Transcript 275

MuggleCast 275 Transcript


Show Intro


[Show music begins]

Andrew: The final episode of MuggleCast for 2014 is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 275. A nice… not exactly round number, but it falls on one of those quarter sections, you know what I’m saying?

Eric: It’s a Quarter Quell.

Andrew: [laughs] It’s a Quarter Quell, right.

Selina: Oh.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Good, we’ve already got the show title. The episode is finished.

[Selina laughs]

Eric: Oh, great.

Andrew: That’s the only reason we ever record it for so long. We were always just looking for a show title.

Eric: Goodbye, everybody.

Micah: And Eric, for the first time ever, got in the first, what, ten seconds of recording?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Something like that.

Andrew: Pretty good record. So we’re here for a nice little holiday episode, I guess you could say, even though Christmas and Hanukkah and most of the holidays have passed through December. We’ve reached another end of the year, and we’re going to do a lot of things today. We’re going to look back at the biggest Harry Potter stories of the year, we’re going to complain about… I mean…

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: … we’re going to talk about the new Pottermore material, we’ve got some Fantastic Beasts news to talk about, I have a big question for Micah, we’re going to predict 2015, and then we have a big, big announcement. Maybe not that big, but big. I always hate raising people’s expectations because they will think we’re about to announce something like J.K. Rowling is coming on the podcast or something like this. I’m actually glad that J.K. Rowling has never been on the podcast. Do you know why?

Selina: Oh, yeah? Why? [laughs]

Eric: Because how would we ever top it?

Micah: Well, I think it’s because you can just keep talking about the fact that she’s never been on the podcast.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yes. That’s fun to do.

Eric: Well, it’s more air time.

Andrew: But I like trolling her on Twitter.

Selina: Uh-huh.

Andrew: I like keeping myself distant from her so I can troll her on Twitter. Like recently, I @-replied her. All I said was, “Please come to Brazil.”

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: It got like a hundred favorites. I was shocked.

[Eric and Selina laugh]

Selina: It’s hilarious.

Andrew: [laughs] I was like, “What? People really liked that tweet!”

Micah: You should just keep doing that each week, pick a different country and see how it does.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Selina: But Brazil is like the one that people always ask celebrities to go to, [laughs] so that’s why…

Andrew: Yeah. I sent her a tweet that says, “Congrats on 400 tweets.” That got nineteen favorites. People… there’s a demand for this, I think. So people like…

Eric: I think they expect you to follow in Micah’s shoes, too, with trolling her the way that he does…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … on Twitter all the time.

Andrew: I mean, Micah trolls her by just protesting her.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. It’s really negative. It’s really… yeah, not positive.

Micah: It’s not negative!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Well, I think J.K. Rowling said something on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that should seal the deal for Micah…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … following her on Twitter. You don’t follow her yet, right?

Micah: I do not.

Andrew: Okay. If this tweet doesn’t do it, I don’t know what will. But we’ll talk about that in a little bit.

Eric: Yeah.


Recap: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Parks


Andrew: First, let’s talk about the biggest stories of the year. We’re just going to jump around. I just wanted to kind of recap 2014 for Harry Potter fans. First of all, Diagon Alley opened.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I know Micah, Eric, and I have all been there at this point. Really wonderful, right? They did such a great job.

Selina: I’m sure it’s just amazing…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Selina: … and the best thing ever, [laughs] and if you can’t go, then your life is over.

Andrew: Yeah. I’m sorry you haven’t been.

Selina: Whatever. I don’t want Butterbeer anyway.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh!

Andrew: Well, you can go to the Studio Tour for that! You got Butterbeer there, didn’t you?

Selina: That’s true. Yeah, I did.

Andrew: It’s not the same, though.

Selina: No.

Andrew: It’s just not the same.

Eric: No. But Diagon Alley is really impressive detail-wise. It’s more detailed. There’s more to see…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … than in the Hogsmeade part of the park, and that is what makes it cool. And…

Selina: Can you go into the shops?

Eric: You can! Yeah, in fact…

Selina: Wow!

Eric: … most of them. More of them… because Hogsmeade had it where there was a couple of shops, but then most of them were storefronts, which were cool. I think Diagon Alley, they strived to actually make more shops so that you can enter them. Like real shops.

Selina: Can you buy stuff?

Eric: Uh-huh! That’s pretty much all you can do.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Or you can wait four hours in line to go on Gringotts.

Eric: Or you can wait four hours for Gringotts. But Gringotts was pretty cool.

Andrew: Here’s kind of a good year-in-review statement about Diagon Alley. People were… there [were] concerns about how busy it would be there after the park opened, and now I think the lines are actually really manageable.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: I haven’t seen any complaints about long lines, even for the Hogwarts Express. That thing, I remember going through it for the first time and seeing the queue. The line… it wasn’t full when I walked through it, but they had built so much queue…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … in anticipation, and it just doesn’t fill up, and I don’t think… I don’t say that in a bad way that they’re not getting as many people that they wanted. I just think that the trains – there’s two of them – run really efficiently. So I think they did a great job, and I’m glad to see that the lines aren’t as crazy. So if you are thinking of going, I’d say go whenever. Maybe not summer, but go whenever. There’s not a huge rush right now.

Eric: Mhm.

Micah: Well, this time of year I’d think would be pretty busy down there, with everybody on vacation from school…

Andrew: Probably, yeah.

Eric: It’s actually…

Micah: People take off work.

Eric: The month of November I heard was when the locals go because it’s just quieting down. It’s like a dull period where the rest of the nation is cold, but nobody has quite hit vacation yet.

Andrew: And it’s right after Universal’s Halloween stuff and right before Christmas.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So that’s really when I think the locals go. But yeah, you could go down there now and find probably some not very long wait times.

Micah: Maybe.

Andrew: In other Wizarding World news, the Wizarding World Japan opened up over the summer. Very similar to Hogsmeade. There’s no Diagon Alley. But they have the Black Lake there, kind of sitting near Hogwarts, which I think people really liked. And apparently the Hollywood one is going to have some special features like this as well, that are unique to the Hollywood land, so…

Micah: They should, though.

Selina: Mhm. Yeah.

Micah: I think that provides interest from people to go to those parks, because let’s say you’re on the East Coast of the US and you’ve been to Orlando and you know what that’s all about. I would think if you’re a fan and maybe you’re taking a trip out to California, you’d want to explore. And not to say that Potter fans wouldn’t go anyway, but to have that added interest and know that there’s something different about the park. Because if they’re all the same, what makes them unique?

Selina: Yeah, exactly. It’s not an IKEA.

Andrew: Right.

[Micah laughs]

Selina: Or a Walmart, to speak in your terms. [laughs] You’re supposed to go for a unique experience.

Andrew: Well, what makes it unique to me, as somebody who lives in the LA area, is that I can actually drive there…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … get drunk in the Hog’s Head…

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: … then take a taxi home.

Selina: Mhm.

Andrew: I can’t say that anywhere else.


Recap: David Legeno Passes Away at 50


Andrew: Some sadder news happened this year. David Legeno, who played Fenrir Greyback, he died while hiking in Death Valley over the summer. That was a really sad story.

Eric: Yeah.

Selina: Yeah.

Andrew: But the rest of the year was lighter news. Well, except for the Ron and Hermione drama.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh, did that make this year in review?

Selina: Which I was personally very affected by.

[Andrew laughs]


Recap: J.K. Rowling Writes About Quidditch World Cup on Pottermore


Andrew: J.K. Rowling wrote a story about the trio at the World Cup. That was one of the bigger things on Pottermore this year, I think.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: That legitimately lived up to the excitement because we got some tidbits about where they all are now, so that was really cool.

Micah: It was another one of those new stories, right? That J.K. Rowling wrote this year.

Andrew: Right. A new story. And that could kind of pass as a “new story,” but this Twelve Days of Christmas thing that they did earlier this month, where a lot of media outlets were saying, “J.K. Rowling to write twelve new Harry Potter stories, oh my God!” It was just… it was ridiculous.

Micah: It was funny. I forget… somebody asked me about that. I think it might have been at work. It just came up about how apparently she was writing all these new stories that were going to be released, and I actually had to explain to the person that they weren’t new.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Well, sorry, they are new. But they’re not…

Andrew: They’re not stories.

Micah: They’re supplemental content.

Andrew: Well, right. But some of them were just potions. They weren’t even… it wasn’t even new J.K. Rowling writing.

Eric: Were they this time?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Because I saw a lot of stories now this time…

Andrew: They were, but not all of them.

Eric: I was thinking too, there’s going to be, like, potions. One day you’re just going to get to do an extra potion on Pottermore.

Andrew: Yeah. It was a mess. Even the Pottermore Insider blog released a post saying, “Yeah, no, remember it’s not new J.K. Rowling Harry Potter stories.”ù

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: [laughs] I was like…

Eric: Yeah, the media… it’s funny because how many years are we in now? If you count from ’97, we’re seventeen years into the Harry Potter books being a thing. And the news still can’t…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … handle itself. Or they don’t know exactly how to not blow this out of proportion.

Selina: It’s gotten worse, hasn’t it?

Andrew: It’s gotten worse.

Selina: Because it’s all clickbait now.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: This year, it really got bad. But I’m hoping that people kind of… now they’re understanding that they’re being played, so they’ll stop clicking on them and then people will stop writing that nonsense.

Selina: Yeah.

Eric: Mhm.


Recap: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Series


Andrew: Anyway, Fantastic Beasts. It was a big year for Fantastic Beasts. We found out that it will be a trilogy.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: That was a big deal. And then later in the year, we found out the release dates: November 2016, November 2018, and November 2020.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: So…

Micah: Until the last one is split into two.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Due to content.

Andrew: Well, yeah, remember they said it will be at least a trilogy.

Selina: Mhm.

Andrew: So maybe you’re right, Micah. Maybe it’s not that J.K. Rowling may write five movies or six movies, but they’re just leaving the possibility open to split that last one.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Because that’s kind of what they’re doing with the Avengers. Marvel announced that Avengers: Infinity War is going to be Avengers – Part 1… sorry, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1.

Selina: Which is just bizarre, isn’t it?

Andrew: It is.

Selina: Because it’s not like it’s…

Andrew: It’s not a book.

Selina: … an adaptation.

Andrew: Yeah.

Selina: Yeah. It’s a unique story.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, that’s why I thought the Avengers were going to be… the Avengers as we know them are going to end at Infinity War, but at least one person told me, “I don’t think so.” Who knows?

Eric: I think they’re probably just trying to be like comic books, too, which always are about serialization and continuations and stuff.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: So it’s like they’re making movies – these huge, huge budget movies – like comic books, where you have to get the second issue to read the full story.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: What’s somewhat ironic about that, though, is that it’s really Harry Potter that started this trend of splitting the final…

[Everyone laughs]

Selina: Yes.

Eric: Well, Harry Potter, to the studios, proved that it could be done, I think, right? And there may have been one or two films before it. There were films certainly that…

Micah: Well, I think in terms of major book-to-film adaptations that were significant…

Selina: Mhm.

Micah: … in length beyond just a couple of films…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: … like Potter, we’ve seen it now really with everything, from Hunger Games… I’m sure there [are] plenty of others I’m missing here, but The Hobbit, right?

Selina: The Hobbit.

Andrew: Twilight

Eric: Twilight.

Micah: The Hobbit turned into three. Twilight.

Selina: Twilight.

Andrew: Now, also, Divergent coming up.

Selina: [laughs] Oh, yeah.

Micah: Mhm, exactly. So it’s…

Andrew: That’s the thing to do.

Micah: It’s the cool thing to do. Make more money. Rake in those dollars.

Andrew: [laughs] But we, as fans, can’t really complain, as much as I…

Micah: No, of course not.

Andrew: As much as I despise it, just like anyone else. Obviously, for websites it’s a good thing. For the fans it’s a good thing. For the most part.

Eric: At least with Fantastic Beasts, we know that it’s not being adapted. JKR is writing the screenplay for each film, so it won’t be like they’re stretching any kind of content. These films are being written for the screen. It’ll be really exciting to see how her voice directly translates to the movie.

Selina: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah.

Selina: I’m really excited.

Andrew: It makes me wonder if this whole book-splitting trend was a thing ten years prior, maybe thanks to another film, would Goblet of Fire have been split into two, definitely? Would Order of the Phoenix?

Eric: Yeah, I wonder.

Andrew: Or is it just… are studios…

Micah: It’s just the finales.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: That’s the thing. But when is that trend going to break? It seems inevitable.

Micah: It should have, though. It should have broken way before because I think that you could have justified other books in the Potter series, in particular, being broken into two movies. I know we’ve discussed this…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: … on prior shows, but as early as Goblet of Fire, definitely if not then, then Order of the Phoenix, for sure.

Andrew: Yeah.

Selina: Mhm.

Andrew: I mean, Order of the Phoenix… yeah. Well, we don’t need to get into that.

Micah: So much was left out of there.

Andrew: I know.

Eric: I still love that film, though. It’s weird.

Micah: Oh.

Andrew: It’s my least favorite.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Because it was my favorite book.

Selina: Yeah, me too.

Andrew: Okay, we’re going to continue with today’s show in just a moment, but first, it’s time to remind everybody that today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, and that is no joke. They have more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Best Sellers. And for listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free book to give you a chance to try out their great service. Today, I am going to recommend a book-to-film adaptation. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It is easily one of the best movies of the year. It is Gone Girl. Now, this is a book by Gillian Flynn. It is a fantastic book and a great movie. In the case of Gone Girl, it’s hard to say whether the book or the film was better; both are so beloved. I highly recommend reading and watching the story, because it really is just one of the best movies of the year. You can grab this one for absolutely free by visiting AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. If that’s not the type of book for you, maybe try The Fault in Our Stars, the book by John Green. Grab The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. Grab The Cuckoo’s Calling or The Silkworm, also by J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith. You can get any of these books for free: AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Try listening to a book instead of reading it. You’re really going to enjoy it, I think. You’ll listen to it just like you do this podcast. AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast to get an audiobook for absolutely free, and we thank Audible for their support of the show.

Micah: Just going back to Fantastic Beasts for a second, talking about a big year for that, how about – and don’t get shocked here that I’m bringing this up – J.K. Rowling’s tweet, the anagram that…

Andrew: Oh, right.

Micah: … basically set off the Twitter world…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: … trying to figure that thing out.

Selina: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. That was such a big deal because I think… that arguably is one of the most exciting things that happened on Twitter – or not on Twitter; in the Harry Potter fandom – this year because everybody kind of knew it wasn’t going to be some gigantic reveal, and yet it was so exciting because we all remember the riddles on J.K. Rowling’s old website.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: So having her give us a new riddle was just huge. And it was just so simple for her to do, and it seemed to come up spontaneously, when somebody asked her to do a riddle and then the next morning she did it. It was really cool.

Selina: It was very in the spirit of her, wasn’t it?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, and you could tell she was having a blast doing it.

Selina: Mmm.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. This was… I think 2014 will go down as the year that J.K. Rowling…

Selina: Embraced Twitter?

Andrew: Yes, yes.

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: Absolutely, that is probably one of the most exciting things this year.


Recap: J.K. Rowling on Twitter


Andrew: And yeah, speaking of that, I think one of the things that kicked off this whole Twitter extravaganza for J.K. Rowling was when she spoke about the sixteenth anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts back in May. This is one of her first tweets, and it was… first tweets that wasn’t like, “Pen and paper are my priority at the moment.”

[Andrew and Selina laugh]

Andrew: Then after that, she started answering a couple of other questions. But you had to go and look at her tweets. They weren’t showing up in your feed because she was directly replying to people. But then she learned that trick where you put a period in front of the usernames.

Selina: [laughs] She’s been doing that a lot.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Micah: Her assistant told her, yeah.

Selina: So funny.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: So yeah, I think in May was when that really all started, and now it’s a whole big thing.

Selina: It’s very refreshing, too, to see the way she’s interacting with people.

Andrew: It is.

Selina: Because she slams people down, and she’s really personal, both in good and bad. When people try to make a complaint to her, she slams them right back. It’s really cool.

Andrew: She slams them down, but she’s really classy about it.

Selina: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: She’s never mean about it or anything. It doesn’t even come off mean-spirited.

Selina: She always has the upper hand.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.


Recap: J.K. Rowling’s Wonderland Interview


Andrew: Of course, there was that whole big J.K. Rowling’s comments about Ron and Hermione that got twisted by the Sunday Times. I can’t remember what their headline was, but it started a whole brouhaha. That was, I would say, the low point [laughs] of 2014 in terms of Harry Potter fans.

Selina: Mmm.

Andrew: Because everybody was so shocked by that.

Selina: Well, everyone was so upset because even the people that wanted Harry and Hermione to get together at the time… I mean, we’ve all moved on. We’ve all grown up to some extent. We’ve all sort of made our peace with it. And suddenly, it appeared that everything we thought we knew was wrong, and it was like, “Ahh!” [laughs]

Andrew: Right.

Selina: And I probably made it a bigger deal out of it than I should have.

[Andrew laughs]

Selina: [clears throat] But [laughs] it was funny.

Andrew: Yeah, eventually we learned that her comments were misconstrued.

Selina: Yeah.

Andrew: But she was still reconsidering Ron and Hermione. That’s the best way to put it.

Eric: Yeah. Well, they released… what was it? Wonderland released a promo before releasing the actual article, and it was going to be a month or something ridiculous before the actual words came out.

Andrew: That’s the thing. Wonderland was kind of blame, too, because they released this interview in advance to the Sunday Times. And then the Sunday Times

Eric: Yeah, the Sunday Times did their preview or whatever…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … and they had misconstrued the… like shoddy journalism, and then it was a long time before we could realize that JKR didn’t exactly say exactly…

Andrew: Funnily enough, it was only six days. I was just looking at this.

Eric: Oh. Well, it felt like thirty days. [laughs]

Andrew: But it truly felt like thirty days. [laughs] Truly. That’s why I say…

Selina: But you know what’s funny about it is… we don’t need to spend a lot of time on it, but what’s funny… seeing her actual comments that she was reconsidering Ron and Hermione, I think you can really tell that from the final couple of books because Harry and Hermione were so close friends. And as she said herself, just after the seventh book came out, there were a few moments when it could have gone the other way.

Andrew: Yeah.

Selina: And I like it because it’s realistic. It’s not like she made this choice, Ron and Hermione, and she was going to [makes sound like forcing two things together] them together.

Eric: Try to fit a square peg through a round hole.

Selina: Yeah, exactly.

Eric: Yeah.

Selina: She let the characters go where the characters wanted to go.

Andrew: Mhm.

Selina: And I like that.

Eric: And it was a step up back from… or a step forward, because the only comment that I can recall her previously talking about that pairing was the “delusional.”

Selina: Oh, yeah.

Eric: The infamous “delusional” in the Melissa Anelli/Emerson Spartz interview back when I guess Book 6 came out.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: So that was a big blow to Ron and… or Harry and Hermione…

Selina: Harry and Hermione. Yeah, that’s right.

Eric: … shippers everywhere. But this kind of reopened a lot of those same feelings and, I think, took it into a more mature realm.

Selina: Mhm.

Micah: So she retracted the “delusional” comment, because she can’t really…

Selina: She didn’t.

Micah: No, I know she didn’t. But she can’t really call those people delusional if, in her own mind, this was a possibility.

Eric: Right.

Selina: She is delusional

Micah: Yes. And now she’s never coming on the show.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: But shoddy journalism seems to be a running trend though, at least as it relates to the series…

Eric: That’s true.

Micah: … so many years later.

Selina: Yeah.

Micah: No matter what it is, whether it’s about Pottermore, which I know we’ll talk about very shortly here, or even with something along these lines. It’s great that even however many years we are after the fact – what, over seven years after Deathly Hallows was released – that the series is still relevant, the author is still relevant, the characters are still relevant enough that these news outlets – and I say that somewhat liberally, referring to them as news outlets…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: … because most them aren’t, even though… actually, I will say I saw quite a few run with the “Twelve New Stories by J.K. Rowling.”

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Everybody.

Micah: Just that they’re interested and that they’re willing to still write about it all these years later.

Andrew: Well… and I just can’t believe that people fall for this every time. I mean, this has happened so many times this year. If you want to summarize 2014 in the Harry Potter fandom, it was misleading headlines about things that J.K. Rowling is doing or saying and this Fantastic Beasts news. Plus… maybe part of the reason J.K. Rowling has been on Twitter more is so she can have a direct line of communication with the fans…

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … instead of having the media reconstruct her words into things that just aren’t true or entirely accurate.

Eric: Or wait six or seven days to release them. [laughs]

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

MuggleCast 275 Transcript (continued)


Recap: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Series (Continued)


Andrew: So there was one other big story and that relates to Fantastic Beasts. Let’s do that first, since we’re talking about big stories. Warner Bros. announced in October – about a week after we had recorded our last episode, naturally – that David Yates is going to direct Fantastic Beasts. This is when we also found out that the series is going to be at least a trilogy. So this is the first time we’re talking about these two things here on MuggleCast. The “at least a trilogy” comments… we had known that David Yates was rumored to direct Fantastic Beasts. There was a report that had come out a month or two prior, and apparently that had been in the works for months. So now one question that still lingers is, will David Yates be returning for all three movies? And if you read the Warner Bros. statement, it doesn’t sound like it. However, if you went on J.K. Rowling’s page when she shared the announcement, the wording of it very strongly sounded like he is going to direct all three. And I actually tried to get some clarification from Warner Bros. about this, and they were not [laughs] willing to give me any information.

Eric: Oh, okay.

Andrew: Yeah. They left it open-ended, let’s say. But here’s what J.K. Rowling said on Facebook, and this statement is loosely like what was released in the press release but there is a key difference. I’m going to take one line from it.

“The studio…”

This is from J.K. Rowling.

“The studio has also confirmed that the films…”

[emphasises the word] Films.

“… set in the wizarding world but predating Harry Potter himself, will be directed by David Yates and will reunite the filmmaking team of David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram.”

Selina: Right.

Eric: There you go.

Andrew: So… but this is not what it says in the other release, so that’s why I think he is back for all three. Or he’s maybe not officially, but that’s the plan right now unless he’s like [laughs] sick of it.

Eric: “I hate this so much.”

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

Eric: “Get me out of here!” [laughs]

Selina: You know what I’m thinking about this is that… because we’ve all got our own opinions on David Yates and stuff, but [laughs] remember The Hobbit, like you haven’t just seen it.

Micah: Yeah.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I was going to say the same thing.

Selina: Yeah, that was meant to be directed by Guillermo del Toro, who incidentally was also meant to direct Harry Potter at one point or in rumors or something. And when that was first released, I remember lots of people were like, “No, no, get Peter Jackson back. Let’s get the original feel of the Lord of the Rings.” And then now we’ve seen the movies…

[Andrew laughs]

Selina: … and I’m thinking that a lot of people are probably wishing that del Toro would have stepped in and shaken up the universe a bit because treading water can only get you so far, and that’s what I’m worried about with this. It’s not that I don’t like David Yates’s directing style. It’s that I don’t… I mean, Fantastic Beasts is never going to be Harry Potter and trying to make it seem like the same I think you lose a lot of potential. I’m not… I mean, he might do a fantastic job…

[Everyone laughs]

Selina: No pun intended. But… wow, so many headlines. Anyway, I don’t know. I was hoping for someone different.

Andrew: I don’t… I get why he should return for the first movie because they want to carry that feel. David Yates is obviously very connected with the group already, with the producer David Heyman. Obviously, they all worked on Leavesden Studios where they’re going to be working again for Fantastic Beasts. But I don’t understand the reason to bring him back for all three.

Micah: Well…

Andrew: Why do you need that?

Micah: I actually… when Selina brought up The Hobbit, what I thought she was going to say is what happens if this is all shot at the same time?

Selina: [laughs] Oh.

Andrew: Hmm.

Micah: And so it… he really only has to be there for the filming of what would be one movie, even though they’re shooting it all at one time. But…

Andrew: I don’t think that’s going to happen for this.

Micah: Okay.

Andrew: Because it’s three…

Micah: Anyway…

Andrew: No…

Eric: These should be three separate stories set years apart?

Andrew: … I just mean the difference with The Hobbit was that it was originally two, and then when they announced a third they went back and filmed more.

Micah: Oh, okay.

Andrew: So, yeah.

Micah: Well, I think all the points you raised are valid and they’re reasons why they would bring David Yates back. The familiarity that he has with the series; even though it isn’t Potter, it’s still within that same world. He is familiar with J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves, the list goes on.

Eric: Works well on the team.

Micah: Yeah. And at some point, I would assume… there are going to be brand new characters, but we would potentially see characters that we know, that could make these cameo appearances as we get later on into Newt’s story. But I kind of… I don’t know. It’s almost like, let’s see how he does with this first film.

Selina: Yeah.

Micah: And then make the judgment if it was right or wrong to bring him back.

Selina: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, for sure.

Micah: I think he’s worked, what, since Order of the Phoenix?

Andrew: Yeah.

Selina: Yeah.

Micah: On the series. And I think it’s about that… and you don’t know. Maybe part of J.K. Rowling’s agreement in doing this was that certain people come back that she’s entrusted with her work, like Heyman and Kloves and now David Yates, because clearly she’s built these long-lasting relationships. She entrusted Heyman very early on with the series, and he’s been there the whole time, and so you never know kind of what goes on behind the scenes. She ultimately has to feel comfortable with the person responsible for directing this, and Yates has been there pretty much since…

Eric: Day one?

Micah: Yeah… minus four films, yes. But…

Eric: Yeah, they optioned the film really early on in the book process.

Micah: Well, when was Order of the Phoenix released? ’05?

Andrew: ’07.

Selina: Seven, yeah. Since the final book.

Andrew: Wait, the book or movie?

Micah: The movie. The movie, sorry.

Eric: 07/12/07?

Micah: So he’s been there seven… or he was there, what, four or five years? So I mean…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: … he’s got a good sense for what this is all about. So we’ll see.

Eric: Yeah, I still stand with… I agree with what Selina said, too. You kind of want it to be completely different.

Selina: Yeah. You want a change, I guess. But you’re absolutely right as well, Micah. I think that we can… I mean, this is a different story and he’s… David Yates, I’m sure, is capable of breathing new life into it. I think I’m just…

Eric: Well, I’m going to see his take on Tarzan first to kind of…

[Micah and Selina laugh]

Selina: Yeah, okay.

Eric: Well, that’s another story. It’s like, well, you want to see him do something different to prove that he can do something different.

Micah: I agree with Selina too, though. I like the point that she made, and I think that having somebody new would be great because one of the problems that a lot of people had with the Potter films was that there wasn’t that continuity, right?

Eric: What?

Micah: It broke so many times. Well, no. I mean yes, there were people who liked the fact that there were different directors along the way, but going through four different directors in an eight-film span, a lot of people didn’t like that because there wasn’t a level of consistency throughout all the films. Whereas here, why bring in somebody who has worked on those films? Why not give somebody else a chance? I think there is a lot of validity to that as well.

Andrew: And just from a visual sense, there could be a great opportunity here to really shake this series up in a visual way, and with David Yates, I don’t think that’s going to happen because I think a lot of what we found in the Harry Potter films will be carrying over, what we saw in the Harry Potter films. Who knows? Still excited for it, of course.

Eric: Yeah, definitely.

Selina: Of course.

Andrew: [in a sarcastic tone] I guess.

[Andrew and Selina laugh]

Micah: We’re going to see it no matter who directs it anyway, so…

Andrew: Oh, yeah. It doesn’t matter.

Micah: It’s just topic of conversation.

Andrew: But Micah will not follow David Yates on Twitter. I know that much.

[Selina laughs]

Micah: If David Yates was on Twitter, I’d follow him.

Andrew: Really?

Eric: Why?

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t get that.

Micah: Why not?

Eric: He gets a free pass, and J.K. Rowling doesn’t?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Well, it depends if he actually used his Twitter account.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: But J.K. Rowling uses her Twitter account.

Micah: Yeah, after the fact.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: After you unfollowed her for not using her Twitter account?

Micah: Yup.

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: Well, there’s… I think we’ll have Micah convinced in a little bit.


Recap: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Pottermore


Andrew: So let’s talk about Pottermore now. They released Half-Blood Prince. It’s out.

Eric: Yay.

Andrew: [laughs] Hooray.

Eric: All of it?

Andrew: So this… all of it. This was the twelve days thing. They released… really, over the twelve days they released the best of Half-Blood Prince, and then a couple of days ago, they released the remainder. And I looked through it; there wasn’t really anything else other than what we received during these twelve days things that was interesting. Not… there wasn’t any other additional tidbits penned by J.K. Rowling herself, but we learned a few things. These were actually pretty interesting, I thought. Snape… she addressed the whole “Is Snape a vampire?” thing. She said no, but…

Selina: What?

Andrew: … at one point in her very, very early notes, she had a vampire wizard named Trocar – T-R-O-C-A-R – who was going to be a professor at Hogwarts, but she doesn’t know how. It was just a very early draft.

Selina: Isn’t it amazing how drafts change?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Selina: It’s… wow. [laughs]

Eric: And it’s a perfect name. It’s right up there with Remus Lupin. She describes in the doc. She describes:

“A Trocar is [a] sharply pointed shaft inserted into arteries or cavities to extract bodily fluids.”

So it’s totally a perfect name for a vampire character.

Selina: Wow. Little on the nose.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: We also found out why… J.K. Rowling explained why Snape was the Hogwarts Potions professor. Some people said this wasn’t new, but on Pottermore it was new writing from J.K. Rowling. She said:

“Chemistry was my least favorite subject at school, and I gave it up as soon as I could. Naturally, when I was trying to decide which subject Harry’s arch enemy, Severus Snape, should teach, it had to be the wizarding equivalent.”

So that wasn’t, I guess, big news, but I don’t know.

Eric: That’s funny. That made me laugh. I’m happy to know that.

Andrew: Yeah. I think the biggest thing is she revealed a ghost plot in Half-Blood Prince, meaning kind of…

Selina: Yes.

Andrew: … something she had planned and then changed her mind on. She said that Florean Fortescue – whose ice cream you can purchase in the Wizarding World Diagon Alley…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … was almost a major player.

Micah: Get the Butterbeer.

Andrew: Yeah, the Butterbeer ice cream. That’s a good one.

Eric: [in a high-pitched voice] Get the Butterbeer.

Andrew: He was almost a major player in Deathly Hallows and…

Selina: I knew it!

Andrew: Did you really?

Selina: When I read this…

Andrew: Really?

Selina: Yes! Because… well, I didn’t know that, but [laughs] it was one of those things that I remember people talking about after the seventh book came out. I’m like, “Ah, there were all these clues to Florean Fortescue and it never came to anything.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Selina: So it was cool to hear that she thought about it.

Andrew: Oh, that’s interesting. Well… so yeah, she was going to have Florean present Harry some information about the Hallows in Deathly Hallows.

Selina: [laughs] Some Hallows.

Andrew: Yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: “Here they are!”

[Andrew and Selina laugh]

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Crime solved.

Eric: Ollivander is such an important role in that book, and then his next-door neighbor Florean would have also been this huge important guy.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So I understand if that was any… had anything to do with why she didn’t do it because she’d already done it, or chosen to do it, with Ollivander.

Micah: Well…

Andrew: And so this Deathly Hallows information was why Harry met Florean in Prisoner of Azkaban, but then she changed her mind when… because “Phineas Black was a much more satisfactory means of conveying clues,” she said.

Eric: Right.

Selina: Yeah.

Andrew: Micah?

Eric: Well…

Selina: And there’s only so many people you can have walk in and give you information and then leave.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Right, right.

Eric: It’s like, “Oh, hey, you helped me with my homework in year three that week I spent in Diagon Alley. What can you bring to the table now?”

[Selina laughs]

Eric: He’s still going to be, though, this really nice guy who helped Harry with his homework. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And gave him free ice cream. He’s probably still one of my favorite characters, even though he never played that big a role.

Selina: Wow. How much do you hate the other characters? [laughs]

Eric: Well, there is Eric, the security wizard. I also like him a lot.

Selina: That’s true.

Andrew: And the icing on the cake with this was that she said she feels guilty about killing him because she never used the knowledge she gave him to benefit Harry. So it was interesting what character does she feel guilty…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … or regrets… even that word is taboo now in the fandom.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Regrets killing. It seems like this is the one. The only one.

Micah: I think that… what did I tweet you a picture of? Snorlax? When…

Andrew: Oh, you thought this was boring?

Micah: No, I…

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That’s what I read it as.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Well, I don’t think it’s all boring. I just… I don’t think that it blows you away.

Selina: No.

Micah: I don’t think that there’s any information that got released in these twelve days leading up to Christmas that was that shocking, and I understand…

Selina: Yeah, no one was gay or anything.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: They didn’t… I don’t know. There was a part that talked about cauldrons and their purpose. Really? Does anybody honestly want to read that?

Eric: I do.

Micah: Well, you do, of course.

Andrew: You know what that’s from…

Eric: What does that mean, of course? What does that mean?

Micah: It just means that you’d want to read it.

Andrew: You consume everything Harry Potter.

Micah: Yes, exactly.

Andrew: If…

Micah: Even though you don’t go to Pottermore.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Well, I did go to Pottermore, actually. I remembered my password, which had been kicking me out, and then I got in.

Micah: You could reset it, you know.

Andrew: Eric, would you read a section on the toilet paper that is used at Hogwarts?

Eric: Probably because any article that talks about toilet paper is going to talk about the bathroom problem of Harry Potter, which is that none of the characters go to the bathroom unless there’s an action scene in there.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So yeah, I’m a little interested, honestly, in where the Hogwarts students do their business. But…

Andrew: “One of the most common complaints I received in the Harry Potter novels is that they don’t go to the bathroom too much.”

Eric: [laughs] It’s a standard in story writing.

Micah: You should tweet her, actually. I’m sure she would answer that question.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Nobody wants to read about the Hogwarts students going to the bathroom.

Micah: Eric, please, right now, tweet her. Do Hogwarts students use the bathroom?

Selina: Hermione did go to the bathroom at some point in one of the early novels. I distinctly remember…

Eric: No, she said it’s difficult to go to the bathroom. She said it’s difficult with Moaning Myrtle there in the bathroom.

Selina: Oh.

Micah: Eric, please tweet her that.

Andrew: So they only go to the bathroom…

Eric: I’m not going to tweet her that.

Andrew: You’re not going to tweet her that?

Micah: I think it would be a great question.

Eric: I won’t tweet her that for Micah’s enjoyment if he doesn’t follow her on Twitter.

[Andrew and Selina laugh]

Eric: I’m not going to do it. He won’t see her response unless I retweet it, and I’m not going to do that.

Micah: I’ll see it. I retweeted her, what, last week?

Eric: Yeah, the Anthony Goldstein tweet.

Selina: Wow. [laughs] She was so excited.

Eric: Somehow you still saw that even though you don’t follow her.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Somehow, some way. But one thing I did think was actually interesting was she talked about the Inferi as well. She gave a little bit of background on them in that chapter on Pottermore. But I don’t know, I think at this point I’m just over Pottermore. I think it’s a great resource for people who are still looking for information on the series, who want to go through it again, for people maybe who haven’t read it before, and this kind of provides them a companion. But these bits of information, they just… they don’t hit home. I think we’re looking for some really big news about characters or additional plot lines that just… they’re not there.

Eric: I disagree. I think that… I mean, clearly anything major enough made it into the books. But I’m interested in these ghost plots that are coming to light, and I’m interested in knowing that…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Specifically where that Railview inn was that they stayed in in the first book happened to be in Lily’s hometown. Lily and Petunia’s hometown of Cokeworth. Whatever, just random stuff. And as Deathly Hallows comes around, we’re going to find a lot of what I’m looking for, which is what could have been, or a lot of what didn’t make it, because I don’t even… I don’t love… it’s no secret. I don’t love the seventh Harry Potter book, so I really want to know… this is the opportune time to get any kind of what could have been, what should have been, what almost was type stuff into the mix. So I’m actually more excited for…

Micah: Well, it’s also the last chance, really, for that, right?

Eric: Yeah, for anything in general.

Micah: Because you’d think that she’s put the most important bits into the books that have already been released on Pottermore. At least you’d hope that that’s what she’s done, even though we know that she has a ton of information stored away in boxes and in her mind somewhere [that] she can release at any point. But…

Selina: [clears throat] Encyclopedia.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Yeah, exactly. So…

Andrew: So…

Micah: Go ahead.

Selina: See, that’s what I want. I don’t want… oh, sorry. I don’t want Pottermore info. I want encyclopedia info! I’m like, “Urgh!”

Andrew: Okay, so Micah mentioned, why is there cauldron stuff? And this goes… kind of relates… I think that this is probably a sample from the encyclopedia. Here is my theory. Everybody listen because it’s now…

Eric: Andrew’s grand theory…

Selina: Okay.

Andrew: Grand theory…

Eric: … of the J.K. Rowling encyclopedia.

Andrew: This is now or never. This is it.

Selina: Okay.

Andrew: So Half-Blood Prince, just published here at the end of the year on Pottermore, okay? That leaves an entire year wide open for them to finish up Pottermore in 2015. They’re going to publish Deathly Hallows, obviously. Maybe they’ll, I don’t know, go back and release some other things J.K. Rowling promised at one point on Twitter a month ago, that there’s going to be a Patronus quiz. So stuff like that. Maybe they’re going to get that out of the way. And then, now that Pottermore has finished – I’ve been saying this for years – they’re going to open up… that is when we’re going to get the encyclopedia. Once Pottermore has finished releasing all seven Harry Potter books. Now, if they finish Pottermore in 2015, that means the encyclopedia can come out in 2016. What else is in 2016? First Fantastic Beasts movie. They release the encyclopedia around the summertime, summer 2016. All the Harry Potter fans lose themselves in excitement.

Eric: Lose all bowel control.

Andrew: Micah refollows J.K. Rowling on Twitter.

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: Eric gets to learn about Hogwarts toilet paper.

Eric: Yes.

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: The fans are lining up at midnight again. And then everybody is reinvigorated, and they’re excited for Fantastic Beasts a couple of months later. So I think the encyclopedia is coming out in 2016; Pottermore will be finished. We remember, going back years ago, when J.K. Rowling said on her Q&A, Micah found, I think – I don’t know who found it – that little…

Micah: I think it was me.

Andrew: It was you. Micah is a sleuth!

Micah: I’ll take credit. [laughs]

Andrew: He may not follow her on Twitter, but he does go through her website.

Micah: Yeah, there was something on her website. Yeah.

Andrew: That said she is working on the encyclopedia, and then…

Selina: Right.

Andrew: … people noticed. And we started writing about it, and then that got deleted.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: And then that same area said, “I am…”

Eric: “Thrilled to be part of Pottermore.”

Andrew: Right. “I am thrilled to be part of Pottermore. I have no plans for the encyclopedia.” [laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Right after she said, “I am at work on this now.” I think Pottermore got pissed because…

Eric: It’s part of their…

Andrew: … they need the attention.

Selina: Yeah, who’s going to want to read that?

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So… right, and that’s the thing. Nobody is going to give two flying pieces of you know what about Pottermore once the encyclopedia is out.

Selina: No.

Andrew: No one is going to care.

Selina: Exactly.

Andrew: So I think 2016…

Eric: Well, they have an opportunity as a new… as new media, multimodal presentation that is Pottermore to give us…

Selina: Right.

Eric: … this information now over the next couple of years. I think you’re right, though, Andrew. I think the encyclopedia was just delayed. They ventured into this agreement so that they can present this information in this really cool, unique way, but…

Selina: Unless they’re just going to release Pottermore: The Book.

[Eric laughs]

Selina: In which case… [laughs]

Andrew: Right. Well, I’m working on Hypable, an article, “10 Headlines We’re Dreading Reading in 2015,”…

Selina: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: … and one of them is “J.K. Rowling announces Harry Potter, the Encyclopedia… but it’s only on Pottermore.”

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: That’s what I’m afraid of.

Selina: Yes.

Andrew: It’s going to be some digital only release. But I don’t think they actually will do that.

Selina: No.

Andrew: So there we go. That’s… we’ll talk more about 2015 in a moment, but finally… we’ve talked about J.K. Rowling on Twitter a lot today, so maybe we don’t want to get into this more, but she…

Micah: I actually found the quote… sorry, I was looking it up. But…

Andrew: Go ahead.

Micah: Let’s see here. It started off… well, somebody, I guess, asked her, “Will there ever be a printed encyclopedia?” And this is what she said in June of – hold on – I’m assuming it was last year, or it could have even been 2013.

Andrew: Was this on Twitter? What do you…

Eric: Last year was 2013.

Micah: That’s a good point.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Almost. Almost! [laughs]

“Will there ever be a book? I don’t know at the moment. The world has kind of outstripped me in the sense that back in 1998 I generated a lot more material than would ever be put in the books. It was simply ridiculous that anyone – to me at the time, I thought, ‘Who would ever want to know the significance of these types of wand woods?'”

“Will there ever be an encyclopedia?”

And she said:

“Possibly.”

And now we flash forward, and this was what I think was on her website when it relaunched:

“For a long time I have been promising an encyclopedia of Harry’s world, and I have started work on this – some of it forms the new content on Pottermore. It is likely to be a time-consuming job…”

Eric: See, there it is. That “some of this will become Pottermore,” meaning some of it won’t be.

Micah: [continues]

“… but when finished I shall donate all royalties to charity.”

So… and then, of course, that changed. So the difference… I’m just reading one of our transcripts. This was Episode 252. So the difference between June and this past week is that she went from “possibly there’s going to be an encyclopedia” to “I am working on this now,” and then, of course, as Andrew mentioned, that disappeared from the website. [laughs]

Andrew: [laughs] Well… and that was back in 2012, I believe, that that happened, right?

Eric: Must have been.

Andrew: So she said it’s going to be a time-consuming project. If that were to come out in 2016, that’s four years.

Micah: It was April 23, 2012.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: That’s my birthday.

Andrew: I remember I was in Disney World and I pulled out my laptop. I was like, “Micah, how the heck?”

Micah: It was just… we found it and it was probably something that, as you said, Pottermore just didn’t want out there. J.K. Rowling felt comfortable enough to publish it on her site, and then I think because, in essence, it takes away from Pottermore.

Andrew: It absolutely does.

Micah: If you know… to your point, Andrew, let’s say we know Deathly Hallows will be released next year, and Pottermore will wrap up. We don’t know what purpose it’s going to serve beyond all the books being released.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: And so, if she has said publicly that she’s working on an encyclopedia in addition to Pottermore, and that some of the content that she’s working on does, in fact… part of the content is going into Pottermore, but she still has more that she’s using for this encyclopedia, then we should anticipate that one is actually going to be released at some point in the future.

MuggleCast 275 Transcript (continued)


Recap: J.K. Rowling on Twitter (Continued)


Andrew: Now, turning to J.K. Rowling on Twitter one more time today. We talk about it a lot, but that’s where all the excitement is with J.K. Rowling these days. It’s pretty cool. I teased earlier that there was a tweet that if this doesn’t make Micah refollow J.K. Rowling, I don’t know what will. So somebody tweeted her:

“My wife said there are no Jews at Hogwarts.”

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: [continues]

“I’m a Jew, so I assume she said it to be the only magical one in the family. Thoughts?”

She replied:

“Anthony Goldstein, Ravenclaw, Jewish wizard.”

That’s it. Now, this, it turns out, was one of the original forty Harry Potter characters that she came up with in Harry’s class. [laughs] Some people were like, “Oh, of course she picks Goldstein for the one Jewish person at Hogwarts.”

[Andrew and Selina laugh]

Andrew: But remember, this was back in the ’90s when it wasn’t some huge thing. And she said that was… I think she said that was one of the names of her friends, right? When she was slamming somebody on Twitter?

Selina: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

[Micah laughs]

Selina: Yes. [laughs]

Micah: Jo slamming…

Selina: One of her slams.

Andrew: [laughs] And then she said:

“OK, let me clarify that!”

The next day because, of course, people were like, “Oh my God, there’s just one Jewish person?”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: This must make her want to leave Twitter when she has to…

Selina: I know. People are so dumb.

Micah: One special Jewish boy that goes to Hogwarts.

Andrew: Yeah. She said:

“OK, let me clarify that! Anthony isn’t the first Jewish student, nor is he the only one. I just have reasons for knowing most about him!”

That’s because he was one of the originals.

Micah: That makes sense.

Selina: He was one of the OGs.

Andrew: So Micah, does this not make you want to refollow her?

Micah: I think she’s really been active. That’s clear over the last couple of months on Twitter, and I think that as she continues to be more active and do more things… I mentioned the anagram earlier, and certainly once I heard about that I went to check it out. But I think at some point, I’ll follow her again.

Andrew: Okay.

Selina: Oh.

Micah: I think it’s possible.

Andrew: I have another proposal.

Micah: 2015 is a new year.

Andrew: Okay. Yeah, I have another proposal we’ll get to with our big announcement.

Micah: Okay.

Andrew: [laughs] That’s our big announcement: Micah is following J.K. Rowling.

[Everyone laughs]

Selina: Yes.

Micah: Well, I’ve got to get her to reply. I think between the four of us here, we can come up with some questions that we can get her to reply to.

Andrew: Yeah, come to Brazil.

Eric: That’s it. You want special service. You want exactly for her to answer your question the way she’s answering all these other people’s questions like Ingrid Fonseca, who said:

“If you have a Horcrux, what [would it] be? #brazil.”

There’s Brazil again, by the way.

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

Micah: Brazil is its own trend, it seems like.

Eric: J.K. Rowling said:

“I would never have a Horcrux! They are evil objects created by murder!”

She’s answering fans’ questions, which…

Micah: That’s a cop out. Total cop out.

Eric: No, it’s not. It’s not. That’s why we never… she told us early on we’d never learn the process that was involved, because somebody is stupid enough in the world to go out and do it and be like, “Hey, I have a Horcrux now.”

Selina: “I killed this person. What now?”

Eric: Yeah, exactly. JKR…

Micah: Well, hold on a second. I don’t think they need to learn the process in order to, unfortunately, do something like that and claim an item they’re holding in their hand is a Horcrux. I think there are people out there that are stupid enough to do that anyway.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Unfortunately.

Eric: Yeah. But no, she was asked also… she’s just answering fan questions, which is beautiful.

Micah: I think it’s great. And look, when she first came on Twitter, it seemed as if it was done purely for publicity and to just be on Twitter.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Because everybody else was on Twitter. People were impersonating her, I’m sure.

Eric: Well, that’s what it is, yeah. She needed to create one just so that other people didn’t.

Micah: Well, I think it’s fair to say though that if you’re going to be on Twitter, you should embrace it; you should be active with it. That’s the whole point of it, and that’s why people follow you. They don’t follow you so your account sits idle for a couple of months, or you only tweet sparingly and you tweet the same thing over and over again.

Eric: So the entire foundation of why you left, why you stopped following her, is gone now.

Micah: It is…

Eric: Because she’s so active.

Micah: She finally listened to me.

[Micah and Selina laugh]

Micah: And she became more active.

Eric: So now you want to stretch it further. Until she answers one of your specific questions, you won’t follow her back?

Micah: Of course.

Andrew: I think Eric has grown like actually angry that Micah doesn’t follow her.

Selina: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, I find it to be pretty funny. She tweeted – this is eleven days ago:

“Seven minutes to midnight… time for bed.”

This is after this whole question and answer session. She [was] asked about what her favorite quote is and all this other stuff. She says:

“… time for bed. You people never run out of great questions. Sleep well/have a great day!”

And this is J.K. Rowling, the author of these books, who has got so many projects up in the air. She’s taken the time to answer these really cool questions for fans!

Andrew: Yeah. Well, you know what I think it is? I think at some point earlier this year, she realized how easy it is to use. It may not have been her at the very beginning. And then at some point, she downloaded the app on her phone…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … and then she can sit there… Eric just referenced that “time for bed” tweet.

Selina: She was playing Candy Crush and she was like, “What am I going to do?”

Andrew: Right, yeah. So she’s in bed, her luxurious California king bed, and she’s got a nice glass of wine next to her table, and she’s like, “Let me see what’s doing on Twitter.” And it’s just so easy, and obviously it’s a lot of fun for her as well to interact with the fans. Like Pottermore… Potter more should be embracing this and have a “Tweets by J.K. Rowling” section and…

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Anyway, so…

Micah: No, you’re right. I’m not disagreeing with you. I think it’s great. I think it’s awesome that she’s actively tweeting and she’s responding to fans. Clearly, people are interested still in all these different things, and the fact that she’s willing and able to reply is awesome.


Looking Ahead to 2015


Andrew: So let’s move on now to what 2015 has in store for Harry Potter fans. I just shared my encyclopedia theory.

Micah: J.K. Rowling on Snapchat.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That’s the next thing.

Selina: Sending random Snaps to fans. [laughs]

Andrew: “Here’s the pen I’m using to write right now.”

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: I don’t think there’s any doubt, if there’s one thing we know… there’s two things… or maybe three. There’s three things we know for sure. Potter more is going to be completed in 2015 – certainly through Deathly Hallows; that’s definite. Fantastic Beasts casting news – they are going to start filming Fantastic Beasts in 2015, which is crazy to think that this is actually happening in 2015. That means we’re going to learn who’s playing Newt. And the more exciting part – in my opinion, I think – is we’re finally going to learn more about the story because we’re going to hear about these people getting cast and it’s going to be our introduction into Fantastic Beasts. We have no clue what other characters are appearing at this point, and a lot of them are probably going to be new – best friend of Newt, the bird that sits on his shoulder…

[Andrew and Selina laugh]

Andrew: The little dragon that sits on his shoulder. We’re going to be learning a lot about Fantastic Beasts in 2015. And that’s cool, right?

Eric: Yeah.

Selina: It is. It really is.

Eric: That’s very cool.

Andrew: But who knows how much Warner Bros. is going to release. I mean, the casting stuff may be our best bet at learning more in 2015 because remember, it’s November 2016…

Selina: Yeah, character names and… it’s going to be like Star Wars.

Andrew: Right.

Selina: We’re going to learn character names and character costume designs and stuff.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And then will come the fan posters with using the actors’ likeness and stuff.

Andrew: Yes.

Selina: Yeah. And the teaser trailer with a Nimbus flying across the screen.

[Eric and Selina laugh]

Selina: Newt in the desert. It’s going to be great.

Andrew: The teaser trailer should just be that riddle that J.K. Rowling posted on Twitter.

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: Just that line.

Eric: “Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a couple of hours,” something like that?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Selina: Yeah.

Andrew: We will probably find out more about – well, this isn’t so certain – something about the Wizarding World theme parks. I mean, Japan opened this year.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Hollywood is opening in 2016.

Eric: 2016, okay.

Selina: England, please?

Andrew: England…

Eric: [imitating Selina] England!

[Selina laughs]

Eric: You have the Studio Tour! Come on.

Selina: Oh yeah, and that’s just as good.

Eric: Is it not?

Andrew: I was thinking more we would find out something about a third expansion to the Wizarding World in Orlando because that one is obviously the bread and butter.

Selina: Oh, you have enough.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: What would be next though, if you’re talking expansion to the Wizarding World? I’m sure you’ve written an article on this, Andrew, but what would be next?

Selina: How about a bigger Hogwarts?

Eric: Yeah. One you can stay in.

Andrew: How about a Great Hall to eat in? Oh, I know. People want a Hogwarts hotel. Hotel Hogwarts.

Micah: [laughs] Somebody mentioned the Ministry, right?

Andrew: Oh yeah, that would be a big one.

Eric: Yeah, but I’d go for Hotel Hogwarts.

Selina: Yeah, Hogwarts for sure. Could you imagine?

Micah: Yeah.

Selina: And you could choose to… there would be wings for Hufflepuff and Gryffindor and stuff.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And different classes you could attend that you could sit in on.

Selina: Yeah.

Eric: I think that’s what we all wanted all along.

Selina: Yeah! It’s just one big Hogwarts where we can go…

Eric: Roller coasters are fine.

Micah: They should do it in England, though. Right, Selina?

Eric: Scotland.

Selina: For sure. Scotland, yeah. That would be okay.

Andrew: And each wing would be a different Hogwarts house.

Selina: Yeah.

Eric: And Dumbledore’s office would be the secret J.K. Rowling suite, like the penthouse. [laughs]

Selina: [laughs] Oh, yeah.

Eric: When JKR comes, she gets to stay in Dumbledore’s office.

Selina: And the Chamber of Secrets is like a giant swimming pool or something.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh, cool! Yeah, that’s cool.

Selina: We should design it.

Andrew: This isn’t strictly Harry Potter related, but it is J.K. Rowling related. The Casual Vacancy television series will be premiering on the BBC in early 2015.

Selina: Oh, yeah!

Andrew: And I’ll finally know what happens in that story now.

Eric: [laughs] Yeah, me too.

Andrew: It’s very exciting.

Selina: Not that exciting.

Eric: Presuming they don’t change the ending for TV.

Andrew: Right, right.

Micah: That was a tough book to get through.

Selina: Yeah, it was.

Andrew: Yeah, I didn’t finish.

Eric: Me neither.

Andrew: Eric and I did not finish. And we’ll also be hearing more about the Cormoran Strike television series; this is something we haven’t touched on yet. The BBC and J.K. Rowling announced that they are turning the Cormoran Strike novels – so that’s The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm – into a drama for BBC One, which I think is really cool. There were talks… there were rumors when The Cuckoo’s Calling first was unveiled as being J.K. Rowling’s that there were studios trying to get it – movie studios. But I think it’s better as a television series because now we know… J.K. Rowling said this year there’s going to be six or seven more of these Cormoran Strike books.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So this could be a long-running series on BBC One…

Micah: Wow.

Andrew: … and I’m really excited about that because I love these books.

Micah: Do we get that in the US?

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: BBC One? No… well, we get BBC America.

Eric: Oh, right.

Andrew: The Casual Vacancy is going to be on HBO – we don’t know when, but it’s going to be – so hopefully Cormoran Strike is going to maybe be on HBO as well.

Micah: That would be cool.

Selina: Mhm.

Andrew: It’s the Internet. We’ll have ways of watching it.

[Micah and Selina laugh]

Micah: And then book-wise though, did she say she’s starting to write the fourth one? I thought I read that somewhere.

Andrew: Third.

Micah: I thought the third was already almost finished.

Andrew: Right. She said [that] she was halfway through writing the third one. But yeah, presumably she’ll be writing the fourth one in 2015, I guess. Yeah.

Micah: So we can expect probably a release for 2015 for the third book?

Andrew: Yeah, I’m hoping so.

Selina: Oh Jesus Christ, I’m only like three chapters into the first one.

Andrew: Get reading!

Selina: I know! There’s so much and she writes all this stuff and I’m having trouble just reading it. [sighs] I’m a bad fan.


Announcement: MuggleCast Returns to Monthly Episodes


Andrew: And this gets into our announcement for 2015. We’ve done a few episodes… of course, MuggleCast was always a weekly show when we started in 2005. And then after the final movie came out, we pulled it back to monthly. And then we stopped doing regular episodes because it was just time. There was no spinoff series. J.K. Rowling was barely on Twitter. Micah was barely on Twitter at that time.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: It was a different time.

Eric: That’s why we really ended it.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: Because Micah had no interest in Twitter.

Micah: That’s right.

Andrew: And after doing it for so long, MuggleCast had run its course for what we… it served its purpose. And now that… [laughs] believe it or not, this was a factor, in my opinion. Now that J.K. Rowling is on Twitter more…

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: … now that Fantastic Beasts is under two years away, we have decided ≠ drumroll, please…

[Eric makes a drumroll sound]

Andrew: … that we are going to…

Selina: To end it.

Andrew: We are going to end it entirely. No.

[Andrew and Selina laugh]

Andrew: That we are going to do monthly episodes…

Eric: Bing!

Andrew: … beginning again in March.

Eric: Bang! Boom!

Andrew: Bing, bang!

Selina: Happy New Year!

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Selina, I’m not even sure we told you this yet, did I? So surprise!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: So Harry Potter is still beloved by everybody. Everybody still loves Harry Potter. Everybody I meet where I live now, Harry Potter comes up at some point. And I’m like, “Did you know MuggleNet?” And they always say yes. And everybody is still obsessed with what J.K. Rowling says on Twitter. These are normal people, not even the people who listen to MuggleCast, not even those crazies. Everybody is just so excited about Fantastic Beasts, about what J.K. Rowling is saying on Twitter, this new Pottermore stuff ≠ believe it or not, Micah…

Micah: What? Whoa, whoa, whoa.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: We just feel like it’s time. So beginning in March, we will resume monthly episodes. That’s a new episode of MuggleCast every month.

Eric: For a nominal fee.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: For $3.99 a month. No, it’s going to be free. And we’re all really excited, I think, to start it back up again.

Eric: Totally.

Micah: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I know we’ve been dropping clues… speaking of Twitter, we’ve dropped a few. I tried out my Photoshop skills [laughs] on the most recent one.

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, they caused people to unfollow us on Twitter. They were that bad.

Micah: Oh, did it? Okay.

Andrew: Yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I’m kidding.

Micah: You have, what, a ridiculous following on that account now, so a few here or there don’t hurt at the end.

Andrew: I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding. Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting actually. When we ended monthly episodes of MuggleCast, the Facebook page had 35,000 likes. Now we’re up to 77,000 likes, [laughs] which is just crazy.

Eric: We’ve upped our value [laughs] by doing less.

Micah: More than doubled it.

Andrew: Yeah, and part of the reason… well, a large part of the reason is that I post Harry Potter stories from Hypable on there. And I think people see this page and they’re like, “Oh wow, there’s still Harry Potter news. Cool, I’ll ‘like’ it.” So it’s grown that way. But it just also shows you that there’s still a demand for Harry Potter content.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: People are still as passionate as ever about it.

Selina: That’s so exciting.

Eric: And we would not have anyone else do a Harry Potter podcast. Why not just have it be us?

Andrew: Right, right. I hate to brag about this, but we were the first Harry Potter podcast, so…

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: We were!

Micah: We were. No, definitely we were.

Andrew: So it feels right that we’re going to…

Micah: Come back?

Andrew: … lead the charge on a resurgence here. Maybe in the fandom, we’ll see. We’re going to be all about it.

Micah: We get to celebrate ten years.

Eric: Next August.

Selina: Oh, you guys. That’s awesome.

Andrew: Yes. That’s appropriate. That’s very appropriate. Now, the reason we’re waiting until March is because Micah and I are actually going to be part of a new podcast. If you guys were into…

Micah: Yeah, Andrew, why don’t you tell them the name?

Andrew: Well, we don’t have a name yet. [laughs] But if you’re into Smart Mouths, you’re going to like this new podcast because that will be starting up in January, so… we’ll mention that on future episodes of MuggleCast here. But…

Selina: That’s so exciting!

Andrew: Yes.

Selina: It’s so great! And podcasts as well, they hit a bit of a lull after the initial sort of excitement, but I’m so glad you guys keep doing it and more new podcasts.

Andrew: Thank you, Selina.

Selina: Oh, I love it.

Andrew: Yeah. Well…

Selina: I’m super surprised because I had no idea. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you. [laughs] It didn’t even dawn on me. Sorry about that.

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, so… and we’ll have Selina coming on, I’m sure. And I think one of the goals will be to have a fourth… it’ll be Eric, Micah, and I, and then we’ll have a fourth person on at least every episode. I think that’s going to be a goal. We’ll try to freshen things up in ways like that.

Micah: Yeah. And I’m looking forward to continuing to talk about Pottermore and Twitter.

Selina: [laughs] Twitter.

Eric: All of the things you…

Selina: All of the Harry Potter stuff. [laughs]

Micah: No, look, I think it’s always good to play devil’s advocate because there are people out there, I’m sure, who feel similarly about Pottermore – maybe not as much about Twitter at least now, but Pottermore in particular, I think, just… it is what it is. We’ve discussed this so many times on this show, and I think for different people it serves different purposes. But the fact that we just have it is a great thing because it provides us new information and it will continue to into the new year.

Andrew: Well… and the reason that we want to start up monthly episodes again is that Fantastic Beasts, like we mentioned, is going to really get rocking and rolling this year.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: And there’s going to be a lot to talk about with that, and there’s going to be other stuff in the Harry Potter fandom to talk about as well.

Micah: So if you had to take a guess now… looking ahead into 2015, we’ll get a lot of casting news – you mentioned that – who is going to play the role of Newt Scamander, if you had to put it on paper right now?

Andrew: Benedict Cumberbatch, obviously.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Smaug?

Selina: Yeah, Smaug.

Andrew: No, I don’t think it’s going to be a big person. The safe predictions are Matt Smith…

Selina: We don’t even know how old he is, though. It could be literally anyone.

Andrew: Yeah.

Selina: It could be a woman. [laughs]

Andrew: I think he’s in his twenties. Don’t we know that?

Selina: Do we?

Eric: Early twenties, based on when he left… based on the old biography, which could be changed a little bit.

Andrew: Right. There’s going to inevitably be some adjustments. But we know the story is set in the 1920s…

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: … and according to the Harry Potter Wiki he was born in 1897, so that would put him around his twenties. So…

Eric: Yeah, he basically… he leaves Hogwarts and becomes… he trains with the Ministry for a couple of years, I think, and then leaves on a big safari or quest or whatever, based on the older information.

Micah: So mid to late twenties.

Eric: Yeah, mid-twenties. Kind of our age, which is really cool because Harry Potter was our age, growing up.

Selina: And we know that it’s the beginning of his career?

Andrew: We don’t really know that either.

Eric: Not specifically. Yeah, no, not specifically.

Selina: Okay.

Eric: I mean, I think… he’ll probably be pretty esteemed… this is what I’m gathering from the plot so far, is people will know him and he’s going to New York, but then this huge crisis happens, which we do know, and then he’ll be called upon to fix it. So there will be… I think he’ll have a little degree of fame, kind of like an Indiana Jones kind of guy.

Selina: Right, right, right.

Andrew: And I want to touch on something that Selina mentioned. There really is a resurgence with podcasts happening right now.

Eric: Yeah.

Selina: Yeah.

Andrew: Led largely by Serial.

Eric: Serial.

Andrew: That mystery podcast. I still haven’t listened to it, but I want to; everybody is obsessed with it. But I think people are starting to… that helped people realize how convenient podcasts are. Apple now puts the Podcasts app on your phone; I think that’s very helpful to podcasters. So yeah, I just think that there really is a resurgence happening and…

Eric: Also, Welcome to Night Vale is also…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … a really cool, just really well done concept show.

Andrew: Yeah, and everybody has got their phones… one of the reasons I’ve never really believed in YouTube is because it’s not as portable as something like podcasts are. You can really take a podcast anywhere with you. No matter where you are, you can easily listen to it. Whereas YouTube, you can’t watch it anywhere… or everywhere.

Selina: Mhm.

Andrew: I mean, obviously YouTube is very, very, very popular, but we’re podcasters here.

[Eric and Selina laugh]

Andrew: So yeah, that’s our big announcement. Again, it’ll start up again in March.

Selina: Yay!

Andrew: And hopefully the casting announcements will start after that.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: But who knows?


Micah Refollows J.K. Rowling on Twitter


Andrew: And yeah, that’s all we’ve got for today’s episode of MuggleCast. By the way… so Micah, I know… we keep bringing this up, but to kick off our resurgence, I believe in March you should refollow J.K. Rowling.

Micah: I don’t know.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: You know what? Okay, look…

Selina: Hey, at this point, it’s going to have to take something really big. [laughs]

Micah: Hold on. You know what? It’s the end of the year, right? We’re heading into a brand new year. You make resolutions, right?

Eric: Okay. Where are you going with this?

Micah: Well, I’m shifting away from my microphone here for a second so that I can type on the keyboard.

Andrew: Oh my God, I’m so excited.

Selina: Uh-oh.

Andrew: I need to get into the MuggleCast Twitter right now to report the breaking news after it’s done.

Micah: All right, so I’m just making sure. This is her handle, right? @jk_rowling.

Andrew: Right. That’s right. Do it, do it.

Micah: I want to know what follower I’m going to become. She’s got 3,965,281, so I’ll become the 3,965,282nd follower.

Selina: Oh, this is so exciting. You’re so special.

Eric: Don’t pull our leg here. You’re going to do this.

Micah: It’s done! It’s done!

Eric: It’s done!

Andrew: Wow!

Eric: Yay!

Andrew: All that. I can’t believe it. Well, this has truly been a…

Micah: She followed back!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: She’s been waiting for that, Micah.

Selina: Yeah. [laughs] I was thinking poised.

Micah: She was. I knew it.

Andrew: This has truly been a remarkable landmark episode of MuggleCast. I’m glad you didn’t wait until March, Micah.

Eric: This is going up on the Hall of Fame on the MuggleCast site [laughs] just because Micah followed her.

Andrew: [laughs] Well, what a way to cap off the year.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I’m adding that to our year in review.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: The biggest Potter stories of the year: Micah follows J.K. Rowling again.

Eric: Cool.

Andrew: I don’t think you’ll regret that decision, Micah.

Eric: No. Take a screenshot.

Micah: It’s not like I don’t take a look at her feed…

Andrew: Right. Well, now you’ll be forced to.

Micah: … of what’s going on. I will, yeah. I have no choice unless I hit “Unfollow” again for some reason.

Andrew: You better not!

Eric: Is that a threat?

Selina: Watch yourself, Jo.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: No.


Show Close


Andrew: Thank you, everybody, for listening. As always, you can visit the MuggleCast website to download all the episodes. Maybe you want to relisten to a few in preparation for the new era. We’ve got every single episode of MuggleCast right there on the website.

Eric: Yup.

Andrew: You can also follow us on social media. If you don’t, now is definitely the time to do it: Twitter.com/MuggleCast, Facebook.com/MuggleCast. We’ve also got the MuggleCast Tumblr: MuggleCast.Tumblr.com.

Micah: Is Kevin making sure we’re getting all our traffic there?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yes, Kevin Steck, a Tumblr employee. Still looks like… well, it looks like the Tumblr needs some… needs to be updated. I don’t think it’s being maintained anymore.

Eric: We have to wake up those girls.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. We’ll reach out to them.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: They can… yeah. All right. And I think that’s it. I’m Andrew Sims.

Micah: That’s it.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Selina: And I’m Selina Wilken.

Andrew: Selina, thank you for joining us.

Micah: Yeah.

Selina: Thank you for having me.

Andrew: No problem. And we’ll see everybody next time for Episode 276. Goodbye!

Eric: Goodbye, 2014!

Selina: Goodbye!

Micah: Bye! See you in ’15!

Selina: Happy New Year!

Transcript 274

MuggleCast 274 Transcript


Show Intro


[Show music begins]

Andrew: Because we always return for the big news, this is MuggleCast Episode [274] for [October 8], 2014.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: This week’s episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 274. Eric, Micah, and I are all here. Welcome back, guys.

Micah: Hey.

Eric: It’s great to be back.

Andrew: Well, as…

Eric: Or shall I say it’s fantastic to be back.

Andrew: Ah, ah.

Micah: Well, actually, Andrew…

Andrew: [laughs] Yes?

Micah: It is great to be here with both you and Eric, and actually I wanted to apologize because I know we were supposed to be doing this earlier this evening, but I only… you know I work in New York City and I only had planned on spending a few hours there.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: But…

Andrew: I get it!

Eric: Oh!

Andrew: I get it!

Eric: That was smooth-ish.

Andrew: That was smooth.

Eric: Ish. Judges?

Andrew: Bit long of a setup, but I got it.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: So…

Eric: You only meant to be there, at work…

Micah: Yes, I was only meant to be there for a few hours.

Eric: … for a few hours?

Micah: But…

Eric: Like nine to five, specifically?

Micah: Mhm. Something like that.


News: J.K. Rowling Tweets Anagram


Andrew: So, that’s one reason that we are here today. The past couple of days have been a whirlwind for Harry Potter fans because J.K. Rowling decided a couple of days ago, “Well, I’ll throw a little riddle out there about Fantastic Beasts and see if the fans can figure it out.” It all kind of started when J.K. Rowling tweeted a little update saying that… no, not that “pen and paper are her priority,” though they were.

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: That she’s tweaking a screenplay which kind of suggested, by the way, that, to me, it read like she’s finishing it up…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … if she’s just “tweaking it.”

Eric: I would agree with that.

Andrew: And she also said she’s finishing up a novel. Now, that could be a whole other discussion.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: But…

Eric: That’s true. Working on a novel.

Andrew: … for now we’ll put that aside. And so then one of her followers said, “Oh, you should tweet a little…” or no, she… the follower said, “Whenever J.K. Rowling tweets, I need to take some time out of my day to dissect it and try to figure out if there’s any hidden clues in it.” [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. Yeah, it was… actually, I have it right here. It was Regan, @peruseproject on Twitter, said:

“Every time J.K. Rowling tweets I stop whatever I’m doing and analyze it for an hour.”

Andrew: And then that triggered J.K. Rowling to say what?

Eric: “See, now I’m tempted to…” so she @ replied her, but she put a period. Look at how tech savvy J.K. Rowling has gotten now, by the way.

Andrew: She’s getting with it, but she still doesn’t know emojis, so…

Eric: Oh, yeah. Well, emojis are another beast all together and not as fantastic. But J.K. Rowling said… okay, so:

“.@peruseproject See, now I’m tempted to post a riddle or an anagram. Must resist temptation… must work…”

Andrew: And then the next morning she released it. [laughs] Do you have it right there with you?

Eric: I do. Okay, here we go. And I’m not paraphrasing. This is word for word. Okay, J.K. Rowling’s tweet:

“Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.”

Andrew: [laughs] So, at first she didn’t say that it was an anagram.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: There was a debate over whether or not this was some sort of quote from the movie or what, but we assumed that it could be an anagram because she… because of that person who tweeted at her the night before. Now, I don’t know if I had some sort of… I’m sort of connected on a deep level with J.K. Rowling because that night I had happened to wake up at seriously 3:30 a.m. It was really weird for me.

Eric: Whoa.

Andrew: Yeah, and I see this tweet because I checked my phone real quick to make sure nobody has died or anything, and I see this text. So, I…

Eric: Do you often just wake up at odd hours of the night and be like…

Andrew: Well, it doesn’t happen…

Eric: … “Has anybody died?”

Andrew: Well, I figure, “Oh, phone is right there. I may as well check.” [laughs]

Eric: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, that’s true.

Andrew: So, I have text notifications on. I can always see when J.K. Rowling sends a tweet. So, I see this…

Eric: It’s a useful feature, Micah.

Andrew: Yeah, Micah, you could use this. And then… so then…

Micah: Well, I think his point is I don’t follow her.

Eric: You should.

Andrew: But then I’m laying in bed for the next 45 minutes trying to figure out what this means, and I seriously… I lost like an hour of sleep that night because not only did I wake up randomly… anyway, this is besides the point.

Eric: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: So, J.K. Rowling starts dropping these clues and whatnot, and before you know it, we finally get to the answer. This ended up being a whole big thing. J.K. Rowling, in… according to her, only intended this to hold fans over while she was finishing her screenplay and finishing this book. But then, I guess it… you know, it started making headlines all around the Internet, and I guess she maybe just got wrapped up in the excitement too because… especially today, Tuesday, she was tweeting non-stop.

Eric: Oh, yeah. She was tweeting… she went so far as to tweet fans’ wrong answers and even make fun of really clever, really hilariously some of the responses that people were guessing to her.

Andrew: Mhm. It was pretty entertaining.

Eric: It was extremely entertaining. You were right to call it a whirlwind. It really was a whirlwind that, as you said, even she got caught up in it. It was… it’s just… it was a fun… today especially, the day that we’re recording this, Tuesday the 7th, was just a fun, really, really, really, really fun day to be on Twitter, to be alive…

Andrew: [laughs] To be alive.

Micah: All right.

Eric: … to be following J.K. Rowling.

Micah: Well…

Andrew: So, the answer ended up being:

“Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a few hours.”

Period. That’s it. Now, in another tweet, J.K. Rowling said that this was the first line of a synopsis. Not the script, just a general overview of the story.

Eric: Not the script, it’s a synopsis, so…

Micah: It’s a great… it’s very much in the style of J.K. Rowling. Just, “He only meant to spend…”

Andrew: Right.

Micah: “… but a few hours there.”

Eric: And then this happened.

Micah: And then… right, exactly. So, we know it’s going to lead into a very interesting story for Newt Scamander, and it’s clear that he’s going to be in New York well past when he intended to and it’ll be interesting to see, is that going to be the entire first movie? Will he be only here in the States and in New York, or will he go elsewhere? But I do agree with… and I know I mocked you a little bit, Eric, but it’s always interesting to me how she can really just captivate. Not just the fan community, but so many different people. How they just lock in…

Eric: Mhm.

Micah: … whenever she says anything.

Eric: It’s like a switch.

Micah: It doesn’t matter what she does.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: She tweets, she puts something out there in the public, and people just immediately latch onto it and…

Eric: Having read…

Micah: A whole discussion.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: It was like having her website back from years ago…

Eric: Yeah, that’s true.

Micah: … when she would release clues…

Eric: I did want to say…

Micah: … about book titles and release dates.

Eric: Yeah, I did want to say that this felt a lot like those old days…

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: … with the door, which is why I was like… I was actually really hesitant to try and solve the anagram. In fact, I didn’t. I just enjoyed reading the wrong answers and then…

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

Eric: Because I would always be…

Micah: I tried.

Eric: I was always the last person in through the door when the “Do Not Disturb” sign was down. I could never figure out what to do. I always waited for the self-help guide.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: I just couldn’t do it, so… but still, I was still excited that it was there. And Twitter is the new old J.K. Rowling’s website, by the way, because that thing…

Andrew: Well, because she made it that way today.

Eric: Have you guys tried doing web… what’s the old site? Wayback Machine or something?

Andrew: Yeah. I don’t think it will work because…

Eric: Have you tried going on JKR’s old website through there?

Andrew: I don’t think it would work because it’s Flash, I assume.

Eric: No? Am I the only one who – well, anyway – thought of it?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But anyway, the old website where she used to have all these really awesome clues and games and fun with the fans… it was a long time coming until today when it just feels like for the first time she really, really just had a blast on social media.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: And you hope it was her and not her assistant, but I think it was genuinely her.

Andrew: I think it was genuinely her, too.

Micah: I will say this though, I look forward to her doing those types of things in the future. I think she’s sort of realized the ability that she has to connect directly with fans where it’s not so intense. It’s really easy. She can pick and choose when she wants to respond. She can do things like this and just completely… Newt Scamander was trending…

Eric: Oh, man.

Micah: … in the United States. Probably internationally. At least I saw that at one point. Yeah, I was at work today and I was trying to solve this damned thing. And she kept giving more clues, and then you knew the more she gave away of it, eventually somebody was going to solve it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: But I think everybody was pretty much set on the fact that Newt Scamander was part of it and then New York was part of it. What you did with the rest of the letters was pretty much up to you. But I give all the credit in the world to that girl who solved it, and I’m glad that people finally started retweeting her and favoriting her instead of just J.K. Rowling’s response to her because I think that she deserves the notoriety for it.

Andrew: Yeah. With that said, I think a bunch of people figured it out at the same time, but it doesn’t really matter. Because I know MuggleNet tweeted it about the same time as did somebody following me, and then I did a search on Twitter for the exact phrase and they all sort of showed up at 1:47, so… whatever.

Micah: Oh.

Andrew: But going back to the point about…

Micah: Then forget everything I just said.

Andrew: No, no, it’s still a good point.

Eric: Yeah, MuggleCast tweeted… from MuggleCast, that Georgia…

Andrew: Yeah, that was me.

Eric: Georgina Eleanor.

Andrew: I looked up who showed up first in the list, but who cares. It doesn’t matter. What…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Well, actually what’s interesting – I’ll just say this really quickly – is that… sort of the benefit of that is that J.K. Rowling is now following that person.

Andrew: Is she?

Micah: I think so.

Andrew: Oh yeah, I do see that. See… well, okay, I’m happy for that girl, Emily, but…

Micah: [laughs] Now you’re pissed.

Andrew: No, I’m not pissed.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I think that’s fine. Good for her.

Micah: You’re going to curse her out when we’re done with the show.

Andrew: [laughs] No.

Eric: How many people did J.K… I’m going to look this up. How many people does she follow?

Andrew: She follows 49 people.

Eric: Oh my God, that would be awesome! I would be all over her feed all the time.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: That would be awesome.

Andrew: So, I think that this did teach J.K. Rowling something, that it is very easy to get fans excited through Twitter. But it’s also a blessing and a curse. I mean, some media outlets were way off their rockers today calling it, “Oh, it’s going to be a new Harry Potter book that she’s announcing,” because you could sculpt the anagram and get, “New Harry coming,” or something. I can’t remember what it was, but it was embarrassing. Entertainment Weekly and a couple of other sites really screwed that up, I thought.

Eric: Well…

Andrew: But this was… I have to say, I know we like to hate on Pottermore a little bit, but I seriously feel like in the three years that Pottermore has been around, there has never been this level of excitement on that site. What J.K. Rowling did in two days on Twitter…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … Potter more has not been able to accomplish in three years, and I think there is this disconnect between what J.K. Rowling… what people love about J.K. Rowling – the mystery, the excitement, and her former website – and Pottermore, it’s just the excitement is not there on Pottermore. And she could have released this through Pottermore, but I think she loves Twitter now. She gets it. She sits there in her rocking chair on her balcony…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: … sipping some tea, petting the dog, and she just loads up her phone and starts playing with the fans, and it’s fun because you can actually comment on Twitter and you can see real names.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: With Pottermore, it’s just… the community is not there.

Eric: Well, I did want to say she is a… I knew we all knew this, but she’s a master of the 140 characters. Each one of these tweets, it feels like she’s not even trying or has to worry about what she says. Every one of these tweets is perfect.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And it fits in the given space.

Micah: Well, I think…

Eric: She manages to have such a… what I want to say is she manages to have such an overt hilarious great sense of humor even though Twitter is limiting.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: I’m betting the person who taught her Twitter told her that she has to put in 140 characters in order for the tweet to actually go through.

Andrew: That would be mean. That sounds like something you would tell her.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: We’re going to continue talking about J.K. Rowling’s anagram in just a moment, but first it’s time to remind you that today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. Now for listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to try out their great service just in time for fall when instead of holding a book you’re going to want to keep your hands inside your pockets to stay warm. It’s cold everywhere, and I have three awesome recommendations for everybody this week. This is the benefit of doing a podcast every couple of months because all these great books come out while we’re away. First of all, Gone Girl, now in theaters starring Ben Affleck. This is the number one bestseller on Audible.com. A fantastic movie. Whether or not you’re seeing the movie, you should definitely read the book. That is what I hear from everybody. Second, a book that was just published. This is going to be huge with our audience, I think. The Blood of Olympus: The Heroes of Olympus, Book 5. It’s the fifth and final book by Rick Riordan in the Percy Jackson series. You definitely want to check this one out. I know a lot of readers on Hypable were very sad earlier this week because it’s the last one of the series. And finally, another recommendation: The Maze Runner. Of course, this was just in theaters recently. It still is in theaters. Getting great reviews. Readers of the book are very happy with it, actually. There were some changes, but everybody was generally very happy with it. So, those three recommendations. There’s three excellent choices right there for you. You can get any one of these for free by signing up at AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, Gone Girl, The Heroes of Olympus, Book 5, and The Maze Runner. Get any one of them for free. AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.


Breaking Down the Anagram


Andrew: As for this anagram…

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … what… any ideas? The problem is we don’t know much about Newt, but this is certainly an interesting question. Why did he come to New York? So, he was only planning to visit for a few hours, but why did he… J.K. Rowling says:

“Circumstances ensured that he remained… for the length of a movie, anyway.”

Micah: So, he will be here…

Eric: I had a guess…

Micah: … for the whole first movie.

Eric: I kind of had an idea, but then it kind of got foiled, is I was thinking, “Oh, so if he only meant to be in New York for a couple of hours…” I’m thinking very Muggle minded like, “Oh, it’s a layover.” Right?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: He must be heading to LA or something because he is coming from London. But then that was actually destroyed by the fact that it’s the wizarding world, right? You can probably just take… I mean, I assume an extended Floo Network would take you anywhere in the world. So New York wouldn’t necessarily be a layover [laughs] kind of place. In the same distance or the same amount of time, you could get to New York. You could also get to Georgia and Los Angeles and anywhere else you want to be, I assume. So maybe not that, but maybe…

Andrew: I think it’s more on the path of he went… my gut theory is he went there…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … to go research some beasts, so when the movie opens up we’re going to see him arriving in town, and he’s there to investigate some beasts – who knows which they are ñ and then, obviously, that’s where it starts getting more foggy. So, what are the circumstances? Did he start to realize that a bunch of beasts were there? Did he meet a new character? I don’t think it could be a love interest, even though I wrote that in my Hypable article.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I mean…

Eric: What’s that? You made something up for the Hypable article?

Andrew: It just seems a little too predictable for J.K. Rowling. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. No, I agree.

Micah: Yeah, I think you’re going to have some sort of fantastic beast incident…

Eric: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Micah: … in New York City that’s going to require his attention. It’s…

Andrew: Mmm.

Eric: Like King Kong level.

Andrew: So… oh.

Micah: Yeah, like King Kong or Godzilla. We’re being a little bit…

Eric: [laughs] Comical.

Micah: … out there.

Andrew: So it’s going to be some sort of incident toward the beginning of the movie to start things off with a bang, and it requires him to hang around longer because he maybe has to get a hold on this beast.

Micah: Yeah, he’s knowledgeable, clearly, about…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: … many of these beasts, and I think that maybe he’s Ace Ventura. [laughs]

Eric: Now that you… wow, wow. But now that you say Godzilla, I’m just thinking that this unknown magical creature just is found lurking in the sewers of New York and begins to threaten the whole city. [laughs] I’m just thinking along those lines.

Andrew: It’s going to be interesting to see the balance between the magical world of New York… we still don’t really know if it’s New York City, but presumably it is.

Micah: I would think.

Andrew: So, the balance of the magical world in New York and then the Muggle world. How often are we going to see the magic around New York?

Eric: Versus him in a hidden… yeah.

Andrew: Right. Like in a Ministry of Magic type place.

Eric: Versus a public place that we would recognize.

Andrew: Right. Right.

Eric: I imagine… if they don’t have… I’m going to put this out here; I’m going to put the cards on the table. If they don’t have a monster ravaging through Times Square scene, I’m going to boycott the movie.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Well, remember Times Square was not the same back then as it is today.

Eric: Well, that’s… the twenties, thirties… yeah, okay, I get it. But I do want to say that New York works on many levels because New York is a cultural hub. Even back then New York was a huge cultural hub and it’s where everybody landed who immigrated from anywhere across the Atlantic as well, and so it makes sense that there would be a wizarding presence there, no matter what. That’s why it works. That’s why also, I assume, it’s the city that she’s talking about.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: The other thing that kind of came to mind from a historical standpoint. You obviously have… we know that it takes place in the 1920s. Is that what we’re…

Andrew: Yup. Yup.

Micah: … told? And the first World War comes to an end not too long before that, so… I think around 1918. And then toward the end of the ’20s, of course, you have the Great Depression, so I wonder does that at all play into why he has to stay in New York. Does something happen that’s tied…

Eric: Like the stock market crash is really just a giant dinosaur-like creature crashing into the Wall Street building?

Micah: [laughs] Yeah, a giant dragon just…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: It’s Gringotts however many years earlier.

Eric: It’s fun. It’s fun to speculate.

Micah: But I think you could have the tie-in of real life events that are going on, because certainly there were parallels that we drew with Voldemort and his rise to power.

Eric: Well, J.K. Rowling likes to do that. She likes to have this hidden magical world and then show how, when things get out of hand, it manifests itself… it shows up… even Muggles who don’t usually notice nothing, do they, are seeing this stuff happening. So I think there will definitely be, I want to say, a profound stock market crashing type reaction that was secretly caused by magical means that we’re going to learn. Because that’s just J.K. Rowling. That’s what she does, I like to think.

Andrew: So then, I mean, this other tweet that I read, “Circumstances ensured that he remained… for the length of a movie, anyway,” the reason I want to bring that up is because J.K. Rowling, of course, is… well, Warner Bros. is hoping to make a trilogy out of this. So for the length of a movie, she says, does that mean he’s going to be going elsewhere by the end of the movie? Is he going to be heading out of New York? And then I started thinking, well, could he be in a different area with all three films? So this one is in New York, one of them is in England, and then a third one somewhere else. Because didn’t we know about Newt that he travels the world to learn about creatures?

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So…

Eric: Yeah. I mean the new bio is still, like anything she writes in the film… I feel like she doesn’t have a lot that she needs to worry about conflicting because there isn’t all that much about Newt. Well, what there is about Newt we did already read on a former MuggleCast.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: But I think that whatever… I mean, it really works out because wherever he was headed at the beginning of the film, where he got delayed, he can just head there – wherever that is – at the end of the film.

Andrew: Right. So I’m looking at the Harry Potter wikia again and it says… so he got the opportunity to write this book, “he jumped at the chance for extra money and the opportunity to spend his summers travelling the world.” So he apparently was doing this every summer, going travelling the world. So maybe that will work in somehow.

Eric: Oh, yeah. And I think it’s likely that the two following films will be set… they’re obviously… I think they’ll center around him, I think that’s safe to say.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Eric: And they may be in a different time; they may be five or ten years later maybe. But at that point.. because she just gets to explore; because it has to be during his lifespan, during his ordinary lifespan. But she could do the ’60s in Britain – which is very like Austin Powers-y kind of thing – later.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: At some point, if she wanted to, with a future film.

Micah: Right. At which point you could start pulling in characters that we know.

Eric: Right.

Micah: And have got to know in the Potter series. At least the older ones.

Eric: For how unfamiliar with the character we are, of Newt, and the characters that will obviously be supporting Newt on his journey, I’m just so excited by this premise, right? Wizard in 1920s New York. Wizard beast hunter…

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: … in New York, in the ’20s. It just sounds ridiculously awesome. And now, Andrew, one of the notes that you had here was that it’s been… has it been a year since we found out about Fantastic Beasts?

Andrew: Yes, it’s been a year. September 2013 is when we first found out about this news.

Eric: So, it’s kind of like… I feel like we still don’t know a whole lot about it. I feel like this is the biggest thing that we’ve had since the initial announcement.

Andrew: Well, yeah, I guess official information. Yeah.

Eric: Oh, okay.

Andrew: Because, I mean, we’re going to get to the David Yates story in a moment.

Eric: Oh, right!

Andrew: And the release date. But yeah, this is certainly… I was kind of hoping that once people solved this riddle then Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling would have published the entire synopsis that she’s referring to. That would have been cool. Maybe they’ll do that once they confirm David Yates or something like that.

Eric: And especially if she’s tweaking the script. It’s in pretty good standing.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It’s in a pretty good place.

Andrew: Yeah. So hopefully within the next month or two… see, all these tweets were also funny to me because it’s like she did this to tide fans over while she was finishing the script.

Eric: But then immediately got to talking… [laughs]

Andrew: Right. But now she got tied up with this riddle. [laughs] I mean, again, Twitter doesn’t take too much time and hopefully she spent a lot of the day working on it anyway. But it was just pretty funny to me that [laughs] I think the plan was for her to be away for a while.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: And then it blew up the Internet.

Eric: Well, she calls anagrams her spiritual home. She hash tagged.

“Thank you, thank you, for being the kind of people who get excited about an anagram #myspiritualhome”

So, I think she left that conversation in very high spirits regarding Twitter and the people that she interacted with during this whole thing. So yeah, she just kind of had this moment where she was overcome with her old self.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Like her old toy with the fans, see what kind of a rise she could get. I’m sure she isn’t even… I don’t want to say I’m sure, but I figure she wouldn’t even need to read the E! Online magazine recap on what happened. But I think that she enjoys interacting with fans.

Micah: I’m glad you brought that up though, for a second. And I know Andrew talked about it a little bit before, but it’s just such bad reporting on the part of these supposed reputable news outlets.

Andrew: So bad.

Eric: Like to go back and see just how wrong… how not even…

Micah: No, no, no, just the headlines that they’ve had in the last 24 hours. Because they sold it as a new Harry Potter book – a lot of them did. And they really should know at this point that she is not and has stated many times [she] has no plans to write another Harry Potter book. I mean, this… and she even stated as much that this was about the movie.

Andrew: Yeah. They do it for clicks unfortunately, and it’s kind of sick.

Micah: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

Andrew: Like once or twice I can see, okay, but they did this earlier this year with that new short story in the voice of Rita Skeeter.

Micah: From Pottermore.

Andrew: Right. Everybody was like, “More Harry Potter! Oh my gosh, it’s a new Harry Potter story!” And then they…

Micah: And it wasn’t.

Andrew: Right. And then they did it again…

Micah: Or it kind of was.

Andrew: … with that Celestia War… that singer in the wizarding world.

Micah: Celestina Warbeck?

Andrew: Yes, thank you. Thank you.

Eric: Well…

Andrew: It was on the tip of my tongue.

Eric: Here’s a tweet from JKR:

“An example of something it doesn’t say…”

She’s talking about the anagram.

“… I brung bick Harry. U gladd. Me go wurcke now. No speak.”

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, it’s pretty funny. That was kind of a snipe.

Eric: I feel like that’s kind of saying it’s not about Harry. But she did also give the hints. Like she led…

Andrew: Well, that came after all the media headlines came out and I thought she was sniping at all those…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … who were… because that did get everywhere.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So, anything else to say about this before we move on to some other stories?

Eric: Just that I’m excited. I can’t wait for every announcement.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: But really, this was a moment, guys, and if you don’t have Twitter… if you don’t follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter…

Andrew: Now is the time, Micah. He’s talking to you.

Eric: Now is the time. This was a moment…

Micah: I was still able to take part in the fun.

Eric: You should… yeah, right.

Micah: I was!

Eric: And you [should] just realize that this happened today – the last two days, last three days – and it was amazing. I feel like she’s back, baby.

Andrew: She’s back, baby.

Micah: I made a deal with her, though. I would follow her if she answered my question and she still hasn’t answered my question.

Andrew: What’s your question?

Micah: I wanted to know…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: … if there was ever a student that transferred houses.

Andrew: Oh. Well, you’ve got to do it again. She has to… you’ve got to start sending her like every other day.

Micah: I’ve asked twice.

Eric: He did ask twice.

Andrew: Yeah, but you’ve got to just keep firing it off.

Micah: Now since she’s so adamant about it. And she even did mention – and I’m sure it was probably thrown out there prior, but I had no idea – that Newt Scamander was a Hufflepuff, and she included that in one of her tweets today when talking about if he would run from something. She said something to the effect… I’m paraphrasing, but, “No, he’s a Hufflepuff with a lot of courage.”

Andrew: Yeah. “A lot of guts,” I think she said.

Micah: Guts, yeah.

Eric: I did know he was a Hufflepuff, but bless her for saying something nice about Hufflepuffs. I’m going to add that to the book.

Micah: I think she did a great job. Even from the tweet that you just read, Eric, when she was sort of making light of the answers that some people were coming up with…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: … she was throwing out some factoids. She was really having fun with it and I think that that’s great. It’s great to see that… you said that’s she’s back and maybe she is.

Andrew: [whispers] She’s back! [laughs]

Micah: Maybe this is… [laughs] yeah.

Eric: [laughs] She’s back!

Micah: Maybe this is the start of her being a little bit more…

Eric: Let’s not greet it with fear.

Micah: … interactive with the community. She’s been replying to people more the last few weeks, maybe couple of months. And now today, the last two days, she’s really been interacting with people, and hopefully we get more of those moments moving forward.

Andrew: Yeah. Or it scared her away and we’re never hearing from her again.

Eric: Right.

Micah: No, I don’t think she scares easily.

Andrew: No, I don’t think so either. I think you’re right.

MuggleCast 274 Transcript (continued)


Listener Comments


Andrew: So, on the MuggleCast Facebook I just posted a status a little bit ago saying, “Why do you think Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a few hours?” What does it mean? What’s the second part of that sentence? Why does he have to stay in New York longer? Megan said:

“He starts telling his kids the story of how he met their mother. It takes him longer than expected.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: That I believe is a reference to the CBS comedy.

Eric: [laughs] “It takes him longer than expected.”

Andrew: Anne said:

“A Hippogriff ate his plane ticket home.”

That could be feasible. It’s the 1920s. It’s probably easy to lose your ticket.

Eric: [quoting Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade] “No ticket.”

Andrew: It’s not on your phone anymore. Kerry says:

“He discovers the labyrinth of underground tunnels (sewer system) and the creatures making it their home.”

See, I’ve seen this a couple of times. I think it’s too close to the Basilisk thing in Chamber of Secrets.

Eric: Ooh, maybe. But the cool thing, Andrew – and I’m sure Micah can back this up – there are unused stations from the early…

Andrew: Mmm.

Eric: When they were building the subways. There are entire subway stations that… well, it’s much like the London Tube as well. There are entire stations that were built for… and abandoned and never… or decommissioned… certain railway lines just below your normal everyday New York City. There are stations that you can’t even get down into unless you’re walking the tracks. And I love the idea that it could be a lair for a creature.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: But I see exactly what you mean about it being kind of too Basilisk-y, but I’ll say we have to see. I like the idea of them using the underground thing because that’s a thing.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, it’d be a great way to hide from Muggles, too.

Eric: Right. Oh, yeah.

Andrew: Like if there’s so many of them.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Here’s a couple of good ones. Ben says:

“I think it is likely he unearths some plot involving the oppression of magical creatures or magical creatures being used to further the interests of some evildoer. Knowing J.K. Rowling though, it is probably something much more complicated and clever than either of those.”

Eric: Ooh.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s good, right?

Eric: Yeah. I want to say that I want her to stay away from a main bad guy in these.

Andrew: I do, too.

Eric: I want this trilogy to be more free and more light-hearted only in the sense that there’s not an overarching bad guy. I want it to be more like…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Adventure films can have villains, right? But I’d much prefer that the villain was a CGI dragon than… although, that happened with Smaug, right?

Andrew: Yeah. Wouldn’t we also have heard about this villain already in the Harry Potter books, too?

Eric: Yeah, maybe. But also, the books are very closely set in Britain.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: True.

Eric: It’s very almost claustrophobically Britain.

Micah: And if this is an American villain, maybe we never heard about him. Or her.

Andrew: Right. But if he’s only in New York for a year…

Micah: Yeah. I really like the point that was brought up by – sorry, I’m just – Kerry with the underground systems.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Because the whole subway system was started in the early 1900s and by about this time it should be pretty well-developed. And as Eric pointed out, there are areas that never really were used or were abandoned, so that could make for some really cool settings, sort of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-esque in a way, I guess.

Eric: Well, also I think the latest Spider-Man movie had something to do with an old abandoned New York City subway station…

Micah: Yeah. The first one.

Eric: … with Teddy Roosevelt’s station or his train. But the other thing I wanted to say is that this is… 1920s New York is post Industrial Revolution but it’s closer to the time period… like Hogwarts, you get to Hogwarts by a steam train and steam powered locomotives – steam power came about mid to late 19th century – or the 1800s – and I feel like the whole wizarding world is kind of arrested at that point where there were… the steam train is the most advanced technological thing that you’ll find in the wizarding world. And I want to find out why or I want to find out… because I guess in the 1920s, it would still feel new. Whereas in the 2000s when Harry Potter is set, it’s old. You know what I’m saying?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Did something happen? Maybe not a cataclysmic event or anything, but the Industrial Revolution affected both the wizarding and Muggle world and the wizards adopted what the Muggles did. But being set in the ’20s, this new film will have been closer to when that actually happened, and maybe we’ll just learn some really interesting stuff about how the two sides interacted in regards to technology.

Andrew: Hmm. One more Facebook comment here. Ashia said:

“He was sent on assignment for the Ministry but ended up staying because of the unconventional way magical creatures were being treated in the American magic world.”

Eric: Ooh.

Andrew: I like that idea too, because…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … kind of like a SPEW situation.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Maybe. I don’t know.

Eric: Yeah, I like that. I like that, too. We have really good ideas.

Andrew: Look guys, we’re speculating again about future J.K. Rowling plots!

Eric: Oh, geez.

Andrew: Who thought that would have ever happened?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So, okay…

Micah: Well, at least there’s a chance that the Antipodean Opaleye can make it into one of these three movies.

Eric: Oh, please Jo.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Please put the Antipodean Opaleye for us. Please put that in one of your novels. Or one of your movies.


News: David Yates Rumored To Direct Fantastic Beasts


Andrew: So, a little other Fantastic Beasts news now. It’s been reported by Variety that David Yates is actually going to be the one directing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He of course directed Order of the Phoenix through Deathly Hallows – Part 2. So, he handled half of the eight Harry Potter movies. This hasn’t been made official yet, but it was reported on August 21 and apparently they’ve been in talks with him since May. That’s what the guy who broke this story said on a podcast that I listened to recently. So, this has [actually been] happening behind the scenes for a while. I don’t know what’s taking so long. Maybe Yates is still figuring out if he has the patience to do this.

Eric: Well, it’s his current film, right? Because you pointed out…

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: … on the last MuggleCast that he’s at Leavesden…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … currently shooting Tarzan.

Andrew: Right. So, he’s at… Leavesden is where they filmed all eight Harry Potter movies. I think I jokingly said maybe Yates will be stopping by the production offices if they’re at Leavesden to consult on some wizarding world things, because I’m sure Stuart Craig is going to be there, the set designer. So, what was you guys’ initial reaction to this? It was very split for multiple reasons. Some people didn’t love any of his movies; some people loved a couple. I personally did not think Order of the Phoenix was a good start for him. I did not like Order of the Phoenix – favorite book, least favorite movie. And I just did not like the direction in that movie. So, what were you guys’ reaction to Yates?

Eric: Micah?

Micah: Well, I can’t remember where I had this discussion before, but having sat down across the table from him and interviewing him for this podcast…

Andrew: [laughs] You have to say nice things.

Micah: I have to have a sense of loyalty to the man, who reminds me of Linus from the Charlie Brown comics.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh, that’s… honestly, that’s a hundred percent accurate. He is the most gracious gentle soul.

Micah: And there’s a little bit of similarity just in appearance between the two. But anyway…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: I compare him to Winnie the Pooh because he’s soft spoken…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: … and a little pudgy.

Micah: So…

Andrew: [laughs] So, you’re…

Eric: What were you saying, Micah?

Micah: I personally didn’t have any issue with Order of the Phoenix through Deathly Hallows – Part 2, at least from an overall standpoint. Sure, there are plenty of podcasts out there that we’ve done where we’ve talked about the little things here and there, but certainly not on the same level that I disliked Prisoner of Azkaban. We could go on and on about that, but…

Eric: Well, I’m glad you brought that up.

Micah: But…

Eric: Oh sorry, you keep going.

Micah: I will just say, people are going to say that they want this new and fresh feel to everything, and that when you bring in somebody who’s already worked on half of the series it’s hard to really get that new feel. Because as much as you want to keep the magical world and you want to keep that feeling that you get every time that you see Hogwarts show up on the screen, you also are going into a different type of film with a character that we know very little about.

Eric: Right.

Micah: But I will say for as much as people want to jump on bringing back David Yates, David Heyman is being brought back as well and he’s been there for all eight films.

Eric: Right.

Micah: So, it’s really unfair to get on the case of somebody like Yates when really Heyman has had a much larger role…

Andrew: Yeah! Blame him!

[Eric laughs]

Micah: … in the production of all of these films. No, he’s been there from day one.

Eric: Remember we also… no, he’s the shepherd.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: I like to think of David Heyman as the shepherd.

Micah: But you understand what I’m saying? I get it, the director is always going to…

Andrew: Well…

Eric: Certain people would take comfort, Micah, in knowing that David Yates…

Micah: And I’m one of them. I’m one of them.

Eric: … has worked on four of them. And the later four Harry Potter films are some of my favorite Harry Potter films-ish. But I think that what I want to say, and this is not against David Yates because I love the guy and I think he’s very… I love what he did technical-wise. I love some of the… I love the montages – sorry, I just do – in Order of the Phoenix and I love certain camera angles and certain things that he did with the later series. But world builder is not as much a description I would give to him as a director as I would Alfonso Cuaron, and I don’t like Prisoner of Azkaban. Everybody knows that about me as a movie, but Alfonso Cuaron I think would still be my first choice of previous… of former Potter directors to direct Fantastic Beasts the movie because he has that… it just translates really well. He has that capability of really expanding and defining an entire world.

Micah: But if you’re talking world builder, aren’t you talking Chris Columbus? Because…

Andrew: Yeah, exactly. That’s what I was going to say.

Eric: Well, is it Chris Columbus or is it…

Micah: And Stuart Craig.

Eric: … Stuart Craig? Was that Stuart Craig? Was it the art department that had… because I really want to weigh Chris Columbus’s strengths…

Micah: Well, there’s a good chance that a lot of these people are going to be back. When you’re talking about somebody like Stuart Craig and really…

Eric: Oh, why couldn’t they just co-direct?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Have Chris Columbus and Alfonso Cuaron… and even Steve Kloves. Bring Steve Kloves back. Oh wait, it’s not set in Britain, so I don’t know about that.

Micah: And bring Mike Newell as well.

Andrew: So Chris Columbus…

Eric: And bring Mike Newell.

Andrew: … will be yelling in the background, “Don’t forget the world building,” every ten minutes? [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I just think… because I feel like everybody should be back on this. I feel like there should be cameos…

Andrew: Well, hold on. This isn’t fair. Wait a second.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: So, this is…

Micah: Andrew is going to step in.

Andrew: I wrote what they call a think piece the day after this David Yates story broke. By adding David Yates, they are now too big to fail because they are bringing everybody back. As many people as you could conceivably imagine coming back for this…

Eric: Maybe in the crew, but not in the cast.

Andrew: Right. Well… but you don’t want the cast. You’ve got Yates, director for…

Eric: No, you don’t want the cast.

Andrew: Oh, right. Okay. So, you’ve got Yates. You have J.K. Rowling writing the screenplay; we always have to keep that in mind. We’ve got Heyman. That’s three huge names and like we keep saying, probably Stuart Craig is going to be involved too, presumably the costume designer… I mean, how many more people do you need?

Eric: Oh, I said Steve Kloves before. I did mean Mike Newell. Steve Kloves adapted…

Andrew: [laughs] So you want all the directors to come back?

Eric: They won’t need…

Micah: Well, J.K. Rowling is basically doing Steve Kloves’s job.

Eric: Yeah, they won’t need Steve Kloves just because there’s not a book to adapt. There’s… she’s writing the screenplay. She’s saving…

Micah: Right.

Eric: She cut out his job. Sorry, Steve, you’re laid off. But…

Micah: Here’s what I’ll say, though. With J.K. Rowling, though, if you’re in her shoes, right? You’re writing something that is about the world that you entrusted to David Heyman, and David Heyman took it and created really this eight-part series and along with Stuart Craig and all the directors. There’s probably something to be said, of course, for that familiarity and knowing that you can give this to those people and that they can make something very, very good with it. And I could also play devil’s advocate and say, “This is going to do well anyway because it’s Potter.”

Eric: Right.

Micah: But there’s something to be said for that group of people because they took her story and on screen made it into the success that it is.

Andrew: Yeah. And another thing to keep in mind is with… since we don’t have a book to base the movie on, you’re not going to be making these book-to-film comparisons.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: So, I think that’s also going to improve everyone’s feelings about this film when they walk out of the theater. If you’re not sitting there being like, “Oh, they didn’t leave in that scene. They forgot this scene…”

Eric: Yeah. And to a certain extent, that’s always without fail that unfortunately…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … it’s just always on our mind with the…

Andrew: With all book-to-film adaptations.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Truly.

Eric: But now it’ll be more freeing. And you know what? I’m sure that’ll be a relief for the director whoever ends up directing this, for sure.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It’ll be even more… because it’s like… there’s no… I wanted to say there used to be three steps, right? It’s like JKR writes the book, somebody adapts it – usually Steve Kloves except that one time – and then somebody else has to direct from the adaptation.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: But now because JKR is writing it… and I’m sure she’s going to give the best direction anyway in the screenplay. I’m sure she’s going to write the screenplay like a book.

Andrew: Yeah. Also makes me wonder, I wonder if she’s going to be on set a lot? Because she wasn’t really on set with the Harry Potter films.

Eric: Well, I think she’ll totally visit, but… because even the writer, their job is done once the script is done.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Producers, you imagine having to be there nearly every day. Directors, absolutely. Cast, absolutely. But the writer, screenwriter, maybe not. But I’d like to think that she is going to be there every day, but…

Andrew: I feel like she will be interested in being there more often since they’ve got to make sure they get this right.

Eric: Right, because I feel like before too, the adaptation, right? It was out of her hands. She had written the books years before the films went into production, and then the films went into production and it’s just like, “Okay, here’s the…” and she approved the screenplay and this, that, the other thing, but there wasn’t enough… there wasn’t more she could do. Now if there’s a question with the script or whatever that comes up during filming, they can just Skype her or call her up.

Andrew: Right, right.

Eric: Something like that.

Andrew: Yeah, I’m sure they’re going to be talking to her a lot. So yeah, as for the fandom, I think I did a poll. I need to find it, but I think more people were interested in David Yates doing it than not. Most people were happy about it. Seemed like…

Eric: I like his movies. I really do. I…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, because I’m one of the people who doesn’t like Book 5 all that much, but I like Movie 5.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And I like the whole second half of the film series. So…

Andrew: Yeah. Well, and I’m excited for this as well. I don’t think he personally will be responsible for any particularly major problems because we aren’t comparing it to a book. J.K. Rowling is writing the screenplay.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: All these people are coming back. So, I just found the poll. 50 percent said yes, they like that David Yates is directing; 27 percent said no; and 22 percent said undecided. And rightfully so. We don’t know much about this yet, so…

Eric: Oh, yeah. I mean, David Yates strikes me as a director who can take something and run with it, right? He makes it his own. That’s not to say he doesn’t make… because he does make it his own, but it’s enjoyable. It’s very straightforward almost kind of thing. I’m trying to think of if any of his Harry Potter films were particularly contemplative. Everything… that part in part comes from them all being adaptations too, right? And they’re all just like, “One thing has to happen after another,” because they’re covering a whole year of history in a two-hour film. But I don’t know. I feel like in terms of cerebral, I would probably go to… after seeing Gravity, I would just go straight to Cuaron for it.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And I forgive him partially for Prisoner of Azkaban.


News: Rumored Release Dates for Fantastic Beasts


Andrew: So as we alluded to earlier… let’s move on from Yates now. We knew that this was… a New York Times report several months ago said that this was going to be a planned trilogy; that was the first time we heard it was going to be a trilogy. And then on August 6, just a few days after we recorded the most recent MuggleCast, we… Warner Bros. announced a slew of mystery release dates and the majority of them were for – quote, unquote – “untitled DC films,” referring to things like Batman and Wonder Woman, all these types of things. But then on November 16, 2018, and November 20, 2020, [laughs] there were two – quote, unquote – “untitled WB event films.” Now, a couple of people – myself included – immediately jumped to the conclusion that these are Fantastic Beasts 2 and 3 because this is the same day of the year that Fantastic Beasts 1 comes out; that’s November 18, 2016. So, these movies are apparently going to be spaced out two years apart from one another, which is…

Eric: But be on the same weekend?

Andrew: Yeah, same weekend. It’s that pre-Thanksgiving weekend.

Eric: Yeah, it’s the golden spot, so…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … even if a movie is on its way out, it makes it into the new year.

Andrew: Yeah, and this is a big date in cinema. First two Harry Potter were there, I believe another one was there, the Twilight movies were there, Hunger Games are there now… so this is a big day.

Micah: I think Goblet of Fire was there, wasn’t it? That’s when we all got together.

Eric: Yeah, that’s the first live MuggleCast.

Andrew: And then the rest were summer.

Eric: It’s like week 47, is it, of the year? 47 out of 52? That sounds right to me. Yeah, it’s that same weekend for every…

Andrew: It’s kind of interesting to me because we know with The Hobbit right now, Warner Bros. is releasing them every year. For some reason, they want to place these two years apart from one another. I don’t know if there’s anything to be said for that, but…

Micah: I think it depends how they approach it. If they’re going to… The Hobbit, obviously, was all shot at once, right? And then they just…

Andrew: Yeah, except for when they…

Micah: … made it into three movies?

Andrew: Yeah, they had to go back and film a bunch of stuff when they added the third.

Eric: Yeah, the pickups.

Micah: Yeah, I guess that’s expected, but…

Andrew: See, I would think from a production standpoint, they would want to film them all back-to-back. That’s one of the reasons they split Deathly Hallows into two movies because they filmed it all at once.

Eric: But it would kind of be a delay, right? It would get them… because JKR… because this is new stuff. It’s not to say… it’s not an adaptation. We know that.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: But because it’s all new stuff, it would delay the front end of the… because JKR, whoever, would have to write the follow-up scripts first.

Andrew: Right. So J.K. Rowling needs more time, which makes sense considering she’s also writing other books.

Eric: Especially if she’s going to write the second and third movie.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: But then also, there’s… I think no matter what, the production is going to… or post-production, right? Yeah, the CGI and everything they have to add in is going to take a long time because I want these films to be…

Andrew: True.

Eric: Oh wait, I was going to say effects heavy but then didn’t they say they were using a lot of animatronics and practical effects during the filming for this?

Andrew: I think you’re confusing that with Star Wars. [laughs]

Eric: Wow. It’s possible.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: I’m sure you’re right. Wow, I am. Okay. Well, I want the… you know what? Where do you guys stand on that? Let’s ask you that. Do you think that the new Fantastic Beasts should rely on practical effects, which tend to stand the test of time better – think Jurassic Park – or CG effects, which also work when done well?

Andrew: Well, whatever they did with Harry Potter just do that again.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Because I thought they looked great in Harry Potter – all the Harry Potter movies.

Eric: You know what? That was mostly animatronics, though. Buckbeak…

Andrew: Well, then there you go. Yeah, right, and the Basilisk.

Eric: Everything except Grawp I think… Grawp was CG motion capture and the giants at the end were like CG motion capture.

Micah: The dragon probably was CG.

Eric: No, that’s a real dragon actually.

Micah: Oh.

Andrew: Which dragon?

Micah: That’s good. That’s great. They hired him.

Eric: The not-Antipodean.

Micah: Well, you have them in Goblet of Fire.

Andrew: I think it’s a mix.

Micah: And then you had Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

Andrew: Deathly Hallows. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: But…

Andrew: Well, we’ll know that they’re using animatronics if they take the one off the top of the Diagon Alley expansion.

Eric: [laughs] Oh, gosh.

Andrew: It’s like missing for a few months. We’re like, “Where’d it go?” They’re like, “Oh, it’s just away for repairs. Don’t worry about it.”

Micah: It took a trip.

Eric: It escaped!

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: No, they would say something funny, right?

Micah: It’s on vacation in London.

Eric: They would say it’s on union break or something.

Andrew: Yeah. Then when it comes back, its head is moving and it can flap its wings.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: We’re like, “Oh, wow. Okay, that was a cool break for it.”

Eric: Okay, yeah.

Micah: With two years though, one of the things that came to mind though also is how well the first one does. They could certainly play around with the release date a little bit if that first movie has the success that it anticipates. But if it doesn’t do well, maybe they’re spaced out so that they can cancel them if they need to.

Andrew: True.

Eric: Look, do you think under any… do you think there’s any universe… in the theory of infinite universes, do you think there’s one where Harry Potter – like a Harry Potter follow-up film – doesn’t succeed?

Andrew: No. Well…

Micah: No.

Andrew: … where it is positioned right now, no, because again Yates, Heyman, J.K. Rowling. I think that…

Eric: Oh, and it’s a proven weekend, right?

Andrew: Right.

Eric: It’s when four out of the eight Harry Potter films or five out of the eight, I think.

Andrew: And things like J.K. Rowling’s anagram prove how alive the fandom can still be if she throws some fire on the flames. Throw some… what am I trying to say? Throw some gas on the flames? Something like that.

Eric: Yeah, ignites the spark.

Andrew: Yeah, something like that.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So yeah, I think it’s definitely going to end up being three films. Warner Bros., of course, really wants this to be three movies so they’re going to do everything in their power to make sure it happens. Which is why I still want J.K. Rowling to write a little mini book, free ebook, that introduces us to Newt. Get everybody talking. The media will be like, “Oh my God, new Harry Potter book,” even though it’s not, but that’s okay because people will be talking about it.

Eric: Well, and we were thinking about… we were talking earlier about how it’s been a year and what do we know? What don’t we know? Thinking about what we still don’t know. We don’t know the director, for sure, that’s true, but also any casting announcements. We still have so far to go in terms of Fantastic Beasts, in terms of the first film, even though we like to look ahead at the later films. I want to know who’s going to be playing Newt Scamander. I want to know how that first movie is going to turn out quite a bit.

Andrew: Here are the four things we know for sure. Here are the five things we know for sure. I just realized I misnumbered this.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: David Heyman is returning to produce. David Yates is returning to direct – we’re assuming that’s correct. Number three: it will be released November 18, 2016. Number four: Warner Bros. is planning a trilogy. And then number five, we learned during the initial announcement is that there is a planned theme park attraction of some sort and Warner Bros. is, of course, going to be going all out to create merchandise.

Eric: To realize that, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Six is that it will be set in New York.

Andrew: Well, yeah, that too. [laughs] And now seven is her little synopsis thing today.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: So, that’s what we know.

MuggleCast 274 Transcript (continued)


News: J.K. Rowling Reveals Her Patronus


Andrew: A little other story not related to Fantastic Beasts. Again, J.K. Rowling on Twitter. Dropping all the exciting info on Twitter these days. We didn’t know her Patronus, what her Patronus was, which blows my mind. I would have thought we learned about this a while ago.

Eric: Yeah. You know what? It feels like that question could have been out there since Book 3, right?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Since ’99 people should have been asking because I feel like people… you’re right, that question should have been answered already.

Andrew: Or maybe Pottermore’s Book 3.

Eric: Yeah. [laughs]

Andrew: Throw it in there somewhere. New from J.K. Rowling…

Eric: Well, there’s…

Andrew: … my Patronus.

Eric: Yeah. You know the Patronus thing though, with Pottermore? And I do want to bring this up, is apparently there will be a test…

Andrew: Yes!

Eric: … about what your Patronus is.

Andrew: And that’s another thing J.K. Rowling revealed.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So, on Twitter she said… or somebody asked her:

“WHAT IS YOUR PATRONUS?”

Eric: All caps.

Andrew: Now, see this person, Micah, wrote the question in all caps.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Have you done that? Maybe that’s what you’ve got to do to get your question answered.

Micah: She only answers questions with caps. I got it. All right.

Eric: No, it’s if you ask your question in caps, she might…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Oh.

Andrew: The person asked the question…

Eric: It’s proven… it’s tried and tested this one time…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … from @acciowandspells.

Andrew: But then not only that, this person wrote:

“Thank you. You help us everyday. We are Potterheads until the end…”

So, you have to write the question in all caps and then write a really nice message.

Micah: Then kiss her ass.

Andrew: Yeah, kiss her ass. Exactly. [laughs]

Eric: I don’t know because all of that ass kissing… whoa, I can’t believe we just said that about a fellow fan.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: All of that additional wittering really only got… she responded… she was kind of short in her response though, right? She said…

Andrew: She’s like she doesn’t really want to answer it.

Eric: She like, “It’s a pine marten.”

Andrew: So, then you have to go and Google this pine marten because you’re like, “What the heck is a pine marten?”

Eric: “I’ve never heard of a pine marten.” Yeah.

Andrew: It’s an adorable little cat looking thing.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It’s in the same family as minks, otters – which, of course, Hermione’s Patronus – badgers – reference to Hufflepuff – wolverines, and weasels. So…

Eric: Aww. Actually, it’s quite a menace in the UK and Ireland. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, that too.

Eric: Oh, wait. No, no, no, it’s not a menace. It’s a savior, right? Because I’m looking at the wordplay they used in this Hypable article, “…the invasive gray squirrel.” So, the gray squirrel was a menace in the UK and Ireland, and the pine marten got rid of the gray squirrel.

Andrew: Mmm.

Eric: Or helped to get rid of. So, it’s actually… it’s like a Robin Hood of like a… or like a gallant knight coming to the rescue of the UK and Ireland.

Micah: Do you think she just said to herself, “Let me come up with the most obscure animal.”

Eric: No. You know what? I think… although that would get people to read, right? Isn’t that J.K. Rowling’s thing?

Micah: Well, I guarantee you…

Eric: Well, pine martens…

Micah: And I think I tweeted this at the time. I guarantee you, with the exception of the people who live in the UK where this animal is popular, nobody had any clue what this thing was.

Eric: Well, that’s what I’m saying. It’s like… but there are regional animals. There just are. We know what dingoes are and kangaroos because they’re fairly world…

Micah: Because we live… [laughs]

Eric: … known. No, but I’m saying… like voles. Have you ever heard of a vole? Because I’ve heard of a vole.

Micah: I’ve heard of it, yeah.

Andrew: Is it [unintelligible]?

Eric: It’s like an underground dwelling creature who lives in burrows. But that’s a strictly… I feel like… we all grew up in the northeast, guys, so I feel like that’s why we know what that is and I feel like it’s a very geographically… anyway, my point is…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: … I feel like from the second that she invented the rules of a Patronus, like in Book… when she was planning for Book 3 or even sooner in the cafe on a napkin, she knew what her own would be. It’s just that for some reason years later, throughout the years, that somehow never came up.

Andrew: Yeah, it is weird. But I like Micah’s question, too. Now I’m thinking about that. It’s kind of… I don’t think you’ve read Divergent, but it kind of reminds me of Divergent when they switch factions.

Eric: Oh, yeah. Well, he’s got a great question. We retweeted from… everybody we know, even MuggleCast, MuggleNet… everybody retweeted his thing and it still didn’t get…

Micah: You want me to do this again tomorrow?

Andrew: Yes, and I’ll do it too.

Eric: All caps this time. All caps.

Andrew: We’re going to go crazy. We’re going to…

Micah: So you’ll retweet me, is that what you’re saying?

Andrew: Yeah, sure. Whatever. Or I’ll write it on the MuggleCast account. That’s what I meant. Write it on the MuggleCast account.

Micah: Oh, okay.

Andrew: Yeah. And every day. [laughs]

Micah: All right, every day.

Andrew: Every day we’ll tweet it.

Micah: There we go.

Eric: Oh God, let’s not anger her, all right? She’s still got a ways to go.

Andrew: With a new nice comment.

Micah: Somebody replied to me saying probably not because it would somehow delegitimize the Sorting Hat, but…

Andrew: Yeah, if you go against the Sorting Hat, you’re kind of a butt.

Micah: I can’t imagine in all the years that the school is around that somebody did not, in fact, change houses.

Eric: Well, Micah, let’s settle this once and for all. I feel like… isn’t the answer already in the books, right? Or on Pottermore? Because you can be a Hatstall. Okay? We know that from Pottermore. There are characters who were Hatstalls, who… but then also, the Sorting Hat takes your choice into consideration, so doesn’t it make sense that maybe they don’t transfer houses but you do absolutely have a say in the house you go into? Isn’t that like the same thing?

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: No because…

Eric: Like if the Sorting Hat came to you…

Micah: As you grow older you could change, certainly.

Eric: So you’re like, “This isn’t working out for me. It’s been two years and I still feel like I’d be better suited…”

Andrew: “I feel like I’m a Hufflepuff.”

Eric: Right.

Micah: Right. Or somebody says…

Andrew: That makes sense. I think it’s an interesting question.

Micah: … “Seamus is really bullying me. I can’t live here anymore. I need to go be in Ravenclaw.”

Eric: You know what, though?

Andrew: Ah. Well, see, that’s a human resources issue.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: You know also though, guys, I do want to say this. The classes, right? They did have classes with other houses.

Andrew: Yeah, right.

Eric: So, they had Potions with the Sytherins, which was terrible, but they had Herbology with the Hufflepuffs. I feel like in that way, you would have friends in other houses. I don’t know. We see them as divided because Harry tends to stick to his own house until Luna and maybe some others in year five or whatever, but I feel like you do interact with people of other houses. So, there’s no reason to transfer normally kind of in a way. I’m just saying, if she never replies to you, Micah, I want that to be the answer.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I could keep coming up with questions, though. I could say, “Has anybody ever transferred schools?”

Andrew: Well, here’s what we… start thinking them up.

Micah: Is there a foreign exchange program?

Andrew: Start thinking them up because you know she’s going to be doing interviews like absolutely crazy come Fantastic Beasts movie time.

Micah: She needs to come on our goddamn show already.

Andrew: There are going to be a bazillion interviews.

Eric: Yeah. For MuggleCast 275, we will have J.K. Rowling on our show. [laughs]

Andrew: [laughs] Not… no, I’ve given up with that. She had her chance!

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: I’m just kidding. One other…

Micah: Why don’t you tweet that out? We’ll retweet it.

Andrew: [laughs] I’ll get flamed for that.

Micah: No, no, no. The question if she’ll come on the show.

Andrew: Oh. Start doing that everyday?

Micah: 275, we want you on.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, we could.

Micah: Let’s go.


Announcement: Jamie Gets Engaged


Andrew: To wrap up the show today, we actually have a little exciting announcement about a MuggleCast alum, I guess you could call him: Jamie Lawrence. He got engaged. Aww! Happy…

Eric: Congratulations.

Andrew: Congratulations to Jamie.

Micah: It’s great news.

Andrew: He got engaged to Sophie, his girlfriend of… I think about three years? No, no, no, 2008. Oh my God, it’s been…

Eric: Six years.

Andrew: It’s been a long time, yeah. [laughs] So… I met her at the Beedle the Bard event that we did in London in 2008.

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: Or was that 2007?

Eric: I feel like it was ’08.

Andrew: When did Beedle the Bard… wait, no. Beedle the Bard came out in 2007 because I recently looked this up.

Eric: Really?

Andrew: Yeah, I know. It was published December 2007.

Eric: Oh, at the very extreme end of the year.

Andrew: Yeah, which is so weird that Beedle the Bard came out a few months after Deathly Hallows.

Eric: Yeah, that is weird. That’s really weird.

Andrew: So…

Micah: Well, it had to. I mean it was in the book, right?

Andrew: True. Well, it didn’t have to, but…

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Yeah, it did have to come out after Deathly Hallows.

Eric: Because originally it was just for one person that won the auction, right? She had a hand… but then she had to write special permission to get it produced into a book…

Andrew: No. Well, sort of. So, she wrote… she made seven handwritten copies total.

Eric: Oh, right.

Andrew: Gave them to six very important people in her life. The seventh she auctioned off. Amazon was the winning bidder…

Eric: Yes!

Andrew: … and they got permission… they worked with Rowling to publish it.

Eric: And she… but she did get permission from the six other people who had the handwritten copies.

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Eric: Yeah, I think. That’s what I remember anyway. Yeah, so… oh, that’s really weird. Well, congratulations to Jamie anyway.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, I forgot what we were talking about.

Eric: Please invite us to your wedding.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. I want to get…

Micah: And congratulations to your sister as well, Andrew.

Andrew: Yes. [laughs] Thank you, Micah.

Eric: What happened to Becca?

Andrew: She got engaged today.

Eric: What?

Andrew: Yup. Big day in the MuggleCast family. And you guys are all invited! [laughs]

Eric: Cool.

Andrew: No, Micah, you can come if you want.

Micah: All right.

Andrew: I only say that because you’re near.

Eric: Do you know her fiance? Do you know him?

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve met him a couple of times. He’s a big MuggleCast fan.

Eric: What?

Andrew: No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. [laughs]

Eric: Oh.

Micah: Go hang out with Heidi.

Andrew: [laughs] What?

Micah: At the wedding.

Andrew: You’re going to hang out with Heidi, my mom?

Micah: Yeah. Just say, “Hi. What’s up?”

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: I haven’t seen her in a while.

Andrew: Yeah, sure. Okay.

Eric: [laughs] He’s just going to say, “Hi. What’s up?”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It’s okay, Andrew. Micah is just going to say, “Hi. What’s up?”…

Andrew: Well, I don’t have the date yet.

Eric: … to your mom.

Andrew: I think it’s before Fantastic Beasts comes out.

Eric: Oh, okay.

Andrew: Maybe she should do it in the gap… no, Jamie should do it in one of the gap years. November 2017, between two Fantastic Beasts movies.

Eric: Yeah, I feel like it’s not a stretch to plan life events in between two Harry Potter tent pole events.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I feel like that’s what [unintelligible] for us.

Andrew: I would. I would.

Eric: Yeah.


Show Close


Andrew: All right, so that’s it for MuggleCast. [laughs] Big episode, an hour long.

Eric: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Andrew: Thank you everybody for listening. We’ll continue to do these new episodes as we have some interesting news to discuss. We even got in some theories today. No theory is safe.

Eric: That’s right.

Andrew: And what else is there to say?

Eric: Well…

Andrew: Let’s plug stuff. Micah and Eric, what you got?

Eric: Just earlier before we sat down to record this episode of MuggleCast, we recorded our 242nd episode of Game of Owns, the Game of Thrones podcast, brought to you by WatchersOnTheWall.com. It’s Micah and myself are hosts, or co-hosts, on that podcast, along with Zack Luye, our friend for several years now – big Harry Potter fan – and Kate Welch, who is in the gaming industry in Seattle.

[Car honking noises in the background]

Eric: And somebody outside my window…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: … is very angry or something.

Andrew: A very big fan of Game of Owns.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that’s our Game of Thrones podcast. We’re actually reading the third Game of Thrones book now in the off season between seasons 4 and 5 of the TV show.

Andrew: Cool.

Eric: So, go check that out. Actually, you know what I want to plug? Sorry to keep hogging up the airspace here, but I recently became a co-producer, co-editor of the Improvised Star Trek Podcast and I want to give these guys just the best… the most credit I possibly can. If you, listener, happen to also enjoy Star Trek, as I do more recently – Next Generation, Voyager era – these guys are the best and they have a podcast. It’s bi-weekly, just like MuggleCast used to be, and every two weeks they put out an episode and they source episode titles from their listeners through Facebook, through Twitter, and you just give them an episode title and they create – they have their own ship’s crew, and they have experiences and events in space in the 24th century just like Star Trek. And it’s in-jokes. It’s a mix of in-jokes and satire and improv. It’s all improvised on the spot and then the editor’s job, the producer’s job, is to go and put in sound effects and music and everything to make it sound and feel like an actual Star Trek episode with all the Star Trek stuff.

Andrew: Cool.

Eric: I do want to say, it’s called the Improvised Star Trek Podcast. Go check it out. It is on iTunes and the website is ImprovisedStarTrek.com.

Andrew: Micah? Game of Owns as well?

Micah: Yeah. Eric pretty much covered it. I would just say we’re at @GameofOwns on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and then, of course, the website, GameOfOwns.com, so plenty of ways for you to connect with the show. And then if you want to follow me and hear my random…

Andrew: Pleas to J.K. Rowling every day.

Eric: Careful. He doesn’t follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter, guys.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: And snarky comments to J.K. Rowling… no, I’m just kidding. I’m at @mjtbaum. So yeah, give me a follow. You never know what you’re going to get.

Eric: You know what’s funny, Micah? I call it @mjtbaum, but I’ve never heard you call it that. [laughs]

Andrew: That’s what I call it, too.

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: And I’m over at…

Micah: Glad we’re all in agreement…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: … on my Twitter handle.

Andrew: Yeah, that was bothering me…

Micah: By the way, Andrew was the one who convinced me to get on Twitter way, way back in the day.

Andrew: Darn right!

Micah: And he said, “Look, you just got to do it.”

Andrew: “You just got to do it.”

Micah: I was hesitant about it and he convinced me. And I remember when you first… I don’t know how many years ago it was at this point, but when you first told me to join Twitter and I had a BlackBerry back at that time.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: And I just remember I was out for dinner that night or something along… something like that, and my phone just… I guess the setting was automatically turned on to let me know when I got a new follower.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: And I’m sure you had pushed this out on MuggleCast and MuggleNet and all these other places, and my phone just literally did not stop going off…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: … for about…

Andrew: Your BlackBerry was…

Micah: … four or five hours.

Andrew: Crazy. Well, and now to this day, you still don’t follow J.K. Rowling. Super weird.

[Eric sighs]

Andrew: You’re going to follow one day.

Eric: He did and then he got… what was it? What was the catalyst, Micah? Why did you stop following her? You did it…

Andrew: She was so boring.

Eric: Oh, right.

Micah: Because she really… honestly, she didn’t tweet.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: She just put a couple of tweets out there.

Andrew: So, he protested by unfollowing.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: I think it was smart.

Micah: Really quick, my thing is I’m not a proponent of somebody who goes on Twitter just to say they are on Twitter but then not do anything with their Twitter account.

Eric: Right, right.

Micah: But now she has definitely been more active, so we’ll see what happens.

Andrew: Don’t follow her until the next episode. We have to have a big moment.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: All right, and then I’m over at Hypable, Twitter.com/Hypable, Twitter.com/sims. I’m always tweeting about Harry Potter, by the way, because I know that’s what people follow me for, so… and then, of course, I also do Hype After Dark, which is my weekly podcast. You can go to HypePodcast.com for that and that is $4 a month.

Micah: I’ve been on that, too.

Andrew: Yes, you were on it recently, actually.

Eric: Ooh.

Andrew: Yeah, we talked about Kevin and Laura.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Laura, by the way, who is now in New York. Crazy.

Eric: Yes. How cool is that, right? Half of the old MuggleCast panel is…

Andrew: I’m happy for her.

Eric: Are you in New Jersey now or are you back in LA?

Andrew: No, I’m in LA.

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: But next time I go back to New Jersey for the holidays…

Eric: I’ll be back…

Andrew: When? When are you back?

Eric: No, I’ll be back in PA and I’m coming up to New York Christmas a week, the 20th to 27th.

Andrew: Oh, I smell a meetup.

Eric: I know, I smell… well, now that Kevin and Laura are there too, right?

Micah: All five in one place?

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: Yeah, and I hear Kevin and Laura are paying, so I’m definitely in.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Well, one of that… never mind.

Andrew: One of the two. [laughs]

Eric: I have an article queued up from Hypable that I’m ready to read as soon as we finish this, too: “Fifteen ‘Charmed’ cameos to surprise and delight you.”

Andrew: Oh, yeah. I don’t even watch that show and I was shocked. [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] Well, it was written by Karen Rought and I’m happy to see number two here on the thing is Oded Fehr, who I love from The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.

Andrew: Oh, okay. Cool.

[Show music begins]

Eric: So, I’ll read this article as soon as we’re done.

Andrew: Awesome. Well, thank you everybody for listening. And again, we’ll be back when… I don’t know. Newt Scamander is announced. [laughs] Or J.K. Rowling drops the full synopsis. One of those two things, probably. So, we’ll see everybody next time for Episode 275.

Micah: Five.

Andrew: Yes. [laughs] Goodbye.

Eric: Goodbye.

Micah: Bye.

[Show music continues]

Transcript 273

MuggleCast 273 Transcript


Show Intro


[Show music begins]

Andrew: Because we always return for the big news, this is MuggleCast Episode 273 for August 5, 2014.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: This week’s episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 273. Micah, Eric, and I are back! Hey, boys.

Eric: We’re back, babies.

Micah: We are.

Andrew: You guys are back from Orlando. I’m back from absolutely nothing.

Eric: San Diego Comic-Con, right?

Andrew: Comic-Con if you count two weeks… yeah. That was two weeks ago. That was so two weeks ago.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: And you were in Orlando too, though, not that long ago, weren’t you?

Andrew: Yeah, in June. In June. So I, too, am back from Orlando in June.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: But… well, we wanted to do a new episode because of course, Diagon Alley has opened up in Universal, Orlando, J.K Rowling dropped an interesting short story on Pottermore, we just passed the Deathly Hallows seventh anniversary, J.K Rowling released a new book, Fantastic Beasts now has a release date… there’s tons of stuff to talk about, so we’re going to catch up on all the good news. Our last episode, I believe, was in March or April?

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: And it was right after we learned that Fantastic Beasts is going to be three movies. Three movies – we decided that was podcast-worthy.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: So here we are.

Micah: Not four. Not yet.

Andrew: Yes, they have not split movie three into two parts yet. [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] Oh, geez.

Micah: But don’t worry, there’s a good possibility it could happen.

Andrew: I think it’s impossible this time…

Micah: Well, there’s no book.

Andrew: … because they’re not working off of a… right.

Micah: Well, we shouldn’t say that. There’s no story that they’re working off of, at least that’s been published and then can be monetized in a very high-rate like Potter was; like The Hunger Games are going to be and various other series that have been released over the course of the last several years and will continue to be released. That’s the hip new thing, right? Split the last book…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: … into two movies.

Andrew: Yeah. That…

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: Because why not?

Andrew: If J.K. Rowling wants to be relevant with Fantastic Beasts, she has to split the final movie in two.

Eric: [laughs] Otherwise…

Andrew: I guess it is kind of possible since Warner Bros. decided to… they had two movies for The Hobbit and then they were like, “Well, let’s do a third. Why not?”

Eric: Right.

Andrew: [laughs] So… no, I think… I feel like part of the agreement with J.K. Rowling was three movies. Surely she set some sort of rule with them, like: “Okay, I’ll do this, but three movies tops.”

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I don’t think they could…

Eric: And isn’t it unclear what capacity she’ll serve in the second two movies? Like, she is writing the first.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean I hope she writes the next two.

Micah: Well, I’m sure she’ll write more.

Andrew: Yeah, I guess.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I mean, she’s always got a lot of stuff to do.


News: J.K. Rowling Writes New Piece by Rita Skeeter and Other Updates in Pottermore


Andrew: So anyway, let’s start with… before we get to Fantastic Beasts, let’s start with Pottermore. J.K. Rowling wrote a new story, like I said, following… so it was written as Rita Skeeter because she was reporting from the Quidditch World Cup, where Harry, Ron, Hermione… who else was there?

Micah: Dumbledore’s Army, right?

Andrew: Neville… right, the theme was Dumbledore’s Army had arrived to watch the Quidditch World Cup. And everybody loved this.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: This new short story. Because it was written in the voice of Rita Skeeter that we’ve missed so much. Rita wrote things like Ron’s hair is thinning…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … Harry’s hair is turning a little grey, Harry has a new scar – that piqued people’s interest – Voldemort…

Eric: That was the most exciting thing, I think – the scar – because she calls attention to it.

Andrew: The new scar?

Eric: She’s like, “What could this be? Is there some sort of worldly peril that we don’t know about?” That’s really the biggest thing, I think, for people, is like, “Is Harry off on another adventure?”

Andrew: Right. She wrote:

“Is the Chosen One embroiled in fresh mysteries that will one day explode upon us all, plunging us into a new age of terror and mayhem?”

Eric: And think, J.K. Rowling wrote this. She’s just teasing us. She’s just taunting. This is the thing.

Micah: I think it’s cool that she can just jump right back into these characters and… granted, we don’t know how long it probably took her…

Eric: Right.

Micah: … to write something like this, but I would assume it could even be something that she had had in her back pocket for a little while. Clearly she wrote this specifically for Pottermore, but I just like the fact that we’re able to just jump right back into the world as if…

Eric: As if we never left?

Micah: Yeah, exactly.

Eric: Well, it is also like set present… it’s set presently. It’s set during the present time, so the Quidditch World Cup is meant to be going on right now… or when the article was published. So it’s kind of like…

Andrew: It is.

Eric: It is catching up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in a way that we hadn’t really ever seen yet, so far. Like, J.K. Rowling said what they end up doing, and I think that little other bits have trickled out, but this was like a news report about what they’re doing now. And for that reason, it’s cool too.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean it’s the first time that we’ve seen modern day Harry, really. Although, I think this takes place… see, so people read that quote, “Oh, is the boy wizard involved…” or, “Is the Chosen One embroiled in fresh mysteries?” Everybody thought, “Oh! So maybe this means that something is up.” But then I guess people did the math and I think this technically takes place before the Deathly Hallows epilogue, so that didn’t really add up because if all was well at the end of the epilogue…

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: … then…

Eric: Yeah. I wonder if she’ll retcon that or something, like give him a few extra scars.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: The epilogue… she’ll have to go back and re-edit it. You’re right, though. That’s very important. I think it’s like 2017 or something, is the epilogue. Ish. Like 19 years later, right? From 1997.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Something like that. So… because I know there is this group on Facebook where they’re like, “Go to King’s Cross, and meet Harry and his family.”

Andrew: [laughs] Oh, yeah.

Eric: So there’s totally going to be…

Micah: They’re not going to be there.

Eric: If there’s not going to be a con…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Dude! There has to be a convention.

Micah: There will be cardboard cutouts or something.

Eric: They have to get Dan Radcliffe and Emma Watson and Rupert to attend. Probably their first convention.

Micah: Yes, I’m sure they will not be busy anyway at that time.

Eric: Well…

Micah: But what was interesting…

Andrew: Dan will show up in his Spider-Man suit because he’ll just be coming out of Comic-Con.

Micah: Oh yeah, that’s right.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: But what was interesting to me about this was that they are viewed as such celebrities. And again, this is coming from the perspective of somebody like Rita Skeeter who is all about the gossip and the tabloids, but I don’t know. There was something that just didn’t sit right with me that they would be viewed in this kind of light, that they had this kind of clout among the wizarding community. Because I wouldn’t think that any of them really would have wanted that, would have sort of embraced that, to be “Oh, the great Dumbledore’s Army has shown up at the Quidditch World Cup.”

Eric: I’m surprised at first, too, at how public the “Dumbledore’s Army” little phrase was; the fact that these people are known for joining this subversive group, kind of anti-government group in school. But ultimately, I think it’s because they were right in the end and it had to be known in the years following year seven with all that crap that was printed against every single one of them and Undesirable Number One. Word just spread that they were, in fact… Harry was right all along and Dumbledore was too. And so I think the celebrity was really brewed out of that: the fact that they did in fact save the world and Voldemort was in fact back, that plenty of people died fighting him or as a result of him, and I think that’s where it comes from. The word just had to get out and kind of an unfortunate side effect was their fame, which is now detailed scathingly by Rita Skeeter.

Micah: Yeah. And one of the other things, too, is that I think this is the first time we’ve actually gone forward in Pottermore; where we’ve gotten information that, as you guys mentioned, is current. Everything that’s come before it, at least from what I remember, has all been backstory.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Or more descriptions about different characters or potions or creatures, what have you.

Andrew: Well… so all this Quidditch stuff that… she’s been releasing a bunch of Quidditch stuff because all throughout the month of July was the Quidditch World Cup… or sorry, maybe the month of June. I can’t remember. But leading up to this, there was a bunch of Quidditch reports penned by Ginny Weasley, the Daily Prophet correspondent, and those were in modern… present day too, but it’s not as interesting as this because this specifically references the trio and it is written by Rita Skeeter. So…

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: … this is kind of like the coolest thing.

Eric: Just one other comment I want to bring in… I did forget about the Ginny things. Thanks for reminding me because I do want to go back and read those.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: But J.K. Rowling… when this particular article came out with Rita Skeeter too, like every news story… or sorry, every news site picked up on it. And it was all the main ones too, like CNN and BBC and stuff, were talking about this new article, and I remember one of the critics that was interviewed – maybe even over on HuffPost or something – said, “As a fellow writer of J.K. Rowling’s, I would love… who wouldn’t love to write 1,500 words – which is not a lot at all – and garner this worldwide attention, as it was?”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It’s only 1,500 words. It is short, if you think about it. You think about how short it is and compare it relatively to the hype that is just surrounding this piece and how every single one of us was just dying to read it. It just shows that she still has a mega amount of power.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: She’s still got it!

[Eric laughs]

Micah: She’s still got it.

Andrew: Well, it’s also tempting for sites to write up this type of material because they can make a headline. I think E! Online did a headline, or somebody. It was like, “Harry Potter is Back!”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I’m just like, “Oh God. No. Stop.”

Micah: Not really.

Andrew: [laughs] But yeah, Eric, that’s a great point. I mean everybody jumped on this story.

Micah: Yeah, and I did myself. I immediately went to go and read it where normally I wouldn’t have if there was just more new information that had been put out on Pottermore. It’s one of those things. “Oh, I’ll get around to it when I have the chance,” but if you’re talking about something that’s new as it relates to the trio, I think that that immediately is going to spark interest. And one thing that actually did come up… as you mentioned at the top of the show, we were in Orlando for LeakyCon. One of the panels, the discussion was about should J.K. Rowling continue to release more information like this. Is it worthwhile?

Andrew: Yes!

Micah: Okay, well…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: … we now have Andrew’s answer and contribution.

Eric: Honestly, I think everybody who went to that panel, none of them said no. None of them said no. There was an argument that was running simultaneously about whether or not the stuff she writes can be considered canon, or if it’s part of extended canon, or if it’s just crap that she writes to write, but all of us want to keep reading it.

Andrew: No, it’s canon.

Eric: Yeah, of course. I would agree, I would agree, I would agree, but others would not. But…

Micah: There were a few people who wanted her to completely stop writing, and I think we should reference that it was the Alohomora! panel that was talking about this.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Micah: But just… I’m all well and fine with her continuing to write and to put out this information. I think, again, I would prefer to have an encyclopedia where everything is in one place that I can go and read, as opposed to Pottermore being this still-somewhat-difficult-to-navigate online experience. But there’s a part of me too, though, when you go and you read something about Harry and his hair turning a little gray, it’s a little weird. Do you really want to go that far? Do you really want to go to the point where he’s going to be sitting in an old age home somewhere in Godric’s Hollow?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I don’t know about old age home. Isn’t there… didn’t we do a joke once where we were talking about ourselves…

Micah: But he’s in his thirties! He’s in his thirties. His hair is graying already? Really?

Eric: … with hair graying? He’s had a lot more stress in his life than most people.

Andrew: Yes, that’s absolutely right, and I want to continue with this discussion in a moment, but first, it is time to remind everybody that today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service, which I always love during the summer because you get to go outside more often and maybe you’re walking around, maybe you’re laying on the beach or by the lake, by any body of water, and you just want to close your eyes and relax, and maybe a good way to do that is to be accompanied by an audiobook. The book I’m going to recommend this week is a… it’s not going to be a surprise. It’s The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling, a.k.a. Robert Galbraith. You can get the book for absolutely free. We’re going to talk about it later in the show, but it is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. If you haven’t read The Silkworm, then read The Cuckoo’s Calling. You can get that for free from Audible. This deal will get you one book free. Just go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast to sign up for your free 30-day trial membership. Grab The Cuckoo’s Calling, grab The Silkworm, grab The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. All of her post-Potter books are available on Audible. Again, AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. We thank Audible for their support of the show.

Here’s the other thing about this whole Rita Skeeter story. We can barely believe it. I mean, we couldn’t even…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: We can… because it’s Rita Skeeter. You can’t trust a gossip columnist. I mean, how do we know they even showed up at the Quidditch World Cup? Well, Andrew, it’s all fiction anyway, who cares? Well, that’s a good point, but still! I mean, this fiction…

Micah: Did you just answer yourself?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yes, I did! Because I know that’s what some people are thinking. This is…

Eric: The news has finally gotten to him. There’s so much going on in the world that Andrew has split himself into two people so as to better cover all the news in the fandoms.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: And he answers his own questions now, Micah. We don’t need to be on this podcast.

Micah: Yeah, we’re going to go.

Andrew: [laughs] No, look. It’s a… I just… I was thinking about this on the day it happened. I mean, everybody is getting so excited about a story by Rita Skeeter, who is very well known for making stuff up. So even though we can look at the story and be like, “Oh, Harry, he has some gray hairs already, Ron’s hair is thinning, Harry has a new scar,” can we actually believe these things? We don’t know.

Eric: Yeah, she throws shade on everybody and that includes – I did want to bring this up – Neville Longbottom and his wife, Hannah Abbott, and she actually says that they’re alcoholics, that they drink a little bit more than they should, considering they both work at Hogwarts and teach or shepherd our children. It’s a bit ridiculous, really, when you think of all the stuff that she says: you look more closely at it. It’s… you can sense… it’s kind of brilliant because you can sense she’s just bitter about the whole situation. I’m surprised that she still has a job, but that’s just, I guess, freedom of the press for you. But yeah, I think that… especially what she said about Neville and Hannah was just like, “Wow, she’s reaching to dig at everyone here.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It wasn’t entirely comfortable to read. It was very enjoyable but you just wonder, “Man, where does she get off here? This is just… this is ridiculous,” and I think that anybody who is overly on Harry’s side would easily see through all of her random digs.

Andrew: So some people were hoping for J.K. Rowling to do something for the seventh anniversary of Deathly Hallows. Maybe a nice little tweet, maybe something on Facebook, maybe a book announcement, maybe something…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I mean, seven… we all know that the number seven is so important in the Harry Potter series, so it kind of seemed appropriate for something to happen on the seventh anniversary of Deathly Hallows being published. But nothing really did happen, although Pottermore, they did release the final Goblet of Fire chapters and that means that now we all have to look forward to Order of the Phoenix – which is personally my favorite book – but I wanted to say that with this update on Pottermore, the Rita Skeeter book that was teased in this Daily Prophet article we’ve been talking about, called Dumbledore’s Army: The Dark Side of the… how do you pronounce that? Demob?

Eric: Umm…

Andrew: I’m looking at the title really small right now, [laughs] so I can’t…

Eric: Yeah, I couldn’t read… honestly, the picture is not that good. It’s script, so it’s hard to…

Andrew: Yeah. So they added it to the Pottermore virtual store in Diagon Alley, but you can’t open it or anything. You just buy it and the cover is there and that’s it. So I was kind of disappointed. I was hoping we’d be able to at least open up the book and read a chapter or something. That would have been cool.

Eric: Right?

Andrew: But nothing like that, so…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: By the way, in those Goblet of Fire chapters, she did say that… she did talk about owls and how she was uneducated about snowy owls when she started writing the books, and she wrote about how wizards handled magical illnesses. She wrote about the Great Lake and a couple of other things. So…

Micah: How did she not know that owls do not eat bacon?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Well, Hedwig’s got to do something when she lands and delivers the mail. I don’t know. You can’t know everything about what you write, can you? [laughs]

Micah: No, but I think, again, something like that where she said she wasn’t as educated… I’m interested to know what listeners think. Would you even want to know about that? I mean, part of the magic of the series is that who would ever even research the fact that an owl, the type of…

Eric: Well…

Micah: … Hedwig, is actually diurnal. So…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: … she flies during the day.

Eric: Well, she says…

Micah: But we know she doesn’t because she flies at night all the time in the series.

Eric: She says that people did write to her. If your books are this widely read, there are people…

Micah: All right. People, let me explain something. If you have a problem with… [laughs] you know what? It’s not even worth talking about.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Go ahead.

Eric: People wrote to her, dude. I’m just saying. She’s just correcting an error. She’s just admitting that she was wrong. And it’s not over anything controversial. It is small.

Micah: But again, it goes back to what I was saying before, though. Do you… the writer admitting mistakes – do you want to know that she made these types of mistakes in the series? Is it going to somehow change your perspective on your going through the series again, should… when you reread it? Are you going to be thinking in the back of your mind, “Damn it, Hedwig, get rid of the damn bacon,” or…”

Eric: [laughs] That’s not realistic.

Micah: … “Stop hooting because you’re a mute bird”?

Eric: I think there’s something to be said for going through…

Andrew: It’s just fun behind-the-scenes info.

Eric: Yeah, it’s just meant to be like a tidbit thing.

Micah: I guess.

Eric: Like, “Oh, hey, by the way.”

Andrew: I thought it was interesting.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: I’m just playing devil’s advocate.

Eric: I don’t know what your issue is.

Andrew: Sure.

Eric: I think it’s cool.


News: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith is Released Worldwide


Andrew: So I thought before we talk about J.K. Rowling’s… the other Potter news, we could talk about something J.K. Rowling did publish this summer and that is The Silkworm, her second book in the Cormoran Strike series. The first book, of course, was called The Cuckoo’s Calling. We all remember how she released the book under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, last year. It was very exciting because the book was sitting on bookstore shelves for a while. We didn’t know it and then the news leaked and… anyway, now the second book is published, also by Robert Galbraith. She’s sticking with that pseudonym, which I think is a cool thing. Have you guys read it?

Micah: Yes.

Andrew: Oh, great. Did you too, Eric?

Eric: I did not.

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Micah: Have you read the first one?

Eric: I have not finished reading the first one.

Andrew: They’re really good. I really…

Micah: Is this a Casual Vacancy trend?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: I think it’s just J.K. Rowling post-Potter trend for me. But I absolutely do…

Micah: Well…

Eric: I do want to read them. Everybody says it’s awesome.

Micah: I will say… the first one, right? The Cuckoo’s Calling, I thought that it was much improved upon in The Silkworm.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: Because there was just something about the way that the reveal of the killer took place in The Silkworm that I thought was much better than what happened towards the end of Cuckoo’s Calling. I thought… it didn’t pack as much of a punch. I’m not trying to downplay it and say you shouldn’t go and read it, because I think you should because I think one of the things that Rowling continues to do so well that we’ve come to know her for is develop her characters, and I think that Cormoran Strike continues to become this figure, this kind of interesting sleuth that we will follow throughout an entire series now. So I think it’s definitely worth the read.

Eric: There’s no good reason why I haven’t read it yet. I will admit that a hundred percent. There is no good reason. I feel ashamed coming on to this podcast. When I saw that was in the document, I considered resigning. So it’s just… I’m embarrassed, but I didn’t read it yet and I will sometime.

Andrew: Well, I agree with Micah. It was very… I thought it was a step up over The Cuckoo’s Calling. It just… when I read her books, I’m just continually reminded of the great level of detail that she writes with. It’s just such a pleasure to read her words and I like how this one played out over the course of the book. I loved the ending just like with the first book. It’s kind of like an action-packed ending. It feels like she saves these – quote, unquote – big action scenes for the very end. You don’t really see them throughout the rest of the book, which is okay because it’s still an interesting story. I love the overarching plot lines that are coming through the series on a whole. She has… this whole plot line with Robin and her husband is very… well, not husband. That may have been a spoiler. I don’t know, it doesn’t matter.

Eric: Oh, damn.

Andrew: But that whole thing. Robin and her man, that whole thing is interesting.

Micah: They’re engaged, right? They’re getting married.

Andrew: Yeah. Cormoran’s life, in general, outside of… yeah. Cormoran’s work outside of his life… outside of his work is interesting. So a bunch of interesting plot lines and, again, it’s just such a pleasure to read her writing. This book is a little shorter than the first one. I noticed that immediately upon picking it up. This one focuses on journalism and the literature world, which was interesting to read because you can’t help but feel like J.K. Rowling inserted some of her own personal experiences or ideas of the literature world into this book.

Eric: I felt that way about Cuckoo’s Calling, too, because it was a celebrity that had died and I thought, “Well, she’s clearly talking about paparazzi and stuff in there,” just in the beginning that I read, but it seems like she’s done that again…

Andrew: Yeah…

Eric: … with having the… isn’t the victim an author now?

Andrew: Yes, yes.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Okay, cool.

Andrew: I wrote on the MuggleCast Facebook page… I was asking people to write in with some questions for today’s show, and Katie wrote in asking:

“What are your thoughts on the theme of the definition of literature and the nature of publishing in The Silkworm?”

Micah, did you have any thoughts on this?

Micah: [laughs] I love how you just threw that to me.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: But I would just echo what you already said. I think there are probably some very strong personal experiences that were included. If not experiences, maybe just even personal feelings of having seen others go through just the struggles, I think, of what it takes to publish a piece of literature, and I think that that was definitely front and center, and the whole plot kind of ties into that. And I think that probably moving forward, we’ll get less character development and probably a little bit more action because I think that now in these first two books, the characters of Robin and Cormoran have really been solidly established. I’m sure there’s more we’ll continue to learn about both of them, but I feel like… especially in this book. I felt like we got a lot of insight into Robin and her background and her family and her relationship with her fiancé, but also with Cormoran, and it’s interesting to see how that relationship continues to grow. Without giving anything away, I think that it’s going to be interesting to see how that kind of develops along with whatever the next case may be. And I thought the other thing that was really cool about this particular book was seeing Robin sort of become more of the detective.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: Really kind of coming into her own, and you find out really why she wanted the job in the first place was to pursue this career path. So, is she going to kind of become this Watson to Cormoran’s Sherlock Holmes?

Andrew: Yeah. That’s another arc that is going to play out beautifully, I think, and J.K. Rowling did make one appearance to promote The Silkworm. She was dressed in a suit and tie, which I thought was great.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Some people were, I think jokingly, thinking that she may wear a mustache because crime and whatever, [laughs] but she did wear a suit and tie, which was kind of cool. And she revealed that she has many books planned. More than seven of these books are coming.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So this is a big series. If you’re a J.K. Rowling fan and you like mysteries or whodunits, definitely start reading them because there’s going to be many of them and you’re going to keep hearing about these. [laughs] So…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: And just going back to the question that you had from Facebook, I think there’s going to be people who are really going to jump into the detail of what happens in this book, specifically as it relates to the murder, and I’m sure there’s a ton of literary tie-ins and analogies that can be made. So I’m personally not well-versed enough to even try and do that, but I just think also that there’s a lot of just… Andrew, you can jump in here too. I just thought that some of the things that happened was not traditional J.K. Rowling. [laughs] It was…

Andrew: No.

Micah: In terms of the graphic nature of it, and some of the… just the weird stuff.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: I won’t say the other S word.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: But it was weird. It was really weird.

Andrew: It is weird because you read this and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is the woman who wrote Harry Potter! She can’t think these thoughts!” [laughs]

Micah: [laughs] Yeah, exactly.

Andrew: She’s not allowed to. [laughs] Steph… we’ll wrap this up. I know everybody doesn’t read these, so… Steph also pointed out that there were a couple of Potter nuggets in The Silkworm. First of all, Emma Watson was specifically referenced in The Silkworm, which was cool. I believe she was on a magazine cover. And she also said… Steph also said:

“… the fact that Robin’s train (which she almost misses) leaves at 11 o’clock, from St. Pancras (which was Jo’s inspiration for King’s Cross).”

That’s a bit reaching for straws, I think, because this book… this series is set in London anyway. But anyway, there was…

Micah: You know how we tell the next time though, Andrew?

Andrew: How?

Micah: If Robin, walking down the street, happens to come across an owl eating bacon on the sidewalk.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: That doesn’t happen in real life. She has said that.

Andrew: This is set in the real world. She can’t do that. It’s going to take me out of the book. Anyway…

Eric: You know what, though? Speaking of being set in the real world, Lucien Collins, again on Facebook, actually mentioned something really cool. So there is a mention of Emma Watson in the book, but also, it’s kind of… not an error, but it’s a paradox in a way because if Emma Watson exists as a celebrity, it’s because of Potter. So if Emma Watson exists, then Potter probably exists, and the person who wrote Potter is Jo, and Jo… then The Silkworm exists. So it’s kind of like…

[Micah laughs]

Eric: It’s like following that train of logic. She mentions Emma Watson, which we all get it because Emma is popular now, but she’s famous for playing Hermione in Harry Potter.

Micah: So yeah, the Potter series could just as easily be mentioned. Is that what you’re saying?

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: J.K. Rowling herself could be mentioned.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: That’d be weird.

Andrew: J.K. Rowling could write about herself being murdered. [laughs]

Eric: Wow. That’s true, I guess, right? Solve your own…

Andrew: Well, this is a whodunit series.

Eric: She wouldn’t be the first. Well, Stephen King did it in, I believe, The Dark Tower. He had…

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: … himself kind of actually in his car accident, which he had years and years and years ago.

Andrew: Oh, interesting.

Eric: He later wrote about his car accident and had people time travel and go back in time and try and stop it. So, as far as what I understand…

Micah: He’s just a sick dude. I’m sorry.

Eric: Well…

Micah: Ever since we saw him at Harry, Carrie, and Garp…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Harry, Carrie, and Garp?

Micah: … and he was talking about pies filled with human flesh. I mean…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh, it was awesome, dude! No, they weren’t human flesh. I really didn’t think that… that was John Irving who said that, so you got that in your head.

Micah: Oh, was it John Irving?

Eric: No, I don’t think it was John Irving. [laughs]

Micah: It was Stephen King.

Eric: He’s…

Micah: Anyway…

Eric: It was the cherry pie…

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: … because it was from The Stand or The Body.

Micah: It wasn’t cherries.

Eric: Well, I don’t know. Look… so yeah, this little breaking of the… I guess Potter can exist because this book is being written by Robert Galbraith, right?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Is that the counterpoint to this?

Micah: That’s right.

Eric: So in that world, J.K. Rowling is not Robert Galbraith, and so Robert Galbraith is able to write about J.K. Rowling. Like you said, Andrew, she could even make an appearance in the book.

Andrew: But Robert Galbraith isn’t real in real life.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: So… this is all so confusing. Let’s just move on.

[Eric laughs]


News: David Legeno Passes Away at Age 50


Andrew: We have a little sad news to report. Harry Potter actor David Legeno died at the age of 50. In July, he was found in California’s Death Valley after he reportedly went on a hiking trip through Death Valley, and I guess he was by himself. He was found in a remote wash just west of Zabriskie Point. I don’t know where that is, but anyway, it was a shame. He obviously died young. He was only 50 years old. He was Fenrir Greyback…

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: … in the Harry Potter films. So…

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: … rest in peace, Mr. Legeno.

Eric: Indeed. It serves to show that…

Andrew: Sorry that happened.

Eric: … the elements, nature, very dangerous, just very dangerous. You should probably always have a buddy, but you can never be too safe when you’re out hiking and all of that, especially with heat conditions being what they are in Death Valley.

Andrew: Yeah, California’s Death Valley I think is one of the hottest places in the United States. So…

Micah: Just sad. Yeah, any time you get news like that because, obviously, we’ve… it’s still very much a community, I think, and we’ve seen, unfortunately, a couple of these – a couple of actors in the Potter series pass away since filming has wrapped, but to hear about it just… is sad. In a general sense, it’s sad. Potter aside. So…


News: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Series Updates


Andrew: So anyway, turning to lighter subjects now. We’re going to talk about Fantastic Beasts

Eric: Woo!

Andrew: … and then Diagon Alley. First of all, Fantastic Beasts, we now know has a release date. It will be released November 18, 2016. So this is actually earlier than I was expecting. I was thinking 2017 at the very earliest just because it seems like we don’t know much right now and I guess… it still is really far away. [laughs] It’s still over two years away.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: But it’s kind of worth noting that Warner Bros. is going to take over this Hunger Games slot. This is the release date that the Hunger Games has, starting with Catching Fire and then Mockingjay – Part 1 and then Mockingjay – Part 2 in 2015. So then the following year, that Thanksgiving box office weekend, that’s going to go to Fantastic Beasts. So…

Eric: It’s actually also the very same weekend that Potter opened on in 2001.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: The dates are two days off because of the way the years work with dates, but it’s that same weekend and it was November 16, 2001. Chamber of Secrets was November 15, 2002, and Goblet of Fire was November 20 or something, but it’s that same exact weekend. It’s… if you count the weeks, it’s like week 40-ish something. Anyway, every year… or no, 48-ish. So yeah, it’s that same week. It’s just box office wise, studio wise, that’s a great week because you have opening weekend. It isn’t during Thanksgiving, but then the success of the film goes into Thanksgiving and you have kids off from school going to see it and then the movie is still… if it’s successful, it’s still in theaters over the Christmas break.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: As you’re saying, Andrew, it’s perfect for young adult, it’s perfect for everybody, I think, to still… it’s a great position to be in theaters during both of those holidays.

Micah: I don’t really know as much in terms of the filmmaking process. You said you had anticipated possibly 2017. I guess hoping that something would be released in 2015 is way too soon, right?

Andrew: Well, we could see a teaser trailer by November 2015 with Mockingjay – Part 2 maybe. Because Mockingjay – Part 2 is going to be huge, so that would be a good place to promote it. But I’m just going to go and predict right now that Fantastic Beasts – Part 2 and Fantastic Beasts – Part 3 are going to be released November 2017 and November 2018 because that’s what Warner Bros. has been doing with The Hobbit. They release the three films a year apart from one another.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: December 2012, December 2013, and this upcoming December 2014.

Eric: Yeah, exactly. And with all the high production times on these films, you can film these with a couple of months break in between filming and be working on more than one film at a time, essentially.

Micah: No, I think that makes the most sense too, because with something like Harry Potter specifically – going back to that film series – you had something where if there was a two-year gap, it was okay. But I feel like with something like Fantastic Beasts, you’re going to want to kind of keep it within that one-year time frame. I think if you let it go for too long, it’s just not going to have the same effect.

Andrew: Now we can all kind of start speculating about what this means for… when we’re going to hear about a director, when we’re going to learn about the casting, and all that. We unfortunately…

Eric: Yeah, I’d love to hear…

Andrew: … haven’t learned much.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Go ahead.

Eric: No, I’d love to hear about it as soon as possible. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. I’m really, really curious. I think it’s going to be like… I always imagined… we talked about this at length on previous episodes, but I want to see it be like Newt Scamander is like an Indiana Jones type of character and in the past, going through Muggle New York during the Roaring Twenties. There’s no… I’m sold on the premise, so any bit of detail that gets added to this project is going to serve to excite me…

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: … for the project. But no idea when we’ll get that stuff. I mean… do you think it’s unreasonable, Andrew? I wanted to ask you this since you were just at San Diego Comic-Con. It seems like everybody is making their big announcements or having big things going on there. Do you see Harry Potter – or sorry, Fantastic Beasts – having a panel at San Diego Comic-Con to promote the movie the way that all these other films are doing?

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, Harry Potter did it. I don’t know if it was Deathly Hallows – Part 1 or Part 2, but Tom Felton showed up to premiere… it was Part 2. Tom Felton showed up to premiere a trailer and then I know we had an interview opportunity with him. So yeah, this is definitely the place to do it and I think they will at some point. The question is will it be 2015 or 2016?

Eric: Right.

Andrew: They could announce something at Comic-Con 2015 because they’re talking about Batman vs. Superman now and that doesn’t come out until 2016.

Eric: Oh, yeah.

Micah: Wow.

Andrew: So…

Micah: Yeah. Like you said, I think maybe do a trailer next year and then the following year, you do a panel before the movie comes out.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, it depends on when they’re going to be filming, so…

Eric: Right, right. Because they won’t have that much content.

Andrew: Yeah. Speaking of filming, we do know they are going to be using Leavesden Studios. That is where they filmed all eight Harry Potter movies. It currently hosts a making of Harry Potter studio tour and David Yates, funnily enough, is actually filming there right now. He’s working on a movie… oh, he’s filming Tarzan there right now.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: So I wouldn’t be…

Micah: David Heyman?

Andrew: No, David Yates.

Eric: Yates.

Andrew: David Yates.

Micah: Oh, David Yates is [directing] Tarzan. That’s interesting.

Andrew: Yeah, he is Tarzan.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: So I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s working in the production offices or consulting on the Fantastic Beasts production offices. They’ve got to be working on this to some extent there now, with concept art or something. I don’t know.

Micah: Yeah. Somebody sneak in. Somebody who lives over in the UK…

Eric: I really want to know that.

Micah: … please go to the studio tour under the strict premise of finding out information for us.

Eric: Oh, God.

Micah: But I think it’s awesome though, that they’re using Leavesden Studios. I think there’s a familiarity with it, especially if there’s a potential for certain actors to come back at some point. We’ve got to imagine as we move further on into the series here of Fantastic Beasts that there’s going to be some sort of overlap, right?

Eric: Yeah, not necessarily a straightforward overlap – actors returning to their exact roles – unless they choose to do a flash-forward, because this is set in the past.

Micah: Right, but eventually the past meets up…

Eric: Yeah, eventually.

Micah: … with the present.

Eric: Though they could also have somebody like… say Evanna Lynch does Luna’s great-great grandmother. She portrays… they make her up to look a little different but it’s still her. That would be cool, like Back to the Future style.

Andrew: The only other thing that we know right now is that Alfonso Cuaron is not directing Fantastic Beasts.

Eric: Andrew, I’m sorry. I was all for this, man. I was.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I had your back on this, man. I was blown away when you first suggested it; I thought it was the best thing ever. And I hate Prisoner of Azkaban, as you know, but at the same time I really was willing to give him a second chance on this.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, a lot of people were excited and a lot of people hated this idea. This was reported by Deadline initially… or no, sorry, the former… she was let go of Deadline, Nikki Finke. She reported that Alfonso Cuaron was offered the directing role, but then in an interview with Digital Spy, Alfonso said:

“It was a very beautiful experience for me [directing ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’]. I have a lot of love for that universe and I tremendously admire J.K. Rowling, but today, for the present, projects based around lots of visual effects don’t attract me. I’m coming out of a five-year process of doing visual effects and now I sort of want to clean my palate of that a little bit.”

Of course, he’s referring to Gravity, which he did with Warner Bros. and Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer David Heyman. So Alfonso appears to be out, even though I personally think that would have been a great idea.

Micah: Yeah. We talked about it, I think – I don’t know if it was the last episode or two episodes ago – about how he would probably be a great fit for something like this. But it’s obviously his decision, so…

Eric: Gosh, now I can’t get my mind off of David Yates, now that you connected the dots there with him working on Tarzan.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I cannot stop thinking about him. Of course he’s there! Of course he’s approving stuff for the film.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Or giving it a onceover.

Andrew: But I don’t think he’s going to… I don’t think there’s any chance he’s going to direct, though. By the way, I think it is true that Warner Bros. offered Alfonso the gig. Reports that came out after that initial report seemed to suggest that Alfonso… Warner Bros. basically said to Alfonso, “Whatever you want, you can have. If you want Fantastic Beasts, you can have it,” blah, blah, blah. Because Gravity was so successful for Warner Bros., he was just in a great point in his relationship with Warner Bros. where they said, “If you want Fantastic Beasts or any other movie, you can have it here at our studio.”

Eric: Wow!

Andrew: But of course, he came up with this reasoning: he’s been in digital effects for a while; he doesn’t want to go back into it. So that’s probably the truth. He was offered but he was like, “I’m done staring at CGI all day.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: For now.

Micah: You mean they’re not real?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Space is real.

Andrew: And I guess as we transition…

Eric: [unintelligible] is real, Micah.


News: Fantastic Beasts Movie Preview at Diagon Alley


Andrew: As we transition into Diagon Alley news, we should mention a story that’s kind of a little further down in the doc. In an interview with USA Today, Diagon Alley art director Alan Gilmore said that the creatures in one of the shops at Diagon Alley, Magical Menagerie, are, quote, “the first time that the beasts have been visualized.” He said, “It will give visitors a peek at the next wave of Harry Potter.” So maybe these photos… these beasts that you see in the Magical Menagerie shop are early renderings for creatures in the Fantastic Beasts movie. Maybe.

Eric: I love this article. It’s really bold to think that they’re sneaking these characters right under Harry Potter fans’ noses. It’s kind of like a San Diego Comic-Con preview, but everybody expects it there. So instead it’s like, “Well here’s this world of Harry Potter and we’re just going to put stuff in the upper levels that you can’t get to but you can look up and see, and it’s going to be these creatures that we’re working on. There you go.” It’s like, “We need to fill this space with something. Why not be it like pre-viz creatures for this upcoming film trilogy?” or however many it’s going to be.

Andrew: Yeah. When I was there for the media stuff, when I was in this shop and I took these pictures that you see in the article, it was brought up to me by one of the people working in that particular store that they have a copy of Fantastic Beasts on hand, the J.K. Rowling book that was published years ago. They have a copy of that on hand in case they need to look up anything for customers who come in. And it’s specific to this store, so that’s another little interesting tidbit. I guess if you walk in and you say to one of the people there, “Hey, what’s that purple thing with the two unicorns?”

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: They’ll open up their book and they’ll say, “Oh, this is a Crumple-Horned Snorkack.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: “The creature that Luna Lovegood was searching for with her father.”

Eric: What’s funny is… we definitely do want to talk about everything in Diagon Alley, but speaking specifically about Magical Menagerie, I think this is located at the top of the hill right next to Gringotts. Is that right?

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: You go up and then you make a left.

Eric: Yeah. So I was in here and they have a lot of stuff like plush versions of the different animals. There’s a Scabbers I think, there’s a Fluffy… there’s a fluffy Fluffy, so that was pretty cool. A three-headed dog. But the funny thing is we were travelling through Diagon Alley, it was late at night because it was part of LeakyCon’s night event inside the park, and somebody I was with – her name is Alyssa, Alyssa Jennette; she works on the MuggleNet book blog – she said… we were in Magical Menagerie for like a minute and… she went in before I did. I was walking in and she was walking out and she said, “They don’t have rat tonic.” And I thought, for all of the consumerism that exists in this Harry Potter park, that’s a missed opportunity. Like the one missed opportunity that they’re not selling the rat tonic that Hermione… or sorry, Ron tries to get for Scabbers. I thought it was a funny little…

Andrew: But what would you do with rat tonic?

Eric: It could be water for all I care. You just buy it.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It’s like you go into Magical Menagerie and you just buy rat tonic because that’s what Ron tried to do in the books.

Andrew: Hmm.

Eric: Or he did in the books. I don’t know.

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: But it’s a funny memory I wanted to share.

MuggleCast 273 Transcript (continued)


Review: Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando


Andrew: So I guess we’ll start with some basic information. Diagon Alley opened in the first week of July at Universal Orlando. It’s located at Universal Studios. That is the park neighboring Islands of Adventure. Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are in two separate lands. They are connected by a working Hogwarts Express, which we will talk about a little later on. And there was the media preview, then there was the grand opening, and then there was that LeakyCon event that Eric just mentioned. So let’s start with the big thrill ride. Well… or how about let’s start about your feelings when you first enter…

Micah: Well, Andrew, we have to wait four hours if you want to talk about that.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: I knew he was going to joke about that. I knew it.

Andrew: Okay, so let’s get a fast pass for that and in the meantime…

Micah: Okay.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … let’s talk about… so you come up to Diagon Alley, it’s in the back of Universal Studios, and you’re greeted by the London waterfront. You can see Kreacher peeking out the window, the Knight Bus is there with the conductor, but I want to talk about that moment that you walk through the brick wall. You don’t really walk through, but whatever. You walk through this little tunnel and around a corner, and you have to walk… it’s interesting. You have to walk a little further once you get through the brick wall to get past this bridge that’s over top.

Eric: Ugh.

Andrew: And then you can see the dragon with the shops on the left and right. How was that experience for you guys?

Micah: It was… it’s interesting because I remember that feeling when you first went to the Wizarding World and got to see Hogwarts, right? Because that really is the most iconic piece that you could possibly include in the park, and I remember walking through with a couple of people, some who were legitimately breaking down in tears. As you enter through the gates of Hogsmeade, and the train is there and the music is playing and… Diagon Alley, though, it just has such unbelievable detail, and I think… that’s not to take anything away from Hogsmeade, but I think that just the… you could really sense the time and the energy and the effort that went into creating this place. It’s almost like they looked at what they did initially and said, “We’re going to do it a hundred times better,” from that standpoint, and I think that… to just see that. As you mentioned, you walk through and then you see the dragon all the way down at the end of that corridor and on top of the bank. But I was just blown away by the rich detail, and I know that the space itself is approximately the same size as Hogsmeade, but you don’t get that feeling. This feels much more expansive. It feels like you have much more room to walk around in, and there’s just so much more to see. Even though there’s only one ride, there’s still so much more to see, and I think that that may have been what the original park was lacking. I think it had too much in terms of rides and not enough for Potter fans to kind of just sit and experience.

Eric: Well, I would agree definitely with the detail, too, as Micah said, and size wise, I think they are comparable but there’s no… I mean, that includes the size that the Dueling Dragons and the Hippogriff ride take up, so if you include that… so it is actually bigger areas where you can walk. There are more of them as a result of that. So I like this little offshoot area – they call it Carkitt Market – and I like that there’s Knockturn Alley where you can go down. But there is just a lot more stuff to see, and part of it has to do with Diagon Alley being sort of the shopper’s mecca in the wizarding world, that there are these signs on top of signs on top of signs for all the different things that you can get or all the storefronts. I mean, I was looking… it was fairly late into the evening, and I was walking by the same corridor between Carkitt Market and kind of heading towards the Leaky Cauldron where I had walked past five or six times before, and just out of the corner of my eye, I see something really gross in the window. Turns out…

Micah: It was your reflection.

Eric: No…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Thank you, jackass.

Micah: Sorry, it was too easy.

Eric: I know, I know, I know. It was pickled eels. They were… it was this little shop selling – or storefront – advertising eels that were baked into a pie, and eels that were on a scale and they were slimy. And they weren’t moving, thank god. They were just rubber or whatever it was, but… it’s just looking in and I’m like, “This is not visually pleasing. Who would design this?” But then I’m thinking… it just sort of fleshes out the world, is all I’m trying to say. So definitely A plus plus for the details here in Diagon Alley.

Andrew: One of my favorite…

Micah: What did you think, Andrew?

Andrew: Well, one of my favorite moments was when I went in, they had this preview night event and just going in, me and my friend, we ran straight to the Gringotts attraction to do that, but then afterward, just going in and out of the shops and sort of just losing yourself in the lands because you had no idea where everything was because it’s all brand new. So just… I just loved turning the different corners and seeing things for the first time. It’s just… you felt like you… you really did feel like you were in Diagon Alley because you’re just completely 360-degree experience throughout. And you have no clue where everything is. You’re just like, “What’s this way? Let me discover for myself by just walking there.” That was one of my favorite parts about it. The level of detail, I think, is increased over Hogsmeade. Going into Hogsmeade now after Diagon Alley, it’s just… they do not seem comparable to me.

Micah: No. Which is funny because Universal is the older park and…

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

Micah: … you would expect something like Diagon Alley to be in Islands of Adventure. So…

Eric: Well, no… well, yes, but also there’s always the going home feeling of going back to Hogsmeade.

Andrew: Yeah. I…

Eric: Hogsmeade… yeah.

Micah: No, I’m not downplaying it at all. No.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Don’t get me wrong. I still think that there’s something very special about being in the Hogsmeade side of it.

Andrew: Yeah, of course.

Micah: I think especially for us. It was something that we all kind of experienced together for the first time a couple of years ago and…

Eric: Well, now you can take the train there.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Now you can take the train there. But I was just… Andrew – and both of you guys said it – the detail was amazing. I could probably go back there and spend time looking at things that I would not have even noticed on first glance and… I probably could spend more time there. I didn’t even get to enough of the different shops and other things like that that were there.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: Especially at night, I think… first of all, at night it’s amazing to walk around there, but it doesn’t do much for pictures, which I was very much kind of looking forward to capturing a lot of photos the way that I did when I had gone over to Hogsmeade for the first time.

Eric: Right.

Micah: But one of the really cool things, I think – they didn’t have to do it [but] they did it anyway – was the addition of Knockturn Alley and Borgin and Burkes, and just… again, the way that they were able to set this whole thing up so that you’re completely immersed in the world. You feel like you’re really there. And it’s air conditioned!

Andrew: Yes. Knockturn Alley, the fact that it’s air conditioned and completely out of the sun I think is a response to the complaints… I mean, I don’t know… there had to be complaints about this. There’s really no shade in Hogsmeade, other than that owlery.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: I mean, people were standing out in direct sunlight waiting to get into Ollivander’s… it’s rough there; there’s no shade. Whereas with Diagon Alley, the buildings are a lot taller so there’s less direct sunlight in Diagon Alley during the day. Carkitt Market is shaded, and Knockturn Alley – complete darkness and air conditioned. If you’re there visiting with kids and you don’t want to be out in the hot sun, you can just chill in Knockturn Alley.

Eric: Literally.

Andrew: It’s dark and depressing in there…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … but at least you’re cool [laughs] and not getting sunburned.

Eric: Yeah, it’s just… I don’t know.

Andrew: And with Carkitt Market, it’s not complete darkness and it’s not air conditioned, but it is shaded. And it’s a big open area.

Eric: Well, I also wanted to say, too, in Knockturn Alley, you know they have those interactive wand challenges? Or not challenges, but those interactive wand points. This is one of the coolest things, and they’ve gone back and added some to Hogsmeade apparently, but… I didn’t get a wand, but I saw them in action multiple times across the park and in Knockturn Alley, there is a chorus of shrunken heads inside one of the windows that will sing and talk and laugh and all this other stuff when you point your wand at it. And little touches like that really pleased me. I know in Borgin and Burkes, there is, of course, a vanishing cabinet. It’s just like you’d go in there and you expect it to be there and then it is.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: And then you’re just like, “Ah.” Collective sigh.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: There’s this sigh of relief. And additionally, there’s… just like you were saying, on top of Magical Menagerie with all of those creatures sort of hidden up above, you get that… I mean, in Knockturn Alley and Borgin and Burkes, there’s a whole display case of things that you can’t buy. They’re just dark objects setting the scene for that store. There’s tons of T-shirts and stuff on the outer walls, but then when you first walk in, there’s this huge glass case and all you can do is look at things that are stabbed with nails and I think the Deathly Hallows are in there too.

Andrew: Borgin and Burkes is the Hot Topic of the wizarding world, I have decided.

Eric: Yes! Yeah… or Horcruxes are in there, not Deathly Hallows. But really just the level of detail, again, in these shops. Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes is another big one.

Andrew: So…

Eric: It’s kind of small. It’s… because the…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … second and third floors are loaded with stuff. You just can’t go up there to see it.

Andrew: So let’s talk about Escape from Gringotts. This is the main attraction there. There’s really only one ride at Diagon Alley and this is it. I mean, if you’re not counting the Hogwarts Express. Escape from Gringotts – you go through a queue themed to Gringotts Bank, of course. They have that beautiful lobby. I will say there’s one problem with this attraction, and it’s the photo-op.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: As soon as you get inside the bank through the queue, the bank lobby, with all the goblin bank tellers, you go through this area where all you do is stand in front of wood paneling and you take a picture of you and your friends, and that’s it. They take the photo for you, of course; it’s like this old-school camera. And then you get it printed at the end of the ride with a border around it, and you can also get a photo ID like your Gringotts photo badge. I thought that part was cool, but just the… this whole photo-op is just not well done. I hate to say it, but it’s true. And part of the problem is that this ride that you actually go on is basically all screens. There’s nothing real inside the ride, so there’s nothing to take a photo-op with during the ride.

Eric: Well, it’s 3D so… the issue is, I think… the reason there’s not an on-ride photograph – and this is something that was kind of like a developing conversation as we were… as you do when you’re waiting four hours in line – one of the people we were with, Amanda Walters, who I first met at the MuggleCast that we did in down under in Australia, was with us in line, and she had ridden it once before and so she was able to tell us, “Well, this is a 3D ride.” And I said, “Is there an on-ride photograph?” and she’s like, “Well, I won’t spoil you, but no, there’s not.” And so…

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: … it’s 3D, but… so she meant because you do get your photo taken but it’s in line, like you were saying. With us wearing glasses, that ruins, or would ruin, any kind of on-ride photograph that they would take.

Andrew: Oh, true.

Eric: Because we’d all be wearing glasses.

Andrew: True.

Eric: So that’s my only thing with that. But I will say also, John Noe and Frankie Franco from PotterCast as well as Bre Bishop were all in line and they tried to break the record for most people in one of those Gringotts photos. [laughs] So… you have to see…

Andrew: Oh, yeah?

Eric: Yeah, go look at their… they had a group of easily 15 to 20 people…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: … and they all fit into one of those shots. So I will say…

Andrew: Did they do that so they could afford the cost of the photo, which is like 30-40 dollars?

Eric: [laughs] It’s ridiculous, the cost… yeah. I mean, I hate to… this is like… what is it? Like Pottermore, where we just open up by bashing it and never let up.

Andrew: [laughs] It’s typical theme park prices.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Typical theme park prices.

Micah: I enjoyed the ride.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, yeah. Well, look, the ride is great, but I did want to talk about this part in line. So you mentioned the photos, but that’s the one area in line when I felt like the line was moving too fast because as you’re walking along that corridor right after you take the photo, they have all these Daily Prophets and stuff, and it actually… we got shuffled… and there’s the offices of Griphook and Ragnok or Ragnarok or whatever that is, and a few other things. So I… the whole queue is themed, but I felt that that moment in particular, the pacing wise… you know how on Forbidden Journey you can walk all the way through Defense Against the Dark Arts if there’s no line and miss the fact that Harry, Ron, and Hermione come in under the invisibility cloak? It’s like that but only… you just… so there’s more detail and I would need to go back through the line to really appreciate it.

Micah: Yeah. No, I agree. I thought we were very much rushed through there. I think… the photograph blinds you, too, so it’s a good thing you don’t go right on to the ride…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: … after taking the photograph. But I was really looking forward to, yeah, taking a little bit of time to look at some of those Daily Prophets, to look at some of the offices because I think they even had some things going on there, right?

Eric: Yeah, yeah.

Micah: I’m sure they did, with all the detail that they put in in different places. I don’t know that we touched on it, but when you’re actually inside the bank for the first time with all the goblins around, and it’s such a… at least to me, looks like an exact replication of the film because you have that huge chandelier…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: … above you, which I’m sure cost a pretty penny to put in there. So that’s why we’re paying 30 dollars for a photo.

Eric: Yes, all the ugly pennies were cast out.

Andrew: It’s beautiful, that whole bank entry area. It’s just gorgeous.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: But yeah, the ride. We were in the front, the very, very front, so… there was one point that I thought that… [laughs] I don’t know. I didn’t know if I was going to make it.

Andrew: [laughs] Were you scared?

Eric: Oh, Jesus. Thank you for telling me this now.

Micah: Well, yeah, better I tell you that now than while we’re actually on the ride.

Eric: Yeah, and I find out…

Micah: But yeah, no, because we’re in the front and there’s this one point where it completely dips forward and you’re suspended out into space, basically. You know what I’m talking about, Andrew?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. It’s awesome. That’s the most exciting part.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Right, but what I was saying was I was concerned about the actual security…

Andrew: [laughs] You were fine.

Micah: … of making sure that I didn’t fall out.

Andrew: You’re good.

Micah: You’re glad that was… that was cool, though. I thought it was… overall, I thought it was fun, especially sitting up front. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to handle it, but I made it.

Andrew: Well, so I too was a little nervous about the intensity of the ride. I thought they may have wanted to make it more intense than Forbidden Journey over in Hogsmeade, and I thought Forbidden Journey was pretty intense. I’m… I don’t like coasters or anything like that, so… I don’t like coasters with loop-de-loops, I’ll say. So this ride was more family friendly than Forbidden Journey was, and I liked that about it. I thought it was a good story. You see Bellatrix and Voldemort together at one point. Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes filmed scenes for this sequence, and it was awesome.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Seeing them together reunited again, you could say, which was fantastic. There are a couple of moments where you really do thrust forward or shake or roll, but it just wasn’t as intense as Forbidden Journey and I liked that about it. I think they purposely made this a little more family friendly.

Eric: It is a tamer ride.

Andrew: Yeah. But I just also want to say it’s… you kind of expect it to be more intense when there’s a giant dragon on top of the attraction. [laughs] So…

Micah: Yeah, and the dragon didn’t play overly prominently into the ride.

Andrew: I know.

Micah: I was expecting more to kind of be chased around by the dragon.

Eric: Well, you only get caught on its tail and escape Gringotts while on its back.

Micah: No, but I’m saying in terms of it being antagonistic.

Eric: Oh.

Micah: It wasn’t like that’s what you were going in there to do battle against. It ended up being more of those stone statues and…

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, and Voldemort and Bellatrix. I was just shocked because I think… I must have missed a news story, but I realized that… I think Helena Bonham Carter and Rupert Grint had said they filmed scenes for the ride. I was not expecting to see Ralph Fiennes there. I was not expecting to see…

Andrew: I wasn’t either.

Eric: Spoiler alert. I wasn’t… oh, I’m glad.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I’m glad it’s not just me because I wasn’t expecting to see Harry and Hermione either, and I realize it’s possible that that wasn’t filmed, that it was just digitized, but it would have been… I was like, “What possible scenario will they pull out of this if only half the actors agreed to come back?”

Andrew: So the official answer is that Dan Radcliffe did not film… Dan Radcliffe and Emma Watson did not film new things for Diagon Alley, and that includes the Hogwarts Express, whereas Rupert Grint did. And if we’re done talking about Gringotts, then maybe now is a good time to talk about the Hogwarts Express. You do actually see Ron during your train ride. From…

Eric: He pokes his head up against the glass.

Andrew: Yeah. And he’s allegedly with Harry and Hermione, but Hermione does not sound anything like Emma Watson.

Eric: No.

Andrew: And I don’t know if you guys noticed this…

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: … but they need to change that voice stat. [laughs]

Eric: Absolutely. They need to do it. It is not a question of if but when.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: See, we were on the train with two MuggleNet staffers, Michael Harle and John Jennette who do Audiofictions – the Audiofictions podcast – and they both… in fact, I think even I could do a better Hermione than the Hermione that they… it’s true. I’m sorry, it’s true. I hate to be brutal.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I hate to be ridiculously honest, but that Emma Watson… sorry, that Hermione is… it just takes you out of it. It really does. Plus, you don’t see her, so it’s her silhouette and then you’re like, “Well, she’s responding to Ron the way that Hermione would, but there’s no way that that’s Hermione.” So look, I don’t know how much money they offered Emma to return that she turned it down. I don’t know if she was just busy that week, but they need to rectify that. That’s the one complaint I have over the entire park.

Micah: Wow.

Andrew: They need to just go to Emma again and be like, “Look, please. Ten minutes. We’ll give you ten grand…”

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: “… to just say five words.” [laughs]

Eric: It makes a difference. It does.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: I mean, would you agree that it makes a…

Andrew: Yeah!

Eric: It would make a big difference!

Andrew: Yeah. But… so Hogwarts Express, there’s two… depending on which direction you’re going, there’s different things happening out your window and there’s also different things happening outside of your door, which I thought… that was a touch I wasn’t expecting and it works really well.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Because the door, you open it to get inside of the train car, which also is very realistic, by the way. The level of detail was amazing. So for the door to shut and have stuff happening through it… I don’t know what you would call that. Fogged glass or something?

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Something like that. But it was really cool.

Eric: I liked the idea that there was stuff happening on both sides of you and it was different. It was…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Even… I think even on the way back to Diagon Alley from Hogsmeade, the twins blow up some fireworks and you can see the reflection of them in the other window to your right. So that’s cool.

Andrew: I don’t know how… I’m curious how the whole experience was for you guys in terms of how seamless it was. When I rode it, you get in, you sit down for maybe 30 seconds to a minute, then the train is rolling, and then you get there, everything that’s happening on the screen stops, the doors open, and you walk right out immediately. I was expecting some delays where you’re sitting in the train car for extra long periods of time before or after the ride…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: … but it was just seamless, and then it’s just so amazing… the first ride that I took was Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade. It’s just incredible that you ride on this train and then you get off and you actually have moved. You are actually in a different part of the Universal Resort, and it kind of blew my mind.

Eric: Yeah, it is really cool, and I agree that it’s seamless. And honestly, I was having this debate before we ever saw the park. I was wondering… because again, I was talking to people who were already there and they were like, “You know, the Hogwarts Express isn’t really a ride,” and I was like, “What do you mean?”

Andrew: I would disagree.

Eric: “What do you mean the Hogwarts Express isn’t a ride?” They’re like, “Well, it gets you from Point A to Point B.” So it was like, because it’s a mode of transportation, it’s not a ride, and I was like, “I’m going to argue this.” So when I finally rode it, I was extremely pleased. Not only is the queue highly detailed… in King’s Cross, going through the platform effect is really fun to do, especially with friends. You pretty much need a buddy because somebody has to hold the camera while you run through the platform…

Andrew: Right.

Eric: … to stand back in line. But all of this… I think the ride… I think the line of a ride counts just as much, and both trips from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade and Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley are different. There’s no way, in my mind, that that is not a ride, but it was kind of a dialogue I was having with people even while riding the ride. [laughs] But the fact that you can go and you can sit down and you can put your stuff up on the racks, and we took turns in the 30 seconds or so before the ride started to poke up on the racks and look for Harry concealed in an invisibility cloak.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: We’re just like… that’s the response that was immediately evoked in us by how realistic these train cars were. So poo-poo on anybody who says this isn’t a ride.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: The question is only where to place it in terms of, “Well, there’s only one ride in Diagon Alley.”

Andrew: Well, yeah, it’s not a thrill ride. It’s a…

Micah: It’s an experience.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: I think that… it’s certainly not the equivalent of getting on the monorail in Disney and going from one park to the other. The reality is that they wanted this to be an experience for people, and the fact that you can get on the train – like you mentioned, Andrew – and it’s moving within at most a minute, right? From when you’re sitting down and your door closes, that it only takes it a couple of minutes to get to the other park. I think it’s just… it’s cool. There’s no other way to describe it. And Eric, you pointed out how there are noticeable differences both looking out the window and through the door on each of the trips, and I don’t think we’ll spoil that too much because I think for people who want to go and experience it, they should…

Eric: True.

Micah: … get a chance to have that happen firsthand. But just being able to go and do that with friends and just experience the whole thing, and I think you also touched on the Platform 9 3/4, going through the barrier. I remember seeing, Andrew, when you posted to Instagram when you first did it a couple of weeks ago.

Andrew: Yup. I screamed.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: You screamed.

Eric: Ahh! Is it painful?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: I wonder how easily that is for other people to do because when we initially waited in line to get over to Hogsmeade, it was… there were still Muggles in the park, right? It wasn’t the separate event…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: … for LeakyCon. So it was moving very, very quickly, to the point where I don’t think you could ever really capture something if you wanted to. It was only when we came back, right? Did we come back?

Eric: Yeah, we came back and it was kind of on our way out of King’s Cross from Hogsmeade that we got to… because there was nobody in line then. The park had closed. It’s a little unrealistic during the day to think that you could have a friend stand back in line because there’s maybe 20 to 25 feet of line ahead of you between going through the platform and… maybe that’s low, or maybe that’s high. It’s like 15 feet.

Andrew: Well, it should be said… so in order for this effect to work, your friend has to be standing, like Eric was saying, maybe 25 feet back to point the camera in a certain direction…

Eric: Right.

Andrew: … through an object so that they can capture you going through the – quote, unquote – “wall.” It’s a smoke and mirrors type of trick.

Eric: I mean, it’s heck of cool.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Who would have thought of that? It’s great, but I do think that it benefits from closer inspection. Same with the line at Gringotts or the queue, or even the park. You do need to spend some time… you’re not going to get all the details or all the opportunities just sort of by yourself or in the middle of the day.

Andrew: Yeah. And I just also want to add to this that when the train pulls into the station, it’s so cool, and just seeing it…

Eric: Well, which station? [laughs]

Andrew: Both. I mean, in one station, it has to back in, so that’s kind of lame, but the other station, when it just pulls in, it just… and even when it backs in, just seeing the train alive, actually moving. This thing is even bigger in person, I think. I don’t think any picture does it justice until you’re actually there seeing it with the smoke billowing out and whatnot. It’s so cool. And the whole backing in… in one of the stations, the Diagon Alley side, it has to back in because it only goes one direction; it’s one track. But I don’t know. It didn’t bother me. I still thought it was cool.

Eric: This was pointed out to me by either Greg or Lee from the Unofficial Universal Podcast who did a small interview with me after we went into the park, but they were like, “You know, real trains actually do back in. You don’t realize it, but trains back in all the time.”

Andrew: Oh. Well, there you go.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So don’t complain.

Eric: It’s just the best example of having to set my expectations lower because I was like, “Man, the train is ridiculous. You back in.” Because if you’re going from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade for the first time and the train is not there yet when you get in that room…

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: You’re waiting for it and you’re expecting the billowing smoke, but because it pulls in backwards, all you see is the ass of the train.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: And then it comes in and then you see the smoke. But I was on the other end…

Andrew: It’s a great ass.

Eric: Yeah. I was on the other end in Hogsmeade when it pulled in… again, I got that video and the smoke and… so yeah, it’s just the thing. And then I guess it pulls out backwards when you’re over in Hogsmeade, but I didn’t see that. Look, it’s just… it’s a ride. They couldn’t possibly build… we knew they were crammed for space, and who knows what it’s going to be like in LA in that park because, Andrew, you always said that is crowded for space.

Andrew: They’re not building the train.

Eric: Oh, okay. Because they weren’t going to build…

Andrew: Yeah, no.

Eric: … a turnaround point for it, right? It’s just not…

Andrew: No, no.

Eric: You would need so much more track just to get it to always face front and that would increase wait lines and wait times, all that stuff.

Andrew: This is a classic Eric topic. [laughs]

Eric: Well, I’m done. I’ve finished my Eric topic. Thank you for letting me do that.

Andrew: No problem. Better luck with Universal Japan or something.

Eric: Oh God, there’s that too.

Andrew: Anything else? Or what else do you guys want to… I mean, we could talk about this for hours, but anything else that stuck out to you? I think… I do want to say, I think that they listened to feedback concerning how Hogsmeade worked. Like I said, adding more shade; I think some of the stores are bigger. I know there’s a queue to go into one of the stores. Ollivander’s now has a queue, an indoor queue. So I think they paid attention to feedback and responded to it in the best way possible while still maintaining the authenticity that you expect…

Eric: Right.

Andrew: … after watching the films and reading the books.

Eric: I wanted to mention there were places that I wasn’t expecting for adult beverages. Actually, the first place… we went to Gringotts, but we were debating whether or not we should try riding it because the line was four hours, and so we mulled over our thoughts whilst actually waiting in line at the Fountain of Fair Fortune, which is just a little shop where you can get a number of beverages including the Butterbeer, but also we got Dragon Scale ale. So it’s nice to… I don’t know. Not having the Hog’s Head in Diagon Alley, it’s nice to still have some opportunities for a beer just while you’re thinking and the tall glass and everything.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So…

Andrew: Well, there were numerous places to get beer. Of course, the Leaky Cauldron restaurant, the Fountain of Fair Fortune like you mentioned, and then in Carkitt Market, there’s a third place that looks specific to beer, but then I think there’s…

Eric: Is it called the Hopping Pot or something?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. The Hopping Pot.

Eric: It has a barrel…

Andrew: But I think there’s even… mhm.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I think there’s even one or two other areas where you can get beer too and then, of course, there’s the ice cream place where you can get the Butterbeer ice cream.

Micah: Yeah, that Butterbeer ice cream was good.

Andrew: Yeah, it was good, wasn’t it?

Eric: You had the Butterbeer ice cream? Oh, yeah.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Florean Fortescue’s.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: But the other thing that stood out for me, real quick, was Bill Weasley. I know we didn’t mention this when we were talking about Gringotts, but his office is the swankiest office ever for anybody. I was like… you see this couch and you’re just like, “This is like a Don Draper style, come into my office, executive, CEO of the company, I’m going to schmooze you.” It’s just the coolest scene or part of the queue for Gringotts ever. And Domhnall Gleeson, I’m only looking forward to seeing extraordinary things from him in the future; we know he’s been cast on the new Star Wars. So thrilled that he said yes to doing this.

Andrew: Some crazy press tried asking him about Star Wars at the Diagon Alley media preview. I’m like, “What? Are you nuts? Of course he’s not going to say anything at Diagon Alley.”

Eric: Well, you followed the rules. At least you didn’t, but… what did he say to this person who asked him? Who tried?

Andrew: Oh, I forget. I don’t know.

Eric: Oh, okay.

Andrew: He was like, “No, no, no, I can’t.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: “You know I can’t say anything.” Something like that.

Eric: Still…

Andrew: It’s like, “Come on.”

Eric: … he had a big presence in Gringotts. Again, not spoiling it, but it’s really nice to see Bill Weasley again. And check out the movie About Time, which he was in. He was awesome.

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve heard good things about that. But yeah… well, actually, since we did mention Bill, like you said, Eric, a few minutes ago, Harry is in it. Dan is in it, but I think since the official answer is that he didn’t actually film anything, I think when you see Dan, it’s footage that they had shot for Deathly Hallows because it’s during a dragon sequence. So I think they very cleverly recycled footage that they had shot with Dan. And you know they shot hours of footage…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … with Dan for Deathly Hallows with the dragon, so it makes sense that they would have a bunch of other stuff to work with that you didn’t see in the movie. But it worked really well. You watch it and you’re like, “Oh wow, he did shoot stuff for this movie. That’s cool.”

Eric: But then you hear Emma Watson or, quote, “Emma Watson” and you’re just like, “Nope, they definitely didn’t do any additional footage. Zero…”

Andrew: Did Emma talk during Gringotts? And did you notice the voice was off?

Micah: I think she did.

Eric: You know what? I… maybe once. It’s weird because Bellatrix is talking. Here’s something I forgot to mention. So with the 3D goggles or whatever, they cut off your peripheral vision because they’re just lenses up ahead, and so there’s this one scene… it’s before that big drop that Micah was talking about, or where you’re leaning forward when Bellatrix shows up on a ledge to your right, and I was looking… I was focusing ahead and I didn’t see her come out until she started talking, and then she casts the spell that causes you to fall, but I didn’t know what was happening and I had to physically turn my head and it was kind of jarring. So I don’t know. I don’t know if you had that same experience, Andrew, but…

Andrew: I can’t say I did.

Eric: … for me, the 3D did limit the kind of directions you could look in.

Andrew: Okay. I didn’t have that same thought, but I can certainly understand why you did.

Eric: Yeah. Forbidden Journey has the creatures and everything. They’re fully realized in front of you; it’s actually there. So there is a little bit of difference in terms of how they present the rides to you, but just… I guess in summary, in closing, I do like the story. I think the story is a little tighter for Gringotts that you experience.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: I like the multiple parts of the queue and I think… Forbidden Journey is kind of like a hodgepodge of, “Here are all the creatures and things that you could see at Hogwarts,” versus Escape from Gringotts which seems to just want to tell one story. And so for that, I think… surprisingly, the four hours or the three hours that we were in line went quick. Do it with buddies who can monitor your hydration levels, so you don’t pass out and miss everything.

Andrew: [laughs] Oh God.

Eric: Do it with a friend. Yeah, do it with a friend.

Andrew: Oh, and here’s another tip: don’t go during the summer. [laughs]

Eric: Oh yeah, don’t go during the summer. Ever.

Andrew: Here’s the thing: for people who are listening to this and they’re considering going maybe, two things: a good time to go is not during the Orlando summer, which is May through, like, September. A good time to go would be the fall or the winter here in America. And also, I want to mention that Universal just opened up the Cabana Bay Resort. It is their cheapest resort of the several that they have on site there, and the rooms are great. Because it’s a brand new resort, everything is fresh and new, so if you do want to visit and you do want to save a little money, definitely stay at Cabana Bay because it’s very nice for the money and it’s the cheapest option if you want to stay on the Universal property. And I think you get the benefit of having early access to the park by staying on property.

Eric: Yes. Yes, room… if it’s anything like the other Universal resorts, which are the Loews Portofino Bay, the Hard Rock is there…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: … and then the Royal Pacific. But I… did you stay at Cabana Bay?

Andrew: I did, and it was fantastic.

Eric: Awesome.

Andrew: It was just brand new. They have a gorgeous Starbucks there. The Wi-Fi works great. They have a pool.

Eric: That’s awesome.

Andrew: Yeah. They have an arcade, a gym… the music playing in the lobby rocks. It was my type of music. It was ’60s stuff. [laughs] So I would seriously highly recommend that place. Especially if you stay within the next one or two years…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: … because it is brand new, so you get the benefit of all this new furniture and…

Eric: Yeah. Ever since I saw the first concept photo of the Cabana Bay, I was like, “That is my spirit animal.” That’s right up my alley.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Again, me and you, ’50s and ’60s is such a happy time. It’s just like…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: You can really relax there, so I’m very jealous. Very, very jealous.

Andrew: It’s colorful. Yeah, so I will definitely stay there if I go again. And everybody else should, too.

Eric: We didn’t check out CityWalk, Micah. That’s one thing we did not do.

Micah: No, we didn’t get a chance to go down there.

Eric: Yeah. But…

Andrew: Yeah, CityWalk… also, this summer, they opened up new restaurants there. So they know tons of people are coming back to visit. I guess one question to ask now, an overall question: is it worth going back? Let’s say you or somebody who visited Hogsmeade already and… should we recommend people go back for Diagon Alley?

[Prolonged silence]

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yes. Well, I think even people who had been with us for the nighttime preview ended up going back, or people who got day passes got four-day passes and they went back, even in spite of the fact that LeakyCon was still going on and plenty of stuff was happening. People went back to the park day after day after day. And these are people I talk to; these are people who I give my phone number to. I don’t think that they’re crazy, but at the same time, they were there day after day after day, and I’m thinking, “Okay, there’s something about it just being a happy place to be.” But with the level of detail…

Micah: That’s Disney.

Eric: With the level of detail raised the way that Micah and Andrew… and we’ve said that they… that it has been, it is absolutely worth visiting. There will still always be Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, but this new section is really, really good. And it’s not like you could ever get just a one-park pass at Universal anyway. The only cost-effective way to do it is to do park hoppers and multiple days. So really, there’s no reason not to see Diagon Alley. Obviously, we would request or we would suggest that you just wait until it’s a little cooler, like you said, until the lines die down a little bit more.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: But everything there is worth seeing.

Andrew: And by the way, you do need a park hopper for Hogwarts Express.

Micah: Yes.

Eric: Yes, they check your ticket. And isn’t it funny? I absolutely thought they were just fake and not important, so I just ran right past the people at King’s Cross that asked to see my ticket, [laughs] and they shouted after me and they’re like, “No, we actually need to see your ticket.” And I was just like, “Oh, now I get it. Okay.”

Micah: Got to obey the rules.

Eric: Yeah. Well, they’re so well-positioned because it’s like a train station. There are banners there for like, “Don’t leave your bags unattended, people.”

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: And I was just like… it gets you right into it, so I was just like, “Oh, screw these guys. Past the turnstiles.”

Micah: Well, I would say if you’re planning a vacation to go to Orlando and you’re looking to do a bunch of things, I would definitely make a trip over to Diagon Alley. I think it’s hard to tell people that they should go there just to go to Diagon Alley…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: … if they’ve already been to the Wizarding World. I think that… and that’s just from my standpoint. But if you’re planning on being in Florida or you’re planning to take a vacation to Orlando and you’re doing Disney and you want to do Universal again and… I don’t know. Maybe you have relatives down there, so you’re there a lot. But if you can and you’re able to afford it, I would definitely recommend going to the park. There’s no question about it. If you’re a Potter fan, I feel almost like you have to go, right?

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Micah: There’s no question about it.

Andrew: You’re going to love Diagon Alley if you’re a Harry Potter fan, no doubt about that. And Universal recognizes this extra foot traffic they’re getting, like I mentioned. They have this affordable new hotel and they’ve got these new restaurants. Somebody on the MuggleCast Facebook asked… I lost the question. Oh, they were asking about must-do’s at Diagon Alley. Obviously, the Gringotts ride. Obviously, the Hogwarts Express. But if you have the extra money, I believe the wands… they’re kind of pricey, they’re $50, but you can do spells with them, so that is pretty fun throughout both lands. And just walk around and enjoy the shops. And I guess Butterbeer is another must-do, plus Butterbeer ice cream.

Eric: Celestina Warbeck, was she there when you were there?

Andrew: Yes, yes.

Eric: Okay, because that’s…

Andrew: Great, right?

Eric: That is a must-do. She is awesome.

Andrew: Yeah, they have this… they have a live Beedle the Bard stage show, which I didn’t see – I caught it on YouTube – and then they also have the singer that Eric mentioned, who is Molly Weasley’s favorite singer.

Eric: That’s right, she is. Well, I think just in general, the theatrical attractions are a step up above what was in Hogsmeade before.

Andrew: And shaded!

Eric: [laughs] Yes, and shaded.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: You get to stand in the shade watching them. You couldn’t do that at Hogsmeade.

Micah: I missed The Tale of the Three Brothers too. I wanted to see that, so…

Eric: Oh, that’s a shame.

Andrew: Catch it on YouTube.

Eric: Zack and I and Jeanna and everybody caught that. It was the last thing we did, though, because the last show is at 12:15. But the dragon breathing fire is quite… I know we may not have mentioned that.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Eric: But that is cool. You’re right, that is pretty cool.

Micah: It’s a little much for the Orlando summer, but…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: It’s over quick.

Micah: Maybe if he breathed ice instead of fire…

Eric: Every ten… that would hurt.

Micah: Or if it was just like a fan.

Eric: That would hurt standing underneath…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: No, it was like a big… they have those fans as you wait in line for the Gringotts ride.

Eric: Well, you need an Interactive Wand because there’s an umbrella just over by the restrooms there.

Andrew: Yeah, people love that.

Eric: Yeah, and you can… and it rains.

Andrew: That’s true.

Eric: If you stand on the plate and then wave your magical enchanted wand, it’ll rain around the edges of the umbrella. But the… yeah.

Andrew: There’s also a hidden spell at the Hopping Pot. Well, right outside the Hopping Pot, that merperson, if you do the spell there it activates a little water thing.

Eric: Oh, cool.

Micah: Yeah, I actually tried to get water from that, and it didn’t work.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Oh, really?

Micah: The woman came up to me and said, “You need magic,” and I kind of looked at her. I was like, “I want to take a drink of water. What…”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: You should have been like, “Well, it may need magic, but I don’t have 50 dollars to spend on a freaking wand.”

Micah: So, hydrate me.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Aguamenti. That’s what… you just needed to say the incantation, Micah. And another thing that works is, “Do you know who I am?” That would work, too.

Micah: Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: “Do you know who I am? I unfollowed J.K. Rowling. I’m Micah freaking Tannenbaum. That’s who I am.” You should have just led with that. But the dragon does breathe fire; I think it’s every ten minutes. It may be worth mentioning to people who do want to go.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Well, there’s probably so much more to say about Diagon Alley, but we won’t say it on this episode. We’ll say it on Episode 275, when we’re talking about the third expansion. [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] What about 274? When will that fall into the grand schedule?

Andrew: I don’t know, when the Fantastic Beasts director is announced?

Eric: Oh, okay.

Andrew: That’s probably the next big thing, unless J.K. Rowling drops an encyclopedia announcement or something, and I would imagine that’s the…

Eric: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: So that’s it. But I could foresee us starting up episodes with some regularity once all the Fantastic Beasts madness begins. It’s still a long ways away, but…


Happy 9th Anniversary


Eric: Oh, gosh. Do you know we almost didn’t talk about this? Tomorrow – August 5, right? – is the anniversary of MuggleCast.

Andrew: Oh, no kidding. Well, that clearly slipped by me.

Eric: Yeah. Nine years. Nine years. For Andrew, anyway. Micah and I came in later in the month, but the first…

Micah: Well, it still counts.

Eric: Yeah, the first…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: This is our month, fellas.

Andrew: Unbelievable. I’m looking at the show notes. It says the first episode was August 7, 2005.

Eric: Oh. Same weekend, though.

Andrew: So…

Eric: Same week. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. Close enough.

Eric: Same week number.

Andrew: Close enough.

Eric: Well… yeah.

Andrew: The first episode was myself, Kevin, and Ben, and then Micah and Eric joined on a few episodes later. 2005. So… well, we’ll have to do an episode next year for the tenth anniversary.

Eric: That’s right. That’s right we will. So happy anniversary to MuggleCast. I will say, in closing, we did get a lot of people at LeakyCon come up and say very nice things about MuggleCast. So I want to thank everybody who came out. We didn’t do a meetup. We couldn’t get it on the schedule in time and Andrew was not there, so we could not do that. But we did hear from some of you that were listening, and we want to thank you for your support.

Andrew: That’s great.

Eric: And thank you for continuing to listen to us throughout all of this time.

Andrew: Absolutely. We will be back in the future.


Show Close


Andrew: I guess, for now, we should tell everybody where we are until next time. I’m at Hypable, and we do our podcast over there, Hype, talking about general entertainment stuff, fandom stuff, including Harry Potter. So visit Hypable.com, freshly redesigned. Eric and Micah, what are you guys up to?

Micah: And @sims, right? On Twitter?

Andrew: @sims on Twitter. That’s right.

Micah: I saw that you recently received another enquiry about The Sims game.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I am often confused with The Sims video game. The Sims 4 is coming out soon, so the confusion has only increased. [laughs]

Eric: I am totally expecting an Andrew Sims expansion pack for The Sims. I want them to be… [laughs] you should be a playable character. Although, I guess you could be if anybody… you would just make yourself as a Sim.

Micah: Well, you can find me…

Andrew: I’m always down to play.

Micah: … at @mjtbaum on Twitter. I think that’s probably one of the first times I’ve ever plugged my Twitter on this show, [laughs] but why the hell not?

Andrew: Are you like J.K. Rowling? Are you starting to use it all of a sudden?

Micah: I do use Twitter.

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: For the most part.

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: Don’t I?

Andrew: Yeah, you do. I was just kidding.

Micah: Not enough?

Andrew: I was just kidding.

Micah: Oh. I don’t follow her.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Still.

Eric: Not yet, because she didn’t reply to you. You’re scorned.

Micah: She didn’t reply to me.

Eric: You’re scorned.

Micah: Even though it was retweeted or favorited or what have you over 100-200 times.

Eric: Yeah, we did pretty good with that.

Micah: So… but right now, working on our Game of Thrones podcast, Game of Owns, which was… did our second live show, actually, down in Orlando during LeakyCon; had a great group of people come out. And you can find us on all of the social media using “Game of Owns.” That keeps it pretty easy, right?

Eric: Yup. And I can be found on Twitter at @spielerman. Nickname never gets old…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: … and I tweet over there. And I’m also a podcast host on Game of Owns and MuggleNet’s Alohomora! where we’re currently reading through Book 5, that long book that we never quite got through all of in Chapter-by-Chapter on this show. We’re doing it over there, and I think we’re going to make it in another year or so. [laughs] So it’s a weekly show, definitely check them out… yeah. And thanks to everybody who already does.

Andrew: It was fun hanging out with Kat and Caleb. We had some time to catch up, from MuggleNet, while I was down there in Diagon Alley.

Eric: Oh, during the thing? Nice.

Andrew: Yes. The only MuggleNet people I’ve seen in a while, so we hung out a few times. It was good.

Eric: I wish I had made it to San Diego, too. I have to do that one of these years.

Andrew: Well, maybe next year or the year after for whatever Fantastic Beasts stuff that they do there.

Eric: That’s the truth. That is true.

Andrew: All right. Well, thanks everybody for listening. As always, you can go to MuggleCast.com. And follow us on our social media. We’re still active on the MuggleCast social media.

Eric: Yes.

[Show music begins]

Andrew: Twitter.com/MuggleCast and Facebook.com/MuggleCast, which has 52,000 likes, by the way. It’s doing quite well with the growth. [laughs] Still.

Eric: Yeah. Not too shabby. Not shabby at all.

Andrew: Not too shabby. So thank you everybody for listening. I’m Andrew Sims.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Andrew: [laughs] And we’ll see everybody next time for Episode 274. Goodbye.

Eric: Happy anniversary of MuggleCast.

[Show music continues]

Transcript 272

MuggleCast 272 Transcript


Show Intro


[Show music begins]

Andrew: Because this is not an April Fools’ joke, this is MuggleCast Episode 272 for April 2, 2014.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: This week’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 272. Eric, Micah, and I are here this week. Welcome back, guys.

Micah: It’s great to be back, Andrew.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: The thing is, I just sent an email around a couple of days ago and I said, “You know, there’s some news that has been worthy of talking about over the last couple of months,” but honestly, more than anything else, I just wanted to hear your voice.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: Because let’s face it, most of the talking that we do do, which has been pretty infrequent over the last couple of months. We’ve both been busy.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: But it’s been through text or computer.

Andrew: It’s not verbal. It’s not through our mouths.

Micah: It’s not verbal.

Andrew: Yes.

Micah: Exactly. And so it’s great to be back doing a show with you and Eric, and it’s so easy or at least I hope it’s going to be easy. We just get back into the flow of things and…

Andrew: I think this is easy.

Micah: I do, too.

Andrew: MuggleCast has never been hard, except for Chapter by Chapter.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Other than that…

Micah: And the occasional episode that had gone missing.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: People are still giving us crap for not finishing Order of the Phoenix Chapter by Chapter. [laughs]

Andrew: Well, here’s a confession: I never really enjoyed Chapter by Chapter because it always felt like homework to me, because we had to read certain chapters before recording.

Eric: That’s true.

Andrew: And it just felt like I was in school and so it was hard. I still did it, but it was just quite the commitment.

Eric: I think we were in school too, so we had other homework at the time. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, exactly. I didn’t need more homework on top of… MuggleCast is my escape, not more schooling. Anyway, while I have my volume up plenty loud so I can appreciate every single decibel out of your guys’s mouths and…

Eric: It’s been a hundred days since our last recording.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: This is… actually, it’s… I did the math – that was what I was doing briefly before we began recording – and it’s been actually 98 days since we last recorded a MuggleCast. I think that’s our longest hiatus.

Andrew: Yeah, it might be. Yeah, I guess so.

Eric: So far. To date or something. But that is how long we can go without chatting, apparently.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: We find out. I chat with Micah fairly more frequently, but still this feels nice and it’s good and at least it’s a big enough time window that enough has happened to make for what I think is a pretty exciting episode.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Yeah.


News: Fantastic Beasts Film Series Planned to Be a Trilogy


Andrew: Well, like we’ve said, we would always come back when big news comes up and there was certainly big news over the weekend when Warner Bros… well, Warner Bros. didn’t exactly announce this. It came out of a piece, a New York Times profile, on Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara… I don’t know how to pronounce it.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: You were good. No, that was good.

Andrew: Yeah?

Micah: You just didn’t add the “hara.”

Andrew: Tsujihara.

Eric: That was the Parseltongue version of his name. [laughs]

Andrew: I gave up mid last name. Anyway…

Eric: Tsujihara.

Andrew: Yeah, something like that. So Warner Bros.’ CEO, he was profiled in an article in The New York Times this weekend, and if you looked closely, you scrolled down, you do a little search on the page for Fantastic Beasts, you found a little gem which was that Warner Bros. is planning three Fantastic Beasts “megamovies.” And it was big news because we’ve heard… see, I was kind of undecided on how big of news that this actually was because on one hand we have heard before that Warner Bros. wanted to make a franchise out of Fantastic Beasts, so I don’t think anybody was expecting this to only be one movie unless it totally bombed. On the other hand, the fact that they are planning three movies is pretty significant because they have high hopes for this. New Harry Potter spin-off, if you will. So what were you guys’ initial reactions to the fact that this is going to be a trilogy?

Micah: Well, I tweeted…

Andrew: Oh, you did?

Micah: …after I found out the news, and I said that at the very minimum it will be four movies because we all know that the last one will get split in two.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: But…

Andrew: Right.

Micah: …my initial reaction is… and obviously, a lot of people – in terms of the responses I’ve seen – have questioned, “Three movies? Well, no, it could be more.” I think that yes, it can be more but it all has to do with whether these movies are the success that Warner Bros. is hoping them to be. And chances are that you’re not going to get a producer, a director, and a slew of actors to commit to more than three films at the very beginning. I don’t think they’re going to sign on for seven right from the start, even though I’ve seen speculation about it possibly going seven movies. But I’m excited about this. It starts out in New York. It’s happening about seventy years before Potter.

Eric: Mhm.

Micah: And it’s going to be interesting to see how they alter the landscape to reflect that time period, and hopefully that means that a lot of stuff is going to be happening right in my neck of the woods as it relates to filming for the series.

Andrew: You think so?

Eric: Oh, lucky you.

Andrew: Does your area… see, here’s the thing. I’ve thought about that as well. I don’t think New York looks like it did back in the 1920s. I think it’s changed quite a bit. So…

Eric: You think it’d be closer to do it… to recreate it if they just did a studio or a green screen.

Micah: A Leavesden Studio? [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, like if they shoot in London.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I mean, I guess they could do some exterior filming in New York, but you’ve got to find things that are… that look like they’re from the ’20s, I think.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Right. That’s a great point.

Andrew: Like Central Park? [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, maybe.

Micah: Possibly.

Eric: But it’ll be really interesting in seeing how much of the film is on location. Just like it’ll be interesting seeing how much of the film is practical effects.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Or creature effects, as they say, rather than CGI. Because I think if you guys have seen… have any of you seen Noah? It just came out. I heard that all the… actually, staring Emma Watson. I heard that all of the animals were CGI. There were actually no animals at all used in the production of the film. And I would guess…

Micah: You can’t find a good animal actor these days.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It’s hard. They’re all in unions. They have high rates.

Eric: They’re all dead.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: Air Bud and Free Willy. Sorry, people. They’re dead. And the dog from The Artist is terminally ill.

Micah: Speaking of that, though, most of that movie was actually shot here on Long Island.

Eric: Really?

Micah: So again, I’m not saying that Long Island was the focal point for that biblical tale, but…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: …as far as places around New York… what I’m interested in, though, is what areas of New York are going to be connected to this magical world. And it would be interesting to see what kind of ideas pop up in J.K. Rowling’s mind, thinking about simple things like buildings or marquee locations around the city. Andrew, you mentioned Central Park. Is there a Diagon Alley of sorts in Central Park?

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: I don’t know. It’s going to be interesting to see.

Eric: Garment District. [laughs] Well, I was thinking too, you think of J.K. Rowling’s kind of humor with areas that are already big and bustling like King’s Cross Station. If she took Grand Central Station and made it twice as big and massive and have it had a secret underground… hell, that could be the market for the beasts. [laughs] It could be in an underground basement.

Micah: Beast market.

Eric: We just don’t know. I think that’s kind of the most exciting thing about these movies. And when this news broke about three movies, I kind of harkened back to the fact that Jo would be writing it, which we found out I guess first, that she’s writing the screenplay for at least the first one. This news that there will be three kind of makes it seem like it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch if she wrote all three. At least the first three, even if they make more.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: What do you guys think? I think that that jump could possibly be made. Perhaps, as has been the case with JKR before, she begins writing and then comes up with all sorts of extra stuff and people think it’s gold because…

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: …it is.

Andrew: We’re going to continue in a moment with our discussion on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but first I’m going to tell you where to find an audiobook. See what I did there? Today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. It is the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Best Sellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service, and today I am going to recommend something that is pretty timely. If you follow entertainment news, you may have heard that another one of John Green’s books is going to be turned into a film. That book is Paper Towns. We know that The Fault in Our Stars has been shot and it’s going to be hitting theaters this June. The next book to be adapted will be Paper Towns. And I noticed when I took a look the other day that Paper Towns had soared, soared to the top of the Audible bestseller list because there’s a lot of interest now. Why are they adapting this one next? You will be able to find out by listening to it for free. Just go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast for a free audiobook. It can be Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, any of the books that Audible has in their store. AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. And we thank Audible for their support of the show.

I think right now, my feelings are that this is going to be… J.K. Rowling has a three part story in mind that are going to be told over these three films and that will be it. Because for her to be so passionate about this and… Warner Bros., the CEO, who The New York Times did a profile on, just going over there and being like, “Hey, what do you think of this?” and suddenly she’s all into it. It just doesn’t seem like this can really extend beyond three, and part of the reason I say that is because I’ve sort of been comparing this to The Hobbit. Now, obviously there are clear differences. For one, Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit was based on one small book and turned into three films. This is very different in that J.K. Rowling is writing all three movies, so it’s not going to feel stretched or filled with things that aren’t really necessary.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: So I think that there is a good chance this is only going to be three. She has a story in mind. She said to them, “Look, this is going to be three movies. Can you accept that?” They said, “Yes.” And what I also think, going along with this Hobbit theory as well, is that they’re going to film this the same way that they did The Hobbit, and that is same director for all three movies, film all three back to back to back, release all three one year apart from one another. The Hobbit currently, it’s in the middle of releasing them a year apart from one another. We had An Unexpected Journey in 2012, The Desolation of Smaug in 2013, and then this year There and Back Again in December 2014. What do you guys think of that?

Eric: It’s possible. I wonder how much of the same cast will be retained film to film, though.

Andrew: That’s the other thing. I think they’ve got to include everybody. Just like they do with The Hobbit.

Eric: Oh, you think so? Yeah, see that’s kind of like… I wonder if it wouldn’t in fact go to opposite ends of the earth, kind of like the Indiana Jones trilogy. And I’m forgetting about the fourth one, of course, but where it’s kind of a different cast of supporting characters [but] the same main character. And I also often compare Newt Scamander to Indiana Jones. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but… where he’s in different parts of the world, looking for different relics. It would be different beasts. So I can see it going the way that you just stated. I could also see it going kind of like any other regular movie where they do a sequel and it’s a couple of years later depending. So I could see it going either way.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: It’s a formula that works. When I was thinking about this, I looked at the box office totals. The first Hobbit made a billion dollars worldwide.

Eric: Wow! [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. And then the second made $949 million worldwide, so it almost hit a billion. The third one? Time will tell. Maybe it will be a bigger box office than number two because… for the same reason that the final Harry Potter and the final Twilight did so well. Everybody wants to see it, “Oh my gosh, how’s it going to end?” That’s a draw for people.

Micah: Read the book.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: Read the book. [laughs] You can’t do that this time.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And that’s kind of the joy of it.

Andrew: That is definitely the joy of it. I mean, there’s going to be so much interest around this because you legitimately won’t know what’s going to happen.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: If J.K. Rowling is going to write a compelling enough story like she did in the Harry Potter novels, then this is going to be a huge box office draw.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: And just like you were saying, that kind of makes it great, the fact that she’s writing these movies. Because there won’t be stuff that’s stretched, there won’t be stuff that’s left out. It will be exactly as specific as the books were…

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: …because she’s able to write… she’s writing specifically for this format. It doesn’t need to be adapted. Everything that she wants in there is going to be in there and there won’t be a book about it that contains more.

Micah: Well, I don’t know about that. There will be stuff that gets cut.

Eric: Well… but I mean, in terms of what’s absolutely necessary…

Micah: No, she’s going to play a very big role in this.

Eric: …she is making that call versus a screenwriter.

Micah: Steve Kloves.

Eric: Yeah. Or that other guy.

Micah: Goldenberg? Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: So one thing I did look up, though, because you kind of got me interested in what you said with Grand Central Station, Grand Central Station was created in 1871.

Eric: There you go.

Micah: So there is a very good chance that this station will play a large role in these movies. And I think that the architecture more or less has stayed the same. It’s been, certainly, restored, I’m sure, at one point or another. But that would be a place, talking about what has the look that it could have had back in the 1920s. Grand Central would definitely be one of those places in New York.

Andrew: Yeah, and I understand that that Apple store has actually been there since its inception as well.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: So that will be a pretty cool scene.

Micah: Those things can be removed. They can be removed.

Andrew: [laughs] No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I mean, Grand Central compared to Penn Station. Penn Station is an abomination, as far as I’m concerned. [laughs]

Eric: Well, I think we…

Andrew: Yeah, I can’t imagine Newt going through there.

Eric: Oh gosh, yeah, no. Not Penn Station. The bus terminal? Ugh. But I think we said this before when we first read the news. It’s kind of not what you would think for a beast movie to be set in a major bustling city because you think of these beasts as being kind of in the wild and rural areas.

Micah: Central Park is going to be filled with…

Eric: Nargles.

Micah: And other things. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: So…

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I’m just excited for this world to come to the US, even if it’s seventy years pre-Potter, because…

Eric: That’s true. Because we never saw anything…

Micah: We’ve never seen it. Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …from America.

Andrew: And you know what? I may be reading a little bit too into this, but I noticed in that profile, when I was reading it carefully for any other clues, that it says that the story will be starting in New York. Now, like I said, I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but could that possibly mean that the story is going to go abroad? Is it going to go back to the UK if it’s “starting” in New York? Or is The New York Times just saying the story starts there because it’s the beginning of the story, dummy?

Eric: I think I’m reading what you’re reading. It’s going to… I think he’s going to travel. I think he travels and is discovering these beasts in their natural habitat. So rather than having this movie be an adaptation of the textbook, it’s kind of the story that led to this main character writing that textbook. So he is going to be going around finding each of these creatures, and I’m sure there will be more creatures than [there] are in the book. But it’s kind of going to be him abroad is just how I see it. I mean, maybe one of those animals gets let loose in New York and that’s a… he’s the one who is tasked with catching it.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: It’d be kind of cool. But I think, yeah, there is definitely a lot of potential for him to travel to each of these people’s… or sorry, these beasts’ natural habitat.

Micah: Right.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: I agree.

Andrew: Just a reminder as well, he went to Hogwarts. He was born in 1897 [and] he went to Hogwarts. So if this story is set in the ’20s, that means he’s pretty much fresh out of Hogwarts. He decided, “Oh, okay. I’m going to go over to New York.”

Eric: Right.

Andrew: But I think we agreed on a previous episode that J.K. Rowling is going to have to rewrite a little bit of the history of this character because I’m looking at the harrypotter.wikia.com entry for him and he joined the Ministry of Magic after Hogwarts, he spent two years in the Office for House-Elf Relocation, then he joined the Beast Division and put his knowledge of magical beasts to good use, then he was commissioned in 1918 to write Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So maybe this first movie actually follows him writing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?

Eric: It is possible. I mean, I’d love to see it take off at his graduation of Hogwarts.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Wouldn’t it be funny if they shut down the Studio Tour for a couple of weeks [laughs] just to put everything back together…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …and show some Hogwarts sets?

Andrew: I mean, for the sake of getting fans really pumped, it would be very cool if we went back to Hogwarts at the start of the first movie.

Eric: I mean, and then you get people like Emma, who said in a recent interview last week that she would love to cameo in Fantastic Beasts. And it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. I mean, she wouldn’t really reprise her role as Hermione unless it was a time-traveling Hermione or if they did a super flash-forward at the end. There aren’t many magizoologists, people with Newt’s position, but I think both Luna and her husband, whoever that may be, become zoologists in the future of the Harry Potter books. So there’s very few people who do what they do. And these casts, just like The Hobbit did with Frodo and some of the cast from The Lord of the Rings showing up in The Shire in the beginning and having it be a flashback. It would be cool to do it. It would be great to see. I think fans would love it. But I think this film is going to stand on its own in a really big way.

Andrew: Yeah, I agree. Umm…

Micah: And didn’t…

Andrew: Mhm?

Micah: Go ahead.

Andrew: No, go ahead. Please.

Micah: I’m just… I’m interested off of what you said, though, with how it starts in New York. And does that mean we’re only in New York for a fleeting moment before he travels somewhere else or back to the UK? So I’m hopeful that he at least spends some time here, or maybe he’s here for graduate school, or he’s studying…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: …at some institute here in the United States and it’s brought him to New York, or some special project. I think it’s going to be really exciting. And there’s really no boundaries for her in writing this. I feel like, for the most part – Eric, you touched on it – whatever she writes is going to make it… sort of the major plot points are going to make it to the screen. And the fact that none of us have a book that we can really go to and read ahead and know what’s going to happen, I think that’s what’s going to make this in some ways more exciting than Potter.

Andrew: Yeah. No, that’s a great point. It also… lately I’ve been wondering if J.K. Rowling could possibly release some version of this story in book form before the movie hits theaters. And what made me think about that is Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy. He is working on his first movie where he actually stars, his physical self actually stars in it, called A Million Ways to Die in the West. And he released a book version of it prior to the film’s release later this summer. It’s already out. If you go to bookstores now, you will see it right at the front. It’s called A Million Ways to Die in the West. And it’s not the manuscript, but it’s sort of like an adaptation of the film. And I was wondering… this made me wonder if J.K. Rowling could actually do something similar to this because obviously for J.K. Rowling to produce a Harry Potter spin-off book would be huge news.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: And I would have to think that publishers are clamoring for this to happen.

Eric: Oh, definitely. And there are novelizations of popular movies just in general.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Not written by the screenwriter, but just other… that’s just kind of a thing, is to have books based on the film. [laughs] And I wouldn’t want anybody to write it but J.K. Rowling.

Andrew: Yeah, and…

Eric: As to whether or not it would come out before the movie? I’m not sure. Maybe at the same time, maybe after. But it just doesn’t… it almost doesn’t make sense to not have something that she has written not be in book form. But I realize she’s trying something new.

Andrew: Right. Considering her roots.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Well…

Micah: And speaking of her writing…

Andrew: But it actually goes into the other question of: Did J.K. Rowling really write this screenplay? Because screenplay writing is completely different from writing a book, as we discussed on a previous episode.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: So… and I mean, from what we know, she wrote the screenplay. But what does that mean? Because you have to go to college to take screenplay classes and understand how that works.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It’s a completely different language. Storytelling language.

Eric: It is. From what I gather, though, there are as many different scripts or screenplays and they are written in as many different ways as there are screenwriters, people writing them. So it’s just like poetry. It’s kind of like that. There’s a script… just from what I know based on viewing and commentary and behind-the-scenes videos on DVDs that I get, people talk about certain screenplays as being very visual. You have the dialogue, but then you have this very heavy description of what should be happening on screen at the same time. And I just imagine that Jo’s screenplays will be like that.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Where it will be more like… they feel almost more like books because you’re telling exactly what the camera is doing as opposed to leaving it up to director interpretation.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So I think there’s… I think her screenplays will read more like books and that comes from just her ability for detail.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: But yeah, I think… I don’t know. I really want to lay my hands on an actual screenplay of the Harry Potter books – or sorry, screenplay of the Harry Potter films – to see specifically how it was adapted, like how visual it is.

Andrew: They’re definitely out there because when Warner Bros. submits the films for Oscars, they make those special Oscar “For Your Consideration” sites and they put the screenplays up for public consumption.

Eric: Oh, okay. Yeah, but I think it will be a visual script because I think that’s the way… I don’t think she’d be able to do it any less detailed.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Because I do think of screenplays… just like you, I think of them as being like skeletons almost. You fill them in with set design and all that other stuff, but the writing is basically just… it’s dialogue. It’s what you show on screen. It’s not any of that sort of inner-thought backstory stuff, unless there is voice-over.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Mhm. So what kind of release date do you think we’re looking at?

Andrew: I still don’t know. I mean, I want to think 2017. I think that’s the earliest we can see it. 2016 seems too ambitious. Then again, Star Wars starts filming in May and they’re going to be released… it’s going to be released 18 months later.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So I have no clue. There is no clue.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: I mean, for all we know, J.K. Rowling is still writing the first… we just don’t know… we haven’t heard any progress updates. That’s what makes it so hard.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: I think you should get Robert Galbraith on the case.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: You mean Cormoran Strike.

Andrew: Well, Robert Galbraith is slowing J.K. Rowling down because as we’re going to talk about in a little bit, she’s writing another story. She’s writing like five more books.

Eric: Yeah, that… I mean, talk about something else that she wrote that’s turning into a whole series.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Because there’s that much character development to be had. So I think there’s good hope for these wizarding… or these Fantastic Beasts movies. And Micah, you asked if they’d be in New York for a second, but I think it’ll be more than that because this was America during the Roaring Twenties, and I think that New York was probably a huge cultural center at that time, and it would be hard to, I think, just whisk him away. That would stink. But I think it’s going to be there in a big way.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Getting back to the idea of if there’s more than three films, I have to think that Warner Bros. politely found a way to ask her if there’s a possibility there can be more than three. Or it could have been part of the deal, that J.K. Rowling’s side of the deal was, “Look, I’ll do this for you, but three and that’s it. I don’t care if you want to split it. It’s three, period.” And we also have to remember that after this Fantastic Beasts announcement initially came out last September, we saw that Warner Bros. trademarked Quidditch Through the Ages and Beedle the Bard. So there could also be a secret plan in the works to turn those into movies after Fantastic Beasts is finished.

Eric: I would love a Beedle the Bard sort of… what would they… how would they call it?

Andrew: Miniseries?

Eric: It would be like a… yeah, either a miniseries or…

Andrew: Short films?

Eric: …one for each one, or just different segments. A segmented film, like Four Rooms or Grindhouse [laughs] or all the bad adult ones I’m thinking of. But yeah, like that.

Micah: Yeah. I think it’d be hard to make Quidditch Through the Ages into a movie, but hey, if anybody can do it I’m sure Warner Bros. can.

Andrew: Was that written by a certain author?

Eric: Yeah, was it Kennilworthy Whisp? I think it was Kennilworthy Whisp.

Andrew: I’m looking. I mean, if Fantastic Beasts was… yeah, you’re right. If Fantastic Beasts was penned by one author, I could see Quidditch Through the Ages also being adapted into a film. I mean, maybe this guy traveled the world, learning more about Quidditch. I guess that could be interesting. I don’t know.

Eric: [laughs] Well, what I want to know is what Mr. Tsujihara – getting back to this interview – said to J.K. Rowling. She said it took one phone call and discussion over tea or a dinner. One day. She was all of a sudden committing all this time to writing not just like a basic skeletal draft, but the screenplay for this whole thing. And she said that the story was a bit of a story that she had tucked away in a drawer for her kids one day.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Which is just remarkable that whoever this guy is… and this is a great story by The New York Times about how Mr. Tsujihara was the unexpected genius who is negotiating all these billion dollar deals. I want to know what he said to JKR to get her to do this because it’s amazing. There’s new… there’s going to be years of new Potter casting. And hey, if they’re looking for Americans this time, I’m sure that Micah is going to go and try [to] be in one of these things.

Micah: That’s right.

Andrew: Are you, Micah? Are you going to apply?

Micah: Why not? I could at least be an extra.

Andrew: You know, Evanna Lynch got her start through MuggleNet. Now you can too.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: That’s right. Yeah, I could stand idly by on the street or walk past Newt.

Andrew: Oh, you just want to be an extra.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Why wouldn’t you want a speaking role?

Eric: I think Micah likes to troll.

Micah: I could get a speaking role, actually.

Andrew: Do an audition right now. Say, “Hey Newt…

Micah: I could be…

Andrew: …have you seen that beast over there?”

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Hey Newt, have you seen that beast over there?

Andrew: Yeah, perfect. It could use a little more of a New York accent, but…

Micah: That’s true.

Eric: Can Micah do a New York accent?

Micah: I really don’t have one.

Andrew: You know David Heyman. You have an in to the casting department.

Micah: That’s true.

Andrew: [laughs] That’s true. That’s true.

Eric: Too funny. Too funny.

Micah: It’s going to be more like a… I’m trying to think. I really don’t have a New York accent, so it’s hard to fake one.

Andrew: Yeah, you don’t. I’m thankful. I don’t like it, the New York accent.

Micah: Or [attempts a Long Island accent] Long Island.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: [attempts a Long Island accent] Hey, Newt.

Andrew: [laughs] Well, keep working on that.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: In another hundred days on Episode 273, maybe you’ll have a better audition for us. [laughs] No offense, of course.

Micah: No.

Andrew: Anything else to say about…

Micah: None taken.

Andrew:Fantastic Beasts?

Eric: I don’t think so.

Andrew: All right.


News: Future of the Cormoran Strike Series


Andrew: There’s been some other news that we’re going to talk about as well. We’re just going to go kind of in chronological order here, starting back in February. Does anybody else want to intro these stories, or do you want me to?

Eric: Yeah, I’ll talk about this because as we mentioned before – Andrew mentioned just a few moments ago – about Robert Galbraith and the future of the Cormoran Strike series, and a couple of weeks ago, J.K. Rowling spoke, actually, at Oxford: what it’s like to write as a guy. And this was just interesting because it’s the first time we really get her talking about this and how it’s different… how your writing is different and how you have to start thinking like a man and the main protagonist, which… Harry was a young boy, it’s kind of more gender neutral, all that sort of thing. So what she says is she got inspiration from the film As Good As It Gets. She says, “There’s a line…” One moment.

Andrew: [laughs]

“There’s a line in As Good As It Gets where a woman asks how he writes such wonderful female characters, and he says, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘I think of a man, and I take out the logic,’ or the sense. That made me laugh, as misogynistic as it is, because when I write a man I take certain things out and give free rein to aspects of me that would not be acceptable. To be honest, I think I’m quite blokey – at least I’m told I am, and I like writing both.”

Eric: [laughs] She thinks of herself as being blokey. I think what she means is she’s just being less lady-like in all aspects. She says, “…aspects of me that would not be acceptable.” So I guess she can just be unfiltered and brutal, is kind of how she grasps it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Having not finished that book yet…

Andrew: Really?

Eric: I feel all of your eyes staring at me. Sorry. I totally plan to. I couldn’t quite say, except to say that it seemed convincing when I was reading it and I think she does it well.

Andrew: Yeah, no, her writing is as strong as ever in The Cuckoo’s Calling. But speaking of that, we found out in February that the sequel… well, we knew the sequel was coming. She had said as much. The official website said so. But in mid-February, we learned more about the sequel. It is called The Silkworm. It’s going to be released June 24, and this one follows a novelist… well, it’s about a novelist who goes missing. His wife calls in Strike, of course, and at first, Mrs. Quine – that’s the wife – “just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days, as he has done before, and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives – meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.” So that’s part of the synopsis. I think that’s a very interesting premise, so… I enjoyed the first one and I’m very much looking forward to the second one.

Eric: Yeah, that premise seems a lot like sort of what interests Jo, and we know that from the Potter series with the press and certain things that Harry wished didn’t get out or did get out. I think it’s a topic of fascination in the way that the first book featured… and I’m told that it really focused on celebrity and how celebrities are badgered or portrayed.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And sort of the price of fame, as it were. So yeah, I think it’s probably, in spirit, very fraternal with her other work.

Micah: It’s going to be not as much a flow, I think, as we had with Potter. And what I mean by that is it’s not like… Harry’s story kind of spanned seven books and you knew that you were going through his entire career at Hogwarts, whereas with Cormoran Strike, I feel like you’re just getting individual stories about the cases that he works.

Eric: Right.

Micah: I’m sure that at some point, if she is indeed going to write seven novels… which has been speculated, right?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Then there are pieces, I’m sure, that J.K. Rowling will do a great job weaving in from novel to novel.

Andrew: It’s a good point.

Micah: Whether it’s characters or things that have happened in the past. But it’s a different kind of writing, I think, for her because it’s just… it’s sort of these unique cases and…

Andrew: Right.

Micah: The only other thing that I saw in this article that I thought was noteworthy is that she’s already writing the third. So clearly, she really enjoys this character, really enjoys this series. But to touch on a point that you brought up earlier, is it interfering with her writing the screenplay for these films?

Andrew: Mhm. Well…

Micah: I mean, I don’t really care.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I’m fine to wait for all of this.

Andrew: You don’t? Are you sure?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: I care.

Micah: You care?

Andrew: But if you think about it, the more time she spends on Robert Galbraith, being Robert Galbraith, then the less time she’s spending on Fantastic Beasts. And this is not to fault her by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just saying this is fact. If you spend more time doing something else, you’re going to have less time doing Y. It’s just what happens.

Eric: Maybe. Try to think of it this way, though. Say her creative juices are flowing and the muscles are being flexed. Once that starts spinning, it’s easier to multitask and come up with equally brilliant material no matter where it is. Once you’re in the writing mood or… think of it like that, where…

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Because she’s doing… almost because she’s doing Robert Galbraith, she can also do Fantastic Beasts and whip it out kind of at a faster pace because she’s…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …not just doing one thing.

Andrew: But we also have to consider, does she want to be that busy? I mean, this sounds like these are two full-time jobs between writing several more Robert Galbraith books – if that report…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: …that I’ll bring up in a second is true – and then three Fantastic Beasts movies. This sounds like a tremendous amount of work.

Eric: I think she does want to be that busy because she was before, and I think she had a few years…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: She had a few years where she said, “It’s important that I take time off,” and she did.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: And no tweets happened. [laughs] No news happened.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: For… and no tweets have almost still happened, but I think that she misses it. Or not necessarily misses it, but if I could speculate, I would say that the pressure for her… she’s ready to receive it again.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And I think that she’s ready to operate under similar circumstances. But she is calling the shots. If she needs to take more time off between this book and the next Cormoran Strike book, I’m sure she will.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: She’ll never be… she’s fortunate to never really have to feel pressure of a deadline again because she’s making up all the rules.

Andrew: Yeah. So the first one came out last year; this new one is coming out this year. I would be shocked… if the seven books is true, I would be shocked if she releases one every year seven years in a row.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: There’s no reason to release them a year apart from one another.

Eric: I agree.

Andrew: And not to mention, how about some other books that she wants to write?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Surely, she doesn’t want to live in Robert Galbraith and Fantastic Beasts for the next seven years.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Because Fantastic Beasts is going to take multiple years.

Eric: That’s true. She always made those jokes, though, before, that she goes out in public with a mustache and a shirt… or sorry, a top hat.

Micah: I’m glad she has a shirt. Yeah.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But maybe she really does want to get into that…

Micah: I would just add this, though. I think, though… and I’m not saying there’s pressure at all, but one thing to keep in mind is that she did not intend for Robert Galbraith to be revealed.

Eric: Right.

Micah: So there’s a chance that she could have taken much more time in writing these novels over a period of, let’s say, ten years and slowly released them…

Andrew: True.

Micah: …to her own satisfaction. It was only once the news became public that she now realized that, “Well, if I really like this character, and I really like the series and the direction that it’s going in, I’m going to have to continue to write because people are going to want to read it.”

Andrew: True.

Micah: And Fantastic Beasts may have been something that she could have focused more of her time on, but now she is in a position where she has to continue to do these two things side by side. And I think with the Cormoran Strike books, maybe she just had a really great cliffhanger [laughs] at the end of the last one and she had to go write the third. Or maybe it’s just all… Eric, as you said, that muscle is working and she just wants to keep writing and writing and writing. I think a lot of Fantastic Beasts is already written in some way, shape, or form. Maybe it’s part of her hundreds or thousands of pages of notes in those boxes and it’s just a matter of piecing all of it together, where… and it’s been written in some way. Whereas this new series is fresh and she has to dedicate a little bit more time to putting it together.

Andrew: I want to add that when we first found out about the first book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, she said on the website… when the website was released a couple of weeks later, she said the second one was already completed. So going back to Micah’s point about the fact that these may have been written in advance, that is… we know for a fact that she had number two done before we even knew number one was written by her.

Eric: Right, and that really makes you question how long it would have gone unnoticed.

Andrew: Yeah. With that said, also, we don’t know for how much longer she wanted to keep it a secret. But I didn’t get the impression that it was like she wanted to wait another year. I thought it was another few months at least she wanted to wait.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I could be wrong, but… because how long can you keep that secret, really?

Eric: I don’t know. We’ll never know, I guess, is the answer.

Andrew: We’ll never know.

Eric: There was one other news story based on this.

Andrew: Yeah. By the way, real quick, where was it said that she is already working on the third one?

Eric: Let me see.

Andrew: Where did you see that, Micah? You said that, right?

[Prolonged silence]

Eric: Yeah, Micah, you said that.

Andrew: Micah, own up to it now. [laughs]

Micah: It’s in the headline that I’m reading.

Andrew: Where?

Micah: It’s…

Andrew: Oh, this next article. “Third one already in progress.” Okay.

Eric: Oh.

Micah: “Publishing sources say Rowling has been working on the third since last year.” So it’s a good chance that that one is almost a wrap as well.

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: Yeah, I guess it’s not a surprise considering if number two was done last year, then number three is…

Eric: Then number three could be…

Andrew: Yeah, was done this year.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: That makes sense.

MuggleCast 272 Transcript (continued)


News: J.K. Rowling to Make Appearance as Robert Galbraith


Eric: Yeah. Well, apparently, J.K. Rowling – we talked about this just a minute ago, getting into the mind set of a guy – she’s going to be making a public appearance apparently as Robert Galbraith. This is happening on the Harrogate stage, which is 18th of July at 7:30 p.m. The Royal Hall in Harrogate. And it will be J.K. Rowling’s first and only appearance this year as Robert Galbraith.

Andrew: Yeah. It’s fun to joke that, “Oh, she’ll wear a mustache,” but I think she’s a little too classy for that. I think she’s just going to show up being her usual self and talking Robert Galbraith. It will be interesting. Hopefully, she reveals a little more about when she… like these questions we’ve been asking, when she planned to announce Cuckoo’s Calling. I would have to think it was before the holiday season last year because that would have been a great way to boost sales. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: And then also, how many books does she intend on writing? So this will be good. Hopefully, it will be a fruitful event.

Eric: That information comes from Robert Galbraith’s website, actually, and apparently it’s taking place during the Theakston – I don’t quite know how that’s said – Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, UK.

Andrew: Yeah. So obviously, a good event for her to be appearing at. I remember when this first one was revealed, there was talk of studios looking into snapping up the movie rights. But we never heard anything else about that, so I don’t know if that fell through…

Eric: [laughs] What you don’t know is those movies have already come out; they’re just called something different.

Andrew: Yeah, exactly.

Micah: David Heyman has them locked up.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, he might. I mean, he might.

Micah: Can I just say… I mean, we haven’t done a show, but our good friend David Heyman got a hell of a lot of shout-outs during the Oscars this past March.

Eric: Yes. I was enjoying watching him in that show. Every time it went to him or… I mean, Gravity won six BAFTAs and seven Oscars this year, which he produced and Alfonso Cuaron directed, so mad props to those gentlemen.

Andrew: Yeah.


News: J.K. Rowling Reveals Harry Potter’s Original Name


Andrew: Where are we here? I think we’re past all the Robert Galbraith stuff.

Eric: There’s Harry Batt.

Andrew: Oh, right. Go ahead, you talk about that. I think it’s just a little tidbit.

Eric: Yeah, very interesting tiny little tidbit here from mid-February. J.K. Rowling recently spoke at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford… actually, it was the same date and time we mentioned just before. But she said that instead of Harry Potter, her title character was initially called Harry Batt.

Andrew: Two “t”s. B-A-T-T.

Eric: Yeah, B-A-T-T. In one of those strange “what would have been.” We could talk about would it have caught on, all that stuff, because he’s Harry Potter and everybody knows that. But just an interesting first name. I think the only other instance of that that I recall is Luke Skywalker was originally called Luke Starkiller or something like that, in George Lucas’ first draft.

Micah: That sounds more badass.

Eric: It is badass, but it’s more Sith than Jedi.

Micah: That’s true.

Eric: So Harry Batt doesn’t have as much of a ring to it. If Harry Potter rings? We’re biased. I don’t know if Potter rings.

Micah: Batt just sounds like one of those boring British names.

Eric: What, Batt?

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: It’s possible.

Andrew: Yeah, I’m glad she went with Potter instead.

Eric: [laughs] It made all the difference, for all we know.


News: Harry Potter Hogwarts Collection Now Available


Andrew: We all remember Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection, the big, very expensive complete box set.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I don’t think either of you guys bought it, right?

Eric: Did you? Do you have it?

Andrew: No.

Eric: Yeah, I don’t have it either.

Micah: I did not buy it.

Andrew: Oh, you got a review copy.

Micah: If that’s the one we’re talking about. Is it the one in the big box?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: It’s got the map and…

Micah: Well, they’ve made so many freaking versions of this thing.

Andrew: Yeah. No, the Wizard’s Collection is the big one.

Micah: The super ultimate…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …platinum Auror edition.

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: Now, lucky for you, they have a more affordable version. It’s called Harry Potter Hogwarts Collection. This is a 31-disc set, so it comes with everything that was in Wizard’s Collection but without all the gimmick. So it doesn’t come with the crazy box with the hidden compartments, it doesn’t come with the map. It’s just a lot… it’s a scaled-down version.

Micah: What fun is that?

Andrew: It’s discs only. Huh?

Micah: Oh.

Andrew: I think Wizard’s Collection came with a map, didn’t it? I’m looking at the little…

Eric: Yeah, I think so. I think it came with a Marauder’s Map.

Micah: No, no, I said what fun is that if it doesn’t have all the compartments.

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: Oh, what fun is it? Well, it’s like $500 less fun, so…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: [laughs] That’s the point behind it. There was another post about this, which I didn’t bother linking to, but it has a few extra features that haven’t been seen before. But what you kind of should take away from this collection if you were me is that there are still no bloopers or outtakes.

Andrew: Hmm.

Eric: Which David Yates, years and years ago – I think it was 2011 – we spoke with him and he promised. He was like, “Hey, this is going to be great. It’s going to come out with outtakes and there’s a ton of them. We have a great blooper reel.” And we have yet to see it and it’s not being advertised as part of this Hogwarts Collection. So for me personally, I’m still holding off.

Andrew: It looks like a nice set, but it’s still $225 and that just seems like a lot of money for eight movies. I know you get the bonus features and you also get the eight-part documentary, which is interesting as well, but $225 for an aging movie series?

Eric: Yeah. This is only for if you never had one of these movies before. If you already own them, it’s useless. And from what I understand, the extended versions of the films with the deleted scenes put back in are also not part of this set.

Andrew: Yeah. It comes with Blu-ray 3D versions of Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and 2, but only Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and 2.

Eric: Yeah. It’s so weird to see… I keep seeing that in stores, too, Deathly Hallows – Part 1 in 3D. And that was converted to 3D almost for home video, remember? Because the effects weren’t ready by the time it hit theaters.

Andrew: Yeah, they scrapped it. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, they totally scrapped it and didn’t do it. So the fact that it exists in 3D now means they converted it after.

Micah: Yup.

Eric: And it’s just interesting to think about.

Micah: I think it is 3D in the set that I have as well.

Eric: Interesting.

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, it’s all the same discs as Wizard’s Collection minus all those, like I described, the gimmicks, the compartments, the fancy box.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So yeah. I mean, ultimately though, if you’re looking for a way to get all the movies, you can go on eBay…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: …and you can buy all of them used for like 30 bucks. I’m sure it’s really cheap to find them.

Eric: Oh, even Blu-rays. They have… I think it was at Walmart, and the Blu-rays… they have Blu-ray double features of every two movies.

Andrew: Yeah, there you go.

Eric: So they have “1,” “2,” “3,” “4,” “5,” “6,” “7,” “8” for $5, $7, something like that. It was absolutely ridiculous. You get them 1080p high definition Blu-ray. Unbelievable. And that was how I had the high-def versions of the Harry Potter films.

Andrew: My favorite is… are the Ultimate Editions.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Because remember they were releasing those every few months?

Eric: Right.

Andrew: I like them because they’re all separate. You buy them all separate and it kind of reminded me of having books, the separate books.

Micah: But they stopped them, didn’t they? Or did they finally go through with all of them?

Andrew: I think they finally went through. I see Deathly Hallows here. But the Deathly Hallows Ultimate Edition is Movies 1 and 2.

Micah: Oh, so it’s combined. It’s not separate.

Andrew: Yeah. On the box, it says Year 7. So I guess they all say Year 1, Year 2…

Eric: Right.

Andrew: So I like those. I don’t have them all, but I like those.


News: Menu Items for Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley Expansion Revealed


Micah: Guys, I have to be honest with you: looking at this next story does make me a bit hungry.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Me, too. I didn’t eat dinner.

Eric: Hungry for a park opening, which we don’t yet have a date on. We were expecting to get a date, I think, on the reveal of when Harry Potter Diagon Alley theme park is coming. We don’t have it yet.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: But there was a whole convention in January. It was mid to late January, like the 20th, where they had the press come in and they actually had a bunch of locals. You could get tickets for it, and I forget exactly what the junction was called, but they did reveal…

Andrew: “A Celebration of Harry Potter.”

Eric: Oh, of course.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: How generic. I should have known.

Andrew: Well, you may remember going way back, the initial name for the first one… this is the second one, but the first one was called “Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration.”

Eric: Right.

Andrew: Remember that? Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. But anyway, they did get to preview… for some of the press, they got to preview the food that would be happening at The Leaky Cauldron. And to be honest, I think everybody went into The Leaky Cauldron and just can’t say anything about it for another couple of months. But the food that’s happening there… just to kind of interest people who have been to the Wizarding World, you know you can get fish and chips and there’s a lot of… there’s this focus on British cuisine existing already in The Three Broomsticks. With Diagon Alley, with The Leaky Cauldron, there’s going to be a few more options, from what it sounds like. A steak and ale pie, a chicken and mushroom pie, a number of additional pastries and creams for dessert. And I think the big thing that you should take away from this news story is going to be, of course, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, which will exist in the Diagon Alley section. That’s where Harry goes in Book 3 to do his homework, and Florean helps him out, I think, with Astronomy and gives him free ice cream. So that’s totally going to be there and it’s going to be an ice cream parlor and there’s going to be lots of ice cream flavors specific to that area of the theme park. So just some really cool things to look forward to. As I’m speaking now, my mouth is watering. I should just stop looking at these photos.

Andrew: The rumor… I think they’re aiming for June for release. But there’s also been speculation, “Oh, it’s running a little delayed, so maybe it’ll be later in June or July.” I mean, it’s a big project, especially compared to Hogsmeade, because this time there’s a train involved. You’ve got the mini expansion happening at Hogsmeade for the train, and then of course everything that’s going on at Diagon Alley, so it’s a pretty big undertaking.

Eric: Do we know when Hollywood is opening? The theme park?

Andrew: Next year.

Eric: Next year?

Andrew: Yeah. It’s still…

Eric: Okay. Like in summer?

Andrew: I guess so. It’s still… they just started going vertical on their construction here, so…

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Yeah, I would assume they’re aiming for summer. I guess that would make the most sense, considering Hogsmeade and now Diagon Alley both opened this year. But I’m not even that really excited for this Hollywood one, other than the fact that it’s close to me, because Hollywood looks to just be Hogsmeade. I mean, they haven’t released any concept art or anything, but I think it’s just going to be Hogsmeade. I mean, they’re really tight on space in Hollywood, so…

Eric: Yeah. Well, didn’t they demolish an entire theater?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: But it’s still kind of…

Andrew: But there was zero room before that, so…

Eric: Oh. Oh. [laughs] Now there’s a little bit.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: It should be fine.

Eric: Yeah. But this is exciting. Obviously, these plans have already happened and we’re just finding out about them little bits by bit at a time.

Andrew: Mhm. Mhm.

Micah: Yeah. It’s some heavy British fare, [laughs] to be honest with you, to be serving in a very warm climate, but…

Eric: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: Well, I mean, they did that with the first one.

Micah: Yeah, they did.

Andrew: I mean, they have, what? Fish and chips and… I don’t know what. [laughs] I can’t remember what else.

Eric: Bangers and mash. I’m trying to think what else. Yeah, that kind of…

Andrew: We’re Americans. We like to eat a lot of food.

Micah: That’s true.

Eric: Yeah, it’s true.

Micah: That’s very true.

Eric: At least…

Micah: So I’m looking forward to it.

Eric: At least with the Harry Potter parks, there were dietary restrictions. Like there’s no soda being served in…

Micah: But you can have Butterbeer, which has about five thousand packs of sugar in it.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It’s true.

Eric: There are some exceptions to the rule, Micah. I don’t make the rules.


News: J.K. Rowling Releases New Quidditch World Cup Information on Pottermore


Micah: So I think, to wrap up the news discussion, we can briefly touch on our favorite subject, and that is Pottermore. [laughs] And there’s some new information that has been released courtesy of J.K. Rowling, who asked that all of the wonderful… all of her wonderful followers, I should say – and maybe some that are not her followers – retweet the hashtag #wizards4scotlandrugbyteam. And as a thank you for doing that, she gave all of the fans a deep insight into the history of the Quidditch World Cup.

Andrew: Yup. I didn’t retweet it, but I did…

Micah: I did not, either.

Andrew: …read it.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: I do not follow her.

Andrew: It was pretty interesting, actually. She had a good amount to share. This was part one. She also did a second part where she revealed that Krum is out of retirement for the 2014 Quidditch World Cup. I thought it was interesting…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …that she was talking about present day tournaments, given that I don’t think we ever heard about anything really going on in present day.

Micah: No.

Eric: Yeah, that’s true. That’s…

Micah: So…

Eric: That’s pretty true.

Micah: …part one focused on the rules and regulations of the tournament, how it’s governed by the International Confederation of Wizards Quidditch Committee, and talked a lot about the structure of the tournament, the history of the game, and some of the more unusual and controversial entries into the rule book. And we’re not going to go into detail here, I don’t think, but…

Eric: No.

Micah: …we want to leave it up to listeners to go and experience it, read it for yourself.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: Now, what was the hashtag for? Was it for a specific cause?

Andrew: #Micahfollowmeplease.

Eric: [laughs] That’s…

Micah: If that gets a thousand retweets, I will follow her.

Andrew: [laughs] A thousand retweets.

Eric: Oh, wow. Okay. Does she have to be the first one to tweet it?

Micah: No.

Andrew: The tweet was #wizards4scotlandrugbyteam. I don’t totally understand. It had something to do with rugby happening over in the UK.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: But I couldn’t say what…

Andrew: Me neither.

Eric: …but it was definitely something like that. Yeah, a lot…

Micah: I think it’s probably just the general support of wizards – being us – for the rugby team over there in Scotland.

Andrew: It was a clever thing in that J.K. Rowling got directly involved with Pottermore and rallied her followers and obviously was tweeting more, which is a good thing. So…

Eric: Yeah, I agree.


News: Bloomsbury to Publish New Children’s Edition of the Harry Potter Series


Andrew: There actually is one more news story, and that is that Bloomsbury has decided to republish the UK children’s edition…

Micah: Oh, another one.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew:Harry Potter books. Yeah, start saving up for this new set.

Micah: I do have the children’s editions from the UK, though.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, those were the best.

Eric: Yeah, me too. I like them.

Andrew: Yeah, they were the best.

Micah: They’re still wrapped in plastic. I haven’t opened them, so…

Eric: Oh, wow. Well, you’re not missing much on the inside of the book. Let me tell you that.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: The UK editions don’t have chapter images. We were really spoiled with Mary GrandPrÈ.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And really beyond the chapter images – which our listeners may be like, “He’s crazy. Who cares?” – they actually don’t change the font for Hogwarts letters and different letters that Harry gets in the mail from Sirius. There’s that one in Book 3 from Hagrid where the teardrops are on it because Beaky has just been sentenced to death. All of that stuff that was Hagrid’s scrawling handwriting or Mafalda Hopkirk’s beautiful script, none of that is in the UK editions. It’s all just one font. I think it’s Garamond, which is… it just takes you out of the experience. The way that the US versions took you into the experience, I can’t read through the UK books because they don’t hold my hand in that way.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: But…

Micah: They don’t hold your hand in that way. Interesting.

Andrew: Maybe they will this time, though, because this new reprint – this new version of the series – is going to be redesigned inside and out.

Eric: Exactly.

Andrew: That was something that they said in the press release. So maybe it will include chapter art, and maybe it will be Mary GrandPrÈ’s. I mean, I don’t think there’s any reason not to just use hers unless they really want this new illustrator, Jonny Duddle, to do them. I guess that’s possible.

Eric: Yeah…

Micah: Duddle. Like Batt.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Duddle like a what?

Micah: Like Batt.

Eric: I don’t… oh. [laughs]

Micah: So… but, I mean, if they do use Mary GrandPrÈ’s, she might be able to make a nice little penny off of that.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: No, I don’t think she makes… I really don’t think she makes any money off her art.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Was that sarcasm?

Eric: I’m actually being honest. I heard that once.

Andrew: No, I bet she will.

Eric: No, but…

Andrew: Well, she probably did… she probably doesn’t get a nickel every time a Harry Potter book is sold in the US, but they would pay her, I think, to use them in the UK because it’s a completely different deal. You know?

Eric: Right. I have a feeling that they’ll do it all different. There’s a quote from Jonny Duddle, who says:

“I’m hugely excited to work my way through the wonderful books. I couldn’t have asked for more enjoyable subject matter. It’s exciting, daunting, and I feel the weight of responsibility, and I’m just hoping that my illustrations faithfully reflect the characters and world created by J.K. Rowling.”

So it sounds like he’s talking maybe a little bit more than about covers only.

Andrew: True.

Eric: If I had to guess from that quote.

Andrew: True.

Eric: And he’s known for doing picture books, which have a lot more pictures than just the front and back cover. The picture books that he is known for include The Pirate Cruncher and The Pirates Next Door.

Micah: Yes. Which we all have and have read.

Eric: [laughs] Yes. We love those.

Micah: Very familiar with.

Eric: It’s the same… yes.

Andrew: Just like we’ve seen all the content from the new… see, here’s the other thing. Okay, so we have this Bloomsbury… so Bloomsbury is re-releasing them with the new covers. And then also, beginning in 2015, they’re re-re-releasing them…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …the complete illustrated versions, and those are the ones that may… we don’t know for sure, but they call them complete illustrated versions, meaning there is going to be a hell of a lot of pictures inside.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: So it seems strange…

Micah: It’s unfortunate.

Andrew: …for them to do this a year before the illustrated books come out.

Micah: They’re just trying to make money. [laughs]

Eric: It has to be about the success that Scholastic just had with Kazu Kibuishi’s work about rebranding the series, about not having them just look the same as they did fifteen years ago.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Although they tried it once before with the tenth anniversary, and that went nowhere because they never followed it up. I think this whole blanket redesign is something that’s… in the Potter books, at least in the UK they had the adults’ and the children’s, so there was variety that you would see in the bookshop. But I think they’re in the same situation where they think that making it look a little different is going to increase sales, or the sales speak is of course to “introduce these books to a new generation.”

Micah: Well, that’s it, and I think we’ve touched on that a number of times on past episodes. A lot of the reason behind doing what they’re doing, while financial, is also to reintroduce – or I should say, introduce – the series to a younger generation, and based on the times and however the art is created might have more of an appeal…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …to a different generation. But one thing… and you guys can correct me if I’m wrong on this, but one thing that I have never seen happen to any book in the Potter series is I have never seen it jacketed based on the movies, and I think that that’s something that Scholastic and Bloomsbury have done a great job of…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: …in not letting it get to that point.

Eric: We should celebrate that right now because if you think about… I mean, I’m sure there’s a copy of Divergent sitting on store shelves now with Shailene Woodley’s face on it. And Twilight did the same thing. And hell, there’s…

Andrew: Hunger Games.

Eric: Hunger Games.

Andrew: And The Fault in Our Stars. Everybody is doing it. For some reason, J.K. Rowling can get away with it.

Eric: With not doing it. You’re right. You’re right. So I’m very, very happy about that.

Micah: Yup. As am I.

MuggleCast 272 Transcript (continued)


Listener Tweets


Micah: So I wanted to… before we kind of wrap things up here, we did get some tweets in response to asking listeners what they thought about Fantastic Beasts, and…

Andrew: Go for it.

Micah: …let’s go through and read some of them here. Kristen Burford says:

“THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN.”

Yes, we are.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: [continues]

“#FantasticBeasts is more original, so should fare better than #TheHobbit.”

Andrew: Reviews-wise? Yeah, I hope so, so long as the story is good. But box office-wise, a billion dollars is going to be hard to beat. [laughs] But we’ll see. Who knows.

Micah: Yup. Tom Dell says:

“It’s ‘FANTASTIC’!”

Very funny.

Andrew: Oh, I get it.

Micah: [continues]

“Although we already knew back in 2013 it was going to be ‘more than one movie’…”

Andrew: Right.

Micah: [continues]

“…so it’s not much of a surprise!”

Okay.

Andrew: Right. I said that, guys. Remember?

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Samantha, @gordonsamantha_, says:

“I’m mostly excited about anticipating the next film without knowing what’s next in the story. It’ll add new excitement for fans.”

Andrew: We said that as well. Good point.

Eric: We had something from… it was a tweet from this person, The Art of Spying, who said:

“It’s fan bait, but as fans, we couldn’t be more thrilled!”

What does that mean, it’s fan bait?

Andrew: That people can’t help but… they won’t be able to resist going in to see it because oh my gosh, it’s a Harry Potter spin-off from J.K. Rowling.

Eric: Oh.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: But if you’re talking about something that’s legitimate, [laughs] it’s definitely something written by J.K. Rowling.

Andrew: Yeah, no, I think they’re just saying… she’s just saying it’s incredibly tempting to want to see it. Even though you’re not sure of it.

Eric: Oh, okay. Yeah, I get that. I get that now. Thank you for clarifying.

Andrew: Because I mean, we’re all really excited about a project we have no clue…

Micah: How good it’s going to be?

Andrew: We don’t know anything about.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: We don’t know anything about it.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: We know the character’s name. So what? [laughs] And it involves beasts.

Eric: The main character’s name, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: That’s true.

Micah: Shelby Marie, @shirebadger, says:

“If JKR is okay with it, then so am I. I’m ecstatic to learn even more about the wizarding world.”

Andrew: And I had that view as well until she decided to do this pre-Hogwarts Harry Potter play. [laughs] So count me a little more skeptical…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …than I was previously.

Eric: I would agree with how you feel about the play.

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m really excited for Fantastic Beasts, but it’s hard to argue that Harry Potter’s pre-Hogwarts years are going to be really exciting. But listen to our previous… our December 24 episode for more on that.

Micah: Yeah. Mario Padilla sent two tweets because he couldn’t fit it all in one. He says…

Eric: Is it [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario or [pronounces as “marry-oh”] Mario?

Andrew: [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario.

Micah: [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario.

Andrew: [pronounces as “marry-oh”] Mario? [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario is, of course, the Nintendo character.

Eric: Oh, I always say [pronounces as “marry-oh”] Mario.

Andrew: But this could be [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario. I don’t know. I’ve known of Mario for a while, this Mario from earlier.

Micah: Tweet at us. Let us know.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: [continues]

“I don’t see why some people are mad/upset about this. There really isn’t source material. This is all coming from Jo’s imagination. She can make as many films as she wants and I will go see them.”

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Good point.

Andrew: And that’s why Warner Bros.’ CEO flew over there.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: He knew it was worth a shot.

Micah: Mhm.

Eric: And there are certain plot tricks and plot things that you can do when you’re making a trilogy. If you know from the outset that you’re making a trilogy. So I think they will… the films will have some resonance between each other and references to each other and all that stuff.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: It’ll be fun to have this new trilogy.

Micah: Zemmer…

Andrew: I just…

Micah: Go ahead.

Andrew: Real quick, I just hope the level of detail is back. I know that’s different when you’re in a movie, but if she’s able to pull it off in the same way that she did with the books, just think about all the speculation that will be going on.

Micah: Mhm.

Eric: Agreed.

Micah: Zemmer Galpaz says:

“Hope this isn’t an April Fools’ joke.”

[Eric laughs]

Micah: As we record here on April 1. No, it is not. Actually, this is all a figment of your imagination.

Andrew: Yes, I haven’t been recording this whole time.

Micah: Yes.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Trinica says:

“Even if it’s just a cash cow, I will never say no to more ‘Potter’ material.”

Sara Tavares:

“I hope Cuaron will be the director!”

It could be possible.

Eric: What do you feel… Andrew, did you like Gravity? You saw it, right?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: Yeah, I thought it was good too. And I’m wondering, because of how I feel about the third Harry Potter book, would I give him a second chance? Not that it’s my decision to make, but would I be excited about an Alfonso Cuaron Harry Potter movie? And I think I would. I think I’ve reached that age where I can appreciate his filmmaking.

Micah: You’ve grown past Prisoner of Azkaban.

Eric: Yeah, I’ll never quite forgive, but I think that what he did with Gravity was good and I think that he would probably or possibly work well with some of those visuals of the time period.

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I think Fantastic Beasts would be great for him, based on what I saw in Prisoner of Azkaban. I mean, I’m one of those people who liked Prisoner of Azkaban. I know there’s a big debate, but…

Eric: No, that’s fine. Yeah.

Micah: Yup.

Andrew: It’s just… considering he kind of rebooted the visuals of Harry Potter, I think he has a strong sense of the wizarding world and what you can do with it.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, he would definitely be a top, I think, pick for… to direct this and…

Andrew: Yeah. Because I mean, really think about it. Who do we trust with this project?

Eric: Well, you think creatures and you think Guillermo del Toro, but those are all creatures with knives for fingers and…

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t trust him.

Eric: …fifteen eyes. So I don’t know. I mean, the profound visual directors in Hollywood when you think of…

Andrew: Right, would people be excited if it’s a director who just really doesn’t have a good resume? I mean, it has to be somebody with a really good resume, I think.

Eric: I would agree.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: And let’s also remember that Alfonso seemed interested in the idea of Fantastic Beasts when Vulture approached him at a party a few months ago and asked him, and he said, “Nobody has approached me yet, but yes, that sounds like an interesting idea.”

Micah: And given the relationship with David Heyman coming off of Gravity

Eric: Right! It’s can’t-miss.

Micah: It’s can’t-miss, yes. And it would now be directed by Academy Award winning director, Alfonso Cuaron, so there you go.

Andrew: Which I guess would be the first time we can say a Harry Potter movie was directed by an Academy Award winner, unless Chris Columbus won something before or…

Eric: He’s an author now, actually.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And the sequel to his book…

[Micah laughs]

Eric: It was called House of Secrets

Micah: House of Cards?

Eric: The sequel is out now as well. We got a funny tweet here. It’s kind of sarcastic. We look for this occasionally. The tweeter is called Look at the flowers, @UncyD on Twitter.

Andrew: That’s a reference to The Walking Dead

Eric: Oh, okay.

Andrew: …a couple of weeks ago. Yeah.

Eric: Thank you for pointing that out.

Andrew: No problem.

Eric: @UncyD says:

“Anything that distracts JKR from writing adult fiction can only be a good thing.”

Andrew: See, that’s… yeah.

Micah: I don’t agree with that.

Andrew: Well, obviously this person does not like The Casual Vacancy or The Cuckoo’s Calling.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So…

Micah: I didn’t like The Casual Vacancy either.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: It was rough.

Andrew: [laughs] It was rough.

Micah: But I did like The Cuckoo’s Calling.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: It was rough!

Andrew: Yeah. No, you’re right.

Micah: It was rough to read.

Andrew: I couldn’t finish it. I’m still looking at it sitting there, taunting me.

Micah: It is.

Andrew: In fairness – I’m looking on Amazon right now – I mean, four stars. That’s not bad.

Eric: Oh, yeah? Okay.

Micah: From who, though? [laughs]

Andrew: I mean, an overall rating, four stars.

Eric: So you’re copying The Cuckoo’s Calling

Andrew: Oh wait, it’s actually worst. It’s three stars.

Micah: There you go.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: The Casual Vacancy?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Out of how many?

Andrew: Based on 4,600 reviews.

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: That’s a lot.

Micah: Yup. Well, it wasn’t Potter. But we do have one final tweet here, from Helen Caley. It was actually… it touches on our director discussion just a bit ago.

“So exciting. Interesting if it will have the same director or different ones. Would like a variety!”

So Helen would like to see more than one director throughout the course of the films.

Andrew: Ehhh, I don’t think so.

Micah: Depends how they shoot it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah, Andrew, like you were saying before, if they do it kind of all at once, chances are it’s going to have the same… I think it should have the same director. I think it needs consistency.

Andrew: Exactly.

Micah: The Potter films did not have that, really. And I think that… we were just joking around about the Oscars, but I think that potentially hurt Potter in the Oscars a little bit, not having the same director throughout.

Andrew: That’s a good point.

Eric: I don’t know about that, because the last four films did.

Andrew: Yeah, but there was also the stigma of, “Oh, Harry Potter is a children’s series.”

Eric: Yeah. And it wasn’t really American.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: I mean, you could say, what makes a film American? Because it was funded by Warner Bros. But maybe if it’s set in New York, that people will react more kindly to it.

Micah: Maybe.

Andrew: Yeah, maybe. Well, especially if it films in New York, too.

Eric: Yeah. Then it feels more local.

Andrew: There’s something else I was going to say about this. What were you just saying, Micah?

Micah: It was about the directors.

Andrew: Oh, yeah. If you look at True Detective, a series that was on HBO earlier this year…

Eric: I haven’t seen it. People are like, “It’s amazing!”

Andrew: Yeah, everybody loves it. Everybody says, “Oh, it’s the best thing. Maybe better than Breaking Bad. Oh my God.” The entire eight episodes was directed by one director and also had one screenwriter. This is a big trend. I mean, people can really appreciate this consistency across multiple stories, and I think Fantastic Beasts would really benefit from that. I don’t think you can switch from director to director to director for this because if you did, you’d be running the risk of them losing the vision when Warner Bros. is… this is already a risky bet for them. I think you’ve got to play it safe where you can and…

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: …one way to do that will be same director. Just like David Heyman is going to produce them all and it’s probably going to be the same cast all the way through.

Micah: Yeah, I think you have to have… in my mind, it has to be somebody who is familiar with the Potter series. You can’t bring in a director that hasn’t worked on the films before. I don’t think it will work.

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, I don’t disagree.

Micah: There’s a certain… and I get this isn’t Potter, but it is and…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: …it’s the same world and I think having Heyman there is a huge bonus. It’ll be interesting to see who else gets worked into the fold…

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: …across the board, names that we’re familiar with in different areas of the production. I think director-wise, Cuaron is an interesting choice. I think given the material, he’d be a great pick.

Andrew: I also…

Micah: And I hated Prisoner of Azkaban

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: …so it shows you even I’m willing to come around on this.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I think it’s also a safe bet that Stuart Craig is going to be involved in this as well.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: The production designer. I mean, he’s been actively involved in the Harry Potter parks, so his mind has been in it all this time. And I’m just looking at his IMDb right now. He had a film in 2012 called Gambit, and then he’s in pre-production on Tarzan. And guess who’s directing that? David Yates.

Eric: Oh!

Andrew: Harry Potter 5-8 director. [laughs] So there’s all these little connections still lingering even past Harry Potter.

Micah: Yeah. I can see sort of a family reunion taking place here on some level, and I think you want that because… and I would think… I’m not obviously saying that I know this for certain, but I would think that J.K. Rowling would want that because you’ve already entrusted Potter to these people and they did a great job with it. So why wouldn’t you want the same group of people to make Fantastic Beasts?

Eric: Yeah. Well, then again, a different director and a different feel might be a benefit. If you look at… I only just found this out; this isn’t knowledge that I normally store in my head, but the first three Star Wars – Episodes IV, V, and VI – all had different directors. A New Hope was George Lucas, Empire Strikes Back was Irvin Kershner, and then the Return of the Jedi was directed by Richard Marquand. So you think of Star Wars, that is a cohesive, coherent visual look. They go to Tatooine in two of those three movies and have Death Stars in the other two. But the movies are different enough because they’re different parts of the same story, so I could also see them maybe doing different directors and having that be a benefit. I don’t know.

Micah: I don’t know that this… well, I was going to say I don’t know that it’s on the same scale, but it could be. From a revenue standpoint.

Eric: Right. Well, I’m also just comparing HP to Star Wars a lot lately because they both have three films that are in the pipeline, you know? So it’s kind of like a great way to say hey, these are in very similar situations.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: Right, right.

Andrew: Okay, so that’s it for the news. Thank you, Micah.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: No problem. Usually I used to… I don’t know what happened there. I used to take, what, like ninety seconds? This took like ninety minutes.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: To do the news?

Micah: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: Well, we were away for a few months…

Micah: Way, way, way back in the day, when it was pre-recorded.

Eric: I miss your little jokes. I miss your little jokes.

Andrew: Oh, your pre-recorded news.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Well, the big mistake we made with the pre-recorded news was that you were reading the news and then you would move onto a variety of different subjects and then we would repeat them. So it was…

Micah: Right. Or sometimes I don’t know if you’d even discuss it. You’d just move into your…

Andrew: What we wanted to talk about.

Micah: …book discussion, theory discussion for that particular episode.

Andrew: Hmm.

Micah: News was an afterthought.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And now it’s our priority.

Micah: Now it’s the only thought.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: That was eight and a half years ago, guys. Can you imagine that?

Andrew: Yeah, it’s crazy.

Eric: Yeah. But…

Andrew: But once Fantastic Beasts start up again, God knows what we will be doing then, but I have to imagine there’s going to be some speculating going on if J.K. Rowling – like I said earlier – does as good of a job as she did with Harry Potter.

Eric: Of which I think there is no doubt.


Show Close


Eric: Andrew, are you going to LeakyCon in July?

Andrew: No.

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: [laughs] Not to ruin that, but…

Eric: Oh, really? No? [laughs]

Andrew: I don’t think so, no. I don’t think so.

Eric: Oh, okay. Okay. But you’ll catch the park sometime, surely?

Andrew: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Of course.

Eric: Okay. Okay.

Andrew: I wouldn’t miss it for the world. For the wizarding world.

Eric: Yeah. [laughs] We did want to mention, of course, that LeakyCon is happening this summer. I know that Micah and I will be there, mainly for our podcast, Game of Owns, which we did want to plug. LeakyCon this year is taking place at the Orange County Convention Center from July 30 to August 3. Not sure what state registration is in, in terms of how full it is or if it’s available. I know hotels are hard to come by at the moment. So head over to LeakyCon.com, but not today because right now it’s actually a plumbing convention website for April Fools.

Andrew: Oh, that one I was invited to.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: A plumbing convention.

Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]

Eric: That one is in June. Maybe Mario will be there.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: But yeah, there’s LeakyCon – so again, that’s in July – and then there’s also one at the beginning of July called Chute 212 and I’ve been just kind of writing about that on MuggleNet. It’s taking place over the 4th of July weekend – so actually, the 2nd to the 6th in July – and that is located at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. A little closer to you, Andrew.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And the cool thing about Chute 212 is that they’re developing an entire wizard village that they’re building inside the convention center for guests.

Micah: Wow.

Andrew: A village?

Eric: Yeah, it’s going to be a village. It’s going to be a town. They’re going to have…

Andrew: Like… oh.

Eric: Like, the programming rooms are going to be designed to be like Grimmauld Place. The different areas, like the kitchen, the attic, stuff like that. And then there’s actually just going to be a town where… so the vendor room is going to be like a marketplace.

Andrew: Hmm.

Eric: Like as part of a town. And they’re going to have a courtyard for Quidditch and stuff like that, so it’s pretty exciting stuff. The website is Chute212.org. Go check it out. I’ll just bring it up because it seems like it’s going to be pretty cool, and I’m going to try to get there this July. And then LeakyCon, of course. LeakyCon.com is the website for that.

Micah: Yeah, and I think we can get into plugging other podcasts here, really quickly. Eric mentioned Game of Owns. It is our Game of Thrones podcast that Eric and I do a couple of times a week with Zack Luye and Selina, who you’ve heard from time to time on this show, as well. And we will be at LeakyCon as mentioned, but the biggest news to discuss here is, of course, that the fourth season of Game of Thrones starts this Sunday, April 6 on HBO, and that means we will be getting into our high season. I don’t know what else to call it.

Andrew: [laughs] High season.

Eric: Yeah. We struggle with off season, on season, so I think high season is…

Andrew: In season.

Micah: High season.

Andrew: You’re in season. Yeah.

Eric: [laughs] Off and on and in.

Micah: There you go.

Andrew: I like high season. That makes sense given high seas. I know Game of Thrones doesn’t deal with ships much, but…

Eric: Well…

Andrew: Or maybe it does. Does it?

Micah: They do.

Andrew: I need to start watching.

Micah: But yeah…

Eric: You do, yes. Absolutely.

Micah: …season premiere coming this Sunday and we’ll have an episode released the Monday following every one of the ten episodes of the season as well as some other stuff throughout the course of each of the weeks, so definitely be sure to check it out. You can go to GameofOwns.com or our partner site, WinterisComing.net, for all of the latest information, and if you like what we have to say here and you want to hear a more adult version, [laughs] you can check out Game of Owns.

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: How’s that?

Andrew: That was great. Very timely. That’s why you guys wanted to do this podcast.

Micah: [laughs] That’s it, yeah.

Andrew: I see. I see now. And of course, I wanted to…

Micah: No, I wanted to talk to you, Andrew.

Andrew: Oh sure, sure. And I want to plug three projects involving the word “hype.” First, of course, there’s Hypable. Then there’s Hype, the podcast that we do every other week on Hypable. A general entertainment podcast. Sort of a reflection of what you see on Hypable. And then Hype After Dark, which is on Hype Podcast as well. Me and one of my best friends do that. It’s a general talk show. We talk real news, entertainment news, real life, all those kind of things. So go to HypePodcast.com for that. That one is a subscription one, $3.99 a month, four episodes a month. So thank you, everybody, for listening. It’s been a fun show, boys.

Eric: I’ll mention one more thing here. There is a new MuggleNet.com. You may notice that the MuggleCast website – maybe functional, maybe not by the time you’re listening to this episode – it is going back up. We recently revamped MuggleNet.com. It’s turning fifteen this year, so changes are happening. It’s becoming a man. But we came up with an entirely new interface over on MuggleNet, so I do want to encourage people to visit MuggleNet.com for Harry Potter news. Just spend some time on it. Give it a chance again because I think this latest revamp is very exciting and we only do these sorts of things… I don’t know, every eight years or so. So it’s really exciting and that just happened. It’s brand new. So go take a look.

Andrew: Just happened. Brand new.

Micah: And it’s not an April Fools joke.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Right, right. [laughs]

Andrew: All right. Well, thank you, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew Sims.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

[Show music begins]

Andrew: And we’ll see everybody next time in a hundred… in two hundred days…

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: …or next week, depending on what tidbit J.K. Rowling drops about Fantastic Beasts next…

Eric: You never know.

Andrew: …for Episode 273, where Micah will also provide his audition for the Fantastic Beasts film.

Eric: [attempts a New York accent] Yes, work on a New York accent.

Micah: [attempts a New York accent] New York?

Andrew: Goodbye.

Eric: [attempts a New York accent] New York. New York. [back to normal voice] Goodbye, everybody.

[Show music continues]

Transcript 271

MuggleCast 271 Transcript


Show Intro


[Show music begins]

Andrew: Because we just wanted to surprise the listeners, this is MuggleCast Episode 271 for December 24th, 2013.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: This week’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 271. Yes, can you believe it? We are back.

Eric: We’re back!

Andrew: For a limited time only.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Wait…

Andrew: Eric, Micah, and I are here. What?

Micah: So, does that… if we’re only back for a limited time, is this the gold edition? The silver edition? The platinum edition? What is it?

Andrew: Uhhh, gold.

Micah: Gold, okay.

Andrew: So, this is a special end-of-year episode. Eric and Micah thought, “You know, we just want to MuggleCast again,” and I said, “You know, okay.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And then… [laughs] and here we are. And…

Micah: Andrew is just being modest.

Andrew: …we’ve obviously kept it a surprise. We didn’t want to… well, I suggested we keep it a surprise. That way, it’s a little more fun that way.

Micah: Well, it was a surprise. I don’t think people really got the tweet.

Andrew: Yeah, nobody…

Micah: That you put out over the weekend.

Andrew: …understood your tweet.

Eric: Oh, you guys…

Micah: It was such a great quote.

Andrew: What was the tweet that you wrote?

Micah: I will have to look it up.

Andrew: It is: “The things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end…”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And then this weird hashtag: #Twelve23Thirteen. What does that mean?

Eric: I thought the hashtag is part of something bigger. What… I clicked on it and I didn’t understand.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It wasn’t just a Harry Potter hashtag, right?

Andrew: Micah, what does it mean? I’m lost.

Micah: Well, it may not just be a Harry Potter hashtag, but I just kind of made that up on my own and I didn’t realize…

Andrew: Well, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read on Twitter.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: It’s the worst hashtag ever.

Micah: Why? But you can’t just put all numbers.

Andrew: Yeah, but what are the… anyway, it doesn’t matter.

Eric: Other people have used it, though. Can’t you click on it and see the other tweets? [laughs]

Micah: I’m sure you could.

Andrew: Yeah, one person has used it in the history of Twitter.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It’s the worst hashtag.

Micah: Well, it’s today’s date, right?

Andrew: I guess. I guess.

Micah: Well, the quote was creative, wasn’t it? I mean, come on.

Andrew: Yeah, the quote was creative.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, Micah, you couldn’t resist doing that, teasing people. Being able to then point out on the show, such as this, “Hey, I told you this was coming.” But on a personal level, I think that many of our listeners who have stuck with us for quite some time – and we still get emails and we still get comments – will enjoy waking up on Christmas morning and finding this, a new MuggleCast episode under their iTunes…

Micah: I like that.

Eric: …tree.

Micah: You’ve already determined the release date. I thought Andrew was going to release this…

Andrew: Today?

Micah: …sometime this evening.

Eric: Really, it’s up to…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Okay, then a little early. This is the… guys, we’re the present that you can open the night before Christmas.

Andrew: That is so sweet. That is great.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So, our last episode was September 12th. Obviously, a lot has happened since then. And that September 12th episode was actually our Fantastic Beasts episode. It was the one after J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. announced the spin-off movie franchise. There hasn’t really been any news about that since then, but there’s been plenty of news and we’re going to talk about several topics today. And we’re also going to look ahead to what Harry Potter fans have to look forward to in 2014 because there’s actually a lot.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: As you’ll see in the news here.

We’re going to continue with the show in just a moment, but first, today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. Today, I am going to recommend Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Now, you may be a fangirl, you may be a fanboy, you may even be a casual one of those two titles, but Fangirl is the perfect book for a Harry Potter fan. In fact, while you’re reading it you’re going to see some similarities to your fandom life. That’s why I love it so much. It is about a girl who writes fan fiction and meets a boy who doesn’t understand her fandom interests at first, but he comes around. And quite honestly, he’s an amazing boyfriend. Any one of us would be lucky to have him. Again, it’s Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. You can get it for absolutely free by visiting AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast to get an audiobook of your choice for absolutely free. We thank Audible for their support of the show.

So, Micah, do you still want me to do the news? [laughs] Or do you… are you prepared?

Micah: It is a bit difficult, coming back to this news studio here, because it’s a mess. There’s a lot of cobwebs, the lights barely work, and there’s some garbage strewn all over the floor, so I guess some rowdy kids must have gotten in here at some point over the last several months and just had a pretty wild party. But I think I might be able to handle this.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: It’s been a while…

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: …but I can start out.

Andrew: Go ahead.

Micah: And if I screw up, you can feel free to jump in at any time.

Andrew: Sure. Go ahead.

Micah: How’s that?

Andrew and Eric: Sounds good.

[Eric laughs]


News: J.K. Rowling to Co-Produce New Harry Potter Stage Play


Micah: So, probably the biggest piece of news that has been announced – and it happened quite recently – is that J.K. Rowling is going to be co-producing a Harry Potter play following Harry’s pre-Hogwarts years. And this was a rumor, or it started as a rumor and then it was confirmed, and I didn’t even know she had an official Facebook page…

Andrew: You didn’t?

[Eric laughs]

Micah: …but it has been confirmed on J.K. Rowling’s official Facebook page.

Eric: Micah…

Micah: Hopefully she updates that more than she updates her Twitter.

Andrew: She does.

Eric: …I was going to say, you stopped following her on Twitter. She talks about her Facebook page on Twitter all the time.

Micah: Oh. Well, that must be it, and I guess that makes me a bad fan at the end of the day.

Andrew: Yeah, it kind of does.

Micah: Does this really excite people? I mean, are people looking forward to this?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Is it just going to be on the West End?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Is it going to migrate its way to Broadway at some point?

Andrew: Well, there’s a lot to talk about here. Like you said, it was a rumor. It was something reported by the Daily Mail and they’re not always very reliable, so it was hard to believe, but they did have a quote from J.K. Rowling in it about this, so that told me that this was legitimate because they were quoting her. And then she did confirm it the next morning. So, people are excited but there is… people are nervous about this because the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Harry’s pre-Hogwarts years,” that this play is going to follow his pre-Hogwarts years, is, isn’t the whole point that he wasn’t doing anything before Hogwarts?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: So, what is this?

Eric: Yeah. It’s the part of Harry Potter, the boy wizard, when he’s not a wizard yet.

Andrew: Exactly.

Eric: And it’s like, well, okay.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: You imagine… just on the surface, you’re like, “Well, okay, he was being abused by the Dursleys.”

Andrew: And you can’t really turn that into a whole play. And then there’s also the worrying part… well, another worrying part is that she’s not writing it, so then you wonder… she is co-producing, which is good. She is involved. But she’s not writing it, so then you’re wondering, so how much of this, what we see in the play, is actually from J.K. Rowling’s mind? Is it canon, or is this just another fan-made thing? So, it’s worrying. Eric, what was your reaction?

Eric: Yeah, my reaction was… I’m sure it will be heartwarming. My reaction was to hope that there would be little bits of magic because I guess I’m not one for just the straight drama, just bawl your eyes out, this child is being mistreated. I want some of those elements. What I remember, the very few things that exist before Harry is carted away by Hagrid to Hogwarts is like the moment he ends up on the school’s kitchens because Dudley’s friends are chasing him and all of a sudden… he basically Apparates, although it’s not described that way. He just all of a sudden appears on a rooftop, and I’m thinking, that would be a great cliffhanger or moment in the play if they were to dramatize any of the stories. You’d want to include those moments where, yes, he showed magic but he still doesn’t know why or how or something like that. I think that would be kind of more interesting than just the fact that the Dursleys abuse him. But then if the Dursleys are abusing him, you also want to include the reason for it, which is that they fear him, they fear where his parents came from that kind. So, in a way, it isn’t just sort of a Muggle play no matter what. It has to do with Harry’s identity as a wizard, but I think they should include magic wherever possible because that’s kind of the selling point.

Andrew: Yeah. The official description of this play so far says:

“What was it like to be the boy in the cupboard under the stairs? This brand new play, which will be developed for the UK theater, will explore the previously untold story of Harry’s early years as an orphan and outcast. Featuring some of our favorite characters from the ‘Harry Potter’ books…”

Eric: Our favorite? [laughs] Don’t they mean least favorite?

Andrew: Well, hold on…

Micah: Well, no… all right, go ahead.

Andrew: Yeah, I think what’s going to happen… let me finish this first. It says…

Micah: No.

Andrew: [continues]

“…this new work will offer a unique insight into the heart and mind of the now legendary young wizard. A seemingly ordinary boy, but one for whom Destiny has plans…”

I think what they’re going to do, in response to this little “featuring some of our favorite characters from the Harry Potter books” line, is they’re going to include the Weasley family. I think that’s a must. I think they’ll include Ron and Hermione. I think they’ll be big parts of the story. You see them getting ready for Hogwarts. And the Weasley family would actually add a lot of magic to this play because, like Eric is saying, you’re going to see a lot of the Dursleys and there’s no magic there, and that’s not Harry Potter. It’s not… nothing is Harry Potter without magic. You need the magic. So, I think the Weasleys will be in this to a great extent.

Micah: Yeah, I don’t think that you can focus a whole lot on Harry himself.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: I think you can focus on Harry’s story, and that doesn’t necessarily directly involve him. And so when you talk about favorite characters, I like the idea of what’s going on with the Weasleys, what’s going on with the Grangers. But even with Hermione, you’re somewhat limited there as well because she’s sort of coming into her own and possibly her parents aren’t quite sure what’s happening to her as well. So, I think… when I first read this, and then you shared the description, I thought Harry’s story pre-Harry doesn’t necessarily have to be him growing up. But that does seem like what it’s going to be, but I think that they can incorporate other characters, other things that are going on at that time, with… and kind of interspersing Harry’s story among that. So…

Eric: Maybe…

Micah: Go ahead.

Eric: Yeah, maybe they will… instead of doing Ron and Hermione, what they were up to, because that’s kind of just like a regular Harry Potter book, what if they did Dumbledore and Hagrid and McGonagall? Dumbledore is the reason Harry went to Privet Drive, so I think at some point he would check in on him or…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …kind of figure out from afar somehow that… kind of just reaffirming his own decision to leave Harry with his family members.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: I don’t think he’d drop him on the doorstep, “Okay, I washed my hands on this. See you in eleven years!” I think Dumbledore would care, I guess, how… he never intervened, I’m not suggesting that happened because we know that Harry was horribly mistreated and it lended to his modesty, which is very important in later years. But at the same time, I think it would be interesting in this play if there is a conversation, much like the one McGonagall and Dumbledore had before they left him at the Dursleys, saying, “Was this the right decision?” And have somebody like a caregiver that we know of looking kind of in on Harry.

Micah: Yeah. And I’m sure it’s going to open at Godric’s Hollow, and Harry is really young obviously at that time, and you’ll see the whole Voldemort incident, and then it goes on from there. And to me it would end with Hagrid telling Harry that he’s a wizard.

Andrew: Yes. That was my idea, too.

Micah: So, it’s everything that takes place in between those pivotal moments that were so crucial to the series. And how they choose to go about that… you mentioned J.K. Rowling is a co-producer and not necessarily a writer, but I’m sure anything that happens has to have her blessing. I will say this though, kind of in closing. When I first read about this, and just knowing J.K. Rowling and knowing that she’s oftentimes stayed away from this sort of thing, I couldn’t help but think of… she’s really kind of squeezing this for all it’s worth at this point.

Andrew: It feels like that to you now?

Micah: A little bit. Because I don’t necessarily know that this is something that needs to happen.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: She could write about this. There’s other ways of telling the story. But I feel like this is milking it a little bit.

Andrew: I…

Eric: I don’t… oh, go ahead.

Andrew: I agree with you, actually. I was just about to bring this up. You just have to wonder why. Why does this have to become a thing? She said in a statement with this announcement that many ideas had been presented to her, but this is the only one that she finds can work. And it makes me think, is she just sick and tired of people coming after her for the stage rights, and she’s just throwing her hands up and she’s just like, “Okay, fine. This is the one we’re going to go with. Everybody stop bothering me now.”? I just don’t understand the point of this happening. Why does it need to happen?

Eric: Yeah. I don’t think it’s J.K. Rowling milking it, though. I think it is the demand from the audience for what is still a hot property, to produce more things. It’s really like this huge demand, and J.K. Rowling…

Andrew: Is there a huge demand?

Micah: Is there? Is there, though?

Eric: Yes, I think there is demand.

Andrew: I mean, not for a play. Not for a play.

Eric: Because ultimately these people came to J.K. Rowling, these writers, and said, “We want to make a play about Harry Potter. Here are some ideas. What’s the most likely? Can we do this?” Somebody else approached Jo. Jo is not saying, “How else can I… what part of Harry’s story didn’t I tell?” She said from the beginning she was very content leaving it as it was in seven books. But now that we’ve seen this play is happening and the Fantastic Beasts movie, which she’s actually writing which is like, “Hey, okay, so she is returning to Harry.” But really it’s all about these little moments that are side stories for her, and I think she is losing a little resistance that she had. I think she is giving in, in a way, but not selling out.

Micah: No, I don’t think she’s selling out.

Eric: I think there’s a big difference between milking it, just like…

Micah: But you know what? It’s her story. If she wants to put it on the West End, then go for it. It’s just… it seems like it’s a bit of overkill to me.

Andrew: Yeah. But then I’ve also wondered, so why does Fantastic Beasts not feel the same way? Why am I feeling this way about the play but not Fantastic Beasts? And I think the reason is that Fantastic Beasts

Micah: It’s a different story.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s just completely new. Exactly. It’s like there is all this potential here, whereas you look at this play and you can see… you can imagine it and it just doesn’t look that great. Whereas Fantastic Beasts, it’s so exciting because you can’t even imagine what they’re going to come up with and what J.K. Rowling is so excited about with this. So…

Eric: Yeah, this play to me seems more like a character story. I don’t think they’ll actually be as literal with time passaging as we’re thinking, like opening with Voldemort killing Lily and James and ending with Hagrid at the rock. I think it may take place… it may begin and end in the middle somewhere and just be about how a boy deals with his relatives, his only family hating him. It could be very cerebral, it could be very young, and maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with magic but it’s still Harry.

Andrew: It’s also interesting that this is… that there is not even a play about what takes place in the Harry Potter books. That instead, J.K. Rowling wanted to do something that we’ve never even seen before.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I mean, when has that happened before? If you look at other books that have been adapted for the stage, I don’t even know if that’s happened. I’m sure it has a couple of times, but nobody… Harry Potter just breaks all the rules when it comes to development in different areas of entertainment. So, I wanted to mention though that on Hypable I did an article, “What was Harry up to pre-Hogwarts?” because that’s obviously the big question here. Did J.K. Rowling ever mention anything that Harry was up to before Hogwarts? And it turns out that the Harry Potter Lexicon… we all know the good old Harry Potter Lexicon by Steve Vander Ark. There’s a section in Harry Potter’s area on the HP Lexicon with all the info we know about what Harry was up to pre-Hogwarts. And the short answer is: Not much, but J.K. Rowling in the books did make a couple of references, including one incident where Petunia cut all of Harry’s hair and then overnight it grew back. And then another incident, Dudley and his friends were chasing Harry at school when Harry magically transported himself up onto the rooftop. These are little things, though. They’re not things that could drive an entire play. So, in other words, whatever is going to be in this play is going to be entirely new, and hopefully canon.

Eric: Yeah, I think J.K. Rowling producing it means that it will be canon or at least canon in so far as an interpretation of Harry’s character can be canon.

Andrew: If this turns out to be really good, I think what the problem is right now is… from a marketing perspective, it just got off to a bad start.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: J.K. Rowling could be saying right now… maybe she should be saying right now, “Guess what, guys? I’m dropping a ton of new info in this Harry Potter play.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: “You’re going to learn some crazy stuff that you never knew before. This is going to be exclusive to the play.” I think she should say something like that, if that’s actually what’s going to be happening here.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Otherwise it’s like, “Eh.”

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: Glad you agree with me, Micah.

Eric: Now, another comment about this that I had was that all of the actors are pretty good stage actors.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: We know Fiona Shaw is currently in a play. Richard Griffiths, however, he passed away, but he and Dan Radcliffe were on Broadway. Harry Melling is on the West End. I think…

Andrew: Rupert Grint is right now, too.

Eric: Currently, Rupert Grint is. Everybody is doing stage now and I just wonder who they might cast for the Dursleys. I don’t think they’ll cast Fiona Shaw and Harry Melling, just like Dan is too old to play young Harry, but…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: I’m really… I’m going to be looking most forward to seeing casting about this play.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Which I’m sure the info…

Micah: When is this slated to open?

Eric: 2015?

Micah: Do we know?

Andrew: 2015. Yeah, they’re going to be working on it this year. So yeah, I’m just very meh about it personally.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: We’ll see.

Micah: Well, I know what you’re not meh about.

Andrew: What?

Micah: The expansion of the Wizarding World in Orlando, Florida.

Andrew: Oh, you’re right. You’re right.


News: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando Expansion


Micah: So, I was actually in Orlando not that long ago. Last week, actually.

Eric: Oh.

Micah: I didn’t get a chance to go over, unfortunately, to the Wizarding World to see all the construction that’s being done, but it looks like little bits of buildings and other structures are starting to be revealed.

Andrew: Yeah. So, we got to look at Grimmauld Place because the scaffolding came down. But Universal has kept very quiet over the past few months. Probably since our last episode, I don’t think much has been revealed. We know that the Leaky Cauldron restaurant is going to be there. We also found out that… this is actually pretty interesting: Beedle the Bard’s Fountain of Fair Fortune is going to be in this park, even though it has no connection to Diagon Alley. It looks like it’s going to be outside of the ice cream shop, Florean Fortescue’s, which is in the Harry Potter books, referenced it is in Diagon Alley. So… but the bigger news is that they are finally getting ready to unveil a ton of new information. They are actually doing it a month from today, January 23. They are doing a half-hour webcast and they haven’t said what they are unveiling exactly, but that is part of the fun. So considering it’s half-hour, they’re probably going to have a lot to share. And hopefully some new concept art. I mean, we have only seen one piece of concept art so far and it was just that overview of the park.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: So, we are definitely due for some new looks. And yeah, I’m excited.

Eric: Yeah, I’m just watching this video that we have…

Micah: The commercial sucks.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: The commercial? Oh, I haven’t seen the commercial yet.

Andrew: Yeah, they’ve done two teaser commercials so far and one of them promises, “In 2014, Universal Orlando will bring you the end of vacationing as you know it.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: They are basically…

Micah: There is no tie to Potter there whatsoever, though.

Andrew: No.

Micah: That’s what makes it terrible.

Andrew: The commercial just has very bland shots of… on purpose, bland shots of a watermark and a beach. Universal is basically saying that what we have to offer in Diagon Alley is going to be like nothing ever before. Which maybe true. It just seems pretty ballsy.

Micah: Well, here’s the thing though, is that if you’re not familiar with the music or you’re not familiar with that lightning bolt that takes the place of the one…

Eric: The one?

Micah: …you have no idea what they are referring to.

Andrew: Yeah, but I don’t know if… I mean, if it airs during the Super Bowl, which apparently they are airing a commercial during the Super Bowl, if it does air then, then yeah, that’s probably a mistake. But for right now, just online, I think it’s fine.

Micah: I’m sure they’ll be able to reveal a little bit more by the time the Super Bowl rolls around. But it’s cool to see that this is coming together, and I mean, I definitely will plan to head back there at some time to check out all the new stuff that they are putting in place.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Yeah, you know what? In just the couple of… in just the minute that it took you guys to talk, I did watch that first trailer and I completely agree with you. That is really strange and empty and not Harry Potter-ish at all except for the music.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, it’s just one giant tease. A tease of a tease. It’s… yeah, it’s interesting. It’s interesting.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So I mean, if you look at this expansion though, it’s gigantic. Particularly the Gringotts thrill ride. The building is almost as big as the rest of the land, the outdoor land where the Diagon Alley walkways are going to be. I mean, it’s huge. There’s a new flyover video. It was posted today on MuggleNet and you can see a couple of glimpses of the Hogwarts Express. You just get a good feel of the size of this project. It’s huge.

Eric: Yeah, Grimmauld Place can be seen in the flyover video and we’ve got a few photos of Grimmauld Place already. But it looks like that’s actually going to be a big place to hangout, not necessarily inside of, but there’s a lot of land to just stand on in front of Grimmauld Place. It opens up into the waterfront and stuff. So… I’m still a little confused on how the layout is going to look. And I don’t know enough about how Universal looks from above to be able to really point out too many things in the video, but it shows the track of the Hogwarts Express from the regular Universal park to Islands of Adventure and Hogsmeade and stuff. And I guess we’re not getting many reports over how Hogsmeade is dealing with… where the train is going to end up. You know what I’m saying?

Andrew: It goes… they’re building a train station next to the Dueling Dragons coaster.

Eric: Okay. Huh.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: That’s all we really know about it. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. [laughs] Okay, okay. Yeah. But actually though, while we were talking, there is a second commercial for the park that actually uses clips from the movies.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And that one is much better. It’s much more clear what it is exactly that you’re watching.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: In fact, they show Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, a clip, which makes me very excited for that shop in the theme park.

Andrew: Yeah. It looks good. I just wonder… it’s going to be so crowded I have to think this summer, come June when it opens up.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: It’s going to be crazy. And the lines for the Hogwarts Express. I mean, I can’t imagine… [laughs]

Eric: No.

Andrew: …how long it’s going to take to get on that train.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah, it’s interesting to go to it over the last couple of years that we’ve been there. And really the last time I was there, I remember it was pretty manageable, and I think sort of the initial excitement…

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: …wore off for a lot of people. But knowing that this is going to be brand new – really cool from the sound of it – it’s going to attract a ton of people. Especially when it first opens, like you said.

Eric: Well, yeah. Just remembering back a couple of years when the theme park first opened, even on a regular summer day there was a line four hours long stretching all the way around… legitimately, a circle of… around the park of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, just to get into the area. To get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. It was like a four-hour line.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: And that was just to get into the park. Forget about Forbidden Journey or any of the…

Micah: But that was its grand opening, though. That was the first…

Eric: But it was for months! It was for months it was like that.

Andrew: Hmmm.

Micah: People were standing in line for months?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: No…

Micah: I’m just joking.

Eric: …every day it got in and cleared out. They obviously capped the line at some point.

Micah: Of course.

Eric: But it took forever to die down. I’m not…

Andrew: Yeah, Eric is right. There was a line to get into the lands. It wasn’t as big as that grand opening day, of course.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: But yeah, there was a wait time just to get into the Wizarding World, which…

Eric: And so I foresee the same thing happening. I foresee lines around the park for the Harry Potter section of the park. Because it’s the newest and the hottest. But I… certainly that’s the last thing I’m looking forward to though, is the crowd.

Micah: Is the line.

Eric: Yeah, is the line.

Micah: Just cut the line. You work for MuggleNet.

Eric: [laughs] Just…

Andrew: Yeah, just flash your MuggleNet ID.

Eric: I’m going to have to get mine printed out. I’ll go to…

Micah: Or your MuggleCast tattoo.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, I’ll show them the tattoo.

Micah: All right.

Eric: I’ll show them the tattoo.


News: Bloomsbury to Publish Fully-Illustrated Harry Potter Series


Micah: Well, some other news that surfaced during our time off… that’s a good way to put it, right? Time off?

Eric: Time off, yeah.

Micah: Is that Bloomsbury is planning to republish a fully-illustrated set of the Harry Potter books. And the first is set to be released in September of 2015. And again, this is something I’m not so sure how I feel about.

Andrew: Really?

Eric: This shocks me.

Andrew: Really?

Eric: This…

Micah: Fully illustrated? I mean, you’re supposed to be using your imagination.

Andrew: The purpose of these books is to appeal to younger readers, and they’re going to purposely release each book a year apart from one another so you can kind of grow up with the series and look forward to each new book. I like this idea. I think it’s cool. My question about it – we were talking about this on Hype the other day – is how big are these books going to be, now that they have pictures in them?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I mean, they’re big enough with just text. It’s going to be crazy. The size of Order of the Phoenix

Eric: Especially when you get to the later books. Book 5 is like…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …a three tome novel, or a three tome encyclopedia set, if there are pictures on every page.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: What shocks me is that it’s Bloomsbury doing this and not Scholastic because Bloomsbury’s books, the UK books, are boring, and as they exist currently they… it’s plain text. All of it is in… I think it’s Garamond font. They don’t even make… okay, I know I’m sounding confused here, but in the American books… growing up reading them – you know this – every time Harry gets a letter from Hogwarts or the Ministry or Hagrid, it’s in a different font. It’s got the little handwriting. It is that one point in Book 3 where Buckbeak is scheduled to be executed and Hagrid has tears on the letter. It’s all very well done by the graphics department at Scholastic years and years and years ago when these books first came out. The UK books aren’t like that. Everything is in the same font and there’s none of that extra little magic. There’s no chapter images that we are used to, from Mary GrandPrÈ, and there’s no different font for different people writing. There’s no handwriting. It doesn’t look anything different than… it’s so prim. It’s so straight. And so to think that Bloomsbury is the one doing a picture book?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And looking at these images…

Micah: Oh, that doesn’t mean that Scholastic won’t follow suit.

Eric: Yeah, but looking at these images… and these images look great. Just this one of young Harry that’s really…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It’s like a watercolor, of Harry. It looks gorgeous and I’m shocked that… and look, I’ve always seen these… okay, the letter font thing in the UK books is maybe like training wheels for us, to make it a little bit more magical, a little bit more childish. The British kids don’t need that, apparently. But I just think it is backwards for them to now do a picture book. I think it’s going to look great.

Micah: I’m not saying that it’s not going to look great. I think part of it, though, is that even for younger kids, a lot of what Harry Potter was about was being able to expand the mind and use your imagination, and you look at that picture of Hogwarts that is depicted there, that’s one person’s interpretation of it and I think that if you have a generation of kids who are growing up with these picture books in England or wherever else they’re sold, they’re going to have this preconceived notion of what all of this is supposed to look like and…

Eric: Well…

Micah: You can make the argument about that with the films as well.

Eric: Right.

Micah: But I just find that doing this is… excessive? I don’t really see the point, but that’s just me.

Andrew: Well, I mean, we’ve seen the books re-released numerous times since the last one came out. Even before the final book came out, they were still… [laughs] they were re-publishing them.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: This doesn’t surprise me. I’m looking forward to them. Am I going to buy them? Probably not. Am I going to look through them? Definitely. I mean, there could be a new image on every page. And that’s kind of cool, to see them illustrate it to this level of detail. I mean, Bloomsbury is calling them “fully illustrated,” which would suggest there’s going to be a ton of illustrations in here, so… I don’t know. It’s cool. I like it. I think the Dan… I think Harry Potter looks just like Dan Radcliffe. Don’t you guys agree?

Eric: Ehhh. Yeah, it kind of is.

Micah: That’s another question though, too, is how much of this artist’s… this illustrator’s drawing is going to be influenced by his knowledge of the series from a film standpoint.

Eric: I don’t think so.

Andrew: Apparently not much. There was an article about their choice for Ron, and he went to this school to look for kids and he found a Ron there, or somebody… a little redhead kid.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And they picked him, and J.K. Rowling approved of the Ron choice. So, him and J.K. Rowling are looking at people in schools around the kids’ age in the first book, so this way, while they’re actually growing up in real life, they’ll continue to use them as guides for them to grow up. [laughs] Does that make sense? Like so…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: …Ron is growing up at the same time as this real life kid is growing up.

Eric: So, they’re casting their own characters in a way.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: They’re casting their own trio again.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, essentially. And it was, like I said, approved by J.K. Rowling. At least Ron was. I imagine all of them are. But then it’s like…

Eric: She’s lowering her defenses. [laughs]

Andrew: I know, it’s like now J.K. Rowling is handling… involved with this? Is this… her head is still in Harry Potter every day, isn’t it? This play, Fantastic Beasts, Pottermore…

Eric: Well, there were five years where it wasn’t. Weren’t there five years where she didn’t do anything about Harry Potter at all?

Andrew: Maybe. Yeah, well, I mean, Pottermore was probably in the works, right? Because that came out in 2011 or ’12.

Eric: Oh, right.

Andrew: So…

Eric: Yeah, you’re right.

Andrew: But yeah, she is still deeply involved with Harry Potter.

Micah: Yeah. And I know that we talked about Scholastic, but in the article you mentioned that… are they going to be interested after having just re-released the books with new covers this past August, in doing something similar and… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Andrew: I bet they will.

Micah: It could depend on how successful they are.

Andrew: Well, they’ll re-release these. The original announcement said that Bloomsbury is going to shop this series around to other publishers around the world, so… and I think Scholastic would be somebody who’s interested.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: And the first one comes out in 2015. I don’t know if we mentioned that yet. So there’s something to look forward to, I guess.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: We’re going to be… I mean, if they’re releasing these a year apart it’s going to be a while before the seventh one comes out, sort of just like how Pottermore is releasing bits at a time.

Eric: Mhm.

Micah: Right.


Alfonso Cuaron Interested in Directing Fantastic Beasts


Micah: Well, another piece of news, and I’ll try and be positive on this story but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Andrew: In the spirit of the holidays, stay positive.

Eric: Woo-hoo!

Micah: [laughs] No, I have a feeling I’m going to get some tweets or a couple of emails about just how I’ve responded to certain pieces of news so far, and I can’t really say that this one is going to be any different. Alfonso Cuaron is interested in directing the Harry Potter spin-off that we spent a good portion of our last episode talking about. It’s the new series with Newt Scamander. And I’ll just leave it up to you guys to…

Andrew: Well, we should add that he’s …Vulture, a New York Magazine

Micah: He’s a vulture, yes.

Andrew: No, no, no.

Micah: He’s a vulture. He ripped apart Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Andrew: Wow.

Micah: …with his beak.

Eric: What?

Andrew: [laughs] No, New York Magazine‘s Vulture went up to Alfonso at a party and said, “Hey…”

Micah: He was probably wasted.

Andrew: “…what do you think of Fantastic Beasts?” So, I don’t want to give anybody the impression that he’s been offered the directing gig. He was just asked. But he said:

“‘Azkaban’ was fun to make, and when I did it, I was invited to do the next one, but I didn’t want to overstay the welcome because it was such an experience. But now? Why not? I do have stuff that I want to do [next], but a J.K. [Rowling] thing…”

Then he stopped himself and he said:

“They haven’t called me yet! They haven’t decided to invite me! [I’m just] looking forward! At least to see it, because nobody’s invited me.”

So…

Eric: Look, people know I’ve been a little vocal before about how I feel about the third movie. Unfortunately, ever since I saw it in 2004 it hasn’t really gotten any better since. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. But with this news… and I’ve seen Gravity, which is his most recent film, and I really liked that. I thought it was very good cinematography, very good directing. Now all I can say is, well, with Fantastic Beasts the movie, there is no book for him to ruin.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: There’s no book for him to set fire to, so why the heck wouldn’t you want him making your film?

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Because he’s actually a good filmmaker.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And with no source material that you can fall in love with prior to the movie coming out, unless you fall in love with the textbook – which if you are Hermione Granger, that’s your thing – I think it could be a really interesting film. And looking at Cuaron’s strengths creating a world in a visual array, he’s the kind of director I think they need for this film. Making creatures and characters…

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: …work together with people, that sort of thing. I think that he would be actually a strong choice for director for this film.

Andrew: Yeah, I agree. I mean, he’d essentially have a clean slate here to be working with. Like Eric said, you’re not going to be comparing it to the book. And it’s not like he’s a bad director…

Eric: No.

Andrew: …by any stretch of the imagination. So, I think he would be a good choice for this. And you also have to keep in mind that… Eric just mentioned Gravity. That was produced by David Heyman, who produced all the Harry Potter movies. So, Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman obviously have a good working relationship here between Harry Potter and now Gravity. And I got to speak to Heyman during… when he was doing press for Gravity and he was raving about Alfonso. And I didn’t ask him if… when I talked to him, he still hadn’t been confirmed as the producer of this new movie. Now we do know he is producing Fantastic Beasts, which is certainly a good sign because he had his hand in all eight Harry Potter movies. So, I think Alfonso is actually a pretty realistic choice that would not surprise me, given the background.

Micah: Yeah. And I know I was a little bit…

Andrew: Mean? You were mean.

Micah: No, I wasn’t mean.

Andrew: You just called Alfonso Cuaron a vulture.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: No, those were your words. I was just repeating them.

Andrew: Oh, I see.

Eric: Vulture is the name of the publication.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: I know. But here’s the thing, listening to you guys talk, I actually agree.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: I think that the problem for Potter fans going into this is that they’re going to compare him to what he did for Prisoner of Azkaban. And there’s a lot of people who liked the movie, and…

Eric: That’s true.

Micah: I’m not trying to get into that whole debate again. I personally didn’t. It was probably my least favorite of all of the movies because it was my favorite book of the series…

Eric: Same.

Micah: …and I felt that it was not well adapted, but we can leave it at that. What I thought immediately about, when we were talking about other things that he’s worked on, he was a producer on Pan’s Labyrinth and that kind of reminds me a bit… or made me think a bit as it relates to Fantastic Beasts. Because there’s a lot of sort of weird creatures in that movie, and Cuaron’s got a little crazy mind about him, so…

Eric: Well, I think… it’s Cuaron…

Micah: …I think he could be a good fit for this.

Eric: It’s Cuaron, it’s Guillermo del Toro, it’s… those guys are the types of guys who you’d think would be doing this series. And that’s not to say that it couldn’t be light because I do want a sort of light element to Newt Scamander where it’s adventurous. And I’m not necessarily talking swashbuckling. They’re not going to get Gore Verbinski to do it like he did Pirates, but I think that it could be fun. But visually, the film has to sell us on these creatures, whatever… whoever they may be.

Andrew: And no matter who directs, we’re all going to be very nervous as we sit down in the theater watching this for our first time because we all want it to be really good. But there’s just a lot of risk here, J.K. Rowling writing her first screenplay, a Harry Potter spin-off. It’s going to be nerve-racking. It doesn’t matter who directs. I don’t care if your favorite director on the planet directs this movie, it could still fall apart. So…

Eric: Yeah. It’s true.

Andrew: I think all this Alfonso Cuaron hate has been overblown. For years!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: This aside.

Eric: Well, I….

Micah: You’re the one who called him “vulture,” so…

Andrew: You’re right. You’re right.

Eric: I went to… I dragged myself to Gravity and liked it, so I felt like that was me getting over a very important bump in my non-biased life road.

Micah: It’s not that he’s a bad director, it’s that…

Eric: No. It was fine.

Micah: …we didn’t like the movie that he directed. [laughs]

Eric: People say it’s the best film of them all because it works as a film and not just an adaptation. I say it was too dark too soon, but that’s just where we stand.

Micah: I say it omitted a pretty big storyline. Anyway…

Andrew: Let’s move on.


News: Robert Galbraith Ranked #28 on AskMen.com’s Top 49 Men of 2013


Andrew: Speaking of omitting things.

Eric: Speaking of guys.

Andrew: [laughs] Right. Speaking of human beings…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …here’s a story about a fictional one. So Robert Galbraith, the star of The Cuckoo’s Calling – oh sorry, the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling – was named number 28 on AskMen.com’s Top 49 Men of 2013. Eric, how did you come across this?

Eric: This was a story… well, the story that we grabbed was that he was nominated. This was early… I think it was the middle of October that he was nominated for… actually, the most influential man. It was… AskMen UK did this thing where they compiled the Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2013. We knew that Robert Galbraith was nominated and it caused a little bit of stir because we were like, “Well, wait a minute. Not only is Robert Galbraith not real but the person who writes as him is a woman, so what’s he doing on this list?” But it turns out that Robert and I believe the vote of the public – people who vote on this – did make number 28 out of 49 for most influential. And I’m just going to read the summary here from the website. Their results poll still exists on uk.askmen.com. They say:

“Yep, it’s a lady. The inner sanctum has been penetrated! Rest assured chaps just outside the 49, it’s all above board; ‘Mr.’ Galbraith had one of the most talked about books of the year with crime novel ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling,’ especially once ‘his’ true identity was outed by a loose-lipped lawyer. All the while managing to negotiate deals for new ‘Harry Potter’ films in ‘his’ true form of J.K. Rowling. A pretty magical year all around, then.”

So, this is just kind of some… really, recognition for the mystique of Robert Galbraith. The whole situation that happened – still quite recently, September or so – made this year-end list of most influential.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

Eric: J.K. Rowling writes as a man and has a hit book. So, that was just kind of really cool to get this outside…

Micah: Were there any other sort of fictional characters that made this list or was Robert the only one?

Eric: No, I really don’t think so. I’ll read down from #28: Boris Johnson, Louis Tomlinson, Peter Tatchell… I’ll read the top ten. Who’s the top ten men? Oh, actually Peter Capaldi is on this list and so is Russell Brand. They’re higher than ten.

Andrew: They’re all real, though.

Eric: Yeah. Peter Dinklage makes eleven, Robbie Rogers, Elon Musk, Bryan Cranston is number eight, Chris Bailey, Benedict Cumberbatch is number six, George R.R. Martin is number five, Sam and Dan Houser of Grand Theft Auto producing fame made number four, Sir Jonathan Ive is three, Andy Murray is two, and Stephen Fry – wow – actually makes the most influential, the Top 49 Man of 2013. Stephen Fry, we know, narrated the UK audiobooks of Harry Potter, and he’s also just a cool guy who’s been around forever.


News: Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic Now Open


Andrew: So, the final story that we have for today, Micah.

Micah: Yes. It’s good news, right?

Andrew: Well, yeah.

Micah: So, the ribbon was cut at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at Edinburgh University earlier… this year, I should say. It was actually a couple of months ago going back to October. And we know that this is something that was really a passion of J.K. Rowling’s. We’ve talked about it on the show before, that she was looking to open this clinic, obviously in name of her mother, and I’m sure it will do a lot of good for a lot of people. It was initially established with a ten million pound donation from J.K. Rowling, and the work that’s going to take place at the clinic is going to focus on finding treatments to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases, with the ultimate aim of repairing damage to patients’ bodies. So…

Andrew: Cool.

Micah: …a lot of good work. And I think at times we don’t talk a lot about the charitable work that J.K. Rowling has done.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: But it’s just… it’s so widespread and a lot of times you don’t even know about it, and I guess a lot of people would argue that that’s the best kind.

Andrew: Yeah. I remember her attending the groundbreaking of that. I think it was only last year, in 2012.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: So, they opened that up pretty quick.


Plugs for Other Podcasts


Andrew: We are going to talk about what Harry Potter fans have to look forward to in 2014, because there is actually a lot, and we’ll get to that in a second. But first, we wanted to talk about a couple of the other podcasts that we do. First of all, I wanted to mention that I’m still doing podcasts on the weekly over on Hypable, first with Hype – that’s our bi-monthly, also known as twice monthly, entertainment podcast, talking about Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Doctor Who, all the latest movies coming out. So, we do that every other week, and Micah and Eric aren’t on the show but a couple of Hypable’s brighter stars are on there. They’re aspiring to become Micahs and Erics one day.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Wait, who’s aspiring?

Andrew: The co-hosts of Hype.

Micah: Oh, okay.

Andrew: Yeah. So, I just wanted to do a plug for that. And then also my weekly podcast, which is Hype After Dark. It’s an extension of Hype of sorts. It’s less entertainment, more real news, but a very fair mix of entertainment news as well, and that can be listened to via a subscription. We do four episodes a month, $3.99 a month. You can go to HypePodcast.com for a couple of samples and more information about that. And, Eric?

Eric: Yes, Micah and I are on a show called Game of Owns, and it’s all about the Game of Thrones series of books and television. Right now, the TV series is heading into its fourth season in March, and so we are currently re-reading the second book and providing commentary, much like we did on this podcast years ago with Chapter-by-Chapter – sort of a favorite segment going through the Harry Potter books – coming up with anything we really thought of that stands out, as well as clues that the author leaves before for later. George R.R. Martin is very good at foreshadowing and all that good stuff that literary buffs really enjoy in books. And so we do that with Game of Thrones, and you should check us out. We are thrice weekly, actually, and our podcast is released Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on a normal week. You can find us on iTunes at Game of Owns.

Micah: You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and probably other places as well.

Eric: Yes. Just search “Game of Owns.” And also, I’m on another Harry Potter podcast called Alohomora!, which is a global re-read of the series. So again, it’s reading books and commenting. Right now we’re on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, kind of going back through the Harry Potter series with the knowledge of what we know happens and commenting on that. And that’s a MuggleNet podcast you can find over at MuggleNet.com. Just search for Alohomora!


Looking Ahead to 2014


Andrew: So looking ahead at 2014, we wanted to mention the things that are coming up. First of all, as we mentioned earlier today, Diagon Alley – that is going to open in June of this upcoming year, so very close. And like we said, this January people are going to learn a lot more about what is actually going to be inside it and hopefully get some concept art.

Eric: Yeah, I hope so.

Andrew: Something we really haven’t talked about much other than the Robert Galbraith story was the fact that there should be a new Cuckoo’s Calling book out this year. J.K. Rowling said the second one is as good as finished and it will be published next year, referring to 2014. So, there’s no release date but since the first one came out secretly in March of 2013, I would assume… it was either March or April. I don’t know if I’m being too presumptuous here, but I would assume it comes out around the same time, especially since when the official website went live back in September or August. It said that the second book was already finished, so it’s got to be soon.

Eric: Yeah, I think it’s very likely that we’ll see it in 2014 and probably if not in April, then by June or so I think it would probably come out.

Andrew: So it’s not an encyclopedia, but it is a new J.K. Rowling book.

Eric: There you go.

Andrew: And over the next year, we’re going to get news about that Harry Potter play and also Fantastic Beasts. There’s still no release date for Fantastic Beasts, but my guess is if it’s arriving in 2016 – if it’s actually going to hit theaters in 2016 – we’re going to get a release date sometime in 2014, because they usually like to plan these out about two years in advance.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: In other words, once we get a release date, we can finally start counting down and looking forward to the studio having to reach deadlines. Maybe J.K. Rowling will turn the script in in the next year and then the casting process will begin, and before that there will be the director…

Micah: You could just call up David Heyman.

Andrew: And ask him.

Micah: You seem like you have a good relationship with him now, Andrew, so…

Andrew: Yeah, we’re buddies. Yeah. We hang out in LA.

Micah: So, you probably know more actually than you’re saying right now.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: If I did, I would spoil it all right now.

Eric: Aww.

Micah: You would.

Andrew: And then finally, we also have to look forward to – we can never forget because it’s always lingering there in the background, waiting for us to enter and login with our weird usernames – it’s Pottermore.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Pottermore actually… they released one section of it. J.K. Rowling…

Micah: Their CEO.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, that did happen.

Eric: Oh, gosh.

Andrew: Their CEO left. No, I was going to say J.K. Rowling released new information on Tonks and Lupin – their relationship, their whole backstory. And I remember I did a whole article about it on Hypable earlier this year, and people were really interested because that’s a popular relationship in the books. And J.K. Rowling finally released some really cool background information, so maybe we’ll get big new stuff like that this year.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, I think she… Pottermore is still kind of on Goblet of Fire.

Andrew: [laughs] Kind of on? Yeah, it’s on.

Micah: It is.

Eric: Yeah, because you don’t know how often they’re going to release, so they are. But there’s a lot of books ahead and a lot of content still to be released, so whatever that pacing is, I think it’s safe to say we will see more in 2014.

Andrew: For a little while, it seemed like it was every few months – like every three, four months – but then that seemed to stop.

Micah: They’re on a holiday break.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I got an email from them, actually – last week, I would say – saying, “Oh, head on over to Pottermore and check out how it’s all set up for the holidays.”

Andrew: Ah, yeah. Ugh!

Micah: They are trying to engage people.

Andrew: But they made a big announcement… I’m sorry, just one Pottermore critique.

Micah: Go ahead.

Andrew: They made a big announcement about the fact that they put snow on Pottermore.com? Come on, come on!

Eric: [laughs] It’s snow!

Andrew: No, no! This isn’t news.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Ugh, man. I want Pottermore to be good. I really do. I’m rooting for it.

Eric: And of course, if that ever happens, we will be here to report on it.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: There will be a couple of more episodes, I think we can say, next year. We’re still very irregular. When the news happens we’ll cover it, but I think it’s safe to say this still isn’t the very last of MuggleCast, in case any listeners were worried.

Andrew: Probably not. I’m looking back in the Pottermore blog and it looks like they released Goblet of Fire chapters in October, and I think that was the last time. Because I don’t remember anything in November and definitely not in December, so…

Eric: Oh, Hufflepuffs won the House Cup, by the way. The fourth House Cup. I was very happy.

Andrew: Yeah. So, they got early access to…

Eric: Yeah, they do…

Andrew: …to the first Goblet of Fire chapters.

Eric: I think they do that every time a chapter is about to open, or a book is about to open or something.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, they do. That’s one of the rewards. And they’re revealing new Pottermore stuff at A Celebration of Harry Potter in January at the Wizarding World park in Orlando, so I assume…

Micah: Are you going, Andrew?

Andrew: …more chapters… I don’t know yet. I don’t know. I heard Keith is going or hoping to go.

Eric: I’m not sure, I think Kat is going. I don’t know which one of them is going in January.

Andrew: Yeah, so that happens at the end of January. Yeah, so that’s what’s happening in 2014 and who knows what other surprises J.K. Rowling will drop on us.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I’m sure there’ll be some.

Eric: How many more of these expanded Harry Potter canon universe things she will allow to happen.

Andrew: You just never know with her. She dropped three surprises on us this year: the new book The Cuckoo’s Calling, then Fantastic Beasts, [laughs] and now this Harry Potter play, even though it seems like they didn’t want it to be announced this early. The Daily Mail ruined that. But hey, whatever.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: That’s what they do.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, right. They ruined…

Micah: Whether it’s true or not.


Listener Feedback: Casting Newt Scamander


Eric: Well, we’ve talked about Fantastic Beasts, and last episode was all devoted to the news because it was still hot. We did ask, I believe, for some of your thoughts on who should play the lead role of Newt Scamander. And just before we wrap up this episode and the year, I wanted to include some of this feedback we got. First suggestion, Micah, do you want to read this?

Micah: Yeah, the first suggestion comes from Katie Mancuso and she says:

“First of all, it was like a blast from the past listening to you guys…”

Eric: [laughs] We weren’t gone that long.

Micah: [continues]

“…like my childhood revisited. I haven’t listened in so long (honestly thought you guys had ended your run a while back). Anyways, this might be typecasting, but I would love to see Matt Smith play this role. I think he’d do wonderfully at it. I’ve seen many other people thinking the same thoughts. He does say he’s unemployed for the time. I’m sold, though. Matt Smith all the way.”

I don’t know who Matt Smith is.

Andrew: Oh, really? He’s the Doctor!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: He’s Doctor 11! The eleventh…

Micah: Doctor 11. From Doctor Who, I’m assuming.

Eric: I don’t know how that’s typecasting, though, because Newt isn’t really a doctor. He’s a writer.

Micah: There needs to be pictures in here, Eric. You can’t just list these people’s responses.

Andrew: Or maybe we just need to fire you and find somebody who’s a little more up on their pop culture.

Eric: Yeah, absolutely. Well, he’s a traveler. I guess that’s where the two are alike in their roles. The next one comes from Roshni Bhambhwani and they say…

Micah: Damn! I wanted Andrew to read that one.

Eric: Oh, Andrew, why don’t you butcher this for us.

Andrew: [laughs sarcastically] Roshni B., she writes…

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Micah: See, you’re smart, you’ve learned!

Andrew: She’s at work listening to our quick fan casting. By the way, on the last episode we asked people to send these emails in, so that’s why we got these. Roshni suggests:

“ùJoseph Gordon-Levitt! The first thing I did after hearing the news was look for a MuggleCast episode. Thanks for coming through! Midnight premieres, costumes, conventions, and insanity, here we come!”

So, she’s pumped for the Harry Potter spin-off.

Eric: [laughs] Dressing up in…

Andrew: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I’ll… it can actually work, maybe. Because Fantastic Beasts is going to be set in New York, so it could be an American wizard. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is American, Matt Smith is British.

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: So, actually… I’m going to look really quick. I don’t know if we know if the character of Newt Scamander is American or British.

Eric: I think he is British.

Andrew: And he moves to New York?

Eric: He eventually becomes the headmaster of Hogwarts, but only according to the movies.

Andrew: Yeah. So, if he moved to New York, then I think they would want to keep it as a British cast. So, as much as people love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, he probably can’t get it. That’s my thought.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: But that’s a good choice. If only he were British. [laughs]

Eric: Well, definitely for a supporting role, I’d love to see him in the movie. Because I like that guy, you know?

Andrew: Mhm. Like a brother.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Newt’s brother, Cornwall.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I just made that up. Some other lame name that isn’t suited for Hollywood. [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] Megan Utterback wrote in and said:

“I think Ben Barnes would make a great Newt Scamander. He’s the right age, he’s good-looking, and he’s not too famous. I really want to see them do the sphinx, since it is one of my favorite creatures. I also want to see Blast-Ended Skrewts because I can never properly imagine them.”

Okay, so Ben Barnes – for those who don’t know – was cast as Prince Caspian in two of the Narnia films. I believe he’s Australian.

Micah: Are you suggesting that I didn’t know who that was?

Eric: I was suggesting that there may be people out there who don’t know.

Andrew: I didn’t know.

Eric: Because, like Megan said…

Micah: I didn’t know who that was.

Eric: …for some people, he doesn’t really jump out. But he was Prince Caspian in two of the Narnia movies that they did – the second two – and I like him. I think he’s Australian. He seems like he would be as good a choice as any for Newt.

Andrew: But the Chronicles of Narnia now has the new movie in the works, so could he be tied up with that?

Eric: Which is it? The Silver Chair?

Andrew: The Silver Chair, yeah.

Eric: He’s… Caspian isn’t a character in that book.

Andrew: Oh, okay. So, he’s open. He is open.

Micah: All right. The…

Andrew: Yeah, go ahead.

Micah: …final email is from Carlos Rodriguez, and he says:

“Thank you for that podcast. First ever I have heard, so I’m glad to hear it. As for an actor to play the twenty-year-old protagonist, even though he isn’t super young, maybe Benedict Cumberbatch, the guy who played Sherlock Holmes in PBS. Just an idea. He’s really awesome-looking, too, in my opinion. Take care.”

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, Benedict. Also not a bad choice. These are… I see our listeners went with well-known people for their choices.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: And that’s okay. They may pick an unknown though, or somebody who isn’t as well-known, and that’s completely possible. I think that would be a good idea. I mean, look how Dan Radcliffe turned out.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: They just need to pick somebody good-looking, and I mean that seriously because if they want to have another big franchise for young adults, they’ve got to pick an attractive male lead.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So, we’ll see who they go with. I’m excited. That’ll be a very exciting day when that’s announced.

Eric: Agreed. Maybe they’ll do casting calls, and we can all go and apply.

Andrew: [laughs] Maybe. But we’re not British, so…

Eric: Oh, darn! We’ll have to do the sidekick character, the goofy American nerd friend.

Andrew: Yeah. We’ll be the Ron Weasley of Fantastic Beasts.

Eric: [laughs] Hey, it’s possible.


Listener Feedback: Creatures in Fantastic Beasts


Andrew: Do you want to read the last email, Eric?

Eric: Yeah. This is also about Fantastic Beasts, but it’s not casting info. Or casting suggestions. It comes from Celea Cleaveland. Lots of extra A’s in that name, now that I’m looking at it. Celea says:

“Hey guys,

Long-time listener, a-few-times emailer [here]. Great to hear you guys again so soon just when I was lamenting about not hearing your familiar voices.”ù

Aha, we did it again.

“I’m super excited about this news, but sadly I cannot find my copy of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’. It was my favorite of the two extra books (with ‘Quidditch Through the Ages’) back in the day since I love animals.

The beats I remember the most…”

Oh, sorry, I believe that’s supposed to be…

“…the beasts I remember the most (since it’s been a while) were the ones you mentioned on the show (Lethifold), the Kneazle (which apparently had limited speech and Crookshanks was, in part), and a Krup (the Jack Russell with a forked tail that barked at Muggles). Wouldn’t it be cute for Newt [Scamander] to have a little pet Krup?

Also, I seem to remember that Veela were included in the book and finding that odd because I figured they counted more like ‘beings’.

Have a good one!

Sincerely,

Ckatmyla”

Andrew: Luckily for you, your… sorry, how do you pronounce her name again?

Eric: I think this is just…

Andrew: Celea?

Eric: Celea, yeah.

Andrew: Celea. Or Ce-Ce. They… on bookstore shelves now is the Hogwarts Library, which comes with Fantastic Beasts, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Beedle the Bard. I saw that at Barnes and Noble the other day.

Eric: Yeah, Beedle the Bard is a good book. I recently re-read it.

Andrew: It is.

Eric: I held out reading it, I think for a year or so.

Andrew: I remember that, yeah. That was weird.

Eric: Yeah, I don’t know why… who knows what I was thinking. I was young.

Andrew: You were going through a phase.

Eric: [laughs] I was going through a phase. But I finally read it and I like it, and so the fact that they are packaged together… and it’s all for charity.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And yeah, definitely, if you… Celea, if you haven’t found your book by now, it’s time to get a new one.

Andrew: Definitely.


Show Close


Andrew: Well, that concludes this surprise episode of MuggleCast, Episode 271. We wish everybody a Happy Holiday, a Happy New Year, a 2014 filled with magic and Harry Potter. In years past, we would be playing that New Year’s music. What is that music, Micah? You were always hell-bent on us including that.

Eric: “Auld Lang Syne”?

Micah: What are you talking about?

Andrew: Yes, that one.

Micah: Yeah, well, it’s “Auld Lang Syne”, performed by Andrew’s favorite musician.

Andrew: Oh, Bruce Springsteen? Oh, that’s right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I forgot about that.

Eric: [laughs] Now we will play it.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, now it’s definitely going in.

Eric: [laughs] Now it’s going in.

Andrew: No, no, no. But, yeah, so we’re glad…

Micah: And yeah, you should play that at the end of the show.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: See, always hell-bent on that being included.

Micah: Keep with tradition.

Andrew: For legal reasons, we can’t.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Just kidding.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: That was just my excuse. Yeah, so we’re glad we could put out this surprise episode for everybody, now that everybody has got a little downtime over the holiday season. Hopefully can curl up next to the fireplace with Micah’s voice. What could be better?

Eric: Not a whole lot.

Andrew: A Micah Fireside Chat. That’s what could make it better. Maybe next year. [laughs]

Micah: [laughs] I’ll happily record one if you want me to.

Andrew: Really?

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: You seemed against it. We tried to bring you back into that and you were like, “No, I don’t want to do it.”

Micah: No, I’ll record something.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: Sure. Give me a passage from the Potter series and I’ll record it.

Andrew: No, but wasn’t the fun that you’re reading fan fiction? Like dirty fan fiction?

Micah: Oh yeah, you’re right. You’re right. Give me a fan fiction, I’ll record it, and you can play it at the end of the episode.

Eric: I’m finding the one with McGonagall and the turkey leg at Grimmauld Place at Thanksgiving dinner.

Andrew: Find that one. We’ll include it.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Or whatever Micah does, we’ll include it. [laughs]

Micah: I’ll be sure to…

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: What?

Micah: To record it.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Record it!

Andrew: [laughs] Okay. There was a pause in there.

Eric: Something about…

Micah: I have no problem doing that.

Eric: Okay, okay, okay.

Andrew: Great. All right. Don’t forget, everybody, to feel free to visit the MuggleCast website, now with a complete set of transcripts. Thank you to the transcribers for doing that for us, for helping us complete that monumental project.

Eric: Yes, and in order to thank you, we gave you another episode to transcribe.

Andrew: Right. That’s why we have another episode, because we’re like, “We need the transcribers to do something else.”

Micah: It’s funny, I emailed Tracey who is in charge of the transcripts to tell her that everything had been posted to the site and I said, “Just so you’re aware, there’s a good chance we might be doing an episode [laughs] in the not-too-distant future.”

[Eric laughs]

Micah: But she was very excited about it, though. She was very happy. She’s a listener as well as a transcriber. So, thank you to Tracey and all your team. You guys have done an amazing job putting over eight years of the nonsense that we do into written word.

[Show music begins]

Eric: Yeah. And thank you to all the listeners who are still subscribed to us and saw this podcast pop up into your feed. Thank you for not clicking “Unsubscribe” once we said we ended.

Andrew: [laughs] All right, then. We’ll see everybody next time whenever that may be, for Episode 272. Goodbye.

Micah: Happy New Year!

Eric: Goodbye!

[Show music continues]


Fireside Chats with Micah Tannenbaum


Micah: “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas with Snape” by DADA_Mistress.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and throughout Hogwarts School

Not a creature was stirring, except Filch (that old fool).

The stockings were charmed by the chimney with care

And would enlarge when St. Nicholas came over there.

Hermione, the Head Girl, was snug in her bed

While visions of the Potions Master danced in her head.

With her hair pulled back toward her neck (at the nape),

She settled her head to dream about Snape.

When out on the lawn there arose such a noise.

“Must be Harry and Ron,” she thought. “Oh, those boys.”

She went to the window and listened for sounds,

Then she heard this from out on the grounds.

“Unhand me, you oaf!” she heard a man hiss,

“You’d better stop now because I’m getting pissed!”

She was utterly shocked to hear such a fuss,

And later she blushed when she heard the man cuss.

Suddenly her wandering eyes did appear

A miniature sleigh with eight tiny reindeer.

With a fat merry driver and a bag full of toys,

She knew in a moment it wasn’t the boys.

However there was something strange with the elf;

It seemed that he wasn’t completely by himself.

There was another passenger as St. Nick came,

And this guy called Santa all kinds of rude names.

“Take me back to my dungeons!” the man said in a sneer,

“I guarantee you that I’m your worst fear!

Get me back on the ground and out of this sleigh,

And if you don’t do it quickly then you shall pay!”

Santa merely laughed out loud without care

As his reindeer continued to fly toward her room in the air.

Hermione watched wide-eyed in surprise

As the man mumbled something about Santa’s demise.

And then, in a twinkling, she heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

“I’m NOT going in there!” she heard, turning around,

And down the chimney St. Nicholas and friend came with a bound.

Hermione stood there with her mouth all agape

When she saw Santa’s friend was Professor Snape.

Oh, did Santa hear her secret Christmas wish?

“Close you mouth!” Snape snapped, “You look like a fish!”

“St. Nicholas!” Hermione finally cried.

“What are you doing with HIM at your side?”

“Hermione Granger,” St. Nick said, stepping from the floo,

“I have some great news just for you!

“You’ve been a good girl and studied all day,

Despite that the NEWTS are so far away.

You helped Harry defeat Voldemort and his men,

Making sure they don’t return ever again.

“You have all this knowledge, yet you never boast,

But instead you tutor those who need it most.

You’ve done a great job as Head Girl this year…”

“Stop rhyming!” Snape demanded with a twisted sneer.

Santa ignored him and continued to speak,

While Snape mumbled something about being a freak.

“St. Nick,” Hermione said without further delay,

“What is it exactly you’re trying to say?”

With a twinkle he smiled, “Dear Hermione,

Your heart is as big as Flitwick is tiny.

With that in mind, how could I just ignore

The one wish for Christmas you so long for?”

“Santa,” Hermione gasped, “could it really be

That you are giving Severus Snape to me?”

“This is absurd,” Snape spat, “And will simply not do!”

“Don’t worry,” Santa grinned, “I didn’t forget you.

“Severus Snape, you have been a good man.

You fought against Evil and foiled its plans.

You’ve endured all these years without any thanks

And many children who pull nothing but pranks.

“You have changed your old ways and all for the best.

You deserve happiness and even some rest.

This is why, Severus, I say unto you

That your secret wish will also come true!”

Hermione and Snape stared on in their PJ’s,

Their eyes locking onto each other’s deep gaze.

Did the other know what Santa was talking about?

They supposed that night the truth would finally come out.

“You see,” Santa said, “this Christmas you both chose

To give up the gifts, the stockings, and the bows

If you could have the love from one another,

So this Christmas my gift to you is each other.”

“WHAT?!” both student and teacher asked in surprise.

Santa laughed as he saw the shock in their eyes.

“I must be off,” he said. “Merry Christmas, you two!”

Then Santa went out of the room through the floo.

Leaving Hermione and Snape alone in the room

Wondering if this would be their bliss or their doom.

“Miss Granger,” Snape began with a heavy sigh.

“Please, sir, Hermione,” is all she could reply.

“Hermione, I’m sorry you heard what he said.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go make him dead!”

“No, please!” Hermione cried, “What he said was all true!

Professor Snape, I deeply love you.”

Snape stared back at her with a poisonous glare,

But she saw in his eyes there was no hatred there.

“I am not a fool!” he hiss in her face.

“You’re trying to make me look like a disgrace!”

“Not in the least!” she said, grabbing his hands.

“Not even for all the gold in the land.

I love you, Severus, and my words are true,

But I must know now, do you love me too?”

Snape looked in her eyes and saw what she did feel.

He didn’t need Legillimens to see it was real.

Could he trust his heart with this smartypants?

He took in a breath and then took a chance.

“Yes,” he said softly, “Hermione, I do.

With all of myself, I love you too.”

Hermione smiled and threw her arms around him.

He hugged her back, his face without grim.

Suddenly over their heads came a loud “pop.”

They look up to see what was hanging on top.

Hermione blushed while Snape gave an, “Oh!”

Right above them hung some mistletoe.

They looked at each other and showed a grin.

At last they began to slowly move in.

Finally as their lips met and gave a long kiss,

They both thought to themselves, “This is the best Christmas.”

Santa gave a laugh, as happy as can be,

That they were together, Snape and Hermione.

And they heard him exclaim after all of the fun,

“Happy Christmas to all, and Albus, you owe me one!”

MuggleCast 271 Transcript (continued)


News: Bloomsbury to Publish Fully-Illustrated Harry Potter Series


Micah: Well, some other news that surfaced during our time off… that’s a good way to put it, right? Time off?

Eric: Time off, yeah.

Micah: Is that Bloomsbury is planning to republish a fully-illustrated set of the Harry Potter books. And the first is set to be released in September of 2015. And again, this is something I’m not so sure how I feel about.

Andrew: Really?

Eric: This shocks me.

Andrew: Really?

Eric: This…

Micah: Fully illustrated? I mean, you’re supposed to be using your imagination.

Andrew: The purpose of these books is to appeal to younger readers, and they’re going to purposely release each book a year apart from one another so you can kind of grow up with the series and look forward to each new book. I like this idea. I think it’s cool. My question about it – we were talking about this on Hype the other day – is how big are these books going to be, now that they have pictures in them?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I mean, they’re big enough with just text. It’s going to be crazy. The size of Order of the Phoenix

Eric: Especially when you get to the later books. Book 5 is like…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …a three tome novel, or a three tome encyclopedia set, if there are pictures on every page.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: What shocks me is that it’s Bloomsbury doing this and not Scholastic because Bloomsbury’s books, the UK books, are boring, and as they exist currently they… it’s plain text. All of it is in… I think it’s Garamond font. They don’t even make… okay, I know I’m sounding confused here, but in the American books… growing up reading them – you know this – every time Harry gets a letter from Hogwarts or the Ministry or Hagrid, it’s in a different font. It’s got the little handwriting. It is that one point in Book 3 where Buckbeak is scheduled to be executed and Hagrid has tears on the letter. It’s all very well done by the graphics department at Scholastic years and years and years ago when these books first came out. The UK books aren’t like that. Everything is in the same font and there’s none of that extra little magic. There’s no chapter images that we are used to, from Mary GrandPrÈ, and there’s no different font for different people writing. There’s no handwriting. It doesn’t look anything different than… it’s so prim. It’s so straight. And so to think that Bloomsbury is the one doing a picture book?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And looking at these images…

Micah: Oh, that doesn’t mean that Scholastic won’t follow suit.

Eric: Yeah, but looking at these images… and these images look great. Just this one of young Harry that’s really…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It’s like a watercolor, of Harry. It looks gorgeous and I’m shocked that… and look, I’ve always seen these… okay, the letter font thing in the UK books is maybe like training wheels for us, to make it a little bit more magical, a little bit more childish. The British kids don’t need that, apparently. But I just think it is backwards for them to now do a picture book. I think it’s going to look great.

Micah: I’m not saying that it’s not going to look great. I think part of it, though, is that even for younger kids, a lot of what Harry Potter was about was being able to expand the mind and use your imagination, and you look at that picture of Hogwarts that is depicted there, that’s one person’s interpretation of it and I think that if you have a generation of kids who are growing up with these picture books in England or wherever else they’re sold, they’re going to have this preconceived notion of what all of this is supposed to look like and…

Eric: Well…

Micah: You can make the argument about that with the films as well.

Eric: Right.

Micah: But I just find that doing this is… excessive? I don’t really see the point, but that’s just me.

Andrew: Well, I mean, we’ve seen the books re-released numerous times since the last one came out. Even before the final book came out, they were still… [laughs] they were re-publishing them.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: This doesn’t surprise me. I’m looking forward to them. Am I going to buy them? Probably not. Am I going to look through them? Definitely. I mean, there could be a new image on every page. And that’s kind of cool, to see them illustrate it to this level of detail. I mean, Bloomsbury is calling them “fully illustrated,” which would suggest there’s going to be a ton of illustrations in here, so… I don’t know. It’s cool. I like it. I think the Dan… I think Harry Potter looks just like Dan Radcliffe. Don’t you guys agree?

Eric: Ehhh. Yeah, it kind of is.

Micah: That’s another question though, too, is how much of this artist’s… this illustrator’s drawing is going to be influenced by his knowledge of the series from a film standpoint.

Eric: I don’t think so.

Andrew: Apparently not much. There was an article about their choice for Ron, and he went to this school to look for kids and he found a Ron there, or somebody… a little redhead kid.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And they picked him, and J.K. Rowling approved of the Ron choice. So, him and J.K. Rowling are looking at people in schools around the kids’ age in the first book, so this way, while they’re actually growing up in real life, they’ll continue to use them as guides for them to grow up. [laughs] Does that make sense? Like so…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: …Ron is growing up at the same time as this real life kid is growing up.

Eric: So, they’re casting their own characters in a way.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: They’re casting their own trio again.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, essentially. And it was, like I said, approved by J.K. Rowling. At least Ron was. I imagine all of them are. But then it’s like…

Eric: She’s lowering her defenses. [laughs]

Andrew: I know, it’s like now J.K. Rowling is handling… involved with this? Is this… her head is still in Harry Potter every day, isn’t it? This play, Fantastic Beasts, Pottermore…

Eric: Well, there were five years where it wasn’t. Weren’t there five years where she didn’t do anything about Harry Potter at all?

Andrew: Maybe. Yeah, well, I mean, Pottermore was probably in the works, right? Because that came out in 2011 or ’12.

Eric: Oh, right.

Andrew: So…

Eric: Yeah, you’re right.

Andrew: But yeah, she is still deeply involved with Harry Potter.

Micah: Yeah. And I know that we talked about Scholastic, but in the article you mentioned that… are they going to be interested after having just re-released the books with new covers this past August, in doing something similar and… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Andrew: I bet they will.

Micah: It could depend on how successful they are.

Andrew: Well, they’ll re-release these. The original announcement said that Bloomsbury is going to shop this series around to other publishers around the world, so… and I think Scholastic would be somebody who’s interested.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: And the first one comes out in 2015. I don’t know if we mentioned that yet. So there’s something to look forward to, I guess.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: We’re going to be… I mean, if they’re releasing these a year apart it’s going to be a while before the seventh one comes out, sort of just like how Pottermore is releasing bits at a time.

Eric: Mhm.

Micah: Right.


Alfonso Cuaron Interested in Directing Fantastic Beasts


Micah: Well, another piece of news, and I’ll try and be positive on this story but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Andrew: In the spirit of the holidays, stay positive.

Eric: Woo-hoo!

Micah: [laughs] No, I have a feeling I’m going to get some tweets or a couple of emails about just how I’ve responded to certain pieces of news so far, and I can’t really say that this one is going to be any different. Alfonso Cuaron is interested in directing the Harry Potter spin-off that we spent a good portion of our last episode talking about. It’s the new series with Newt Scamander. And I’ll just leave it up to you guys to…

Andrew: Well, we should add that he’s …Vulture, a New York Magazine

Micah: He’s a vulture, yes.

Andrew: No, no, no.

Micah: He’s a vulture. He ripped apart Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Andrew: Wow.

Micah: …with his beak.

Eric: What?

Andrew: [laughs] No, New York Magazine‘s Vulture went up to Alfonso at a party and said, “Hey…”

Micah: He was probably wasted.

Andrew: “…what do you think of Fantastic Beasts?” So, I don’t want to give anybody the impression that he’s been offered the directing gig. He was just asked. But he said:

“‘Azkaban’ was fun to make, and when I did it, I was invited to do the next one, but I didn’t want to overstay the welcome because it was such an experience. But now? Why not? I do have stuff that I want to do [next], but a J.K. [Rowling] thing…”

Then he stopped himself and he said:

“They haven’t called me yet! They haven’t decided to invite me! [I’m just] looking forward! At least to see it, because nobody’s invited me.”

So…

Eric: Look, people know I’ve been a little vocal before about how I feel about the third movie. Unfortunately, ever since I saw it in 2004 it hasn’t really gotten any better since. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. But with this news… and I’ve seen Gravity, which is his most recent film, and I really liked that. I thought it was very good cinematography, very good directing. Now all I can say is, well, with Fantastic Beasts the movie, there is no book for him to ruin.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: There’s no book for him to set fire to, so why the heck wouldn’t you want him making your film?

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Because he’s actually a good filmmaker.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And with no source material that you can fall in love with prior to the movie coming out, unless you fall in love with the textbook – which if you are Hermione Granger, that’s your thing – I think it could be a really interesting film. And looking at Cuaron’s strengths creating a world in a visual array, he’s the kind of director I think they need for this film. Making creatures and characters…

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: …work together with people, that sort of thing. I think that he would be actually a strong choice for director for this film.

Andrew: Yeah, I agree. I mean, he’d essentially have a clean slate here to be working with. Like Eric said, you’re not going to be comparing it to the book. And it’s not like he’s a bad director…

Eric: No.

Andrew: …by any stretch of the imagination. So, I think he would be a good choice for this. And you also have to keep in mind that… Eric just mentioned Gravity. That was produced by David Heyman, who produced all the Harry Potter movies. So, Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman obviously have a good working relationship here between Harry Potter and now Gravity. And I got to speak to Heyman during… when he was doing press for Gravity and he was raving about Alfonso. And I didn’t ask him if… when I talked to him, he still hadn’t been confirmed as the producer of this new movie. Now we do know he is producing Fantastic Beasts, which is certainly a good sign because he had his hand in all eight Harry Potter movies. So, I think Alfonso is actually a pretty realistic choice that would not surprise me, given the background.

Micah: Yeah. And I know I was a little bit…

Andrew: Mean? You were mean.

Micah: No, I wasn’t mean.

Andrew: You just called Alfonso Cuaron a vulture.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: No, those were your words. I was just repeating them.

Andrew: Oh, I see.

Eric: Vulture is the name of the publication.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: I know. But here’s the thing, listening to you guys talk, I actually agree.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: I think that the problem for Potter fans going into this is that they’re going to compare him to what he did for Prisoner of Azkaban. And there’s a lot of people who liked the movie, and…

Eric: That’s true.

Micah: I’m not trying to get into that whole debate again. I personally didn’t. It was probably my least favorite of all of the movies because it was my favorite book of the series…

Eric: Same.

Micah: …and I felt that it was not well adapted, but we can leave it at that. What I thought immediately about, when we were talking about other things that he’s worked on, he was a producer on Pan’s Labyrinth and that kind of reminds me a bit… or made me think a bit as it relates to Fantastic Beasts. Because there’s a lot of sort of weird creatures in that movie, and Cuaron’s got a little crazy mind about him, so…

Eric: Well, I think… it’s Cuaron…

Micah: …I think he could be a good fit for this.

Eric: It’s Cuaron, it’s Guillermo del Toro, it’s… those guys are the types of guys who you’d think would be doing this series. And that’s not to say that it couldn’t be light because I do want a sort of light element to Newt Scamander where it’s adventurous. And I’m not necessarily talking swashbuckling. They’re not going to get Gore Verbinski to do it like he did Pirates, but I think that it could be fun. But visually, the film has to sell us on these creatures, whatever… whoever they may be.

Andrew: And no matter who directs, we’re all going to be very nervous as we sit down in the theater watching this for our first time because we all want it to be really good. But there’s just a lot of risk here, J.K. Rowling writing her first screenplay, a Harry Potter spin-off. It’s going to be nerve-racking. It doesn’t matter who directs. I don’t care if your favorite director on the planet directs this movie, it could still fall apart. So…

Eric: Yeah. It’s true.

Andrew: I think all this Alfonso Cuaron hate has been overblown. For years!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: This aside.

Eric: Well, I….

Micah: You’re the one who called him “vulture,” so…

Andrew: You’re right. You’re right.

Eric: I went to… I dragged myself to Gravity and liked it, so I felt like that was me getting over a very important bump in my non-biased life road.

Micah: It’s not that he’s a bad director, it’s that…

Eric: No. It was fine.

Micah: …we didn’t like the movie that he directed. [laughs]

Eric: People say it’s the best film of them all because it works as a film and not just an adaptation. I say it was too dark too soon, but that’s just where we stand.

Micah: I say it omitted a pretty big storyline. Anyway…

Andrew: Let’s move on.


News: Robert Galbraith Ranked #28 on AskMen.com’s Top 49 Men of 2013


Andrew: Speaking of omitting things.

Eric: Speaking of guys.

Andrew: [laughs] Right. Speaking of human beings…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …here’s a story about a fictional one. So Robert Galbraith, the star of The Cuckoo’s Calling – oh sorry, the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling – was named number 28 on AskMen.com’s Top 49 Men of 2013. Eric, how did you come across this?

Eric: This was a story… well, the story that we grabbed was that he was nominated. This was early… I think it was the middle of October that he was nominated for… actually, the most influential man. It was… AskMen UK did this thing where they compiled the Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2013. We knew that Robert Galbraith was nominated and it caused a little bit of stir because we were like, “Well, wait a minute. Not only is Robert Galbraith not real but the person who writes as him is a woman, so what’s he doing on this list?” But it turns out that Robert and I believe the vote of the public – people who vote on this – did make number 28 out of 49 for most influential. And I’m just going to read the summary here from the website. Their results poll still exists on uk.askmen.com. They say:

“Yep, it’s a lady. The inner sanctum has been penetrated! Rest assured chaps just outside the 49, it’s all above board; ‘Mr.’ Galbraith had one of the most talked about books of the year with crime novel ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling,’ especially once ‘his’ true identity was outed by a loose-lipped lawyer. All the while managing to negotiate deals for new ‘Harry Potter’ films in ‘his’ true form of J.K. Rowling. A pretty magical year all around, then.”

So, this is just kind of some… really, recognition for the mystique of Robert Galbraith. The whole situation that happened – still quite recently, September or so – made this year-end list of most influential.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

Eric: J.K. Rowling writes as a man and has a hit book. So, that was just kind of really cool to get this outside…

Micah: Were there any other sort of fictional characters that made this list or was Robert the only one?

Eric: No, I really don’t think so. I’ll read down from #28: Boris Johnson, Louis Tomlinson, Peter Tatchell… I’ll read the top ten. Who’s the top ten men? Oh, actually Peter Capaldi is on this list and so is Russell Brand. They’re higher than ten.

Andrew: They’re all real, though.

Eric: Yeah. Peter Dinklage makes eleven, Robbie Rogers, Elon Musk, Bryan Cranston is number eight, Chris Bailey, Benedict Cumberbatch is number six, George R.R. Martin is number five, Sam and Dan Houser of Grand Theft Auto producing fame made number four, Sir Jonathan Ive is three, Andy Murray is two, and Stephen Fry – wow – actually makes the most influential, the Top 49 Man of 2013. Stephen Fry, we know, narrated the UK audiobooks of Harry Potter, and he’s also just a cool guy who’s been around forever.


News: Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic Now Open


Andrew: So, the final story that we have for today, Micah.

Micah: Yes. It’s good news, right?

Andrew: Well, yeah.

Micah: So, the ribbon was cut at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at Edinburgh University earlier… this year, I should say. It was actually a couple of months ago going back to October. And we know that this is something that was really a passion of J.K. Rowling’s. We’ve talked about it on the show before, that she was looking to open this clinic, obviously in name of her mother, and I’m sure it will do a lot of good for a lot of people. It was initially established with a ten million pound donation from J.K. Rowling, and the work that’s going to take place at the clinic is going to focus on finding treatments to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases, with the ultimate aim of repairing damage to patients’ bodies. So…

Andrew: Cool.

Micah: …a lot of good work. And I think at times we don’t talk a lot about the charitable work that J.K. Rowling has done.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: But it’s just… it’s so widespread and a lot of times you don’t even know about it, and I guess a lot of people would argue that that’s the best kind.

Andrew: Yeah. I remember her attending the groundbreaking of that. I think it was only last year, in 2012.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: So, they opened that up pretty quick.


Plugs for Other Podcasts


Andrew: We are going to talk about what Harry Potter fans have to look forward to in 2014, because there is actually a lot, and we’ll get to that in a second. But first, we wanted to talk about a couple of the other podcasts that we do. First of all, I wanted to mention that I’m still doing podcasts on the weekly over on Hypable, first with Hype – that’s our bi-monthly, also known as twice monthly, entertainment podcast, talking about Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Doctor Who, all the latest movies coming out. So, we do that every other week, and Micah and Eric aren’t on the show but a couple of Hypable’s brighter stars are on there. They’re aspiring to become Micahs and Erics one day.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Wait, who’s aspiring?

Andrew: The co-hosts of Hype.

Micah: Oh, okay.

Andrew: Yeah. So, I just wanted to do a plug for that. And then also my weekly podcast, which is Hype After Dark. It’s an extension of Hype of sorts. It’s less entertainment, more real news, but a very fair mix of entertainment news as well, and that can be listened to via a subscription. We do four episodes a month, $3.99 a month. You can go to HypePodcast.com for a couple of samples and more information about that. And, Eric?

Eric: Yes, Micah and I are on a show called Game of Owns, and it’s all about the Game of Thrones series of books and television. Right now, the TV series is heading into its fourth season in March, and so we are currently re-reading the second book and providing commentary, much like we did on this podcast years ago with Chapter-by-Chapter – sort of a favorite segment going through the Harry Potter books – coming up with anything we really thought of that stands out, as well as clues that the author leaves before for later. George R.R. Martin is very good at foreshadowing and all that good stuff that literary buffs really enjoy in books. And so we do that with Game of Thrones, and you should check us out. We are thrice weekly, actually, and our podcast is released Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on a normal week. You can find us on iTunes at Game of Owns.

Micah: You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and probably other places as well.

Eric: Yes. Just search “Game of Owns.” And also, I’m on another Harry Potter podcast called Alohomora!, which is a global re-read of the series. So again, it’s reading books and commenting. Right now we’re on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, kind of going back through the Harry Potter series with the knowledge of what we know happens and commenting on that. And that’s a MuggleNet podcast you can find over at MuggleNet.com. Just search for Alohomora!


Looking Ahead to 2014


Andrew: So looking ahead at 2014, we wanted to mention the things that are coming up. First of all, as we mentioned earlier today, Diagon Alley – that is going to open in June of this upcoming year, so very close. And like we said, this January people are going to learn a lot more about what is actually going to be inside it and hopefully get some concept art.

Eric: Yeah, I hope so.

Andrew: Something we really haven’t talked about much other than the Robert Galbraith story was the fact that there should be a new Cuckoo’s Calling book out this year. J.K. Rowling said the second one is as good as finished and it will be published next year, referring to 2014. So, there’s no release date but since the first one came out secretly in March of 2013, I would assume… it was either March or April. I don’t know if I’m being too presumptuous here, but I would assume it comes out around the same time, especially since when the official website went live back in September or August. It said that the second book was already finished, so it’s got to be soon.

Eric: Yeah, I think it’s very likely that we’ll see it in 2014 and probably if not in April, then by June or so I think it would probably come out.

Andrew: So it’s not an encyclopedia, but it is a new J.K. Rowling book.

Eric: There you go.

Andrew: And over the next year, we’re going to get news about that Harry Potter play and also Fantastic Beasts. There’s still no release date for Fantastic Beasts, but my guess is if it’s arriving in 2016 – if it’s actually going to hit theaters in 2016 – we’re going to get a release date sometime in 2014, because they usually like to plan these out about two years in advance.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: In other words, once we get a release date, we can finally start counting down and looking forward to the studio having to reach deadlines. Maybe J.K. Rowling will turn the script in in the next year and then the casting process will begin, and before that there will be the director…

Micah: You could just call up David Heyman.

Andrew: And ask him.

Micah: You seem like you have a good relationship with him now, Andrew, so…

Andrew: Yeah, we’re buddies. Yeah. We hang out in LA.

Micah: So, you probably know more actually than you’re saying right now.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: If I did, I would spoil it all right now.

Eric: Aww.

Micah: You would.

Andrew: And then finally, we also have to look forward to – we can never forget because it’s always lingering there in the background, waiting for us to enter and login with our weird usernames – it’s Pottermore.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Pottermore actually… they released one section of it. J.K. Rowling…

Micah: Their CEO.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, that did happen.

Eric: Oh, gosh.

Andrew: Their CEO left. No, I was going to say J.K. Rowling released new information on Tonks and Lupin – their relationship, their whole backstory. And I remember I did a whole article about it on Hypable earlier this year, and people were really interested because that’s a popular relationship in the books. And J.K. Rowling finally released some really cool background information, so maybe we’ll get big new stuff like that this year.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, I think she… Pottermore is still kind of on Goblet of Fire.

Andrew: [laughs] Kind of on? Yeah, it’s on.

Micah: It is.

Eric: Yeah, because you don’t know how often they’re going to release, so they are. But there’s a lot of books ahead and a lot of content still to be released, so whatever that pacing is, I think it’s safe to say we will see more in 2014.

Andrew: For a little while, it seemed like it was every few months – like every three, four months – but then that seemed to stop.

Micah: They’re on a holiday break.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I got an email from them, actually – last week, I would say – saying, “Oh, head on over to Pottermore and check out how it’s all set up for the holidays.”

Andrew: Ah, yeah. Ugh!

Micah: They are trying to engage people.

Andrew: But they made a big announcement… I’m sorry, just one Pottermore critique.

Micah: Go ahead.

Andrew: They made a big announcement about the fact that they put snow on Pottermore.com? Come on, come on!

Eric: [laughs] It’s snow!

Andrew: No, no! This isn’t news.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Ugh, man. I want Pottermore to be good. I really do. I’m rooting for it.

Eric: And of course, if that ever happens, we will be here to report on it.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: There will be a couple of more episodes, I think we can say, next year. We’re still very irregular. When the news happens we’ll cover it, but I think it’s safe to say this still isn’t the very last of MuggleCast, in case any listeners were worried.

Andrew: Probably not. I’m looking back in the Pottermore blog and it looks like they released Goblet of Fire chapters in October, and I think that was the last time. Because I don’t remember anything in November and definitely not in December, so…

Eric: Oh, Hufflepuffs won the House Cup, by the way. The fourth House Cup. I was very happy.

Andrew: Yeah. So, they got early access to…

Eric: Yeah, they do…

Andrew: …to the first Goblet of Fire chapters.

Eric: I think they do that every time a chapter is about to open, or a book is about to open or something.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, they do. That’s one of the rewards. And they’re revealing new Pottermore stuff at A Celebration of Harry Potter in January at the Wizarding World park in Orlando, so I assume…

Micah: Are you going, Andrew?

Andrew: …more chapters… I don’t know yet. I don’t know. I heard Keith is going or hoping to go.

Eric: I’m not sure, I think Kat is going. I don’t know which one of them is going in January.

Andrew: Yeah, so that happens at the end of January. Yeah, so that’s what’s happening in 2014 and who knows what other surprises J.K. Rowling will drop on us.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I’m sure there’ll be some.

Eric: How many more of these expanded Harry Potter canon universe things she will allow to happen.

Andrew: You just never know with her. She dropped three surprises on us this year: the new book The Cuckoo’s Calling, then Fantastic Beasts, [laughs] and now this Harry Potter play, even though it seems like they didn’t want it to be announced this early. The Daily Mail ruined that. But hey, whatever.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: That’s what they do.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, right. They ruined…

Micah: Whether it’s true or not.

MuggleCast 271 Transcript (continued)


Listener Feedback: Casting Newt Scamander


Eric: Well, we’ve talked about Fantastic Beasts, and last episode was all devoted to the news because it was still hot. We did ask, I believe, for some of your thoughts on who should play the lead role of Newt Scamander. And just before we wrap up this episode and the year, I wanted to include some of this feedback we got. First suggestion, Micah, do you want to read this?

Micah: Yeah, the first suggestion comes from Katie Mancuso and she says:

“First of all, it was like a blast from the past listening to you guys…”

Eric: [laughs] We weren’t gone that long.

Micah: [continues]

“…like my childhood revisited. I haven’t listened in so long (honestly thought you guys had ended your run a while back). Anyways, this might be typecasting, but I would love to see Matt Smith play this role. I think he’d do wonderfully at it. I’ve seen many other people thinking the same thoughts. He does say he’s unemployed for the time. I’m sold, though. Matt Smith all the way.”

I don’t know who Matt Smith is.

Andrew: Oh, really? He’s the Doctor!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: He’s Doctor 11! The eleventh…

Micah: Doctor 11. From Doctor Who, I’m assuming.

Eric: I don’t know how that’s typecasting, though, because Newt isn’t really a doctor. He’s a writer.

Micah: There needs to be pictures in here, Eric. You can’t just list these people’s responses.

Andrew: Or maybe we just need to fire you and find somebody who’s a little more up on their pop culture.

Eric: Yeah, absolutely. Well, he’s a traveler. I guess that’s where the two are alike in their roles. The next one comes from Roshni Bhambhwani and they say…

Micah: Damn! I wanted Andrew to read that one.

Eric: Oh, Andrew, why don’t you butcher this for us.

Andrew: [laughs sarcastically] Roshni B., she writes…

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Micah: See, you’re smart, you’ve learned!

Andrew: She’s at work listening to our quick fan casting. By the way, on the last episode we asked people to send these emails in, so that’s why we got these. Roshni suggests:

“ùJoseph Gordon-Levitt! The first thing I did after hearing the news was look for a MuggleCast episode. Thanks for coming through! Midnight premieres, costumes, conventions, and insanity, here we come!”

So, she’s pumped for the Harry Potter spin-off.

Eric: [laughs] Dressing up in…

Andrew: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I’ll… it can actually work, maybe. Because Fantastic Beasts is going to be set in New York, so it could be an American wizard. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is American, Matt Smith is British.

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: So, actually… I’m going to look really quick. I don’t know if we know if the character of Newt Scamander is American or British.

Eric: I think he is British.

Andrew: And he moves to New York?

Eric: He eventually becomes the headmaster of Hogwarts, but only according to the movies.

Andrew: Yeah. So, if he moved to New York, then I think they would want to keep it as a British cast. So, as much as people love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, he probably can’t get it. That’s my thought.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: But that’s a good choice. If only he were British. [laughs]

Eric: Well, definitely for a supporting role, I’d love to see him in the movie. Because I like that guy, you know?

Andrew: Mhm. Like a brother.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Newt’s brother, Cornwall.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I just made that up. Some other lame name that isn’t suited for Hollywood. [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] Megan Utterback wrote in and said:

“I think Ben Barnes would make a great Newt Scamander. He’s the right age, he’s good-looking, and he’s not too famous. I really want to see them do the sphinx, since it is one of my favorite creatures. I also want to see Blast-Ended Skrewts because I can never properly imagine them.”

Okay, so Ben Barnes – for those who don’t know – was cast as Prince Caspian in two of the Narnia films. I believe he’s Australian.

Micah: Are you suggesting that I didn’t know who that was?

Eric: I was suggesting that there may be people out there who don’t know.

Andrew: I didn’t know.

Eric: Because, like Megan said…

Micah: I didn’t know who that was.

Eric: …for some people, he doesn’t really jump out. But he was Prince Caspian in two of the Narnia movies that they did – the second two – and I like him. I think he’s Australian. He seems like he would be as good a choice as any for Newt.

Andrew: But the Chronicles of Narnia now has the new movie in the works, so could he be tied up with that?

Eric: Which is it? The Silver Chair?

Andrew: The Silver Chair, yeah.

Eric: He’s… Caspian isn’t a character in that book.

Andrew: Oh, okay. So, he’s open. He is open.

Micah: All right. The…

Andrew: Yeah, go ahead.

Micah: …final email is from Carlos Rodriguez, and he says:

“Thank you for that podcast. First ever I have heard, so I’m glad to hear it. As for an actor to play the twenty-year-old protagonist, even though he isn’t super young, maybe Benedict Cumberbatch, the guy who played Sherlock Holmes in PBS. Just an idea. He’s really awesome-looking, too, in my opinion. Take care.”

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, Benedict. Also not a bad choice. These are… I see our listeners went with well-known people for their choices.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: And that’s okay. They may pick an unknown though, or somebody who isn’t as well-known, and that’s completely possible. I think that would be a good idea. I mean, look how Dan Radcliffe turned out.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: They just need to pick somebody good-looking, and I mean that seriously because if they want to have another big franchise for young adults, they’ve got to pick an attractive male lead.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So, we’ll see who they go with. I’m excited. That’ll be a very exciting day when that’s announced.

Eric: Agreed. Maybe they’ll do casting calls, and we can all go and apply.

Andrew: [laughs] Maybe. But we’re not British, so…

Eric: Oh, darn! We’ll have to do the sidekick character, the goofy American nerd friend.

Andrew: Yeah. We’ll be the Ron Weasley of Fantastic Beasts.

Eric: [laughs] Hey, it’s possible.


Listener Feedback: Creatures in Fantastic Beasts


Andrew: Do you want to read the last email, Eric?

Eric: Yeah. This is also about Fantastic Beasts, but it’s not casting info. Or casting suggestions. It comes from Celea Cleaveland. Lots of extra A’s in that name, now that I’m looking at it. Celea says:

“Hey guys,

Long-time listener, a-few-times emailer [here]. Great to hear you guys again so soon just when I was lamenting about not hearing your familiar voices.”ù

Aha, we did it again.

“I’m super excited about this news, but sadly I cannot find my copy of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’. It was my favorite of the two extra books (with ‘Quidditch Through the Ages’) back in the day since I love animals.

The beats I remember the most…”

Oh, sorry, I believe that’s supposed to be…

“…the beasts I remember the most (since it’s been a while) were the ones you mentioned on the show (Lethifold), the Kneazle (which apparently had limited speech and Crookshanks was, in part), and a Krup (the Jack Russell with a forked tail that barked at Muggles). Wouldn’t it be cute for Newt [Scamander] to have a little pet Krup?

Also, I seem to remember that Veela were included in the book and finding that odd because I figured they counted more like ‘beings’.

Have a good one!

Sincerely,

Ckatmyla”

Andrew: Luckily for you, your… sorry, how do you pronounce her name again?

Eric: I think this is just…

Andrew: Celea?

Eric: Celea, yeah.

Andrew: Celea. Or Ce-Ce. They… on bookstore shelves now is the Hogwarts Library, which comes with Fantastic Beasts, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Beedle the Bard. I saw that at Barnes and Noble the other day.

Eric: Yeah, Beedle the Bard is a good book. I recently re-read it.

Andrew: It is.

Eric: I held out reading it, I think for a year or so.

Andrew: I remember that, yeah. That was weird.

Eric: Yeah, I don’t know why… who knows what I was thinking. I was young.

Andrew: You were going through a phase.

Eric: [laughs] I was going through a phase. But I finally read it and I like it, and so the fact that they are packaged together… and it’s all for charity.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And yeah, definitely, if you… Celea, if you haven’t found your book by now, it’s time to get a new one.

Andrew: Definitely.


Show Close


Andrew: Well, that concludes this surprise episode of MuggleCast, Episode 271. We wish everybody a Happy Holiday, a Happy New Year, a 2014 filled with magic and Harry Potter. In years past, we would be playing that New Year’s music. What is that music, Micah? You were always hell-bent on us including that.

Eric: “Auld Lang Syne”?

Micah: What are you talking about?

Andrew: Yes, that one.

Micah: Yeah, well, it’s “Auld Lang Syne”, performed by Andrew’s favorite musician.

Andrew: Oh, Bruce Springsteen? Oh, that’s right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I forgot about that.

Eric: [laughs] Now we will play it.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, now it’s definitely going in.

Eric: [laughs] Now it’s going in.

Andrew: No, no, no. But, yeah, so we’re glad…

Micah: And yeah, you should play that at the end of the show.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: See, always hell-bent on that being included.

Micah: Keep with tradition.

Andrew: For legal reasons, we can’t.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Just kidding.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: That was just my excuse. Yeah, so we’re glad we could put out this surprise episode for everybody, now that everybody has got a little downtime over the holiday season. Hopefully can curl up next to the fireplace with Micah’s voice. What could be better?

Eric: Not a whole lot.

Andrew: A Micah Fireside Chat. That’s what could make it better. Maybe next year. [laughs]

Micah: [laughs] I’ll happily record one if you want me to.

Andrew: Really?

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: You seemed against it. We tried to bring you back into that and you were like, “No, I don’t want to do it.”

Micah: No, I’ll record something.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: Sure. Give me a passage from the Potter series and I’ll record it.

Andrew: No, but wasn’t the fun that you’re reading fan fiction? Like dirty fan fiction?

Micah: Oh yeah, you’re right. You’re right. Give me a fan fiction, I’ll record it, and you can play it at the end of the episode.

Eric: I’m finding the one with McGonagall and the turkey leg at Grimmauld Place at Thanksgiving dinner.

Andrew: Find that one. We’ll include it.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Or whatever Micah does, we’ll include it. [laughs]

Micah: I’ll be sure to…

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: What?

Micah: To record it.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Record it!

Andrew: [laughs] Okay. There was a pause in there.

Eric: Something about…

Micah: I have no problem doing that.

Eric: Okay, okay, okay.

Andrew: Great. All right. Don’t forget, everybody, to feel free to visit the MuggleCast website, now with a complete set of transcripts. Thank you to the transcribers for doing that for us, for helping us complete that monumental project.

Eric: Yes, and in order to thank you, we gave you another episode to transcribe.

Andrew: Right. That’s why we have another episode, because we’re like, “We need the transcribers to do something else.”

Micah: It’s funny, I emailed Tracey who is in charge of the transcripts to tell her that everything had been posted to the site and I said, “Just so you’re aware, there’s a good chance we might be doing an episode [laughs] in the not-too-distant future.”

[Eric laughs]

Micah: But she was very excited about it, though. She was very happy. She’s a listener as well as a transcriber. So, thank you to Tracey and all your team. You guys have done an amazing job putting over eight years of the nonsense that we do into written word.

[Show music begins]

Eric: Yeah. And thank you to all the listeners who are still subscribed to us and saw this podcast pop up into your feed. Thank you for not clicking “Unsubscribe” once we said we ended.

Andrew: [laughs] All right, then. We’ll see everybody next time whenever that may be, for Episode 272. Goodbye.

Micah: Happy New Year!

Eric: Goodbye!

[Show music continues]


Fireside Chats with Micah Tannenbaum


Micah: “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas with Snape” by DADA_Mistress.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and throughout Hogwarts School

Not a creature was stirring, except Filch (that old fool).

The stockings were charmed by the chimney with care

And would enlarge when St. Nicholas came over there.

Hermione, the Head Girl, was snug in her bed

While visions of the Potions Master danced in her head.

With her hair pulled back toward her neck (at the nape),

She settled her head to dream about Snape.

When out on the lawn there arose such a noise.

“Must be Harry and Ron,” she thought. “Oh, those boys.”

She went to the window and listened for sounds,

Then she heard this from out on the grounds.

“Unhand me, you oaf!” she heard a man hiss,

“You’d better stop now because I’m getting pissed!”

She was utterly shocked to hear such a fuss,

And later she blushed when she heard the man cuss.

Suddenly her wandering eyes did appear

A miniature sleigh with eight tiny reindeer.

With a fat merry driver and a bag full of toys,

She knew in a moment it wasn’t the boys.

However there was something strange with the elf;

It seemed that he wasn’t completely by himself.

There was another passenger as St. Nick came,

And this guy called Santa all kinds of rude names.

“Take me back to my dungeons!” the man said in a sneer,

“I guarantee you that I’m your worst fear!

Get me back on the ground and out of this sleigh,

And if you don’t do it quickly then you shall pay!”

Santa merely laughed out loud without care

As his reindeer continued to fly toward her room in the air.

Hermione watched wide-eyed in surprise

As the man mumbled something about Santa’s demise.

And then, in a twinkling, she heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

“I’m NOT going in there!” she heard, turning around,

And down the chimney St. Nicholas and friend came with a bound.

Hermione stood there with her mouth all agape

When she saw Santa’s friend was Professor Snape.

Oh, did Santa hear her secret Christmas wish?

“Close you mouth!” Snape snapped, “You look like a fish!”

“St. Nicholas!” Hermione finally cried.

“What are you doing with HIM at your side?”

“Hermione Granger,” St. Nick said, stepping from the floo,

“I have some great news just for you!

“You’ve been a good girl and studied all day,

Despite that the NEWTS are so far away.

You helped Harry defeat Voldemort and his men,

Making sure they don’t return ever again.

“You have all this knowledge, yet you never boast,

But instead you tutor those who need it most.

You’ve done a great job as Head Girl this year…”

“Stop rhyming!” Snape demanded with a twisted sneer.

Santa ignored him and continued to speak,

While Snape mumbled something about being a freak.

“St. Nick,” Hermione said without further delay,

“What is it exactly you’re trying to say?”

With a twinkle he smiled, “Dear Hermione,

Your heart is as big as Flitwick is tiny.

With that in mind, how could I just ignore

The one wish for Christmas you so long for?”

“Santa,” Hermione gasped, “could it really be

That you are giving Severus Snape to me?”

“This is absurd,” Snape spat, “And will simply not do!”

“Don’t worry,” Santa grinned, “I didn’t forget you.

“Severus Snape, you have been a good man.

You fought against Evil and foiled its plans.

You’ve endured all these years without any thanks

And many children who pull nothing but pranks.

“You have changed your old ways and all for the best.

You deserve happiness and even some rest.

This is why, Severus, I say unto you

That your secret wish will also come true!”

Hermione and Snape stared on in their PJ’s,

Their eyes locking onto each other’s deep gaze.

Did the other know what Santa was talking about?

They supposed that night the truth would finally come out.

“You see,” Santa said, “this Christmas you both chose

To give up the gifts, the stockings, and the bows

If you could have the love from one another,

So this Christmas my gift to you is each other.”

“WHAT?!” both student and teacher asked in surprise.

Santa laughed as he saw the shock in their eyes.

“I must be off,” he said. “Merry Christmas, you two!”

Then Santa went out of the room through the floo.

Leaving Hermione and Snape alone in the room

Wondering if this would be their bliss or their doom.

“Miss Granger,” Snape began with a heavy sigh.

“Please, sir, Hermione,” is all she could reply.

“Hermione, I’m sorry you heard what he said.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go make him dead!”

“No, please!” Hermione cried, “What he said was all true!

Professor Snape, I deeply love you.”

Snape stared back at her with a poisonous glare,

But she saw in his eyes there was no hatred there.

“I am not a fool!” he hiss in her face.

“You’re trying to make me look like a disgrace!”

“Not in the least!” she said, grabbing his hands.

“Not even for all the gold in the land.

I love you, Severus, and my words are true,

But I must know now, do you love me too?”

Snape looked in her eyes and saw what she did feel.

He didn’t need Legillimens to see it was real.

Could he trust his heart with this smartypants?

He took in a breath and then took a chance.

“Yes,” he said softly, “Hermione, I do.

With all of myself, I love you too.”

Hermione smiled and threw her arms around him.

He hugged her back, his face without grim.

Suddenly over their heads came a loud “pop.”

They look up to see what was hanging on top.

Hermione blushed while Snape gave an, “Oh!”

Right above them hung some mistletoe.

They looked at each other and showed a grin.

At last they began to slowly move in.

Finally as their lips met and gave a long kiss,

They both thought to themselves, “This is the best Christmas.”

Santa gave a laugh, as happy as can be,

That they were together, Snape and Hermione.

And they heard him exclaim after all of the fun,

“Happy Christmas to all, and Albus, you owe me one!”

———————–

Transcript 270

MuggleCast 270 Transcript


Show Intro


[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]

Andrew: Because Harry Potter spinoff series, this is MuggleCast Episode 270 for September 12th, 2013.

[Show music plays]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 270.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: I, for one, did not think we would be doing an episode so soon after our final episode, which was just back on August 27th. Episode 269, we spent the whole episode talking about how the show was over. But we were very clear we would return when a big announcement was made, and today’s announcement on September 12th certainly warrants it. Micah and Eric, hello.

Micah: Good morning.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Good morning. It is morning; let’s be clear on that. Several of us were woken up to this news, and Andrew, you just happened to be up because you are a badass; you roll like that. But I don’t think anybody expected today, or going to bed last night, to wake up to this Harry Potter news.

Andrew: No. Micah is coming to us from New Orleans, so we know he did not get a heads up warning about it.

Micah: Not at all. The MuggleCast news center is vacant right now. I mean, I know they’re doing a little bit of remodeling in there, getting ready for the next podcast that’s going to take over.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: But yeah, no, this is cool news and surprising…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …I would say. For sure.


News: JK Rowling to Write New Film Series Based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


Andrew: Well… so let’s start… let’s recap what we know today. So, JK Rowling and Warner Bros. at 9:01AM Eastern announced that JK Rowling is screenwriting essentially a Harry Potter spinoff series based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the mini-book that she released in 2001 to benefit the Comic Relief charity. This book was… of course it was written by JK Rowling, but on the book it says it was written by Newt Scamander. [trying to work out the pronunciation] Scamander? Scamander? Scamander? And she is going to be writing the movie series! This is a movie series from Newt’s perspective. Now, the other key part about this is that this is going to be set 70 years… I’m kind of shaking while I say this, by the way.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: This is going to be set 70 years…

Micah: Are you cold?

Andrew: It’s a little chilly here in California this morning.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: It’s going to be set 70 years before the first Harry Potter book, and it’s going to be set in New York. Now, I did a little check on this. Newt was born… well, the first Harry Potter book was set in, what, ’91?

Eric: ’91-ish. So, that puts this in the heart of the roaring ’20s in New York.

Andrew: And Newt was born in 1897, okay? So, that means Newt is going to be a strapping 20 year old-ish, around that age?

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay, so…

Eric: Twenty-three? Depending…

Andrew: So, I think that’s an important point because now we know that this film series is going to be based around a young boy wizard. A new boy wizard!

[Eric laughs]

Micah: In New York.

Andrew: Yes. And JK Rowling… here’s what JK Rowling had to say:

“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the ‘Harry Potter’ series, but an extension…”

[fake coughs] Spinoff.

“…of the wizarding world.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: [continues]

“The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the ‘Harry Potter’ books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York.”

And then she gave some backstory on how this came to be.

“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of ‘Fantastic Beasts,’ realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hardcore ‘Harry Potter’ fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favorite characters from the ‘Harry Potter’ series, Luna Lovegood.”

By the way, Evanna Lynch very excited about today’s news. She quoted that little line from the press release and was saying, “Hey, JK Rowling. Just saying. Come on. Get me back in there.” [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] She wants to play old lady Luna.

Andrew: Yeah. So…

Eric: It’s… yeah.

Andrew: …final part, she says:

“As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.”

So, there we go. What do you think, boys?

Eric: There really is so much info right here.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: In this statement. Of course, what we used to do is dissect statements like these. I mean, I guess one of the top questions I have is, could Warner Bros. have done a film without JK Rowling penning it? Because she said, kind of, the idea of having Newt Scamander “realized by another writer was difficult.”

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: So, would they have gone ahead? And just what was Warner Bros. doing sitting to themselves, thinking, “Hmm, there’s potential here. We didn’t go over every page of every Harry Potter-related book.”

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah!

Eric: “There’s still Quidditch. There’s still Fantastic Beasts.”

Andrew: Beedle the Bard.

Eric: Yeah, Beedle the Bard. So, what does this really mean here, that this is happening?

Andrew: Well, Harry Potter is a cash cow, so yeah, of course they had to look through the other books and consider what they could draw out. But I have to emphasize something really important here. This is only a big deal because JK Rowling is writing the screenplay.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: This is the only reason we should be so excited. If, as Eric pointed out, somebody else was writing this, I would be excited because it is new Harry Potter news. But this is a JK Rowling Harry Potter spinoff. That is what makes this huge news.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Micah, what do you think?

Micah: Yeah, I mean, I think the big thing is that… Eric mentioned Quidditch Through the Ages and you brought up Beedle the Bard, but there’s a character here I think that she obviously feels a connection to and potentially thought about at one time writing more about. She even mentions in her quote, “[knows] a lot” about this character, so that was the primary reason as to why she didn’t want to let somebody else kind of take the reins here. And so I’m looking forward to all this additional information that she has stored somewhere in her head that we’re now going to be able see on a movie screen.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: This is… another reason that this really, really much interests me is it’s set in New York. The book itself is kind of just… it’s a textbook. It’s a school textbook. It’s Harry Potter’s…

Micah: I expect to be cast, by the way, in this movie now.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh, because it’s in New York? Yeah. Well no, I… because the book itself is kind of like a textbook. It’s just a list of magical creatures and where to find them. Apparently, now Where to Find Them is going to be on the big screen, which is really exciting. But a lot of them are located… a lot of the ones in the book are located across Britain and Ireland, I think, if I’m remembering correctly, so we’re going to find out a lot. Here’s another… I can think of at least five reasons why this is super, super, super awesome. Couldn’t think of ten. Couldn’t be a top ten segment.

Micah: All right. Five. Let’s go.

Eric: I wouldn’t want to step on Ben’s shoes. But the thing is, this is an opportunity for JK Rowling to grow as a writer because this is her first screenwriting outing, so I’m sure it appealed to her for that reason. Two, it’s not a Harry Potter sequel, nor is it a Harry Potter prequel, so it’s kind of exciting for everybody in that respect. It’s not going to have the traditional Harry Potter logo all over it, I don’t think. It shouldn’t. It really just shouldn’t. It should just be called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. People know these days that series are related when they don’t have to share the same title. Like The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Everybody knows.

Andrew: I have a feeling it will be called JK Rowling’s

Eric: Presents…

Andrew:Fantastic Beasts.

Eric: Yeah, something like that.

Micah: Or it could be something related to Newt Scamander. His name could take the title…

Andrew: Yeah, but they want to get that Harry Potter connection in, I think. So…

Micah: Yeah. No, that’s a good point. I’m just interested to see how he gets from New York over to the UK, if that’s the direction that this is going in. What kind of major events – somebody mentioned the Roaring Twenties earlier – is he going to play into? Is he responsible for the stock market crash?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Those things would be really interesting to know about.

Eric: Dragons in the stock exchange, or something like that.


What Do We Know About Newt Scamander?


Andrew: Well, I’m looking at… on the Harry Potter Wiki… it looks like Rowling is going to have to rewrite his history a little bit because there’s a surprising amount of information about him here on this Harry Potter Wiki. They say that he went to Hogwarts, he graduated, and then he joined the Ministry of Magic. Spent two years in the Office for House-Elf Relocation, then he joined the Beasts Division and put his knowledge of magical beasts to good use. In 1918, Scamander was commissioned by Augustus Worme of Obscurus Books to write Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The book became a bestseller. He was then appointed to… he was the Headmaster of Hogwarts!

Eric: What?

Andrew: Yeah. “In his personal life, Scamander married a woman named Porpentina and fathered at least one child. By the beginning of the 1990s, Scamander was retired and living in Dorset.” But I don’t think the film series will get that far. So, I mean, there’s a couple of big elements here: he went to Hogwarts, he worked at the Ministry of Magic, and then he became Headmaster at Hogwarts.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: So, where does this all play into the movie series?

Eric: Just in my mind’s eye, I think that perhaps the series will take place – or at least the first film – while he’s kind of traveling on location. A bit like people who are researching indigenous species would do. They’ll travel to their natural habitat. So, perhaps he’s on a particularly risky assignment in New York for a creature that only lives in New England or something like that, and he’s writing about it and studying it. He could still be on assignment writing this book, which I think would actually tie it into the title, if it’s called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Micah: I think the big thing that’s going to initially come out of this first movie is something that a lot of fans have been looking forward to, and that is some kind of insight into the wizarding world here in the United States.

Eric: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. I would say that JK Rowling has shied away from it in the past. There may have been a few passing references in Quidditch – possibly in Fantastic Beasts, I’m not quite sure – about the Salem Institute or something like that. The obvious references were all made to wizard school in America. But everything other than that? Nope, nothing. And we’re going to see that firsthand through Newt’s eyes, what the wizarding community is like, or at least was like, in the ’20s here in America. And that is amazing.

Andrew: I’m… is this going to be taking place during the prohibition period?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Because when was that? Whenever I hear ’20s, I think of Boardwalk Empire, the HBO show.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Are we going to have some cross-promotion between the two? Newt goes down to Atlantic City to get some alcohol from Nucky Thompson, the Boardwalk Empire character.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Prohibition was technically in place from 1919 to 1933, so this technically…

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Eric: If it takes place in the ’20s, it was probably during prohibition. So yeah, that’ll be… [laughs] that’s pretty exciting.

Andrew: By the way, 1919 to 1930: one era of American life that I do not want to ever transport back to. But if Newt is going to be there, okay, I’ll watch a movie about it.

[Micah laughs]


Why Did JK Rowling Decide to Do This?


Andrew: I think the other big aspect of this, which we already touched on, but the fact that this is a movie series. Warner Bros., of course, always looking for big new franchises. Harry Potter was huge for them up through 2011 when the final Harry Potter movie came out. By doing this, it follows in their long line of extending franchises as far as possible. Of course, they split Deathly Hallows into two movies. The Hobbit, you look at The Hobbit, that was one book. They initially decided to split it into two movies. Then they talked to Peter Jackson into turning it into three.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I mean, they want to take full advantage of franchises. In a way, we shouldn’t be shocked by this. But on the other hand, there’s an important question here I want to pose to you guys. Did you guys… did it ever cross your mind that the next step in the Harry Potter franchise would not be the encyclopedia, would not be a new Harry Potter book, a sequel or prequel, but be a film series penned by Rowling? [laughs] I don’t think anybody guessed that.

Eric: That’s… yeah, definitely not. But that’s why I think it is so appealing. Nobody could have thought of it. You could sit a thousand monkeys down and tell them to come up with ideas, and in five years they may not have come up with a new Harry Potter movie. Because we thought all the literature was used up, or at least all the viable literature that could be turned into a movie. Also, JK Rowling’s support for this is shocking to me because we thought she was done and used up with Harry Potter. Although, there is a quote here in the statement and it’s true that she’s always said that if an idea came to her she would never say never, essentially, in terms of writing more Potter content.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Or something like that.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Because it’s growth for her as a writer, she’s going to be a screenwriter now for this series, it’s just so… it’s enough different, enough things different that it’s appealing to her. And I think it’s enough of the same for us because it’s still her that it still interests all the fans.

Andrew: I also genuinely hope that she is thinking she is going to write every movie.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Because, like we said, this is going to be a film series. She has to write every one, right? I would be a bit bummed… [sighs] I mean, she will always be involved to some extent, but let’s just go crazy here. Let’s assume we get to Film 6.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Is JK Rowling going to be writing every single one of these?

Eric: Why not, right? She can determine… she has all the power right now. She can determine how many movies there are and her involvement in each and every one of them. There’s such a huge difference between something being authorized by JK Rowling and something being – like Book of Spells – and being written by JK Rowling. [laughs] You can tell the fan excitement is just going to be insane. We’re going to be waiting in line again for this…

Micah: Mhm.

Eric: …movie now. [laughs] It’s unbelievable.

Micah: I think the big question though now, too, is who comes back into play from Potter? Will you see David Heyman be brought back in?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Will you see David Yates potentially, depending on what else he’s working with… working on, I should say. I think really going back to the question that you asked, I would never have thought that it would be so soon after. Because you mentioned 2011, we’re only two years later here, almost three, from the last movie being released and now here we are with the potential for really another Potter type of movie. So, I think though that what you are seeing recently is… and I know that the whole Cuckoo’s Calling thing was not supposed to happen as quickly as it did, but you’re starting to see a lot more of JK Rowling. You’re starting to see her, in my opinion, really start to ramp things back up after taking some time off post-Deathly Hallows. So, that should be exciting for fans, I think, that you’re getting a new book series. It’s not Potter, but you know that it’s going to be a series and now you have a movie and you know that this is going to be a series. So, you have more of her moving forward…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …than you did before.

Andrew: Right. Oh, man. In this announcement today… this was only part of an announcement between JK Rowling and Warner Bros. They also announced that Fantastic Beasts will be developed across the studio’s video game, consumer products, [laughs] and digital initiative businesses, including enhanced links with Pottermore.

Eric: Oh, gosh.

Andrew: So, you can expect a full line of merchandise to go along with your brand new Fantastic Beasts movie.

Eric: You know what? Some of those… and I don’t know that we’ve ever spent time specifically on Fantastic Beasts throughout the run of MuggleCast, but there are some really cool creatures and really cool ideas. Of course, as always, JK Rowling provides quality with her work. But it’s just so very interesting now, having this book get the spotlight on it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It’s not a narrative, but she’ll be writing a narrative that… about the character who writes this book.

Andrew: Yeah. I think one important thing, also, to people who haven’t read Fantastic Beasts is you shouldn’t go buy it and assume it’s going to be a story in any capacity like Harry Potter. I mean, I haven’t read it in a while, and correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it… [laughs] it’s kind of an encyclopedia of sorts, right?

Eric: Well, yeah. It’s always humorous, of course. It’s always… but it’s JK Rowling writing as Newt Scamander. It’s basically just a list – and I recall it being alphabetized – of fantastic beasts. So, it’s an index and…

Micah: Where to find them?

Eric: …essentially it’s a little bit of information about… [laughs] thank you, Micah. And it just has their danger level, which is the first thing. So, all the… a lot of the dragons are between four and five X’s. It has their danger level and a little bit about them, like short biographies, what they do, what area they live in, and how to… well, not how to find them necessarily, but you get it. It’s just a small description of each of the beasts that happen to be so fantastic enough to warrant the book.

MuggleCast 270 Transcript (continued)


MuggleCast’s Wish List for Fantastic Beasts Movie


Andrew: Jumping back to Micah’s point, let’s come up with a little wish list here of people we want involved with this.

Eric: Oh!

Andrew: David Heyman, obviously.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Who’s the… Stuart Craig, the set designer, right? I think he has to come back because you want to carry over that look…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: …that we saw. And creatively for him, this should be refreshing because he’s going to be able to take the look of Hogwarts and all these other areas, and bring them into the 1920s. They should actually look somewhat similar because there’s no technology in these schools, but you still want to go for an older look. So, I guess exterior scenes and whatnot. Obviously, we won’t see modern cars, but that should be really interesting.

Eric: Gosh. Maybe there will be a wizarding version of Diagon Alley but in New York.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Like Fifth Avenue. Fifth and Three-Quarters Avenue.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Or something like that. The sky is the limit. Everything is so open all of a sudden. It’s great. But talking about your wish list, I want to see a lot of practical effects the way that Jurassic Park did beasts…

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: …did dinosaurs and stuff. And so, for that reason…

Andrew: Oh, you mean like not digital?

Eric: Yeah, not digital.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I want to see as much practical effects as… because that just… not only does it hold the test of time better, but I think the eye still knows it’s more real. I want to see a lot of that stuff, and for that reason I want to have Sam Neill to be in the movie. I realize he’s Australian, but he played Dr. Alan Grant in the Jurassic Park series. So, I want to see him in some capacity in this film just because I think that would be cool.

Micah: Well, for wish lists, one would think that you’re going to see Dumbledore at some point, right? I mean…

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: Oh, interesting.

Micah: He’s old. He’s very old, right? I forget exactly how old he is, I apologize.

Eric: She said 150. He would be about the same… he would be about forty to sixty years old, I guess, in the ’20s maybe. Thirty…

Micah: And he’s really… I mean, maybe with the exception of a few others, older staff members that we see at Hogwarts in the Potter series, he’s probably the only character that can have a meaningful storyline going back that far, right? Maybe McGonagall, maybe a few others, but in terms of incorporating them in, it’d be interesting to see how they do that because they’re not going to be able to use the same actors, obviously.

Andrew: Dumbledore was born in 1881.

Eric: So, he’ll be forty in the ’20s. Yeah. But like…

Andrew: And he’ll be, what? Ten, fifteen years older than Newt?

Eric: Something like that.

Andrew: About sixteen years.

Eric: But setting this in the ’20s is right after the Great War, right after the First World War and before the Second World War, which we know Grindelwald had a part in, in some capacity. I was just really… it’s kind of a time of… I want to say a good time of peace to be able to set a series like this because you’re not dealing with some of the same things you saw in Harry Potter, like the death and destruction of it all.

Andrew: When did Dumbledore become Headmaster of Hogwarts?

Eric: Hmm. Well, he was still… remember, Armando Dippet was Headmaster in Tom Riddle’s memory…

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: …which was in ’42, so it was after ’42. And I think the interesting thing for timeline’s sake is that I’m pretty sure right after Dippet was Dumbledore. So, that means Newt Scamander, if he was Headmaster of Hogwarts, had to have been Headmaster of Hogwarts prior to Dippet in ’42, which means…

Andrew: Dumbledore… I see right here, Dumbledore was appointed in 1956.

Eric: There we go.

Andrew: After Dippet left, as you thoughtfully pointed out.

Eric: So, it had to be before Dippet that Scamander was Headmaster, which means we have like a twenty-year window here, assuming that Dippet served for no years, but you get what I’m saying. So, Scamander… [laughs] he’s got a lot of good things that are about to happen to him.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I can see this series ending at Hogwarts, but how and why he gets there… especially because he always seems more like a field guy to me than a desk guy.

Micah: Yeah. I mean, I’m just looking this up now, too, and it says that he was Headmaster prior to Dippet.

Eric: There we go. But yeah, I mean, the hows and the whys, obviously, are up to JK Rowling’s creative talents here. This is super exciting.

Andrew: Yeah. As much… as great as it is to read background info on Newt, I can’t help but feel a lot of this is going to be rewritten for the sake of the movie because of the fact that it’s going to be set in New York, so some things are going to have to be changed around.

Eric: Because of the fact that he’s no longer… I don’t want to say a nobody, but one of those characters that was never called into action or never had to have a fully-realized story…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …things will be modified, for sure.


Anticipated Release Date for Fantastic Beasts Movie


Andrew: I’m wondering about a release date for this movie, of course. I would say… 2015 is too soon. I would say 2016 or 2017 is when we’re going to get the first news about this, so… or sorry, when the first movie is going to be released. Meaning they would potentially shoot in 2015? Late 2014? [laughs] Obviously, Warner Bros. wants to get this rolling as soon as possible, so I could imagine them starting to shoot in 2014 or early 2015. Because, in terms of how films work, right now they’re planning Batman vs. Superman. That’s their big Summer 2015 movie. I could see this being their big Summer 2016 movie?

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: So… or maybe a November launch? Like the first Harry Potter movies were before the summer.

Eric: Aww. Takes me back, Andrew.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Now, guys, we have to do our announcement where we’re going to be coming bi-monthly now with these news updates…

Andrew: No! No! [laughs]

Eric: We’re going to change from Chapter-by-Chapter. We have to go Monster-by-Monster now in Fantastic Beasts for the thing.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I’ve got to credit my girlfriend with that idea. She’s like, “You guys have got to do that.”

Andrew: Well, it does raise that question: what does this mean for MuggleCast?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: I will say… no commitment right now. We’ll of course… it’s so long off from now. This is great news, of course, today but it’s still so long off.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: This is not a movie coming out next year or even the year after that.

Eric: Oh, gosh. [laughs] “Next month, in theaters.”

Andrew: [laughs] They’ve been secretly shooting. Yeah. This is why Matt Smith left Doctor Who. He’s becoming Newt.


Who Should be Cast as Newt Scamander?


Eric: [laughs] Who do you guys want to see cast as Newt? I wanted to ask you…

Andrew: Matt Smith!

Eric: Matt Smith?

Andrew: No. [laughs] Actually, Matt Smith would probably be a good age for this. God, I don’t know. Any other ideas? You’ve got to pick somebody who is, what, late 20s?

Eric: And British but in America.

Andrew: How about somebody who is well… great actor, can pull off any sort of role, he’s going to be in his late 20s, he can do a great American accent – actually, you don’t need an American accent – umm… Dan Radcliffe!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Dan Radcliffe will not. Will not. God, you’ve just got to look at a variety of young adult actors. I don’t know. Benedict Cumberbatch? [laughs]

Eric: Who is in… I was thinking of Benedict. He’s a little tall. He’s a little taller than the Newt I’m thinking of.

Andrew: You know what, though? This is going to sound a bit crazy, but if you look at this picture of Newt on the Harry Potter Wiki…

Eric: Oh, God.

Andrew: …I can see Benedict in this role. He’s kind of got a longish face like Newt. I don’t know where this photo is from.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Maybe the theme park, but I can see it.

Eric: Oh, gosh. That would be him as a headmaster, I guess.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Hmm, there’s a lot of people… who’s the guy who was in Warm Bodies?

Andrew: Oh, Nicholas Hoult.

Eric: Nicholas Hoult. I’d like to see him as Newt Scamander.

Andrew: I think he’s a little young-looking for me. I think this has to be somebody around the Matt Smith age.

Eric: Nicholas Hoult currently, age-wise, is [born in 1989], so he’s 24. So yeah, I think Nicholas Holt. That’s who I’m going to pick for my Newt Scamander.

Andrew: You know what, though? Honestly… not to cheapen it or anything, but they do… they’ve got to pick a young, good-looking guy. That’s what’s going to help this take off.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: They need… we need a… Harry was, of course, an amazing character, but I don’t know if he was one that people really like fawn over.

Eric: He was by far a sex symbol because that would have been weird, I think.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Because he’s your hero.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: But when you’re not telling a story about life and death, war and revenge, prophecies, wizards… a hero story. When you’re not telling a hero’s tale you can have a lot of fun with those kinds of things, I think, as a protagonist is wading through the wide world of beasts, you know?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It’s an adventure story more than Harry Potter was.

Andrew: Yeah. And I’m not saying it has to be like a heartthrob or anything, but I think it needs to be a good-looking… heck, even for my sake. Just for me. Whatever. It has to be a good-looking guy, [laughs] I feel. You’ve got to… you want to push the marketing, and you want to have a big launch for this franchise.

Micah: I can do it.

Andrew: Micah, you want to do it?

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I can do it.

Andrew: You’re about the right age.

Micah: That’s right.

Andrew: I have…

Eric: How’s your British accent, Micah?

Micah: Oh, they have things that can be done to…

Andrew: Say…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: No, no, it has to be legit. Say, [in a bad British accent] “Hello, I’m Newt Scamander.”

[Prolonged silence]

Micah: I don’t know. I don’t know.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Maybe I can’t.

Eric: He’s got cold feet. We’ll have to get a few drinks in him, then maybe he’ll do it.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh, gosh. It’s still early though.

Andrew: Oh, hold on guys.

Micah: I actually have to go because I have to…

Andrew: Oh, do you?

Micah: Yeah.


What Does This Mean For MuggleCast?


Andrew: Okay. Well, maybe we should wrap it up. I don’t think there’s much more to be said, actually. But in terms of the future of more on this on MuggleCast, we’ll see what happens in the future. We may be a long way off from new developments about this, so it may be a while, but…

Eric: It’s true. When JK Rowling says something, usually it’s a couple of years before she gets back on to social media, so…

Andrew: [laughs] Right, that’s true. We’ve got like six months at least.

Eric: And the thing is, did she even use her Twitter for this? Because I think it said that it was posted on Facebook.

Andrew: No. She didn’t even use the Twitter.

Eric: But she uses it on Facebook. She’s on Facebook with this stuff? What is that?

Andrew: Well, Facebook is more popular, so…

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: And she’s got more followers, 1.8 million, on Facebook.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And by the way, sorry to plug it, but we will be talking about this on Hype, Hypable’s podcast, as well tomorrow.

Eric: Yeah, I know we have an Alohomora! scheduled as well about it. What else are we… we’ve got GOO. We’re probably going to be mentioning it on all of our podcasts, let’s be honest.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: This is pretty huge news! [laughs]

Andrew: It is, it is. Thank you everybody for listening. Micah and Eric, thanks for getting on at the last minute.

Micah: No problem.

Andrew: Send in some emails. We’ve still got the email account, mugglecast at gmail dot com. Send in your theories. What kind of plotline would you like to see in this Fantastic Beasts movie? How about some casting? Make some casting choices for Newt as well.

Eric: And furthermore, what creatures do you want to see in these movies? Go pick up your copy of the book.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Tell us what creatures you want. I have always wanted to see, for instance, the Lethifold.

Micah: That’s what this is all about. It’s all to promote sales of the book.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: They were down. Now people are going to go out and buy it like crazy.

Eric: Well, Comic Relief has to be relieved, if you can say that. I mean, this is brand-new life breathing into the book. I’m sure they got a call from Jo saying, “Okay, this is… you might want to print a little bit more copies.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So, that is amazing. And this seems to be a real passion project for Jo, much like Cuckoo’s Calling was because it was so secretive, but it seems to have been just worked out between Jo and the CEO of Warner Bros., this Kevin Tsujihara, who I guess would be the guy you need to talk to, to greenlight this sort of thing. I’m just blown away that this news blew up like this. This has been amazing.

Andrew: Yeah. Same. I’m in shock. [laughs] This has been a very long two hours of shock.

[Eric laughs]


Show Close


[Show music begins]

Andrew: Well again, thanks everybody for listening. We’ll keep you updated on all the developments through social media: Twitter.com/MuggleCast, Facebook.com/MuggleCast, MuggleCast.com, mugglecast at gmail dot com. Thanks everybody for listening. I’m Andrew Sims.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

Andrew: We’ll see you next time down the road! [laughs] Goodbye.

Micah: All right. Bye.

[Show music continues]

Transcript 269

MuggleCast 269 Transcript


Show Intro


[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]

Andrew: Because all was well, this is MuggleCast Episode 269 for August 27th, 2013.

[Show music begins]

Andrew: The final episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: MuggleCast, MuggleCast, muggly casty MuggleCast.

Ben: Tell us something please.

Eric: Whether it be a theory or the latest news.

Micah: New ride in the Harry Potter park.

Mikey: Or fanfic or Jo’s latest muse.

Andrew: Our heads can do with filling, with some interesting stuff.

Ben: Before you we turned to Muggles.

Eric: They didn’t understand us and went in a huff.

Micah: So, this is just to let you know.

Mikey: That we thank you for being around.

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 269, the final episode. Unless something big happens in the Harry Potter fandom.

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: This has been a long time coming. Let’s first introduce everybody who’s here. We have Eric, Micah, Ben, Kevin, and Mikey B. Hello, boys. It’s a boys episode.

Ben: All boys here.

[Andrew laughs]

Mikey: Okay.

Andrew: But we also have messages from two ladies, Laura Thompson and Jamie Lawrence, coming up later in the show.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: So, you get to look forward to those.

Micah: Well, first though I think we should credit Anna for that poem.

Andrew: Yes, yes. We just plagiarized it.

Micah: Very well done.

Andrew: Thank you to Anna.

Ben: Yeah, from Karachi, Pakistan. If that’s how you pronounce it correctly.

Andrew: So, we…

Ben: Guys, so we made it to Pakistan, guys.

Andrew: [laughs] We finally made it.

Eric: It’s time to quit.

Micah: That’s why we’re ending the show.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Because we made it that far.

Andrew: Well, it’s pretty crazy to think we have finally reached our final episode. Our first episode was in August 2005. So yeah, eight years later, we’re here with 269 episodes in the can. And Ben…

Ben: I’m just glad we all made it, you know? That there weren’t any major drug overdoses…

[Eric laughs]

Ben: Or just the bad things that happen to groups, you know?

Eric: This is true.

Andrew: Well, a lot… yeah.

Mikey: Where are they now, you know?

Ben: Yeah.

[Andrew laughs]

Mikey: Those documentaries like, “Well, Ben Schoen…”

Andrew: In ten years from now, I want MuggleNet’s Keith Hawk to do a special MuggleCast episode called, “Where are they now?” and it catches up on all ten MuggleCast co-hosts.

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

Eric: I think he’d probably be willing to do that if we asked him.

Micah: He’s just really excited that you just mentioned him on the final episode of MuggleCast.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I saw him the other day…

Ben: If I still have hair then, I’ll be down.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Ben: Or if I can afford hair plugs. Not that I’m losing my hair, it’s just thinning lightly.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Is there something you want to tell us, Ben?

Kevin: You’re just really self confident? [laughs]

Micah: Yeah.

Ben: I’m just paranoid.

Andrew: So, the first episode back in 2005 was Kevin, Ben, and I. And I remember at the time – I think we’ve told this story before – there was… people were interested in doing the idea of a Harry Potter podcast on MuggleNet, but it didn’t really take off until we were a few episodes in, and people really liked it. And I was actually thinking earlier today, why did people like it so much? And I’ve always been asked that question a lot over the years. And the answer, for a lot of people, is that we’ve been people’s Harry Potter friends, so to speak. They listen to us, they hear a friendly discussion about the latest Harry Potter news, theories, and whatnot, and they enjoy… have a couple… they have a few laughs for 90 minutes a week. It was a… it’s been a great show.

Ben: Yeah, that and I think there’s a certain amount of… if you’re really into something like Harry Potter and you want to have a nuance discussion on such a matter, or listen to a nuance discussion, I think that we really filled that void. Because have you ever tried to talk to somebody who hasn’t read the books or something and been all enthusiastic and then they’ve given you that, “Hey, you’re a weirdo,” look?

[Eric laughs]

Ben: So, it’s kind of like that. We help make people feel normal.

Mikey: That’s never happened to me, Ben. Never ever.

Ben: You never had that happen?

Mikey: No, I’m lying completely. It happens all the time.

Ben: Yeah.

[Mikey laughs]

Ben: You’re like, “Hey, I flew to Florida for a Harry Potter conference.”

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

Ben: People kind of give you that…

Mikey: I met my wife at a Harry Potter conference. So…

Eric: There you go.

Ben: That’s true.

Andrew: That’s the biggest one of them all.

Eric: [laughs] But I think also we hit it… or you guys started the podcast at the right time. Book 6 had just come out. We didn’t know how long there would be until Book 7. As it turns out there was two years, but in that two years were the first hundred episodes of MuggleCast. And now look at us, we’re at 269. But I think all of that was…

Micah: We slacked.

Eric: …speculation and the excitement that was just coming from being in that particular time and place for the Harry Potter series when we didn’t know how it would end.

Andrew: And Harry Potter was really a perfect podcast discussion. I mean, I’ve done podcasts about Twilight and The Hunger Games since then, but Harry Potter there’s so much to talk about in depth in the books. And of course, that’s all thanks to JK Rowling for creating such detailed stories. I mean, thanks to her, and only her, we were able to actually create 269 episodes talking about Harry Potter, which, to any outside fan… this is the second thing I most hear about MuggleCast, is, “What do you guys talk about?”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Ben: Yeah, that’s what everyone is saying to me. “What? You’re still recording?”

Andrew: Yeah. From outsiders, right? It’s just…

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s funny. But if they read the books, [laughs] they probably would have…

Ben: They just don’t get it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah.

Ben: They just don’t get it.

Micah: I think…

Mikey: My people.

Andrew: Micah?

Micah: I think you guys filled a void too, right at the beginning there. People had just read Half-Blood Prince and they were wondering what’s next, and the podcast was really a perfect form for that.

Andrew: Yeah, because not only do you get the analysis that you would find on forums, but you also can hear the passion coming out of our voices as we were discussing it. And it was also just more fun than reading a forum or reading comments. It’s much more interactive.

Ben: Yeah, I have to say that going into that first episode, in my mind… I don’t know about Andrew or Kevin, but I didn’t have any idea whether this was going to be a one month project or if it was going to flop.

Andrew: Mhm.

Ben: You know what I mean? I didn’t expect us to all of a sudden be getting the download amounts that we were getting. We didn’t… we started this because we wanted to talk about Harry Potter and we had the platform through MuggleNet, and to me if you would have told me back then that eight years from now we would be doing the final episode I’d be like, “Wow! Eight years. That’s a long time for something like this, I think.”

Andrew: Kevin, were you nervous about doing the first episode? Did you have any reservations?

Kevin: Well, I think to Ben’s point I sort of felt the same way where I wasn’t sure where it was going to go. I was definitely nervous. I remember distinctly being very, very apprehensive about recording my voice.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Hmm.

Kevin: But actually… the actual act of purposely recording yourself is a bit nerve-wracking, I guess.

Andrew: Yeah. And especially because we just didn’t know what to expect, how people would react to the show. So, it got a lot easier with each passing episode.

Ben: Yeah, and for me it’s not so much recording my own voice as it is listening to my own voice.

Kevin: Yes.

Ben: I don’t think that I listened to the show past the fifteenth episode or so because I just… “Do I really sound like that?”

Kevin: I think it’s normal…

Micah: You mean…

Kevin: …for most people to hate the sound of their own voice.

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.

Ben: That’s not true. You’ve been around…

[Kevin and Micah laugh]

Ben: Most people…

Kevin: This is where you insert a saying, right?

[Ben and Kevin laugh]

Eric: I think it’s fair to say, though…

Kevin: He loves hearing his own voice.

Eric: I think it is fair to say one of the things that doing a show like this helped us develop is our voice, how to speak, too. It’s not just that we can speak, but to speak succinctly and effectively.

Andrew: Oh, definitely.

Eric: It’s something I still work on.

Ben: Says the spielerman.

Eric: Yes.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It’s true. But it gave a lot of confidence, I think, to a lot of us, I think I can say too, because we were able to communicate our ideas effectively and get such good feedback from people so early on.

Andrew: Yeah. MuggleCast definitely helped me develop speaking skills, not just on podcasts but also in general with other people. I mean, sometimes I catch myself. I feel like I’m hosting a podcast sometimes when I’m in bars or something…

[Eric and Kevin laugh]

Andrew: …and the other person I’m talking to is really boring so I have to carry the conversation.

Eric: There you go.

Andrew: I almost can’t help but want to throw it over to Micah for the news because I’m just in that zone.

[Everyone laughs]

Kevin: Are you saying that this is a…

Mikey: Is that a hint?

Kevin: Yeah.

Andrew: [laughs] No, I’m saying I feel like…

Eric: That was the perfect transition, Andrew.

Andrew: I was… oh, with the news. Yes. [laughs]

Eric: Hey, you have been doing this for a long time! [laughs]

Andrew: Yes.

Mikey: He didn’t even know he was throwing that transition over to Micah.

Andrew: No. I’m just so good now.

Micah: It was so seamless, yeah.


News: 15th Anniversary Harry Potter US Paperback Covers to Be Released on August 27th


Andrew: Micah, do you want to do the news? Normally you don’t but I feel like for old time’s sake, you should.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah, this is… you’re putting me on the spot though because there’s zero preparation in this right now. [laughs] But yeah, let’s start off with some news. New Harry Potter covers…

Andrew: What?!

Micah: …are going to be released tomorrow.

Andrew: August 26th.

Micah: August 26th.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: And…

Ben: We’re ending the day before the covers?

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Come on.

Andrew: Well, no. This episode, I think, is coming out tomorrow. So…

Mikey: But see, we can now have a whole conversation about what the covers mean.

Ben: Yeah.

Mikey: So, is this the last episode or are we going to have a cover episode?

Andrew: We’ve actually…

Eric: They’ve already been released. Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: How about we speculate about what’s going to be on them?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Wait, the covers are already out. We’ve been talking about them for ten episodes.

Mikey: I know, but we don’t have…

Ben: Oh.

Mikey: …them in our hands.

Ben: Yeah, that’s what I meant. Mikey’s right.

Eric: Yeah. Guys, I think it’s really important or special that we happen to end – at least recording – the night before these new books come out.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: I wanted to say this a little later on, but since we’re in the realm of reminiscing and that sort of thing, the seven Harry Potter books that I’m sure we all have copies of – and copies and copies of, by this point – are being replaced, at least by Scholastic, with these new covers that are for the next generation of fans. And so, I can’t help but ask the question, well, what will come out… these were our books, the ones that we know from Mary GrandPré. Now, what kind of crazy things will fans come up with, including podcasts, for the next set of books? This is going on…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: …to the next generation.

Micah: Well, it’s not a different book. It’s just a new cover.

Mikey: Well, no, no, no! You know it’s the…

[Ben laughs]

Eric: I think it is…

Mikey:Harry Potter special edition. George Lucas went back and added a bunch of special effects. [laughs]

Kevin: Besides, though…

Eric: You know what I mean, though. Growing up, there was no other book to choose from and…

Ben: Yeah, but I think that the difference, Eric, would be in this case… I mean, with MuggleCast, we started it off when Harry Potter was at its peak in terms of… because of the speculation that was happening. I mean, I don’t think they’re… I mean, I think most people, most kids today, already know that Harry won, if someone sees them reading Harry Potter or whatever. I mean, I’d be interested to know if everybody knows that Harry won.

Mikey: Snape kills Dumbledore.

Andrew: Eric’s point is also that the new covers – and this is the whole purpose of Scholastic re-releasing these – it’s to introduce the Harry Potter books to a new generation of readers because these books are suddenly going to be standing out because they’re brand new versions of the book. They’re going to be right at the front of the store and just reaching out to new generations of readers, maybe who are now 13 or 14. Of course, when the first book was published, they were just being born. They were a year old or maybe not even born yet.

Eric: Oh, wow.

Andrew: So, yeah. These will appeal to a new generation of people. Will people make new podcasts and stuff? They better not!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Stay off my lawn, kids!

[Ben laughs]

Andrew: Stay away!

Eric: Is this a challenge? Is this a hidden listener challenge here? Andrew, are you saying we’d come back and do more episodes if…

Andrew: [laughs] No.

Eric: …we had a new rival? [laughs]

Kevin: Why don’t we just re-release all the episodes with a different…

Micah: There you go.

Eric: Oh!

Kevin: …album art?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I like that idea. Actually, Mikey is the only married one here. I understand he’s going to start the next generation of MuggleCast podcasters.

Mikey: Not anytime soon.

[Everyone laughs]

Mikey: We’ll avoid that as long as I can.

Andrew: [laughs] Okay!

Eric: Sorry to hear that, Mikey. [laughs]

Andrew: Well…

Eric: You know, children can be a rewarding experience.

Andrew: [laughs] Well, actually…

Kevin: Are you speaking from experience, Eric?

Eric: No, I’m not.

[Kevin and Mikey laugh]

Eric: Yeah, my seven children across the world that…

Andrew: We’re going to continue with today’s final episode of MuggleCast in just a moment. We’re having a lot of fun today and there’s still a lot more fun to be had. But first, it is time to remind you that today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com, our longtime sponsor. Audible is the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. I think everybody knows what I’m going to recommend. This is such an easy bet! If you were a betting man, you would bet I am going to recommend The Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend it. This is coming from somebody who did not enjoy The Casual Vacancy, but of course, I was still going to give Rowling’s other books a try because I… we all know she’s a great writer. The Casual Vacancy just wasn’t for me, but The Cuckoo’s Calling was. Man, it was good. We’re going to talk about The Cuckoo’s Calling a little later on in the show, so I’ll save my thoughts for then. But for now, I do recommend this: Go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. You can get The Cuckoo’s Calling for absolutely free. We thank Audible for their support of the show. One last time, AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast for your free audiobook.

Speaking of these new covers, actually, I have breaking news just into the MuggleCast newsroom.

Ben: Oh, just in.

Andrew: JK Rowling will be speaking on Good Morning America tomorrow about the fifteenth anniversary of Sorcerer’s Stone. So…

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: I will bet 5,000 dollars she will not say absolutely anything interesting.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Wow!

Kevin: Wow!

Andrew: No, just because… what does she… what could she say that’s going to be interesting to a generic morning show host? She’s going to talk about how it’s crazy that it’s been fifteen years and that’s it.

Kevin: Or new books.

Andrew: Well, yeah. If she did that…

Kevin: That is her own…

Andrew: …that would be significant.

Kevin: Yeah.

Andrew: But…

Eric: The funny thing is, in addition to these covers… and there was this huge media campaign from Scholastic releasing what the images of these covers would be, throughout the past couple of months, actually, and they are all released now, but also it turns out that the spine of these books, of each of these books, also makes up an image?

Andrew: Yeah.

Kevin: Oh, that is awesome.

Eric: And also, it’s an image of Hogwarts, so that’s pretty cool. If you buy the box set, which I think has extra artwork and all that stuff, it’s all really cool, but also the back covers… I wanted to just mention here, I’ve seen the back covers, and I may actually buy these books for the back covers because I think…

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: He’s going to have them face the cover down in his house.

Eric: I’m going to face them cover down, exactly. I think the back covers are actually some truly interesting pieces of art here that I think I like better than most of the front covers.

Andrew: They’re cool because you see Harry’s back, actually, in each one, or in almost all of them.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And it’s like you’re seeing things from his perspective.

Ben: Oh!

Andrew: Yeah, and they’re also very simplistic and whatnot. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. By the way, I have to mention also, the illustrator who made all these new covers is going to be in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, signing copies of the book and doing a painting demonstration. So, if anybody is going… Ben, come on over. You can learn how to paint with me and Kazu.

[Eric and Kevin laugh]

Ben: Yay.

Kevin: Finger painting?

Andrew: Finger painting, yeah.

Kevin: Yes.

Andrew: We’re going to finger paint the covers. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s his method.

[Kevin laughs]


News: Steven Moffat Hints JK Rowling May Write Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Short Story


Andrew: Yeah. So, moving on from the new covers. Do you want me to get this next one, Micah? Then you can get the other two.

Micah: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

Andrew: I feel like you are least informed about this one.

Micah: Yeah, yeah… oh, sorry.

Andrew: Wow, eff you!

Micah: [laughs] What? I didn’t do anything!

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: But no, I was going to say that I forgot one thing, which I’m somewhat disappointed Ben didn’t jump in on, but when you threw the news over, I didn’t do the obligatory, “Thanks, Andrew.”

[Everyone laughs]

Ben, Eric, and Mikey: Oh!

Eric: I thought it was gone forever!

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: But yeah, you can take the next story.

Andrew: Okay. [in a deep voice] Thanks, Micah.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Steven Moffat has hinted that JK Rowling may write a Doctor Who 50th anniversary short story.

Ben: Oh, my gosh.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean talk about cross-fandom mind explosion. I don’t think any of us here are MuggleCast… or Doctor Who viewers, but…

Ben: Is she just diluting her brand?

Kevin: It’s funny that you mention that.

Andrew: Why?

Kevin: I’m on season three now…

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Eric: Woo!

Kevin: …of the new series.

Mikey: Do you remember how many times I tried to get you to watch Doctor Who in my apartment?

Andrew: Me?

Ben: It’s just not my thing, Doctor Who.

Mikey: Doctor Who is amazing.

Andrew: Yeah, I’m not into science fiction.

Ben: One day I realized there are more good TV shows and movies than there are time left in my life.

Andrew: [laughs] That’s true.

Ben: So you just got to pick and choose, and I just couldn’t choose Doctor Who. I wish I could be excited about this.

Eric: Okay.

Mikey: But you have to understand, when David Tennant was Doctor Who, he actually did an episode about the seventh book before the seventh book was out.

Andrew: Oh, cool.

Mikey: And he made jokes about what happened in the end, and he wouldn’t tell anyone. It was awesome.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Wow.

Mikey: So, Doctor Who and Harry Potter have crossed over before. Sorry, I am a Doctor Who fan.

Andrew: One thing to keep in mind, this is just a short story. She’s not writing an episode, but she may be writing a short story. In honor of the fiftieth anniversary, they’re having eleven children’s authors write them, and Steven Moffat suggested that she will be writing one of these. He was asked recently if it was true and he said he couldn’t confirm right now.

Mikey: He also had hinted a long time ago in an interview that he had hoped she would actually write the episode.

Andrew: Yes, they actually gave her an offer to write…

Mikey: Yup.

Andrew: …but she said no. [laughs]

Eric: Oh.

Micah: She said Robert will take care of that.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Kevin: Yes.

Eric: Kevin, by season three, do you mean you’re on Tennant now? Or did you go way…

Kevin: Yes.

Eric: Oh, okay. Cool.

Mikey: You’re new Doctor. You’re not going back to…

Kevin: New, yeah.

Mikey: …Season 1…

Kevin: But…

Mikey: …old, old Doctor Who.

Kevin: Yeah, I started with what Amazon suggested, which was…

Mikey: Season 1 of…

Kevin: …the new series, I guess.

Eric: Yeah.

Mikey: The new series, yeah. It’s good.

Eric: I’ve been told to start with Eccleston. I think I will rewatch, but…

Mikey: I like Eccleston, but honestly if you want to catch up now, you can probably just start after Tennant, even though Tennant was my favorite Doctor. You can start with Matt Smith.

Andrew: All right.

Eric: Oh, wow.

Mikey: Because… yeah. They basically… when Tennant moved on, they basically redid the whole thing so you can actually skip those previous four seasons if you want.

Eric: Fascinating.

Andrew: Guys, you know Hypable…

Ben: Doctor Who death.

Andrew: …does have a Doctor Who-Cast.

Mikey: I know.

Andrew: You can join that one if you want to talk about that. [laughs]

Mikey: I know. You want me to talk about Star Wars, too? I mean…

Andrew: [laughs] No. Micah, what else is going on?


News: Warner Bros. and Universal Orlando Announce Celebration of Harry Potter Event


Micah: Warner Bros. and Universal have announced their own Harry Potter con…

Andrew: What!

[Eric laughs]

Micah: …at the Wizarding World Orlando. I guess they finally caught on to this thing that’s been going on for the last couple of years.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: It’s going to be on January 24th of next year and a lot of cool things going on. This is not too different. They did something similar to this in the past, didn’t they?

Andrew: Yes, it was called Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration.

Micah: That’s what Eric went to.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. That was a little different, but it wasn’t that much different. But it was, because of the public’s access to it. This is for the public and what’s similar is that a ton of actors… have they released the list yet…

Andrew: No.

Eric: …of who’s going to be there?

Andrew: No.

Eric: Okay. A series of members of the cast and crew will be on site and accessible through different ways, on site, at the Wizarding World theme park during this convention. For the Home Entertainment Celebration, it was more of a press event. There were several, I guess, local fans who were able to kind of stand behind in a separate area of the red carpet, but they did a red carpet thing to celebrate all the films being out on home video, on DVD.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: But this was very reminiscent of that, you’re right, just because it’s the idea of having a VIP event in the park like only Universal can really pull off and schedule because it’s their park.

Andrew: Right, and… yeah, exactly. They have things here. They’re going to have Q&A sessions, a Harry Potter film tribute, which I don’t know what that is, a wand master class with Paul Harris, one of the wand guys from the movies who, I guess, taught the actors how to move their wands…

Ben: Are you going to that class, Andrew?

Andrew: Yeah, I love wands. Mhm. Early park admission, breakfast at the Three Broomsticks, a private evening event. And I suspect, if I…

Ben: What does that mean? Private evening event.

Andrew: It’s like the ones that’s been at the other Harry Potter cons. The…

Micah: Do you bring your wand to that?

Andrew: [laughs] Yes.

Ben: So, it’s roped off like a VIP?

Andrew: [laughs] I don’t know. In fact…

Eric: The park has its normal business hours of operation and then I’m certain that this would be after those hours. They would close the park…

Andrew: Right.

Ben: Hmm.

Eric: …to those outside guests and then just the ones who are going to this could attend.

Andrew: Right.

Ben: How many people are they… is it as many people…

Andrew: Allowing?

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: It says… no, it’s limited. There’s a certain amount of tickets for the reserved areas for the Q&As and whatnot. I mean, this is a cool idea. Like we said, they already did one of these before. A lot of people are comparing this to – Mikey is going to know this – a Star Wars Celebration it’s called?

Mikey: Yup. The different Star Wars Celebrations?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, Mikey gets to talk about Star Wars. Tell us more.

[Andrew, Eric, and Mikey laugh]

Mikey: Who would have guessed, right?

Eric: What’s the Star Wars Celebration? What is that?

Mikey: Well, the original celebrations actually came out with the release of the new films – one, two, and three.

Eric: Okay. Yeah.

Mikey: And so they’ve kept it ongoing with anniversaries of the films. Basically, the Star Wars Celebrations are kind of like Comic Con but all Star Wars based.

Eric: Hmm.

Mikey: So, there’s always panels with actors and everything. You could… like at Comic Con, you can buy your signature from the actor of your choice and stuff like that.

Ben: Oh, okay. So, these are the things that have been keeping that Mark Hamill guy – is that his name – employed, right?

Mikey: Except he’s the Joker in all the Batman cartoons.

Eric: He does a ton of voice-over work.

Mikey: Yeah.

Ben: Wait…

Eric: Is that Disney or Universal that does this Disney… the Star Wars things?

Andrew: Well, Disney…

Mikey: It’s Lucasfilm. It was actually Lucasfilm for the longest time, and they also… what was really cool about Lucasfilm doing these celebration things, it’s kind of what I think I hope Warner Bros. is going to do with Harry Potter and Universal is going to do. It’s going to encourage fan productions. One of the great things about the celebrations is that they even did Star Wars fan film festivals.

Eric: Hmm.

Mikey: And Lucasfilm gave away awards for the different fan films and different things like that. And I hope that they’ll kind of push Harry Potter to do stuff like this, too, because it’s a great fandom to be in.

Andrew: The timing of this is also set for the fact that it’s going to be a slow time, it’s the winter months. So, they’ll pull some extra traffic in during this typically slow period for the park. Not to mention, a lot of people know that the Diagon Alley expansion is going to be happening in the following summer, so a lot of people may be like, “Well, we’re just going to wait for that to open before we go.” I suspect that… if I were a betting man, they will probably announce…

Mikey: There it is. There it is.

Andrew: They will announce something at this Harry Potter Celebration. So when you go there, they’ll preview some rides or the new rides or something like that.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: By the way…

Micah: I would be surprised… oh, I was just going to say, if you start getting invites, MuggleNet starts getting invites, I would think that that would be a tell-tale sign that they’re going to reveal something…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …about the park.

Andrew: Breaking news for this story as well. I have been signed on to attend… I will be talking about my Tower of Falling Dumbledore ride concept and petitioning for that to be created there.

Eric: Wow. Okay.

Andrew: Yeah. Mhm. It will be a half hour Q&A. You can ask me anything and everything about it. Tickets are now on sale.

Micah: How does that work? Do you ride Dumbledore as he falls down?

Andrew: Well, no. Picture the Tower of Terror at Disney World.

[Mikey laughs]

Andrew: Tower of Terror at Disney World, right?

Micah: Okay.

Andrew: So, you get strapped on to Dumbledore’s back and you kind of go up the tower…

[Mikey laughs]

Eric: Does this answer your question, or is it just raising more questions than it’s answering?

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Why did he have to fall from the tower? I don’t understand that.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: He didn’t have to… that didn’t kill him. He was already dead, right?

Mikey: “Severus. Please.”

Andrew: He was going to die anyway. [laughs] To quote the previous MuggleCast episode.

Eric: I just won bingo! [laughs] We referenced all the little things from our past.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Enough for me to win the card.

Andrew: What else is going on in the news? What other big story, Micah? What could it be?


News: Pottermore Announces New Design and Features


Micah: Pottermore. [laughs] The last time we’ll ever talk about it on this podcast.

Andrew: [laughs] You think? Could this be the last time?

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I highly doubt that. I highly doubt it. But they did some big changes. They overhauled the homepage with a brand new design, and they implemented this new Story Navigator feature, which really changes the way that users interface and use the website, and I actually like it to be honest with you. I checked it out not too long ago.

Andrew: Well, yeah, the big deal about this is that you no longer have to go through every single Moment. You can just skip around and be wherever you want to be. So, when new chapters come out… let’s say you just joined Pottermore today. You can go straight in and jump straight to the Sorting Hat. You don’t have to do all that crap beforehand.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: And that’s what a lot of people were asking for. They didn’t want to go through all this stuff to get to the Sorting Hat. Just sort me so I can leave! [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. Well, that stuff happens in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, I think, getting your wand and getting sorted and all that stuff. It was stressful to go through and not be able to get sorted right away.

Ben: But see, it was supposed to be rewarding when you finally got sorted because…

Eric: That’s true.

Ben: …you worked through all of that. You know what this reminds me of? The special features on the first DVD.

[Eric laughs]

Ben: Do you remember how God awful those were?

Andrew: Yeah.

Kevin: That was awful.

Ben: You had to… it was like freakin’ reading Chinese for me. I didn’t…

Eric: True story, Ben. Last month, I had to look up… and God bless Google Cache for looking at older websites. I had to look up how to break into the special features of my Sorcerer’s Stone DVD because I couldn’t win the tap-the-bricks mini scene there.

Ben: Yeah.

Eric: So, I found it…

Andrew: Yeah, that was a pain.

Eric: …I got them, but it took a while.

Andrew: So, Pottermore is trying to change. They’re doing these changes. I think that was the biggest stuff that they’re revealing over the next few months. We’ll see if they announce anything else.

Micah: Yeah. They wrapped…

Andrew: Yeah?

Micah:Prisoner of Azkaban though, didn’t they?

Andrew: Right.

Micah: It’s now done.

Andrew: Right. I want to talk about this theory briefly. Micah and Eric, please stop me if I’ve talked about this already, my theory about the Harry Potter encyclopedia not happening until Pottermore is finished.

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: Have I talked about that?

Eric: No.

Andrew: Oh, really? Well, just briefly, I think we are not going to see a Harry Potter encyclopedia by JK Rowling until Pottermore has released all of its chapters, because Sony seems to have a stronghold over JK Rowling and talking about anything with the encyclopedia. You guys may remember when she revamped her website last year, she inadvertently announced that she was working on the encyclopedia.

Eric: Oh. [laughs]

Andrew: And then we all caught wind of it, we all wrote about it on our websites, and then a couple of days later, they updated the blurb and she took out all mentions of an encyclopedia and said, “I’m just really enjoying working on Pottermore right now, ha ha ha!”

[Eric laughs]

Ben: This is shady.

Andrew: It was. Here, I’ll give you… these are the exact quotes. I dug these up the other day. She had said, this was what was originally on the site:

“For a long time I have been promising an encyclopedia of Harry’s world, and I have started work on this now – some of it forms the new content in Pottermore. It is likely to be a time-consuming job, but when finished I shall donate all royalties to charity.”

So that’s a clear statement, Harry Potter encyclopedia book, because she’s going to be donating the royalties to charity. There’s no royalties involved with Pottermore. So, I guess… no, it’s probably not. And then it changed to this a few days later:

“I have been enjoying sharing information about Harry’s world on Pottermore for free, and don’t have any firm plans to publish it in book form.”

That was it.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Yeah, somebody screwed up.

Eric: Wow.

Micah: Fire that web producer.

Andrew: Well…

Eric: Somebody said, “Take that back, Jo!”

Andrew: Well, yeah, I think Pottermore saw this and said, “Wait a second, don’t take the attention off of Pottermore. It’s all about us right now.” So, I suspect we’re not going to see it until Deathly Hallows is out on Pottermore.

Eric: I will say, too, we give a lot of… some flack sometimes for talking about Pottermore, but you know what? I haven’t been able to keep up with all of the special new environments that are happening at Pottermore at PlayStation Home for PlayStation 3.

Andrew: Nobody cares about that.

Eric: No, I’m serious! I really do care about it.

Micah: Are you getting paid by PlayStation?

Andrew: [laughs] I know. You’ve talked about it so much.

Eric: No, no, no! It’s Pottermore. I did this review for it. This was ages ago when there were only three areas. There are now like ten areas you can go to.

Andrew: Cool.

Eric: You can go to class, you can go to Hogwarts, you can ride the train. I’m telling you guys, Pottermore itself is updating faster than I can keep an eye on it…

Andrew: All right.

Eric: …and also Pottermore PlayStation Home. So I just have to say, I am really excited to go try that whenever I can, and…

Andrew: And, once again, Pottermore PlayStation Home. That’s Pottermore, P-O-T-T… who’s read The Cuckoo’s Calling?

Micah: Well, just before you go, I know we’ve done our fair share of analyzing Pottermore, over… really since it’s been released, but there is some really cool information on Lupin towards the end of Prisoner of Azkaban.

Andrew: Yes.

Micah: So, I would encourage people to go and read it. It’s probably the most in-depth information that we’ve gotten from JK Rowling in Pottermore, just in terms of how long the entry is. So we do make fun of it and have our jabs at it from time to time, but I do think it’s still a great resource because, Andrew, you pointed out, this may be the only place we get this information for the next couple of years.

Andrew: Yeah, and actually that information about Lupin, there’s a bunch of stuff on his relationship with Tonks as well that is all new, and I purposefully wrote up an article on Hypable just about that new info because I knew people are so… people love Lupin so much, and the article was really popular. So if you don’t want to log into Pottermore, you can just go to Hypable and read it.

Eric: Well, there you go.

Ben: Oh, that’s the fifth Hypable plug…

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: No, it’s not!

Ben: …and we’re not even past page one.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Come on.

Eric: Well, while we’re plugging things and while we’re on the subject…

Micah: Can you learn about The Cuckoo’s Calling on Hypable, too?

Andrew: Yeah, we cover everything.

Micah: Oh.

Eric: …the Remus backstory was analyzed by another one of the Harry Potter podcasts out there called Alohomora! They did a special episode last week where they looked through the Remus stuff as well. I wasn’t on that episode, so it’s okay for me to plug it.

Andrew: [laughs] Okay, so…

Micah: No, if you were on it, then I would understand you plugging it.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Well, I’m on that podcast now full time, so besides that episode. So, I can plug it then.


The Cuckoo’s Calling Discussion


Andrew: Let’s talk about The Cuckoo’s Calling. This is JK Rowling’s second book after the Harry Potter books. We all know about it already. Who’s finished reading it?

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: Just me?

Kevin: I haven’t even started it.

Ben: I’ve just had it saved, you know?

Andrew: Well, okay, I’ve actually finished reading it, and one wise alec by the way, I read somewhere, commented… was jabbing at me because they were like, oh, Andrew finally finished an adult JK Rowling Potter… or adult JK Rowling book?

Eric: Oh, gosh.

Andrew: Yeah, I did.

Ben: Implying that you only read children’s books.

Andrew: Well, no, because I stopped reading Casual Vacancy because I didn’t like it.

Ben: Oh.

Andrew: I think that had something to do with that.

Ben: Was it too complex for you?

Andrew: No, actually, Ben, but I enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling very much. It had pictures, which made it easy for me to get through.

Ben: Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Pictures? I haven’t seen any pictures.

Eric: Well, they don’t have a picture version.

Ben: Andrew only watches TV shows and stuff that have a little bouncing ball on the words across the bottom.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Right. Karaoke videos.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: No, but The Cuckoo’s Calling, it’s much more to JK Rowling’s writing abilities. Being a… her writing a mystery, much better, I thought, than The Casual Vacancy because it just plays into her strengths more as an author. I enjoyed the entire book. It was a really great twist at the end. However, it was a bit of an info dump, I guess you could say. It just… everything kind of unraveled at once, and it’s just pages and pages of explanation. [laughs]

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: It could have been spread out a little bit more.

Micah: It’s interesting that you say that because I’m about maybe 300 pages into the book and I just feel like more needs to happen faster. It’s just… they take so much time building up this detective sort of interviewing each of the people that are… not really considered suspects because the investigation is closed, but…

Ben: Well, Micah, you’ve got to appreciate the buildup so that you can appreciate the climax.

[Micah laughs]

Ben: And then the dénouement, the resolution, et cetera.

Micah: That’s a great point, Ben.

Andrew: Well, you…

Eric: Well, I’m about a hundred pages in and I…

Andrew: Oh, that’s nothing.

Eric: No, he’s only started…

Mikey: I’m only 40 pages in. I only started it this week.

Eric: What was that, Micah? Mikey?

Mikey: I only started it this week, but I… the first bit of it because I read it a long time ago on the free part for iBooks, but what I liked about it was that first chapter was all about…

Ben: Hey…

Mikey: It reminded me of Sunset Boulevard.

Eric: Yeah. [laughs]

Mikey: Sunset Boulevard, the movie. It starts with the murder.

Ben: Hey! Whoa!

Andrew: What?

Ben: I’m still on the title page. I haven’t even…

[Everyone laughs]

Mikey: He’s looking at the picture, still.

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: Oh, that girl is pretty.

Eric: I do fully intend to finish reading it, unlike Casual Vacancy.

Ben: I do, too.

Eric: I really do want to finish reading it. I’m glad you finished, that’s really cool.

Andrew: Yeah, I did it all by myself.

Eric: Well, it gives me hope, is all I’m saying.

Andrew: It was just… I thought… going against what Micah said, I thought it actually moved at a great pace and I found it interesting to hear from all these different characters as Strike – that’s the lead character – is interviewing them. And him and his assistant, Robin, I think they have a very fun chemistry to read. By the way, JK Rowling has said she already finished writing book number two. So…

Eric: Yeah.

Ben: Yay!

Eric: The Cormoran Strike series.

Micah: But…

Ben: Honestly, I can’t wait to read it because… actually, I want to re-read the Harry Potter series because I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve re-read the books and it’s kind of like there’s a movie that you’ve watched a ton of times and then you wait a few years and watch it again, you’re like, “Oh, yeah! That’s why this movie was so awesome!”

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: I doubt when they win the Quidditch Cup in Prisoner of Azkaban I’ll be jumping on my bed like I was 13…

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: …but I want to recapture the magic.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Well, it’s funny that we’re talking about that, not just because the new books are coming out, but also regarding The Cuckoo’s Calling and Harry Potter, I know this from Chris Rankin on Twitter, the actor who played Percy Weasley in the films, he says that the location, the geographical location in London, for Cormoran Strike, the detective, his office is actually David Heyman’s office, Heyday Films’ headquarters where a lot of those actors went to audition for their parts in Harry Potter.

Micah: Wait, so he’s saying that David Heyman sleeps in his office?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: No, no, no, no, no, no. The sleeping in their office thing is probably purely – or possibly, doubtfully – a Cormoran Strike-only thing, but that is the office location for Heyday Films. So, it’s a little nod by JK Rowling back to either Harry Potter or David Heyman.

Andrew: Okay…

Micah: Strike reminds me a lot of Mad-Eye Moody.

Andrew: He does! Yeah, you’re right, actually. And there was something about him that is very similar to Mad-Eye. Very similar. A couple of things.

Eric: His leg.

Andrew: Oh! Now, why would you spoil that?

Eric: Oh, oh, oh. You can edit it out.

Andrew: No, it’s all right. It’s too late. I want everybody to…

Micah: You can’t edit it out of Mikey and Ben’s ears.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Kevin: What about me? [laughs]

Eric: I don’t think it’s the big reveal.

Micah: And Kevin’s.

Ben: Kevin’s.

Eric: Kevin, you’re the one who read Deathly Hallows before it came out, [laughs] so I don’t feel too bad.

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

MuggleCast 269 Transcript (continued)


Listener Rebuttal: Film Actors Doing Theatre Work


Andrew: Okay, we have a Listener Rebuttal here. Who wants to read it?

Ben: Rebuttal? I want to read it.

Eric: Oh, I miss these segments. Listener Rebuttals, do you guys remember these?

Ben: Sweet…

Andrew: Yeah, I miss them.

Ben: …sweet, sweet Caroline says:

“Hey, MuggleCasters!

First of all, I have been a listener of the show for six years, and thank you so much for an amazing podcast! I have really enjoyed listening to MuggleCast over the years, and although I am sad to see my favorite podcast go, I wish you all luck in the future.

Second, I was just listening to Episode 268, and you guys were discussing Rupert Grint and wondering if it was common for movie actors to do theatre after being famous. It is not uncommon for some famous actors to spend some time in the theatre after they’re famous; it’s not just a ‘Harry Potter’ actor thing. A few recent examples are Emilia Clarke, Jane Lynch, Jeff Goldblum, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Hanks. Just thought you might like to know.

Thanks!

Caroline, 19, Clemson, South Carolina”

Micah: It’s difficult…

Ben: Wow, I wish I had been on this episode because…

Mikey: I know.

Ben: …I could have told you guys off.

[Eric laughs]

Mikey: You know what I really like about that rebuttal is it’s not really a rebuttal, it’s a statement that Andrew was wrong. I mean, that’s what happened.

Andrew: No, there was nothing wrong that we did. All… [laughs] we were wondering if it was common for movie actors to do theatre.

Ben: No, you’re just feeding people misinformation, dude.

[Eric laughs]

Mikey: I know. You’re like, “It’s only a Harry Potter thing,” is what I got from that.

Eric: I will step in for Andrew because I think it was pretty much me who said it, too, anyway, that we were relying on the intellect of our listeners to give us more information than we had presently at the time of recording, and that is exactly what has just happened. Thank you, Caroline.

Mikey: Eric, you have Google in front of you.


Listener Rebuttal: Episode 219


Andrew: And here is a major throwback. This is from Thea. She says:

“Hello, I was just listening to Episode 219. I realized that a female host could have added so much insight into the show! Oh well, this episode was made in 2010.”

[Eric and Kevin laugh]

Andrew: Full disclosure, Eric Scull added that in. I don’t know why.

Eric: Oh, I added that… oh, it was because it was a rebuttal as well, but it was kind of…

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, but it was from 2010!

Eric: I’m just trying to group them together. Leave no email unread is my policy.

Micah: Well, what was… since you put it in here, what was Episode 219?

Eric: I looked it up, actually. I put that in there, too. It was “A Progressive Castle.” I don’t know what it was actually talking about, but apparently it was an all guys…

Micah: There weren’t show notes?

Eric: Yeah, I have to…

Kevin: You didn’t listen to the whole episode?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I would have to look… it was called “A Progressive Castle.”

Andrew: Well, judging by that title, we probably talked about gay rights at Hogwarts or something.

Eric: It was… let me look at it. I’ll tell you in a moment here.

Ben: Oh, and we probably totally missed women’s rights at Hogwarts, didn’t we?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Probably something like that.

Ben: Yeah. Whoops.

Andrew: It was from January 23rd…

Ben: Sorry.

Andrew: …2011. We spoke about Chapters 21 through 23 of Goblet of Fire, so…

Eric: Oh. That doesn’t sound so mind blowing, but yeah.


Anti-Jokes


Andrew: On the last episode of MuggleCast, Jamie was actually on, Episode 268, and he introduced us to anti-jokes.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And it kind of bombed.

[Andrew, Eric, and Mikey laugh]

Eric: It was supposed to.

Micah: But that’s the point, though.

Eric: That’s the point of anti-jokes.

Andrew: But then why even do it if it’s going to bomb? Anyway, Allie… several of our listeners sent in anti-joke suggestions after we requested them.

Eric: Per Jamie’s request. Yeah.

Andrew: Allie sent in this one:

“Why did the plane crash? Because its pilot was a loaf of bread.”

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: See?

[Mikey laughs]

Andrew: See, aren’t these dumb?

[Ben laughs]

Andrew: These are the worst jokes ever. Allie says…

Mikey: No…

Andrew: Allie says:

“For some reason, that one gets me every time.”

Eric: Let’s just listen…

Ben: Once they marinate a bit, then I think they’re funny.

[Eric laughs]

Ben: But initially, it’s just like, “What?”

Mikey: Can we analyze this one, please?

[Eric laughs]

Mikey: Analyze this. So if a plane crashed, it’s because the pilot was a loaf of bread. Bread doesn’t have arms!

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: That explains why it crashed.

Andrew: I can see why you appreciate it, Mikey.

Mikey: [laughs] Bread doesn’t have arms.

Andrew: This next one is from Daniel. Now, he prefaces this by at least admitting that it’s terrible. The joke is:

“Two oranges are rolling down a hill. One says to the other, ‘Where do you live?’ The other replies, ‘I’m not telling you, you might steal my washing.'”

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: Okay? See, these are the worst things on the planet. This is worse than any podcast we’ve ever done ever.

[Eric laughs]

Ben: I like this next one, though. This is a good one.

Andrew: Go ahead.

Ben: [continues]

“Anti-joke: What’s orange and tastes like an orange? An orange.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Ben: Oh! That is clever!

Micah: What’s with Anna and Daniel both using oranges? Are they common in anti-jokes?

Eric: I think oranges are the center of the time-space continuum, and anti-jokes in particular have to revolve around them in order to be anti-jokes.

Mikey: It’s the citric acid.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Mikey: It’s the compound in citric acid that causes the anti-joke.

Eric: There you go.

Ben: Eric, you are an anti-joke. I’m just kidding.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Wow!

Mikey: Eric, I like anti-jokes.

[Ben laughs]

Eric: I like you, too.


Special Messages from Jamie and Laura


Andrew: Like I mentioned earlier, we have messages from Laura and Jamie. They couldn’t make it today. They really both wanted to, but they just couldn’t because of our recording time. So…

Micah: That’s not acceptable.

Andrew: Let’s listen to… [laughs] you’re right, forget about this!

Micah: It’s the last episode. You know what? Man up!

Ben: This is awesome, though. We get to heckle them without them being here. So…

Micah: That’s true.

Andrew: Well, yeah, so here we go.

Jamie: Hello, everyone! I’m sorry I can’t be there on this final regular episode of MuggleCast. The way I’m recording this feels to me like one of those films where they put a videotape on, and there’s a person in slippers and a dressing gown, sitting by the fire, and he says, “If you’re seeing this then I’m already dead.” But no, I’m sorry I can’t be there. It’s because I’m going on holiday tomorrow for a week and they’re recording it brilliantly right when I’m away, so sorry. I hope everyone enjoys the final episode. It feels like a very long time, a lifetime – in a good way – since we’ve started recording the show. Some incredible things have happened. We’ve met some incredible people, we’ve done some really enjoyable things, and we’ve had a laugh and really enjoyed all the things we’ve talked about. There’s been some incredible analysis and jokes – those would be my favorite part of it, probably – and I’d just like to say thanks very much for everyone who has tuned in over the years, especially the regular listeners who have been with us right from the very beginning or from an early stage. Without you, we wouldn’t have got to this episode now. I’m not sure which one this is. Is this 267? 268? But there’s no way we’d be even close to this if it wasn’t for you, so thank you very much. This is not going to be the end. Is there ever going to be a proper end? I don’t think so. This is just the end, obviously, of the regular ones, so I’m hoping to come back when we do a new one soon for a special announcement or some new book came out or JK Rowling has been unmasked as Edward Snowden or something like this, some incredible story. So, I hope to catch everyone soon and enjoy this final episode. Take care. Buh-bye.

Laura: Hey, guys. It’s Laura. I just wanted to record a little something to offer my final thoughts for our last episode of MuggleCast. First of all, please excuse me for sounding like a total frog. I’m recovering from a really nasty chest cold right now. So anyway, even though it breaks my heart not to be able to record the final show with everyone today, I’m so looking forward to hearing the episode when it comes out. I figured a big portion of tonight’s show would be looking back at our favorite moments since the show started all that time ago, and I’d like to share with you a couple of mine. The live show in Las Vegas in 2006 was my first live show, and I feel far enough removed from that day to admit that I was sweating bullets when I realized how many people were going to be in that room watching us. I was literally shaking when I took my seat at the table, but then the audience cheered so loud when I suggested that Snape was in love with Lily that I forgot about my fears and was able to let loose a bit and actually enjoy that moment. Up until that point, our listener base was just a number on the screen to me, and intellectually I knew there were a ton of you, but it wasn’t until I was lucky enough to interact with the incredibly kindhearted and enthusiastic people in the audience that day that I realized just what an effect this show had on both the audience and ourselves. My other favorite memory is of going to London for the Deathly Hallows release in 2007. Aside from the obvious reason of getting my hands on the book and having the opportunity to travel, I love looking back on this trip because there was such a camaraderie amongst all of us staying in that tiny little hotel room, propped up on our pillows, reading at lightning speed to try and beat each other to the end. I knew I had good friends in my fellow co-hosts, but there was something so incredibly familiar and comfortable about that atmosphere that really made it feel like home, and I know it’s because of the people I was sharing the experience with. Andrew, Jamie, Eric, and Kevin were also nice enough to only laugh at me a little bit for crying when Hedwig died, which I thought was pretty diplomatic. Overall, though, there are so many reasons why MuggleCast has been an amazing part of all our lives. I started doing this show when I was sixteen, and that’s an age where you’re so desperately trying to figure out who you are and where you’re going. It’s safe to say that my experience on the show led me to discover interests I may not have ever known I had, and I think it’s what ultimately started me down the path towards becoming a teacher. It’s definitely a bittersweet moment to say goodbye to the show, but the show and its success and longevity are a testament to the amazing things all of the hosts are doing and will continue to do as we grow older. And that’s true of the listeners, too. Being passionate enough to produce a show means nothing unless there are people passionate enough to listen, and to all of our listeners, I can’t thank you enough for giving myself and everyone else on this show a voice. You guys are all awesome and will always, always have a special place in my heart. Take care.

Andrew: Thank you, Laura and Jamie, for both of those messages. It was nice to hear from them one last time. Of course they’ll be invited on for future episodes if we do that for whatever reason.

Eric: We have a question about that actually, Andrew.

Andrew: Oh! Okay, here…

Eric: Perfect transition.


Listener Rebuttal/What If?


Eric: Right here on this listener rebuttal, and this is actually… the reason it came after the other listener rebuttals is because it turns into a “What If?” segment.

Andrew: Okay, so this comes from Becky from Australia. She writes:

“Thank you for eight awesome years of podcasting! I’ve been listening since April 2006, when I was 14, and I’m very sad that the show is ending. I love all of you, except Andrew.”

Wow! Okay.

[Ben laughs]

Andrew: [continues]

“I have a couple of questions…”

Why would this be included?

“I have a couple of questions for you, and an idea for a segment.

Last month you were discussing the similarities discovered by linguistic computers between ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling,’ ‘The Casual Vacancy,’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,’ which confirmed that JK Rowling is Robert Galbraith. Do you think that if the entire ‘Harry Potter’ series was examined by these linguistic computers, they would find the significant parallels between Books 1 and 7, 2 and 6, and 3 and 5?

My other question is, what is your plan for future discussions about ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ and its sequels? Have you been covering this on Hype…”

Oh, she’s referring to the podcast on Hypable.com, boys.

“…or will you release special episodes of MuggleCast to discuss the future books and other ‘Cuckoo’ news…”

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Micah: Wait, you have another website?

Eric: Oh, the…

Andrew: No, it’s okay. It’s okay. I don’t need this listener to hate me anymore.

Eric: No, no, no, no. Andrew, you’ve been bluffed. Or you’ve been hoodwinked here.

Andrew: Oh!

Eric: Becky actually said… and this may have been Kevin, who was trying to get out of reading this. Think I should just slam you, Kevin, [laughs] but whatever. It originally said: “I love all of you, especially Andrew.”

Andrew: Ah!

Ben: Yeah, I actually changed that to “except.”

Eric: Oh, it was Ben. Okay.

Ben: Yeah.

Eric: I messed up.

Kevin: So, you blame me…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Well, you know, you didn’t want to read it! I don’t know.

Andrew: [laughs] Okay, so to answer her questions – that’s a good question. Using the linguistics experts to see if there are similarities, I would guess no. Linguistic experts wouldn’t be able to see similarities between 1 and 7, 2 and 6, 3 and 5, because that’s more about the words.

Mikey: Well, they would see it between all the books…

Ben: Yeah.

Mikey: …because it’s the same style.

Eric: The plots are similar.

Ben: Because they’re linguistic experts. It’s not about the plot, it’s about the way in which she uses her linguistics…

Andrew: Right, but they would all be the same across all seven books, I think.

Ben: And The Cuckoo’s Calling

Mikey: Yeah.

Ben: …and…

Mikey: The Casual Vacancy.

Ben: The Casual Vacancy, yeah.

Andrew: Mhm.

Ben: It’s like a forensics thing.

Micah: Isn’t that what John Granger does?

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Doesn’t he analyze that kind of stuff?

Eric: Yeah, it’s a literary structure called ring theory – it’s one of the options – and he’s got a lot of evidence stating that JK Rowling has subscribed to this in the past. It’s about tying books or series with multiple installments together using a sort of internal referencing system. It kind of ends up being built into our culture, the way certain things relate to each other, like the beginning and the end tie in to each other and all that other stuff. So, it’s kind of exciting. But I think if a linguistic computer were to analyze it, they would find… it’s kind of two different functions. One wants to determine if these two supposedly separate authors were the same based on how they set up their sentences basically, I guess it would be. And then plots, even though they are similar and may have similar things that happen in them, like a rising action and falling action, I think those are… the words that JK Rowling used to describe each of those was different enough for us that I don’t think a computer would pick it up.

Andrew: And then about the question, what are we going to do about covering Cuckoo’s Calling? You know, we’ll play that by ear on MuggleCast. And I know everybody is hating on me for plugging Hypable, but yeah, we do cover it on Hypable. Sorry. Make your own Cuckoo’s Calling site.

Eric: Look, it’s okay, Andrew. Becky loves you! Remember…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: …this is an “especially Andrew” not an “except Andrew.”

Andrew: I’m waiting for somebody to make StrikeNet.

Eric: StrikeNet?

Andrew: Yeah. That’s a cool name, right?

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So, we will play all future Harry Potter and Cuckoo’s Calling and other JK Rowling book news by ear. Time will tell. Thank you, Becky, for your email.

Micah: She does have a “What If?” there at the end.

Andrew: Oh, okay. What if…

Micah: It says…

Andrew: Go ahead.

Micah: [continues]

“Finally, the segment. I’d like to hear each of your answers to the following question: If you could live in just one ‘Harry Potter’ book (as in, live through Harry’s year at Hogwarts in that book, but not necessarily be Harry), which book would you choose, and why? And would you like to be Harry, or another character, or just yourself?”

Andrew: Book 1, because everything is just pleasant.

Kevin: [laughs] I was just going to say that.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Kevin: That’s exactly the reason. Because you wouldn’t want the school blowing up around you while you were going to school.

[Eric and Kevin laugh]

Andrew: And not to mention, being prepared to die. I’m not ready to die.

Eric: So, you guys would choose just an uninterrupted swell year at Hogwarts?

Kevin: Basically.

Eric: In its prime. Yeah, I think that’s probably the right way to go. The safe way to go.

Ben: I would do Year 3.

Micah: Yeah, I agree.

Ben: That would be the year.

Eric: But who would you be? That’s the second part of the…

Ben: Filch.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I don’t think Filch ever had an easy year.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: No, he didn’t. Poor Filch. No, I would be… I mean, who wouldn’t want to be Harry? It’s like…

Andrew: Especially with the Time-Turner.

Ben: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Ben: And then he had never had a legitimate father figure, and Remus and Sirius are both introduced.

Andrew: Mhm.

Ben: So, that was a good time for Harry.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: I think Andrew would want to live in Book 4 and be the egg that Harry takes to the bath with him.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That is a great idea. I’m changing my answer.

[Ben laughs]

Eric: Mikey?

Mikey: I’ve been thinking about this right now. Probably Year 5. I know we had Umbridge, but I’d want to be one of the twins.

Andrew: And Micah, did you…

Ben: Which one?

Andrew: [laughs] Which one.

Ben: Is Fred dead or George?

Andrew: Fred!

Eric: Fred dies.

Ben: Okay.

Andrew: Fred, dead! It rhymes!

Ben: That’s what I thought. That’s what I thought.

[Mikey laughs]

Eric: If it was Year 5 though, and presuming you could just disappear for a year, come back, and the year would end. You could be either one.

Andrew: And…

Mikey: Yeah, it would be Year 5 just because of the rebellion, you know? The rebellion… [unintelligible]

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: And Micah?

Micah: I agree with Ben. I think probably Year 3.

Andrew: Oh. I thought you were going to say the egg with Harry in the tub.

Micah: No, that’s all you, buddy.

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]


Ben’s Top Ten Reasons Why a MuggleCast Reunion Might Happen


Andrew: So, Ben, you have created a Top Ten list in honor of the final episode?

Ben: Yes I have, as a matter of fact. I’m very… I was so excited to do this final episode. Not because it’s over, which is actually kind of what the list is about.

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Ben: The Top Ten Reasons a MuggleCast Reunion Might – might – Happen.

[Andrew and Mikey laugh]

Eric: Woo!

Ben: Number ten: Spielerman Eric Scull simply can’t stop spieling…

[Andrew and Mikey laugh]

Ben: …and proceeds to write a series of exhaustive emails until Andrew can’t take it anymore and pleads with all of the co-hosts to come back, just to get Eric off his back.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: What do you guys think of that one?

[Mikey laughs]

Micah: That’s most likely so far.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It might happen. Why is it number ten?

Mikey: I know, why is it number ten there?

Eric: There better be nine better ones.

Ben: Number nine: JK Rowling finally learns who Micah Tannenbaum is…

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Ben: …and is so upset that she ever pissed him off that she writes him a letter personally.

[Andrew, Kevin, and Mikey laugh]

Ben: Number eight: Pottergate! JK Rowling sex tape leaks.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: Number seven: Investigative reporting from National Security Agency journalist Glenn Greenwald reveals that there actually is a real wizarding world, and the reason JK Rowling made so much money off of the franchise is because she took a payoff from the Death Eaters to spin the tale to the Muggles that the Order and Harry and company actually won.

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: Interesting.

Ben: Number six: Mikey Bouchereau is crowned the World’s Smartest Man by Stephen Hawking.

[Andrew and Mikey laugh]

Ben: Number five: The same reason that every rock band from the mid-70s was back together for a reunion by the mid-90s – we all go broke and we need the camaraderie.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Number four: A sinkhole swallows the entire Wizarding World theme park in Orlando.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Ben: Number three: A one-on-one with Laura Mallory.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: She comes back from the dead and rallies around the Tea Party and goes on a witch hunt and she’s finally willing to sit down and go toe-to-toe with the MuggleCasters.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: Number two is Pottergate: Part Two. JK Rowling finally realizes she got ripped off with Pottermore and files suit against all of the people who thought that was a good idea.

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: And number one: Because we feel like it and no theory is safe!

Andrew: Aww, that was beautiful, Ben.

Eric: Aww.

Mikey: Aww.

Andrew: Good job, good job.

[Someone applauds]

Micah: Nice job.

Andrew: I was impressed by that, actually. [laughs]

Mikey: I was, too.

Andrew: There was a lot to that.

Kevin: That Ben was legitimately funny?

[Andrew, Kevin, and Mikey laugh]

Eric: It was complicated. Things I didn’t even think about.

Andrew: Yeah, that was well thought-out. Those were things I would not have expected.

Ben: Thank you, guys.

Andrew: I liked Pottergate Number One, the JK Rowling sex tape. [laughs]

Ben: Hey, wouldn’t we come back for that?

Andrew: Yeah, but when you said that, I was thinking, “What would we even talk about?”

Eric: That would be like watching your mom, guys. Come on.

Andrew: Yeah, I would never watch that.

Eric: I would actually never watch it. No.

Andrew: I don’t want to ask Ben if he would watch it or not.

[Eric and Mikey laugh]

Eric: Let’s not pay any more attention…

Ben: Yeah, I’m not even going to comment. No comment.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Your silence is comment enough.


Muggle Mail: Thank You, MuggleCast


Andrew: Okay, let’s get to some emails and then we have some tweets. You know, of course, MuggleCast has always been about the listeners, and the listeners have been the ones who have always supported us through the years – [coughs] not JK Rowling…

[Ben laughs]

Andrew: …so let’s hear from them. Let’s turn the mike around. [laughs] This first one is from Samantha. She writes:

“Hi MuggleCast…”

[laughs] By the way, JK Rowling is never coming on the show, now that we’ve speculated about a JK Rowling sex tape.

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

Ben: Yeah.

Micah: Especially if it involves one of the MuggleCast hosts as well.

[Andrew and Mikey laugh]

Eric: Well, hang on, didn’t you promise, Micah, that there would be JK Rowling in some form on this episode?

Micah: Yeah, I did. The show is not over yet.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s still coming. It’s still coming.

Eric: You better prepare that. You better prepare that.

Andrew: This is the part of the show where we get emails from listeners, saying, “You guys need more women.”

Micah: We’re going to reveal the audio from the sex… never mind.

Andrew: No, stop it! This is pleasant! Okay, so this first email is from Samantha:

“Hi MuggleCasters,

I know you must be getting so many of these. I discovered you guys when I was sixteen and desperately waiting for ‘Deathly Hallows’ to come out. I didn’t have any friends who were into ‘Harry Potter’ [books] in high school, so MuggleNet was my refuge in those frenzied months leading up to the release. One day I gave you guys a listen and we’ve been best friends ever since. You were all there for me when I didn’t have anyone else. I celebrated Book 7 and everything that had passed and would come, with you all.

You don’t know this, but you have been with me on the darkest and most important days of my life. You were in my ears on my first day of college and when my boyfriend broke up with me. You were there every morning that I woke up when I studied abroad, and every night when I couldn’t sleep my senior year in my very own apartment. You wrote my huge final paper with me on the quad and kept me calm before commencement. You were there on the morning of my first commute to my first big girl job a few months ago.

I hope you truly know how amazing each and every one of you are and how important this has been to so many people.

I wish you all well on the many amazing endeavors that are sure to come your ways, and I eagerly look forward to the special edition of MuggleCast that will happen when Jo tweets something relevant.”

Eric: Reason eleven! Reason eleven, Ben! Jo tweets!

Andrew: [laughs]

“So, to Andrew, Ben, Jamie, Laura, Micah, Eric, Kevin, Mikey, Matt, Richard, Jerry, Andy, Elysa, and Selina…”

Phew, what an exhaustive list.

“…(shame on me if I forgot any one of you from over the years) thank you. Thank you.

All my love,

Samantha.”

That was a very nice email. Thank you, Samantha.

Ben: Wow, this reminds me of… I mentioned the rock band in the Top Ten list there and what made me think of that was the Eagles. There’s a new Eagles documentary on Showtime, and I was reading some of the reviews about it and people were debating the merits of the Eagles. And what they said, one of the things they said about the Eagles, was that you could do things while… you did things to the Eagles, like you partied with your friends or you did whatever. And what Samantha just said here about “you were in my ears on my first day of college and when my boyfriend broke up with me,” that’s some pretty powerful stuff.

Andrew: Absolutely.

Mikey: So for reunion, does that mean we’re actually going on tour again?

Andrew: [laughs] I would love to go on tour.

Ben: As long as you get the merch, Mikey.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Next email from Rosemarie:

“I was a very late ‘Potter’ adopter and I found MuggleCast after ‘Deathly Hallows’ was published. In spite of my late start, I have enjoyed your podcasts so much! I am viewed as ‘cool’ by my son’s girlfriend because of my love for all things ‘Potter.’ You ‘kids’ have produced excellent work and I look forward to those surprise MuggleCasts that may happen in the future.

Take care and all the best.”

Thank you again, Rosemarie. Very nice email. Yeah, we’ve had people of all ages listening to MuggleCast over the years. That’s something that I think surprised us at first – we didn’t know who exactly would be listening. We imagined it was people around our own ages at the time – that was like seventeen years old – and people have really grown up with the show.

Eric: Yeah, immediately we heard back from teachers who were using it in the classroom. Remember Mr. Nelson?

Andrew: Yeah, Mr. Nelson was cool too.

Ben: Yeah!

Eric: Yeah. We heard from his… he used our podcast to help teach his class. So, that was ages ago now. I hope he’s still teaching. Mr. Nelson, if you’re listening – because we do hear from our other listeners who have heard from us since day one.

Ben: This is all making me sad.

Eric: Write in, let me… well, okay then, I’ll just power through. I’ll take this one. This is from Gabriela:

“Hi MuggleCast…”

I wrote it in yellow in the doc and people think it’s hard to read, so I’m going to read it to prove them wrong, ha-ha. This is Gabriela:

“Hi MuggleCasters, I write to you to simply say thank you. When I found out about you in October 2005 I was a slightly lost, confused, nerdy, misfit thirteen-year-old girl and my life was starting to change dramatically. My mom had just died and I had to live with my older sister. Now, eight years later, she’s getting married and I pretty much have to finally step up as an adult and live on my own.

It’s funny how I found you at the beginning of a very different and strange stage of my life and I have to let you go at the beginning of another one. Nothing says to me ‘grow up’ as having to let you go. What I’m trying to say is that you got me through very difficult times and I’ll miss listening to you guys, but eventually we all have to move on. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to let you go, which is why I’ll probably still listen to old episodes from time to time, but I hope with all my heart you’ll succeed in wherever life takes you. If everything you’ve accomplished in these eight years is any indicator, I know that each and every one of you will. Even though I’ve never have and probably never will meet you, I still feel proud of how far you’ve come.

So one last time, I solemnly thank you, and in the words of the Marauders: Mischief managed! [LMFAO.]”

I don’t know if… oh.

“Mischief managed!”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: [continues]

“Greetings from Guatemala,

Gaby S.”

Andrew: Thank you, Gaby.

Ben: [laughs] I’m going to miss recording podcasts where you can mess with the show notes when somebody is reading an email. That’s what I’m going to miss.

Mikey: That’s what I was laughing at. Ben, you’re just putting all sorts of things in there.

Andrew: Thank you, Gaby. That was very nice. Next…

Ben: No, but seriously, thank you, Gaby. [laughs]

Andrew: Next email…

Ben: Can I read it? I want to read it.

Andrew: Yes. Go ahead.

Eric: We should go around. You could get some more speaking time for these guys.

Micah: I’ll do the…

Ben: “For these guys”? “These guys,” Eric? Gwendolynn Scott…

Eric: Yeah. Mikey and Ben.

Ben: …says:

“Dear MuggleCast,

I’ve been a listener of MuggleCast since the very first episode when I was a sophomore in high school. I’ve never written in before, but I figured now would be the perfect time to since I owe you guys a big thank you. During my time in high school, I was bullied severely by other students and often sought comfort with my iPod listening to MuggleCast while in my school’s graphics arts classroom. Listening to you guys talk about my favorite fandom really helped me get through those tough four years, and I continued listening to you all throughout college. I’ve graduated college and now work as a real graphic designer and I still listen to you when you put out new episodes. (Also a huge Hype After Dark fan!)”

What’s that show, Andrew?

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: [continues]

“I just needed to tell you how much MuggleCast really means to me and how much I’ve enjoyed listening over the years. You guys are the absolute best.

Love,

Gwendolynn”

Andrew: I see a common theme in these emails about how people have changed over the years. I like it.

Ben: Yeah.

Micah: It’s really impressive, inspiring, to…

Andrew: Yeah. And I mean, I have to say… I may have talked about this before, but when I was in middle school I was bullied a good amount, and that was one of the reasons I kind of became more of a recluse and started getting more involved…

Ben: A wreck? [laughs]

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, I became a wreck.

Ben: A wreck.

Andrew: And…

Eric: I was bullied, too. It’s never kind. It’s never… well, clearly. But…

Ben: Who hasn’t been bullied?

Andrew: No, no, but…

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ben: I think everyone has been bullied.

Eric: Yeah. But something like this, it’s good to know… because making this show gave me confidence. So, it’s good to know that listening to the show could give others confidence.

Andrew: Micah, next email.

Ben: Yeah.

Micah: Next email is from Kayla, and she says:

“Hey, MuggleCast! My name is Kayla, I’m 18 and from Winnipeg (that’s in Canada for all you StarKid fans out there). I’ve been listening to your podcast since about 2008 and you are most definitely my favorite podcast out there!

I just wanted to say thank you for everything you guys have done. You made my life so much better throughout my junior high and high school years. I’m so sad that you are ending, and I’m just crossing my fingers that Jo will write about the ‘Harry Potter’ world so you’ll have no choice but to come back! I’m going to have to get myself into the ‘Game of Thrones’ fandom so I can hear Micah, Eric, and Selina on Game of Owns, and Andrew, I’ll be most definitely checking out Hype! You guys should all just make a podcast together. Seriously, it can be about anything and I’ll listen.

Anyway, thank you for all your hard work and dedication over the years. I plan on listening from Episode 1 now that you guys are ending. I don’t have time to say something about everybody who has been on MuggleCast, but Andrew, thank you for being an amazing, hilarious host. You make me laugh so much. Micah, I love your voice and the news wouldn’t be the same without you, even though you were recently fired.”

Andrew: [laughs] By his own doing, by the way.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Oh yeah, I remember that. Anyway…

Eric: He’s like…

Micah: I was fired on another podcast.

“Eric, I love how you can talk and talk, and you are my favorite Hufflepuff!”

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: [continues]

“Ben, I wish you could have been on the show all the time recently because you are just the best. And Selina, I think you are so sweet and it’s nice to have that girl power on the show!

I hope you guys are all super successful in your future endeavors! Thank you for everything!

Kayla”

Ben: No, thank you, Kayla, for acknowledging that I’m the best.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: And she P.S.’s:

“I just wanted to say that tea towels (from Jamie’s British joke) are also a very Canadian thing as well. Oh, and you should sell the MuggleCast shirts again. I would buy one in a heartbeat!”

Andrew: And Warner Bros. will sue us in a heartbeat.

Ben: Ka-ching!

Eric: I was like, nowhere to go but jail.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Maybe we’ll record a podcast from jail. [laughs]

Ben: Actually, maybe we’ll have to sell underground. Right, Andrew?

Andrew: Yeah, just like last time.

Ben: M-U-G-G-L-E-C-A-S and a T.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: Mikey…

Ben: That’s Andrew’s wizard rap single.

Andrew: Right.

Ben: Google it.

Andrew: Right.

Ben: Google it.

Andrew: And the second one… okay, yeah. Well, I was just going to say the ‘N Sync reunion the other day timed nicely with my… considering my wizard rock “Bye Bye Bye” single.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Don’t let it be July.

Eric: [sings] “Don’t let it be July.”

Andrew: Mikey, would you like to read the next email?

Mikey: Sure. Why not?

Andrew: From Morgan.

Mikey: From Morgan.

“This is the first time I’m writing. My first episode was the one where Jamie proposed to Andrew (Episode 56).”

Andrew: Wow. When did that happen?

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: I thought he proposed to me, actually.

Mikey: When did that not happen? When did that not happen?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: If it happened, I would have said yes back then.

Mikey: [continues]

“I just wanted to say thank you for being a building block that made me who I am today. This might have to be a Soup for the MuggleCast Soul because it might get heavy.

When I first started listening back in sophomore year, I was seeing my first serious girlfriend. When I met her, she was being bother…”

Bother?

Andrew: Bothered.

Eric: Bothered.

Mikey: Okay. Yeah.

“…bothered by her old boyfriend. The full four years I was with her, we had to go to court to get this guy to leave her alone.

I met her the same time I started listening to MuggleCast, so MuggleCast helped me in a very dark time. When she needed a rock, I was there, but when I needed a rock, you were there for me.

A little time after, I started listening to other podcasts around the net. I found filmmaker Kevin Smith’s podcast Smodcast, Chris Hardwick’s The Nerdist, and Smart Mouths! I even started adding more of Hypable’s own podcasts like WhoHype, Onceable, and Hype! I stopped listening to music on my way to work, and instead I listen to podcasts! I started coming out of my shell, waging my nerd flag high, showing off everything I know about ‘Potter’ and more!

Podcasts became my safe haven in times of trouble. All my spare time was podcasts! High school, growing up, and the events that happened last year in my hometown of Aurora, Colorado. I even got brave enough to start my own podcast last year, Walflwrz, which had hints of both MuggleCast and Smart Mouths.

MuggleCast will always be part of my DNA. I became a better man because I decided to fall into the fandoms I love and show people that it’s not a bad thing to love TV shows, movies, comics, and where it all started, books!

Thank you so much for being the friend I needed, the family that showed me how to live, and the inspiration to become who I am.”

Thank you, Morgan. Sorry. I’m getting all teary-eyed reading these fan things.

Andrew: Aww!

Eric: Oh, gosh.

Mikey: I can’t do it.

Andrew: Thank you, Morgan. That was very nice as well. Next email, as we continue the MuggleCast therapy session.

Ben: This is from Carver Oblander:

“Dear MuggleCast,

As your final episode will be recorded today, I just wanted to share some final thoughts on your incredible run. I started listening to MuggleCast around Episode 83, when the US cover of ‘Deathly Hallows’ was released. I was in high school at the time and am now a college graduate. I’m proud to say I never missed an episode during that time. You’ve kept me company on bus rides, car rides, plane rides, and even kick scooter rides. I’ve loved the range of entertaining hosts over the years, and your coverage of ‘Harry Potter’ news is always insightful, amusing, and interesting. Your podcast has been like having on-demand Potter-obsessed friends that I can keep in my pocket.

Thanks for years of awesomeness. I will be wearing my MuggleCast shirt today!

Carver Oblander

Portland, Oregon”

Thank you, Carver. Oh, by the way, he just finished The Cuckoo’s Calling. It was fantastic. He’s looking forward to the movie and sequels.

Eric: Woo!

Andrew: Same. Oh yeah, there’s going to be a movie, too. That’ll be good.

Eric: Oh, cool.

Andrew: Kevin, do you want to read the email or shall I?

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: Kevin?

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: Kevin has left. Goodbye, Kevin. This next email is from Mike. [laughs]

“Hey MuggleCasters,

I’ve listened since day 1 way back when Book 6 was released, and I don’t usually write into the shows I listen to, but I have to thank you for the last eight years of podcasting. Listening to this podcast helped continue my love of all things ‘Potter’ and allowed me to continue the discussion of the series long after my friends wanted to talk about it.

I’ve listened to your show all over the world when I was studying abroad in college and needed something familiar to remind me of home. When I needed a distraction while studying in high school and college, my go-to was always MuggleCast. Or even when I was just walking around campus going from class to class, I would pop in some MuggleCast…”

[laughs] Like a cassette tape.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: [continues]

“…just to pass the time.

MuggleCast has led me to countless other podcasts, and I now generally choose podcasts over music while at work or at the gym, and I want to thank you for introducing me to this form of media. Although MuggleCast is now ending and I’ll continue listening to your other shows, this podcast will always have a special meaning to me and I hope for the day that Jo comes out with more ‘Potter’ so I can listen along [with] you guys…”

So everybody is very interested, I see, in our future endeavors, so that’s good to hear. And you know, everybody start hitting up JK Rowling on Twitter now and maybe she will write new Harry Potter material. [laughs]

MuggleCast 269 Transcript (continued)


Listener Tweets: Favorite MuggleCast Moments


Andrew: Okay, so now it is time to get into some tweets. And now, this isn’t more of what we just read. We asked people on Twitter, what are your favorite moments from the show? And of course, we got a lot of responses. This first one is from Lucien, a loyal listener who has always been there. I’ve seen him on Twitter all the time. He says:

“The emails responding to Andrew’s accidental F-bomb!”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I have to say, guys, not to toot my own horn but everybody really liked that moment. Kevin, please read some tweets.

Kevin: Ah, I guess. Where are we looking?

Eric: Marquee Mark.

Kevin: Marquee Mark.

Eric: Oh, this is spelled funny. [laughs]

Kevin: [laughs] Yes, because it’s a marquee as in…

Andrew: Maybe he is in the theatre business. Go ahead.

Kevin: [continues]

“What’s Buggin’ [Mikey]…”

[laughs] Micah.

Eric: [laughs] Can you say his name after this?

Kevin: Micah.

“…Make the Connection…”

Micah: Yes?

Kevin: I wasn’t actually saying your name, Micah. That is, I wasn’t asking for you to respond. [laughs]

“…Andrew’s wizard rock career…”

[Andrew laughs]

Kevin: [continues]

“…twelve hour marathon, Matt’s episodes, Tootsie Roll spiel.”

Eric: Oh.

Mikey: Ooh, the twelve hour marathon was fun.

Andrew: I have to say, the Tootsie Roll spiel was one of the worst moments in my recollection.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Okay, but why?

Andrew: I don’t really remember what went on, but it’s bringing back light memories and I just remember not liking it.

Eric: I thought it was a good one. You asked me to – off the top of my head – come up with an advertisement. No, you put me on the spot. We were advertising MuggleCast t-shirt sales and…

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: …I was just staring at a piggy bank of Tootsie Rolls, container piggy bank thing, and I told people that… the long and the short of it was, when you buy Tootsie Rolls you don’t know where the money is going, but when you buy MuggleCast t-shirts you know it’s going to us.

Andrew: Yeah, I’m sorry I put you on the spot. [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] It’s okay, it made this list. I’m so happy. Thank you, Marquee Mark.

Andrew: Kevin, you want to read a couple more?

Kevin: Sure.

Andrew: Just a couple more.

Kevin: So, this is Olivia Stewart:

“So many great episodes, but Episode 233 was a favorite of mine with Andrew’s wizard rock single, ‘Bye Bye Bye.'”

Andrew: [sings] “Don’t let it be July.”

Micah: Well, it’s not.

Andrew: The name on this next one is odd.

[Everyone laughs]

Kevin: Yes.

Eric: You could just use the username.

Micah: It’s an April Fools joke. In August.

Andrew: Her name is Betsy. [laughs]

Kevin: Yes. Betsy McGee.

[Everyone laughs]

Kevin: [continues]

“The April Fools joke of 2008. I sat in my bed panicked and my gullible self nearly cried.”

Andrew: What was that? Did we say we were going to end the show, I guess?

Micah: Warner Bros. shutting us down? I don’t know.

Eric: Wasn’t that the one where Emerson and Melissa got married?

Andrew: I don’t think that would leave her in her bed panicked. [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] Maybe she was.

Micah: Speak for yourself. [laughs]

Andrew: This next one is from Errrrrrriiiiiiika:

“Meeting you guys for the first time at the New York City live podcast in August 2006.”

Lisa says:

“My favorite was Episode 100! You could just hear and feel the excitement everyone had.”

Yeah, I agree. That was cool. That was our Deathly Hallows episode.

Eric: Plus we got introduced by Hagrid.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, that was neat. Micah, go ahead. You read a couple.

Micah: Oh, I was looking up what happened in April of 2008.

Eric: Oh, keep at it. Keep at it.

Micah: But Brittany says:

“My favorite is still Andrew’s ‘yeah, yeah’ from that one live show…”

Ben: “Yeah! Yeah!”

Micah: Which I referenced earlier. It sounded a little bit like that.

“…but the episode or event is slipping my mind at the moment!”

That was our New York live show, right? Our first ever? Goblet of Fire?

Andrew: That was the first live podcast. I was sixteen or seventeen. I was nervous, okay? That was my nervous reaction.

Micah: Yup.

Andrew: So, whatever. But I’m glad that was your favorite moment.

Micah: You’ve overcome it. You’ve overcome it.

Andrew: Of course. Yeah, yeah, I have.

Eric: That was Episode 15, [laughs] by the way.

Micah: Natalie Holley…

Kevin: Was it really 15?

Eric: 15 for November 12th, 2005.

Kevin: Wow.

Micah: You’re like a book.

Eric: I have a book open.

Micah: Oh, okay. Natalie Holley says:

“Episode 117 about Dumbledore being gay. I was ten when it got released. It’s probably the reason I’m not homophobic. No joke.”

Andrew: Aww.

Eric: Oh, wow.

Micah: She also went on to say:

“Also, the latter part of the twelve hour live show when everyone got delirious.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: I think I only came in at seven or eight hours, and everyone was gone. [laughs]

Andrew: So many people have asked us to do another twelve hour live show. I can’t even imagine doing that. I can’t…

Micah: That would be crazy.

Mikey: Oh, man.

Ben: What? Are you saying you don’t have the stamina, Andrew?

Andrew: No, I’ve got the stamina. I just don’t understand why we even did it in the first place. What was that for?

Ben: Why don’t we do it again? Why don’t we do a fundraiser for Haiti?

[Andrew laughs]

Ben: No, seriously. I’m sure they still need money. Let’s do it. Let’s make Haiti a thing again.

Andrew: [laughs] We can do a fundraiser around a twelve hour live show, but I don’t think we did a fundraiser around our first twelve hour live one.

Eric: I think it was just getting on, and the thing of it was that instantly we had six or seven episodes. [laughs] Episodes 111 to 117 – or 116 – were all this live podcast.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It was a great way to increase… it was 108 to 113, there were six parts. Yeah.

Andrew: I seem to remember… I think it was Jamie’s idea.

[Eric laughs]

Mikey: It probably was, and I remember we ordered pizza and we were fighting to see whose pizza would get there first.

[Andrew laughs]

Mikey: That’s all I remember. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, those were good. I have to listen to some of those again.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Mikey: I want to listen to those now. That’s what I remember, is waiting for my pizza, and I remember I lost because your pizza got there first. And someone did artwork about it.

Andrew: Did we… really? Oh, I’ve got to see that.

Mikey: I need to look through my email. I remember that because I remember I got no… there was a picture of me waiting for… and I had an empty pizza box in the artwork that came out of that one.

[Eric laughs]

Mikey: Because I lost and I didn’t get pizza.

Eric: Could it have been Kelly? Because she did some of our memorable artwork, like of us at the holidays.

Mikey: Let’s see if I can find it through the email.

Andrew: Let’s continue here.

Eric: Oh yeah, of course.

Andrew: Next one is from Lia:

“It has to be when Micah read my tweet for ‘Chamber of Secrets’ Chapter by Chapter!”

Jenn said:

“The live show at Leaky right after ‘Deathly Hallows: Part 2.’ Listened to it right after I saw the movie myself.”

Ben, you want to read a couple?

Ben: Oh, sure. Yeah. Mike Hunt says:

“Definitely the Episode 133 intro! Funniest moment in MuggleCast EVER.”

What happened in that intro?

Andrew: Was that the F-word one? It’s probably… it must have been the F-word one. [laughs]

Eric: 133 was called “Laura is Fired.” Did we fire Laura? Is that… I don’t even remember that. Hmm.

Ben: Trinica says:

“Jamie singing along to Cascada’s ‘Everytime We Touch.'”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Ben: I remember we were at Lumos in 2006, and Jamie… we had this big suite and… Lumos is a Harry Potter conference. It was in Vegas, and a lot of people on this show were there. And anyway, so Jamie was in his room with headphones in, jumping up and down on the bed screaming “Everytime We Touch” and the maid walked in on him.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Ben: And then he was really embarrassed, but it was hilarious.

Andrew: We have to dig them up. We have old pictures of Jamie jumping on the bed, and it was taken with a good camera so he’s just mid-air, his hair is flying everywhere. I still remember his face: he has this really stern look on his face, iPod in his ears…

[Eric laughs]

Ben: Didn’t we get a recording of it? I swear we did.

Andrew: Yeah, we had a recording.

Eric: Somebody recorded it.

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Because it was at the end of one of the MuggleCasts. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. It’s on a show, it’s on one of the episodes.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. Lumos, that was my first time flying.

Eric: Oh, wow.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: I was there. I was there.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: You kept snapping pictures out the window. I was going to smack you.

Mikey: That’s when I met you guys.

Andrew: Yeah, that was crazy.

Ben: That’s when you were the Apple guy.

Mikey: Yup.

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

Ben: You were an Apple guy then and now you’re an Apple-certified pro.

[Andrew laughs]

Mikey: Trainer.

Eric: Evolution.

Andrew: Next…

Kevin: You’re a certified trainer?

Mikey: Yeah. I travel the state teaching.

Andrew: Next email is from Ashley. The live show in St. Louis in 2007 was her favorite.

“It was a magical time being surrounded by fellow ‘Potter’ fans.”

Ben: I remember that show.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: It was at a library.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Kerri-Ann said:

“Can’t believe it’s come to an end. Chapter by Chapter was the best thing ever!”

Ben: And there was some debate over that, actually, when we started doing Chapter by Chapter. Because that one guy who talks a lot…

[Eric laughs]

Ben: …he used to make Chapter by Chapter a lot longer than it needed to be. We’d be through the first page of one of the chapters and we’d be like forty-five minutes in, and we’d be like, “Eric, this isn’t Character by Character.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh, I thought you were speaking hypothetically, Ben. [laughs]

Ben: Huh?

Eric: With names omitted or redacted, to…

Andrew: He tried and then he couldn’t resist.

Eric: Yeah, yeah.

Ben: Well, speaking of which, the next tweet is Mohammad Saleem. It says:

“The beginning episodes with Eric’s excessive talking.”

[Kevin, Micah, and Mikey laugh]

Eric: See, the beginning episodes. Okay? I’m reformed now. Enough said.

Micah: Wow.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah. Next email is from Nick. Eric, his favorite moment was:

“Eric asking Laura if she got her pants back that he sent to her. Episode 97, I believe.”

Eric: Wait, that reminds me. Micah, do you remember after London – or not London, Chicago 2012 LeakyCon – I told you that I had one of your shirts?

Micah: Yeah. Have you not sent it back?

Eric: Well, no, you told me to throw it away, but I have it…

Micah: Oh, did I?

Eric: …because you kept saying you were going to come visit again. So, I actually still have your shirt.

[Kevin and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Oh…

Kevin: He smells it periodically.

Ben: You sent your boxers a long time ago.

Eric: I’m not even lying. I have your shirt.

Micah: [laughs] Well, thanks.

Eric: It’s protected so…

Andrew: Micah, that reminds me, did you get your thong back [laughs] that I sent?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Damn it! I wanted to do that without laughing. Next… but seriously, let me know if you got your thong back. Next email is from Pablo:

“The entire 162nd episode. My personal favorite, the very best discussion you guys had. High praise indeed.”

So thank you, everybody, for sending those in via Twitter: Twitter.com/MuggleCast. Even though we’re ending the show, you’ll still be able to stay updated on the latest Harry Potter news and future shows if/when we do them down the line through those as well as the MuggleCast website.

Micah: Just so people know, Episode 162 was a political discussion.

Andrew: Hmm.

Micah: Comparisons between the politics of the real world and the wizarding world. Racism, ethnic cleansing, Nazism, evils, corruption, biased media, education reform. So that was a pretty serious episode, I guess. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, it was an episode that featured Andrew, Micah, Matt, and Elysa.

Micah: And…

Andrew: [laughs] Look at all this context!

Micah: Wow, we’ve never had that much context…

Andrew: On anything!

Micah: …on any episode we’ve ever done. [laughs]

Andrew: On anything ever! [laughs]

Eric: Well, that’s because, guys, I came up with… actually this is an overdue… can I tell a story real quick? Ben, I promise I’ll make it quick.


Final Tally of Host Appearances


Eric: There was a project I had in mind. This was over a year ago when we were prepping for Ascendio, the Harry Potter conference, and I wanted to figure out just how many episodes each of us – each of the hosts – had been on for the entire history of MuggleCast. And I sourced it… basically I wrote out on Twitter for volunteers, and I broke each of the episodes… by then there were like 250, so I found 25 volunteers to go and look up who had been in each episode as well as when it aired and what the title of the episode was and all this other stuff. So I collected this data – I literally just sourced all of this data all of the sudden about it – and I have totals. I have episode totals for each of us including tonight’s performance if you should like to hear them.

Andrew: Okay.

Ben: Hit it.

Eric: So who do you think has been on the most episodes, by the way? Let’s just…

Micah: Andrew.

[Eric laughs]

Mikey: I was going to say Micah.

Eric: Well, those are the top two, believe that or not. Andrew… I feel like we should have really exciting music, but out of the 269 episodes of MuggleCast you have appeared on 255.

Andrew: Me? Andy?

Eric: Andrew.

Ben: Wow, that’s less than five percent.

[Andrew and Mikey laugh]

Ben: That’s just a slightly over five percent drop rate there, Andrew.

Andrew: Well, it is an honor and a privilege to accept this award. I’ve always wanted a MuggleCasty, and this is my moment. Thank you.

Eric: You’ve been on the most episodes. You are our fearless leader, Andrew.

Andrew: I would like to thank Voldemort and Grindelwald and…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …SpongeBob. Thank you.

[Mikey laughs]

Eric: So, that means you only missed 14 episodes. That means you were only not on 14 episodes. Odds are you edited the ones that you weren’t even on.

Andrew: Sometimes, yes.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: That occasionally happened.

Eric: So, there’s that. Second place comes Micah with… well it’s not really placing, but yes, Micah with 208 episodes. I’m in third, I got 181 MuggleCasts in. Laura comes next with 132. Ben with 98. Jamie with 83. Matt Britton with 70. Kevin Steck with 54. Mikey Bouchereau with 33. Elysa with 12. Selina with 9. Nick Myers – everybody remembers Nick, polite Nick – 8. And Richard Reid got 5 episodes.

Ben: I was on 98?

Andrew: Yeah, that shocks me! [laughs]

Ben: Yeah.

Eric: 98 episodes of MuggleCast.

Ben: I was on the first… those first two years when we had a ton of episodes, I was on most of those.

Andrew: Yeah.

Ben: And then I kind of petered out.

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t know. I want a recount. I’m not sure about that.

Eric: [laughs] I have it broken down by…

Andrew: I’m kidding.

Eric: …100 episodes. I got the whole list.

Kevin: [laughs] He has a pivot table.

Eric: It would take too much time to recount. But I thought that that would be just an interesting thing to look back on.

Andrew: That is.

Ben: Eric, you should have them go back and source how much audio of each episode was people… was you talking.

[Everyone laughs]

Ben: It’d be hilarious because you’re only on 208 episodes but you did like 85 percent of the total talking.

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

Ben: I’m just kidding. I love you, Eric.

Eric: I’ll be quiet for the rest of the episode. It’s my solemn vow.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay, cool. That was interesting.

Micah: And, Andrew, by the way, the April Fools was we said that we were changing the format of MuggleCast and we were branching out into…

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: …discussing other…

Andrew: Twilight?

Micah: …fantasy-based novels. Yeah, you were actually not on that episode. You were in Portland at the time, visiting the set.

Andrew: Oh, it all added up.

[Eric and Kevin laugh]

Micah: So, we were able to spin that joke.

Andrew: That’s funny. That’s funny.

Eric: How ever did you find that info, Micah?

Micah: I found it by going to…

Kevin: You read your…

Micah: …MuggleCast.com and checking out the transcript.

Andrew: Well, and you guys also actually prepared for an episode for the first time in like 100 episodes.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: I’m just kidding.

Ben: I even had a Top Ten list.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, that blew me away. I’m just stunned after that. But I will say, guys… and I’m talking again, of course, but it’s important to note…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: …that the MuggleCast website is not going away.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: In case anybody thought that. The episodes are still going to be there for download and our MuggleCast email address, nobody is planning on canceling that. So, it’s just… we’ll talk more about that later.


Birthday Wish


Andrew: Here is a birthday wish before we do the wrap-up and also a surprise from Micah. This is from Harshita:

“Hey MuggleCasters, thank you so much for being amazing. I know it’s early, but I just wanted to ask whether you could wish me a happy birthday! As my birthday is on the 9th of October and I am turning 13, I would very much appreciate it. Thank you so much.”

So happy birthday, Harshita.

Micah: Happy birthday.

Andrew: I’m hoping that I’m pronouncing that right. Harshita.

Eric: Happy birthday.

Micah: And Ben, happy birthday to you because I know you just celebrated a birthday.

Andrew: That’s true.

Ben: I did. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Eric: Well, Micah, you just celebrated a birthday too, didn’t you?

Micah: Yeah, about a week ago. Ben and I, we’re very close, birthday-wise.

Andrew: Oh. Got excited for a second.

Ben: When is your birthday?

Micah: The 17th.

Ben: Okay. That’s the same day… wait, my brother’s birthday is the 18th.

Eric: Well, depending, because Micah is on the East Coast and you are in Central time, right? It could be [they were] born in the same moment.

Ben: That’s true. Very true.

Andrew: [laughs] So, we’ll never know. Do the math on that one.

Ben: Yeah.

Andrew: Put that into a spreadsheet.

Eric: I’ll have to get more volunteers.


Thank You to Special Project Volunteers and Transcribers


Eric: By the way, I wanted to thank those volunteers here…

Andrew: Go ahead.

Eric: …who contributed to that project. I’ll read it really quick: Kelsey, Cate, Charlee, Savanna, Janaki, Kellen, Matthew, Ambra, Tiffanie, Stephanie, Amanda, Mauricio, Jeanna, Johnathon, Naybeth, Kellen, Kelly, Samantha, Kelsey, Kailey, AJ, BK, Kristy, Luke, Yvette, Kyle, Cristina, Jessica, Tracey, and Thomas.

Micah: Wow.

Eric: And especially Tracey because she did multiples. But that was everybody who helped compile the numbers.

Micah: I might have to take a minute here as well because this is the final episode and we mentioned the transcripts earlier and I think that it’s only appropriate to thank all of them for having transcribed the show over the last eight years.

Andrew: Yes. Thank you.

Micah: So…

Andrew: Thank you, transcribers. We really appreciate your help. When we started that, I don’t know if we ever imagined it would turn into a full-fledged… every single episode has been transcribed thanks to the transcribers. And I’m going to do them a favor right now and stop talking. Goodbye.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Well, actually I wanted to say their names because I think that it’s…

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: …a nice way to thank them. Tracey, obviously. Eric mentioned her already. Arialle, Elise, Eric, Lakshmi, Laura B, Laura S, Mariam, Olivia, Shana, Aldrin, Alexandra, Conrad, Desta, Dilara, Elly, Emily C, Emily M, Heather, Jean, Kristin, Kristina, Leah, Marissa, Maritza, Niki, PJ, Rachel P, Rachel R, Shannon, Shelby, Shoaib – I don’t know, I’m probably messing that one up, I apologize – Tara, Tim, Victoria, and that’s it. So, thank you.

Andrew: Thank you, everybody.

Micah: And to everybody else, including myself, who has transcribed… I’m just kidding.

Andrew: Thank you, Micah.

Micah: That’s how I started.

Ben: Thank you, Micah.

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: Yeah.


Final Thoughts from Hosts


Andrew: All right. Well, let’s do our final messages now. That sounds so dramatic.

Ben: Jerry Springer.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And then we’ll have Micah’s little surprise type thing.

Micah: It’s a good way to end the show I think, right? On that note?

Andrew: Absolutely. I would just like to say thank you to everybody over the past eight years. This show has been a huge springboard for me in multiple ways.

Ben: Me, me, me. Sorry.

Andrew: I won’t say them because otherwise it would be a plug. So thank you, everybody, so much for the support. We could never have imagined this show would have been this popular and as successful as it has been. And it really taught me and the rest of the hosts so much about how to podcast and [laughs] even just basically socialize. [laughs] So, it has been fantastic, and I know a lot of people are interested in seeing what we do next, so I will also use this as a plug. I will continue to be churning away over at Hypable and on my podcast, Hype, over there. It’s basically an expanded MuggleCast with multiple fandoms. So thank you, thank you, thank you, everybody. That’s really all I could say.

Eric: Yeah, just to echo that, I think really just the people that we’ve met throughout the years have been some of the nicest people, and the fact that they listen to us and then come say hi at a public event, either it’s a book event or just somewhere out in the world at the cons and everything, it was lovely to meet you all. To everybody who I haven’t met, I hope to meet you someday because I’ll shake your hand and I’ll say thank you for listening.

Andrew: Who’s next? [fake sobs]

Ben: Oh, man. Yeah, I don’t know really where to start. Like I said earlier on in the show, I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into here with all of this, and yeah, I’m just immensely grateful for everyone that’s ever come out to a book signing or anything like that. Yeah, or to the live shows, or anybody who bought my book, that was… that had almost everything predicted, like Harry being a Horcrux. I called it. Yeah…

Andrew: No wonder it was a New York Times Bestseller.

Ben: Yeah, so… but more importantly, yeah, just I guess the confidence that once you got into the flow of podcasting and interacting with people and everything, it really did provide a lot of confidence, and I think everybody has their insecurities and stuff, and so it was good to do something that you know that people enjoy and that you’re getting positive feedback on. As well as constructive criticism; that’s equally important. And that’s… yeah, that’s been an invaluable experience, and I hope that I can continue to have that in other areas of my life, even though MuggleCast won’t be continuing. In short, I love you all.

Andrew: Kevin?

Kevin: Yeah, I don’t know that I can add anything that hasn’t been said already. The opportunities that we all were able to experience as a result of this have been fantastic. We met some amazing people and had… as it was said before, we gained a level of confidence that we never had before. So yeah, I would like to thank everyone, and yeah.

Andrew: Mikey?

Mikey: I want to thank all of you guys, too.

Andrew: Aww.

Mikey: I started out as a listener. I remember meeting you guys at Lumos, and I remember when you guys got pulled from the iTunes store, and…

[Everyone laughs]

Mikey: I was a listener, and then I came on the show and you guys were my friends. It was awesome.

Andrew: Yeah.

Mikey: I want to thank all of you guys and all of the fans. Seriously, it’s been all the memories. Who would have gone on a tour talking about Harry Potter? That’s really cool, and just meeting people and talking to people across the country about things that we love. Like I said earlier when I was reading one of the emails, I really am sad about this. I haven’t been on in a long time, and Andrew has asked me and I’ve just been busy and stuff. It’s just… you guys have been like family to me over eight years, and listeners have sent emails and stuff. It’s just been awesome, so I want to thank everyone, you guys and listeners and…

Eric: I feel the same, Mikey.

Mikey: I know.

Ben: Yeah.

Eric: I’m thinking, there’s nobody… no other group I’d rather talk about Harry Potter with.

Ben: See, and I just wanted to add that I feel like it goes so much beyond Harry Potter because it’s affected all of our lives in so many ways. Like Mikey said, you met your wife at a Harry Potter conference. I mean, it’s become our lives in a lot of ways. It’s led to a lot of things; it’s been a catalyst.

Andrew: Numerous people associated with this show and MuggleNet and all the Harry Potter sites have entered relationships with people that they would not have met if it weren’t for MuggleCast, MuggleNet…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: …and these other Harry Potter sites as well.

Eric: Complete opposite sides of the globe, too.

Andrew: Yeah. But actually, extra shoutout to you, Mikey, because without you, I probably wouldn’t have moved out to California at the time that I did, because you put a great plan in my head that I loved from the minute you gave it to me.

[Mikey laughs]

Andrew: So, I owe you a thank you for that. I’m serious, too!

Micah: There you go.

Mikey: Yeah. Now I’m not even in California.

Andrew: I know!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: You misled me!

Mikey: Now, I will be back for Christmas. I will be back for Christmas. We’ve got to meet up again.

Eric: Andrew, come here. Come here, come here. See ya!

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Oh, you made it. All right.

Micah: I mean, I just really echo a lot of what’s already been said. I think that just the… all you guys, as Mikey said already. The fact that we’re all friends and we wouldn’t know each other if not for this entire experience. And the listeners have been great. To me, it’s always kind of blown my mind that somebody can be walking down a street in Japan or France or South Africa and listening to what we have to say and feeling the need to respond, and just kind of create that dialogue. It’s just amazing to me. And a lot of what we read here today definitely was meaningful, it was impactful to see that we’ve been able to just kind of be a resource, or just kind of a refuge in a lot of cases, for people to go and just kind of escape. If only for a little bit.

Andrew: Absolutely.

Eric: Without a doubt.


JK Rowling’s Letter to the MuggleCasters


Andrew: And Micah, I saved you for last since you have the extra bonus MuggleCast feature. [laughs] I don’t know how to describe it without calling it what it is.

Micah: Yeah.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: So, let me… well, let’s just start this way. And it’s good that the date is written the way that it is because otherwise I probably would screw it up, because it’s not written by somebody in this country.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: [continues]

“October 10th, 2008

Dear MuggleCasters,

First of all, I must apologize very much indeed for the ridiculously long wait for a response to your wonderful letter. My excuse, such as it is, is that my post bag has swollen to almost unmanageable proportions since I finished the seventh ‘Harry Potter’ book. This caught me off guard and I have been struggling to catch up with my ever expanding backlog for the best part of a year. I loved hearing from you directly at long last. What can I say to you in return except that you will never know how much I value – no, treasure – my articulate, opinionated, funny, loyal, perceptive, argumentative, and hugely entertaining fandom as exemplified by the MuggleCasters, as personified by you all. Finishing the series was both wonderful and traumatic for me. I had lived with these characters and known them intimately for so long that I felt a sense of true bereavement when it hit me that I could not go and visit Hogwarts anymore. For seventeen years, I lived in and loved Harry’s world, and much as some readers will doubt me when I say it, nobody felt the ending quite like I did. The one great positive for me was that ‘Deathly Hallows’ is my favorite of the series. It is the book I wanted it to be from the outset, and while I knew I could not please everybody, I did please myself. I do hope though, because I’m still an insecure writer, that I pleased people whose opinions I value, which most certainly includes you.

With lots of love,

JK Rowling”

Andrew: So…

Ben: Wait, she actually wrote you?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Yes. Us.

Eric: This is five years ago. You’ve been holding onto this letter five years ago?

Andrew: Yeah, so what happened was Laura, Micah, and Kevin…

Kevin: Yup.

Andrew: Was there one other person involved with that? I don’t know.

Micah: You.

Andrew: Oh.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: But I think you know… yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Okay. So we wrote this letter to JK Rowling, and as she noted at the start of the letter, it took her a little while to reply. But she did. And for some reason, we’ve never really read it on the show, and then it dawned on us a few weeks ago that if we weren’t going to actually have JK Rowling on the show, why won’t we actually read the letter since we’ve never read it. At least we don’t think we have, so…

Micah: No, I don’t think we’ve ever read that.

Andrew: So that is a message from JK Rowling, acknowledging the MuggleCasters. Finally! Victory is ours!

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: That was very nice, right?

Eric and Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: I mean, think of this. She’s the woman who wrote the Cormoran Strike novel, and she is writing…

Andrew: [laughs] Now I’m star struck.

Eric: …those words to us. I know, I know, I know.

Andrew: Well, of course we owe JK Rowling everything for everything in relation to this podcast and MuggleNet and all of our friendships. So thank you, Jo, for sending us that letter. And we’ll let you slide, and Micah will follow you again on Twitter.

Micah: No, that’s not going to happen.

[Everyone laughs]


Show Close


Eric: Well, guys, on this show you noticed throughout the years that we do enjoy Harry Potter and we really put ourselves out there and grew, and we’ve talked about that. Now that we are moving on, you can… we are doing other things. We’re still out there. We’re still growing and still producing things. So I wanted to take a moment and just go around the table and kind of share with our listeners one final time, one definitive time, where exactly they can find us from this moment forth, going forward.

Andrew: So, Eric and Micah can be found on Game of Owns. Three times a week!

Eric: [laughs] Yes. It’s a Game of Thrones podcast through WinterIsComing.net, and we enjoy that don’t we, Micah?

Micah: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a lot of fun.

Eric: I know Micah…

Micah: We do it with Selina…

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: …[and] Zack Luye, who is a friend of ours. And you guys all know Selina. She has been on this podcast… what was it? Nine times? Five times?

Andrew: Nine times.

Eric: Nine times.

Micah: There you go.

Eric: Didn’t quite break ten.

Andrew: And anything else for you two?

Eric: Yeah, Micah, do you want to share anything else?

Micah: No, I mean, that’s really as far as being online where you can find me.

Andrew: You can find Micah five days a week in Manhattan. Okay…

Micah: That’s right. That’s right. Also, @mjtbaum on Twitter. I feel like everybody else does it, so why shouldn’t I?

Eric: Yeah, and it’s true. It’s true. You are on Twitter there. I’m on Twitter, @spielerman.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: S-P-I-E-L-E-R-M-A-N. That’s where you all can find me. And I’m trying to start a blog actually, on my personal website which is CrownScull.com.

Andrew: Whoa! Breaking news? Is this breaking news?

Eric: Yeah, I’m going into blogging, guys. What’s up?

Kevin: Nice.

Andrew: [laughs] Going into blogging. I’m making CrownScullNet where I follow all the developments on Crown Scull.

[Eric and Mikey laugh]

Kevin: And maybe, Eric…

Ben: Why don’t you just add a category on Hypable?

[Andrew laughs]

Kevin: Eric, I may be able to help you there.

Eric: Thank you, Kevin. It’s WordPress.

Kevin: Ugh!

Andrew: Okay, so…

Eric: I would be honored, Kevin.

Andrew: …from me, I’m not going to repeat everything that I’ve already said, but… well, yes I am.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Hypable.com and also Hype Podcast. That’s all I’m saying about that. You can follow me there. I hope you follow me over; we’re doing some great stuff. Hypable.com and Hype Podcast. Who else wants to plug anything?

Ben: Okay, I have a new political website that I started. It is called BlueTheNation.com. It is about Democratic politics. There is also a site that I am an owner of that is called Feminspire, which a lot of our audience is female, and it’s all about empowering women and the slogan is, “Where women make media.” So, you should visit that. And I also have a new podcast that’s going to be coming out within the next month, so you should follow me on @benschoen, that’s B-E-N-S-C-H-O-E-N on Twitter, and look for updates on that.

Andrew: We’ll put all the links in the show notes, by the way. Anybody else? Kevin? [laughs] Kevin needs help on his site, Tumblr. Please, somebody visit.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: It’s about to go out of business.

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

Andrew: No, Kevin, Mikey?

Mikey: Yeah, two things for me. People can follow me at MyNameIsMikey.com, my website. I post a lot of goofy stuff there. I’ll also be posting links to season two of a web series that I’m working on called Brothers Barbarian. You can actually visit BrothersBarbarian.com.

[Female voice in the background]: We’re ten minutes late!

Mikey: And I’m being yelled at, that I have to go.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: All right. Bye, Mikey. It was good seeing you.

Mikey: Bye, guys.

Eric: It’s actually called MyNameIsMikey.com?

Mikey: MyNameIsMikey.com, that’s my website.

Eric: Okay.

Mikey: And you can follow me on Twitter, @mikeybouchereau. All right, bye guys.

Andrew: See ya!

Mikey: Bye.

Andrew: Actually, I think the website is We’reTenMinutesLate.com.

[Everyone laughs]

Mikey Bye, guys. See ya. Bye, bye, bye, bye.

Andrew: And one other person… or no, is that it? Kevin, did you have anything?

Kevin: Well, you can follow me on Twitter, @kevinsteck, and same thing with Tumblr.

Andrew: Okay. Thank you everybody for listening. I’m Andrew Sims.

Ben: I’m Benjamin Schoen.

Kevin: I’m Kevin Steck.

[Prolonged silence]

Kevin: And we’ve lost everyone else.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I’m waiting for Eric.

Andrew: No, but Micah, you’ve got to look at the order. I already wrote it down in the doc.

[Show music begins]

Micah: Oh, I’m not looking at that.

[Kevin laughs]

Andrew: Oh, well, I guess you don’t get to say goodbye. Next.

Micah: I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Andrew: [laughs] And Mikey was last in the list.

Eric: Mikey was late.

Kevin: Mikey is ten minutes late.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Okay, then I get the end.

Andrew: Goodbye.

Ben: Mikey is in the dog house.

Andrew: [laughs] And we’ll see you next time for Episode 270, whenever that may be. Goodbye.

Ben: So long.

Micah: Goodbye.

[Show music continues]

[“End of an Era” by Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls plays]

Transcript 268

MuggleCast 268 Transcript


Show Intro


[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]

Andrew: Because we never tire of Jamie’s British jokes, this is MuggleCast Episode 268 for July 28th, 2013.

[Show music begins]

Andrew: This week’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 268. We are nearing the end of MuggleCast, but hey, we got a bonus episode out earlier this month. And as we’ve been telling people, we’ve been hoping to bring back some co-hosts who were with us previously and look who is here this week: Jamie Lawrence. Hello, Jamie.

Jamie: Hello, everyone. Aww, it’s great to be back. It’s weird to be back. I came on and I said Andrew sounds precisely the same as he’s always sounded, so perhaps no time has passed at all.

Andrew: No, no. Harry Potter is with us forever.

Jamie: [laughs] Forever, exactly. Exactly.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Yeah, it’s great to be back.

Andrew: Things have been good with you?

Jamie: Yeah, fantastic. I mean, a lot has happened in the past couple of years, but it’s hard to compact it all into a couple of sentences. Life has taken me down different directions…

Andrew: Oh, good.

Jamie: …and I’ve done different things and, as I’m sure, everyone has. That sounded really philosophical.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: I don’t know if I meant it to sound that philosophical.

Andrew: Well…

Jamie: But yeah, stuff is good.

Andrew: Good.

Jamie: Stuff is going well.

Andrew: Good. Well, that kind of reminds me of what people tell us a lot about MuggleCast, that they’ve grown up with the show. Which we all have, in a way. Especially when we’re around it for eight years.

Jamie: That’s true.

Andrew: Growing up.

Jamie: Wouldn’t it be interesting to get a psychologist in and make them study how it has changed us.

Andrew: Yes.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: How it’s made us develop.

Andrew: Yes. They would find in me that it has driven me crazy. I’ve become a madman.

[Eric and Jamie laugh]

Jamie: Perhaps they would lock you up. You know, section you.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Something like that.

Andrew: Andrew can’t be on the final episode because he’s mental.

Jamie: In a straight jacket, yeah.

Eric: He took Jamie’s advice. It was a terrible decision.

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]


Public Speaking 101 With The MuggleCasters


Eric: No, I think they would find that a lot of us are, at least for me, more confident and it developed our public speaking and maybe theatrics a little bit for live events and stuff.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Saying that…

Eric: So the majority has been quite positive.

Jamie: Saying that, though… yeah, I could have said it helped me develop my public speaking. Surely, it has done. But I did an event the other day for work where I had to go on stage and talk in front of two hundred and thirty people. And I talked about three things, and right at the beginning I outlined these three things and said what they were. And then I went through each one in turn. So I said the first one is this, and it’s important because of this. The second one is this, and it’s important because of this. Speech-making 101.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: And then I went onto the third one, and I was like, “And the third one is…” And it completely went from my head!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Oh, no.

Micah: Oh.

Jamie: I said, “The third one is…” And then I said, “And it’s obviously really important, like the other two, and it is…”

[Everyone laughs]

Jamie: And I still didn’t know what it was, and I just had to stand there looking stupid. And thankfully, because I’d gone through them earlier, someone from the audience called out what it was, and I said thanks and then moved on. But it was absolutely mortifying.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: You didn’t have a powerpoint or anything you could refer to?

Jamie: Well, this is the thing. This is the thing. I didn’t bring any notes up because when I have notes, I just tend to stare at them. But I didn’t know that they were going to have LCD screens at the front of the stage that face the person speaking. If I had known that, I’d have just put the three points on there and I couldn’t have messed it up.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: But because I didn’t, everyone thought I was a rank amateur.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well, maybe if you had…

Eric: You should just point them to our website, Jamie. [laughs]

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: Be like, “I promise I’m good. I used to do this podcast. I was really good on it.” But maybe this episode will help you refocus.

Micah: Yes.

Jamie: Yeah, maybe. Maybe. I might send them an email, actually, pointing them to the download link, and just say, “Please have a listen to this and see if it’s okay.” [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] So they’ll invite you back.

Micah: It’s funny that you say that because I have this big presentation coming up on Friday and now I’m not sure.

Eric: Don’t choke, Micah!

Micah: But I do have a powerpoint.

Jamie: Oh, that’s good. Yeah, that helps. I should have just done that. But I actually did a course before I did this presentation course, and the two things that I got out of it… I don’t know if you do presentations a lot, but the two big lessons that the guy told me was… in terms of structure, he said, tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you’ve told them.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: And if you do that, people take it in because they… it’s like brain stem apparent. And he also said, the ability of the audience to understand what you’re saying is always slower than the speed at which you deliver it. So you need to really slow down, which I tried to do but I was nervous, so I don’t know…

Micah: Well, you slowed down pretty well once you got to the third point, actually.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Yeah, yeah. Fair point.

Andrew: They were waiting with bated breath.

Jamie: I couldn’t be slower, to be honest.

Andrew: But I would agree that this show has definitely helped me develop public speaking skills, just in terms of doing good at what we do here on this podcast because now we do multiple podcasts. No, it’s been very beneficial, this show.

Jamie: Just to put you on the spot here, Andrew, you’ve done loads of podcasts since this one.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: This is still your baby? Still your favorite?

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely! We’ve gotten in a very good… I think Micah and Eric would agree, we’ve gotten in a very good vibe with this show where I don’t feel pressured doing MuggleCast because I know we have a good rapport, all of us, and then when we bring on extra people as well. It’s usually… the core of the show has been Micah, Eric, and I for some time, but the core… we’ve just been very comfortable with that, I think.

Eric: Yeah, being able to just get together, no drama, talk about whatever is happening in the Harry Potter world, is a really gratifying experience.

Andrew: Yeah. So long as there’s stuff to talk about, of course. [laughs]

Eric: Oh, yeah. No. And we’re not pressured to put out content more often than it is needed.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So that’s really nice.

Jamie: All right, guys. Let’s stop all the back-slapping. Let’s be critics.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Aren’t we awesome?

Jamie: What can we improve?

Andrew: No…

Eric: Oh, what can we improve?


News: Source of The Cuckoo’s Calling Pseudonym Leak Discovered


Andrew: Well, a big focus of this show, of this episode, is going to be The Cuckoo’s Calling because it continues to be very interesting, how it all played out. On the last episode, we recorded the day or the day after The Cuckoo’s Calling was revealed to be J.K. Rowling, and now we’re learning how it all came to be. There’s two parts to this story. As it turns out, the reason that J.K. Rowling decided to reveal that she was the author was because The Sunday Times in the UK did their own digging after one of their writers had tweeted, “Yes, I read The Cuckoo’s Calling and it was quite good.” Somebody replied to her and said, “That book was written by J.K. Rowling.” And The Sunday Times editor replied to this anonymous person and said, “How do you know for sure?” And the anonymous person just said, “I just know.” And then, from there, they decided to do some digging. They connected the dots between… first, the publisher of The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s Calling were both Little Brown. They sent The Casual Vacancy, The Cuckoo’s Calling, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to a linguistics expert, who found significant similarities between the three books. [laughs] And after those two pieces of evidence, The Sunday Times decided to email J.K. Rowling’s people and say, “Just give me a straight answer. I believe that The Cuckoo’s Calling is J.K. Rowling.” And then the next morning, J.K. Rowling’s people replied and said, “Yes, it is. And here’s a statement from Rowling.” And that was that. And then, in terms of the anonymous Twitter user, whoever that was, it turns out that it was a… so the only people who knew that J.K. Rowling wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling [were] J.K. Rowling; probably her husband; Neil Blair, her agent; and one or two other select people, including a couple people who were…

Jamie: I knew, too.

Andrew: Oh, you knew?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Jamie: I just didn’t tell anyone, yeah.

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: Who were lawyers. So, Eric, did you throw this link in? Do you want to tell us about this part?

Eric: Yeah, yeah. So, Jamie, you showed a lot more restraint than… not to name names here, but Chris Gossage from apparently Russells Solicitors. It’s one of J.K. Rowling’s law firms [that] she… I’m not clear on their relationship but they had something to do with The Cuckoo’s Calling as well as protecting J.K. Rowling’s assets because they knew about this book being really by Rowling. And evidently, one of the partners at Russells Solicitors named Chris Gossage… and this is all in a statement which we found actually from Newsround’s – or formally Newsround’s, I guess – [pronounces incorrectly] Lizo?

Jamie: Lizo.

Eric: Lizo.

Jamie: No, no, Lizo Mzimba. Yeah, yeah, Lizo.

Eric: We love Lizo Mzimba. I found it on his Twitter, actually, these two statements. And basically, it appears that this guy, Chris Gossage, told his wife’s best friend, like at a party or something, in confidence. He was just like, “Hey…”

Micah: Alcohol was involved.

Eric: “Hey, this is in fact…”

Andrew: Probably.

Eric: I think so, too. But he was just like, “Hey, this is really by J.K. Rowling.” Well, his wife’s friend is the one who then tweeted at The Sunday Times. And this all kind of came out and was revealed. They did background searches. She’s a mother of two in Surrey. Living in Surrey.

Andrew: We are going to continue with today’s episode of MuggleCast in just a moment, but first it is time to remind you that today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service, and I think you know what I am going to recommend this week. It is probably the biggest no-brainer, the easiest prediction ever: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith or J.K. Rowling. It has been available on Audible since mid-May. It’s been secretly waiting for you to take a listen to. A new piece of work by J.K. Rowling. If you are going to be out and about this summer and maybe you can’t get a copy of the book, maybe it’s hard to get, maybe you just want to try a new way of digesting a book, Audible is the way to do it and The Cuckoo’s Calling, J.K. Rowling’s second post-Harry Potter novel, is probably the best book to try. Visit AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. If you are a new subscriber to Audible, you can get it for absolutely free. AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast and we thank Audible for their support of the show and giving you an opportunity to get J.K. Rowling’s new book for free.

So, do we… whose side are we on? J.K. Rowling’s side or this leaker’s side?

Jamie: I mean, it’s so hard to know until you know the full side of the story. I mean, one of the things, Eric, just to pick up on that, isn’t it weird how in these news stories they always focus on the person? Like, you know, what Judith has done in her life.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: They just go back and trawl through all the haze…

Eric: Yeah.

Jamie: …of her past to see if there is something in there that could have predisposed it a little or something.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: It’s just odd. But…

Eric: Well, that’s exactly right. I mean, this article that we… I linked to from here is from the London Evening Standard or something, and it’s all about this lady, this woman, Judith Callegari. They refer to her as “the Deep Throat at the centre of the [Robert Galbraith] publishing plot.”

Jamie: Oh right, yeah.

Eric: It’s just like they’re blowing it up way out of proportion. And they actually, I believe, probably took a photo from her Facebook profile, like found this woman…

Jamie: Absolutely, yeah.

Eric: …and unmasked her. So that bit of it is actually uncomfortable, the way that names are getting named, as you’re saying. But I think because of how much money is associated with this and the fact that it’s J.K. Rowling’s confidence that was broken in this law firm, Russells had to issue this statement, isolating that Chris Gossage gentleman. And then J.K. Rowling had to issue a statement I guess… or she did issue a statement pretty much the same time her lawyers did and I’m going to read that right now, it’s very quick. It says:

“I have today discovered how the leak about Robert’s true identity occurred. A tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know. To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.”

Andrew: Yeah, so…

Jamie: Yeah, I mean… oh sorry, go on.

Andrew: It’s close speculation that the publisher decided to leak this on purpose, some were wondering if they did it to boost sales, which would have been understandable but I think they had a good relationship with J.K. Rowling after The Casual Vacancy and now this. And Rowling wanted to keep it a secret and then unveil it on her own accord.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: We remember her original statement a couple… or earlier this month when she said, “I was hoping to keep it a secret a little while longer.” So…

Jamie: Hmmm.

Andrew: I have to be honest though. If I was at a party and I had this little secret, I don’t think I could keep it in. I’d have to tell somebody that I knew.

Jamie: No, I wouldn’t.

Eric: There’s a part…

Jamie: I’d take pleasure in the fact that I knew something.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: I’d feel like the big cheese.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: It’d be like who killed JFK, you know?

Andrew: Right, right. Do you know?

Jamie: I do, but if I tell you, I believe I’m going to get people in suits with machine guns busting down my door anytime soon.

Andrew: Okay.

Jamie: So I really couldn’t, you know?

Eric: But there is that part in all of us, and part of this story coming out, I felt like, “Oh, it’s a very human mistake to make.” It just felt like something that possibly, if I weren’t careful, I would do because there’s certain news that you just get so excited, and on Twitter… you think everything is anonymous on the Internet. You think everything is anonymous, even though her Twitter name was pretty much her real name. Jude Callegari I think it was, on Twitter. But you just think that it’s anonymous and that you can get away with that, and it’s just kind of like teasing somebody with your knowledge and all that, but as it turns out that Sunday Times person was determined to follow up and they did.

Jamie: No, I’m sorry, I don’t agree with that, that you think it’s anonymous. I mean, surely if this Snowden stuff has taught us anything is that you really can’t assume you’ve got any privacy online whatsoever. This woman is clearly… well, I say clearly. Allegedly.

[Eric and Jamie laugh]

Jamie: Allegedly perhaps just thought she wanted to feel a bit of power for a minute. I mean, no good could come of it, I don’t think. It was never going to end well when you make that first step to go on Twitter and say, “I just know.” I mean, if you’re saying that, you have to question her motives surely. If she’s saying, “I just know,” it isn’t because she doesn’t believe in the anonymity when it comes to authors is a good thing. And why is she doing it? It seems a bit selfish.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: Do you? I don’t know. I kind of imagine this to be like a drunken conversation and she accidentally did it and then realized her mistake afterwards.

Eric: Well, what happened? Why…

Jamie: Well, keep your mouth shut then, you know? [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, that’s possibly true but the Twitter was deleted. The account was deleted shortly following that “I just know” tweet, which really does make me question the motives then because it’s like, well, did she realize that she had done something wrong, or what happened? Because the account is removed and it was… when the Sunday Times author wanted to follow up, it was removed, it was gone, it was missing. So it felt like a mystery.

Andrew: It could have also been ignorance, like she didn’t know the enormity of the secret.

Eric: Hmmm.

Micah: Hold on a second. Why are we blaming poor Judith here? I feel like if anything, she is not to blame. It’s the person who told her in the first place.

Jamie: I think that’s a fair point because look, she’s got no responsibility. Technically, she hasn’t been instructed by Rowling to keep her secret a secret.

Eric: Right.

Jamie: The partner who works for Russells is… he’s paid to act in the interests of the company, and giving away this secret is not really acting in the interests of the company when they’re going to lose a key client and get their name plastered all over the news. So yeah, I think that’s a fair point. It’s his fault.

Eric: Yeah, and I mean, J.K. Rowling I guess…

Jamie: [unintelligible]

Eric: Yeah, yeah. If we’re talking about the statement from Rowling, she just… I don’t want to say it’s portraying her as a victim, but she does… she uses words like, “I feel very angry.”

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: “It has not been pleasant.” And you just wonder, “Oh okay, she’s through hell.” But to Andrew’s question, whose side are we on? Obviously that’s quite polarizing.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But my question is… [laughs] my question is about how long would have Rowling waited. And this is the problem, is that it’s also coming out… and I don’t know if we’re going to also talk about this, but essentially she said it was either in a later statement or something that… I think it was on the website, the second book in this Robert Galbraith has been written, in this Robert Galbraith series. And my problem is if that book is complete and was set to release next year, I think it’s quite likely that she wasn’t going to tell anybody until maybe even after the second book was out.

Jamie: Maybe two or three books, yeah.

Eric: Two or three books? But I have a really big problem with that because I think… well, wouldn’t I be angry if I found out that J.K. Rowling not just published one book but two or three? And meanwhile, there’s nothing happening on her Twitter, she’s completely dead to the world, silent. This author whom I love and whom I love reading is essentially not letting me read her work, is not sharing with me.

Jamie: I think that’s an interesting point. I mean, it’s a very interesting point, definitely. I think it all depends on how much you feel she has a sort of psychological contractual obligation to her fans from the Potter series. I don’t know if you guys like Chris Rock, but he always used to say that he shouldn’t have to act as a role model for young people. His job is an entertainer. It’s not… just because he’s in the public eye, he doesn’t owe something to anyone. I mean, I don’t know. It depends, yeah, what you think she owes us, really. I don’t know. I agree it’s a bit to have that revelation come at a later day. It does feel a bit, I don’t know, like a secret is being uncovered but then I guess she can’t cater for everyone. Sorry, I mean she has to cater for the general public rather than her fans, if that makes sense.

Andrew: Well, we know why she did this though. She did this because she wanted to write without the pressures of having all these people on top of her. She got to do it privately, enjoy publishing a book – her first time, really – as somebody who is an unknown. I mean, it must have been so rewarding for her to do it this way. And I don’t think she owed us anything in terms of… I would have been fine with her releasing, unveiling it let’s say… I bet she would have done it before the holiday [laughs] so they could get some good holiday sales out of this.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: But no, I think… if she waited even until the end of this year, I think that would have been completely fine. So, Jamie, when did you first hear about… how did you hear that The Cuckoo’s Calling was J.K. Rowling?

Jamie: Oh, I think it was a news website, BBC News.

Andrew: Okay.

Jamie: And I mean, I was just stunned. To be honest, the first thing that jumped out at me was what happened after it came out rather than the story. I mean, it’s a leaking story. It happens. It just has more relevance for us because we’re fans of Harry Potter. But this type of stuff, I guess, happens all the time. What hit me was she sold 1,500 copies between when it came out and when it got leaked, which I’ve heard is great for a first time hardback author.

Andrew: Really?

Jamie: Yeah. It’s a good result.

Andrew: Oh.

Jamie: It’s not incredible, but I think any person should be pleased with that. And then after it came out, I think her Amazon sales rank went up like 507,000 percent.

Eric: [laughs] Yes.

Jamie: And I just think that scale is something to sit up and take note, that someone can generate that. It’s just incredible.

Andrew: Yeah. She went to number one. She went straight to number one.

Eric: And that was based on name alone, again because it’s like…

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …”Oh, it’s the J.K. Rowling book.”

Andrew: So did you get a copy, Jamie? Did you try?

Jamie: I haven’t really yet, no. I’m…

Andrew: Are you planning on it?

Jamie: I will, I will. I don’t think I’m going to get a copy yet. I want to wait for the buzz to sort of die down and I can sort of read it in my own time and just sort of…

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: Mhm.

Jamie: …reflect on it. Have you guys read it?

Micah: Well, hold on a second. No, wait, you said that you knew. So you have actually already read the book, right?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Jamie: Yeah. I mean, you caught me there. I just didn’t want to… I’ve just had a phone call from my agent, saying I’m in trouble.

[Everyone laughs]

Jamie: So I’m just trying to tone it down a bit.

Andrew: Boys, have you read it yet?

Eric: Micah, how far are you?

Micah: I got the book on Friday. I ordered it through BarnesandNoble.com. It got here pretty quickly, actually. I have not read it at all yet. It’s still sitting…

Andrew: And I assume your copy says “J.K. Rowling” inside.

Micah: It does. It does say “J.K. Rowling.”

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: Oh, wow!

Andrew: That’s the thing.

Jamie: Really?

Andrew: This is the thing. So they did this second print run with 300,000 copies. They all now say, “Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling,” inside of the book. So these copies that people may have that don’t say that are going to be really valuable.

Jamie: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: And as we talked about on the last episode when we first discovered that this happened, I personally ran out to my local bookstore. I couldn’t find any. They said they had them in stock, but then one of my friends nearby was able to go to a bookstore and he found four copies. [laughs] He purchased all four copies…

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: Nice.

Andrew: …gave one to me. He’s holding on to an extra one, probably for eBay purposes.

Eric: Yeah. So are one of my friends. They have it sealed up.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It’s unbelievable just the hype that’s surrounded it. It just… but you had to act quick and not everybody was… even quite innocently, not many people were in a position to really do that, and that time between when all the copies on store shelves were missing or sold and the time that the book’s second print run was fulfilled, that was a harrowing week, week and a half to two weeks, where people couldn’t get the book unless they wanted to do the ebook.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Which I’m sure is quite easy to do, but if you wanted the hardcopy book you couldn’t do it.

Andrew: Right. So now it’s everywhere [laughs] and now it says “J.K. Rowling” inside. I’ve been… every time I step into a bookstore now, if I see it there, I go and look through the stack of books, in hopes that there’s a lone copy without J.K. Rowling’s name inside it. And if I do find one of those, you can bet I’ll be buying it.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Jamie: Oh, yeah. well, here’s the thing. I was in a charity shop two days ago and I found a first edition paperback of Prisoner of Azkaban.

Andrew: Wow.

[Eric gasps]

Jamie: And my smartphone broke a while ago, so I couldn’t look online and see if it’s worth anything. So I bought it, it was only a pound, and then I went online and apparently it isn’t worth anything.

Andrew: Oh.

Jamie: So it’s a bit of a shame.

Andrew: Is it paperback, though?

Jamie: Yeah, paperback Prisoner of Azkaban.

Andrew: Oh.

Jamie: But first edition, I mean…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. I think hardback’s where it’s at, right?

Eric: But that still came out…

Jamie: Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, maybe.

Micah: I think the Internet is lying to you, Jamie. I think it’s worth something.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, maybe. Yeah.

Eric: I would hold on to it. Or maybe you could take it to a J.K. Rowling signing and it will be a little bit… worth a little bit more.

Jamie: Yeah, but I might ask her to sign it “Robert Galbraith” now.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: That’s the thing, is if you’ve seen… if you have a signed… I have a copy of Casual Vacancy signed by J.K. Rowling from when she came to New York. But her J.K. Rowling signature is really beautiful.

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: I would like to see her Robert Galbraith signature. Just throwing that out there.

Andrew: Well, she did it. She signed, actually, a couple of copies of The Cuckoo’s Calling in the UK.

Eric: Oh, really?

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Well, surely people went up to her and they were like, “Oh my God, I love your work!”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Jamie: “You don’t look like a Robert!”

Andrew: No, no. [laughs] Apparently, no, it wasn’t a public book signing. It was like something… here, here, I’ll… look… I mean, this one…

Eric: Yeah, I’ll take a look.

Andrew: It has one bid. But I think she did this… instant message, boom. That’s the signature. I bet she did it with her opposite hand because it doesn’t look like Robert… J.K. Rowling’s signature at all.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: But this is the one I keep seeing.

Eric: Oh, wow.

Andrew: I can’t remember why she signed it.

Eric: I think… yeah, it must have been…

Jamie: So it’s at eight-hundred pounds at the moment.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: …through the mail or something.

Jamie: It’s quite a nice autograph, isn’t it? I like it.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s all right. It looks like a man’s autograph.

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Jamie: Now…

Andrew: I think she did it as a thank you to the publisher or something like that.

Jamie: That’s extremely sexist, Andrew.

Andrew: What?

Jamie: Why is it like a man’s autograph?

Andrew: Because it’s dirty and chicken-scratched.

[Micah laughs]

Jamie: I can’t believe I’m hearing this. That’s…

Andrew: [laughs] Just like my signature.

Eric: There’s a quote from Jo saying she channeled her inner bloke. Seeing this autograph, I would agree with that. I can barely make out the R.

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]

Eric: It’s like “Robot Galbraith” is who wrote this.

Jamie: Yeah, Robot. Yeah.

Eric: It’s like “Robot.” Yeah, look at that. No, but I’m about a hundred pages in, to answer your question.

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: Actually, a hundred and sixteen. Love the book. I am planning on reading…

Micah: The whole thing?

Eric: …a substantial amount. Yeah, the whole thing, as opposed to Casual Vacancy.

Micah: So, Jamie, have you read The Casual Vacancy by the way?

Jamie: No, I haven’t yet. No. I need to. I was following it on Amazon when it first came out for a few weeks and the reviews were just so all over the place. Again, I wanted to let it die down before I read it, but I haven’t got round to it. It came out just before I went traveling and I was going to get it for that, but it was so bulky that…

Micah: Yeah.

Jamie: …I didn’t. But no, I’m going to get it. I’m actually going on holiday in about a month, so I might take it then.

Eric: Is it out in paperback yet? Do you know?

Micah: Yes.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Yes, they just came out with it.

Micah: It just came out.

Eric: Okay. Well, then that will be hopefully lighter, for travel reading.

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: I did want to mention, though, Jamie, you mentioned that 1,500 copies is fairly successful. There is a quote somewhere – I wish I could find it – J.K. Rowling said, relating to those sales, that it was comparable to the same period of time for author J.K. Rowling. Meaning, I think, when Harry Potter first started out, that that is similar…

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: …to the first three months of sales for, probably, only the first Harry Potter film… or book. First Harry Potter book. Philosopher’s Stone in the UK. So that is actually really exciting. And the little stories we’re hearing about life before people knew are that certain people did find the book, and it was offered at their local book club or something. It was a recommended read. Kind of word of mouth, guerilla information spreading, and that this book was getting some traction. But two months is just not a lot for any of that to really happen, so it’s nice to hear that it was sort of starting out. But I do feel like the reveal came a little sooner for everybody. Maybe if they had planned the release of the information, there would have been more stock in stores and another print run at the very least, do you think?

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Well, I don’t know. I think so. I mean, people at work were saying, oh it’s a cover-up, this was all planned from the beginning by the people who walk in the corridors of power, that type of thing.

Eric: People are so cynical.

Jamie: But yeah, I know. And also, a law firm has got smeared. I don’t think any law firm is going to allow themselves to get smeared, even if they get a kickback from it. And also, like you said, there’s no stock. [laughs] So if it was a PR stunt, it was crap.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, I believe that this was a legitimate accident… well, purposeful by the person who leaked it, but I believe that there was no intention of a sudden boost of sales. At least not right now.

Micah: Well, if I could compare this to something just for a minute… I mean, I’m surprised that this person hasn’t lost his job.

Andrew: How do you know he hasn’t?

Micah: Well, I don’t but I’d be surprised if he didn’t, because say it’s the equivalent of me working at a sports league and I find out that this player is about to be traded to another team. And say he’s a high profile player, and I’m out at the bar later on that night, and they’re still working through the specifics of the contract, and I let it slip to somebody who happens to be there that this guy is getting traded to another team, and that news leaks on Twitter, and all of a sudden it blows up. And maybe things don’t get finalized or the trade doesn’t go through, and all of a sudden all this information is out there. I think that if that got traced back to me, I’d probably be fired.

Andrew: Right.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah. I think so. I mean, can’t you… wouldn’t you get prosecuted as well?

Andrew: You could be.

Micah: Possibly. Possibly.

Jamie: Do you sign an NDA?

Micah: Sign a what?

Andrew: NDA.

Jamie: NDA.

Andrew: Non-disclosure…

Micah: Non-disclosure?

Andrew: You have to keep it a secret, basically. Yeah.

Micah: Well, it’s just that anything that is discussed in that sense within a company, to your point, can’t be disseminated to the public unless you’re cleared to do so. So I think it’s a similar situation with this person…

Eric: Well, especially the law firm.

Micah: …at the law firm. Yeah.

Eric: Especially the law firm. This information… even the information about a trader… or a player being traded, that information alone is worth millions sometimes, depending on who it is. And that’s a very real financial amount to be tied to information like this when you’re a law firm that is handling items with such value as the next J.K. Rowling novel. And like Jamie was saying, no law firm is going to let themselves get smudged. This is severe. I mean, Rowling herself is saying, “I expected this from Russells. I expected full confidentiality. Shame I didn’t get it.” And it’s just complete trash talk because… but Russells looks terrible. I would be very surprised if that guy stayed on. Very surprised.

Andrew: And not to mention, J.K. Rowling is probably just not going to work with them anymore.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: That’s what I would…

Micah: I wouldn’t.

Andrew: Right, exactly.

Eric: But how many other businesses are also pulling out because this guy had this moment of weakness, you know?

Andrew: Right. Oh yeah, this is awful for the company. This is not fun to be that guy. Anyway…

Jamie: Although… sorry, one last point.

Andrew: Go ahead.

Jamie: Who was the guy who said, “All publicity is good publicity”? So maybe they’ll get…

Eric: Probably Oscar Wilde.

Jamie: No, I think it was… was it Peter Drucker, the ad guy? Anyway, I don’t know.

Eric: Oh. Well, I know Oscar Wilde said, “The only thing worse than people talking about you is people not talking about you.”

Jamie: Oh, that… oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s similar.

Eric: [laughs] So there is that quote.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: Well, this certainly… it’s safe to say that this didn’t negatively affect the book. Of course we know that [laughs] the sales have been through the roof and I’m sure the publisher is happy that it’s selling so well.

Jamie: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: Despite the lukewarm response to The Casual Vacancy. J.K. Rowling, as I think we’ve discussed previously, I think she has only so many chances for people to get so excited about each and every book. If she wrote three not great books in a row, people would be losing interest, unless she wrote more in the same theme as Harry Potter or went back to young adult. She still hasn’t returned to young adult writing.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: But it looks like the reviews for Cuckoo’s Calling have been very good. I’m excited to read it.

MuggleCast 268 Transcript (continued)


News: The Cuckoo’s Calling Receives Multiple Offers For Film Adaptation


Andrew: So now there are the movie rights in question, and they are reportedly in a “hot bidding war.” Deadline says that multiple studios are trying to get the movie rights to The Cuckoo’s Calling. And WB, who created the Harry Potter films, may have the edge because of the relationship J.K. Rowling already has with them. So it’s very…

Eric: It’s just so interesting because nothing that’s a book can stay a book in today’s world.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Nothing that’s successful and a book can just stay a book. The Casual Vacancy, even, which may or may not be successful in our eyes, is going to be a TV series for the BBC. Or a mini-series, I should say.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Yeah, but everything that she writes can’t stay as a book…

Eric: Yeah.

Jamie: …or anything that… yeah, it’s like you say, develops a huge fan following. They just try and squeeze it, and squeeze it, and turn it into a film…

Eric: There has to be like a tie-in graphic novel.

Jamie: Two films. Yeah.

Eric: And there’s like a… yeah.

Jamie: Or a stage show even.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: But to play devil’s advocate, Rowling is to blame here, too. She doesn’t have to sell the rights. She could tell them to screw off.

Eric: Yeah.

Jamie: Yeah, but…

Andrew: I mean, why is she doing this? She has all the money in the world.

Jamie: …why wouldn’t she, though? Yeah, but it isn’t about… for her, I don’t think it’s about money. When people get rich, people surround them and tell them how they can make more money. I think that’s what people have done to her and what people continue to do to her. If you write a book, and you pour your creativity and time into it over two months, you… I guess you’d want to see that go as far as it can, regardless of money.

Andrew: Yeah. So I guess you’re saying she’s doing it more for Christopher Little… or sorry, for Neil Blair.

Jamie: Well, not her. I mean, they take their cut. She can’t turn it into a film. The whole process relies on middle men and…

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: …companies and… but I think she’s doing it because she wants her work to go as far as possible, and she puts it with the most trusted people who can make that happen in a way that she wants it to happen.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Mhm.

Micah: Yeah, I agree. I think the fact that she has so much control over it is what’s key in all of it, is that… because not many authors would have that level of control.

Jamie: Yeah. I…

Andrew: And we have to remember that this going to be a series, so this could potentially be a big movie franchise too. [laughs]

Eric: Oh, gosh.

Jamie: That’s true.

Eric: For me… and I really do, and am, enjoying this book so far, but it’s a standard detective novel. It really is your hard-boiled detective going out and solving crimes. And that genre is excellent, but it is almost overpopulated, you know? We don’t necessarily need a film. I don’t feel a need for a film.

Jamie: No.

Eric: Even though it’s a great book, even though it may change the way I think about things, it doesn’t need to be a movie.

Jamie: But I think it’s quite interesting that she chose to, a) be anonymous and b) write in that genre, which is sort of defined by tropes. Because I guess for her, she can write in any genre and she doesn’t have to stick to the rules of the genre. She can do whatever she wants. But it might be quite nice, as a well-known author, to take that power away through anonymity and allow yourself to have to fit with the tropes of a genre and see how people judge you based on your ability to fit within a mold but yet still do things a bit differently, you know?

Eric: Yeah, that’s really what it’s all about. Genre-writing, it takes away a lot of the burden of completely… it must be relaxing to conform to certain things while still offering, like you said, your own part of it. J.K. Rowling’s writing is so good and the way she describes a scene and there’s lots of detail, you can get an exact picture in your head without feeling like you’ve been reading for pages and pages because she’s concise about it. She knows just what words to use, that’s what makes the book readable.


News: The Cuckoo’s Calling Hits #1 Spot On New York Times and USA Today‘s Bestseller List


Andrew: And as if anybody needed a surprise, Cuckoo’s Calling is number one New York Times Bestseller List and USA Today. So…

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: But I read that it didn’t beat the Grisham one in one list. Which one was it? Yeah, there was one list that he still topped, or perhaps she topped it initially but then quickly dropped below him, which I was quite surprised about.

Eric: I read that, too. Yeah. I think it was mystery thriller novel… I’m trying to think what it would have been on for book sales…

Micah: You said John Grisham?

Jamie: John Grisham, yeah. He’s still around.

Micah: No, I know he is. [laughs] He’s writing a sequel to A Time to Kill, which was obviously a very big bestseller as well as movie, so maybe that was it.

Jamie: It’s The Racketeer. Is that the sequel?

Micah: No, it’s not. I’ve read The Racketeer, actually. I’m surprised that that has topped, or for a time, topped J.K. Rowling.

Jamie: I think it’s that one.

Andrew: Well, maybe the first week, Grisham was still number one and then…

Micah: Well, The Racketeer has been out for a while.

Jamie: Maybe it wasn’t that, then.

Eric: All right, I found it.

Jamie: It might have been another one.

Eric: I found it. It’s BBC News. Let’s see.

[Prolonged silence]

Eric: Okay, John Grisham… I’m just scrolling through to get the actual…

Andrew: You’re bringing the show to a halt, Eric.

Eric: Oh, right. I forgot this was live to tape.

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Twiddling thumbs, yeah.

Eric: So, “The Rowling revelation coincided with the paperback release of The Casual Vacancy, which sold 19,548 copies in the same week.” So actually, once the news leaked, both Cuckoo’s Calling and The Casual Vacancy saw a bump in sales, by the way.

Jamie: Okay, yeah.

Eric: I don’t know if we mentioned that. So they’re like, “Oh, J.K. Rowling has a new book. I still haven’t read the old book. [censored], got to get it.” So they must have gotten it. But it says here, on BBC Entertainment News, “Neither title managed to topple John Grisham’s The Racketeer from the top of the chart, which shifted 24,222 copies – a 19% drop on the previous week.”

Andrew: But what date was this?

Eric: This was… this article is dated 24th of July, so it’s a couple of days ago.

Andrew: Okay. The New York Times Bestsellers List, for example, this one is the August 4th list…

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: …which must have just been published, so…

Eric: Oh, wow. Yeah, no, so it is The Racketeer, in fact.

Micah: That’s interesting.

Jamie: Yeah. I guess that was doing really, really well, but isn’t it strange that it sold so many? I mean, I don’t know… Amazon is selling The Racketeer for three pounds, so I…

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: It’s hard to compare them, really.

Micah: Did it just come out in paperback? Is that what it is, possibly?

Jamie: I don’t know. Yeah, it might have been. It might have been. Perhaps we can add to the conspiracy, that…

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Jamie: …they were in on it as well. To boost the sales.

Micah: A bit of racketeering going on.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: Yeah, it’s the official UK top 50, apparently, for literature.

Jamie: 4th of July, it came out, The Racketeer in paperback. So…

Micah: Hmmm, okay. Maybe. Is he popular over there?

Jamie: I think he used to be more popular than he is now. I actually read… I think The Firm, one of his early books, and I just couldn’t get into it.

Micah: No.

Jamie: I thought it was really stilted.

Eric: I think it [was] turned into a movie.

Andrew: Well, I am going to be starting The Cuckoo’s Calling potentially tonight because I just finished another book. So I’m ready to go, finally, after two weeks.

Micah: I like how we’ve created, with just one episode left to go after this, a new segment on MuggleCast called, “Bash John Grisham.”

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: Wow.

Jamie: Maybe we can move onto him.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: New fan site.

Eric: Yeah.


News: 15th Anniversary Half-Blood Prince US Paperback Cover Released


Andrew: So let’s talk some Harry Potter news now. Believe it or not, this is still a Harry Potter show, despite the first forty minutes being about J.K. Rowling’s Cuckoo’s Calling. So a new cover was revealed for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It is… as we know, Scholastic is revealing new covers one by one for the Harry Potter books in the United States, and this one is actually my favorite. It depicts Harry and Dumbledore on the rock… on the cliff of rocks, right before entering the cave where Dumbledore, of course, drinks that potion. I think this is my favorite. Do you guys like this one?

Jamie: I think it’s nice. I mean, it… there’s a big divide between the American covers and the British covers. This wouldn’t ever get put on a British cover, I don’t think. It’s cool. Yeah, it’s cool. I think that’s the ideal word for it because it’s cool, but I don’t know if it’s appropriate, if you know what I mean.

Andrew: The purpose of this is for kids. They’re going to republish these…

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: …they’re going to put these new covers on paperbacks to appeal to the kids.

Jamie: It stinks of being for children, yeah.

Eric: Yeah, this is more of a graphic novel approach and more anime or manga-like approach to the Harry Potter series. It’s where the author has come from, it’s his drawing style, it’s artistry, but none of these book covers are really doing it for me following the Prisoner of Azkaban reveal.

Andrew: Oh. Sorry.

Eric: I think that’s my favorite cover of these ones that are getting redesigned. But no, this isn’t doing it for me. I mean, I think Harry and Dumbledore’s journey is probably the most important part of Half-Blood Prince, but I think it’s almost too obvious to do them on the rock because the US edition is them in the cave. So it feels like he didn’t stray far enough from the other cover, if you’re talking about…

Jamie: And I’ve only just noticed this, but Harry looks kind of odd, doesn’t he, in it?

Eric: Well, just cartoony. I mean, I wouldn’t say odd.

Jamie: Okay, sorry. Cartoony. [laughs]

Andrew: Well, he’s also wearing a cape, which I guess is what he’s wearing in the book. Because there’s a movie poster version of this same scene, actually, if you guys remember, and it looks very similar, where Harry and Dumbledore are standing on top of a rock with their… it’s windy, and they’re…

Eric: You’re right.

Andrew: Yeah, so it’s very similar to that. Even the colors, I think, are very similar. Nonetheless, I was actually at the party at Comic Con where they unveiled this, and I got a lithograph…

Jamie: Nice, nice.

Andrew: …which I’m really excited about because it’s…

Jamie: Nice one there, Andrew. Just drop in what you’ve been doing recently.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Hey, you could have come. You could have come. But yeah, I’m a big fan of this one. And the final cover, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be unveiled this Wednesday on Harry Potter’s birthday in New York City.

Eric: Ahhh.

Andrew: Yeah, which…

Micah: Where is this?

Andrew: Sorry to say it again, Jamie, but I will be there too.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Will you be there?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Where is it, at Scholastic’s headquarters?

Andrew: At Scholastic, yeah. They’re going to do a party. It’s going to be like a kids’ party. It’s not going to be real fun.

Eric: [laughs] There’s going to be birthday cake and balloons.

Micah: There’s no alcohol, is what you’re saying.

Andrew: Right. The Half-Blood Prince one had an open bar. It was so much fun.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: But this one’s going to be for kids. Ugh.

Jamie: That’s really in the spirit of children’s books, isn’t it? Open bar.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Well, nobody is a kid anymore. We’re all legally able to drink. No, but yeah, Micah, you should come because I’ll be there too, and we’ll… apparently there’s going to be this thing where you can pose inside of the picture, like you can stick your head through a hole and it’s like you’re Harry.

Micah: And you’re on the cover.

Andrew: Yeah. Right, exactly.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: This is your chance.

Jamie: Oh, they’ve been doing that for years, haven’t they?

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Will they ever get old? I don’t think they will. People see them and they just can’t resist putting their heads through it, can they?

Andrew: No.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It’s so great. So yeah, that… by the way, for anybody in the New York City area, it’s a public… it’s open to the public, it’s at noon at Scholastic’s headquarters in New York City, so this Wednesday, July 31st, Harry Potter’s birthday. So come on out. And by the way, we’ve been talking about all this art and how great it is that they’re revealing each cover one at a time. They could have revealed all seven covers at once, but it would have been exciting for a day and that’s it. This is a much more exciting way to do it. They still have yet to reveal…

Jamie: So they’re milking it?

Andrew: They are milking it. But I think it’s good, especially because Harry Potter fans are looking for something to look forward to…

Jamie: True.

Andrew: …and we’ve been able to look forward to these.

Jamie: Very true.

Andrew: They are still… they still have the back covers to reveal, and the spines, which when all put together, will reveal one image.

Eric: Whoa.

Jamie: No, no, no. I’m going to put my foot down here. [laughs] That’s milking it. That’s milking it.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Jamie: You can’t have a spine release party.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well, I don’t know if they’re going to have a spine release party.

Eric: They can and they will, Jamie.

Jamie: Yeah, they probably will. They can do anything, right?

Eric: Do we know [if] there are images on the back covers? Is that…

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. When I was at this party, the guy in one of these pictures…

Jamie: Oh, you were there, were you, Andrew?

Andrew: Yeah, did you hear? I was at this party…

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …and there was free alcohol. No…

Jamie: Oh, okay. I wasn’t sure.

Andrew: I was speaking to the Scholastic guy and he told me this, that there’s going to be art on the back and on the spine and – and – as we’ve already spoken about, the box set, the box that holds all of them, will have art as well. So, Jamie, I’ll give you the RSVP info for the box set reveal party.

Jamie: Nice. Are you going to cover my costs?

Andrew: [laughs] I don’t know.

[Jamie laughs]

Andrew: I don’t even know if there’s a party. I was just joking.

Jamie: [laughs] Oh, right. Okay.

Andrew: [laughs] And an inside flap reveal party. It’s going to be awesome.

Jamie: Oh, yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: Nice. That is true milking of it, isn’t it?

Andrew: Anyway, but people in the New York City area, come on out. Maybe it’ll be like a mini-MuggleCast meetup, especially if Micah comes.

Eric: Ooh.


News: Pottermore Announces New Features


Andrew: Pottermore, we spoke about Pottermore. Jamie, do you know about Pottermore?

Jamie: What? Have they changed it or something?

Andrew: Are you registered on Pottermore? Did you get sorted?

Jamie: I am. I am, yeah. I did it quite a long time ago, though I had a look around. I haven’t been on it for a while, though.

Andrew: Yeah. They’re kind of… it’s going well. People have been a bit bored because there’s not much new. They’re still releasing new content from the books, but they’re trying to make some changes to appeal to a wider audience, and one of them is going to be basic information pages, a book page, [laughs] so you can click on a book and learn a very basic summary about the book. And they are expanding the commenting features. Now, there’s not much to talk about here, but it’s just a little update as additions are being added when they release the final Prisoner of Azkaban chapters coming out very soon.

Jamie: So when you say “release the chapter,” is it a new chapter?

Andrew: Right. Well, we’re in the middle… all of the books are still not available on Pottermore, in terms of going through them. Right now, we’re in the middle of Prisoner of Azkaban, so they’re going to release the final chapters of Prisoner of Azkaban in the coming weeks. And hopefully, there’s going to be some new writing from J.K. Rowling. I think…

Jamie: Oh, okay. Well, that’s cool, but just releasing the chapters sounds a bit pointless, to be honest.

Andrew: Well, right. Sorry, it’s like moments, and in these moments you get… you know how Pottermore works, right? You go chapter by chapter.

Jamie: Yeah, but I didn’t… oh, okay. So, wait, what we do?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, sort of. There’s not like analysis and stuff.

Jamie: So they stole it from us?

Eric: It’s not as interactive.

Andrew: It’s not called “Chapter by Chapter,” but…

Jamie: It’s not as good, you mean, right?

Andrew: Right, of course. It’s not analysis. Like, you’ll go into a chapter and you’ll click on a moment, which is like an illustration and you can click around and discover things and there may be new writing from J.K. Rowling about something related to that chapter. I think…

Jamie: Oh, that’s cool. That’s cool.

Andrew: Yeah, but…

Jamie: We can’t offer that, can we?

Andrew: No.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: No, because she never decided to come on the show. If she had, at any point in time, decided she wanted to join the MuggleCast panel, perhaps we could have created this website ourselves and made some money off of it.

Andrew: Right.

[Jamie laughs]

Eric: But, Micah, wait a minute because you promised that J.K. Rowling would be on our final MuggleCast episode.

Jamie: Yeah.

Micah: In some capacity, yes.

Eric: Yes, in some capacity. Let’s not let everybody’s hopes down here.

Micah: No.

Eric: That may still… that will still happen.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: It will still happen, absolutely. [laughs] I’m just discouraged by the fact that their CEO left.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: [laughs] Right. That was the guy, man. That was the guy who was like, “Back of planes! We’re going to be able to do Pottermore on the back of plane seats…”

Andrew: Right.

Eric: “…across the transatlantic flights.” And I was just like, “Man, this guy is great!” And then he went back to what he did before he was doing Pottermore.

Andrew: Right, he went back to his old job.

Jamie: Wait, what did he say about all these promises? What did you say he said?

Eric: He essentially…

Andrew: He wants Pottermore everywhere. So he wants to get it, for example, in flight, like in flight entertainment.

Jamie: Oh, right. Okay.

Andrew: Yeah. He just wants Pottermore everywhere.


News: Rupert Grint to Make Stage Debut in West End Revival of Mojo


Andrew: So there’s a little exciting news for Rupert Grint fans. He is going to be making his stage debut in the West End revival of Mojo. [laughs]

Jamie: Mojo.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: I don’t…

Andrew: It originally premiered in 1996 and… yeah, you haven’t heard of this one, Jamie?

Jamie: Not Mojo, no. I don’t know that.

Andrew: He’s going to be playing a… let’s see here. It’s about rival gangs in 1950s Soho and its rock and roll scene. Grint is going to be playing an amphetamine… I don’t know how you pronounce that.

Jamie: Oh, go on. Please try it.

[Everyone laughs]

Jamie: That’s going to really amuse me if you try it.

Andrew: Amphetamine. Amphetamine infected gang member. I knew it. I knew I knew it! It’s just a matter of getting it out of my mouth.

Jamie: It reminds me of that time, Andrew, when you were hungry and you suggested we go and eat some “thigh” food. Do you remember that?

Andrew: Yeah, “thigh” food.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Like you actually clamp your mouth around somebody’s thigh.

Jamie: [laughs] That was funny. That was very funny.

Andrew: That was bad. That was bad.

Eric: Well, in Soho… no.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I can’t make that joke.

Andrew: Can I get “thigh” and Soho, and then go see Rupert?

Eric: Maybe.

Micah: Yeah, and have some amphe… well, however you want to say it.

Jamie: Whatever you said, I can’t even attempt to recreate it for you.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: And this is kind of taking a step in Dan Radcliffe’s direction, who has done numerous plays now. He’s currently in the play in the West End, The Cripple of an Innishmen, in London. And Emma Watson, too, recently, she mentioned that she wants to do some theater. She said it could be her next move after Brown. So everybody wants to do theater.

Jamie: So wait, why? Why? I mean, I don’t know, is this standard now that people do films and they do a bit of theater and then they go back to films?

Andrew: Maybe.

Jamie: Or is it just unique to the Harry Potter trio?

Andrew: Well, maybe they’re looking at Dan Radcliffe and they’re like, “Oh, he’s had a lot of success and he’s probably enjoying it.” I’m sure Dan Radcliffe has said good things about it. Rupert, though, hasn’t really done much since Harry Potter.

Eric: Yeah, we don’t really have a statement from him saying that he even wanted to continue acting. Although we do know that he has tried starring in different things. There was a pilot called Super Clyde that didn’t get picked up for American TV audiences.

Andrew: CBS, yeah.

Eric: But I think… don’t all the best British actors, don’t they all do a lot of theater in addition to…

Jamie: I think they start. I think they start a lot in theater. Ian McKellan did, Patrick Stewart did.

Eric: Right.

Jamie: I guess so. I mean, I think it does help, doesn’t it? I mean, what’s his name? Wolverine, Hugh Jackman, started off in theater as well.

Eric: Yeah. So I mean…

Jamie: I think it helps. It gives you a more well rounded view of acting, maybe? Something like that?

Eric: Yeah, maybe. I think that’s probably it. The different formats, the different forms, allow you to really craft your skills. That’s just what I think of theater, so I think it makes sense that Rupert is trying. If he does want to continue, then that’s great. What I don’t know is what’s with all this drug addicted stuff [laughs] that everybody is doing? For instance, we just spoke with Harry Melling, who played Dudley in the series, and he just did a show about a bunch of… a family of drug addicts – drug traffickers, actually – and I was just thinking, “Well, that’s just the latest gritty topic for him to be talking about.”

Jamie: Oh, people like gritty, don’t they?

Eric: The point I’m trying to make is I prefer comedies, [laughs] so I don’t know. A good old Shakespearean romp, give me that over any of that drama.

Jamie: Here’s a question about him: Harry Melling, he’s gotten really skinny, hasn’t he?

Eric: Yeah, he has.

Jamie: Did he have to use a… fat suit they’re called, aren’t they?

Eric: I think he said that.

Andrew: No, I think he had that weight.

Eric: Yeah, we spoke with him recently, actually, about that show, which was called something Family Robinson. Crack Family Robinson? Smack Family Robinson.

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: That’s what it was called. Yeah, and I spoke with him, actually – he’s a nice guy – just during an interview. And he mentioned the weight loss and stuff, so that’s all… I’ll send you the transcript of that somewhere.

Jamie: Okay, cool. Yeah.

Andrew: I want to learn about his regimen. How did he do it?

Eric: [laughs] But yeah, no, seeing that Rupert… is this a musical? I’m trying to think…

Andrew: No, no.

Eric: Oh, okay. I just pictured West Side Story there for a moment.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But drug-addicted gang member… it’s a step into theater. We’ll see that.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Like you said, Eric, people like this gritty stuff. They don’t want happy stuff. I don’t know why.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Right. Well, because they can relate to it. Because life is gritty, Jamie.

Jamie: Yeah, life is gritty, right?

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: In West Hollywood, yeah? Life is gritty there?

Andrew: Yes, yes. Well, it’s pretty and it’s also pretty gritty.

[Jamie laughs]

Andrew: But that’s why The Hunger Games is so popular right now. Because it’s very relatable.

Eric: Dystopian. Yeah, dystopian. Post-apocalyptic.

Jamie: The Hunger Games, I read the first one abroad. And I picked it up just because it was there. I went to one of those book-swap things.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: And I always thought it was a bit childish, if I’m honest. But I read it and I was like, “Wow, this is incredible.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: And then we picked up the second one and read that. And then I just actually bought Mockingjay for my Kindle, so I’m going to read that soon as well. Oh, it’s fantastic, the first one.

Andrew: Good. Yeah, it is, isn’t it? Laura describes it as “dystopian for dummies.”

Eric and Jamie: “Dystopian for dummies”?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It goes along the line of what you were saying, a bit childish. But…

Eric: That’s true. I think the second one is my favorite, though.

Jamie: Well, the only thing that annoyed me slightly, I think, was the way she called her characters, like President Snow. I don’t know why I just didn’t like that name. It was a bit like Twilight naming characters, conventions, like Jacob Black – they’re very simple names. I just thought it was a bit lazy. I don’t know.

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: I think we’ve been spoiled on seven J.K. Rowling books, though, to be fair.

Jamie: Well, yeah. Yeah.

Eric: With surnames like Scrimgeour, you know? It’s like, wow.

Jamie: Yeah, perhaps we’re used to what’s not normal, you know?

Micah: No, we’re just used to authors having thought in creating their characters.

Andrew: Ouch. Ouch.

Eric: Wow, Micah.

Jamie: Maybe. Although, Micah, I don’t know because I would say that Haymitch is one of the best characters. I think he’s one of my favorite characters in fiction, so…

Andrew: What now, Micah?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: And by the way, Haymitch, Katniss, Peeta – these aren’t popular… these aren’t common names. I mean, Snow and Coin are pretty basic, but…

Eric: Well, first names, it looks like she just dropped a box of alphabet soup…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: …and came out with Katniss, Peeta… but no, last names… I don’t know. I think it takes something to create any character, not just a name. But I think we’re right. Naming conventions do tend to be… White, Snow… even some of the other characters in Catching Fire – I was just looking at the posters on Hypable, actually, for the next Catching Fire, and there’s Gloss and… what’s the other one? Not just Gloss…

Andrew: Finnick, Mags…

Eric: No, no, no, who’s the… Shiny? Or Smooth?

Jamie: Yeah, who’s the guy… the Nordic, Norse guy who throws a spear?

Andrew: Brutus? Is that Brutus?

Jamie: No, no, no, the guy who eats sugar cubes.

Andrew: Finnick.

Jamie: I can’t…

Eric: Yeah, that’s Finnick.

Jamie: Oh, Finnick. Sorry. Finnick, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, he was quite a cool character but a bit 2D I thought, the way she painted him.

Andrew: He’s like the heartthrob of this next film.

Jamie: Well, you have to have one in the films if it’s going to…

Andrew: Don’t you? Don’t you? Well…

Jamie: You need the love triangle as well between… you have to have the… it’s like Bella and…

Andrew: Edward.

Jamie: …Edward and Jacob.

Eric: It was Cashmere. There’s a girl named Cashmere.

Andrew: Okay. See?

Jamie: Yeah, okay. That’s what it was.

Eric: Apparently it’s like… yup. I bet she’s got smooth skin.

MuggleCast 268 Transcript (continued)


Jamie’s British Joke/Anti-Joke of the Week


Andrew: So let’s move on here. It’s time now for a classic “Jamie’s British Joke of the Week.”

Jamie: Now, you’ve kind of sprung this on me, haven’t you?

Andrew: I didn’t write this.

Eric: Well, it wasn’t… yeah, I wrote this, but I think it… I feel it’s necessary. If we have to take a pause for you to get one…

Jamie: Well, luckily enough…

Eric: This was such a staple, and… yes?

Jamie: Oh sorry, I thought my connection died there. Luckily enough, someone told me one at work. But I don’t know if this thing that it refers to is a British thing only, so I’ll try and see how it goes down, okay? What type of owl is the most common owl?

Andrew: I don’t know. What?

Jamie: A [pronounces as “tea towel”] teat owl.

[Prolonged silence]

Jamie: No?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: No.

Eric: That must be British.

Jamie: What do you guys use, then?

Andrew: What do you mean? To do what?

Eric: We don’t have tea.

Jamie: To… no, you don’t use it for tea!

[Micah laughs]

Eric: What’s a tea towel?

Jamie: What do you use to dry, like if you wash stuff up and then dry it? What do you use?

Andrew: Just a towel.

Eric: A dish towel. Wash towel.

Jamie: Oh, okay. Okay. A wash towel.

Eric: I think calling it a tea towel is a British thing.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Okay. Well, I take that back then and say, what type of owl is the most common? A wash towel. It doesn’t really work.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: No, but that was very British, and it is a British Joke of the Week.

Jamie: True, true, true.

Andrew: So thank you, Jamie. It was enlightening.

Jamie: You’re very welcome.

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]

Eric: Do you have anymore, Jamie? You have no idea…

Jamie: No, no. I’m out.

Eric: …how much people look forward… our listeners have been looking forward to it. So if you have another, I’d say we should definitely share.

Jamie: No, I’m completely out. I’ve not actually heard any good jokes recently.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: I don’t know why that is. I don’t know if there’s just a lack of jokes going around.

Andrew: Going around. [laughs]

Jamie: But I have actually noticed… yeah. No, no, I’ve noticed that anti-jokes are quite popular now. Have you guys heard those?

Eric: Anti-jokes?

Jamie: Yeah, it’s like jokes which just don’t make any sense at all, and they’re just designed to bomb, and the fact that they bomb is funny. And now that I’ve said that, I can’t think of a single example of it.

Andrew: Like sarcasm, sort of?

Jamie: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, yeah. But no, not really. I don’t know the sort of term behind it, but they’re very strange. They’re very strange. If anyone has any anti-jokes, write in because I like them a lot.

Andrew: Sure, okay. [laughs]

Micah: I’ve got one, hold on. [pauses then laughs]

Andrew: Ha ha, that’s funny.

Micah: [laughs] No, no, I…

Andrew: Well, let me talk about Potted Potter for a second.

Micah: I Googled “anti-joke” and there’s actually a website, Anti-Joke.com.

Eric: [laughs] I did this, too.

Micah: So maybe this is what you were going for, Jamie. So there’s this kid…

Jamie: Okay, go on.

Micah: …who says, “Dear Santa, send me a brother.” And then Santa replies by saying, “Send me your mother.”

[Andrew laughs]

Jamie: No, no, I don’t think I do mean that. I don’t really get that. [laughs] I mean, here’s…

Micah: [laughs] Well, isn’t that the point?

Jamie: No. Well… no. I mean, it has to make some type of sense. You can’t just stick anything in.

Micah: Okay. Well, how about this? Why did the girl smear peanut butter on the road?

Jamie: Yeah? I don’t know.

Micah: To go with the traffic jam.

Jamie: Yeah, that’s quite good. But that’s just a normal joke. [laughs]

Eric: No, I found one. This might be an anti-joke: Why did the boy drop his ice cream?

Jamie: I don’t know. Why?

Eric: Because he was hit by a bus.

Jamie: Yeah, kind of. Yeah, I think that would work better like, why did the boy drop the ice cream? Because he wasn’t concentrating on what he was doing.

[Eric and Jamie laugh]

Andrew: Right, right. Something super obvious.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: Okay, okay.

Andrew: It’s like… okay, so it would be like, why did the chicken cross the road? Because he was just walking across the street, you idiot!

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, basically. Yeah.

Eric: That might be the original anti-joke: To get to the other side.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: You say that, but I actually heard something about this the other day that I didn’t realize was this explanation. Apparently that joke is amusing because to get to the other side, i.e. to cross the street and go to the other side of the street, but also because if you die you’re said to go to the other side. So apparently it works on both levels, and that’s why it’s funny.

Eric: Oh! If his journey to cross the road is successful or not, it works.

Jamie: Yeah. Either way he goes to the other side.

Eric: That’s perfect for Schrodinger’s equation, then. [laughs]


Review: Potted Potter


Andrew: Well, that was very enlightening. Have you guys… Micah or Eric, have either of you seen Potted Potter?

Micah: No.

Eric: I have.

Andrew: Okay, you have. So I actually saw it for the first time a couple of days ago. It was really good. What did you think of it? Did we ever talk about it on MuggleCast?

Eric: Did we? We may have. I didn’t like it at all.

Andrew: Oh, really?

Eric: Unfortunately, I just felt… the problem I had with it – I can be very succinct with this – is it was too shallow.

Andrew: See…

Eric: It was surface-knowledge of Harry Potter only. The way it’s advertised is having been like, “condensed, seven books into an hour spectacle!”

Andrew: Seventy minutes. That’s what they say, yeah.

Eric: How many minutes?

Andrew: Seventy. Seven-zero.

Eric: Yeah, yeah. And for seventy minutes, I can’t remember a single intelligent thing that we did. They threw a Quidditch thing, we played Quidditch with a bouncy ball and the audience. That was it! It was a big inflated beach ball and that was the show, and it just felt…

Andrew: I actually… I liked it but I said this to who I saw it with – I said this is not for hardcore fans. It’s just for… it’s just entertainment. It’s just Harry Potter-related entertainment. And the audience really seemed to enjoy the show and I enjoyed it. But you can’t take it seriously. You can’t go in expecting that this is going to be [laughs] a thorough review of the Harry Potter books.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: It’s just comedy.

Eric: Yeah. You cannot expect them to have the same level of references – and I would say even respect – for the source material that even StarKid has in their shows.

Andrew: And as I brought up to the person I saw it with, you can’t… but that’s good because you don’t want it to appeal to a smaller audience; you want it to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.

Eric: It’s almost to the point where it didn’t appeal to me at all. I felt too old; I felt too old to be there. It’s just given how successful Potted Potter is… I saw it when it was touring to Chicago. They did a huge tour and now they’re in New York, and it’s on taxi cabs and it’s on banners and billboards. To see that these guys, Dan and Jake or whatever their names are – Dan and Dave, Dan and Mike, something like that – are on Broadway and StarKid is not, that’s just the biggest kick in the face that you could…

Andrew: I don’t think StarKid wants to be, though. Do they?

Eric: Well, they will eventually. But I mean, not with Harry Potter.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: It’s just… if there’s a Harry Potter show as wide as to be on Broadway, I expect it to be of a much higher caliber than just a surface shallow… even if it’s fun, even if it’s entertaining, I expect it to have a little bit more to do with the books. Perhaps I’m just expecting too much or being too harsh about it and… what’s the word? Strict or something like that. I had fun, but if I had paid to go see it, more than the thirty-five… the tickets are even pretty expensive, but I think my friend chipped in or maybe somebody couldn’t go and I went either for free or for reduced cost. If I had paid full price I would have been very upset.

Andrew: Mmm.

Jamie: So, Eric, I can’t really tell, did you like it or…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: I don’t think he did.

Jamie: Sorry, bad joke. [laughs]

Eric: But it’s okay, I will respect anybody…

Andrew: Anti-joke.

Eric: …who went there and had a fun time.

Jamie: Anti-joke, yeah.

Eric: It’s amusing for kids. It really would have been a family show which is what, I guess, people expect in Harry Potter.

Andrew: Yeah, there were a bunch of families there.

Eric: It just does the same thing for Harry Potter as putting it on a children’s book list.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: It just isolates it, makes it for only kids to see and enjoy. It’s… I don’t know.

Micah: Yeah. Well, I see it all the time around in the city. I see it, actually, mainly on garbage cans. Like, they…

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: …decorate these garbage cans. They have these little owls sticking out of the tops, so…

Andrew: Yeah. It must be expensive because they’re right…

Micah: Not too sure about that.

Andrew: Well, they must be right… they’re right in Times Square. I was actually pretty surprised by…

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: That must be expensive. Anyway, so Potted Potter, I would recommend it – I enjoyed it. But you can’t go in there expecting an actual review of the seven Harry Potter books. It’s very, very broad. Very broad.

Eric: Mhm. Yeah.


Muggle Mail: Similarities Between the Royal Baby and Harry Potter


Andrew: Let’s get to some emails. We have a couple of emails now. This first one is from Katharine, 16, of London, writing about the “Half-Blood Prince of [pronounces incorrectly Cambridge.”

Eric: This is perfect for you, Jamie. We’ve got the new royal baby…

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: …and we’ve got a British gentleman to represent.

Jamie: I just have to point out…

Andrew: Okay.

Jamie: Andrew, what did you say the title was again?

Andrew: Okay, you think it’s [pronounces correctly] Cambridge, right?

Jamie: Well, I don’t think it’s Cambridge. I know.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: All right, Cambridge.

“Hey everyone, I love the show. I only got into ‘Potter’ in the last year so it was great to discover that there was still an active community, so it sucks that the show is ending. I was thinking that with all the news of the royal baby how perfect the series would be for him to read when he gets older. From an extremely young age, both the Prince and Harry become famous and revered around the world. They are both expected to serve the people, even though they didn’t really get to choose that they would be special. They both will live out virtually their entire lives in the public eye and will be obligated to do good for communities. They are both frequently under scrutiny from the tabloids. There is also the fact that they are both ‘half-bloods.’ James was from an old noble wizarding family and Lily was from an ordinary Muggle one. William is from a noble, royal family and Kate is from a normal, middle-class one. Anyway, I just thought that there were lots of similarities between them. Also, I have a feeling that if Jo found out that the future king wanted a Marauders’ era book, she would write one! Thanks for opening the door for me into the entire fandom.”

Jamie: I think that’s a really nice email.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: I think that is true. All of it is true. You can’t really argue with it. That would be great if he did grow up and read all of the books and got really into them and was this kind of out-there prince who liked Harry Potter and… but hey, we could revamp the show in twenty years and have him on as a guest, right?

Andrew: Yeah. When the reboot films start happening.

Micah: That’s right.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Absolutely.

Jamie: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah.

Micah: And they were both born as the seventh month dies. I don’t know if that was…

Eric: Oh, God! [laughs]

Micah: …thrown in here.

Jamie: Nice. Nice.

Andrew: Good point. Good point.

Micah: I stole that from Lord Voldemort on Twitter, though. I saw that a couple of days ago.

Jamie: That’s very honest.

Micah: I’m just being honest. Look, I’m sourcing my material so I don’t get a lawsuit or anything like that.

Jamie: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: I stopped following him because he does sponsored tweets which are so annoying.

Jamie: Well, here’s a question: Who is it and how have they got two and a half million followers?

Andrew: He doesn’t reveal his identity. He does it just by being funny and he gets lots of retweets. These fake accounts where you pretend to be somebody else in their voice…

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: …are very popular.

Jamie: Yeah, but I just… two and a half million. He must make a load per sponsored tweet.

Andrew: Probably.

Jamie: Although… yeah. Weird.

Andrew: He doesn’t reveal himself. I tried to interview him for MuggleNet and he wouldn’t do it.

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: He did one as Lord Voldemort though, but not himself.

Micah: Oh.

Jamie: Strange.

Micah: It’s really J.K. Rowling.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Ah.

Micah: That’s what she spends time on. There you go.

Andrew: By the way, she said, this emailer, Katharine says:

“I have a feeling that if Jo found out that the future king wanted a Marauders’ era book, she would write one!”

I don’t think so. [laughs] I don’t think even…

Eric: Just for him?

Andrew: I don’t even think this new kid could do it. George Louis Bumblebee, whatever.

Eric: [laughs] Prince George Alexander Louis. Excuse me.

Andrew: Oh. There you go.

Eric: That was just for Jamie’s sake. Actually, Comedy Central had a funny tweet I think I should share because the name, George Alexander Louis… and this may be… it’s very clearly either a royal custom or just customary to honor previous royalty or previous kings, previous rulers, that sort of thing. They named the child George Alexander Louis as a name, and I think it’s Comedy Central on Twitter – or Indecision, whatever that account is – said his actual full name is Prince George Alexander Louis Harry Potter Doctor Who The Beatles of Cambridge.

Jamie: [laughs] Nice. That’s very… sends it on a…

Eric: Just… yeah.

Andrew: Okay, final email today. This is a bit of a long one. [clears throat]

“Hey MuggleCasters,

I’ve been listening to your show since around Episode 50, but this is the first time I’m writing to you.”

[Audio glitches and interrupts]

Andrew: Oh, sorry. I think everything froze up for a second. Are we good now?

Eric: Oh, wait. Can we… what was your response?

Jamie: The voices are going a bit weird.

Andrew: Hold on. Can you still hear me? Hello? Hello?

Eric: Yeah, yeah. You went away. I don’t think it…

Andrew: Oh, okay.

Eric: It probably wasn’t recorded.

Micah: Yeah, we…

Andrew: I think it crapped out for a second. I was just moving on to the next email.

Eric: Oh, yeah. But what was your response, Jamie? Just say it again about that full name, The Beatles?

Jamie: Oh, right. Yeah, that’s, I think, humor for Americans. You’re just picking the three British exports. But there are only a certain amount of names that British royal births can take. They’re expected to go along a certain sort of… like a certain type of name, traditional name. And also, I did read a piece on their names came from grandfathers and great grandmothers. Sorry, grandfathers, rather. That would have… yeah. So yeah, I think… yeah. It was to be expected and I think the bookmakers had George as the favorite. So…

Eric: Huh, okay.

Micah: Yeah.

Jamie: Interesting though, yeah.


Muggle Mail: Alternate Endings


Andrew: Final email of the day. This comes from Sophie. Sophie?

“Hey MuggleCasters,

I’ve been listening to your show since around Episode 50, but this is the first time I’m writing to you. I’ve really enjoyed MuggleCast over the years and wanted to say thank you and congrats on your amazing eight-year run. Here’s hoping you all achieve such levels of success in your future endeavors, too.

I also have a suggestion for a Favorites segment, if you still have time left in the show for it: Favorite alternate ‘Harry Potter’ ending. (I thought this might be fitting, since MuggleCast is formally ending its run, too!) Just for kicks, here is the ending that I always kind of wanted to happen:

In Book 7, Ron is killed in Malfoy Manor while attempting to save Hermione from Bellatrix.”

Jamie: Start off heavy, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: [continues]

“Harry and Hermione are forced to continue the journey alone. They do defeat Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, but afterwards, Ginny cannot help but partially blame Harry for Ron’s death (since it was Harry’s fault they ended up in Malfoy Manor in the first place), and they are unable to make up. Harry becomes the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts, which he finally realized was his true calling after reflecting upon how much he enjoyed heading the DA meetings. Having broken the curse that Voldemort placed upon the position, he enjoys many years as one of the most popular DADA teachers in the history of Hogwarts. Meanwhile, Hermione moves up the ranks in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (as in the canon), and the epilogue depicts her visiting Harry’s office late one afternoon, many years after their time as Hogwarts students; they reminisce about old times and how much has changed since Voldemort’s final downfall.”

So this is saying Ron and Hermione, obviously, wouldn’t be together. Harry and Ginny wouldn’t be together.

Jamie: Does Ginny hate Harry?

Andrew: Right.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Does this also mean that Harry and Hermione could potentially get together?

Micah: Well, she is visiting his office late one afternoon.

[Everyone laughs]

Jamie: And then the film closes and… yeah.

Eric: I think I can see where this is going…

Jamie: It’s left to the imagination.

Eric: …yeah, fairly early on once you remove Ginny and Ron from the equation.

Jamie: Yeah.

Eric: But…

Jamie: I think Sophie is a secret Harry-Hermione fan.

Eric: It’s true. It’s true. There’s one word for those people. [laughs]

Andrew: I like this idea of…

Jamie: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: …alternate Harry Potter ending. I mean, I would have seen… I would have preferred to see Harry not get with Ginny, and I think the movies did that for me. I can’t even remember book Ginny anymore. I just know…

Eric: She’s great.

Andrew: …that Ginny in the films, I think, is one of the worst casting choices ever. She’s just so boring.

Eric: They didn’t use her well.

Andrew: I don’t like Bonnie Wright. So I… for Harry to get with Ginny after all this. Oh, gosh. Come on! I would have liked to see Harry and Hermione get together.

Jamie: Delusional. Oh no, sorry, you aren’t supposed to say that.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, that was the word! That was the word. Oh, you got it. Jamie, it’s good to have you back.

Jamie: I didn’t want to say it. I didn’t want to. But then I thought I just would, I’d go for it.

Eric: You might want to get that looked at, that syndrome that makes you shout things out. [laughs]

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: That’s a good question. Do you guys have any… if you could change one thing about the way the Harry Potter books ended, maybe something within the epilogue, would you have changed that?

Jamie: I don’t know. I mean, it’s tough to go back now and say… the epilogue doesn’t really change the story. I wonder if… I don’t know. I mean, the thing is… the epilogue centers around the start…

Micah: It’s okay, it’s okay. You’re old, you don’t remember…

Jamie: [laughs] Yeah. The epilogue starts as the whole series started, with starting the journey to Hogwarts. I wonder if that sort of planted in people’s ideas that that sort of thing could restart the story or something like that. I wonder if they could… she could have gone for a traditional… yeah, they reminisce about old times type of thing and focus on the people who have been in the books, which… although she did in revealing who they got together with and the children and stuff, I wonder if having a focus on everything they had gone through, maybe, might have been… maybe, I don’t know. What do you guys think?

Eric: If I could change, like as alternate endings, I would either make Voldemort win [laughs] just for kicks…

Jamie: That’s the ultimate alternate ending.

Eric: That is the ultimate alternate ending, isn’t it? But actually I would just have preferred… and this goes to sort of a deep-seeded dislike for some of the events of Book 7, but in general I just think Voldemort was hyped up quite a bit more than he should have been, considering in Book 7 he just continually makes mistake after mistake after mistake. He very rushedly goes into battle with Harry, and then loses and dies.

Jamie: Well, hey, hey. What do you mean events that you didn’t like in Book 7? Because I feel the need to pick you up on that.

Eric: Oh, okay. I’ll definitely converse with you on it. I think though… it just comes to Voldemort. It really comes down to Voldemort. And the backstory, particularly in Half-Blood Prince, of him carefully and cautiously lining up these Horcruxes and creation. And when he finds out that Harry… when he eventually finds out that Harry has been destroying them, he – if I recall – drops what he’s doing, flies to Hogwarts, and proceeds to make – and it’s been a while, so I can’t do terribly specifics – a lot of mistakes in terms of giving the rest of his Horcruxes up to die. For instance, the scene with Neville and the snake. He basically looks the other way and is distracted by Harry while Neville is able to escape.

Jamie: Fair point, but I think her point – Rowling’s point – is that he was suffering from hubris. He thought he had won, he wasn’t really looking at… thinking that the possibility that he could lose, maybe.

Eric: I kind of see that, but it just… it’s so sad to see your villain, this compelling villain, arch enemy, be defeated so easily because he is proud. It tells the story, but it tells a story that’s been told a hundred times before. I prefer the Moriarty type of villain – the villain who can’t be beat, who can’t be… who’s actually an equal match, whereas even Harry as the hero is only casting Expelliarmus, or even at the very end it’s… the battle… I expect it to be because Harry was so outnumbered or so. He had the odds against him so deeply. I expected more of a… I guess…

Jamie: That’s certainly an interesting point, but I wonder… I don’t think a Moriarty figure would fit with the way the books focus on triumph good over evil. Since the beginning, you knew Harry was going to win. I mean, that was absolutely clear. It was… it couldn’t end with Voldemort winning. So I don’t know if that Moriarty… I mean, I agree with you. He’s a great villain, Moriarty, and he works so well for Sherlock Holmes, but I don’t know if the same thing would work for Potter.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jamie: Interesting, though.

Andrew: No, I agree. Micah, did you have any?

Micah: It’s tough because I think that to take this and completely change the ending… maybe something along the lines of, “And Harry woke up.”

Andrew: [laughs] That would be awesome.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: Oh yeah, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Andrew: No, it would not be nice.

Eric: Would you have ended it in “scar”? I feel like one of us should be saying…

Micah: No, no, but maybe he wakes up after having gotten bitten from the snake that escaped from the zoo, and…

[Eric laughs]

Micah: …this has all been nothing but a dream.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah.

Micah: He looks into the face of his doctor and it’s really Albus Dumbledore or something.

Eric: [laughs] You were there, and you were there, and you were there.

Micah: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Jamie: That would be horrible.

Micah: What was the TV show that did that? Dallas? I want to say… a couple of TV shows have modeled endings off of that.

Eric: Life on Mars. The US version of Life on Mars ended similarly.

Jamie: Yeah, but you can’t do that now, can you? I didn’t think that was… people hate that type of thing.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Jamie: I mean, Family Guy took the mickey out of that, didn’t they? They said… there was that episode where it was all Stewie’s creation and Brian said, “Don’t you think the viewers are going to be annoyed that you… that the entire thing is just completely made up and everything that they’ve been watching for the last hour didn’t actually happen?”

Eric: Yeah.

Jamie: Which is true, I think.

Eric: It gets annoying because it’s a lot of information to take in and at the end, people just feel like it’s a waste. I had that question leading up to Book 7. If Harry does die, won’t people feel like it’s a waste reading seven books of his struggle and his journey?

Jamie: I think that’s true, yeah.

Eric: What will it matter? All that other stuff. But I will say that the waking up thing that Micah was talking about… actually, I heard a recent panel at the cons… I’ve just been hearing a growing voice in the community saying because of Harry’s abuse from the Dursleys, being shunted in the cupboard under the stairs, that it could have caused him to create an alternate reality. Say he went crazy from the abuse that the… the Dursleys, and that caused him to hallucinate or imagine these events in which he is a hero. How deep is that?

Jamie: That is Matrix level deep.

Eric: Yeah. Or is it Inception? Is it quite Inception or not?

Jamie: Oh, it’s Inception. Yeah, yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: Wouldn’t that be cool, Harry PotterInception combination mash-up type thing? I’d love to see that.

Eric: Deeper… yeah, that, I think, would be less cheesy than necessarily the Wizard of Oz – if you want to call it that – reveal where it’s a dream. But it’s still, I think, is one of those scarily… you think it’s plausible for a kid to go crazy like that. So it’s a dark subject, but definitely an interesting thought.

Jamie: Oh, yeah.


Show Close


Andrew: This has been a very all over the place episode of MuggleCast, I have to say.

[Eric and Jamie laugh]

Jamie: Yeah, it is. Yeah.

Andrew: But I would expect no less when Jamie is on.

[Andrew and Jamie laugh]

Andrew: No, it was good. Jamie, thank you for coming on. We appreciate you a lot.

Jamie: Thanks for inviting me again, yeah!

Andrew: Of course. Everybody wanted to…

Jamie: It’s nice to be back.

Andrew: Yeah, everybody wanted to have you on, so I’m sure everybody will enjoy this episode very much. We’ll be back with one more regular episode of MuggleCast…

Jamie: So, guys, tell me.

Andrew: Hmmm?

Jamie: One more? No, I was just going to ask how many more.

Andrew: Oh, okay. Yeah, we’re planning on ending it next month, which would be… which would mark exactly eight years. Because we started…

Jamie: Eight years. Wow.

Andrew: …in August 2005, so it will be eight years. And we’ve said to people, even though it’ll be the end, if something monumental happens, of course we’ll release another episode. We’re just… this is just going to be the end of regular releases. For example, if J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling

Jamie: End of era, right?

Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] If J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: …came out [and] was unveiled this October, we would do an episode about it.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Same thing when the theme park opens up next year, the new expansion opens up next year. We’ll probably do an episode, et cetera, et cetera. So that’s what’s happening. Thank you, everybody, for listening. Once again… what are we doing now, guys? mugglecast at gmail dot com? Is that…

Eric: Yeah, that’s it. I think I may have to make one or two more adjustments to the feedback form, but it is mugglecast at gmail dot com to just immediately contact us…

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: …via email.

Andrew: And do that. Send in all the emails. We’ll try to spend a lot of time on emails next episode. And…

Jamie: And also, I want some anti-jokes, so send in some anti-jokes.

Andrew: [laughs] Okay.

Eric: [laughs] Yes.

Andrew: All right. And MuggleCast.com, all the links you need over there. Follow us on Twitter, Twitter.com/MuggleCast. We got the Facebook, Facebook.com/MuggleCast, the fan Tumblr, which is MuggleCast.Tumblr.com, and some other links there as well. Thank you, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew Sims.

Jamie: I’m Jamie Lawrence.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.

[Show music begins]

Andrew: Jamie gone for two years and steps into the number two position.

[Eric laughs]

Jamie: Yeah, I just thought I was going to go for it. I wasn’t sure how it would go down.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s all yours, mate.

Jamie: Thanks.

Andrew: Thanks again, Jamie, for coming on. We’ll see everybody next time…

Jamie: See you, guys!

Andrew: …for Episode 269. Goodbye.

Jamie: Buh-bye.

[Show music continues]

Transcript 267

MuggleCast 267 Transcript


Show Intro


[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]

Andrew: Because J.K. Rowling has a surprise for us that has made us gone cuckoo, this is MuggleCast Episode 267 for July 14th, 2013.

[Show music begins]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 267. This is a special episode. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to count towards the final two. We decided that we would record a special episode because J.K. Rowling shocked the world on Saturday afternoon when she revealed…

Eric: Aunt Marge is gay.

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: Yes, finally! I’ve waited for so long.

Eric: [unintelligible]

Selina: Nice.

Andrew: My Pottermore hopes and dreams have come true, and we’re here to analyze what it could mean for the future of Aunt Marge. No, J.K. Rowling revealed a new book, The Cuckoo’s Calling. But even more shocking, it’s been available in bookstores since late April.

[Eric laughs]

Selina: I know. [laughs]

Andrew: She released it under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. Take that everyone who doubted my pronunciation. On Hypable, the people, were already… they were like, “I can’t wait to see how Andrew pronounces it.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I’m like, “Excuse me! Excuse me!”

Selina: I think it’s [pronounces as “Gal-bryth”] Galbraith or something. Galbraith? Something Irish.

Andrew: Maybe.

Eric: I would say [pronounces as “Gal-brith”] Galbraith.

Selina: [switches between pronouncing “Gal-brith” and “Gal-bryth”] Galbraith? Galbraith? Galbraith?

Eric: I would not say any of the “eyth” and the “ooth” and the…

Selina: No, I don’t know where that’s coming from.

Andrew: Well, since this person doesn’t exist, neither does a proper pronunciation.

Selina: Fair enough.

Eric: Oh!

Andrew: So everybody can say it how they want.

Micah: Nice!

Eric: Everyone’s a winner!

Micah: That was very well done.


Initial Reactions to J.K. Rowling Revealed As Author of The Cuckoo’s Calling


Andrew: [laughs] So there’s a lot to talk about. Everybody is very excited. It’s been an exciting 24 hours as we all kind of learn tidbits about this book. How about… let’s talk about initial reactions first. Micah, you had one of my favorite tweets yesterday.

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: What went through your mind? Did you believe it at first?

Micah: Did I believe it?

Andrew: Believe that she actually released a book two and a half months ago and we didn’t even know it.

Micah: Sure.

[Selina laughs]

Micah: Why not? I think the reaction you’re referring to is that I said, I don’t follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter yet I still found out that she released a new book. And…

Selina: I don’t follow her either. Isn’t it terrible?

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: Yes! Selina!

Selina: [laughs] I know.

Micah: See? There’s two hosts for you. But I was just… it’s pleasantly surprising that she did this and the book has been out, as you said, since April and nobody really caught onto it until, I guess, this writer at The Sunday Times decided to do a little bit of digging. But what surprises me… and I don’t really know the track record for this, but she decided to use this pseudonym which is a male as opposed to doing it as a female, and I just wondered the reasoning behind that. Normally, I would think that your pseudonym would be specific to your gender, but I guess it doesn’t have to be.

[Andrew laughs]

Selina: Oh no, it hardly ever is, actually.

Eric: I would think it would be potentially…

Micah: Is it really?

Eric: Yeah. I would think that it would be intentionally misleading.

Andrew: And some people are laughing because she’s already gone by a male name before: J.K. Rowling.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: And now she’s doing it again. [laughs]

Eric: Right, which is… yeah, because J.K. is the more masculine version. It could be either way.

Micah: Right.

Andrew: Eric and Selina, were either of you shocked? I was shocked.

Eric: Yeah. I mean…

Selina: Well…

Eric: …at first I didn’t believe it, and there were people on Twitter I was following… basically it was during my job, I was out at work when I first saw the first tweets, and I read Hypable’s article because you had that up lightning speed. And at first I wasn’t sure if it was true or if… because who can say, right? If it’s really, really true. I don’t know if the statement from Jo was there yet, but at first we were just thinking, what if this is a really good marketing campaign by Robert Galbraith and his people who are getting this out there? It just… it felt like it needed more traction.

Micah: Substance?

Eric: And then it… but within 15 minutes, it had that traction. Everybody was saying, “Oh my God. This is it.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And it was just so absurd that she would do this, but at the same time, so…

Andrew: So Jo.

Eric: It was so Jo. It made sense…

Selina: It was just so Jo, guys. [laughs]

Eric: When we later got the statement from her, it made… it was like, oh yeah, that makes sense. But it was rewarding to be able to actually just… I diverted myself. I drove a mile out of my way just to a Barnes and Noble… actually, I didn’t drive out of my way. It was at the opposite end of the parking lot I was in, and went to Barnes and Noble and picked up two copies.

Micah: That’s a very far drive for you.

Andrew: Yeah. Wow, some fan you are.

Selina: How hard for you.

Eric: It’s a pretty big parking lot in Skokie. But anyway, I drove right across the street to Barnes and Noble and got two copies. They were already in stores.

Selina: Why did you get two?

Eric: One for my girlfriend.

Selina: Oh, okay.

Eric: But this is the greatest thing of all, about this reveal, is that the book… that we didn’t have to wait for it.

Andrew: Right, right.

Eric: Instant gratification. Especially to ebook readers, ebook reader owners.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Or anybody with the apps. It’s available right now.

Andrew: Yeah, which is so exciting. When I first found… I first found out about it when somebody just at-replied the Hypable Twitter with just a link, no text, just a link. And I saw it was The Telegraph and I was like, “Hmm, that’s interesting.”

Eric: Usually, that’s spam. [laughs]

Andrew: [laughs] Right, right.

Eric: Usually that’s like a “Grow your…” you know.

Andrew: Right, but it was going to The Telegraph so I clicked it, and the statement was there from the beginning because, as we’ll get into in a minute, The Sunday Times had reached out to J.K. Rowling’s people and she decided to issue a statement. So after I wrote up the article and did a couple of things, of course everybody was really excited. I booked it to my local Barnes and Noble, but I couldn’t find it and I even went up to somebody at the desk and I said, “Help me find it.” They were like, “Yeah, you know, we got four copies in stock. It says we have four copies here.” So they helped me look and it just could not be found. And he just turned to me at one point and was just like, “Yeah, I guess we have four copies that are lost.” I’m like, “Okay, great, bye.”

[Eric laughs]

Selina: Wow.

Andrew: So, I was bummed…

Micah: Or four copies that sold before you got there.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s what I was also thinking, but I don’t think their computers would reflect that they’re in. Anyway, luckily my friends, John and Bre – John who you may know from Leaky – he is closer to a Barnes and Noble down near Santa Monica, so they also booked it over to the bookstore and purchased all four available copies.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Selina: Like hoarding J.K. Rowling books. It’s crazy.

Andrew: I know. Well, they’re…

Micah: You know what I’m thinking, Andrew?

Andrew: What?

Micah: I’m thinking that clerk that you went to put those in reserve for himself and kept them in the back room.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Maybe.

Selina: I bet. And sold them for a hundred dollars.

Eric: I have a story about this. I have a story about this, guys. So my Barnes and Noble that I went to, the one in Skokie, there were four in inventory.

Andrew: See? See?

Eric: Which is weird. I’m sensing a recurring thing here.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Basically, by the time I got there, it was maybe forty five minutes after the news broke, and I asked the woman. I asked her, “Hey, so Cuckoo’s Calling, new crime thriller.” She’s like, “Okay, it’s right over here.” She led me right to it and that was because she had just put it on hold for somebody who called in.

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: So she put one copy on hold, so she knew exactly where it was but didn’t necessarily know anything further, right? So she led me right to it and she picked it up off the shelf and gave it to me and I was like, “Okay. You know that the word on the street is that this is the new J.K. Rowling book.” And her eyes went really wide, and she’s like, “Really?” And I’m like, “Yes.” I didn’t say, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard this thing.” I just said, “The Internet says this is what happened.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: So I was like, “So I’ll take two.”

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Because I knew… because my girlfriend didn’t have any luck down in the city Barnes and Noble, which is also a university bookstore so they weren’t as well stocked. But I grabbed two, meaning there was one left on the shelf, and I started walking the other way after I said, “Okay, I’ll take two.” I grabbed them and I was walking to the cashier. And the woman said, “Well, maybe I’ll take this last copy for myself.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, I would have.

Selina: See? Don’t you think that’s so interesting though, and kind of nice, that even now, so many years after Harry Potter and after The Casual Vacancy – which was a lukewarm success at best – you hear new J.K. Rowling book, everybody books it to the bookstore. No pun intended.

Eric: Everybody.

Andrew: Right.

Selina: Everybody.

Andrew: And like Eric…

Selina: And it’s like you guys are hoarding the books. That’s the thing. It’s like you have to have this because it’s J.K. Rowling’s book, you know?

Andrew: And like Eric pointed out, the thrill yesterday was that it was already… it was immediately available.

Selina: Yeah.

Andrew: So it was like a little treasure hunt going… that’s how it felt to me.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I wanted so bad to just go up to it and actually see it sitting there on the shelf. I was bummed that I didn’t get that experience like Eric and other people did.

Eric: Yeah.

Selina: But you know what? I don’t know about you, Andrew, but whenever I heard this, I wasn’t surprised at all that she would have released this under a pseudonym because we’ve sort of been speculating this for a while. But I was a little bit disappointed because this probably means she didn’t write Queen of the Tearling. [laughs]

Andrew: [laughs] Right. We spoke about Queen of

Selina: And I really liked that theory.

Andrew: Yeah. We spoke about that on one of the more recent episodes of MuggleCast and over on Hype. And you know what? I’ve done some further digging about that, looking up who owns the domain name, and it looks to be an actual person. So…

Selina: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, bummer.

Andrew: Yeah, I know.

Selina: But I think it’s also just because I kind of feel like, for me, I was hoping… and I didn’t think she would, but I was sort of hoping against hope that she would write another fantasy.

Andrew: Mhm.

Selina: So…

Micah: She may still.

Andrew: This is all adding up though now because it’s been six years now since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and it’s like, what the heck has she been doing?

Eric: Yeah.

[Selina laughs]

Eric: I mean, she got a Twitter, it’s got two and a half million followers. She doesn’t use it…

Selina: She doesn’t have tweets.

Eric: Yeah.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: She doesn’t use it. It’s the weirdest thing. It’s like she’s there but she’s not, these past six years. She’s been there but she’s not. And this is another fruit of that labor that we didn’t know existed.

Micah and Selina: Yeah.

Micah: I remember specifically, though… I think I found out once there was enough evidence to support the fact that it was true. So it wasn’t one of those things where I was waiting, waiting, waiting to see was it actually legitimate that she had put this book out. But I have not gone out and got the book yet. I’m still waiting. I might try tomorrow at work…

Andrew: Uh oh.

Eric: Uh oh.

Micah: …on lunch hour to go to the Barnes and Noble a couple of blocks away and see if it’s available.

Andrew: You’re probably too late.

Micah: I’m probably am at this point.

Selina: Get it on ebook like I did!

Eric: You’re in a pretty dense…

Micah: I don’t like ebooks.

Eric: Oh, ebooks.

Selina: Yeah, I don’t either. [laughs]

Micah: I like the actual book itself.

Selina: Yeah.

Micah: And that might be weird, but so be it.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: You know what? I actually… I have switched to only ebooks but the fact that it’s a J.K. Rowling book, I want to have a physical copy. It’s just nice.

Selina: I just got so scarred by Casual Vacancy. I mean, she sort of…

Andrew: Yeah.

Selina: It tainted it forever. I’m looking right now at my massive cover of The Casual Vacancy which cost me like three hundred… not three hundred, thirty pounds.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah.

Selina: [laughs] It wasn’t that expensive. It’s golden and… but I mean… and I’m just thinking, “You know what? That was a waste of money.” [laughs]

Eric: I’m staring at the other end of my room where my bookshelf is and there’s The Casual Vacancy, sure enough. It’s the one signed by J.K.R. Right next to it is the one that’s not signed by J.K.R that I paid thirty dollars for.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: And I haven’t finished it. They’re just both over there and they’re bookends on my bookshelf, so… you know, it is a cautionary lesson here, where just because… like on name alone… and this is the weirdest thing about what happened yesterday… maybe that would be a good title for this episode: What happened yesterday.

[Selina laughs]

Eric: But it’s the weirdest thing because no matter how or where we were or what we were doing… like I was in the middle of an eleven-hour workday, okay? The last thing on my mind was J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. But when I started seeing those tweets coming in, about a new J.K. Rowling book, and once it was like, oh my God, this is happening, and it set in, me and everybody else started tweeting, “On our way,” “Got to do this,” tweeting photos, book-in-hand photos.

Andrew: Right.

Selina: See, yeah…

Eric: …People were like, “I’m in the middle of a monsoon. I’m getting the Harry Potter book.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: So…

Selina: Now, here’s your tagline for the show. I mean, the fandom, everyone saw that J.K. Rowling had a new book out. They all went cuckoo! Ha ha ha.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Ah, cuckoo for Cuckoo!

Selina: Exactly.

Micah: Or Coco Pops.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It’s just the weirdest… I wanted to tweet, but I didn’t want to get shat on by people. Are we suddenly forgetting The Casual Vacancy here, people?

Micah: That’s my question, because…

Eric: Like name alone… because it’s been months and I still have no interest to pick that book up. I read half of it. I read exactly half of it and stopped and never picked it up again. And are we just forgetting? Are we just like, “Okay, we’re going to go get the new J.K. Rowling book…” it’s such loyalty to Jo, but at the same time there’s absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that we’re going to like it. It’s, again, a different genre than what we’re used to.

Selina: It’s just a question of the fact that we had Casual Vacancy, some people loved it but some people didn’t. But at the end of the day I think the fandom, the Harry Potter fandom as a whole, are still J.K. Rowling fans. They’re fans of the franchise that is J.K. Rowling. And the question is just… I mean, this is going to be the book that I think decides. If people generally love this book, yeah, they’re going to pick up whatever she writes next.

Andrew: Mhm.

Selina: But if this kind of turns up being another Casual Vacancy I don’t think that people are going to rush out to stores the next time she releases something.

Eric: It’s weird because initial plot summaries, everything that I’ve read so far about the book makes it seem like Cuckoo’s Calling is going to be a really fun crime drama novel, and I wonder why she didn’t choose that one for her next book and publish Casual Vacancy under a pseudonym.

Andrew: Yeah, she should have.

Eric: Not that the lesser book has to… I’m not trying to somehow shovel The Casual

Selina: Not that it wasn’t a good book, but it just wasn’t…

Eric: It’s obviously very personal for Jo, and it was a hell of an undertaking to do it, and it portrays a dark corner of humanity that isn’t comfortable. Maybe it was important or good that that book be under her name. But it’s just so weird because this… my hopes are way up for this book because it seems to be… again, it’s a little political but it’s mostly about a detective. And those novels are always so much fun to read. Always.

Andrew: The other thing I like about The Cuckoo’s Calling and why I wanted a physical copy is because it’s summertime.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I mean, the last time we got a new book during the summer from J.K. Rowling was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And the Harry Potter book releases were always traditionally summer releases, so it kind of harkens back to those Harry Potter release days.

Micah and Selina: Yeah.

Eric: That reminds me of… Micah, you posted in a Skype chat earlier that today is the six years since Episode 99 in Enlightening in 2007 in Philadelphia – which was the episode before we all got the seventh book – is six years ago today, from when we’re recording this.

Andrew: Not just that, but today is the… tomorrow is the two year anniversary of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 hitting theaters.

Eric: Yeah. This is the Harry Potter month.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: This is… and his birthday is in sixteen days or whatever. So you’re right, it feels right that it was revealed now. Although, I did want to talk about the fact that it’s only been two months. So the secret came out still pretty quickly, I think.


How The Sunday Times Uncovered The Secret


Andrew: Well, yeah. I mean, I guess we can get into that now. So The New York Times spoke to The Sunday Times, who initially uncovered The Cuckoo’s Calling connecting it to J.K. Rowling. What happened was one of The Sunday Times‘s writers had read The Cuckoo’s Calling recently and tweeted that she liked the book. And shortly after that, an anonymous person replied to her on Twitter and told her that it was J.K. Rowling who was the real author.

Eric: Unbelievable.

Andrew: So then the editor replied to the Twitter user asking, “How do you know for sure?” and the anonymous person said, “I just know.” Then that anonymous person deleted the tweets and deleted his or her Twitter account. So from there, that made The Sunday Times start to dig. They connected the dots between the publisher and the editor of The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s Calling. They’re both Little Brown, and it’s also the same actual editor, the same person. And that set off a red flag because it was like, why is this person who edited The Casual Vacancy for J.K. Rowling also editing something as irrelevant as a new-coming author, a new author? That part didn’t really add up.

Eric: Oh, right. Right.

Andrew: And then they sent the two books plus Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into linguistic computers and they found, quote, “significant similarities between the three.”

Selina: Wow.

[Andrew and Selina laugh]

Eric: These linguistic computers sound really cool.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: They’re basically what our eighth grade science teachers threatened us with if we were to plagiarize our science fair experiment.

[Selina laughs]

Eric: They’re like, “We can tell your writing! There are databases for this.”

Andrew: Right.

Eric: I’m all over it.

Andrew: So then they had all this evidence and they decided to email Rowling’s publicist this past Friday night. And their email was… it was a very simple statement. It was:

“I believe that Robert Galbraith is in fact J.K. Rowling, and will you please come back with a straightforward answer?”

[Andrew laughs]

Selina: I love that.

Micah: You have to say that in a British accent though, because that sound…

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: [in a terrible British accent] “Will you please come back with a straightforward answer?”

Micah: There you go. It just sounds more authentic that way.

Andrew: And then Saturday morning J.K. Rowling’s publicist replied, “Yes, it is her.” And then they got that statement from Rowling, and then that was it.

Eric: Wow.

Andrew: So, yeah.

Selina: It’s so weird. Such a weird sequence of events. What kind of… who was the person that originally tweeted it? That’s what I want to know.

Andrew: Well, okay…

Selina: Is it Ian Rankin being bitter?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Well, here’s the question: Was this anonymous person on Twitter actually somebody from Little Brown, and Little Brown decided that now they want to let everybody learn about the book? Because…

Eric: I can just imagine like a 4:00AM phone call to J.K. Rowling, where she picks it up, she’s like, “Hello?” – wiping the sleep from her eyes – and they’re like, “Phase 2, Ms. Rowling, is ready to begin.”

[Selina laughs]

Eric: She’s like, “Okay, proceed.” And then they send that tweet back to that Sunday Times person. You think it’s a planned event?

Andrew: Well, I mean…

Selina: I don’t know. Operation Cuckoo?

Andrew: They wanted to sell them eventually. They wanted to let everybody know because, I mean, Little Brown is a business. They want book sales.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: And everybody knows book sales have been struggling. So I think it had to come out at some point. As J.K. Rowling said in her statement, she was hoping it wouldn’t be this soon.

Selina: Mhm.

Andrew: I don’t know how soon she was planning.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: But interestingly in the New York Times report, they say that the second print run of the book – which is now underway – will carry a revised author biography which reads, “Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.”

Micah: So it wasn’t planned?

Eric: The people who got… well, if it wasn’t planned, they’re certainly running like heck to… look, it had to be planned to some extent because at the end of the day…

Selina: They probably had a backup plan.

Eric: …it is J.K. Rowling. Yeah, there has to be a button they push…

Selina: Yeah.

Eric: …when it hits the fan that allows them to print so many more copies, because essentially the book now is out of print.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Those of us who got the print run… the first print run that doesn’t reveal it to be J.K. Rowling, our books are slightly more special actually.

MuggleCast 267 Transcript (continued)


How The Sunday Times Uncovered The Secret (continued)


Andrew: No, you’re absolutely right, and actually, these books could be of value. These original ones, without “J.K. Rowling.” Now in the author bio, on the inside flap at the very end of the book, both of them end with, “Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym,” and that’s it. So presumably, it will be those two areas that are updated with, “…is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.”

Selina: But you know what?

Eric: Interesting that she did come forward about that, where it’s almost as if there was some kind of duty to report that it wasn’t a real name or real entity.

Selina: Maybe they have to. Maybe that is actually a rule. Some kind of etiquette, publishing etiquette. But you know what I love though, about this whole thing? That even before… and we posted about this on Hypable too. Even before it was revealed to be J.K. Rowling, people were actually giving this book really good reviews.

Andrew and Eric: Yeah.

Selina: People actually responded really, really positively to this, and that’s… again, with Casual Vacancy we had these huge expectations that probably… it wasn’t a book we might have necessarily picked up, but the people that would have picked up this type of book irregardless of the author would probably have liked it for the type of book it was. So this book, which is a crime drama, people that pick up this kind of book really, really like it. And I love that. I think that’s great.

Andrew: One of the best reviews… it was sitting at the bottom, but now it’s been the most liked review. [laughs] It says:

“This book is so well-written that I suspect that some years down the road we will hear the author’s name is a pseudonym for some famous writer.”

[Selina laughs]

Andrew: [continues]

“Lots of description made one feel like another occupant in the scene. You could feel the weather, the tension, the pain, the atmosphere in the gatherings. The Audible version had great accents. It is a wonderful mystery with a surprise ending, and I look forward to more by the same author.”

Eric: Oh, so there is an audiobook?

Andrew: Yeah, it’s already available.

Eric: Ah!

Andrew: This was like a full-blown release.

Eric: This is the thing, they already have a Kindle version. This is why we almost should have known, right? Or is it that every new publisher should do this, where they have an ebook available? All these were in place. Even though this book was a secret, there were four copies in every Barnes and Noble, even though it was a first time author.

Micah: Specifically four. Four is now the magical number in the series.

Selina: Yeah, four. [laughs]

Eric: I’m saying that’s…

Micah: No, there’s no way you could have known though. That’s the thing. There’s tweets, there’s other information out there, where people say they passed on this book from an editor’s standpoint, right? So…

Selina: Yes. Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, now see, I don’t understand that part though, because J.K. Rowling is tied in with Little Brown though. So was…

Eric: Right.

Andrew: Was she just submitting it elsewhere for fun? Just to see what people would think?

Selina: Do you want to hear my theory on this?

Andrew: Yes, please.

Micah: No.

Selina: That I… well, okay then. [laughs] I think that the reason…

Micah: I’m just joking.

Selina: I know. The reason that she submitted… she probably submitted it because the people that spoke out about this was a publisher at Orion Publishing, and who knows if she submitted it to more publishing houses. But my theory is that she probably didn’t want to publish with Little Brown necessarily, because that would make it easier to tie her back to it. And of course, if she did have some kind of agreement, if it was going to be revealed eventually, then yeah, you’re probably right, that she was just trying to see what other people would think of it. But my immediate thought would be as Robert [pronounces as “Gal-bryth”] Galbraith… [laughs]

Eric: Oh, God. Just say [pronounces as “Gal-brayth”] Galbraith. Can you say Galbraith? [laughs]

Micah: [pronounces with Southern American accent] Galbraith.

Selina: Galbraith. I can’t say it like you guys!

Eric: [pronounces with Southern American accent] Galbraith.

Micah: He’s from Texas.

Selina: [laughs] Yes. But you know, she wanted to separate herself from the J.K. Rowling that published The Casual Vacancy with Little Brown. She wanted to be Robert Galbraith that published with someone else.

Micah: Yeah. I wanted to…

Selina: And the interesting thing is that yeah, she got turned down because crime novels aren’t in style right now.

Micah: I wanted to touch on what you said before though, because I thought that it was kind of interesting. Casual Vacancy was the first book that J.K. Rowling put out post-Harry Potter and you talked a little bit about the expectations. I feel like with this book those expectations, they’re somewhat removed.

Selina: Mhm.

Micah: And she comments herself that publishing under a pseudonym has allowed her a little bit more freedom, it’s more relaxing to go about it in this way. But I think from a reader’s standpoint, from somebody who’s been a fan of hers, it’s different. And it seems more along the same kind of style of book that Potter was, not necessarily from a genre standpoint but from a writing standpoint possibly.

Andrew: Yes.

Micah: That’s why they were able to find those symmetries when they sent it off to those special machines that did their work. And I don’t think that you necessarily have that if you did it with The Casual Vacancy. I feel like The Casual Vacancy is a beast all on its own, that it was just done because she felt this sort of deep-seated desire to write something that was very personal to her.

Andrew: You know what? That’s a good point.

Selina: I hope you’re right.

Andrew: That’s why I’m so excited about this book, is because Harry Potter had a lot of mystery in it and this is a mystery crime novel. So I think this plays into her strengths that she already has a lot of experience with thanks to Harry Potter.

Micah: Agreed.

Andrew: Worth noting, by the way – I just checked out the Amazon page again – Amazon now lists it as temporarily out of stock.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: This is after it slipped from “Immediate availability” to “2-3 days.” This morning it was saying… Amazon was saying “10-14 days” so now it must be beyond that to the point where Amazon is just saying, “Well, we’ll ship it to you whenever the heck we get it.”

[Eric laughs]

Selina: I mean, I really hope this lives up to people’s expectations. I mean, obviously I can’t say anything because I’ve only read the first three pages, [laughs] but…

Micah: But, damn, they were a good three pages!

[Eric laughs]

Selina: You know, to be honest with you, I don’t want to judge anything – I haven’t read it – but the first three pages felt more Casual Vacancy to me because…

Micah: No.

Selina: I mean, the thing I loved about Harry Potter… way to be controversial here, I know, but the thing I loved about Harry Potter… I mean, I’m going to be honest with you, is the magic. That’s what I love about it.

Andrew: Well, yeah. Yeah.

Selina: So I’m… you know, that’s what… I’m sort of watching this with sort of a mixture of pride that the fan base is so quick to jump on this, and sort of a worry. Because look at someone like Philip Pullman. I love Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to love his “Brother Jesus and the Good Man Christ” or whatever that book is called that I actually did read. You know what I mean?

Andrew: Yeah.

Selina: There’s a difference. You can love the series, you can love the author…

Micah: It was that good that you forgot the title. [laughs]

Selina: I know, right? [laughs] The Cuckoo’s Vacancy? What? No…

Andrew: No, I agree with you.

Selina: So I don’t know.

Andrew: I like crime novels. I’ve read a couple… not many, admittedly, but I’ve read other crime mystery novels and I do enjoy them. So that’s why I feel like I can actually look forward to this. If this was another political book, I probably would not be excited for this.

Eric: Right.

Selina: Right.

Micah: Yeah. I mean, I think about… political thrillers, I read all the time. I have a lot of time going in and out of the city on the train, authors like Nelson DeMille or David Baldacci or Ted Bell. And I think that this could be in line with that, maybe not to the extent of a political thriller but you’d have that mystery… there’s always mystery that’s sort of intertwined in political thrillers or legal thrillers, and I think that, Andrew, you brought up a great point before, saying that there is a lot of mystery in the Harry Potter series and there is a lot of detective work, I think, that you have to do as a reader. How many episodes did we spend theorizing about what could potentially happen in Deathly Hallows and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together? So I look forward to reading this. I wasn’t completely a hundred percent down on Casual Vacancy. I didn’t think that it was a bad book. I think it was different and we all knew that going in. But I hope that we return to some of that magic that we had in Harry Potter in this book.

Selina: Yeah. And the magic wasn’t just literal magic.

Micah: Right.

Selina: Like, part of the magic… it was the storytelling. It was the relationships between the characters. It was, as you say, the mysteries. But I think… I mean, for me personally – I’m sure a lot of listeners will agree with that – I don’t read mystery novels. That’s not my genre. So this is kind of a stretch. It’s not that I don’t really like novels about the real world or anything, but… [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] Nobody is saying that but you.

[Micah laughs]

Selina: But I’m reading this description, I’m thinking, “Oh, this kind of… if I was going to [unintelligible] thing that I have watched or read, it would be something like Sherlock.” You know?

Eric: Yeah.

Selina: Like a modern day Sherlock Holmes kind of thing. And I’m thinking, “Well, that’s nice but that’s not exactly me.” So I’m interested to see if the fact that it’s written by J.K. Rowling, an author who I absolutely fell in love with, if that’s going to be enough to draw me into a genre that I wouldn’t go for normally.

Eric: It should be. It absolutely should be. But I think what…

Selina: But then it wasn’t the last time.

Eric: Well, yeah. Well, what it comes down to is J.K. Rowling’s, I think, great talent for comedy in some of the places you least expect to. And this book just has to be funnier than Casual Vacancy, I think, for it to click with people. It has to leave a warm feeling while you’re reading it. It has to inspire as well as…

Selina: Have good friendships and have good stuff like that.

Eric: Friendship? Yeah, anything like that I think would immediately place it above Casual Vacancy for me. It just has to be set in a nicer world. I think Casual Vacancy was too harsh for me. But I do feel like a terrible reader. Getting back to just the reviews, the fact that there were only 75 reviews or so on Amazon, it only sold 1,500 copies in the first three months until this was announced. 1,500 copies and that’s it. The fact that it was gaining some traction on its own, so little bit of reviews, all the people who read it gave favorable reviews to it. I think, Andrew, you wrote on Hypable that certain people said that it was featured in their book club or on book lists.

Andrew: Yeah, like summer reading suggestions.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the people who were reading it liked it. But on the whole, that’s definitely not me. I feel terrible saying this, but I wouldn’t have just picked this up because it’s a new mystery thriller.

Selina: Don’t feel terrible for that. I mean, we all have our genres that we like and…

Eric: No, but I don’t pick any book up. This is what I’m getting into.

Selina: Oh. [laughs]

Eric: I don’t pick any book up unless I know it’s by somebody that… I’m so shallow that way. I won’t try out a new author. I won’t try out new things. I really wish I had picked up this book and read it two months ago. I wish I was one of those people who just off the hand, didn’t know it, and had read it, because I think that’s also very cool.

Andrew: It is. Yeah.

Eric: It’s like the bonus surprise. Oh my God, it was J.K. Rowling all along?

Selina: I liked it before it was cool. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s always that small bit of any fandom, “Liked it before they were cool,” and I missed the boat with Potter. So I guess I’m trying to… now that I’ve psychoanalyzed myself, [laughs] I’m trying to get into that crowd.


Sales Figures For The Cuckoo’s Calling


Andrew: So in the UK, it has sold 1,500 copies so far. Obviously very low, considering it’s been out for two and a half months. We don’t have a US number yet. Sales since, over the past 24 hours, have spiked 507,000%…

[Eric laughs]

Selina: I love that.

Andrew: …and is currently number one on Amazon, US, and UK. Wait times, like I just mentioned a moment ago, are now… Amazon is not even telling you. They’re just like, “Eh, well, you know. You’ll get it soon.” You can order it, they’re just not giving you any expected delivery time because they don’t know.

Selina: You can still buy it on Amazon UK. Should I get it?

Andrew: Yeah, why not?

Micah: You might want to buy it, a copy.

Andrew: And then, of course, ebooks. The ebook version is available now. And if you call around the bookstores, you can find it. It’ll be interesting to see these people… let’s say you order it today, Selina. I wonder if you will get a copy that has J.K. Rowling’s name in it.

Eric: Right, from the new print.

Selina: But I don’t want that. I only want it if it’s still the real one.

Andrew: Right. Well, that’s…

Selina: Otherwise, I don’t want to pay ten pounds for it.

Eric: [unintelligible] You’ve got to leave this…

Micah: Screw J.K. Rowling. Robert Galbraith is what it’s about.

Selina: [laughs] Yeah, I know.

Andrew: Yeah, you should go… you should order it. I’m tempted to buy a couple more copies under this… [laughs] without J.K. Rowling being mentioned.

Eric: Well, it’s already been… unfortunately, it’s probably already in its second run. Already.

Selina: No!

Andrew: Right.

Eric: The copy we have. Because it’s been out for three months, so it’s very unlikely that any of us have first editions.

Selina: True.

Eric: In the true sense of first edition where it’s…

Andrew: I’m looking on Barnes and Nobles’ website, and it’s also temporarily out of stock there.

Eric: Geez.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Can we play with the math here for a moment, Andrew? Because 507,000% increase in sales – what does that even mean? [laughs]

Andrew: Well… yeah, I don’t know.

Eric: How many books are they selling?

Andrew: That’s a good question.

Eric: Because for something to sell twice as many, it’s 200%. So 200%… so you have to divide by 100. So 507,000%…

Selina: Jesus Christ.

Eric: …means 5,070 times what they were selling for the first time. So if you take 1,500, which is the copies they sold initially, and multiply that by 5,070, it means they sold seven and a half million books in the first day.

Andrew: See, that’s not adding up though, because The Casual Vacancy didn’t sell that many books, right?

Eric: Did it? Didn’t it? I thought there were like 40 million pre-orders or something.

Andrew: Were there?

Eric: Uh, no, that number seems high now that I say it.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: But seven million in a day is pretty… that seems about right, wouldn’t it?

Andrew: No, I disagree. I don’t think it could be that high. There’s no way. Because first of all, it’s a weekend. I mean, I know this news is getting around, but it’s gotten around to seven million people compelled… I don’t know.

Eric: Yeah, I mean how many people are in the US alone? This is worldwide news.

Selina: Around the world, though? Yeah, and remember how many people went out and hoarded it at stores? You were just talking about that. Everyone has been buying two or three copies. I think it’s possible.

Eric: But that’s just everybody we know in our little corner of the fandom.

Selina: Oh, true. But…

Eric: Yeah. But still, I think it may be reflecting… look, 507,000%. That’s a number that’s in print on the Internet right now. [laughs]

Selina: Does this include ebooks?

Andrew: It must. I would think, right?

Eric: It must.

Andrew: Because they certainly didn’t do a seven million copy print run.

Selina: No.

Eric: You’re right.

Micah: It says on Amazon.com, “Sales soared more than 507,000%.”

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: So it’s specific to Amazon.com. That’s not even looking at bookstores or…

Andrew: Right.

Micah: …other places throughout the world at this point.

Andrew: It’s really…

Micah: I had a…

Andrew: Sorry, go ahead.

Micah: No, I just had a question about… it kind of ties into all of this. The information was released on a Saturday and it was, what, maybe late afternoon, early evening here on the East Coast? And that means it was just approaching midnight in the UK. So I’m just trying to figure out the rationale behind this, was it that the Sunday Times writer said, “Hey, I’m running with this story and it’s going to break in the UK after midnight. So if we’re going to say something, let’s get it out there”? It just seems like a weird time to me, on a Saturday evening here in the United States, for this information to come out. Because as you see, bookstores and other online retailers had no time to prepare for this at all.

Andrew: Right. Well yeah, I think they wanted to be first on it, but also this was probably printed in the Sunday Times‘s Sunday issue, and I know that newspapers will publish articles at midnight online.

Micah: Online, right.

Andrew: Yeah, so…

Eric: That will be available the following day in print.

Andrew: Right, exactly.

Eric: Yeah.


J.K. Rowling’s Statement


Andrew: So… I mean, we have a lot to talk about. J.K. Rowling’s statement – she said:

“I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name. And to those who have asked for a sequel, Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances.”

Andrew: So that’s the other thing about this…

Selina: [laughs] So we won’t see her dress up in a hat and beard?

Andrew: Like Snape?

Eric: Well, what did she say ages ago when she said she was wearing a mustache?

Andrew: What?

Eric: Like didn’t she say she was going around… towards the end of the Harry Potter books, [laughs] she was going around with a mustache and top hat…

Andrew: Oh, to avoid the press. Yeah, yeah.

Selina: She was Robert already, getting into that.

Andrew: Well, here’s the interesting thing. This is going to be a series.

Selina: Yes.

Andrew: I mean, that’s really significant because this is, of course, her first post-Potter series.

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: And it’s kind of too early to say if this is good or bad news because we don’t… we personally don’t know how good this book is, but I mean, potentially this could be a huge new series.

Eric: Yes…

Selina: Do you think that there will be a fandom for it in the same way?

Eric: Yeah.

Selina: Could there be? I mean…

Andrew: Sorry, say that again?

Selina: I just said do you think there could be a fandom for this kind of series in the same way? Because I’m just looking at something like Harry Potter and the kind of fandom that surrounded that world, sort of mainly teenagers and in that kind of school situation. You know what I mean? These are older characters, they might be harder to relate to that crowd.

Eric: Yeah. Well, fortunately I had some college prep on the mystery genre. We read Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, and that’s pretty much the hard-boiled detective novel of the last century. And basically, I can see people getting more into mystery because of J.K. Rowling. Like people from our fandom, the Harry Potter fans, getting into this book and then maybe in-between books also finding other series in this genre. I think for me the coolest thing is that J.K. Rowling found something, an idea that she likes enough to develop into and be comfortable to say that it’s going to be a series. But I can definitely see fans coming overÅ, or it really brings up that question again: Are we the Harry Potter fandom or are we the J.K. Rowling fandom?

Selina: Exactly. I mean, that’s the big question. We were just talking about that before the show too, how there comes a point when you have to make that decision, I think, for yourself.

Eric: Do you just like her magical works in the magical world or do you like everything she writes? Do you like her voice or is it specific books? So what is it? So I do think, depending on how her book is and how people respond to it, I could easily see this gaining a following. Not… well, from ex-Harry Potter fans or former Harry Potter fans, but then also a mystery community as well, who’s got either the interest that was there from the beginning, with the few people who read it before it became big. And also just from regular mystery enthusiasts who now say it’s like reading the next big novel from an established author who’s clearly good at writing. I think it will get renewed attention not just from Harry Potter fans but from mystery fans.

MuggleCast 267 Transcript (continued)


Sequel Scheduled to Be Released Next Year


Andrew: So the next book is supposed to come out next summer, which is kind of cool. But this raises a question.

Selina: All right.

Andrew: What does this mean for J.K. Rowling in the future if she’s writing these books, the Cormoran Strike series?

Selina: I know. When is that lexicon coming?

[Eric and Selina laugh]

Andrew: Well, I think that’s pretty much complete, if you ask me.

Selina: For crying out loud.

Andrew: I think that’s ready to go.

Selina: I don’t think we’re ever going to get it. We talked about this before.

Eric: The cool thing to keep in mind is that she wrote four books in four years – the first