MuggleCast 221 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Micah: Because when Jo talks we listen – because it’s not very often – this is MuggleCast Episode 221 for February 20th, 2011.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week’s episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 75,000 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 221! Micah, Eric, and I here to give you the lowdown on what’s going on in Harry Potter. I’m getting to – I get to bust out my J.K. Rowling impression again today. I’m really excited. I was looking forward to this episode.
Micah: Okay. Well, let’s hear it.
Andrew: Well, no, we’ll wait for the news. So, I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: Sorry, I misled you all. What’s going on in the news this week, Micah?
News: Strange Magic
Micah: It actually has been a pretty busy week for news concerning J.K. Rowling and she was at the BAFTAs where the Potter series was honored over the weekend. We’ll talk about that in a little bit. But a little piece of news surfaced not too long ago that there is going to be this made-for-TV movie called Strange Magic and it is going to essentially chronicle the life of J.K. Rowling. And this is not authorized in any way by Jo as far as we know and – is this just an opportunity to capitalize off of her success? I mean, I’m surprised that she hasn’t come out against it if she’s not supporting it. Can you…
Micah: …do this sort of thing? I mean, it…
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, there has always been unauthorized bios of famous people. But if she came out against it, then she would just be promoting it, so I think it’s best to just stay silent. But I doubt she is happy about it. There is – who would want that? J.K. Rowling is a very private person.
Micah: There’s been a lot of…
Eric: It just seems interesting.
Micah: …mixed response, though, it seems, just from the comments on the site as well as – we asked people on Twitter, we’ll read those a little bit later on in the show. But for her life to be put out there – as you just said, she’s a very private person, and didn’t we already get some of this in her authorized documentary, A Day In The Life which…
Andrew: Yeah, but this is like a film, so it’s going to pull you in and you are going to see her living all these experiences.
Eric: That’s true. It’s sort of a dramatization and I think the fact that it is unauthorized kind of makes it edgier? I don’t know.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. [laughs]
Eric: You always want to get the unofficial, unrated, extended edition of movies just in case they are even an ounce better than they were in theaters, to justify you paying twenty dollars for it.
Micah: And on top of that, she’s being played by the hot chick from Without a Trace, so…
Eric: It’s true, it’s true.
Micah: …you’re enticed even more to watch and see if there is a couple of scenes that might peak your interest.
Eric: Maybe she will have to find a killer or something in the middle of writing a book.
Andrew: [as a movie voice-over] In a world…
Andrew: …where authors become legend, J.K. Rowling was one of them. [changes to normal voice] I don’t know. I can’t…
News: Harry Potter at 2011 BAFTAs
Micah: Okay. Well…
Micah: …we just mentioned it, let’s talk about it here. The Potter series was nominated at the BAFTAs last weekend, and J.K. Rowling and David Heyman accepted the award, but Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, as well as all of the directors, with the exception of Chris Columbus, were there as well. And I thought they did a really great job, the BAFTAs, in putting together this montage that they showed just before they accepted the awards. And Stephen Fry introduced them and…
Andrew: Yeah, it was so good.
Micah: …it was really, really well done in terms of the people that they were able to get to speak on behalf of the series. And David Warner/David Heyman – I couldn’t tell if that was a joke or Stephen Fry…
Andrew: Yeah, I didn’t get that.
Micah: …just messed up.
Eric: Is there a David Warner? I didn’t…
Andrew: Maybe he was implying that Warner Bros. owns his soul. [laughs]
Eric: No, I thought it was a genuine mistake, actually, because he did it while he was intro-ing them, when he…
Eric: …was actually, like, “Ladies and gentlemen, David Warner,” and I think it was just an accident. But we’ve been…
Andrew: Let’s listen to…
Andrew: …Stephen Fry open up the – this whole segment because it was really well done.
[Audio clip plays]
Stephen Fry: Michael Balcon was a visionary producer whose legendary productions with Alfred Hitchcock and his glorious Ealing Comedies have become part of our national heritage. In his name, I have the honor to present this year’s award for “Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.” It goes to an achievement in British cinema which has created a British film industry within the British film industry that has entertained more millions around the world than any other – I’m going to have to use the horrid word – than any other franchise…
Stephen: …in recent memory. One of the most remarkable phenomena of our time was the bursting-into-the-world of boy wizard, Harry Potter. In the pages of J.K. Rowling’s seven novels, the Harry Potter cycle became the most successful literary series of our time, perhaps of all time. New words entered the language: Hogwarts, Muggle, Quidditch, Mudblood. Characters like Harry…
Andrew: [interjects] MuggleCast.
Stephen: …Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Snape, and Voldemort, who mustn’t be – oh damn, I named him.
[Andrew and Audience laugh]
Stephen: They made an indelible mark in the imagination of millions of adults and children, the world over. Could such an unprecedented and astounding phenomenon ever be translated to the screen? Well, with a total of twenty-eight BAFTA nominations and the final installment still to come, the Harry Potter series has shown British filmmaking in its very best light: dramatically dazzling, technically breathtaking, internationally record-breaking. At the heart of the films’ appeal is the fact that no matter how much money they make – and believe me, it is a shedload…
[Andrew and Audience laugh]
Stephen: …the Harry Potter movies all seem to have been crafted with an attention to detail and a love which bespeaks genuine care and affection.
[Audio clip ends]
Andrew: So, he goes on and on, of course, but it was really, really nice and it was well done. Stephen Fry! I don’t know if he wrote that himself or what, but it was really good.
Eric: Have any of you guys listened to the audiobooks, the Harry Potter audiobooks by him?
Andrew: Of course. Well, I mean, bits and pieces…
Eric: Oh okay, because I know a lot of people are just, like, “Oh, Jim Dale all the way!” But he makes a joke about the audiobooks. Is it – right in that acceptance speech, isn’t it? Where…
Andrew: It is, yeah…
Andrew: …where he says [laughs] they may be better than the audiobooks or they may not be.
Eric: Something like that. He talks about the guy who narrates the audiobooks, which is, of course, him. But we’ve been skeptical or critical, I want to say – I know Micah has, I definitely have, too – of the BAFTAs in the past, particularly when we’re talking about the Oscar nominations and will Deathly Hallows get an Oscar nomination, will they seek it. But I think we’ve kind of given the BAFTAs a bad rep. This whole video – and the video is online – of this acceptance speech by Heyman and J.K. Rowling is just so very moving.
Andrew: Here is a clip of Stephen Fry from the audiobooks, by the way.
[Audio (Stephen Fry)]: “Not my daughter, you bitch!”
Andrew: I still have that from that time when we compared Jim Dale and [laughs] Stephen Fry.
Eric: And – oh, I remember Jim Dale’s was, like, [imitates Jim Dale] “Not my daughter, you bitch!”
Andrew: Yeah. Here, let’s do a comparison again. Here is Stephen Fry.
[Audio (Stephen Fry)]: “Not my daughter, you bitch!”
Andrew: And here is Jim Dale.
[Audio (Jim Dale)]: “Not my daughter, you bitch!”
Micah: Got to give it to…
Micah: …Jim Dale still.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]
Eric: Absolutely not. The inflection is all wrong.
Andrew: Before we continue, we’d like to remind everybody that this week’s podcast is brought to you by Audible.com, the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times bestsellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their service. One audiobook to consider is The King’s Speech. It’s based on a terrific true story, and as most people know, it was recently turned into a film. Now it has been nominated for several Oscars and it will be very exciting to see if the film does pick those up. But check out the book, it is equally as interesting as the film. So, for a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, that’s AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
All right, Micah. What else is going on…
Andrew: …with the news?
News: J.K. Rowling at 2011 BAFTAs
Micah: …we continue on with more about J.K. Rowling. She spoke with the BBC on the red carpet at the BAFTA awards and she said that, “I don’t know when you will get to read it. I’ve got several things going on at once so it’s hard to know which will be the first to actually appear in print, but yeah, I’m writing hard.” So, a little bit more insight into the fact that she is working and as she has said on Twitter three times, pen and paper are her priority. And this is good to hear, though. It’s hopeful then that we will see something in the not-too-distant future, possibly this year.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] We said that last year too, though, I think.
Micah: Well, we can…
Eric: Well, that was…
Micah: …kind of…
Eric: …based on a tweet…
Micah: …go that way.
Eric: …though. That was based on a tweet.
Andrew: Oh, that’s true.
Eric: At least now she’s saying, “I’m writing several things and writing hard.” Several things? Did any of us anticipate more than one thing? Because she said – obviously we’re, like, maybe the encyclopedia and something else. But she said she’s actively writing several things, that’s really exciting.
Andrew: I thought saying “writing hard” was kind of sexy, too. It’s, like, [poorly imitating J.K. Rowling] I’m writing hard…
Eric: Is that…
Eric: [laughs] Is that your impression of J.K. Rowling? Is that the only time we’ll get that this episode? Because…
Andrew: [poorly imitating J.K. Rowling] I’m writing several things at once. I’m writing hard.
Eric: I kind of still want more, Andrew.
Andrew: I need to retire that. That’s not very good. [poorly imitating J.K. Rowling] It’s hard to know which will be the first to actually appear in print, but yeah, I’m writing hard.
Eric: [laughs] That was sexy.
Andrew: [poorly imitating J.K. Rowling] I’m writing hard. [changes to normal voice] Yeah, writing hard. If she’s working – I mean, so what could be some of the projects? Of course, the encyclopedia, the political fairy tale which she hinted about a good three or four years ago at this point, and she said that was like a children’s political fairy tale.
Eric: So, that was the really…
Eric: …children’s book she talked about, right? Because she said she’s going to do an even younger children’s book, younger than Potter.
Andrew: Yeah. And the way she implied it, writing several things, that makes me think it’s more than two things.
Eric: Yeah, it does because she’s, like, “It’s difficult to tell which you will see in print first.” It just makes it seem like there is three or four things…
Eric: …that she said that.
Andrew: And one of them has got to be Harry – something Harry Potter-related.
Eric: I don’t know. I don’t know about that.
Andrew: I think so. Well, [sighs] it has to be. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, because people just aren’t going to care anymore once the movie comes out.
Micah: Perhaps it’s…
Micah: …about a theme park in the United Kingdom after Harry Potter.
Andrew: Ahhh, is this a segway…
Micah: This might be a segue…
Andrew: …to another news item?
Micah: …[laughs] into the next news story, Andrew.
Eric: I was going to say, because it didn’t make very much sense but it kind of matched with our next news story.
News: J.K. Rowling on a Wizarding World theme park in the U.K.
Micah: Yes. So, doing the news rounds at the BAFTAs, she mentioned that she wouldn’t be opposed to seeing a Wizarding World type of theme park in the United Kingdom. Obviously, the story last year with the mayor of London – he was not probably as nice about it…
Micah: …as J.K. Rowling was. I think the quote was – when he was mentioned in the Orlando Sentinel he said something along the lines of, “You’re more likely to get shot in Orlando…”
Micah: “…than you are in the U.K.” as a reason why the theme park should be based in England. So, what do you guys think about this? I don’t think it’s going to gain any attraction, it’s just – she was just being nice, I think, in saying that.
Eric: She was just answering the question.
Micah: “Yeah, it would be nice to have a theme park here.” Yeah, so not much more to say about that. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen to be honest with you. What do you guys think?
Andrew: Really? I think somebody is trying to make it happen.
Eric: There just aren’t…
Micah: But she points out…
Micah: …the weather is an issue for them to have a theme park.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, and the reason it is in Orlando is that is a theme park area, so that is why the first one would go there. So…
Eric: Theme park state, yeah.
Andrew: Yeah, I don’t think – I think if they build a second one, it won’t be in the U.K. I think there is a better chance of it being in California first. Of course, there is also that expansion which we talked about last week or two weeks ago, too, so I don’t know. But yeah, it was just a little – J.K. Rowling talks so little now, that we have to post every little sentence she says…
Andrew: …even if it is just, “I would love a Wizarding World in the U.K.” [laughs]
Micah: Well, she was the focal point of the news this week, which – I can’t tell you the last time [laughs] that was the case.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly.
News: International Quidditch Association
Micah: Every news story, literally, has had to do with J.K. Rowling so far today. But Andrew, you have an update on the International Quidditch Association.
Andrew: Yes! In November we reviewed the Quidditch tournament that took place in New York City, and Micah and I went, along with Richard and…
Micah: Kevin Steck!
Andrew: …our old friend Kevin Steck…
Andrew: …actually, yeah. [laughs]
Micah: He lives!
Andrew: And it was – what?
Micah: He lives!
Andrew: He lives? Yeah, he’s still alive. It was such a good time, it really exceeded my expectations. It was just fun to watch, everybody was really into it, it was a great turn-out. And so we were trying to help them spread the word more about the International Quidditch Association, which ran the tournament in New York City. There were just a couple of updates: first of all, a Quidditch team from a university in Finland played their first intercontinental Quidditch match in history against a college from – how do you pronounce that? [pronounces incorrectly] Poughkeepsie? Micah?
Eric: [pronounces incorrectly] Poughkeepsie.
Andrew: [pronounces incorrectly] Poughkeepsie, New York?
Eric: [pronounces incorrectly] Poughkeepsie.
Andrew: Poughkeepsie, New York.
Micah: You want to just say it over again so…
Andrew: No, it’s all right. Everybody knows I can’t pronounce anything. [laughs] On Wednesday, February 16th. So, there was this – the very first intercontinental Quidditch match which was so cool. That finished team will be heading to Harvard on Sunday, or by the time this airs it’ll have already happened. And then to Long Island on February 22nd! Micah, you should go to that one.
Micah: Who are they going to be playing here on Long Island?
Andrew: Against Stony Brook University.
Micah: Okay. It’s amazing…
Micah: …just to hear this stuff. I think, like you said before, having gone in New York City a couple of months ago, we were just so impressed by the number of people, the attention that it got in the media, and just how much fun people seemed to be having from all these different colleges around the country. And now you’re going international, so you’re adding a whole different dynamic to it.
Andrew: Yeah. Oh, and there’s tons of international leagues already. But anyway, the International Quidditch Association also announced their first league-sponsored regional tournament, The Swamp Cup, to be hosted in Florida from March 18th to 20th. So, for all this information you can go to InternationalQuidditch.org, definitely check it out. If there is a game happening near you, like there is for Micah very soon, definitely suggest checking it out, InternationalQuidditch.org.
Micah: And feel free to go, do a write-up, take some photos, and we’d be more than happy to post it on the site.
Andrew: Yeah, maybe.
Andrew: [laughs] Depending on how good it is.
Micah: Depending on how well you write it up!
Andrew: What else is going on in the news?
News: Eric Interviews Daniel Radcliffe
Micah: All right, final bit of news this week, I’ll turn it over to Eric. You recently spoke with somebody who has had a role in the Potter series over the course of the last ten years, and what did he have to say?
Eric: Well, it’s no secret, guys, that Dan Radcliffe who plays Harry Potter in the Harry Potter movie series is on Broadway! This coming season – he has been on the West End and Broadway in a production of Equus, and he is coming to Broadway again for a production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. It’s a new revival, the show has only been revived once before. But it’s a 1960s musical about big business and getting ahead, obviously, without – let me do that again – about getting ahead and climbing the corporate ladder. It’s kind of a satire, it’s going to be a really fun show. But I was able to speak with Dan and there will be an interview posted – unfortunately, we already did the interview but it can’t be posted until opening week of the show for the public, so March, I think, 21st, around springtime. The opening week of the show, we’ll post an interview with Dan Radcliffe. I sat down with him, I talked with him for about fifteen minutes. And it really is a good interview and it’s going to focus mostly on this show, and sort of how he feels about some of the characters and their motivations and things like that. It was really in-depth, actually, far stronger than I thought it would be, too. But it was really, really good.
Andrew: In all seriousness, Dan was very impressed with Eric’s knowledge of the play, since…
Andrew: Or the musical since Eric was a part of it. And I think Dan had a little crush on you after that. I listened to the clips, he was swooning.
Andrew: I shouldn’t say that. Allegedly.
Announcement: LeakyCon 2011
Andrew: [laughs] So, that’s it for news this week. Before we get into Chapter-by-Chapter where we’ll be looking at Chapters 27, 28, and 29 of Goblet of Fire, I want to remind everybody, as we announced on Episode 220, that we will be podcasting from LeakyCon 2011. Visit LeakyCon.com for all the information about this conference. I am telling you, if you want an awesome event to go to for the release of Deathly Hallows: Part 2, check out LeakyCon.com, get all the information. We’re going to be doing a podcast there, but not just that. There’s going to be a private party in the park exclusively for the attendees of the conference. There’s going to be a big, mass midnight viewing of the film, of course. There’s going to be a ball. There’s going to be tons of Harry Potter panels, we’re going to learn tons of information. I mean, they’re just really fun to sit in on. There’s going to be wizard rock. There’s going to be so much, including a keynote by Scholastic editor Arthur Levine who has had a big hand in the Harry Potter books. So, please visit LeakyCon.com. If you do register, we can’t wait to see you there. I’m telling you it’s going to be a lot of fun. Also, use referral code “Muggle”, M-U-G-G-L-E, and you’ll see a box to put that code in. And that way we’ll get an idea of how many MuggleCast listeners are coming, which we appreciate very much. So, visit LeakyCon.com. We’re going to be talking about it more and there’s going to be more announcements leading up to the event. I am telling you, [laughs] you are not going to want to miss this. This is going to be a ton, a ton, a ton of fun. And, by the way – I mean, you also get to check out the theme park so if you haven’t been to the theme park yet, this is a great way to go. You’re going to be surrounded by some of the biggest Harry Potter fans. All seeing the movie together, all dancing together, all going to the theme park together, all going to these great panels together, and you’re going to meet some great friends. Even if you don’t know anyone who is going, you will have some new friends by the time you leave it.
Micah: The other up side, too, is – you were mentioning the park. I think things will be a little bit more easily accessible this summer than they were last summer because the park had just opened.
Micah: So, I think people who may have not gone last year – the park, I think, is just a great opportunity to go there and obviously the conference as well. But – and also to go down there with your friends and other people who really enjoy the series. It’s an experience that you’re not going to get at any other point.
Eric: That’s very true.
Andrew: And not to mention that that party in the park will be only – it will be an extra ticket that you’ll have to pay in addition to your registration, but you will be able to have access to the rides very easily because it’s only the LeakyCon attendees, so there’s going to be many less people in the park.
Andrew: So, you’ll be able to get on the rides very quickly.
Eric: Yeah, even if there are lines during the day.
Andrew: Yeah, and that will include a ticket for the rest of the park, too, earlier in the day. So, you can get on Spider-Man and all that other stuff earlier in the day, then save the Harry Potter park for the night when it’s open to just us and you’ll be able to get on the rides real quick, get Butterbeer, everything. So, really, check out LeakyCon.com. This is such an easy sell. I mean…
Andrew: Yeah, I don’t even have to think about this.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Chapter-by-Chapter: “Padfoot Returns”
Andrew: I’m just talking out of my head. From going to these cons over the past five or six years, I know these are the most fun and this one will easily top them all, I’m sure of it. LeakyCon.com, use referral code “Muggle” when you register, and we’ll see you there. Okay, let’s get into Chapter-by-Chapter, Eric has Chapter 27. You really wanted this chapter, Eric.
Eric: I did, I put my name down for it, like, two weeks ago when we first started planning. This is actually one of my favorite chapters, I think, in the series – well, obviously because Padfoot returns, but you get some Sirius and it’s really important, and it’s also sort of – I feel like it’s the middle point in the book, even though this book has probably, I think, 37 chapters, so it’s a little bit more – quite a ways more than halfway in the book, but it just seems like the halfway point as far as plot. So, without further ado, we’re going to go into Chapter 27, “Padfoot Returns.” We’ve actually just completed the second Triwizard task, and we were talking last week on MuggleCast about how kind of boring it would be to actually see the task in the audience because obviously the whole school turns out to see these Triwizard tasks, but the second task happened all underwater. So, I think Micah – it was asked, “Do they have screens? Can they see what’s going on underwater? What’s going on?” Well, apparently in this chapter, Harry and especially Ron are getting really inundated with questions about what happened during the task. So, I guess that answers our question because everybody seems to want to know what was going on at the lake. It seems like they really didn’t see anything.
Micah: Yeah, I think when you’re sitting there for an hour and you’re in the midst of February, it’s pretty cold outside, it can’t be that fun of an experience. I mean, obviously you’re there, you’re trying to enjoy yourself until…
Micah: …the first person emerges. What’s that?
Eric: Support your school.
Micah: Yeah, exactly. You’re there to support – if you’re Hogwarts, your two champions, and the other schools your respective champions. But how much fun could that possibly be to sit out there…
Micah: …in the freezing cold, by water which makes it even colder than normal, and just kind of twiddle your thumbs until somebody pops out of the water and you know who’s going to emerge as the victor for this particular task. I mean, that was where I was kind of thrown off a bit because it’s the same thing when you get into the third task, with the maze. It’s not like this is 2011 at a major sports stadium here in America or abroad where you have these huge HD TVs that are plastered all around so if you’re up in the nosebleed seats you can still see what’s going on down on the field. I mean, you can’t really follow the action.
Andrew: I just think it’s – I think I said this on the last episode, it’s just a sort of on-the-edge-of-your-seat event, so I think that’s what makes it exciting. Somebody could die.
Micah: Yeah, but when do you get on the edge of your seat? [laughs] Like, forty-five minutes in?
Micah: Forty-eight minutes in?
Andrew: It’s all underwater! You don’t know how long it’s going to take until…
Eric: “Oh my God, it’s going -” Yeah, it’s true but without seeing – so basically everybody is asking Harry and Ron what’s going on or what happened, and [laughs] Harry notices throughout the week that Ron’s answer for what happened changes subtly at first. But by the end of the week Ron is talking about having to personally fend off fifty merpeople and that he had a wand in his sleeve that he used to combat them. Basically, so even though Harry just rescued Ron who was unconscious, Ron has spun it into this huge tale of something else entirely. What does that say about Ron’s character?
Andrew: He’s just feeling very proud, I think, that he was involved in something. I mean, I think there was a little – we remember earlier in the book when Harry got selected, Ron thought that he put his own name in the cup, so Ron was pissed about that and I think Ron was just excited that he got to be a part of this epic event.
Eric: That’s a good point.
Micah: Yeah, I think it’s attention though, too. I mean, so much of the series we talk about how he feels as if he doesn’t measure up to anybody else, whether it’s Harry, whether it’s his brothers. And so to finally be a part of something as Andrew was saying, to have the limelight on him for once, he was just taking it all in and playing it up.
Eric: [laughs] So, another question we had last week’s episode was whether or not the hostages – let’s just call them hostages – were in any real danger because it’s really a big question. It doesn’t actually seem to be answered largely or obviously in the book series. Even as of Book 7 – and I’ll talk about that later, that’s an e-mail we got, I think. But in the beginning of this chapter, it’s kind of “blink and you’ll miss it,” if I could [laughs] borrow a term from that guy.
Micah: Ciar·n Hinds.
Eric: [laughs] If I could borrow a term from Ciar·n Hinds. But it’s actually said that Dumbledore put them in a bewitched sleep before they went underwater and told them that they were going to be “quite safe” – and that’s in quotes – once they exited the water. So, that’s a little clarification about the people who were taken because the debate last week was whether or not Harry really had to save Fleur Delacour’s sister and all the other champions, because it was a big, big, big deal for him to do that.
Andrew: I think if something were to have happened that would have put them in real danger somebody would have intervened, an adult wizard, somebody with the Ministry, something like that.
Eric: But anyway, the actual chapter picks up a couple of weeks in after the second task. March begins and Harry receives one of Sirius’s letters, actually, a letter from Sirius. It may be a little delayed because there’s a lot of wind going on and owls are not really as efficient to deliver the mail. Sirius asks Harry – and Ron and Hermione are present, too – to meet him in Hogsmeade in about a week and to bring as much food as possible. They leave lunch and head to the dungeons, and this is kind of a big scene down here. Pansy Parkinson is reading a copy of Witch Weekly – actually, her and her girls are reading a copy of Witch Weekly. Pansy throws it at Hermione and says, “You might find something interesting in here,” and of course, it’s Rita Skeeter’s latest article, “Harry Potter’s Secret Heartache.” Now, I know when I first read Goblet of Fire, I was really young and I didn’t really think about this article being out of place. I was, like, “Oh no, this is – it’s drama, it’s Harry.” But now just reading it over again, I have to say, I really didn’t think that this article should have been written at all, was really appropriate for anybody because reading it again, you just realize how wrong it is for Rita Skeeter to have published this article. Did you guys have initial reactions to this?
Andrew: Rita writes articles to sell, to sell on newsstands. It’s right there on the cover. Anyone in news media – like, when you read the tabloids, like there’s a new story about Steve Jobs in the real world having six weeks to live. It’s B.S…
Andrew: …but it sells. So – and Rita Skeeter is a tabloid writer. So, she’s just writing to sell the cover here, and it’s cruel and maybe it shouldn’t be allowed for somebody as young as Harry, but apparently there’s no rule against it.
Eric: She quotes Pansy Parkinson in the article as saying that Hermione is ugly, and insinuating that she’s brewing love potions to keep Harry and Viktor Krum mixed up in her love. And that’s slander. Not only is it slander, but Rita printed it so it’s liable, and it’s defamation of character and a hundred other things that you could legitimately sue for in the States if it were to be published. So, even though it’s tabloids – Rita really has no class, there’s nothing redeeming about this article at all. In fact, she even goes out of the way at the end and says, “Surely Albus Dumbledore will want to investigate these claims of love potions as love potions are illegal at Hogwarts.” So, she basically assumes Dumbledore’s position and authority, and there’s just so many things I hate about this. I’m just going to end it right there…
Eric: …unless you guys [unintelligible]…
Andrew: [laughs] Okay, good.
Micah: One thing real quick, though, I think you would never have this kind of reporter in a normal school, and I think that that’s where there’s a little bit of lack of judgment on the part of Dumbledore letting her be around. Even though she – obviously sneaking around in Animagus form and she’s getting all these juicy stories to print up in tabloids and other papers. I just think she needs to be completely removed from Hogwarts and there not be any second thought, right?
Eric: Well, she…
Micah: I mean, we talked about this…
Micah: …the other episode, where’s a sports writer? Okay, this is clearly a competition where you’re putting people against each other in different tasks. You should have somebody who’s a little bit more knowledgeable and not there to write necessarily all the nasty things that she is about Hagrid and Hermione and Harry and so on and so forth.
Andrew: I wonder if this had to do with J.K. Rowling not liking writing Quidditch, and I think she doesn’t really like to write about sports in general. She was quoted as saying she didn’t enjoy writing Quidditch ever, so maybe one of the reasons she didn’t add in a sport writer was because she wasn’t feeling so inspired.
Micah: It’s possible.
Eric: Although I think, too, having – that’s kind of a good – that’s a good idea because – at least from the part where if there is going to be a sports writer, have her be Rita Skeeter, have her write about the relationships, and the turmoil and things that are other than the Triwizard Tournament because we have enough people – we have enough inner monologue – Harry, Ron, Hermione, Cedric, all worrying about the task, and people are always offering to help Harry. So, to have the public be focused on relationships, it just kind of adds tension and also isn’t more of the same thing, which was J.K. Rowling’s problem with writing Quidditch, that every game – she had to work really hard to distinguish them. So, I think that that kind of obviously helps.
Micah: I think, though, it should have been limited to Rita Skeeter can only speak to the tournament champions because to go out – she has no business speaking to the other students in the school. They should be off limits…
Eric: Well – so for Pansy…
Micah: …so that you wouldn’t get a comment like Pansy Parkinson made.
Eric: That’s a good point, because she’s already been banned from Hogwarts.
Micah: These are fourteen-year-old kids.
Micah: Right, and that’s what I’m saying, though. What I was talking about before is I think after that first article was written, or even before that, you know the type of writer that she is. She shouldn’t have been allowed to cover the event in the first place.
Eric: Yeah. Well, I guess Bertha Jorkins went missing, but – [laughs] not that she was a writer because she wasn’t. But anyway, moving on. Snape catches the trio talking about the article, he finds the article, he reads it aloud in class. This is horrible, this is one of Snape’s, I think, worst torture scenes for Gryffindor. He’s – but he’s clearly – and we find out later, he is holding a grudge, not just the grudge we find out about in Book 7 but he is grudging Harry. Basically, he separates the trio and he talks to Harry then. He sits Harry up by front, up front of the classroom by him, and accuses Harry of stealing from his private quarters, which – the scene plays out a little differently in the movie, but Snape says Gillyweed and boomslang skin are what you stole. And Harry denies it, which is interesting, but the – obviously the Gillyweed was stolen by Dobby in order to help Harry with the second task. Harry didn’t orchestrate it, but really Dobby either should have found it somewhere – what made Dobby think it was okay to steal from Snape?
Andrew: Dobby doesn’t really care. He doesn’t follow these kinds of rules that go on within Hogwarts. I mean, he follows the house-elf rules…
Andrew: …somewhat, but he doesn’t care. That’s not in his character. He doesn’t – I don’t think he has much respect in terms of the teachers.
Andrew: I don’t know.
Eric: Well, interesting tidbit.
Andrew: We never see – we’ve never seen him really interact much with the teachers, come to think of it.
Eric: It’s just so odd to see him – like, I know where to get Gillyweed, I’ll just go into Snape’s office and take it there, like…
Eric: …as a free – well, maybe he doesn’t understand…
Andrew: Well, he also knows Hogwarts very well, having worked there for a while, so…
Eric: That’s very true. They’re in the cracks, always. Well – and then when Snape accuses Harry of stealing boomslang skin, Harry thinks that Snape is talking about an occurrence in year two because obviously, they actually did steal boomslang skin from Snape’s office, they created a distraction in year two to brew Polyjuice Potion. So, when Snape is saying that it’s missing, or that it has been missing, Harry thinks he means in year two. Snape actually means currently in year four, which is easy to miss. But it’s a hint, it’s kind of – the puzzle pieces are coming together that somebody at Hogwarts is using Polyjuice Potion this year, which becomes a huge plot point. So, regardless, soon enough, they get out of Potions class, they end up – it’s the weekend, they end up meeting with Sirius. So, they bring a dozen chicken legs, a loaf of bread, and some pumpkin juice. They meet Sirius and actually, Sirius guides them for half an hour up this bouldery hillside. Honestly, my one point for this whole conversation they have, J.K. Rowling has said in the past that Book 4, more than any other book, is the book that she felt most rushed in completing. I believe because by this point she’d written the first three in a year each and I think she was under pressure – I’ll have to find the exact article, but she was under pressure to complete the fourth book.
Andrew: Well, her mistake was that Goblet of Fire, she had already set a date with the publisher before she had finished writing so she had this deadline that she couldn’t change.
Eric: Yeah. But fortunately she still made it into the book that it is, which is a good book, but there’s a huge, huge plot – subplot here with Barty Crouch, Sr. almost becoming the Minister of Magic. And – I mean, we can talk about it, but – we don’t really need to, but long story short, Barty Crouch, Sr. was pretty much on his way to being Minister of Magic, and they actually – Sirius talks about his practices, about how he goes around really employing death curses over kidnap and all sorts of other stuff. But then his son happened, which is where it becomes relevant to the plot of this book. I just felt that there was a lot of potential here for a lot of other kind of interesting plots because towards the end here – when we see Barty Crouch, Sr. it’s very brief. But it just seemed like there was a lot there, a lot of thought, a lot of great plot that we’ll probably, hopefully, see in an encyclopedia that just didn’t make it into the book.
Micah: Yeah. Well, I thought the most relevant piece was that Barty Crouch, Sr. ended up trying his own son as opposed to recusing himself and not overseeing him going to Azkaban, because couldn’t the punishment have been far worse for Barty Crouch, Jr. had somebody else overseen the trial?
Eric: Could it have been, though? Because Sirius mentions that Sirius himself went to Azkaban without trial per Barty Crouch, Sr. and that Barty Crouch, Jr.’s trial was only – pretty much, he says it was only an example setting so that the people could see how much he despised his son. So, I kind of feel like – it was a trial, which is more than Sirius got, but I don’t think – I think it was over really quick. So…
Micah: But my point is, though, couldn’t he have been given – have his soul sucked out?
Eric: That’s a good question about the Dementor’s Kiss because we don’t see people – the only person who ever gives the order to administer the kiss is Cornelius Fudge in Book 3 but it just seems like it hadn’t been done before almost because all these old Death Eaters are sent to Azkaban. Sirius in this chapter gives a list of…
Micah: Well, Cornelius gives it again at the end of this book and he does end up having his soul sucked out. Yeah, Barty Crouch, Jr. dies from the Dementor’s Kiss, so it’s just – I wonder if that was sort of the extreme punishment, the death-penalty equivalent that was given to Death Eaters or – what we’re seeing, though, from an evidence standpoint is that never really did happen. Most of the Death Eaters are sent to Azkaban and that’s it, they’re supposed to live the rest of their lives sort of stuffed in these cells. But it would be interesting if because of what Barty Crouch, Jr. was responsible for with respect to the Longbottoms, if somebody else had tried his case if he would have ended up with far worse punishment than just going to Azkaban.
Eric: That’s true. That’s a good point and – especially considering not long after, there was a rescue effort for Barty Crouch, Jr. That’s really it, they have this whole talk about Barty Crouch and they review the Quidditch World Cup. And Sirius’s last request when he guides them down the hill is that when referring to him when he’s not around or covertly, to call him “Snuffles.”
Andrew: Awww, how cute.
Micah: Just one other point that I thought Sirius mentioned that was important – talking about Bertha Jorkins saying that when they were in school she had an excellent memory, and that it’s kind of interesting that Fudge is so apt to not take this into consideration, saying, “Oh, Bertha Jorkins, she must have just gotten lost somewhere along the line.” But for somebody to have such an excellent memory, that’s not something that you would think she would do, get lost.
Eric: That’s true. I think…
Micah: So, the pieces of the puzzle should really start to be coming together here for people who are reading the book.
Eric: That’s also true with…
Eric: I mean, the whole story of Barty Crouch, Jr. and his mom in Azkaban is laid out by Sirius here so you really do have all the puzzle pieces. That with the Rita Skeeter beetle because she’s quoted in the article as quoting Krum right after Hermione was pulled out of the lake and so if you read back, Krum says, “Oh, Hermione, you have a beetle in your hair,” right when he’s saying all those other things. So, really you do have a lot of the puzzle pieces to figure out the rest of the story at this point.
MuggleCast 221 Transcript (continued)
Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Madness of Mr. Crouch”
Andrew: All right, now Chapter 28, “The Madness of Mr. Crouch.” The trio take up Sirius’s suggestion from the last chapter of writing to Percy to learn more about Mr Crouch. So, a couple of days later the owl post arrives and Hermione begins receiving hateful messages from those who read about the love triangle in Rita Skeeter’s report, again from the last chapter. And Hermione skips the beginning of Hagrid’s class to have her hands taken care of since they were eaten up by [attempts to pronounce “Bubotuber”] Bubotuber pus.
Eric: [laughs] Buba-toober.
Andrew: Bubotuber puss? And presumably – it’s interesting that Hermione is taking this hateful article written by Rita much better than Hagrid did. It really got to Hagrid as we talked about earlier in this series, whereas Hermione – it doesn’t really seem to bother her much. I mean – or at least, she’s much stronger about it. What does this say about Hermione versus Hagrid? Hagrid is just a big, blubbering, vulnerable crybaby who is a half-giant, while Hermione, physically, is this tiny little girl and you would think Hermione would take it worse.
Andrew: Having this article exposed about her personal love life.
Micah: But I think, though, therein shows her maturity and her character as being much stronger in that respect than Hagrid’s. I just think that Hermione sees Rita Skeeter for what she really is and knows that in the grand scheme of things, this is not going to impact her life at all. I think with Hagrid it was different because he had something about him exposed that maybe not everybody was aware of, whereas Hermione having interest in Viktor Krum or Harry, or anybody else for that matter, that would be normal. I mean, she’s a fourteen-year-old girl. But Hagrid having this big piece of information thrown out there for the world to see, I think it probably hurt him a little bit more.
Eric: Yeah, we’ve seen how half-breeds are treated by everybody, Dolores Umbridge to name a few – or to name one. But I think the thing with Hermione – she’s able to giggle and put the article down. Sure, she’s maybe a little bit stronger than Hagrid is anyway, emotionally, but a lot of those claims Rita made were baseless. The articles are different, completely different because Hagrid has something to hide. Hagrid – there’s some scandal there with him being a half-giant. So, it is kind of more hurtful just in general because Hagrid has had to – not only does Hagrid feel bad about Madame Maxime and what happened with that, but it just comes at a time where now everyone’s questioning him again. It’s just like being accused of opening the Chamber of Secrets, Hagrid’s had enough of that in his life. So, I think it affects him…
Andrew: That’s true.
Eric: …more that way.
Andrew: Hermione continues to try to figure out how Rita Skeeter had learned she was talking to Viktor. She’s really determined to find this out. Percy replies to the trio’s letter but it doesn’t offer any help. He only says he’s on a well-deserved vacation, which of course ends up being B.S. as we’ll find out in just a couple of minutes. And I was kind of bored by this chapter, but then finally some interesting news, I thought. McGonagall tells Harry to head down to the Quidditch field at 9 PM to learn about the third task from Mr. Bagman. And with McGonagall saying to head down to the Quidditch field, we don’t really see Harry try to figure out what this could be because he’s going to be learning out about it soon anyway. But I wondered if Harry thought maybe this would involve Quidditch, which I thought would make him probably pretty excited because – since he’s so talented. But he doesn’t give any thought to it because he runs into Cedric, and Cedric says Fleur says it may have to do with underground tunnels and finding a treasure, which is kind of along the lines of what it ends up being. So, did she receive a tip from Maxime? Or how did she get this information, I wonder?
Eric: Well, how is it kind of like what ends up happening?
Andrew: Well, it’s sort of like a prediction by Trelawney, that it’s kind of similar, whereas – she’s saying tunnels but it’s not tunnels, it’s hedges. And it’s not a treasure, it’s the cup. So, it follows the lines of the physical challenge.
Eric: Requirements, yeah.
Andrew: Physically – yeah, yeah.
Andrew: So, I don’t know. She had some hint somewhere.
Eric: She had to.
Andrew: I mean, clearly – yeah, that wasn’t just a stab in the dark.
Eric: That’s a good point.
Andrew: And it just shows again, the corruption of this tournament, how nothing is really kept secret.
Micah: Well, look at Hagrid.
Andrew: But still…
Micah: Well, go get to your next point, maybe you’ll have your answer.
Andrew: Okay. Well, upon entering the stadium, Harry notices they’re growing hedges on the field, and Bagman explains there will be creatures and obstacles inside the maze, provided by Hagrid, and the first person to touch the cup will win. So, what are you saying, Hagrid – or [laughs] Micah? Did somebody get a look at it in advance?
Micah: Well, if the creatures are being provided by Hagrid, maybe he tipped off Madame Maxime in some way.
Micah: I know they’re not on speaking terms right now, so it’s probably not likely that that’s what happened, but that would be my first guess. Like you said…
Andrew: Yeah, even though…
Micah: …it’s a little bit too coincidental in terms of her explanation of how the task was going to lay out.
Andrew: Even though Fleur didn’t mention any creatures. So, anyway…
Eric: Yeah. I think if Hagrid knew, Harry would know before Maxime would let Fleur, would let Cedric, would let Harry know.
Micah: Exactly, yeah.
Andrew: All right. So, we got that explanation about the third task which I feel like that was more information about the task than any of the others previously. I mean, they don’t know exactly what creatures they’re going to be up against or just how hard this task is going to be, but they seem to be pretty transparent with this one. And maybe that’s just because there were so many leaks for the other one [laughs] that they were just, like, “Ahh, forget it. We’ll just tell them what they’re up against.” So, after the explanation, Krum takes Harry away from everyone else and asks Harry, point blank, if there’s [imitating Krum] anything going on between him and Hermione. [changes to normal voice] That’s my Krum impression. And while talking – well, first, Harry says, “No, no, we’re just friends. We’ve never kissed.” So, while talking, Crouch stumbles out of the forest and looks as if he’s gone mad. Clearly, he was not on a well-deserved vacation, as Percy had said. So, it’s very alarming, he just seems – he’s very incoherent.
Micah: Can I touch on that for a second?
Micah: Just Percy and how ignorant he is. We always talk about Fudge and how blind he is to what’s going on, but I think it’s kind of a top-down effect because Fudge is the way he is, you see other people in the Ministry who act the same way, and Umbridge is an example of it in the next book. But I think Percy is really a by-the-rules, “This is what’s going on and I can’t think outside my own mind,” type of person. And if you’re working for somebody – I mean, we all worked for people before in our lives. If you’re missing this much time from work and you’re getting these ridiculous excuses, wouldn’t you think something is up? I mean, I understand you’ve got to be obedient and work within certain restrictions, but this is just – red flags should be going off, in my opinion, in Percy’s mind.
Andrew: Oh yeah. Yeah, but he’s so consumed by the Ministry and he’s so proud of what he’s doing. He doesn’t think there could be anything wrong. I think his mind is just so clouded by that.
Micah: Yeah, I agree.
Andrew: So, Harry goes to get Dumbledore and when they return they find Krum unconscious, Crouch had attacked him and disappeared. And then Hagrid and Moody show up. Hagrid was called, but Moody somehow just decided to show up. This is – for the reader, this is kind of a subtle hint that something’s going on. You see it on TV shows all the time, somebody transforms and then you see the real person. Like in superhero movies.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: They’re, like, “What’s going on?”
Eric: There’s no such thing as a coincidence, so…
Andrew: [laughs] Right.
Micah: Well, this was done terribly in the movie in my opinion because it’s so different than what happens in the book, and you have that moment between Moody and Barty Crouch, Sr. and they’re arguing back and forth, and then he does that little lick of the lips with his tongue…
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Micah: …and there’s that realization by Barty Crouch, Sr. And then almost the next scene, Barty Crouch, Sr. is lying dead on the floor and Harry finds him. So – I mean, I thought it was so much clearer in the movie – like really right from the beginning, that Moody wasn’t who he appeared to be, whereas – and there were so many hints, too, with the damn hip flask all the time. But – in the books – it’s just, like, [laughs] this should all be coming together for Harry…
Micah: …and he’s just so stupid! I know he’s fourteen years old, but man…
Harry: This book could have been so much shorter.
Micah: Exactly. Put it together, man! The pieces of the puzzle, they’re right there!
Eric: Look, and not all the books happen like this, but this book in particular the pieces are there, but Harry doesn’t know where to look. Maybe this is like the foundation for him knowing where to look in the future.
Andrew: But – and again, you got to remember how young he is, too. I mean, I think we’ve cited that a lot. My brother currently is the same age as Harry is in this book and he wouldn’t be that smart.
Eric: Well, no offense to Ryan. But no, Harry does have schooling to get on with. He can’t devote his time – he can’t just open up a detective agency. Maybe if he had been expelled in year two he could sort of spend the rest of his years on the Hogwarts grounds trying to decipher what everything meant. But unfortunately, a lot of it is just kind of – the plot structure is that the climax – the bad guy is revealed at the end and not sooner.
Micah: Yeah, I know, I know. Now, the other thing was, how was Hagrid called in this scene?
Andrew: Well, it’s near by the hut, so – I mean, it’s not too far off from the hut, so…
Micah: I’m trying to remember, is this the scene where he’s called by Patronus or not?
Andrew: Oh. Yes, I think. I don’t know. Shame on me for not…
Micah: Here, let me look. I’ll look in the book while we…
Andrew: Yeah, all right, I’ll keep moving here. Karkaroff arrives as well and is pissed at the situation. He accuses Dumbledore of throwing the tournament, between getting Harry in and then having somebody attack his student, being Krum, and he spits at Dumbledore’s feet, which is a big insult. Then Hagrid throws Karkaroff against a tree, and that’s when Dumbledore tells Hagrid to escort Harry up to the Gryffindor common room. Obviously, tension – there’s a lot of tension going on in this scene, a scene I would have liked to see in the movie. It would have been cool to see Hagrid pick up Karkaroff and throw him against a tree. [laughs] So, while Hagrid is escorting Harry up to the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid notes that Dumbledore has been more worried than ever. And it made me think about earlier in the scene, when Dumbledore seemed to be aware of Voldemort getting stronger because Harry told Dumbledore when he went to get him that in this – when he heard Crouch mumbling mumbo jumbo, one of the things he said was that Voldemort was getting stronger. So, Dumbledore’s clearly stressed right now about a return from Voldemort. And it makes you think, let’s be really cautious here about the third task, let’s make sure everything is on the up and up. We know it was Moody, the impostor Moody, who ended up screwing – turning the cup into a Portkey in the third task and I mean, it’s kind of an oversight by Dumbledore for not double checking all of this stuff himself.
Micah: Yeah, I kind of agree with that. You’d think with how worried you just said that Dumbledore has been that he would have put every level of precaution in place, regardless of who he trusts and who he thinks is an ally. You would hope that he would look over these things and make sure that it’s safe. I mean, he is probably – not probably, he is – the most intelligent person in this group of professors, so he should be taking every precaution and he’s not doing it.
Andrew: Do you have the clarification about the Patronus?
Micah: Yeah, actually, it’s page 560 in the U.S. edition.
“He raised his wand into the air and pointed it in the direction of Hagrid’s cabin. Harry saw something silvery dart out of it and streak away through the trees like a ghostly bird.”
So, it was in fact Dumbledore’s Patronus, so it’s the first look at how the Order of the Phoenix communicate.
Chapter-by-Chapter: “The Dream”
Andrew: Let’s move on now to Chapter 29.
Micah: Oh man, another chapter. [laughs]
Andrew: Narrated by Micah Tannenbaum.
Micah: All right. Well, Harry, Ron, and Hermione – this is how the chapter starts, the chapter called “The Dream” – they discuss what just happened in the forest with Crouch and Viktor Krum. And there’s a lot of theorizing going on, and one of the things that they spend a lot of time talking about is, why was it that Snape – and I don’t know if you mentioned this, Andrew, in the last chapter – almost prevented Harry from getting to Dumbledore and getting him out to the forest? And a lot of speculation goes on about, could Snape have been the one responsible for stunning Viktor Krum and making Crouch, Sr. disappear, and would he have been able to get down there in time – between the time Harry went up to get Dumbledore and return? And Harry says, “Not unless he can turn himself into a bat or something.” Now, we all remember how much speculation this particular quote caused way back before Deathly Hallows came out and maybe even before Half-Blood Prince came out, can Snape actually turn himself into a bat? And then of course, that was revealed later on in Deathly Hallows towards the end, when he’s leaving Hogwarts. So, a little bit of foreshadowing. Not a lot but a little bit.
Eric: A little bit goes a long way.
Andrew: And what I was thinking when I was reading this was, Dumbledore – Snape meant that Dumbledore was just working on this Voldemort issue. I thought that’s what he meant. And he may have been at that present time, been trying to figure out what to do [laughs] about this whole Voldemort thing. So…
Micah: Yeah. So, what the trio decides to do is go and send a letter to Sirius because Sirius wanted to know the minute something happened. And this is just before dawn, so it’s very early hours of the morning. They’re up there, nobody else is around, or so they think. And then they overhear Fred and George coming up the steps to the Owlery and they’re talking about blackmailing someone. And they get into a back and forth discussion with the trio about saying, “Well, basically, if you’re not going to ask us why we’re up here, we’re not going to ask you why you’re up here.” And Ron is persistent, he wants to know what is going on with his brothers, and they respond by saying, “You’re starting to sound a bit like our dear old brother, you are, Ron. Carry on like this and you’ll be made a prefect.” And another bit of foreshadowing because, of course, in the next book, Ron is in fact made a prefect. So, it was interesting that you had the bat foreshadowing and the prefect foreshadowing…
Micah: …within pages of each other.
Eric: Yeah, I agree.
Micah: Now, one thing I wanted to ask, though – Hermione raises an interesting point about Fred and George breaking the rules at the school, which they do fairly often, versus the law, which in the case of blackmailing, obviously that’s against the law. So, should they have told somebody? Should they have gone to Percy? Should they have gone to Mr. or Mrs. Weasley about what was going on?
Andrew: I just don’t think they have a role. They don’t have a – what can they do, you know?
Eric: Well, Percy wouldn’t be helpful. I mean, even the trio tried going to Percy in the previous chapter and he wasn’t hearing it. He’s not in the position where – to give good advice about dealing with Ministry people. He’s got his head so far in his own affairs. But even Mr. Weasley would only be able to offer so much advice. They have a unique situation. I feel like they’re creative and because they’re creative, they can figure out how to deal with it on their own, which is what they do. But still, blackmailing is illegal, so that kind of leads back to your question. But I think they’re trying to resolve it amicably, and the fact that they’re still going on about this months and months later shows that they really do need that money, but also that it’s really one of their last resorts, which is good for their character.
Micah: Yeah. And they need the money for the joke shop, which is brought up again in this chapter. And maybe the idea starts to formulate a bit in Harry’s mind that, “Hey, should I win this tournament, I might be willing to give this away.” I don’t think yet, but it started laying the groundwork for this happening later on towards the very end of the book. So, what the trio really wants to do, now that they’ve gotten the letter off to Sirius, is speak with Moody and find out if there was any new developments. And the day really drags for them, they just want to get into Moody’s class and speak with him. And they finally do, and they’re having the discussion about what happened the previous night, and Moody suggests that Hermione become an Auror. So, yet again – and the reason why he does it is because she brings up the fact that nobody can Apparate inside the grounds of Hogwarts, and so I’m wondering…
Eric: [laughs] That qualifies you to be an Auror?
Micah: Well, remember, he’s had her as a student, though, throughout the course of this year now…
Eric: That’s true.
Micah: For a couple of months now, so he knows how intelligent she is, she seems to be very forward-thinking, and – is it surprising, though, that now Barty Crouch, Jr., in the guise of Mad-Eye Moody, has suggested that both Harry and Hermione become Aurors?
Eric: [laughs] Apparently, Barty Crouch, Jr.’s disdain for the law, and the sanity of Muggles and Mudbloods, and all that is good in the world – his disdain for that does not extend to giving relevant career advice to underaged good guys. Apparently it just doesn’t connect. I thought it was special when he recommended Harry to be an Auror. It’s ironic a little bit, but it’s special because it seems like he’s really gone out of his way to assess and say, “Hey, I better watch my back because Harry Potter is coming and he’s good at this stuff.” But for him to then go and tell Hermione, “Oh, you’d be a good Auror,” makes it less special. It’s like, well geez, Barty Crouch, why don’t you pick the lineup of all the people that are going to defeat Voldemort in the next battle right now? Why don’t you just do that? Because he seems to be actively engaged in training these young wizards. By assuming the guise of Mad-Eye Moody, he’s really become this teacher and this resource for them – apart from trying to kill Harry. But he’s also tried to keep him alive several times throughout this tournament.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s a weird balance.
Micah: Yeah, it definitely is, and…
Andrew: Well, he’s tried to keep him alive to get him to the third task, right?
Eric: To get him to Voldemort, exactly.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: So, it really is a balancing act. Thank you, I really couldn’t have said that better.
Micah: Right. And there’s a complete contrast, though, too, between how Moody views Harry and Hermione versus [laughs] how he views Ron because Ron tries again to say and do things that’s going to get Moody to react and to say, “Oh yeah, you should be an Auror, too.”
Micah: I think he suggests something along the lines of Crouch being kidnapped, trying to draw the attention of Moody as well. But eventually Harry hears back from Sirius. And we get our first glimpse into Sirius acting as a parental figure as opposed to – really, in the past, he’s been a bit more irresponsible, he’s been more of Harry’s buddy as opposed to Harry’s godfather, as a guardian in a sense. And Harry was kind of taken aback by it. What did you guys think?
Eric: Yeah. I mean, there was some prep in Chapter 27, when he had those lines. We could almost do a whole segment on this show about lines from the cave, of what Sirius said. But he had said things like, “If you want to know the measure of a man, look at how he treats his inferiors.” And he’s, like, “Well, Ron, Hermione has a better grasp of reality here. You’re letting your emotions get in the way.” So, he’s trying to be parental there, but this letter really did it, to where Harry is saying, “Wow, my God. Okay, Sirius, you’re not my friend anymore. Geez.”
Micah: Sirius, you’re being serious, man. [laughs]
Eric: [laughs] Yeah! Not cool, not cool.
Micah: Yeah. I mean, but the gist of the letter is that, “Look, what were you doing out with Viktor Krum? You could have been killed. Clearly somebody put your name in the Goblet of Fire with the intent of doing you harm, and here you are, acting completely reckless.” So, for the first time…
Eric: It’s also kind of cheap, though. Yeah.
Eric: I said it’s kind of cheap because the other thing that happened in the cave was that they spent a real long time reviewing the facts, as if they were all co-detectives in this mystery. And so for Sirius to say, “Hey, that was stupid of you to go out with Viktor Krum alone. Clearly somebody wants you dead,” is not being very helpful because it’s not saying, “Oh, thank you for the information. I’m going to look at this, and try and figure out more clues.” It’s almost like Sirius voted himself off the island and is now all of a sudden being the parental figure, so it is kind of, in that way, cheap.
Micah: Well, in some ways, he’s doing the very thing that he’s telling Harry not to do. He’s being reckless, he’s out in the open, he’s a fugitive on the run, yet he’s how many miles away from Hogwarts and right next door to Hogsmeade where there are people who could easily capture him. So…
Eric: Well, he’s a grown wizard and nobody is looking for him this year. I mean, I think it’s not until really Book 5 that people start talking about Sirius Black again. Maybe I’m incorrect, maybe I missed that. But it just seems like…
Micah: Well, I think that’s a bit of what Harry feels, though. He feels like Sirius is acting the same way and getting away with it. But you’re right, he’s a full-grown adult, where Harry isn’t. So, they go off to Divination and Harry ends up having this dream during the class. And it’s noted that there’s an insect humming gently behind the curtain before he dozes off and, of course, that ends up being Rita Skeeter. But the dream that he has is of Voldemort cursing Wormtail for what has happened. And it’s clear that Wormtail has made some sort of blunder, we don’t know what, but we find out from this eagle owl that arrives that it has been corrected, that somebody, a man, is dead. And what I want to know is, why does Harry not think that Wormtail’s blunder could be related to Barty Crouch, Sr.?
Andrew: Again, he’s young. [laughs]
Eric: I don’t know.
Andrew: And stupid.
Eric: That seems like a good question, though. I mean, Wormtail is one of those characters where you see him at the beginning of the book – even Harry sees him in his dream, what’s he doing? And it’s almost like – really, Wormtail should be a bigger character discussion for the trio to be, like, “Where is he now?” Because it was only last summer that he had his huge escape and the Ministry actively refuses to believe he exists. So, he should really be on everybody’s mind, just as much as Barty Crouch, Jr. and maybe even more so because Voldemort is with – we know he’s with Voldemort. So, when Harry has his dream, it just seems like these questions should be raised a lot more by Harry.
Micah: Right. I mean, you’re talking about Barty Crouch, Sr. just having disappeared. He was in an odd state when he stumbled out of the forest, and now here’s Harry having this dream. He knows in some way he is connected to Voldemort, or at least he should be starting to realize that. And he has this dream where Wormtail is being tortured for a blunder, which we later find out is letting Barty Crouch, Sr. escape, but then in the end we find out that everything has been corrected because he ends up being killed. But I just thought – again, I understand, Andrew, he’s young. So, Harry ends up waking up from the dream in the middle of Divination. Trelawney wants to interpret what has just happened, but Harry blows her off and goes running for Dumbledore’s office. And the one thing I thought odd was that he was able to guess the password kind of off the top of his head…
Micah: …even though he rambled off about fifteen or twenty passwords beforehand. I don’t know. It was funny. But anyway…
Eric: [laughs] Yeah, Dumbledore’s office should kind of be more secure than that.
Micah: [laughs] There’s this whole conversation going on in Dumbledore’s office that Harry overhears from the outside, and it’s related to what’s just happened with Barty Crouch, Sr. and Viktor Krum, but also we hear about Bertha Jorkins again. And I was wondering why does Fudge continue to cover up the fact that something is clearly wrong with Bertha Jorkins? If a government official went missing from the U.S. or the U.K., wouldn’t it be a big deal if it had gone on for this long?
Andrew: Well, this is some signs of the Ministry starting to fall apart. I mean, they’re just hiding it because I don’t think they really want to deal with it. In the meantime, they probably have a sort of idea that Voldemort’s coming back but they’re in denial that he’s coming back, so it’s a confusing time at the Ministry.
Micah: Yeah. And on the Viktor Krum end, where he was attacked, Fudge references both the Beauxbatons carriage and Durmstrang’s ship as being near where the incident occurred. And I thought it was interesting that Fudge’s mind goes to Madame Maxime as being the attacker because of her condition/half-giant…
Micah: …versus Karkaroff who’s a known Death Eater. I mean, now is he really going to attack his own student? Is he going to do something to Barty Crouch, Sr.? Probably the latter.
Eric: It depends on his motivation.
Micah: Yeah, exactly, but I mean, he’s a known Death Eater. This is public information for the most part, and yet he shows such strong racism in this case. He goes right to the half-breed, he goes right to Madame Maxime. And I think we start to see the fact that Fudge is willing to trade this opinion, this mindset, this racism, for the belief that Voldemort could possibly be back.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, and as we see in Order of the Phoenix, they go through all – they take all steps necessary to make sure – to try to deny it.
Eric: Fudge. And it’s like – Andrew, you just answered Micah’s question by saying, well, they’re hiding it, they don’t really have a better option. They’re hiding it not out of malice, but simply because it’s the easiest thing to do. It seems to be the best response at the time and I think this is a perfect example of Fudge not only losing it, but all of these scenes that happen between Fudge and Dumbledore that we’re privy to just show that Fudge is an obstacle and will continue to be until he is removed from power because Dumbledore is the one who wants to go out and fight Voldemort, and defeat Voldemort. Fudge wants – I don’t even know what Fudge wants. He just wants there to not be chaos.
Micah: Right, and that’s how the chapter ends, with Moody saying that Harry is outside the door.
Listener Tweets: Thoughts on Strange Magic
Andrew: All right, so that’s Chapter-by-Chapter this week, and we now move on to today’s Twitter question which focuses on the news we talked about earlier in the show: Thoughts on J.K. Rowling, the movie Strange Magic? Anne Holst said:
“Isn’t it weird that they’e making a movie about J.K.R. when her life/career isn’t over yet?”
Andrew: Not really because they’ve done this before for other celebrities, like I said earlier in the show. Gracie writes:
“A TV movie of J.K. Rowling’s life sounds dumb. She is a wonderful human being and they just want to make money off her.”
That’s absolutely true.
Eric: Oh, oh, and what was the Oprah interview supposed to do? Make cookies off of Jo?
Andrew: Nobody is making money off of that, other than Oprah, but…
Micah: [laughs] She’s got money…
Andrew: I don’t blame…
Micah: …anyway, doesn’t she?
Eric: The whole interview was about how they have money. They didn’t…
Andrew: But Oprah had never interviewed J.K. Rowling, so I thought that was fitting. Kathleen Becker writes:
“I am psyched! J.K.R. has such an inspirational story and I can’t wait for everyone to see how she got to where she is today.”
I mean, that’s true, we could get a nice story out of it. It could be all right.
Eric: It’s really about how they treat the material, you know?
Andrew: And Eric’s friend Hilary Klein writes…
“Since this is unauthorized, I fear this is simply a way to cash in on J.K.R.’s success in a fairly uncreative manner. Not a fan.”
So, I think we got more negative than positive for this story.
Listener Tweets: J.K. Rowling’s New Projects
Andrew: And then also the story about J.K. Rowling writing new – what is she writing hard about? We asked people who follow us on Twitter, Twitter.com/MuggleCast, to let us know what they think. And Lina Puch wrote:
“She really needs to stop teasing people and just let the world know what she’s up to. She doesn’t even have to go into details.”
Andrew: So, Lina’s very upset that we still don’t know what’s going on. Abby writes:
“I just hope whatever she is writing remains in the wizarding world. It doesn’t necessarily need to be ‘Harry Potter’.”
Cati O’Hara writes:
“I hope she’s working on the HP encyclopedia. I’d like a story of James and Lily from their days at Hogwarts, too. And Sirius!”
“I really want another ‘Harry Potter’ book about James and Lily and Hugo and Rose and Scorpio, but that’s not going to happen. Sad face.”
“About the Marauders, for sure. I’d like to know more about how they went to school and more interesting things.”
Nathan Larkin wrote:
“I think one of the books that J.K.R. is working on is definitely the encyclopedia.”
And finally Mats-Kristian Lekang wrote:
“Obviously we all want the encyclopedia, but also curious about that fairy tale. Just hope she won’t publish it under a pseudonym.”
That would be cool if she wrote a book under a different name and didn’t tell anyone for, like, five years.
Eric: Just to see how it goes. Maybe it’s already out there.
Eric: Maybe it’s…
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. I mean, authors have done it before, so…
Eric: Yeah, maybe it’s, like, Twilight or something.
Micah: It’ll leak so fast.
Eric: [laughs] Do you think, though?
Micah: I just don’t think…
Andrew: I don’t think so.
Micah: Well, I don’t think you can keep something like that under wraps for very long.
Andrew: Well, why not? She’s keeping this project under wraps.
Micah: Well, no, I’m saying…
Eric: She’s just not talking about it.
Micah: Once you start incorporating other people – and she has to go to a publisher, and she’s got to work through the process of getting the book published. There’s so many people that are going to know that it’s her, I think it’s going to be difficult to pull it off.
Andrew: I don’t know. You may regret that, Micah.
Eric: You may.
Andrew: I picture us playing back that clip in five years.
Micah: You know what? You’ve made success with your real name. Why write under a pseudonym? There’s no point.
Andrew: Because people don’t like – they want to go back to the days when they didn’t get all this attention.
Eric: Just for being that way, but…
Andrew: Hasn’t, like, Roald Dahl done it or Stephen King?
Eric: Well, Stephen King has.
Andrew: I feel like one of them…
Eric: Stephen King used to be – or wrote under Richard Bachman for a while. There were only four or five books. And I understand the practice of it, but it’s almost like in order to do it well, it takes a lot of money, so it’s not only going back to…
Andrew: Well, J.K. Rowling doesn’t have that.
Eric: …it’s not only going back to when you didn’t have money by publishing under a non-money-making name, but you almost – in order to do it correctly, you have to put all this money into being anonymous. And I feel like it will leak, I feel like Micah is right. But also, I feel like her name is nothing to be ashamed of.
Andrew: Of course not.
Eric: Even when people do find out that it’s her, even if it is under a pseudonym, it’s going to get that attention. I really feel like it is. I don’t know. It would be just another misleading…
Micah: But wait, is it just the challenge of doing it all over again, is that what it is?
Andrew: Yeah, she could like that, maybe. Maybe she wants that challenge of trying to get to a publisher, get accepted, you know?
Eric: But what’s the goal then? Because she’s already struck gold with…
Andrew: The goal then is to re-experience the challenges of writing. Maybe she thinks, “Oh, I could write anything and anybody is going to publish it if I put my name on it.”
Eric: Writing is still hard. Writing is still difficult.
Andrew: Yes, of course it’s still hard, but maybe – oh, whatever. [laughs]
Micah: But the other thing – here, I’ll…
Andrew: Finish with your comment.
Micah: …end on this.
Andrew: Final statement.
Micah: Yeah, yeah, is that you’re also alienating potentially the people who are really interested in what you’re writing. Because if you go under a pseudonym, nobody is going to know that it’s you for a certain period of time.
Andrew: Until you announce it.
Micah: And I understand the challenge to that, but the people who want to read what J.K. Rowling is writing, regardless of maybe whether it’s about Harry Potter or something else, they lose out.
Andrew: So, it’s a disservice to them.
Micah: Yeah! Absolutely!
Muggle Mail: How Rita Skeeter Knew About Hagrid’s Past
Andrew: All right. Let’s move on to Muggle Mail now. This first e-mail comes from Sophia, 17, of Glendale:
“Hey there, MuggleCasters! I love the show and have listened faithfully for a few years now, and I just wanted to point out an error you made in the last episode. Hagrid didn’t tell Rita about his past. He was pouring his soul out to Madame Maxime at the Yule Ball, if I’m not mistaken. She was a fly on the wall in their conversation, or ladybug, if you will. Thanks for reading my e-mail, though I’m sure plenty of others sent this in as well.”
So, thank you for that correction. Eric, can you read the next e-mail from Simon?
Muggle Mail: Ghosts and Merfolk
Eric: Sure, next e-mail comes from Simon, 22, of Staffordshire, England. Simon says:
“I just finished listening to Episode 220, and thought you raised some interesting points regarding ghosts and merfolk. While it doesn’t mention what magic exists to control ghosts, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ does note that they are not considered beings. The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magic Creatures is divided into the Beast, Being, and Spirit Divisions. Given that wizards apparently don’t even treat other beings, such as goblins, that well, it seems likely that they aren’t generally overly concerned with the way they treat ghosts.”
Ahh, that’s a good analysis.
“As far as merfolk go, they, like centaurs, are voluntarily classified as beasts…”
Does he mean to say “involuntarily”? Anyway:
“…so probably have not been treated well in the past. The merfolk in the lake at Hogwarts probably trust Dumbledore, but for all they know Harry would be perfectly happy to blast them to pieces. The whole thing seems to hint at some very uncomfortable history to me. Anyway, these are just my thoughts on the matter. Love the show, keep up the good work! Simon.”
So, Micah, Simon really loved your insight into…
Eric: …that little flinch, was it? That the merperson almost didn’t even do. But he loved it, he ate it right up…
Andrew: Bravo, Micah.
Eric: …when you suggested that there was this past history of abuse.
Micah: Well, there must be a past history. If she ever wrote the encyclopedia, maybe we would find out about it. You want me to take the next e-mail?
Andrew: Please, go ahead.
Muggle Mail: Harry Wasn’t Too Young or Naive
Micah: Next e-mail is from Helen, 27, of Hinsdale, Illinois, and she says:
“Hi guys! I have a comment about Episode 220. You were collectively wondering if Harry was simply too young to adequately understand that the hostages from the second task were never in any real danger. I think you pretty much all agreed that Harry believed the egg’s song was true because he was simply too young and therefore too naive. What you failed to remember was that Fleur…”
We mentioned this earlier. Eric brought it up.
“…who was captured and unable to escape from a group of Grindylows, was beside herself with fear when she was unable to retrieve her sister from the lake. Re-read pages…”
Oh, we have homework.
“…pages 504 to 506…”
[Andrew and Eric laughs]
“…from ‘Goblet of Fire’ U.S. hardcover edition. Fleur also believed that the egg’s song was true and feared that her sister was lost. So, I do not believe that Harry was naive or that his age had anything to do with it. I think that it was simply not properly explained to the champions that the hostages were not in any real danger.”
Andrew: All right, so clarification there. Thank you, Helen.
Muggle Mail: Harry Potter-Like Teachers
Eric: Mhm. I’ll read the last one?
Andrew: Oh, go ahead, Eric.
Eric: Hey, it comes from Katie, 15, from Maryland. Subject is “HP teachers.” She says:
“In Episode 220 you were talking about how you had teachers that act like Hagrid, and I know other people have Umbridge/Snape-like teachers. I was wondering if you have had a teacher that looked like one of the Hogwarts professors. At my school, the ceramics teacher looks exactly how I pictured Professor Trelawney. She has the outfits and the hair, but slightly smaller glasses. Katie.”
Andrew: I’d like to go back and look at all my class pictures…
Andrew: …because I’d like to [laughs] do some comparisons. I can’t think of any off the top of my head, personally.
Eric: It’s a good question, huh?
Eric: Teachers that look like Hogwarts teachers.
Andrew: Mine were kind of bland, I have to say. Nobody really stood out like the Hogwarts teachers did.
Eric: Yeah, all my teachers were different, but probably not.
Andrew: You know what? Come to think of it, one of them did look like Moody.
Micah: [laughs] Oh, wow.
Eric: And, like, their face…
Andrew: Not to say they’re fat. I mean, they’re actually half-giant.
Micah: So, you mean Hagrid?
Eric: A face that was pieced together? In a way that looked like…
Andrew: What did I say?
Micah: [laughs] Moody.
Eric: You said Moody.
Andrew: Oh sorry, I meant Hagrid.
Micah: …I was going to say Moody is kind of a harsh analysis of somebody, half of his face missing.
Andrew: No. Well, because of the eye.
Andrew: [laughs] No, I’m kidding.
Micah: Hey, but Katie, if you go to LeakyCon 2011, I guarantee you will see people who look a lot like these professors. [laughs]
Andrew: [laughs] Oh, you mean because of – yeah, because everybody dresses up.
Micah: Yeah, exactly!
Andrew: Right, right. Yes, and that is a good reminder as we wrap up the show today. Don’t forget to visit LeakyCon.com, get all the information you need about this, what will be an amazing Harry Potter conference. And we will be doing at least one podcast there, maybe a panel or two? We’ll see! We have to talk about that soon, actually, because…
Andrew: …the forum to submit is due February 28th, I think. So, LeakyCon 2011, you can visit LeakyCon.com, and when you do register, use the code “Muggle” so we know that you’re coming! And we can’t wait to see you there. Really, check out the site, you’ll see all the fun that’s going to be had. And also, one last plug, I’ve been talking about it a couple of times here on the show already.
Andrew: HYPE is my new podcast with Ben Schoen, who’s going to be on MuggleCast soon, by the way, hopefully. He will also be at LeakyCon. Visit HYPEPodcast.com, and you can subscribe to the show, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. Right after we record MuggleCast here, Ben will be coming over and we’ll be recording an episode of HYPE! And…
Eric: Oh, so he’s not coming over for MuggleCast, but he’ll come over for HYPE?
Andrew: Well, he was just going to be late for MuggleCast…
[Show music begins]
Andrew: …and we didn’t want him to come on halfway through.
Eric: Oh, okay. Good.
Eric: All right.
Andrew: Anyway, HYPEPodcast.com, check it out! I think you’ll like it. We talk about everything entertainment and all the news going on in the world today. Thanks everyone for listening! I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: We’ll see you next time for Episode 222. Two, two, two! [repeatedly says “two”]
Eric: Wow, you said “two-two”.
[Show music continues]