ep 149

Episode 149: HBP Book Wrap – Joint Custody

We can’t believe we’re here already, but we are: the end of Half-Blood Prince. We love this book; even if we don’t remember what happens! (Just kidding, we do). Join hosts Eric, Kat, Michael, and Alison as they wrap up the sixth book in the series.

On Episode 149 we discuss…

→ Episode 148 Recap: telling Harry everything; the Hinny ship; is Dumbledore still alive??
→ PQOTW Responses
→ Are the UK summaries major spoilers?
→ We want Jo’s old website back
→ Everyone hates the spoiler guy
→ Book Covers discussion
→ Check out the Alohomora! store

International Covers:

To listen to the show, simply click the player below or direct download the episode. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes. For more information about the podcast and to find out how to be on the show, check out our Be On The Show! page.

Don’t forget to leave us a voicemail at our phone number: 1-206-GO-ALBUS (462-5287). Skype users can also send us a message to username AlohomoraMN. And as always, be sure to continue the discussion below or on our Forums!

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  • DoraNympha

    I understand where the idea that kids shouldn’t be told everything comes from but I firmly believe that ignorance is not bliss, Harry wouldn’t have made most of his bad choices if he’d been in possession of all the facts before his mistakes forced someone to unwillingly tell him some of it. There’s just nothing good coming out of keeping someone in the dark, knowledge is power and yes there were times when Harry was too young to have wise reactions, like when he wanted to kill Sirius upon hearing about the misinformation (MISinformation) that he was the reason Lily and James got murdered, but I think it would still have been better for him to be told about things properly, decently, than for him to have to sneak around and listen in on conversations. He was always one step away from having to go through Dumbledore’s dustbin for information while he wasn’t looking?? The only valid purpose this served was that we readers had to wait for events to unfold instead of being spoiled the mysteries of the story before out hero reveals them, but, realistically, even if we agree with Dumbledore on it being wiser if Harry isn’t told everything all too soon (or ever…??), he still could have told Harry much much more than he did, many, many times. If not everything, then just SOMEthing, come on Albus. He knowingly let Harry risk his life as “tests” for when he’s really faced with Voldemort, so I’m sure telling him about stuff over some pumpkin juice wouldn’t have been all that dangerous. Idk I just think one is only able to make the best choices in possession of all available information. (Overthinking Ravenclaw here yup. I deliberate carefully about which flavour of gum to buy, so this being in the dark too much aspect of HP was probs the most frustrating thing about it omg but it did add to building up the mystery so it’s okay in the end.)

    • Lisa

      I agree with you. I understand why Rowling wrote it like that, but it made Dumbledore come across as irresponsible. Not only did he let the fate of the wizarding world hang on a teenager, but he also kept that teenager in the dark about important things. The fact that things worked out to Harry’s advantage was oftentimes just a happy coincidence (like Voldemort not AK-ing Snape, but killing him in a way which left him enough time to convey valuable info to Harry). It’s also weird that Dumbledore wouldn’t tell Harry how the Horcruxes can be destroyed. Aside from the Basilisk venom thing, they had no idea how to destroy the Horcruxes.

      • SlytherinKnight

        That was I think the biggest goof that Dumbledore did. He didn’t have to tell Harry everything, like how Snape was good, that Harry himself was a Horcrux but Dumbledore should have told Harry how to destroy the Horcruxes, show Harry the memory of Dumbledore getting to the Ring Horcrux (perhaps not what caused Dumbledore to put the ring on) as well as having Harry trust in others. One of the biggest themes of the Harry Potter books was friendship and trust, yet Dumbledore kept things too close to the chest and nearly caused the ruin of the wizarding world because of this. It’s funny how Dumbledore kept harping on everyone to trust in Snape yet Dumbledore didn’t trust people with knowing the plan to an extent.

        Also, Dumbledore always seemed to have contingencies for the plan but he didn’t have a contingency in place to pass on information when he died. Dumbledore knew he was too die in a year’s time after putting on the ring, yet he doesn’t have a back-up plan in place to make sure that Harry gets all the information he needs to complete the task in case Dumbledore dies before telling Harry what he needs to know.

        • MartinMiggs

          It’s funny how Harry wants to be told absolutely everything but in book 7 does the EXACT SAME THING Dumbledore does! Hey Neville go kill that snake but I’m not telling you why. Snape’s cover is absolutely necessary (keeping Hogwarts somewhat safe, having possession of Gryffindor’s sword, being a close informant to Voldemort) and if Harry doesn’t believe Snape is bad his cover could be blown. Harry would not be able to accept that he would have to die in order to destroy the *Horcrux* that was apart of him

        • DoraNympha

          Oh yes, thank you for pointing that out! The Horcrux thing… I have a feeling there’s a raging, gaping hole in Dumbledore’s plans: Plan A would have been to get back to his office, get Snape to keep him from passing out or potentially dying from the emerald potion, then show Harry how to destroy the Horcrux. A small flaw occured in the form of him dying, so… Plan B was probably Dumbledore counting on the trio’s wits to find the Horcrux books (a stretch but it did occur to Hermione and it worked), which Dumbledore probably left unprotected on his bookshelf in hopes that the trio will go back to his office and find them but I think he also counted on them talking to his portrait if this happens. Dumbledore didn’t count on the books just being summoned through the window, I guess? Maybe the trio was supposed to discuss stuff with Dumbledore’s portrait before setting out on their journey? Harry didn’t try to coax it to wake up that one time the night Dumbledore died, and he wasn’t in there alone, so maybe that’s why the portrait pretended to sleep? I bet it wouldn’t have told them much more info anyway, but I also have a feeling Dumbledore overestimates everyone’s ability to conclude things. I bet he thought the mere existence of Horcrux books in his office should have given obvious instructions to the trio to talk to his portrait in private and on how to destroy Horcruxes…? There’s this constant frustrating dichotomy with Dumbledore about Harry: he both kept information from Harry because he underestimated his age/wanted to protect him from harsh reality and impending inevitable death for as long as possible yet he also overestimated his ability to pick up on the smallest clues to instruct him to do a myriad of things. I don’t think it’s all because Dumbeldore was being distrustful on purpose, I think part of all this is simply that he’s like almost 120 and no matter how wise he was, he couldn’t help being a bit out of touch on how teenagers think and solve problems. He himself was a teen genius in his time, he would have overestimated his peers’ deduction skills even then, but now that he was more than a century old, his instructions were infinitely harder to follow, yes, but maybe it’s not on purpose, maybe it’s just a genuine oversight on his part?

      • MartinMiggs

        except the book that he left unprotected for Hermione to summon and read about how to destroy Horcruxes

    • MartinMiggs

      Harry cannot follow orders/advice unless he is completely informed on the plan yet he expects other people to do the same for him! What if Neville believing he had a chance to kill Voldemort tries to attack him instead of the snake? The hosts on this show give credit to Harry for keeping secrets (its to protect others) but Dumbledore’s secrets are meant to do the same thing!

  • SlytheriNZ

    No link to the book covers this time? :(

  • MartinMiggs

    When can we expect the Deathly Hallows forum to open up? Hopefully sometime this week?

  • morganlefay

    I have the signature UK editions, except for PoA and GoF. What I like about them the most is that the spine of each book has a different bright colour with a small illustration on it (Felix Felicis, Fawkes etc). They look really nice on the bookshelf. Also, they come in two different sizes for some reason, which is good to know, if somebody wants to buy them individually. I think the slightly taller ones are better because the longer volumes are easier to read. I didn’t know about the size difference at firsit so my set is a bit mismatched but I don’t mind, they look more fun this way.

  • SnapesManyButtons

    But just imagine. At some point Rowlings kids will want to read the books, I would if my mother had written any, and they’ll have her RIGHT THERE for any questions they have. Anything that crosses their mind, she’ll be able to answer. Plus they’ll have access to all the boxes of research and notes she has from writing the books. They’ll inherit it all one day. I think I envy that more than all the money and stuff they have.

    • I’m not so sure! Before I read the books my mom had been reading them and would talk about them all the time. But anytime I would have a question she would simply respond “I don’t know, I guess you’ll have to read and find out!”

      I imagine any good mother would do the same.

      • SnapesManyButtons

        I don’t mean instead of reading the books, but things not specified in the books that we have to wait for Rowling to tweet about or say in interviews. Like when she said Hogwarts is free or how the pensieve works, what happened to Snape’s parents, when/how did James and Lily’s parents die, who built the Room of Requirement? She’s said she has boxes of research notebooks like a history of the Death Eaters, what house every character is in, sketches, name origins, etc. The kind of backstories and details that come out in drabbles or on Pottermore, but they wouldn’t have to wait, they’d just have to ask!

    • The Half Blood Princess

      Lucky Rowling kids! Now I’m jealous.

  • MartinMiggs

    I’ve always thought Mary GrandPre’s cover was of Harry and Dumbledore with the Pensieve. There’s no cup in Dumbledore’s hand and the way they look into the bowl it’s like they’re about to dive into it

    • As did I! Stone basin!

    • Hufflepug

      It’s kind of cool how it’s ambiguous. I thought it was the Pensieve all the way up until the cave scene, then I assumed it was the basin in the cave because of all the green light. I think that was the point – trick readers by showing part of the ending but making them think it’s a different scene. Maybe there’s no cup because it’s showing the moment when they’ve just gotten there and they’re gazing down at the locket trying to figure out what to do.

      • MartinMiggs

        … yes I’m sure that’s what Mary said she was going for (cool and ambiguous) when she put the Colosseum er I mean Hogwarts on the Deathly Hallows cover

        • Hufflepug

          Haha! Yeah… I remember how no one knew what that place was supposed to be. I thought the “Deathly Hallows” was a place – some sort of hallowed ground I guess – and that’s what was on the cover.

  • Hufflepug

    That spoiler guy clip was actually painful to listen to… How can someone be that mean?!

    I can’t wait until the fully illustrated editions come out. I wish they had been released before Alohomora started so they could be discussed on the show!

    I think my favorite cover is the American deluxe edition. Sooooo much detail and what a good choice of a scene. If you guys haven’t seen it already, look up Mary GrandPre’s art that didn’t make it into the books. It’s all amazing.

    • SocksAreImportant

      The spoiler guy was painful for me to listen to too. I think if it was me in the clip, it would still be too soon. Even if it was shown to me 30 years from now, it would still be too soon. My heart would have broken in that second.

  • SocksAreImportant

    This is a random HBP question that may have already been asked but do you think ghosts would be able to give memories that could be used in the pensieve. If Dumbledore had known about the diadem would he have been able to get memories from Helena Ravenclaw and shown them to Harry in the pensieve.

    • DoraNympha

      Love this question, never thought of it before! Maybe you can and the memory will be kinda faint-looking? Or black-and-white? They’re imprints of a soul so it’s fitting for the memory to be an imprint of a memory. Sir Nicholas could be petrified and revived so a memory could work, I suppose. Follow up Q: could you use Legilimency on a ghost?

      • SocksAreImportant

        This makes me wonder what ghosts can and cannot do. I am not big on the pottermore front, so if someone else knows if she has elaborated on ghosts I would love to know. We know that they could be petrified and then revived in book 2. Perhaps they could be used to extract memories. Now another question to think about though is if memories could be extracted, could you extract only memories before death, only memories after death, or both?

        Now for Legilimency you have to keep eye contact right? So are you ever truly making eye contact with a ghost? This makes me want to say no you would not be able to use Legilimency on a ghost.

        • DoraNympha

          Maybe you just have to use a different approach to achieve the same things. I bet Nick didn’t drink the Mandrake potion, I bet they steamed it through him or something, but the result was the same. I think you could extract memories from a person alive or in ghost form but not from the dead whose spirit has left their body and the world, since they’re not there anymore. Same with someone who’s been kissed by a Dementor: they would just not be in there anymore, so no memories.
          Eye-contact for legilimency: true. But Nick and the Basilisk certainly had some serious eye-contact that one time, so, I still think if extraction of memories is possible then so is Legilimency. I bet you can do all these things to poltergeists, though, since they’re more substantial than ghosts – that said, I don’t think you can extract memories from the dead spirits brought back by the Resurrection Stone because they have moved on, whereas ghosts are stuck on this world more than the afterworld. There’s a good chance I’m wrong about all these points, though! 😀

          • SocksAreImportant

            I really like how you brought up the Nick and the Basilisk thing because I had not considered that before. This contradicts me eye contact theory. Legilmency may very well work on ghosts. It seems that ghosts hold a lot of useful information that is seldom used in the series. In book 2 when everyone is getting petrified, the trio could have talked to some ghosts about the chamber being open before because they were probably at Hogwarts at that time.

        • DoraNympha

          Wait, could you exctract memories from a Dementor? Or an animal? Or a vampire?

          • SocksAreImportant

            Hmmm this is interesting. If you could get memories from a Dementor could you get memories from those whom they had kissed. The dementor essentially has your soul. Could you get memories from Barty Crouch Jr from the dementor that kissed him? This does bring up something else that I have always wondered. In book 3, it is said that the dementors wanted to help look for Sirius in the castle but Dumbledore wouldn’t let them. How do you communicate with dementors? Is there a language or something?

            As far as animals, I think you could get memories from them so long as you were able to communicate with them about what you were looking for.

          • DoraNympha

            Hmm well I think it comes down to whether Dementors digest souls or just house them… And I agree, you could convince your owl or, say, Aragog to concentrate on a particular memory while you magic it out of them. As far as communicating with Dementors, well, I have no idea and it’s never explained and it’s so frustrating. Dumbledore has a knack for communicating with creatures other than humans, though, maybe there is a certain protocol or even language of talking to Dementors but he may have just threatened to unleash a giant Patronus on them if they dared come inside the castle so the Dementors were like hmm no thx we’ll just chill outside the gates then. (literally chill haha) I never understood how humans can even control Dementors, let alone strike up a pact with them the way they did for the guarding of Azkaban. They could have just left anytime. And whatever happened to Dementors who were no longer to guard Azkaban after Voldemort’s defeat? Unemployed Dementors? Did they unionize? Are there benefits for them?

  • Hufflepug

    Maybe people don’t remember what happened in HBP and Alison doesn’t remember the release because J.K. Rowling sent people from the Ministry to Obliviate fans who got spoiled and some of the effects went wonky. This is my theory and I’m sticking with it. Bye.

    • WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?

      I would have to agree. After all, releasing sensitive information to the Muggle public about Dumbledore’s death and Voldemort’s past is a severe breach of the International Statute of Secrecy, not to mention the fact that it undermines Wizard-Muggle relations. Memory Modification was really the only option.

      • Hufflepug

        Haha! Because as we all know, these are obviously history books 😉 we’re just not SUPPOSED to know that.

        • WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?

          Well, obviously. And I choose to believe that our memories haven’t been modified thus far because the Ministry is currently split on, given the level of threat someone like Voldemort can pose to everyone, whether or not Muggles should be informed more than they have been before. And that there is an intrepid writer, like Rita Skeeter but with ethics, who decided to face down Ministry disapproval and publish the truth to the Muggle public. JK Rowling is the Nellie Bly of the Wizarding World.

  • WhoDoYouKnowWho’sLostAButtock?

    Wow. Okay, hosts, I get it — you love me and you hate me :)

    Seriously, this was an awesome book wrap up. I especially loved hearing the descriptions of all the different covers! Going to have to go look those up.

    I just wanted to clarify re: my thoughts about telling Harry everything, since it seems to have sparked more discussion. I agree that he should have been told more. Dumbledore is responsible for that, as are a number of other people. I agree with the hosts also — Harry is in a unique situation and he should be informed so much more than he is.

    I guess what I was saying, though, is that it’s easy for us as readers to side with Harry and declare that the adults acted wrongly, when in fact, most of us in the adults’ shoes might not have behaved that differently. That’s why I thought that quote from Dumbledore is so telling, and why it’s so important to a major theme of the book overall — that age affects our behavior, and that our perspectives change as we do. To some degree I think we love Dumbledore at many points because he seems so young-minded, because he can think the way young people do. That’s a great quality for an adult to have. But ultimately, the perspectives of adults and children are different and at odds. It takes great faith for adults to trust children to make the right decisions based on information that they worry the children don’t fully grasp in its entirety, just as it does for children to tell adults things and trust that adults will do what children feel is the right thing with that information, rather than what adults feel is the right thing.

    My assessment wasn’t necessarily my own view of what Harry should or shouldn’t have been told, but rather an assessment of why the adults behave the way they do, and why it’s understandable.

  • DisKid

    That spoiler guy is exactly why I never ever went to the midnight book
    release of Harry Potter. I was worried something like this would happen.
    I either ordered it online or waited to get it when several people
    wouldn’t be around. And of course I stayed offline so I wouldn’t get a
    spoiler accidentally! The horror! One of my friends at school mistakenly
    thought some of our other friends had already read the books and said
    “Yeah and Dumbledore dies” I yelled “They haven’t read it yet!” All she
    could say was “oops….” Perhaps always ask if you’ve finished it first!

  • Kirsten

    I have a comment about the “Harry knowing more” issue. Dumbledore doesn’t bring up his own past because he is ashamed of it and he doesn’t bring up Snape’s past in honor of Snape’s request. Dumbledore should have brought up how to destroy Horcruxes, but the text suggests he was following Harry’s lead in the conversation and Harry was too flabbergasted by the concept itself to ask how to destroy them (not saying it was right, just saying why it happened). As to Dumbledore telling Harry that he is a Horcrux, how do the hosts think Harry would have reacted to this had he been told in Half-Blood Prince? I personally think he was still feeling too vengeful to have handled it very well. Looking forward to everyone’s thoughts and to the hosts’ thoughts in a future episode!

  • RoseLumos

    Fun fact about the book covers – I was in Israel and decided to go to a bookstore and buy a copy of Deathly Hallows in Hebrew (no, I don’t speak Hebrew and I can barely read it, but I thought it would look cool on my bookshelf). Anyway, I got into the store and went into the room that had the children’s books. It was kind of a small store so they had all the YA books on two bookshelves – one for the books in Hebrew and one for the books in English. It was then that I discovered that the English edition was essentially the same as the UK editions – it had the British children’s cover with Harry, Ron, and Hermione bursting out of the Gringotts vault. The only difference I could tell was it had the Israeli publisher instead of the British one. But the Hebrew edition used the orange Mary GrandPre cover as well as the American illustrations on each chapter. It was cool though, because Hebrew is read from right to left (versus English which is left to right) so the cover was flipped, with Harry looking to the left instead of the right. Also, they attempt to use the American font (with the lightning bolt) but with the Hebrew letters (the lightning bolt is now on the equivalent of the “H” in Harry). Also, the metallic lettering is blue, because apparently red was already used on another book. So not every country makes their own cover art, but they adapt it for their own needs. From what I can tell, they also used the American covers on the other Hebrew editions.

  • RoseLumos

    I had a cool thought about Jo possibly using the “Half-Blood Prince” title instead of Chamber of Secrets – what if Harry got a used book back in Second Year that was the Prince’s and he used it for four years. Then Snape finally revealed that it was his book in Sixth Year. THAT would have made the reveal even greater, if Harry thought as this book as his helper for years while he also continued to loathe Snape.

  • essential snogging. yess.. haha.

  • Yo Rufus On Fire

    Wonderful wrap up episode!!!

    As for the “Snape Kills Dumbledore” spoiler, i took a look into the HBP facts and there were a couple that stood out to me. In the Simpsons episode “The Bob Next Door”, Sideshow Bob spoils the book’s ending by revealing that Snape killed Dumbledore, to which Bart complains he hadn’t gotten to that part yet and Sideshow Bob responds “It’s a four year old book!”. Also, in the Big Bang Theory episode “The Spoiler Alert Segmentation”, Sheldon reveals Dumbledore’s death to Leonard while he reads it, much to his anger (though the book would have been seven years old at the time). This spoiler was not just big the the night that everyone got the book, it spread everywhere. I think that this spoiler really started the whole “don’t listen if you want to be spoiled” or “Don’t tell me anything I haven’t watched it” or “Spoiler alert!”. And not just for HP but across all of pop culture. I think people got spoiled in the all the time, but now people have to put warnings at the top of their articles so people know not to read if they don’t want to get spoiled. We know that Darth Vader is Luke’s father without anyone getting bent out of shape if they hadn’t seen the movie, but when Facebook blew up about John Snow being dead on Game of Thrones that evening, there were SO many people that posted “hey! There is a 48 hours no spoiler window”. I seriously believe that this is all started with “Snape kills Dumbledore!”

    I took a look at some other international book covers and one that stood out to me that I don’t think was mentioned on the episode is the Brazilian book cover. I think this cover is really interesting because it is a lot different from the other book covers. To my knowledge, it’s actually the potions book. It’s a book cover of a book that’s inside a book. It reminds me a lot of Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages. The gold circular emblem on the front looks like it could be a cauldron and there are ruin marks all around it. It may not be as lavishly illustrated as the others, but it definitely doesn’t give anything away in the cover and it leaves a little bit of a mystery to whats inside it. I attached the link below.

    http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Harry_Potter_and_the_Half-Blood_Prince?file=HP6BOX.png

    • SnapesManyButtons

      Somehow I made it to last year without reading the books, seeing the movies OR hearing any spoilers, so when I read the books it was great to see what happened and be surprised. My sister did manage to mention that Snape was the Half-Blood Prince, but not that he killed Dumbledore, so it was a tiny spoiler, but didn’t ruin the book for me. (Though I wish she hadn’t done it.) And you know what? I think I saw that Big Bang Theory episode before I read the books, but the character names meant nothing to me then, so it didn’t stick in my head and it didn’t spoil anything for me. Now when I talk to someone about Harry Potter, I try to find out what they already know so I won’t spoil anything for them.

  • colossians3man
    • Yo Rufus On Fire

      That was very entertaining!

    • Ridiculously awesome! Thanks for sharing! Lucy Knisley did one for each book (2 for 7) and a “SummHarry” !! Brilliant! You can find them on her website. I vote for getting her on the show as a guest!

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        oh yes, that would be awesome to have her as a guest! I chuckled at the comic, that’s how I’ve pictured Slughorn to look like, and the Christmas party is so on point!

      • colossians3man

        Yeh, and get her to do a seven minute oral summary of all seven books. That would be very entertaining.

  • SnapesManyButtons

    Okay, it’s Friday night. Time to start reading Deathly Hallows. Yep, just pick it up and start to read… Now…

    I’ve been putting it off and I just want you guys to know that this show has finally gotten me to read this book again. It was easy the first time when I didn’t know what to expect but now… Maybe it won’t be as hard as I remember…

    Yep, just pick it up and start to read… In the morning.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      I haven’t read it yet, too. For different reasons, but still. Would you feel more comfortable reading if you know there are others who are struggling with it?

      • SnapesManyButtons

        Yes, that does help. I know others who haven’t read it more than once, despite reading the other books multiple times. But now it is Saturday afternoon, the sun is shining and it doesn’t seem as daunting, so… I’ll read it now. (Partly because the podcast is up and I want to listen to it.)

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          how was your rereading? Did you enjoy the podcast episode?
          I’ve watched the movie “Noah” with Emma Watson yesterday and after that reading DH was not that bad at all.

          • SnapesManyButtons

            It went well. It’s easier to read in the daytime with the sun shining. I should have known not to try to start it late at night. I remember the first time I read it, I just couldn’t believe that Snape was giving them that information and he just sat there as they killed a teacher. But this time I knew why and I felt more for him that he had to do that and hold his cover because any slip would be his end. I know he was a mean, bitter man, but when people say he wasn’t brave, I wonder what book they were reading. I think I’ll be okay now until we get to the Elder Wand chapter…

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            Good that you feel alright about it. If you have trouble with one of the chapters, let us know, we’re there for you. That’s kind of the point of a global reread, not going in there alone, but with others.