many things that just don’t make sense unless you realize that, oh, they do if Dumbledore knew. Oh, they do if Dumbledore told Hagrid to be such an idiot.

[Kat laughs]

Steve: There’s too many things that don’t make sense until you think, oh okay, if Dumbledore knew, then this works, then he intentionally leads Harry with the sounds that he hears and all this stuff. If you read through and look at it, there’s constantly things going on around Harry that he barely notices.

Kat: That’s true.

Steve: And, if you think about that as being Dumbledore just kind of quietly just keeping an eye on things and manipulating things to the ends that he wants, well then all of a sudden this all kind of makes more sense.

Kat: Yeah.

Noah: Well…

Kat: I mean, Dumbledore does orchestrate a lot of things, doesn’t he?

Steve: Very much so, yeah.

Noah: He and Snape. He’s using Snape here to watch Harry, keep an eye, and that’s why he’s going to be referee.

Steve: Mhm, exactly.

Kat: Right.

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: But yeah, I was kind of concerned on the last episode, because it seemed that Dumbledore knew a little bit too much about Harry, where Harry was at all times, as if he’d been watching him, watching Harry look at the Mirror, and I said the stalker word…

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: …last episode. And we talk about how great Dumbledore is watching everything, but just how meticulous is he, keeping track of everybody in the castle, seemingly without the Marauder’s Map?

Steve: Well, I don’t think he keeps track of everybody, but he certainly keeps track of Harry. I think he’s watching Harry very closely. And not always in person. There’s all these magical devices in his office and we don’t know exactly what forms that takes, but I think he’s definitely keeping a close eye on Harry.

Kat: Agreed.

Noah: Right.

Kat: Speaking of Dumbledore and all that, Noah, why don’t you tell us some answers that you got to the Podcast Question of the Week?

Noah: Yeah, sure. So, the Question of the Week last week was in regards to the Invisibility Cloak, which we know comes from Dumbledore, but he receives – he gives a mysterious note instead, not putting his name down. The question was:

“Consider the scene of Christmas morning when Harry received the Invisibility Cloak, one of his first and most ancient gifts. We know (now) that the mystery gift-giver was none other than Albus Dumbledore, but did Dumbledore have to give the cloak back to Harry as part of some magical rule? Did James leave it for Harry in his will? If so, how exactly does magical inheritance work, and what indeed do you need to do in the eyes of wizard law to possess something to hand down in the first place?”

So, that was kind of a bigger question about magical inheritance, which I threw to the fans, and we got a lot of responses back. Specifically about the Invisibility Cloak, we know that that gets handed down from father to son. Or mother to daughter, I would assume. So, that has a certain level of inheritance with it. But just in general speaking, how does inheritance work when you leave something down? So, let’s look at some comments. First we have Nana. This was on the main site.

“I think it quite likely there was a will written after the deaths of James’ parents. After all, they were rich and probably had a family lawyer. But I doubt that the will included the Cloak. I think it was a secretive thing for James, something he had used for stealth and mischief in his youth. Since it was a special object, it might have always been something to keep secret and not include publicly in a will. Perhaps each generation honored the secret, and over the long years the complete tale was lost. If it had always been written in a will, it likely would have included an allusion to its significance.”

So, that brings up another question that fans were talking about. Did James know that it was a Deathly Hallow? Guys?

Steve: I don’t think so.

Kat: No, I don’t think so either.

Caleb: No.

Steve: I think very few people really took the Deathly Hallows at all seriously.

Caleb: I think Dumbledore was the only one that suspected it, probably.

Steve: Hmm.

Noah: But then would James have…

Kat: Yeah, because so many people don’t believe in it, believe in the legend.

Noah: Do you think James realized when Dumbledore asked, “Can I borrow it?”

Caleb: No.

Steve: No.

Kat: Nope. I don’t think he had any clue whatsoever. He probably didn’t believe in that type of thing.

Noah: Well, he having been told the tales from a young boy.

Caleb: Yeah, he would have known about the tales, but I don’t think he would have ever…

Steve: Well, there are other invisibility cloaks and he had no reason to suspect that his was any different, because if you read The Tale of the Three Brothers, there’s nothing in there to describe the Cloak to the point where you’d say, “Hey, that really specifically applies to this one.”

Noah: Right, but don’t you think that…

Kat: But he must have known that he was a descendent of the Peverell brothers.

Steve: Not necessarily.

Noah: Did he?

Caleb I don’t know if he knew.

Noah: Yeah, I wouldn’t say he knew.

Steve: We’re talking thousands of years – well, thousands. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years.

Noah: Right.

Steve: I don’t know who my predecessors were three, four-hundred years ago.

Kat: I suppose that’s true.

Noah: But don’t you think if he saw Dumbledore asking to examine it and knowing the kind of wizard that Dumbledore was, he probably – maybe he would have gotten suspicious? Or at least that it was a very useful object and then maybe he could have been upset that you’re taking this from me when I might need it the most?

Steve: That’s the thing that really would hit me, is that, “Seriously, you want my cloak now?”

Caleb: Yeah, I…

Steve: I’ve got Voldemort after me, for goodness sake.

Caleb: I would love to know how that conversation actually went. Like, what did Dumbledore use to justify to James that he needed it more than they did?

Steve: Well, on the other hand they’re behind the Fidelius Charm and so they felt fairly impregnable, I think.

Noah: Exactly.

Caleb: But the thing is that James, I would think, would assume that Dumbledore could be invisible without the Cloak, so why would he need it for himself?

Steve: Well, I think he – I don’t think he thought he was going to use it for himself so much as just to examine it, take a look at it, find out what the magic was, that kind of thing.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: It seems like a Dumbledore thing to do.

Noah: But we know from Dumbledore’s point of view, he has got this cloak in his hands after how many years and he needs to see it.

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: No matter who he’s going to put in danger to do that.

Kat: Yeah, again it’s his bad decision making, right?

Caleb: Yup.

Steve: Yeah.

Caleb: So, back to the question. Let’s see. Here’s the question again: Did he have to give it back to Harry, by law, or did he just kind of figure this should go back to its rightful owner? So, this is a comment from FlightQuest91:

“The Cloak is passed down father to son, and after a while Harry comes to think of Dumbledore as a father figure. Could this be foreshadowing Harry’s future relationship with Dumbledore?”

Kat: Huh.

Noah: Possibly.

Kat: I had never really thought of it that way, but – in a way that makes sense, but…

Caleb: Yeah, I think that pre-Sirius – just like Molly I think is Harry’s leading mother figure up to this point, Dumbledore is probably his leading father figure up until him meeting Sirius. So, I think that makes sense.

Noah: Right.

Kat: Mhm.

Noah: I mean, he does kind of interrupt the chain in a way. Or at least he helps it along, this cloak going from father to son.

Kat: Yeah, because what would have happened to it? We discussed this briefly last week, but what would have happened to it if it was in the house at the time, if Dumbledore didn’t have it? Who knows where it would be.

Caleb: Right.

Kat: So, in a way Dumbledore facilitated that inheritance factor.

Noah: The transfer.

Caleb: Mhm.

Noah: This father-to-son bit is kind of scaring me. It doesn’t only go to father to son, right? It goes from parent to child. Or do we not know this?

Caleb: Hmm. I don’t know, I think – I know what you’re tapping into and I think it’s definitely possible that it’s a father-son thing.

Kat: Yeah, in the story it says that he passed it to “his son,” not to “his child.”

Noah: Right.

Kat: But if there is no son, then what do you do, right?

Noah: Because – does the Cloak go down each line of the son in – do we know that or is it just to – because it seems to go by family name. But then again, that changes so it must have been daughters…

Caleb: Yeah, so it must have at some point, or else Harry would be a Peverell. So…

Noah: Right! Oh okay. Just making sure. Gender stuff.

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: So, Mudblood&Proud has another comment:

“Perhaps magical inheritance is a sort of charm. When Harry was born, the charm that was put on the Cloak by Ignotus Peverell recognized that Harry was the next descendant born in the family and that he would next have the Cloak. Perhaps it was by chance that when James gave the Cloak to Dumbledore, Dumbledore was acting as a ‘surrogate’ cloak owner. When Dumbledore felt it was right, he gave the Cloak to Harry. This charm could also be applied to the Weasley family, when Molly gave Harry her brother Fabian’s watch. We do not know much about Fabian, but we assume he was unmarried and had no children. This means that all his possessions could not be passed on because he had no direct descendants, so the Ministry recognized that Molly was his next of kin and passed his belongings onto him when he died. Molly then acted as a surrogate for his belongings and she could do what she wished with them, so she passed it down to Harry.”

That’s kind of a complex comment, but – I don’t know, I feel like you can’t really put a spell on a cloak, specifically because enchantments don’t work on it.

Caleb: Particularly since it’s a Deathly Hallow.

Kat and Noah: Right.

Steve: Well, there’s another aspect that I think is a – whenever I think about some of the things that happen in the books, I think there’s a tendency of magical – especially very powerful magical items – to force their destiny to happen the way they want it to. If you think about the sword of Gryffindor, it goes where it’s needed. It’s almost like built into the magic of the wizarding world, is that some things are kind of drawn together. Some things will work toward good, or toward evil, and affect events. So, why does Dumbledore have the Cloak? You can also look it as because the Cloak needed to be with Dumbledore, and made sure that it was with Dumbledore, and then got to Harry. I look at Harry getting the Cloak as being another example of Dumbledore orchestrating things.

Kat: Mhm.

Steve: He’s saying, well Harry is going to have this little adventure that – and again, he doesn’t know Voldemort is involved at this point, but he’s going to have this little adventure, he’s going to need that cloak, so I’m going to give it to him. But I think the Cloak itself – I’m not saying sension-wise, but just by its very magical nature, powerful magical nature, kind of bends reality toward its goals and its destiny.

Noah: That’s interesting.

Caleb: Yeah, I would agree.

Noah: Because the Elder Wand can do that.

Steve: Mhm, exactly. Almost think of it like gravity. Certain things have so much gravity, magical gravity, that they pull things toward them or away from them. And if you read that in the books, you can find examples of that all through the books where certain things happen and you think, wow that was pretty amazing that that happened in that particular way. But things get drawn together. Things get pulled toward their natural good result or bad result depending on the magical item, and I think that’s kind of built in to the magic of the universe.

Noah: Yeah, I like that. And maybe Dumbledore doesn’t necessarily orchestrate every piece, but he at least puts these possessions in the right hands or he gets stuff moved…

Steve: Mhm. Well, I think Dumbledore understands the magical nature of the universe enough to realize that he can’t make everything happen the way that he wants and tries to be open to it and put things where they’re supposed to be. And if you think about all those little devices that he has in his office – I mean, what is he sensing? You can almost imagine him being able to sense the magical-ness around him in ways that most people can’t. And he kind of tries to fit into the magical flow of the universe, if you will.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: And so…

Noah: Much like the – you got me thinking of the Time Turner.

Steve: Exactly, yeah.

Noah: In Book 3 when you have the horrible situation where it does seem that Sirius Black is innocent and – as well as Buckbeak. So, what you do is you kind of set one thing in motion, but not too much so. You can’t just go back in time over and over again to make it happen exactly the way you want. He had to go with the flow and figure it out.

Steve: And if it was all up to him, if he had to make it happen exactly a certain way, he would have had to have done twenty minutes of instructions to Hermione. But instead, he just says, “Well, just go back a little bit,” because he knows that things will work out the way they’re supposed to because that’s the way the universe works. You just have to be in the right place at the right time, and you have make the right choices and the right decisions because if you don’t, you can mess it up.

Kat and Noah: Right.

Noah: And also, specifically speaking of that incident, he probably saw some weird things happening that were just kind of life-saving moves, like you saw that Buckbeak wasn’t there.

Steve: Right.

Noah: He probably figured out that he was going to suggest something later on.

Steve: And as much as I don’t like to think of the films as canon, that moment when he diverts Fudge’s attention on the front porch of the – of Hagrid’s hut as they’re finishing up their little…

Noah: Beautiful.

Kat: Right.

Steve: Yeah.

Caleb: Mhm.

Steve: [laughs] He shouldn’t have known, but somehow he did.

Caleb Right.

[Noah laughs]

Kat: Smart guy, that Dumbledore.

Steve: Oh, I’ll tell you.

Noah: All right, so…

Kat: Well, good, I mean that’s a good discussion on the magical inheritance. Let’s jump right into the chapters for this week, and we’re covering Chapters 13 and 14 of Philosopher’s Stone.

Noah: All right. Cool, okay. So, Chapter 13, “Nicolas Flamel.”

Steve: And can I just say right now, what a strange title for that chapter. Nicolas Flamel is a tiny little detail that comes in at the very end of the chapter. The entire chapter is about Quidditch.

Kat: That’s true.

Noah: It is.

Steve: And so instead we’ve got a chapter called “Nicolas Flamel.”

Caleb: Hmm.

Steve: And yet…

Noah: Why do you think that was done?

Steve: The only reason I can think of is that we have spent the entire book so far wondering who Nicolas Flamel is. I have to admit, the first time that I read it, I didn’t – I knew I’d heard the name, but I couldn’t remember where. And I wasn’t about to go back because I was enjoying the book too much. But when you get to that chapter that says “Nicolas Flamel,” you go, “Ahh good! Now we’re going to find out!” And then you read and read and read and read…

[Caleb laughs]

Steve: …and read and it’s not there. [laughs]

Kat: And I think that’s what it is. I mean, she wants you to realize that this is significant.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: So, that’s why she names the chapter after him even though it’s only a very small…

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: Yeah.

Kat: …part at the very end.

Caleb: And it’s also…

Steve: She’s very good at naming chapters in ways that you don’t realize until afterwards what a clever title it was.

Kat: Right.

Caleb: Absolutely.

Noah: And for younger readers, it keeps you focused and continuity of the story.

Kat: Mhm.

Steve: Or kind of for us older readers too, but okay.

[Kat and Noah laugh]

Noah: So, the chapter opens with, as you said, a lot of Quidditch going on, and Oliver Wood tells Harry the sad news that Snape is going to be refereeing the next game between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. So, we know obviously in the last game, Snape was actually trying to rescue Harry by muttering the counter-curse as Quirrell was actually cursing him. So now, he’s actually going to be referee during this game. Do we believe this was Snape’s idea or this is Dumbledore again just kind of setting things up, putting in place – or maybe they came to the conclusion together, but how do you think Snape felt about this scenario?

Caleb: Well, I definitely think it was Dumbledore’s idea. I don’t – I think he knew someone needed to be there in a closer space to protect him and he wasn’t going to be out there refing it. [laughs] But I definitely think Snape is pissed about it.

Steve: Oh definitely.

Caleb: I don’t think he wants to ref at all.

Steve: No. Can you think of anything kind of more humiliating than have to fly around in front of everybody on a broomstick?

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: It’s like, come on. I’m beyond this.

Noah: It doesn’t seem like Snape.

Steve: No, not at all.

Kat: No.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: Just about as much in character as Hagrid kissing McGonagall at the Christmas party.

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: Right.

Noah: That was a surprise.

Steve: Yes, it was.

Noah: I did not remember that when I read it.

Steve: Yeah. [laughs] That wasn’t in the film. [laughs]

Kat: No, it should have been. Oh, that would have been a great moment, huh?

Steve: Oh, I’ll tell you. [laughs]

Caleb: Love it.

Steve: But I agree. I think Snape is just getting so annoyed with this whole having to keep track of Harry thing.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: And then it’s like, seriously, you want me to do what?

Caleb: He’s not going to not do it because of the circumstances and their – he and Dumbledore’s deal, but he definitely is not happy about it.

Kat: And it’s only how many months in? I mean, it’s just before Easter at this point, right?

Steve: Yeah, this is actually…

Kat: And it’s the first year, so…

Steve: This is actually about end of February. This is two months after the last chapter.

Kat: Right.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: So I mean, he’s getting fed up real quick.

Caleb: Mhm.

Kat: It sucks to be Snape.

Caleb: Yup.

Noah: But luckily, it is a very quick game.

Steve: [laughs] Yeah.

Noah: Because Harry just instantly swoops down and he catches the Snitch in record time.

Steve: Okay, not just luckily, but you realize that this game started at 4 PM.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: The only game in the entire books that starts at 4:00 in the afternoon. And if he had not caught the Snitch in five minutes, it would have been dark because in Scotland, that time of year, it gets dark about 5:30.

Noah: Ooh.

Steve: So, they started a Quidditch match an hour before dark.

Kat: Wow.

Steve: And the only reason they did that is because Rowling wanted to have an excuse to get Harry into the woods.

Noah: Is that – oh man!

Steve: So, this is an example of where I think if I was Rowling, I would – she has said before how she wishes she could kind of go back and rewrite, and I think she’s got to be looking at this and saying, okay I just – [laughs] this is just clumsy and this is just – and the only time in the entire series when a Quidditch match is put off until the afternoon. Otherwise, it’s 11 AM every time.

Noah: So that true.

Steve: It is.

Noah: Interesting.

Steve: Mhm. So, we’re seeing an example of Rowling’s early writing here, which is – I think it’s fascinating. I love to look at and see her progress in her writing, and the way her approach is to the writing and the planning and quite honestly how much she’s going to listen to editors. And you see it here that she’s allowed herself to kind of just force the issue a little bit to make her plot move forward, and I think by the time she gets to Book 5, she realizes okay, these fans are going to pick this apart. I got to write it a little more carefully.

[Noah laughs]

Kat: Mhm.

Noah: Well, as we know, she – writing those later books it was kind of a constant warrior struggle, I got to keep consistent every detail.

Steve: Oh yeah. And not just consistent, but how am I going to hide the things I have to talk about?

Kat: Right.

Steve: That was – I just can’t imagine how she did it. I look back and I think, “How in the world did she write all this stuff without giving everything away?”

Kat: Again, she’s a genius.

Caleb: Brilliance.

Steve: I would have to agree.

Kat: Yup.

Noah: And the way that we, as you say, manipulate with time or the way she works with time in the series – we get it all from Harry’s perspective and he’s going to be having breakfast, then he’s going to Potions, and it’s very fluid but a lot of time will pass quickly and you won’t really realize. But for this – in this instance she had to make the game later so that we could get to the forest, I would say.

Steve: Exactly. Mhm.

Kat: Right.

Noah: Which is an interesting scene indeed.

Steve: Oh yeah.

Noah: Snape isn’t refereeing that… [unintelligible]

Steve: Another example of Dumbledore watching over Harry.

Noah: Right, because he’s going to be there. And then right by his side at the end, but let’s hold on that for a second.

Steve: Sure.

Noah: Before we get to the Quidditch game we have Ron and Hermione playing chess, and this is interestingly the only thing that Ron is better at Hermione at. Or – we know – someone notes in the chapter that Hermione is having a real struggle at it. So, is this – besides just foreshadowing of the fact that Ron will lead the big chess game later on, are we getting from Jo that there are different kinds of intelligence? Is Ron this kind of “I’m going to go with my gut” character and we’re getting introduced to that?

Kat: Yeah, I think there are definitely different kinds of intelligence. I mean, there’s street smart and book smart, and I think that’s the difference between Ron and Hermione. Ron goes…

Steve: But they make a – I think that’s why they make such a good match, is that they each kind of bring something different to the table.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: Together they make the perfect support group for Harry.

Kat: Yup.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s pretty much my thinking.

Noah: Well, we’ll see what… [unintelligible]

Caleb: They play each other’s strengths and weaknesses pretty well. So…

Steve: Mhm.

Caleb: I didn’t pick up on that as much in the beginning. I didn’t – going through the series the first time, I didn’t really predict Ron and Hermione together until much later in the series, so going back through this now is eye opening to catch these.

Kat: Mhm.

Noah: Yeah. But Ron is really shining here, where later in the books he will kind of – he’ll do a lot of comic relief, but his skill set here is being highlighted as he can really strategize.

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: I remember a lot of people theorizing the fact that he sacrificed himself at the end of the game as being foreshadowing of the fact that he will sacrifice himself at the end of the series.

Caleb: Mhm.

Noah: Happy to say that never really happened, but is…

Caleb: I always thought that Ron was going to die sacrificing himself.

Kat: Oh, I’m glad he didn’t. I have a soft spot for Ron.

Noah: A lot of people would have been upset.

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: Yeah, doesn’t his new wand have a unicorn hair in it?

Noah: Yes.

Kat: I believe it does, yup.

Steve: And the unicorns are – the innocent is the first to die and all of that?

Caleb and Kat: Mhm.

Noah: Hey, he – pretty much everybody made it out except for Remus and Tonks.

Kat: And Fred?

Steve: Actually his old wand. His old wand has it, because it’s got the unicorn hair hanging out of it in Chamber of Secrets. I’m sorry, go ahead.

Noah: So, moving…

Kat: Well, not pretty much everybody, but yeah. Sorry, go ahead.

Noah: Moving on through the chapter, Neville stumbles into the common room with his legs tied together because Draco has just jinxed him. And Harry…

Steve: You realize that the library is on the fourth floor. This poor child has just hopped…

[Caleb and Kat laugh]

Steve: …from the fourth floor to the seventh. No, think about this. This is Neville.

Noah: Yes.

Steve: We’re made to think of him as being sort of a doofus, because he comes in having had his legs locked together. This kid just hopped up three or four floors in that castle.

Noah: How much time was that?

Steve: He’s got some grit to him. You think about – you’re starting to see, even in that, these little hints of who he really is.

Noah: Oh yeah, and he takes on Crabbe and Goyle later.

Steve: I know, I love it.

Noah: Yeah. I mean, they are all eleven but he’s got some heart.

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: So, he comes in and Harry says, “You know what? You’re worth twelve of Malfoy.” And I just thought this was rather cute.

Caleb: Aww.

Steve: Malfoy who runs away in the forest.

Kat: Right.

Noah: Yup.

Kat: And this is what you mentioned before, about Slytherins don’t tend to pick up their peers but Gryffindors want to help their friends and help their fellow housemates to their full potential. So, this is Harry lifting up Neville.

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: Yeah, this is an essentially Gryffindor moment.

Caleb: It is.

Steve: Definitely.

Caleb: I agree.

Noah: But then Neville gives them a little tip-off, because Harry gives Neville a Chocolate Frog Card – or Chocolate Frog – and then Neville gives Harry the card, and guess who is on it? Albus Dumbledore. And that was the little bit of text where we first got Nicolas Flamel’s name, because he worked with Dumbledore on alchemy.

Kat: Yay!

Noah: Of course we all know that because we’ve read it a million times, but big deal in the story. So, we get the Sorcerer’s Stone, we figure out that’s what is behind Fluffy – or underneath Fluffy, rather. But I kind of want to just talk about the Stone for a second, this mysterious substance that can turn metal into gold. Now, in classical culture it’s kind of an icon, everybody knows about it. It’s referenced in a lot of places. But how is it planted into Jo’s world here? I mean, we already have things that – we have Transfiguration where you can turn things into other objects, but the Stone seems to be different in that it can change an essence of a thing into another essence in a way that magic can’t. I mean, what do we think here? Why is the Stone so prized for its transfiguring something into gold anyway?

Steve: Well, the other time we see something transfigured into gold is the leprechauns who are creating gold, but then it disappears. So, I wonder if – because again, if you think of magic as not just the science, but also the philosophy or the idea behind it, the gold has an inherent value to it. And you can create an object or something but you can’t create the value.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: So, perhaps if you transfigure something you couldn’t transfigure something into gold, real gold, because you couldn’t give it the value.

Noah: Why does gold have this magical impossible thing to create – it seems as if this value is inherent to the magical world and that it’s really, really valuable, when we know that gold is really just another kind of stone. Why is it divine here? That’s kind of a – I’m talking about it kind of sillily. I’m just saying why is it so impressive that you can make something into gold when the value of gold is kind of arbitrary? We know it has value in our world but does it have any sort of magical essential value? That doesn’t seem to make sense to me, so why is that so prized for the Philosopher’s Stone?

Kat: I think it’s – I mean, how else would you create gold? It’s probably one of Gamp’s Laws of Elemental Transfiguration that you can’t turn anything into gold.

Noah: But why gold?

Caleb: Or at least something of similar value.

Steve: Right, I think the key of it is what you can’t create is value because that’s not of intrinsic – a scientific piece of the – you can create a thing, you can create the form, but you can’t create, like you said, the human added value.

Noah: Right.

Caleb: I wonder if it’s even enumerated as such though, in Gamp’s Law, because the value is so relative.

Kat: Right.

Steve: That’s why there’s only five laws.

Noah: That’s the thing. So, what I’m thinking is that we’re kind of touching onto the whole history of the Philosopher’s Stone though, and it really is about creating a true form of an object. And gold is potentially this true form of metal.

Steve: Right, the whole idea of the Philosopher’s Stone is to create – it’s actually a psychological or a religious thing almost of creating the perfect person. And finding the Stone is the symbol of becoming that perfect person, which is kind of strange to think of Voldemort having it, but…

Noah: Yeah. And what about Dumbledore? I mean, we haven’t really thought about this but Dumbledore has done some serious work with Nicolas Flamel. What was he looking for? What kind of alchemy stuff has he done?

Steve: Yeah, it’s true. If you think about the goal of alchemy, what’s alchemy for and what does it do? That’s a strange thing for him to be working on, although – on the other hand, he spent his whole life kind of trying to redeem himself from his failure of wanting the wrong things at the beginning.

Noah: Right. And as head of Transfiguration, as head of the department and a professor in that, it makes sense that he would have studied alchemy.

Steve: That’s true.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: I never thought of it that way but alchemy would be a Transfiguration discipline.

Noah: It’s probably the older form of the magic for it, you know? It’s like…

Caleb: Yeah, just because it’s something that ancient and full of lore, I think would be a reason that it would draw Dumbledore to it.

Steve: Almost like the original, most elemental form of Transfiguration. If you look at the difference in Divination between Firenze’s approach and Trelawney’s approach, you see two completely different styles of what Divination can be. You can almost think of true Transfiguration is going to be things that are represented by alchemy, this changing toward some perfect version of yourself and of material.

Noah: Right.

Steve: And you can see transfiguring a desk into a pig…

[Kat laughs]

Steve: …is kind of more of the mundane version of that same thing.

Noah: Or it’s illusory.

Steve: Hmm, yeah.

Noah: Where it’s more about the appearance and stuff. That’s very interesting.

Steve: Okay, now I’m thinking about bacon again, but go ahead.

[Noah laughs]

Kat: Yum! [laughs]

Noah: And just one last point about the Stone: it won’t be the first stone we see. We also have the Resurrection Stone.

Steve: Right.

Noah: Do we see any connections to these two? Or any symbolism of the “stone”?

Steve: Well, in Tales of Beedle the Bard, Dumbledore makes a note in there that many critics believe that Beedle was inspired by the Philosopher’s Stone, which makes the immortality-inducing elixir of life, while creating his stone that could raise the dead.

Noah: Right.

Steve: So, that’s a Dumbledore footnote in Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Kat: So, there you go. They’re linked.

Steve: There you go. At least in the viewpoint of people who don’t know that the Deathly Hallows are real, I would say.

Kat: Right.

Steve: Because this is assuming that Beedle just made the whole thing up.

Caleb: Or it’s just because Rowling has an affinity for rocks and is telling kids it’s okay to have pet rocks.

[Kat laughs]

Caleb: Which I’m totally down for.

Kat: Did you have a pet rock?

Caleb: I did not, but I wish I would have.

Noah: I think if I had a pet rock like this, I’d be a little preoccupied bringing people back from the dead and being immortal. But…

Kat: That would be a pretty awesome pet rock.

Caleb: Seriously.

Steve: Yeah, I don’t know that I’d really want to bring people back from the dead, as a general rule.

Noah: They’re really smelly anyway.

Kat: I would probably bring some of my pets back, but probably not people.

[Steve laughs]

Kat: Like the cat I had when I was two.

Steve: Okay, then think about how twisted this is: this whole concept when you’ve got zombies and Inferi. Is that a twisted version of the same general kind of magic, kind of a Transfiguration but kind of gone really bad?

Noah: Well, with Inferi though, it seems that you’re not bringing anything of the spirit back, just the body.

Steve: No, but it’s still an attempt.

Kat: It’s more like a puppet, right?

Steve: Yeah, but it’s an attempt.

Noah: Oh certainly.

Steve: It’s the same concept. You’re going to try to take what’s dead and turn it into something living, kind of a thing.

Noah: Oh, I can’t wait to get to Inferi. Unfortunately we don’t see those for…

Kat: You’ve got a few years, yeah. [laughs]

Noah: [laughs] Yeah.

Caleb: Hold it in.

Noah: But that’s true. How many times in the books do we have people coming back from the dead, or this theme of death? And trumping it. That is the foundation of the series.

Steve: Very much so.

Kat: I mean, that’s where Jo was when she was writing it, right?

Caleb: Yup. Dealing with death.

Kat: So, that’s why it’s such a recurring theme.

Noah: Right. And on that same vein, Voldemort. Now, why is he after the Stone in the first place? He already has the Horcruxes. Am I to assume that he was in such a tortured state that he wanted the Stone for its potion that could possibly sustain him a bit more?

Kat: No, no, no. See, he didn’t have all his Horcruxes at this point because he was…

Steve: Right.

Kat: …”killed” before he was…

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: …able to make his last one. So, to use them, I feel like he would feel like it’s setting him back. So, he would want to use…

Noah: Well, certainly but he…

Kat: He would want to use the Stone or the Elixir of Life in order to come alive and not have to use one of those Horcruxes.

Steve: Yeah, and Horcruxes – he just didn’t have a body. He had a pretty big step to take before he was going to be back where he wanted to be. And I would assume that he’s looking at the Stone as being part of that process.

Caleb: And I just think in general he’s so obsessive about making sure in every possible way that he is immune to death, and that this is one extra thing to sort of tack on to that protection list.

Steve: Sure.

Noah: I wonder how that would go in, though. How can he make a body from that? I don’t know.

Steve: It’s magic.

Noah: It is magic.

[Steve laughs]

Caleb: I mean, this is – that question sort of – I always had a problem with the Philosopher’s Stone while reading and going back, because – and there’s obviously the issue that I don’t really understand still. It’s pitched as something that makes someone immortal, but it clearly does not make anyone immortal because once it’s destroyed, Nicolas and his wife Perenelle are going to die without it.

Steve: Well, it makes the Elixir of Life. The Stone doesn’t make a person immortal. It makes the Elixir of Life.

Caleb: Right. Well – true, true.

Steve: It makes a potion.

Noah: Right.

Caleb: But the tagging of immortal is certainly not correct.

Steve: No.

Caleb: At least in the sense that we use the word immortal.

Steve: No. So, maybe that Elixir of Life is what he wants to get in himself to try to recreate – I mean, he is in such a weakened state, he wants to do something to get himself back in…

Kat: Stronger.

Steve: Yeah, stronger.

Noah: And even – in addition to, it’s just yet another precaution, another step away from death potentially. If he has this as well, in addition to the Horcruxes.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: Something that just occurred to me is that I see a sudden parallel between Dumbledore and Voldemort, both of them wanting the Stone that’s going to somehow make them happy in the way that they see in the Mirror. He’s going to get his sister back. Voldemort is going to be all powerful. And both of them are kind of grasping at this Stone. It’s two different stones, but it’s this magical item which is going to do it for them. Harry, on the other hand, at the end of the series, drops the Stone in the woods.

Noah: Yeah.

Kat: And that’s what makes him the ultimate hero, right?

Steve: Exactly.

Kat: His selflessness.

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: So, I’m saying, what…

Steve: And the fact that he doesn’t see the true power as being some magical thing that’s going to give him this sort of power over death or whatever. He sees true power as being something totally different.

Kat: Yup.

Noah: Which kind of is left over after Lily. The sense of internal power versus something you can possess and use, which seems to be Dumbledore and Voldemort’s drive.

Steve: Yeah.

Kat: Yup.

Noah: Okay, so the Quidditch game begins, and Hermione and Ron give Harry their last goodbyes because they’re pretty sure he’s going to die, being that Snape is refereeing the game.

[Caleb and Noah laugh]

Noah: I don’t know why they’re…

Steve: Except they take their wands, which…

Noah: That’s right. They take their wands with them. Neville is very concerned.

Steve: But the weird thing is that their taking their wands is something – they would never be without their wands.

Caleb: Right. Why are people at Quidditch games not…

Steve: So, why is that a surprise?

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: I mean, the right to carry a wand is like a right in the wizarding world. But…

Noah: Is this an oversight or…

Steve: Yeah.

Noah: …maybe first-years just don’t have wands?

Steve: No, I think it’s…

Caleb: Why would people leave their wands back in the common rooms when they go to a Quidditch game?

Steve: Right. They would always have their wands. But I don’t think Rowling had worked that out yet when she was writing this part.

Kat: Or she was just trying to make it dramatic, noticing that they had their wands out – that everyone was noticing, you know?

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Who knows.

Noah: Or maybe first-years can’t…

Steve: Well, Ron slips his up his sleeve, but yeah. And it surprises Neville. He doesn’t understand why they would have their wands with them.

Noah: Anyway, they plan to use the same spell that Malfoy used on Neville on Snape if he tries anything.

Steve: Yeah, way up there in the air.

Noah: This is very bold of them. [laughs]

Steve: [laughs] Yeah. Can you just imagine – a couple of first-year Gryffindors whip out their wands…

[Kat laughs]

Steve: …and try to attack Snape of all people?

Caleb: And at the same time, how Gryffindor-esque that actually is.

Steve: [laughs] Yeah, exactly.

Kat: Totally.

Caleb: I totally identify with that, so I’m all for it.

Steve: Although, now I’m wondering why Ron didn’t get his wand out when Malfoy was giving him a hard time later.

Noah: It goes to fists because I think they just don’t know enough magic naturally.

Steve: Yeah.

Caleb: And probably that’s what he grew up around.

Noah: Yeah.

Caleb: Wrestling with his brothers.

Steve: But I think you’re right. As first years, they’re still not used to this instinctive reaction of using magic, whereas a few years later everything is magic.

Kat: Mhm.

Noah: Right. So, the game begins and he does great. In fact, he catches the Snitch very quickly.

Steve: Thank goodness.

Noah: He lands, Snape is very annoyed.

Steve: But did you notice that through this is the only time in the entire books that we actually leave Harry’s point of view?

Caleb: Yeah, I was thinking about that.

Steve: Except for whole chapters in the Prime Minister’s office or something. But this is the only time she writes this way.

Caleb: Yup, where it’s sort of…

Noah: Omission?

Caleb: …in the point of view – well, there’s at least a couple of ones where it’s from the point of view of Hermione and Ron.

Steve: Also, back in the stands.

Caleb: Yup.

Steve: Yup, that’s the only time.

Noah: That’s a good point. And then – so Dumbledore is right beside him as soon as he lands. [laughs]

Steve: Mhm.

[Kat laughs]

Noah: Because he can Apparate inside of Hogwarts. That’s crazy.

Steve: Well, we don’t know that he can Apparate inside of Hogwarts. We never hear that. That’s just the film.

Noah: We never know that?

Steve: No.

Caleb: I don’t think he can Apparate inside of Hogwarts.

Steve: Well…

Noah: He is an extremely fast runner then.

[Kat laughs]

Steve: But he has Fawkes, because he leaves in something which looks remarkably like Apparition in Book 5.

Kat: Right.

Noah: That’s true, he does use Fawkes as a kind of portal to kind of…

Steve: But yeah, I think he moves fast because he has to and I think that that’s a magical thing. It never dawned on me until you said it, but yeah, the fact that he is there that quickly – yeah.

Kat: You’re not going to pull out the “S” word again are you, Noah?

Noah: Stalker!

[Steve laughs]

Noah: He’s stalking Harry.

Steve: I think he’s a stalker.

[Noah laughs]

Steve: In a good way.

Noah: If it’s ever a good way. No, he’s there to protect Harry because…

Kat: The fatherly way.

Noah: …after the game is over, he’s slightly vulnerable. So, this is…

Steve: Are you saying we fathers are stalkers?

Noah: Huh?

Kat: No, no.

[Steve laughs]

Kat: I meant he is following Harry in the fatherly type of way.

Steve: Yeah.

Kat: He’s looking over him, not stalking him.

Steve: But is that the Dumbledore we see in Book 7? I think he’s more manipulative than that. When you see that he’s willing to sacrifice Harry at some point, he’s – I don’t think he’s as fatherly as Rowling would like us to believe at this point.

Noah: Yeah. Kat, Dumbledore is a bad guy.

[Kat laughs]

Noah: I don’t know if you knew.

Kat: Yikes!

[Noah laughs]

Steve: I would say he’s not a total good guy anymore.

Kat: He’s not as righteous.

Steve: He’s seen as a total bad guy.

Kat: Yeah.

Steve: Exactly.

Noah: So, I’m just saying in terms of his meticulously following everybody in the castle, specifically Harry – sure it’s out of some devotion to him, but also interest, knowing how tied Harry is to Voldemort’s fall.

Steve: I think he’s playing chess.

Noah: He’s playing chess.

Steve: With Harry and with circumstances and with the cloak and all of it is just – he feels this obligation to fight back against Voldemort, and Voldemort is not there yet – and he doesn’t realize that Voldemort is a part of this yet, but he feels that it’s his responsibility to manage events and he knows that the wizarding universe is going to do certain things as long as he can put nudges in the right places. And I think he’s playing this the entire time. He’s carefully trying to manipulate things, the magical world, the magical reality, toward what he knows is supposed to happen.

Noah: For the greater good.

Steve: For the – well… [laughs]

Caleb: For the greater good.

Noah: Pig for slaughter.

Steve: A whole new kind of greater good thing.

Kat: Right.

Noah: Well, that – so one last scene: Harry after the game, he’s flying up on his broomstick because – as you said, Steve – it is suddenly night. [laughs]

Steve: [laughs] Yeah.

Noah: A few – maybe a half hour after the game.

Steve: An hour.

Noah: And he follows Snape into the woods to meet Quirrell.

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: And it’s very – we only get segments of the language because Harry doesn’t hear it all. But of course it’s perfect so it’s such that Harry believes Snape is out to get the Stone and Quirrell is trying to protect it. He actually…

Steve: But why doesn’t he hear it all?

Noah: Why doesn’t he hear the whole thing?

Steve: Right. Because this owl hoots at the exact moment to block certain things from his hearing.

Caleb: Of course.

[Kat makes a hooting sound]

Steve: So, you wonder where Dumbledore was in this scene?

Noah: He was the owl!

Steve: Yeah.

[Caleb laughs]

Steve: Go back to the very beginning of the book. What happens right before Dumbledore appears in Privet Drive?

Kat: Ooh, an owl hoots loudly.

Steve: No, an owl flies over.

Noah: Oh!

Steve: So, Dumbledore the owl…

Noah: You’re not saying…

Steve: …is now in the forest making sure that everything is okay.

Noah: You think Dumbledore is an owl?

Caleb: No, he probably hit an owl with his wand.

Steve: He’s an Animagus.

Caleb: He probably hit an owl with his wand so that it would hoot.

Kat: Poked it in the eye.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: [laughs] Oh okay, so you’re saying Dumbledore is sitting on a branch, he’s got a little owl next to him…

[Kat laughs]

Steve: …pokes it – here, make a noise!

Caleb: He’s chilling out, eating his lemon drops…

[Steve laughs]

Caleb: …pokes the owl with his wand – hoot – he’s out of there.

Noah: Hey, you know what? That sounds like the behavior of a stalker.

Steve: That’s true. Stalker Dumbledore right there. Yup. [laughs]

Kat: I just want to…

Noah: And that…

Kat: I want to go back for a second because I see you had it in the thing here, but the comment about Snape reading minds…

Steve: Oh yeah.

Noah: Yeah, Harry says that it seemed as if Snape could read minds. Or he felt that way sometimes when Snape was staring at him.

Steve: Mhm.

Caleb: Yup.

Noah: So, actually…

Caleb: Using Legilimency.

Steve: Sure. This is the second time in the books.

Noah: This the second time we get that line?

Steve: Second time we…

Caleb: This is the second? What was the first?

Steve: We get a strong – at the end of the troll attack.

Kat: Yup.

Caleb: Right, right. That’s right.

Steve: Snape gave Harry a swift, piercing look and Harry looked at the floor, which probably means that Snape was trying to find out what really happened and Harry, by instinct, blocked it.

Kat: Right.

Caleb: Broke concentration, yup.

Noah: Right.

Kat: Very cool.

Steve: This is the second time…

Noah: I think we – I think when someone is using Legilimens on you, you have a sense that they’re invading your mind. But it seems that Snape can do a little bit on the side without you noticing.

Steve: Well then, I don’t think everybody would notice. But remember, Harry has this sort of sixth sense about this stuff. I mean, he senses things around him that other people don’t.

Noah: Right.

Steve: And that’s why he’s so good at Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Kat: And Snape is also a really good Legilimens, so…

Steve: Yes, he is.

Caleb: Mhm.

Steve: If he fools Voldemort, he sure is.

Kat: Yup.

Steve: Oh, that’s Occlumency but same thing.

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: All right, and there pretty much ends Chapter 13, “Nicolas Flammel”.

Caleb: Okay, so now we move to Chapter 14, which is titled “Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback”. So, we finally start to get into the wonderful world of dragons. And the chapter actually starts off continuing off of where Chapter 13 ends, on this theme of Harry and Professor Quirrell. So, I thought it was pretty interesting as the chapter starts, the narrator leads us as – not only does the trio not suspect Quirrell but they start to see him in almost some sort of heroic light, like he is standing up to Snape to protect the Stone. Harry smiles at him at certain times whenever they pass, and Ron defends him when people sort of make fun of his stutter.

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: So, I thought that was pretty interesting that he is sort of seen as a hero.

Kat: Well, yeah. I mean, I feel like Harry is so observant, kind of in general, but I feel like he is really awful at seeing past his hatred and his bias. He is incredibly judgmental. So, this isn’t surprising to me at all that he just goes with his initial feelings of Snape, and Snape is the baddie and just totally lifts Quirrell up to be this great, heroic man.

Caleb: Which is very Gryffindor of him to go very much off of his emotions and sort of stick with that gut no matter what.

Kat: Yup.

Steve: Well, it’s very true to the first half of the series when you have Harry being – in his mind, turning into whatever things he needs to be to defeat Voldemort. So, he’s getting powerful and he’s learning spells and he’s becoming a good dueler and he has all this great stuff around him, which he thinks makes him strong. Well, his automatic assumption of right and wrong is also one of the things which is not going to do him in good stead, and – which is Book 5. It all gets taken away, which is the point of Book 5. So, you’re seeing it here already, exactly like you said. He’s just assuming that his point of view is correct.

Kat: Right.

Caleb: Yup.

Steve: And that’s also good on Jo. I mean, she – it’s hard to remember back to the first time you read the book, but the first time you read the book you’re totally buying it.

Caleb: Absolutely.

Steve: Yup, Snape is the baddie and Quirrell is the good guy, and you totally buy it until the beginning of that last chapter.

Caleb: Yup.

Kat: Yup.

Noah: Well, he treats Harry so awful how can you think otherwise?

Steve: Exactly. But that just shows what – she did such a great job of writing this. I mean, you can quivel on this and that on the next thing, but just the great way that she pulls us through, and tricks us over and over and we don’t realize it until later. Some we don’t realize until the end of the seventh book.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: It’s true. She’s a tricky, tricky woman.

Steve: [laughs] Oh yeah. A flighty temptress.

Noah: Oh my.

[Kat laughs]

Noah: Okay.

[Caleb and Noah laugh]

Steve: But we were talking about Prisoner of Azkaban before and thinking about that. It wasn’t until the end of Prisoner of Azkaban that, as readers at that time, we really realized just how tricky she was being. And I remember going back into Book 1, to this point, and going, “Okay well, what did this mean then?” And you really – it just gave a whole new meaning to all of this stuff, which is kind of where we are now even.

Kat: Yup.

Noah: Yeah.

Kat: And no, I pick up things – every time I read it, I pick up something new. It’s great.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: Amazing. Genius!

Caleb: One thing that’s not really new to us is the fact that Hermione is going absolutely nuts over her exams, starting to study ten weeks early. My goodness. Girl, get it together.

Kat: Well again, that’s her eagle, right? Anything that has to do with schoolwork is Hermione’s Ravenclaw nature shining.

Steve: Yeah.

Kat: And here it is once again.

Caleb: Yeah, definitely.

Steve: Yeah, interesting though in the story terms, too. This is something we don’t see in the earlier books. We just jumped a whole month. It’s now the end of March.

Caleb: Yeah, that’s true.

Kat: Right.

Noah: Good catch!

Steve: Well, I wrote the calendar. [laughs]

Kat: That helps!

Steve: Go on the Lexicon website. It’s all on the calendar right down to the days of all this stuff. But when you look at it and you realize that what we’ve just been through is the end of December. Now, by the end of this chapter, it will be the begining of May. So, half of – almost the entire second term of the school term is in two chapters, and we only really see two main events in those two chapters. So, in the later books, she…

Noah: And nothing of significance happens?

Steve: Not really. I don’t know what her original plan would have been, but this just shows you how much editing there was done on this book compared to, say, Book 6 when we get it almost day to day.

Noah: Right.

Kat: Do you think she wrote other things in-between there that got cut?

Steve: I don’t know, but I keep finding myself in that humorous point of view of thinking that – I mean, you realize there was nothing on the sixth floor of the castle until Book 6.

Noah: [laughs] Really?

Steve: But until Book 6, all of us believed there was stuff on the sixth floor. She just hadn’t mentioned it.

Kat: Right.

Steve: Well, actually no. If she doesn’t mention it, it simply doesn’t exist. It isn’t like it’s really there and she’s just telling us about it. But you say, “Well, did she write other stuff?” Well, if she didn’t, then literally nothing happened. But we hate to step that far out of the story. Now, let’s go back in there and assume that all sorts of cool stuff happened.

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: Right, okay. Perfect.

Steve: [laughs] But it’s true! I mean, people were always wondering what colour are Sirius’s eyes. Well, you realize that until she said a color, he didn’t have a color of eyes. It isn’t like he’s a real person who has an eye colour and we just didn’t know it.

Noah: That’s crazy.

Steve: Yeah. But that’s where we are.

Noah: Sirius has eyes, Steve.

[Kat laughs]

Steve: But if she doesn’t say the color and if she never decides on a color, he literally has no color. But we as fans like to say, “Well yeah, if he’s a real person, of course he has a certain color.” Well, nothing – if she didn’t come up with it, it literally doesn’t exist. It isn’t like this world exists and she just hasn’t told us everything.

Noah: You are talking crazy.

Kat: Of course it exists.

Steve: I know, I know.

[Noah laughs]

Steve: I’m talking Lexicon crazy here.

[Noah laughs]

Kat: That’s okay. I just want to bring up one small little thing that I noticed was really cool. On page 229 of the U.S. edition, Harry is looking up Dittany in One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi, which is another one of those fun connections because it shows up again in Book 7.

Noah: That’s right.

Kat: That’s all.

Steve: Yeah, Dittany shows up in Book 6 too. It comes up quite a bit.

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: And while they are in the library, Hagrid comes tumbling in and he’s asking them if they are still researching Flamel in the library. It made me wonder if he knows of any of the recent events to get past Fluffy and other protections. Is he trying to talk to them to fish for more clues? And also, I always wonder what he and Dumbledore and Snape are talking about behind closed doors as all of this is going on in the castle.

Kat: Well, I mean at one point in these chapters – I forgot to write it down. I don’t remember exactly where it is. But Hagrid says that even he doesn’t know what is protecting the Stone.

Noah: Right, I saw that too.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: Right, so I doubt that he is privy to many of the secret talks. It’s probably just Snape and Dumbledore talking about whatever, and Hagrid is purely there to keep Fluffy.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: Yeah, but if you go back to my – the bone I can’t let go of, which is the whole idea of Dumbledore running everything, well I think he sets Hagrid up for some of the things that Hagrid does. I mean, if you think about the way Hagrid, for instance, quickly tells Hermione something – and that’s coming up a little bit later, but as soon as she says one nice thing to him, well either he’s a bigger idiot than we can possibly believe or he’s been told by Dumbledore, “Well, it’s all right. You can let a little bit slip because you want to give them some clues,” and he’s looking for an excuse to do that.

Noah: I find that doubtful, though. I don’t see how he would be able to tell Hagrid to let things slip accidentally, because that would actually mean Hagrid is actually a mastermind of being able to cleverly let things go. I think more likely that he legitimately did let loose this information. He probably counted on Ron, Hermione, and Harry to kind of poke at that stuff, and just kind of count on Hagrid’s being very free with that information. But I don’t think he told Hagrid to let it out. I think he kind of used Hagrid, possibly.

Steve: Sure. Yeah, that makes more sense. Yeah.

Kat: Maybe he’s under like a long-term Imperius Curse.

[Steve laughs]

Noah: Dumbledore’s Imperius…

Kat: Where he has free will, he can do whatever he wants, but Dumbledore puts the thoughts into his mind.

Caleb: Oh God.

[Steve laughs]

Noah: That’s terrible. [laughs]

Steve: I’m infecting you guys with my theory.

[Caleb and Steve laugh]

Kat: No, no, I love it. It’s great.

Noah: No, but it makes sense. I think in truth though, Hagrid is incredibly irresponsible…

Steve: Yes.

Noah: …he doesn’t think things through…

Steve: Yes.

Noah: Interesting fella…

Steve: Yes.

Noah: …but – and I’ll say again – Dumbledore counted on Hagrid’s inability to do this stuff. Unfortunately, we’ll get to it, with the dragon egg and then the information that comes thereof. That’s really troubling. And as an older guy, what’s going on with Hagrid? What contributed to this kind of character, that’s he’s just so trustworthy or so irresponsible?

Kat: He’s Imperiused. I’m just kidding!

Steve: No, but…

Noah: Someone on the forums said it was because he’s part giant, that contributes to a social disorder in a way.

Steve: Ahh, that’s an interesting point.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: Yeah, I just…

Noah: And also…

Steve: If you look at it though, this whole chapter tells a story of this guy who involves three eleven-year-old kids in someone which he knows is illegal – not only involves them but includes them in taking care of the dragon, doesn’t even seem to care when they get seriously injured…

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: …and then lets them take the fall for his stupidity!

Noah: And then sort everything out.

Steve: Well yeah, sorts them out by taking them into the forest. I mean, if this was the only book we had, Hagrid would be the biggest – nobody would like Hagrid. But you can’t help but like Hagrid! But – yeah.

Noah: Well, this seems to be part of his charm. His – stupidity is kind of a harsh word but that’s part of the charm. [laughs]

Steve: I guess.

Kat: Well, we’ve already determined that he’s pretty dense, so – I mean, I get it. It makes sense.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: But charming is a good word. I mean, he’s a charming galoot!

Kat: Yeah.

Noah: And also very motherly. Right, Caleb?

[Caleb laughs]

Steve: Yeah.

Caleb: We’ll get to that in a second.

Noah: All right.

Caleb: The whole motherly thing which – anyway. Yeah, so they find – as he walks off, they spot that he has been looking in some books about dragons, which is super exciting because I love dragons. But we’ll get to that a little bit later for our special feature. But we know that Hagrid is clearly being shifty. He’s up to something, they don’t really know what, and so they eventually take a visit down to his hut. And before we find out much about the dragon, they are trying to use Hagrid to get more information about the Stone and what’s protecting it and everything. And this is a really interesting part where Hermione uses a new talent of hers that we haven’t really seen before. It comes up a couple of other times in the series, but she’s basically using flattery and buttering up to Hagrid to make him feel important, which – we obviously know it’s something that he’s going to fall victim to. Do we see this as sort of malicious on Hermione’s part? I mean, I would definitely say manipulative.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: No. I mean, what woman out there hasn’t done this at least once? She’s using her feminine wiles to get what she wants, quite honestly. I can’t say that I’ve never done it, so…

[Caleb laughs]

Steve: Oh, that doesn’t work, does it?

Kat: Yes.

[Steve laughs]

Noah: Kat, you’re stereotyping your own gender!

Kat: You’re right, I am.

Steve: Yeah, I know. She’s also stereotyping us guys, that apparently we fall for it!

Caleb: I mean, I do. So…

Kat: Well, have you not?

[Steve laughs]

Noah: Yeah, I do too.

Kat: Are you telling me you’ve never fallen for that?

Steve: No, no. Never.

Kat: Yeah, right.

[Kat and Steve laugh]

Noah: But she’s incredibly intuitive for an eleven-year-old.

Steve: Yeah.

Caleb: She is, yeah.

Steve: Does an eleven-year-old have feminine wiles?

[Noah laughs]

Kat: Maybe in a way. Not in the same way that a nineteen or twenty-year-old does, but yeah.

Steve: She’s an apprentice woman, is what you’re saying?

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: Yeah, different intentions. An older may use them for different reasons.

Steve: Right. Well, it certainly works.

Noah: If either one of them was flattering Hagrid or if maybe they just offered him some fish…

[Steve laughs]

Noah: …I don’t know, he probably would have said the same thing.

Kat: Fish?

Steve: But I think – I don’t know that it would have worked the same if Harry would have said it. It was definitely a Hermione thing. She has the kind of character – and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, but her personality, her relationship with Hagrid, is such that he would want to please her in that way, where I don’t know that Harry could have gotten away with that.

[Kat laughs]

Steve: It would have come off false.

Kat: That would have been hilarious, yeah. [laughs]

Steve: Yeah.

Caleb: I mean, it clearly works for Harry later whenever he tries to do it with Professor Slughorn, which is absolutely my favorite scene of any of the movies. [laughs]

Steve Yeah, I’d have to say so, too. Definitely.

[Caleb and Noah laugh]

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: We can come back to that later.

Steve: Mhm. Yeah, in years.

[Caleb and Noah laugh]

Caleb: So, we find out – we finally get the dragon egg. They notice it, Ron recognizes it – obviously he’s more familiar with dragons. And Hagrid talks about learning how he won the dragon egg in a card game with a stranger. We later find out that’s actually Quirrell being sneaky. So, the egg hatches, and first let’s talk about the fact that the dragon is supposed to be fed brandy and chicken blood. That is disgusting.

Kat: Where do they get brandy in the wild? That’s what I’m wondering.

Steve: And enough of it because…

Kat: Right.

Noah: And how many chickens did Hagrid slaughter for that dragon?

Steve: [laughs] No kidding. Although it’s interesting because there’s the whole Welsh dragon – that legend of the Welsh dragon…

Kat: Mhm.

Noah: Right.

Steve:…which is fighting against the white dragon, was subdued by digging a deep pit and putting mead at the bottom and the dragon went in after the mead and then they covered it up. So, apparently love for alcohol drink is part of the lore of these things.

Noah: That’s really cool.

Kat: So, they’re alcoholics basically.

Steve: No, because it probably affects them differently. But I’m going to go back to where do they get that many bottles of brandy, because…

Caleb: Yeah, that’s insane.

Noah: Well, I think Hagrid has a personal store.

Steve: Yeah, I think so.

Caleb: Probably.

Kat: Oh, I’m sure Hagrid does.

[Steve laughs]

Caleb: He’s making some supplier very well off.

Steve: Yeah. [laughs]

Kat: Do you think maybe in the wild…

Noah: Somebody in the village.

Kat: …they can eat the ingredients of brandy? I mean, I don’t drink so I don’t know what’s in brandy, but…

Steve: It’s fortified wine. It’s wine that’s been…

Kat: Okay, so maybe they eat a bunch of fermented grapes and they’re – it’s the same effect?

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: I don’t know.

Noah: Potentially.

Steve: Well – or whatever it is that they do eat, some quality of that – whether it’s not actually alcoholic beverage but some quality of that fermenting process or something matches what they eat. But yeah it’s…

Kat: Right.

Steve: And again the chicken blood, there you go. I mean, how many chickens? He got all worked up about the – in Chamber of Secrets about a couple of roosters getting killed by something, and turns out he’s slaughtering chickens left and right to feed a dragon.

Noah: I mean, it’s true. There’s a quote later where there’s just chicken feathers on the floor. And brandy, I believe, so we know where that’s going.

Kat: But Hagrid is motivated by different things at this point. I mean, this is purely for…

Caleb: His baby.

Kat: …his own interest, yeah.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: His baby, exactly.

Noah: Those poor chickens.

Caleb: So, through all this it’s clear that Hagrid is again making some pretty dumb decisions.

Steve: Uh-huh.

Caleb: I mean, he’s not realizing he has divulged information to Quirrell. He’s keeping a dragon in a wooden house…

Steve: Mhm.

Caleb: …which Hermione exclaims, “Hagrid, you live in a wooden house!”

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: I mean, that doesn’t really stick with him though. Bless his heart, but what the heck are you thinking, boy? This is insane.

Steve: Mhm. Something just struck me: can you imagine – and this is – I’m sorry. Jumping back just slightly, but can you imagine Hagrid playing cards? I mean, his hands are the size of dustbin lids…

[Kat laughs]

Steve: …according to the first chapter. [laughs]

Caleb: Oh my God.

Steve: I mean, how did he hold the cards? Anyway – sorry, go ahead.

Noah: I don’t think he was very good.

Steve: No, I think – he was surprised that he won. Anyway.

[Kat laughs]

Caleb: Yeah. And during this, Malfoy – well – so actually, it’s a little later. Malfoy overhears the three of them talking about hatching the egg, because they were talking about it. And I’m shocked that they don’t get overheard more in the series. They’re always whispering things together and truly people are getting suspicious after too long…

Steve: Mhm.

Caleb: …because I’m thinking if I’m a kid at Hogwarts and then I see those three, it’s like, “Oh look! Those three are chatting away about conspiracy theories again in a corner and I’m over it. They’re being way too shady.”

Steve: But the whole idea – you want to talk about a stalker, why is Malfoy way over by the Gryffindor table? I mean, that’s three tables away. There’s no reason why he would have had to walk all the way over there unless he was stalking, trying to hear stuff.

Kat: Yeah, I mean, he is so obsessed with getting Harry in trouble that…

Steve: Mhm.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: …he would do anything at this point to make it happen.

Caleb: Well, that’s true.

Steve: Then again, Harry and Ron are pretty obsessed with getting Malfoy into trouble, too. Didn’t they sit around and toast marshmallows and think up schemes to get rid of him, get him kicked out of school?

Caleb: [laughs] Yeah.

Kat: They did. That’s true. Over Christmas break, yup.

Steve: I mean, that’s one thing about these books. It’s okay to be prejudice and intolerant as long as you’re prejudice and intolerant against the right people.

Noah: Slytherin.

Kat: [laughs] Right, right.

Caleb: Wow. And…

Noah: Maybe that’s just part of their natural play.

Steve: Well, it’s the literature format that she’s writing in. The school boy story always has those kinds of bad characters who are supposed to get their comeuppance. That’s the deal.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: So…

Noah: Yup.

Caleb: So, coming back to this issue of Hagrid being the mommy…

Steve: Mhm.

Caleb: …I see this as some sort of gender slash parental issues here. I mean, he’s referring to himself as Norbert’s mommy. Why not his dad? I don’t know.

Kat: Well, I mean, he never really had a mother, right? I mean, he has…

Steve: No.

Kat: …no real family to speak of. I mean, especially…

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: …at this point. So, I imagine that feeling that connection with something would be pretty nice for him. I mean…

Steve: Sure.

Kat: …it’s not like he can have kids, right? I mean, can he?

Noah: Think about it though, Hagrid is a – he is a caretaker. He is often offering treats to the kids.

Steve: Okay, that’s a little creepy.

[Kat and Steve laugh]

Steve: But you’re right, he is. He has that maternal sort of aspect to his personality very much.

Noah: Yup.

Kat: It’s the Hufflepuff in him.

Steve: Yeah. But he’s not Hufflepuff.

Noah: Excuse me?

[Caleb laughs]

Kat: No, I just meant that they are caring. Hufflepuffs are caring and they are giving.

Steve: So, you’re saying that even though he’s a Gryffindor – if you would have been looking at him and saying which house to be in, that would be his other house, is Hufflepuff? Because I think that works.

Noah: That’s what we came to, yeah.

Kat: Yeah, I mean, we’ve talked about that many times. Yeah, about how he’s very much a split for us, yeah.

Caleb: Mhm.

Steve: True.

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: Hufflepuff aside though, I’d be interested to see him as a potentially feminine character. I mean, considering his half-breedness, it does make him kind of less of a man in the contemporary sense. So, just by nature of that, of him being half breed, we could look at him as an icon for gender politics or for messing with it.

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: Because we know he’s kind of almost beastral the way he is. He’s very hairy, he’s huge…

Caleb: Right.

Noah: …and yet he does have this maternal side.

Steve: Yeah, very much.

Noah: So…

Caleb: Yeah, I think that’s what I was kind of trying to get at, is that I think there is a bit of gender bending going on here.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: Well, I think part of that comes from, again, his childhood. I mean, he never really had a mother so he looked towards other people. The things that we do or don’t experience when we’re younger are the things that we either try to be or try not to be when we are older.

Steve: Yeah, that’s very true.

Kat: So, the fact that he didn’t have a mother, he was trying to be that for other people.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: Yeah, I think very much.

Noah: It’s possible.

Caleb: Well – and in this scene, we do get Norbert and he hatches, and it’s a really great scene for Hagrid. He’s super happy except for the fact that Malfoy ruins the day, because Hagrid notices that someone is peeking in the window and then they look out and notice that Malfoy has taken off in the distance and they know that he has seen the dragon. But what if he had not seen the dragon? Norbert would have gotten hungry one day when Hagrid was in the pumpkin patch and eaten Fang, and that is more sad for me…

[Kat, Noah, and Steve laugh]

Caleb: …than Norbert getting sent away.

Kat: Well, Malfoy helps a lot more than he plans to, I think.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: More often than not. It happens a lot in the series. I mean, he spies and then it sets off kind of a really important set of events that changes the course of that chapter, that book, whatever. So, good for Malfoy.

Noah: He’s a plot mover.

Kat: He’s a what?

Noah: A plot mover.

Kat: He is.

Caleb: He is.

Steve: Yeah. Is that another example of the wizarding universe tending toward the way things are supposed to happen and people are in some ways part of that, either by choice or by accident?

Noah: Some magical connection.

Steve: I mean, seriously. If you look at what comes up next when Malfoy goes to, and probably enough, visit Ron in the hospital wing – I mean, that’s crazy. And then not only that, but he asks to borrow a book. That’s crazy. And the book has the letter in it. That’s crazy. The only way you can – you can either say, “Okay, that just wasn’t very well plotted,” or you can say, “Yeah, but there’s something that makes things happen the way they are supposed to in this magical universe.” Something kind of tends things in the direction of what they’re supposed to be. And that’s why Ron was so shocked because it’s just – how could this happen? How could this crazy series of events happen?

Noah: Steve, I’m pretty sure it’s Wizard God.

[Caleb laughs]

Steve: That would be Dumbledore. No.

[Noah laughs]

Steve: Well, I guess in a sense if you look at the universe as having a sense of destiny to itself…

Kat: Right.

Steve: Apart from the inhabitants of it. Yeah.

Noah: Yeah, that’s what I’m going towards. Not actually religious, but it is kind of funky that especially in this first book everything is working for itself. There is a story to unravel.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: More and more I’m believing your theory that – I mean, not that I never not believed it, but Dumbledore is behind all of it.

Steve: Well honestly, it gets to the point the more you look at this. And I wrote The Reader’s Guide to Philosopher’s Stone, and when I was writing that book I just kept thinking, “Okay, this just doesn’t work. Unless I assume that Dumbledore is working behind the scenes, to some extent.” And he doesn’t know everything, it isn’t that. But there are too many things that just sort of seem to happen coincidentally, which either I have to believe that Rowling wasn’t very good at writing this book – which I don’t think is true. And I think when you look at Dumbledore’s discussions later, in later books when he kind of comes clean, especially in Book 6 and 7, I think we see Harry kind of getting the realization that Dumbledore has always been – we can say “stalker” and laugh, but always been there, always been a little bit behind the scenes. I mean, when Harry is looking at the mirror and he hears a sound and it suddenly kind of brings him back to his senses, who made that sound? Well, to me that would be Dumbledore watching and saying, “Okay, that’s enough.”

[Noah laughs]

Steve: But if…

Noah: Well, as we said, it seems like a lot of the time he’s not just planning it meticulously, but he’s letting things happen.

Steve: Exactly!

Noah: Or he’s giving opportunities.

Steve: Absolutely. In a way it’s like a chess game, but in a sense – you’re talking about the chess pieces having very limited ability to make choices and input. Well, then you have the chess game more in terms of where all the pieces are going to do what they’re going to do.

Noah: Right.

Steve: But you can nudge things, you can make sure that the Cloak is where it’s supposed to be, and hopefully things are going to work out. You can’t see the future, but you have a sense that this is where things are going. And as long as you make the right choices, as the one who does understand everything, those choices are what make the difference. That’s what makes the future happen the way it’s supposed to.

Noah: Right, which is that.

Kat: Again, back to the choices. It’s true.

Steve: Mhm.

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: Choices versus destiny.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: Right.

Noah: Or innate.

Steve: And then we can go back to talking about the sorting again! But let’s not.

Noah: Yeah.

Caleb: Well – and then we see another Weasley kid enter the chessboard. Charlie comes into the picture because he suddenly becomes the answer to all of their problems. Harry immediately, out of the blue, thinks of Charlie as the solution to get rid of Norbert so that Malfoy can’t rightfully tattle on Hagrid and get him into all sorts of trouble. And so, Charlie is the answer, they’re going to send Norbert off to Romania, which is something I wish I could do, is go off to Romania and work with Charlie and the dragons for a day. But…

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: So, when they’re sort of setting up this passing of Norbert to Charlie and his team, how do we think they actually contacted Charlie? Because they get a response from Charlie from Hedwig, saying that some of his team is going to come by and get Norbert from the tower. But surely, surely, Hedwig did not go all the way to Romania? I mean maybe, but I just don’t…

Kat: Well, I Googled it and approximately from London to – I forget the name of the town in Romania – is about 23 hours away, driving. So, by air is always faster than by car…

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: …so I don’t see why she couldn’t have gone there and back within a day.

Caleb: That’s true.

Steve: Well, she went to whatever southern climes it was that Sirius was hanging around in. Owls – birds went back and forth there, so I think…

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: And remember, they’re not a natural owl in the sense of – she wouldn’t necessarily have to actually flap her way the whole way.

Caleb: Hmm.

Steve: There could have been magic involved in that as well, just – I don’t know.

Caleb: That’s fair.

Steve: I assumed that Hedwig just went off to Romania.

Caleb: I guess it’s because I’m from such a big state and I’m used to everything being so spread out, and I don’t – I forget how relatively close things are in Europe, so…

Steve: Very much so, yeah.

Caleb: …it’s probably just my mindset.

Noah: She took the Owl Expressway!

Steve: [laughs] Yeah.

[Kat laughs]

Noah: She met…

Steve: [laughs] Okay, now I’m imagining them kind of jumping on and – shwoo!

Noah: Yeah, exactly! They kind of…

Kat: Is this like the jet stream that’s in Finding Nemo? Down in Autralia?

Steve: Exactly! Oh, that’s what I…

Caleb: Yes!

Steve: I knew there was something that I was connecting to! Yeah, Finding Nemo. Exactly.

Noah: Yeah, it’s the jet stream. I mean, they all talk to each other. These are relatively smarter animals, as we know, than Muggle animals.

Steve: So, now we’ve got all the owls on the jet stream, and of course they’re not having to flap their wings much, and so they’re chatting with each other.

Caleb: They’re chillin’, catching up.

Steve: “Where are you off to?” “I’m heading for Romania!”

[Kat laughs]

Steve: “Really? Romania? Wow, that’s pretty cool. You must be going to the Dragon Reservation.” “Yes, I am. Where are you going?”

[Kat laughs]

Steve: “Oh, this is my – see you!” “Yeah, okay. Bye!”

Noah: So, Steve – yeah, the owl goes in the Floo Network…

[Kat laughs]

Noah: …and says in owl-speak, [in a bird-like voice] “Diagon Alley!”

Caleb: Oh my God.

[Kat and Steve laugh]

Noah: It totally makes sense.

Steve: Yeah, okay. All right then.

[Noah laughs]

Steve: See, isn’t it great the way everything…

Kat: I’m not sure I’ll ever win that argument.

Steve: When we do this, everything connects up and before long we’re right back where we started and it all ties up so nicely.

[Caleb laughs]

Noah: It was Dumbledore! Dumbledore made it…

Steve: And Dumbledore is making it happen. There you go.

Noah: Wow!

[Steve laughs]

Kat: He’s a little puppet with the strings.

Caleb: Mhm.

Kat: Little marionettes. [imitates circus music]

Steve: But see – so anyway, so Charlie is going to be the answer to the problem, and his friends are heading that way anyway so they’re going to pick up this owl – this dragon. Now, for some reason, they think it’s going to be perfectly reasonable to put a dragon in a wooden crate.

Caleb: Oh my gosh.

[Kat and Noah laugh]

Caleb: Again with the wood, these people.

Steve: And they think it’s perfectly reasonable to carry this wooden crate with a huge dragon in it, under a cloak, all the way to the top of the highest tower in the castle. And…

Noah: Was that feasible? How did they do that?

Steve: Okay, I think we’re talking magic, as in the cloak is doing more than anybody would have realized.

Noah: Ooh!

Steve: Harry doesn’t realize that the power of this cloak is that it will protect. That’s what makes it different from any other invisibility cloak.

Kat: Oh right, the imperturbability or whatever. I can’t say the word.

Steve: Yeah, it will cover two people and a crate full of dragon. That’s pretty impressive. Then, if he’s all by himself, how in the world does that thing not – how does he not stumble over it? Well, I guess he’s just used to things like that changing shape and size in the magical world, but that’s – the only logical thing to think of is it had to be some pretty good magic in that cloak for that to be a reasonable plan, and Harry had to have some sense that it would work for that to be a reasonable plan.

Kat: Yup.

Noah: Right. And it seemed like the only thing they could do. But do you think maybe the Cloak somehow eased their way up, or made things just slightly easier, moved things out of the way?

Steve: Well, there is that feather-light spell that Harry wanted to cast on his trunk at beginning of Prisoner of Azkaban, so maybe that’s something that they’ve practiced with them in Charms class…

Noah: Of course.

Steve: …or something, that they would be able to make something lighter. I would certainly think. I mean, good grief, these are two eleven or twelve-year-old kids trying to haul a crate full of dragon up to – because remember how big the castle is! It’s seven floors, and that’s without the towers.

Kat: Right.

Steve: I mean, this is…

Noah: And they’re carrying a box.

Steve: Yeah.

Kat: And they haven’t learned Locomotor Mortis or whatever, yeah.

Steve: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: Locomotor Trunk in this case, or dragon.

Kat: Right. [laughs]

Steve: But it’s amazing, and the fact that it works just makes you think, “Okay, something else has to be going on here.” I mean, you can either say, “Well that would work,” or you could say, “Well no, something else had to have been going on here for this to actually work.”

Kat: The invisible visible force is Dumbledore.

Steve: Yeah. Well, Dumbledore, yeah.

Noah: Well, one of the lines says that Harry couldn’t believe how they actually did it.

Steve: Exactly, yes.

Noah: So, I would be willing to believe – as you said, Steve – that maybe the Cloak was somehow helping a little bit.

Steve: Mhm. And you look at the third film, and one of the things that I think for all of us, we just loved about it, was that magic just seemed to permeate that castle. I mean, things just happened, those pictures, and everything. You just had this sense that magic was just an integral part of the castle, not just some little special effect here and there, it was just everywhere. So, then again, think about them hauling this crate in a castle where there’s this magic everywhere, all the time. And yeah, for them even to have thought, “Hey, this is a good idea. Let’s try this,” they must have had some sense of “Well, we’ve got the Cloak, so we know it will work.” And maybe not knowing exactly how, but somehow they must have had a sense of the fact that if we have that cloak on, we should be able to do it.

Noah: Yeah. Still kind of tricky, but maybe some…

Steve: Well, yeah. I’m reaching.

Noah: …listeners can continue this for us.

Steve: Mhm.

Caleb: Yeah. Somehow, though, they do make it, and before they take off there’s this sad parting between Hagrid and Norbert slash who we later learn is Norberta.

Kat: Oh.

Caleb: I thought about why did he make that mistake, but then I thought, “Maybe we shouldn’t even go there.”

[Kat and Steve laugh]

Caleb: So, when they – eventually they do – it’s successful, the dragon dudes take him off, and they’re bound for Romania. And while they were still – or I guess it’s – no, it’s before they send him off that Harry and Hermione happen upon McGonagall and Draco out there. Draco was obviously trying to get someone in trouble, because he knows about the pass-off because he read the note. And we see McGonagall with her hairnet, which is really funny to me because I’m just thinking, “That girl’s got to keep her locks prim and proper.”

Steve: Yeah.

[Kat and Steve laugh]

Steve: That’s such a picture.

Caleb: She’s so fierce.

[Kat and Steve laugh]

Caleb: So, they do get Norbert off, and they’re excited, they’re thinking, “Wow, we can’t believe that nothing went wrong,” and surely enough, Murphy’s Law, dun dun dun – busted by Filch, suckers. So…

Noah: Yeah, it sucks that they get attacked in the next chapter by Filch, but…

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: …what are you going to do?

Steve: You know what? Something just occurred to me. Is it that easy to just fly up to Hogwarts and land on the highest tower? Can anybody just do that? There’s no magical protection or magical warnings or anything?

Kat: Well, there is, right? Because at the end of Half-Blood Prince

Noah: No, but that’s when Voldemort has come back.

Steve: Right, that’s…

Kat: Right.

Steve: But before that, apparently, anybody – there’s no guards, there’s no detecting charms to let you know that somebody just dropped in on your tallest tower, and now they’re going to go flying away. I mean, wow.

Kat: I think that’s an oversight. There’s got to be something.

Steve: Or…

Noah: But Steve, do you really think that Dumbledore…

Steve: Or Dumbledore knew. Okay, go on.

Kat: Oh.

Noah: Of course he knows.

[Steve laughs]

Kat: It all goes back to Dumbledore, doesn’t it?

Noah: He knows all. But yeah, I think at this point in the series, there’s been enough peace since Voldemort’s vanishing that they can have a limited protection. So, I think in future, you don’t have Dementors or Death Eaters just flying in. There’s some sort of active defenses.

Steve: So, you’re not seeing Filch down in his office on the first floor with a whole bunch of television monitors, eating a banana, and just [in a grouchy voice] watching each one to see what’s going to happen.

[Noah laughs]

Kat: Especially since monitors wouldn’t work inside Hogwarts, yeah?

Steve: No, I know that.

Kat: All right.

Steve: Magical monitors. Anyway, go on.

Noah: There ends Chapter 14.

Kat: Okay, so then we’re going to start this week’s special feature. It’s a new one, it’s called the Beast Inquisition, and this week we’re going to talk about dragons. So, they come up many, many, many times in the Potter series and all throughout history. So, I’m just going to give a brief history about the Norwegian Ridgeback in general. According to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it says that the Norwegian Ridgeback resembles the Hungarian Horntail, except that it has black ridges instead of a spiky tail. It is incredibly aggressive to other dragons, and is a very rare breed. It feeds on land animals, but unlike most other breeds, also water dwelling creatures. They can breathe fire much earlier than most breeds, anywhere from one to three months. So…

Noah: Hagrid really picked a winner, didn’t he?

Kat: He did.

Caleb: Well, clearly this is a fiesty one because it comes out shooting flames.

Steve: Mhm. Sparks anyway.

Noah: Oh man. Yeah, if any fans out there want to draw the Norwegian Ridgeback, we’d love to feature that on the Alohomora! site.

Kat: Yeah, that would be great, huh? Nice drawing.

Noah: And we’ll name you on the next episode.

Caleb: Totally.

Kat: [laughs] So, we learn in these chapters that dragons are illegal to breed in the wizarding world. I mean, besides the obvious, why do you think this is? They seem to be pretty useful, so why kind of shun them from society?

Noah: I mean, they eat people, Kat.

Steve: Well, I think they’re…

Kat: I said besides the obvious.

Caleb: Yeah.

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: And I also thought about – I don’t know. I’m not clear on it – and maybe it is clear to everyone else and I’m just not picking it up. Is this only true for Britain that they’re illegal to be bred? Because it mentions the Warlocks’ Convention of 1709. Is that a national legislation, or is that sort of internationally binding?

Steve: Well, if that’s following on – which I believe it is. That’s part of the whole time when the Ministry of Magic was created, when the Department of Magical Creatures was created – all of these things happened between 1689 and 1709, and that was an international convention. So, I would say it’s international, but I don’t think everybody follows it.

Caleb: Well, clearly.

Steve: Or is as picky, maybe.

Caleb: Yeah.

Kat: [laughs] Right.

Noah: Well…

Caleb: There obviously has to be some sort of exceptions because they’re doing something in Romania. So…

Steve: But see, that’s a dragon reservation. That’s – the reservation is there to keep the dragons under control.

Caleb: Oh yeah, that’s what I mean. Like, they have probably certain enumerated exceptions in the law to allow it in those sorts of areas.

Steve: Because I think there’s probably reservations for a lot of different kind of magical creatures, and I think dragons in particular – because they’re so big and so violent and so hard to control, I think that’s why there’s a specific set of rules about dragons, whereas maybe other creatures it’s more general.

Noah: Right.

Steve: But I think the reason that – I mean, the alternative would be to try to wipe them out, and the fact that they don’t try to wipe them out I think goes to what you said, is that they are so useful and so important. If you go into the folklore of dragons, there’s a lot more to them than just being really nasty – and I shouldn’t say nasty because – they aren’t mean, they’re just doing what they do. But there’s a lot more to dragons. The intelligence, the magicalness…

Noah: Absolutely.

Steve: …and the – I think that they’re – if you go back again to the whole idea that the magical universe itself has a certain fabric to it, they’re a pretty important part of that fabric of that tapestry of magic, and you can’t just rip them out and get rid of them. But you can’t let them fly around and eat up people, either.

Noah: Yeah, it’s – they’re part of a balance.

Steve: Exactly, yeah. That’s a good way to put it.

Caleb: And they’re obviously important – I mean, Ollivander obviously recognizes their value. It’s one of the only three wand cores he uses in his wands.

Steve: Yeah, dragon heartstring.

Kat: And they show up in so much literature. We have Smaug in Lord of the Rings, even in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Noah: Well, technically The Hobbit.

Caleb: Yeah, it’s The Hobbit.

Kat: Thank you.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: You knew what I meant. [laughs]

Caleb: Well, you knew people were going to bring that up, though.

Kat: [laughs] That’s true. But I mean, one of the characters Eustace in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Steve: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, sure.

Kat: He turns into a dragon. And we even have the cartoons like Puff the Magic Dragon. I mean, they’re everywhere.

Caleb: Yes.

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: I mean, even in – while I was doing research for this, I found a lot of really great references. Jo obviously – I mean, she didn’t make up any names. Like you said before, Steve, she borrowed everything. I mean, this is from Greek mythology. It says there is an Ismenian dragon that is slain by Cadmus, who is a protective prince who was sent by his parents to retrieve his sister from Zeus. I mean, again…

Steve: Wow.

Kat: Cadmus – I mean, he was…

Steve: Peverell.

Kat: …the first owner of the Resurrection Stone. Yeah.

Steve: Right.

Caleb: Mhm.

Kat: And then obviously we even have the Latin word for dragon – which is draco – being used twice in the series, obviously as a character and then in the Hogwarts crest which – can anyone read Latin?

Steve: Yes, I can.

Kat: What does it say?

Steve: Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus.

Kat: Right, never tickle a sleeping dragon.

Steve: Exactly.

Noah: That sounded awesome.

[Everyone laughs]

Steve: It’s an awesome motto for a school.

Kat: Well, what does it mean? What do we think it means?

Steve: Never tickle a sleeping dragon.

Noah: [laughs] I knew he was going to say that.

Caleb: Don’t screw with things that aren’t your business.

Kat: Oh okay.

Steve: That’s what it means, but – I mean, the reason she chose it is because she wanted to do something slightly humorous…

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: …and that wasn’t the sort of aspirational – like “We’re all going to do better and be fantastic” kind of a thing. She wanted something a little bit more pithy.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: And so that was why. But I think it’s great. I think you’re exactly right. “Never tickle a sleeping dragon” is such a great – on a basic sense, but also in a – don’t mess with things, because that’s part of the whole reason that there is a seven-book story here, is because somebody tickled that sleeping dragon.

Kat: [laughs] Right. There’s a great editorial on MuggleNet that I’m going to put in the links, in the show notes, for people who are interested in reading it. It talks about that whole what the motto means.

Steve: Hmm.

Kat: It’s cool. But one other…

Noah: Oh yeah, I posted that.

Kat: You did? Well, that would make sense.

Noah: Oh yeah. [laughs]

Kat: There’s one other great connection that I found. In Roman mythology, Draco was actually a dragon that was killed by the goddess Minerva and was tossed into the sky upon his defeat.

Caleb: This is – wow.

Steve: Yeah, and it’s become a – now a constellation.

Kat: Yeah.

Caleb: How amusing given the interaction those two have at the end of the chapter.

Kat: Exactly.

Caleb: Draco and McGonagall.

Kat: But – all right.

Steve: If you look at…

Kat: Bringing it back – what?

Steve: I just look at – her use of dragon is more in the Tolkein kind of a sense, at least the way I look at it, and that ties back into Arthurian legend because Camelot was built on – or I don’t know if it’s actually – some stories would say it’s Camelot, but the whole idea of the Welsh dragon and the British dragon and all of that, and then that – it actually involves Merlin, and as a matter of fact, if you watch the television series Merlin, you’ll see that in there. There is a dragon under Camelot.

Caleb: Mhm.

Steve: And it’s this whole idea of the dragon being this ancient magic, this ancient intelligence which you can’t mess with, you can’t just – it’s unlike many other creatures where you can control them. This is its own out-of-control creature, which the best you can do is try to hang onto it, but you can’t – it signifies true power of magic, and I think that’s what she’s pulling in, this whole idea of a dragon being this magic in its rawest, most natural, most untameable sense.

Noah: Yeah, but doesn’t untameable kind of clash with intelligence? Because we look at a lot of the dragons – even in Goblet of Fire, we can say that the Hungarian Horntail was kind of maybe starved a little bit or wasn’t treated the best, but it seemed to be more just kind of thrashing. It wasn’t intelligently trying to go after Harry. In fact, Harry was kind of evading it because this beast was on a rampage.

Steve: Right.

Noah: So, do we see these dragons with the same intelligence as say in other series?

Steve: No, I didn’t mean it that way. I meant in terms of: where is she drawing from when she thinks “dragon”? Is she thinking kind of British, European dragon? Is she thinking dragon in the more classical sense, from ancient – what kind of dragon image does she have in her mind? And to me, I’m thinking that it looks more like that British style, European style dragon, which is also where Tolkein got Smaug and things like this.

Noah: Yeah.

Steve: And that’s just – that’s what I’m saying.

Noah: Also Asia. In Asian tradition, dragons obviously permeate through art and tradition.

Kat: But…

Steve: Yeah, there’s a little different take on dragons in the Eastern – I guess – and I was contrasting the two ways, is what I was saying. But yeah, there’s dragons everywhere in mythology and folklore and…

Kat: Well, bringing it back to Potter

Steve: Mhm.

Kat: …why do we think Hagrid wants a dragon? I mean, is it for its many uses or because he likes to walk on the wild side?

Steve: Yeah, I would go with that.

Noah: Well, he loves magical creatures and this is the ultimate magical creature.

Caleb: Mhm.

Noah: And as we know, he does specialize in trying to tame the untameable.

Steve: Right.

Noah: Often at his own peril.

[Caleb laughs]

Steve: Yeah, and I think what you just said. That’s kind of what I was trying for and couldn’t find: the ultimate magical creature. That’s a good way to put it.

Noah: That is what the dragon is.

Steve: And so, that’s why he wants it.

Kat: I mean, how do you think he got into Care of Magical Creatures?

Noah: Well, we know in his…

Kat: Does that just seem to be in his nature?

Steve: Well…

Noah: In his third year, he had an affinity for magical animals. Misfits, as it were, because he himself is a misfit. So, he also likes misfits in the magical animal kingdom.

Steve: And the maternal thing that we were talking about. That fits right in with that, too.

Noah: Right, he wants…

Kat: Yeah, his Hufflepuff is showing through again here.

Caleb: Yeah. If he can’t be a parent to an actual human, then creatures are the next best thing for him.

Noah: Kat, I still have problems with your theory that there’s something about Hufflepuff that is essentially maternal.

[Caleb laughs]

Noah: I don’t know if I’ll be a good mother. I’m a man!

Kat: No, I mean it in the caring sense of the word.

Steve: Yeah, I’m a second grade teacher and kids call me “Mom” all the time. So…

Caleb: Oh wow, that’s funny. [laughs]

Noah: Well, if anyone can give me a theory about Hagrid being feminine – I’m really feeling that. I’m seeing more of that.

Kat: Well, what other house do you think is more caring than Hufflepuff?

Steve: Yeah, I’d say…

Kat: Yeah, see?

Steve: Mhm.

Noah: Fine.

Kat: Okay.

Noah: Yeah, I am pretty caring.

Kat: Okay, yeah.

Steve: But Hagrid is a Gryffindor.

Kat: He is.

Noah: Right.

Steve: But he has that strong sense of Hufflepuff. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but now that you’re saying it, that just really works. Yeah.

Kat: Yeah.

Noah: Well, great loyalty to Dumbledore and to his friends.

Kat and Steve: Mhm.

Kat: Yup.

Steve: And bravery. My goodness, he’s raising a dragon in a wooden house.

[Kat laughs]

Steve: Or was that just stupidity? I don’t know.

Caleb: That’s stupidity.

[Steve laughs]

Kat: It’s both.

Noah: Or it’s just pleasure. It’s this exciting adventure.

Caleb: I don’t even think he thinks twice about it.

Steve: Yeah, exactly.

Kat: It’s the daring side of Gryffindor.

Noah: Yeah, it’s Gryffindor adventure.

Kat: Yeah.

Steve: Yeah, there you go.

Noah: It’s really whatever you want to call it. [laughs]

Kat: What do you think working with dragons entails? I mean, what do we think Charlie does?

Steve: Well, remember that on Rowling’s website, before it vanished…

Kat: Aww.

Steve: …we had that little fragment of the dragon breeders book, and it had things about diseases that they get and – I can easily imagine that there are – because they want to keep them alive and thriving because of their place in the magical world, that they would be keeping them – trying to keep them healthy and things like that. Because they can’t just let them be completely free. It’s like a species which is gone from the wild, but which now exists only in a zoo – well, in our world. I realize there still are wild dragons in Harry’s world. But it’s that kind of a sense, I think, where that’s what they’re doing. They’re taking care of these dragons and trying to make sure that they’re going to be okay.

Noah: And also harvesting their blood.

Steve: Well yeah, there is that.

Caleb: Mhm.

Noah: I wonder if there’s some trouble there.

Steve: And heatstrings, apparently.

Caleb: Yeah.

Noah: They’re just being harvested for their blood and heartstrings. Dear me!

Caleb: Used and abused.

Steve: Well, I think only when they die of natural causes. I don’t think they’re out there slaughtering them.

Noah: I don’t know.

Kat: Well, Sheriff Noah probably disagrees.

[Noah laughs]

Caleb: I think – I would be willing to beat there are some out there that are doing that. Probably not the people like…

Steve: I don’t think Charlie is.

Caleb: Who are working with Charlie, but I think you definitely have some hunters out there.

Noah: Oh absolutely.

Steve: Now, there’s a job for you.

Kat: Ooh.

Caleb: Dragon hunting.

Steve: Hope that one of your perks with that job is a permanent bed at St. Mungo’s.

Noah: [laughs] Right.

Kat: That would be…

Noah: Well, you can be treated with the blood that you get.

Kat: I would like to see that show on Animal Planet. Can I just say that?

[Steve laughs]

Noah: Dragon Hunters?

Kat: Dragon Hunters.

Noah: They’re abusing dragons, Kat! I can’t believe you.

Kat: Sheriff Noah, it’s okay.

Steve: And Rowling actually wrote in one of the Daily Prophet newsletters that there’s a wand ad from Gringotts looking for a dragon feeder.

Kat: Dragon feeder?

Steve: So, apparently there’s dragon jobs to be had.

Noah: I mean, we know about the dragon at the bottom of Gringotts, so we have some…

Steve: Right.

Noah: …mistreatment of dragons already.

Steve: Oh yeah.

Caleb: Oh yeah.

Noah: It happens with things that are big and uncontrollable.

Caleb: That breaks my heart a little…

Steve: I know.

Caleb: …every time I see that scene in Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Steve: Oh, I know.

Noah: They mob the dragons in cages in Goblet of Fire, so…

Kat: How many dragons do we think are on this sanctuary reserve?

Steve: A lot, and isn’t it interesting that – there’s none of them that are Romanian. They’re all – they have all these dragons that are other – when they come from – in Goblet of Fire, they don’t bring any Romanian dragons. They bring Hungarian Horntails and Chinese Fireballs and all this stuff.

Caleb: Swedish.

Steve: So, how many different kinds of dragons are there on this reservation?

Noah: Right.

Caleb: I bet there’s a lot.

Steve: And how do you keep them apart?

Kat: Oh boy.

Noah: All right, last point because we’ve been talking a lot: why is Draco named for dragons?

Caleb: Hmm.

Noah: What is it about his character?

Steve: I would say that it’s more his parents’ character.

Kat: His parents’ character?

Noah: You think it’s from his parents?

Steve: Yeah, because they named him. They thought, “We want him…”

Noah: Yeah, but…

Steve: “…to be named after something powerfully magical.”

Caleb: Yeah, that’s possible, but I just don’t see him as very dragon like. Hmm, I don’t see any of those features really matching up.

Steve: Of course, dragons originally were seen as serpents, not as lizards.

Noah: Oh.

Steve: And serpent is a sign of Slytherin…

Caleb: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Steve: …and a sign of evil. So…

Noah: Oh.

Caleb: Yeah.

Steve: But that’s – we’re talking way back in mythology times. We’re not talking about the dragons of this world.

Caleb: Well – and I’m sure that’s something that Rowling would be aware of, so it makes sense.

Steve: So, I guess you could imagine it as being a veil Slytherin reference.

Noah: Hey, that’s something. That’s something to think about. Thanks for that. So, does that conclude our dragon discussion, guys?

Caleb: I think it does.

Kat: I believe it does. Why don’t you tell us what the podcast question of the week is?

Noah: Absolutely. So, Steve, I was really impressed by your discussion about this magical connections among things and objects, and the fact that Dumbledore can just kind of quirk things and just kind of – stuff happens. It’s almost in an unnatural sense, especially in Philosopher’s Stone. Stuff just – these amazing coincidences happen. And I’m sure you’ve kind of marked that throughout the entire series, but now I’d like to throw it to the fans. What do you guys think about this theory, that there is an essential magicness about everything in Harry’s world that lets stuff happen? I mean, we know that Dumbledore to an extent controls a lot, but how much do you think he’s controlling? And do you think there’s some force at work here? Not like the force in Star Wars but some kind of energy. I know this is kind of an abstract question, but is there – do we find meaning of religion in here? Some kind of religion politics here working stuff? Or is it just something essential in magical objects that they will naturally control stuff and make things happen, like the Cloak or any of the Deathly Hallows or the Stone? So, fate and destiny play a lot too, so I guess my final wrap-up question is: this magical universe that corresponds to the real universe – is it doing it, making stuff happen in the plot, or is it Dumbledore? Rest assured, when I write up the post on Alohomora! it would be a more simplified…

Kat: Concise?

[Caleb laughs]

Noah: …question. But just think about all that. More concise, right.

Caleb: But yeah, I’m interested to see what we get out of that.

Kat: Very good.

Noah: And Steve, thanks for bringing it up and you did write a bit about it.

Kat: A bit?

Steve: I’ve written quite a bit about it, actually.

[Caleb laughs]

Steve: I’ve written a whole book about it.

Noah: Yeah, we can put some links in our show notes, too. Your various stuff you’re working on.

Steve: Okay.

Caleb: And on that note, we just want to sum up by saying thank you so much, Steve, for joining us. It’s definitely been a pleasure.

Steve: Oh likewise.

Caleb: I know having someone that – I know I’ve visited your site I can’t imagine how many times over the years, so it’s really great to have such an expert on the show with us.

Steve: Oh, it’s great fun. I mean, there’s nothing better than having these discussions of canon and of this amazing world. And it just shows you again the depth of Rowling’s creation, that we can spend all this time talking about these few chapters and few little details and feel like we could go on for another five hours, you know?

Caleb: [laughs] Absolutely.

Kat: Yeah. We definitely could, too. [laughs]

Noah: And just to clarify, we know that the magical world doesn’t actually exist.

Steve: What?

Caleb and Kat: Speak for yourself.

[Kat and Noah laugh]

Noah: I mean, I know that.

Caleb: Okay, well…

Kat: So…

Steve: I had a Muffliato and I didn’t hear what you said. Go on.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That’s okay. So, if any of you listening want to be on the show, like Steve, there’s two ways you can go about doing that. The first one is submitting content on the Alohomora! website, which is at, or also on the forums. We do look at that. We do read them and we comment constantly. So, if you put more comments on there, you’re more likely to be noticed.

Noah: We also have personal forums, right? Each of us has personal forums where listeners can go in and talk to us directly and have little conversations where we’re kind of ruling the thing. We’re leading the discussions there.

Kat: That’s true. And the second way to be on the show is to send an audio clip of yourself analyzing a portion of the book. You can send it to alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. Just please note that you do need to have appropriate audio equipment because we need to be able to hear you and so do the fans listening to the show afterwards.

Caleb: And if you just want to contact or stay in touch with us in general, make sure you’re following us on Twitter. You can find us at @AlohomoraMN – “M” as in Muggle, “N” as in Net.

Noah: Actually, it’s important that you do follow us on Twitter if you’re going to LeakyCon, because all four of the main hosts are going and we’re going to be doing some special stuff, and you may want to follow our Twitter updates because there might be some challenges that we might be posing to listeners if they happen to be at the conference. But no more about that just now.

Caleb: Also, you can make sure you follow us on Facebook at Like our page and you can listen to us right now on that page by clicking on the “Podcast” tab, and choosing an episode and enjoying it. And also, make sure you see us on, and of course our main page, And as we’ve already mentioned, our Gmail account, alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com.

Noah: And just once again, you can also subscribe to us on iTunes. We’re doing really well. I mean, we’re tops in Arts and Literature podcasts.

Kat: Thanks to all of you.

Noah: Right. And we love it when you guys review us, because that goes out to everybody. So, keep continuing to do that. And thank you, Steve Vander Ark, for being on this episode. It was really great talking to you.

Steve: My pleasure to be here.

Noah: And yeah, come on again some time.

Steve: Yeah, I’d love to. I really would.

Noah: All right, that about wraps up the show.

[Show music begins]

Noah: I’m Noah Fried.

Caleb: I’m Caleb Graves.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 6 of Alohomora!.

Noah: Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]

Noah: Why does gold have this magical impossible thing to – you know what I’m saying? Why is – it seems as if that this value is inherent to the magical world, and that it’s really, really valuable, when we know that gold is really just another kind of stone. Why is it divine here? That’s kind of a – I’m talking about it kind of sillily. But I’m just saying, why is it so impressive that you can make something into gold when the value of gold is kind of arbitrary for humans?

[Prolonged silence]

Noah: Oh, did we drop? Oh God.

[Prolonged silence]

Noah: I’m just going to stop talking to myself. Yup.

[Prolonged silence]

Noah: All right. I’ll see you guys later! [in the background] Lizzy, are you sleeping? But I’m talking so loudly.