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 Post subject: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:14 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:41 am 
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Another great week guys! It was fun having Eric on the show too. Yay for cross podcast fun!

So, thoughts for the week...

I'm not going to jump back into the abuse debate. I agree with what Rosie and Eric were saying, and I'll leave it at that. I think Noah's right: we've beaten the subject to death. lol

We've been talking a bit on a few different threads about whether or not Voldemort is doomed, has a choice to be evil, is evil, etc. Just to restate my thoughts, I think he is doomed to be as evil as he is. I know the series is about making choices and that Jo thinks his life would have been drastically different had his mother lived, but I just think that Tom Riddle was always doomed to turn out exactly the way he did. I know there is good evidence to the contrary, but it's just the impression the books leave me with.

There are two other major details shared between Books 3 and 5 that take part in the ring composition theory that I think are really important: in Book 3, we meet Sirius for the first time and in Book 5, he dies. These two books also have a lot of shared time between Sirius and Harry whereas in Book 4, his role is a bit in the background. The other important common point is the prophecies! In Book 3, Trelawney makes the prophecy about Peter coming back and reuniting with Voldemort and in Book 5, the entire plot revolves around the prophecy Voldemort acted on to kill Harry as a baby.

I have a random question about something that just occurred to me about Sirius' false conviction. If they thought he was a Death Eater, I'm wondering if they ever bothered to examine his arm and see that the dark mark wasn't tattooed there and if that made them question Black's story at all. Perhaps they did check and thought nothing of its absence. I don't know, what do you guys think? Do you think the Ministry even realized the mark the Death Eaters had?

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:51 pm 
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In chapter 4 (one of my favorite chapters of the series), we visit the Magical Menagerie and are exposed to a wide verity of fascinating magical creatures. All the different creatures described in this chapter get me thinking: why is it only owls, cats and toads that are allowed at Hogwarts? For that matter, since the letter sent to Harry in Philosopher's Stone specifies that you may bring an owl, car or toad if you wish, why is Ron allowed to bring Scabbers in the first place? We also see later on in Half-Blood Prince that Ginny buys a Pygmy Puff named Arnold and brings it to Hogwarts with her as well. Is it possible that these two creatures are so small that the teachers at Hogwarts simply don't notice that they're being brought in, or do they just not care?

We also see later on in Prisoner of Azkaban that Lavender Brown's pet rabbit, Binky, is killed by a fox. If she'd been able to bring it to Hogwarts with her, would there have been something else she'd be dreading happening on the 16th of October?

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:21 pm 
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From the "Ugly = Evil" discussion at the beginning of the podcast: Wasn't it said that Voldemort's inability to love came from the fact that he was conceived through the use of a love potion? I recall this being pointed out by Dumbledore at some point in Book 6 but I could be wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:43 am 

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Going with the Books 3/5 circular theory, do you think Sirius's appearance on Privet Drive is the very first foreshadowing of his eventual death? The first time we see him (the real him, not a photo) is quickly connected to the Grim, a death omen. The last time we see him is when he dies at the end of Book 5.

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:03 am 
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Nice line drawn under the abuse debate – and interesting to see that Noah changed his position somewhat. Like Noah, many threads on here have been so considered and well argued that I’ve had to change my own opinion on things.

On Voldemort:
I think the quote from JKR on Voldemort’s mother is slightly more nuanced that suggested on the show. On first glance it looks like a comment on nature, rather than nurture. But I actually think it is the latter. JKR is being very specific – without his mother there is no-one else to look after him, which means he has to go into the orphanage, which means he will learn about his past alone and mythologize/romanticize it, which means he will grow up mistrustful of help or support even when offered (for example by Dumbledore and Slughorn), and so on…

It starts a chain that will determine what type of person he will become. Now one could ask ‘why is this any different to Harry?’ – well here’s my response. Their motivation, the thing they cling to, is very different and, I think, rather determinative for their lives. Voldemort learns that he was part of a family that had power, that had a pure bloodline and respect and acceptance in the world. He clings to this, which means he values these things above all else. Harry finds out that his parents were mercilessly killed, that they were wronged, and so grows up with a burning motivation to do right by them and to stop the same happening to others etc.

I’m not sure if I believe in people being inherently evil, but I do think that Tom’s life was laid out before him in a way that would be difficult for him to alter.

Re LumosNight3:
Good point re the lack of Dark Mark – but I think the assumed knowledge was that he had only just turned and then had got caught – therefore no dark mark. There were so many witnesses that it wouldn’t really have mattered anyway. I also think the term ‘Death Eater’ has varying meanings in the books as at times it is synonymous with ‘supporter of Voldemort’ rather than fully initiated Death Eater.

Re Ugly=Evil
Moody! Mad Eye Moody! I was screaming this at the podcast. He gets uglier the more good he does as it keeps taking more out of him. Complicated by the Barty Crouch thing of course, but in the later books he is just as ugly and cranky when he is doing good.


And one final thought:
I’ve written a lot on here about the dangers of close reading. I thought the Errol discussion in the pod was a great example of this. Everyone understood the image of Errol as a proud old owl that wanted to be up to the task. Noah asked for quotes, which I haven’t looked for yet but there might not even be. I think it’s important to remember that a book is supposed to be understood in that first way, leaving an impression based on the character and the entire context, rather than forensically as is sometimes (to my frustration) the case on the pod. The depiction of Errol discussed rung true with me, even if I’m not entirely sure, with exact quotes, why – but I think that is how books should be understood. In-depth analysis needs to remember context and I just thought that was a great example.


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 Post subject: Re: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:49 pm 
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Siriusly great podcast, guys (sorry ;))!

LumosNight3 and myself spent some time in the topic of last episode discussing Tom Riddle's innate predisposition to harm others, arguing from the assumption that he is a psychopath. I just wanted to say that Kat expressed exactly what I'd been saying back there; that Tom still had a choice to take it as far as he did. He could've just been "nasty", but chose to effectively walk the path of evil.

Just randomly: yes, the UK version is the true version of the text! Everyone should stick to it!

Regarding the 'wizzie-sense' you guys mentioned; I'd say it's just intuition. I would like to point out though, that Harry seems to be much more intuitive than for example, Hermione. Personally, I feel this speaks to the 'following your heart' versus 'following your head' type of tendency people tend to have; Harry relies on his gut most of the time. Or as Snape puts it: "You just know. How grand it must be, to be the Chosen One." :lol:

I love Eric's wormhole-theory about how the Knight Bus travels! Great to hear him on Alohomora! for a change as well, I'm a faithful MuggleCast listener so that was a nice surprise :)

Rosie: great point about how Rowling puts things in the text that are perfectly true, yet in a different way than what the characters and context lead you to believe when reading. It's actually quite tantalising to read back to that line when Arthur remarks on Sirius having lost everything, and suddenly see this in a whole new perspective.

Let's see, what else did I have to say.. *made notes for a change :geek: * Oh yes; the mentioning of the UK as a "small country" made me laugh, as it's huge from my perspective back here in The Netherlands.. not as huge as the US granted, but pretty intimidating :lol:

Well done @Firebolt on mentioning Moody! I was going to mention him as well but it seems you got there ahead of me :)
I couldn't disagree more with the whole ugly = evil comparison supposedly being present in the HP series; Lockhart, Riddle, Malfoy and Grindelwald are all attractive 'baddies'. I think there's a nice mix of it in Jo's series: you have attractive and 'ugly' baddies just as you have attractive and 'ugly' goodies. Someone's appearance might be described in a certain way to let someone's personality speak through their looks so to speak, but I see that as a literary device and definitively not as some kind of trend that molds people's view of appearances and what they should be like. Same with the so-called gender stereotypes; if anything Jo contradicts them by showing us both more feminine males as more masculine females. It honestly doesn't matter in her world. Not to mention that Jo has said again and again that she struggled with the movies because the main cast was far too attractive, but she overlooked it because they portrayed her characters' personalities so well. The whole war she describes makes people think on how those that are different from some kind of set norm should not be ostracised and ridiculed; if anything I'd argue that Jo's HP series promotes equality on every level (be it looks, gender, heritage, etc.). "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are."

Well, that's all I had to say for now. Keep up the awesome work! 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:38 pm 
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Great podcast, as usual.

It's slightly off topic, but listening to this episode, I began coming up with an Alohomora drinking game in my head. I'll have to try it once I'm not pregnant anymore. The rule that jumped out at me this episode was, "Everytime Noah mentions he's an English major, Drink!" I also think there could be some fun with "Desk Pig" and "Is It Alive" references or "Obligatory Genius Moment" but I'm pretty sure someone could die from alcohol poisoning with those. Perhaps this is better off a butterbeer drinking game. :)

Now, to the real business.

About my comments on Errol...
I have absolutely no specific quotes to back up my thoughts there. It could be 100% projection based on what I know about Hedwig's personality and my understanding of the elderly men in my life. I appreciate the comments @Firebolt made about the fun of books pushing your imagination to fill in the blanks. I will be on the lookout for more tidbits about Errol as we move forward, though, because there's every chance I'm not clever enough to come up with something that rings true with others.

About ugly=evil...
I love the Mad-Eye Moody comments! @Firebolt again! and @saiyangirl (Although he was technically a disguised death eater for the whole first book that we knew him...) Another good point that came up in the discussion last week that wasn't mentioned on the podcast was that Voldemort didn't simply become ugly, he dehumanized himself. I think Voldemort is his own category in this discussion.

Voldemort and his evil choices...
I think that because Voldemort was the result of a loveless union (because of the potion - shout out @throughthetrapdoor for that gem of a reminder), he was likely born with a greater capacity for evil than the average person. The fact that his mother died meant that there wasn't anyone who loved him to teach him how to make good choices. I think he began making choices to act on his evil impulses from a very young age (torturing animals and fellow orphans). It's sad, because I think he had the ability at one point in his early life to deny his evil impulses, but he made a choice early on, with little to no guidance, to become evil. I feel like he maybe didn't even realize he was choosing evil, instead thinking he was choosing power or control. So, I don't think he became more evil as he got older, I just think he got better at it. His skill level and opportunity increased, but at his core, I think Voldemort was still the lonely little boy that just wants some kind of control over his life.

About Mrs. Figg...
If the whole ministry, including Fudge, were looking out for Harry since Sirius escaped, I'm sure someone told Mrs. Figg to keep a close eye on the Dursley home. Plus, I'm sure Aunt Marge being blown up was the talk of the neighborhood until everyone's memories are modified. (I may be thinking of the movie, where she floats away like a balloon. I can't remember if the book specifies how public this incident was.)

Would Harry be expelled?
Couldn't they check his wand to see if he cast a blow up spell on Aunt Marge? I don't think Harry used his wand at that point. It was that nonverbal, underage, Hulk-smash kind of rage magic, and I think that would be forgivable in the eyes of the ministry. Perhaps he'd still get some kind of warning, but I think they'd investigate the whole situation and ultimately not expel him. Maybe he'd start the year with detentions, though.

Sirius the creeper...
I think Sirius wanted to check in on Harry, but not scare him. At this point, Sirius doesn't even know how much Harry does or does not know about the whole story. I think if Sirius had spoken to Harry, he probably would have asked "Do you know who I am?" or "What have you heard about me?" Plus, if Sirius expected Harry to be anything like James, he may have been expecting to be attacked if he showed his face.

As for What If Harry Were in the Orphanage...
I think he would have had friends and grown up more like a regular kid. Sure he'd be lonely, but more in a "little orphan Annie" way than a "Voldemort hurting animals" kind of way. As to Noah's question about "What if he'd been bullied?" well, he WAS bullied! Dudley and his friends bullied Harry non-stop well into his teens. I don't think similar bullying at the orphanage would have caused Harry to turn evil. Despite all of their abuse (however you choose to define it), I think Harry had a sense that the Dursleys would always have a place for him, even if it was miserable (at least at this point in the story). I'm not sure if he would have felt any sense of home at the orphanage.

Sorry for the awfully long comment. This episode was really thought-provoking! Eric was great, and it was nice to hear Noah rethinking some of his previous opinions. (Not that his previous opinions were bad, it's just been rare to hear Noah change his mind in light of the conversation. I like seeing that I'm not the only one being shaped by this discussion.)

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:44 pm 
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Oh! I forgot to mention...
Crookshanks, although not a person, flies in the face of the ugly=evil debate. Or, more importantly, JKR uses our assumption that ugly=evil to be a red herring. We feel bad for poor sad Scabbers that we met in book 1 because the big ugly cat is being so mean, but it turns out Crookshanks is the good guy. (For the record, I think Crookshanks is ugly because of the smooshy face, not the ginger-ness, which I really like.)

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 Post subject: Re: Episode 21, PoA 3-4: Jo... You Cheeky Monkey!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:18 pm 
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I am glad to be able to jump into this discussion so early this time! I am finally on schedule with the podcast!

The first point I wanted to make was around whether or not Ron would've been made Head Boy if the trio had returned to Hogwarts for year 7 instead of traipsing around looking for Horcruxes. I find it interesting that you guys mostly seem to assume that you have to be prefect to put you in the running for Head boyship. I guess this is taken from our muggle experience where this is most certainly usually the case. However, I remember James Potter. He was Head Boy (remember Hagrid saying, "your mum and dad were as good a witch and wizard as I ever knew. Head Boy and Girl at Hogwarts in their day!" ?), but if you remember in OotP, when Ron and Hermione get their prefect badges, there is that discussion at the party in Grimmauld Place about who among the order became prefects in their day, and Sirius laughs and says that he and James spent too much time in detention to become prefects, and that Lupin was the "good boy", he got the badge. So it appears that in Hogwarts one does not have to be a prefect to become Head Boy or Girl, although I admit that it is possible that James became a prefect in his 6th year once he became a bit less arrogant and troublesome. (Although somehow I still don't think so). So, if this is the case, that one can be Head Boy or Girl without being a prefect, that means that there are many more characters up for possible Head boy- or girlship. I think that it is possible that Harry may have been made Head Boy, but this would of course depend on whether or not his ultimate job of destroying Voldemort had already been completed. If the trio had returned to Hogwarts prior to destroying Voldemort then Harry probably wouldn't have been made Head Boy. But if it was after??? Maybe. If Harry is excluded from the list of possibles, however, there are then still a number of possibilities. Somehow I don't see Ron as being Head Boy. He doesn't seem assertive enough for me, and he also seems way too disinterested in rules!! By the time we reach year 7, Neville had become much more of a stronger character, and I think he would have been a good choice for Head Boy, had Hogwarts been a Dumbledore-era school at the time and not a Death Eater one.

Ok this is waaay longer than it was supposed to be! I will post other comments separately when I come up with them! Cheers! - Sylvia.

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