[Show music begins]
Noah Fried: This is Episode 183 of Alohomora! for March 26, 2016.
[Show music continues]
Caleb Graves: Hey guys, welcome to another episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.
Michael Harle: I’m Michael Harle.
Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller, and no, you did not indeed hear a disembodied voice. That is the voice of our creator, Noah Fried. Hello.
Noah: [in a ghostly voice] Oooh! The creator! Not him! [back to normal voice] Sorry.
Kat: Well, I guess I should say Alohomora!’s brainchild. Or brainfather, really.
Michael: The man who needs no intro.
Kat: Right, exactly.
Noah: Brainfather is here and what a baby. What a baby, that’s all I have to say. This is great.
Caleb: Noah, can you even remember the last episode that you were on before you left us all?
Noah: Pfft… that’s dark when you put it that way.
Noah: [Episode] 68?
Michael: When you abandoned us?
Noah: Yeah. Well…
Kat: I was going to look it up, but honestly I ran out of time…
Noah: Overbearing parents can do a lot of damage, too, you know?
Kat: That’s true.
Caleb: Well, we are happy to have you back, especially as we get near the end of the book.
Noah: Yeah, happy to join you guys. “The Elder Wand” is actually one of my favorite chapters. Deathly Hallows by itself is one of my favorite books, but this chapter is [really] special for me, and it’s just so fast! Everything [is] bam, bam, bam! I mean, we’re going to talk, but great to be on today.
Kat: It’s one of the longest chapters, as well. And as Noah mentioned, it is Chapter 32 of Deathly Hallows, “The Elder Wand,” so remember to give that a read or a listen before you enjoy this podcast.
Caleb: But before we head into that chapter we are going to recap some of your comments from last week’s episode. And the first comment comes on… this is on the topic of the women who are in the Room of Requirement, which we spent quite a bit of time discussing last week. This comes from HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis, and it says,
“On this reread the three women in the Room of Requirement reminded me of the ‘Triple Goddess’ who represent stages of the female life cycle and phases of the moon in common Neopagan beliefs: mother, maiden, crone. Regarding Jo’s opinion on women being part of the fight, I believe placing those three there may be deliberate. Except for Ginny who was told to stay in the room, none of them needed to linger there and wait for news, although I think fighting was not their first priority. Augusta Longbottom goes out to find and help Neville, and Nymphadora Tonks is specifically looking for Remus, so protecting their loved ones is the first thing on their minds. [It’s] also interesting how Harry does not look at any of the three women as fighters when he comes in. He expects Dora to be at home with her baby, he is surprised at Augusta’s speed when she leaves the room, and he wants Ginny out of harm’s way. Yet all three of them are able to stand their ground, at least for a while…”
And then just a quick follow-up comment that was on a similar topic. Efthymia focused specifically on Tonks and said,
“J.K. Rowling is mainly to blame for this, but people seem to forget that Tonks was not always Lupin’s fangirl and wife. Tonks was an Auror. Her chosen career was to fight and catch bad people. So Tonks didn’t go to Hogwarts to find Lupin and take him home because she was worried; she went there to fight. If she hadn’t intended to fight, she wouldn’t have left her newborn baby behind […]”
Noah: Bam! Great comment.
Kat: I knew you’d be all over that, Noah.
Caleb: Elaborate on your “Bam.”
Noah: Oh, just the way that Tonks is not just there for Lupin, by any means. She is there for herself as a woman who also is a fighter, which we’ve always known about Tonks.
Kat: Yeah, I feel like people tend to forget that she was an Auror and just think of her as a mother and a wife now, which unfortunately happens to a lot of women once they get married and/or have children…
Noah: Well, because society becomes this huge, massive thing… I mean, I don’t know; I’ve never been a woman and probably won’t ever become a mother…
Caleb: But we’re not closing the door to anything.
Noah: We’re not closing the door… [laughs] The Dumbledore is open.
Noah: I think it’s interesting just with her marriage and also the baby and the war impending. It forces this almost colloquial or… traditional values come up in times of war; I just know this on a sociological level. So maybe that’s sort of happening to Tonks here, too, even though she’s still fighting as an Auror.
Caleb: I think it was encouraging to read, especially after Efthymia brought this comment up, that many people really rushed to jump to the defense of Tonks. This is definitely something that was weighing on a lot of people’s minds because after that comment, it just flowed right after that.
Kat: Hmm… this would be a good topic to ask Emma Watson about, wouldn’t it?
Caleb: It would.
Noah: Yeah, she’s been doing great things for women everywhere.
Caleb: She has. The next comment is on a different topic. This is on Hufflepuff’s stand as the Battle of Hogwarts begins, and this comes from ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy, and it says,
“Ernie Macmillan in this chapter is one of my favorite secondary character reappearances. I love that he is the one standing up asking to fight. Rather than being a pompous ass here, he is showing his genuine Hufflepuff colors. He has loudly voiced his criticisms of Harry in the past, but has also readily admitted being wrong and has Harry’s back in the end. It is really nice that we get to see him have a shining moment of loyalty and bravery here, especially in contrast to Zacharias later. I think Hufflepuff House should be proud to claim Ernie, just like Cedric and Tonks. Zacharias however, I can only assume he ended up in Hufflepuff because he failed to show strong traits for any of the houses.”
Noah: Whoa, whoa, whoa…
Kat: Ooh! [laughs]
Caleb: We talked quite a bit last week of how Hufflepuff really got this great moment of being the second-most group of people who stayed behind. We didn’t really talk much about Ernie being the banner man for them here, but this is a good comment.
Kat: Noah, are you going to come to the defense of your boy here?
Noah: Yeah, I’m going to come to the defense of my boy.
Caleb: Oh, that’s true. I actually didn’t think… [laughs] Okay, that’s funny because I didn’t think about you being here as I picked this comment that slams Zacharias.
Caleb: It was just maybe subconsciously rooted in my brain.
Noah: Yeah, I mean, you just slammed Zacharias Smith. So I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but I’m working on an elaborate fan fiction that actually is all about Zacharias Smith, and it basically is his life story 30 years later that’s published in the Daily Prophet saying, “Look, you don’t really know me, but I was fundamental in the destruction of Lord Voldemort.” Because when he left at the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, he had to go somewhere. He had to do something that actually saved the day. And I can’t say what that is, but he did it. And it’s been fun to write and Zacharias Smith is awesome, and he was actually… I don’t know. I think he’s misunderstood. But this is also a cool comment because Ernie Macmillan [laughs] does not have a ton of shining moments in the books. He is honestly pretty annoying, just with his counterpart Hannah Abbott, who is really cool. So it’s cool to see Hufflepuff in general here, but I don’t think they really get a lot of shining moments in the books at large. So it’s cool that there are some Hufflepuff moments that are written about and J.K. Rowling shares, even though she’s not willing to share what Zacharias Smith did. I don’t know if she knows herself.
Kat: Right? Ernie gets a golden moment.
Caleb: I’m going to wager that she does not.
Michael: So Zacharias Smith was pushing little first years out of the way because he had something really important to do. That’s what it is?
Noah: Yeah. Yes.
Michael: Okay. [laughs]
Kat: And listeners will remember, Noah has brought this fan fiction up before because he’s been working on it for years.
Caleb: Like literally since the first time we met the character…
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Caleb: … and I don’t exaggerate. People who have been listening to the show since we started will know… well, I don’t know. I don’t know if you talked about it on the show. You definitely talked about it outside the show.
Kat: I’m pretty sure he has.
Michael: I think he talked about it on the show, yeah.
Kat: Yeah. [laughs]
Noah: I brought it up, but it’s evolved. [laughs]
Michael: I really like that because Rowling later said, when she was doing her laying-it-on-thick-to-defend-the-Hufflepuffs, the whole little story about, [as J.K. Rowling] “We should all want to be Hufflepuffs,” [back to normal voice] which was very nice. But in that particular story that she was talking about, in relation to her daughter, she said that all the Hufflepuffs stayed. And that’s obviously, as we see from Zacharias, not necessarily true. [It] wasn’t necessarily Zacharias [who] left in the most gallant way again, pushing the little ones over. But I think what’s good about that is that it shows… in a way that’s, I think, why Slytherin really – and there was a lot of talk about Slytherin in the comments for these last few episodes – but why there’s been so much controversy around Slytherin because in all the other Houses, you get a pretty balanced set of characters who are kind of good and bad; good or bad.
Michael: Even Gryffindors have people that we don’t like: Cormac McLaggen.
Noah: What does Sirius say? What’s that line?
Michael: Something about the world not being black and white. Something like that. Oh, [the] world not [being] split into good people and Death Eaters.
Noah: [as Sirius] “You can’t divide people into good people and Death Eaters.” [laughs]
Michael: But in the movie you can because you can totally tell who’s bad and good by how they Apparate.
Michael: So that’s completely discounted.
Noah: What kind of smoke comes out of them.
Michael: But yeah, it’s good to establish that with Zacharias Smith in the Hufflepuff crew. And lest we forget, the Hufflepuffs show their dark side in Chamber of Secrets with being pretty happy to accuse Harry. It was the whole piece, though, that was coming out of their loyalty to Justin Finch-Fletchley, which was…
Kat: Well, and then again in Goblet with Cedric, right? They all wore… some of those people wore the buttons.
Michael: Yep, the pins. Mhm.
Noah: Well, I won’t go into too much detail, but during the second book there was this whole subplot with the mandrakes not wanting to die for the humans…
Noah: … and the Hufflepuffs, actually, had to work with Pomona Sprout to really subdue them. And in the fourth book, I mean, Zacharias Smith was destroyed by the death of Cedric Diggory and there was no explanation for that death and he had to cope with that. And therein lies his resentment for Harry Potter. Plus, some other things… I won’t get into it.
Kat: He’s not going to go into it, though. Not going to spoil it.
Caleb: Right. All right, well, the final comment… Actually, before we get to the final comment, I want to say that there [was] a huge amount of comments about our very, very brief mention of Narcissa Malfoy last chapter, which… we got ahead of ourselves. And I’m not ignoring those comments; I just want to save those thoughts for when we actually hit that very momentous occasion very shortly. So those will definitely be brought back up. But the final comment is something… this is on the topic of Fred’s death and it comes from ISeeThestrals, and many people remarked on this and I just wanted to bring it up because it was such a chilling thing, especially to listen back even having recorded last week.
“You added so much more in the discussion of Fred’s death when describing the writing here Rosie. So well done. The death happens quickly, but to talk about the way J.K[.] slowly reveals it, really deepens and lengthens the moment. It is bizarrely beautiful.”
Michael: Yeah, we kept saying that, though, all last week: “It’s beautiful.” And that was such a weird thing to say about that chapter last week; to use “beautiful” on that. But Rosie really took the writing apart bit-by-bit and that was… I think that’s why people love Rowling’s prose so much; [it’s] because she’s… I’ve said this in a few episodes: There are so many young adult books out there now. We did not have this dearth of young adult fiction, especially fantasy fiction, when Harry Potter first came out. And now that we have the revolution of self-publishing, a lot of people put their writing out there without finishing it [and] without touching it up. I’ve seen a lot of writing where it had no editors or it had very few editing processes or the writer was just not very comfortable taking things out when they probably should have. And clearly, Rowling… there’s something about her writing that makes it stand apart and [it] is very special in that way.
Kat: Definitely listening to Rosie talk about that last week, since I wasn’t on the episode… when I listened, I did just… I usually listen when I’m doing chores, and I just stopped and was listening to her describe it and it was really beautiful, to use your word of the week, so…
Noah: I was really happy you used “dearth.”
Noah: It’s a good word.
Michael: Thank you. Thank you for complimenting my vocabulary. Maybe go get some more new words.
Caleb: All right, well, those are the comments from last week’s episode and there are a lot more that we, obviously, cannot fit in. So head over to our main site and you can continue the discussion.
Michael: But for now, before we get into the main chapter discussion, we’re going to head into the Podcast Question of the Week responses from you listeners. As a reminder – and perfectly, since we ended on a comment about Fred – the question was,
“We know that Arthur Weasley was originally planned to die earlier in the series, and that Rowling had at least considered killing Ron. In the end, Fred took the fall for the Weasley family. It seems Rowling had it in mind from the start that some Weasley family member would die – but why? Why do we think it was so important to Rowling that a member of this critical family die, and do we think Fred was – for lack of better wording – the ‘right’ choice?”
So there were a lot of comments that pretty much pointed out, “Yes, Fred had to die.”
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Michael: And there [were] a lot of similarities in those comments. But the ones that I picked out had a few really great… expanded on that a little bit. The first one here is from Travellinginabluebox – gee golly, I wonder what that references – and Travellinginabluebox said,
“Fred had to die to show us how horrible war can be. It rips apart a bond that we have got to know to be so strong that the twins finish each other’s sentences. And we see that later again when Tonks and Lupin die. They die together fighting for a better world but of course they leave behind Teddy Lupin. Which again is there to show us how horrible war is and that war means losses of great and awesome people who would have deserved to survive. But we would not have understood how taxing this war was for everyone in it if we hadn’t lost some of our favorite characters. On a side note: This is why I personally never enjoyed Twilight. I am not going to hate on it but just this ending of everyone is happy and we all survive just made it so boring and unrealistic for me that I did not enjoy it.”
And I had some things to say about the Twilight thing but I wanted to see what you guys thought of this comment first.
Kat: I do think that that’s a point of… at least, partial of the point of Fred’s death. I’m not sure it’s 100% the reason because I feel like Jo is a bit more nuanced than that. But I do think that showing how horrible war is is 10% at least.
Michael: What do you think goes beyond just the horribleness of war in this particular death?
Noah: I also think there’s an element of the family. I mean, we get so tied up with this Weasley family, which is really the model of a loving family. They definitely have their conflict but they’re better than the Dursleys. And they’re the only, really, inside look at a family I think we see. And just to take away Fred, you’re really taking away the joy. You’re clipping away at the… Fred is the embodiment of the joy and love within the family, even, in a way, more so than George. And I can’t even quite put into words why I feel that way; it’s just sort of my opinion. But to kill him and then to have the entire fandom cope with that death… I think Jo really wanted to hit us really, super close to home and think about how a family – and a community – copes with a loss. Not just as a wartime [thing] because I think so many of these deaths could be used to show the kind of chaos of war. But Fred, especially, showed us dealing with death within a family.
Michael: Yeah, I think a few comments pointed out that – like you said, Noah – not only is this really the most familial setup we see in the Harry Potter series that’s a really positive family setup, but also – not just us, but Harry – that’s really his only positive example of a large family.
Michael: And in many points throughout Harry Potter, he envies the family connection that they have.
Noah: Yeah, I think he envies Ron a bit with that as Ron envies Harry’s fame.
Michael: Yeah. Fame, yeah, mhm. So that’s…
Kat: Yeah, because there [are] even multiple times where Harry thinks about: Would he have brothers and sisters? And what would they be like? And would he still have that cat? And all that other stuff, so…
Michael: Mhm. Yeah. Well, and as far as… Noah, to your point about Fred versus George, there were a lot of comments, too, in the responses about comparing the two. And generally, the feeling was that – and I think we’ve discussed this before – but Fred seems to be the ringleader of the two of them and he tends to be the one with a harder edge.
Noah: The instigator.
Michael: Yeah, and George is kind of the soft one. A lot of the listeners cited the example from Goblet of Fire when they’re blackmailing Ludo Bagman and Fred is the one who really wants to go for the throat and George keeps questioning him throughout that. So we’ve got a little bit of evidence that George is the softer one of the two, as far as the prankster thing. And I just had to point… I enjoyed the Twilight comment just because I think what was interesting was that another commenter brought up – and I’m not sure who it was – but another commenter actually brought up, right after that comment, that Twilight, in the movie, changed the ending a little bit – kind of, but not really – where they had a prophecy sequence where characters actually died in the final battle and then it was a copout. And then they were just [like], “No, it’s just one of Alice’s visions. This is what could happen. Nobody actually died.” And I think that was worth pointing out…
Michael: … just because that, to me, is one of those things that elevates Rowling’s writing because I think that’s something people… the movie for Twilight recognized that there wasn’t enough emotional conflict in the movie, so they had to add it and then psych people out to even get them to feel that emotional tug of losing characters, versus Harry Potter, [in] which she went for that. And I think Fred was one of those characters that you really don’t want to die. I think a lot of people even said that they didn’t expect him to die, so adding more to that realism of war as Travellinginabluebox said, and I think that’s perhaps why Harry Potter is more effective in that way. Martin Miggs put up their fisticuffs and said,
“I think the point of Fred’s death was that there wasn’t any point to his death but was this really necessary? Hasn’t this point been driven home already? Hasn’t there been enough death and suffering in Harry’s life? Sirius, Dumbledore, Dobby, Cedric, Remus, Tonks and so many others. I think we get it, Jo!”
Noah: Whoa, Martin Miggs. So Jo just basically came in at this point with her pencil and said, “I’m going to do something devastating. Take this! Take this, reader!” She just scratches out Fred forever just out of pure I don’t know what.
Michael: Well, and I don’t think that Martin Miggs is alone in this feeling. I think there are still a lot of people in the fandom who do feel this way about Fred and that maybe he was too much. There were, actually, more comments than I expected in the responses saying that people would have liked to see the Weasley family come out unscathed and the argument against that tended to be, “Well, their odds weren’t very high considering that there’re so many of them.”
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Michael: People question whether it would be believable if all the Weasleys came out of the war alive and some people argued, “Well, why did one of them have to die? There are all these other characters,” and it’s the argument Martin Miggs is making here. There [are] plenty of other people not only who could have died, but who did die. So really, why the Weasleys in that way, I guess?
Noah: Well, it shouldn’t be a matter of, “I would have liked that person to die or this person,” because we don’t want any death, I don’t think. As Harry Potter fans, we’re not killers. We’re just thinking of what works for the continuity of the story and if we are talking about the devastation of war, on some level, it is random. It is just thoughtless. Maybe just she had an instinct or a feeling when she was writing and she was just like, “Now it’s time,” or she’s known this since Fred was conceived in her mind. I really don’t… I couldn’t tell you.
Michael: Do you guys think this was something that she had planned farther ahead or was this maybe a death that came later in the process? Because people have argued that there are hints that Fred was going to die earlier in the series.
Noah: I think there’s a section on MuggleNet about death foreshadowings. Very obscure section.
Kat: Pretty sure Noah wrote that, too.
Noah: Pretty sure Noah wrote that section?
Caleb: My thing is that, I think, given… so this is what I was thinking about when we talked about making this question last week. [It’s] because she thought about Arthur pretty early in the series, about [him] kicking the can, and then maybe Ron was, in the end. That makes me tend to think that she didn’t – at least originally – think, or very early [on], think that Fred was going to die. I think it was a slightly later, possibly much later decision.
Kat: Yeah, I would agree because she was thinking about Arthur because she wanted to remove that father figure from Harry’s life, and then she decided to go with Sirius instead. And then… I don’t remember why she gave Ron a reprieve, but I feel like, if anything, Fred’s death was more related to Ron’s reprieve than it was Arthur…
Kat: … but I’m not even sure that they were related in any way.
Kat: I feel like she picked Fred because, besides Ron, who are we going to hurt the most over? And that’s breaking up twins, I think, personally. Ginny, probably, but in a different way. So that’s what I think.
Michael: Well, and people mention Ginny a little bit and most people brushed her off as not possibly being one of the ones to die because killing Ginny seems to be an antithesis to Harry’s ending that Rowling so desired; the overall ending that he gets a family. And so it just doesn’t really make sense, in that respect, I guess, to kill Ginny. It doesn’t achieve anything as far as the journey she was planning for Harry.
Kat: Oh, so it would be like if they killed Prim at the end of The Hunger Games.
Michael: Oh! We’re just throwing a punch at all of the other young adult series today, aren’t we?
[Caleb and Michael laugh]
Kat: Spoiler. Sorry.
Noah: But Prim is different, though. With Prim, you are destroying the innocence, but with Ginny, you’re destroying everything that’s been pent up and building for Harry. I’m not going into weird territory, but just from a narrative standpoint – and Michael was just touching on it – I don’t know what would have happened. I don’t think the readership could stand it even because it’s just so against what is expected.
Michael: Well, and as far as Ron, I think… and she hasn’t talked about that too much. I know probably the point where she went into most in-depth about it was on the Deathly Hallows – [Part] 2 Blu-ray when she was talking to Dan about that, and that’s where the big… she had talked about it before, but that was the big reveal. And she mostly just said that she wasn’t at a good place in her head when she wanted to kill Ron. She didn’t necessarily reveal where she would have killed him, but she just said that she felt like she knew it was a bad decision almost immediately after she reflected on it and that [it] was coming from a bad place, she said. But actually…
Noah: Now I’m just picturing her in a cafe somewhere just going, [gasps] “I hate this. I hate this! I’m just going to kill Ron; just going to kill him. Just going to do it.”
Michael: Just striking her pen everywhere, with ink everywhere.
Noah: “It’s going to happen!”
Michael: But actually, Crimson Phoenix came up with a proposal for perhaps where this inspiration to kill Fred came from, and it was probably one of my favorite comments this week, actually. Crimson Phoenix said,
“I think we forget that Fred isn’t the first in the family to die fighting Voldemort. Molly’s brothers, Gideon and Fabian, died fighting in the first war. I think J.K. thought about these deaths before she decided which other Weasley would die as they were mentioned in Order. Coincidentally – or maybe not – this is the book where she spared Arthur from death. I like to think, in my head canon, that J.K. thought back to these deaths as she was writing and that is part of the reason why she decided not to off Arthur. I also like to think Fred was an homage to Gideon and Fabian. I assume Molly was devastated at the loss of her only siblings which spurred her to want a large family. She even went so far as to name her only set of twins with corresponding first letters to her brothers’ names. So, really, in retrospect, if a Weasley were to die, would it not be appropriate to pay respects to the brothers for one of their parallel nephews to go out fighting like they did? I don’t think J.K. necessarily had to kill off a Weasley but, with the small population of wizards and the fact that no family on either side was left completely unscathed, it is logical to assume that such a large family is bound to lose someone in the fight. The Weasleys and the Prewetts have shown time and time again they are Gryffindors through and through, will put up a valiant fight, and will come out of their conflict broken but standing together.”
Caleb: It’s a great comment, or response, I should say.
Noah: That’s really nice. Really well written, too. I would be interested to have a mini vote here. Who thinks that a Weasley had to die?
Michael: I’m raising my hand. You can’t see it, but I’m raising my hand.
Caleb: I guess I’m still not convinced one had to die. Responses like this make it make sense that one did die. I’m thinking on a statistical, logical… and then even add in this Gryffindor element that Crimson Phoenix referenced, but I’m still not… I don’t know if I’m willing to go as far as, “had to die,” recognizing that that’s separate from, “I’m okay with Jo making that decision for a character.”
Kat: I am going to say that it depends on the lens that you look through, but my hand is up in the air. It’s not Hermione high, but I’m-pretty-confident-I-know-the-answer high.
Kat: So I’m 90% there, but I think it depends a lot on the lens that you’re looking through to analyze that. If you’re looking through Harry’s point of view, I feel, yes, probably he had to die. A Weasley had to die. In the larger scheme of things, I don’t know if that is entirely true.
Kat: Hard to say.
Noah: I just think one had to die – and it saddens me to say – just for the sake of the story, and just to create that feeling. And I do feel that when Fred died, even though it’s surrounded by so much death, it felt – I hate to say it, but – right. Just we are there emotionally and it also comes right after a great exchange with Percy and Fred together where Percy is making a joke. And I thought, weirdly, in that moment maybe Fred was almost giving away some of himself [and] some of his humor to Percy before he died.
Caleb: Oh, that’s interesting. I never even think about it like that.
Kat: That makes it even more sad. [laughs] Terrible.
Caleb: I think that’s totally… well, I definitely think that’s one of the reasons she wrote it that way. I don’t know why I’ve never really thought about that.
Noah: Yeah. I feel like there was this weird exchange in the heat of battle and then maybe, like in life, maybe Percy tries to fill in that role with George a little bit or just in the family. I don’t really know.
Michael: I think that’s a really good way to put it because that’s… I had said [in] these last few episodes that I think that Fred’s death… and a few people in the comments said this so I don’t feel bad saying it: Fred is not one of my favorite characters. He’s a great character, but he’s not one of my favorites. His death, for me, is I think more hard to digest and difficult because of Percy and the exchange with Percy, and Percy’s reaction after the fact that makes it truly tragic for me, and why a lot of people… and why I think this question was raised, and as we’ve talked about on the show… because there is still definitely a chunk of the fandom that thinks Percy should have died in Fred’s place, but I agree with Noah that a Weasley had to die. To be clear, that does not mean I wanted one of them to die.
Michael: That means, narratively, I think one of them had to die. No, I’m not Jo with the poison pen, but yeah. No, I do think that, as we’ve discussed… [going] through these reasons for this question, I think those are the legitimate, good reasons why, and why Harry Potter stands out from the crowd. It does the thing that a lot of young adult series are afraid to do – and, I think, were afraid to do, until Harry Potter and definitely until something like The Hunger Games – kill as many characters off that are very beloved to younger readers because that’s something, I think, up until that point that we shielded young readers from. And suddenly, it’s becoming the crux of young adult fiction almost to the point where it’s a little bit of…
Noah: It’s a little nauseating.
Michael: Yeah. Well, yeah. No, I think that’s where The Hunger Games came out of and I think Harry Potter, though, at the same time was a start of that because the thing that is important to consider about Harry Potter is it was written pre-9/11 and post-9/11. And there [are] two very different worlds you’re dealing with, and we’ve seen that, I think. I think we’ve talked about that a few times as we’ve gone through the series; some things that definitely affected Harry Potter post-9/11 as well as certain terror attacks that took place in Britain after 9/11. So it’s… I think you can see that in some of the events in Harry Potter. And…
Noah: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Because you think about it – and this is just the last point before we, I guess, move on probably – but the second generation or the generation of Harry’s parents, the Weasley parents, they’re all dealing with what happened in World War II-era Voldemort versus… and Grindelwald and those stories that were building this tension and now we’re dealing with stuff that’s happening right here and now at the Battle of Hogwarts. That it’s… all this danger that we grew up with is happening. So then you’re really getting that sense of this post-9/11 world, post a lot of terrorism world.
Michael: Yeah. Absolutely, and I want to shout out again to that comment from Crimson Phoenix just because I think Gideon and Fabian are characters that we often forget because Rowling, as much backstory as she was able to squash into Harry Potter, she was not able to really fit Gideon and Fabian and Molly’s feelings about her brothers sans the watch gift to Harry. She explained them more outside of the main books through her website and through Pottermore. So it was nice to see that in Crimson Phoenix’s comment because I think that is, perhaps, a pretty good reason of why this death occurs. But I also wanted to make sure [to] shout out to all of you who commented this week. You all did leave great comments. I wanted to give a special Shout-Out Maxima to SnapesManyButtons for sharing a very personal story in our comments section. And something that I just think is so really beautiful about how far Alohomora! has come, and I really have seen this with sharing a lot of my personal stories through Alohomora! and feeling comfortable to do that, but it’s been really great to see all of you listeners sharing those personal thoughts, stories, [and] experiences with us that maybe you didn’t share before. It’s very comforting to us to know that we have provided a safe space for you guys to do that. And for you listeners who were curious about some of those comments, you can head over to alohomora.mugglenet.com because the conversation is still going on over there.
Caleb: Before we move on to our main chapter discussion, we want to let everyone know that this episode is sponsored by Kayde Rieken on Patreon. You can become a sponsor just like Kayde for as little as $1 a month. You can just head over to patreon.com/alohomora. There you can figure out our post-Deathly Hallows plans, which [were] just released to sponsors and will be released to everyone else at a later time, but if you want the early news, just become a sponsor on Patreon. So thank you, Kayde, for sponsoring us and everyone else who contributes to our Patreon page.
Michael: Yay, Kayde!
Kat: Thank you. Yay! So I guess it’s time for our chapter discussion.
[Deathly Hallows Chapter 32 intro begins]
Lord Voldemort: Chapter 32.
[Sound of snake hissing]
[Sound of a man yelling and falling]
Voldemort: “The Elder Wand.”
Severus Snape: [whispering] Look at me.
[Deathly Hallows Chapter 32 intro ends]
Kat: So the Battle of Hogwarts rages on and emotions are high. High, high, high. Duels are happening all throughout the castle as Harry, Ron, and Hermione make their way to find Lord Voldemort and Nagini, who, thanks to the insight of some of Harry’s Horcrux visions, are found to be hiding in the Shrieking Shack. Luna, Ernie, and Seamus save the day with some well-timed Patronuses while Hagrid begs the masses not to hurt his precious spiders. After a few close calls and the saving of a few lives and a lovely callback to Book 1, the trio [makes] it into the tunnel of the Whomping Willow where they witness a misinformed diatribe and the unfortunate, albeit necessary, downfall of Severus Snape. So before we get out to the Shrieking Shack and that, which we’ll get to in a minute, the battle is still very much raging on in this chapter and it seems like we just got to it in the last chapter and now we are in the thick of it. It’s happening, and we start the chapter with the aftermath of Fred’s death. And we’ve talked about this a lot, but there are a few other things here that I really wanted to touch on, and I really like, in this moment… we’ve talked a lot about Percy and, “Should he die?” and him coming back and all of that, but I feel like this moment is so important for his character because he is laying on Fred’s body and he is completely unwilling to let go. Ron is trying to pull him off and Percy is just like, “No way, it’s not happening. I’m not doing it. I’m not leaving.” And…
Noah: Yeah, they just had a moment, like I was saying before – Fred and Percy – that I don’t think you see anywhere else in the series. Usually Fred is just insulting him and Percy is just looking away, and before they can even deal with any of that, he dies. So much future friendship is just lost. So it’s so sad.
Kat: I feel like we’re just seeing a totally different side of Percy, but the part that was always there but was hidden because he was too worried about what other people thought about him and society and all of that. But after that moment, they move Fred’s body and they put him into a little alcove. And I love that it says that Percy runs after Rookwood “with a bull-like roar.” And it just made me smile because he’s showing his Gryffindor side. It made me smile because we don’t often see that ferocious nature in Percy. I just like it.
Michael: I think you’re right, Noah. Fred totally passed part of himself onto Percy. That’s what happened here. He gave Percy that fighting spirit.
Noah: Yeah, like some kind of transfer.
Michael: Yeah. Yeah, I think that actually is part of it.
Kat: The unintentional Horcrux, right?
Michael: Yes. Accidental Horcrux. The nice Horcrux.
Noah: That there’s a Lovecrux.
Kat and Michael: A Lovecrux.
Kat: Yeah, there you go. But very much like Percy, Ron has this moment which also… we’re seeing a lot of different sides of the Weasleys in this chapter, where Ron is saying that he wants to run after them. He says, “I want to kill Death Eaters,” and that’s a rage that we’ve never before seen from Ron. Ever. At least that I’m aware of.
Michael: But we have seen it from Harry. A lot.
Michael: So this is the part about Harry’s life that… why he can’t understand why Ron envies him so much. The inevitable losses that Harry constantly faces… and Ron has seen loss through Harry, but I don’t know if Ron has experienced it quite on this level before. Ron has talked about family deaths, but he’s talked about them in… the only big family death I remember him talking about is his Uncle Bilius and they all make fun of that because he died seeing the Grim, so it’s a laughed-off bit versus this. This is something else. This is what Harry sees all the time. And it’s neat, too, because the narration has Harry completely sympathizing with Ron, in that respect. And Hermione, the only person in this group who hasn’t experienced loss to this level… she has lost her parents, but not to death. She’s temporarily lost them. She’s the only one who has a level enough head to keep them both from acting rashly.
Kat: Well, okay, but doesn’t that feel like death to her? She has no idea if she’s ever going to get them back or if she’s going to even survive. So how couldn’t that be on the same emotional level?
Michael: No, it could. It totally could, but I guess there’s, perhaps, a comfort for her knowing that her parents are alive still.
Noah: Yeah, I think it’s different when it’s the death of a family member. I don’t think she’s…
Caleb: Yeah, I would agree with that, but I also think that it is another really brave moment to see Hermione’s real strength… and granted, she is, like you said, privileged in that she hasn’t lost a family member yet. But the text is clear; tears are streaming down her face. She’s crying, but she’s the one that’s… one, she’s the only one able to actually move Ron which speaks more to their relationship, and two, she’s the one herself that is able to bring herself to have the strength to do it.
Michael: Yeah, this is a nice moment with the… because I know we’ve still got a lot of Ron/Hermione naysayers out there who still don’t like that relationship. And I think this is one of those great moments post the kiss that shows why these two would be compatible, why they work together.
Noah: After couple’s therapy, I think they do fine.
Kat: Oh, stop.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Noah: They’ll be okay. [laughs]
Kat: Well, there’s a great moment that really stuck out to me this time, and it’s… I’m trying to find it. It’s just right around in this section. Oh! It’s once Hermione says, “Do it, find out where he is, find out where he is.” And Voldemort is thinking about the room, and he calls Harry “Dumbledore’s Puppet,” which I guess I had never picked up on before, but I just thought it was so appropriate considering how many times we’ve called him the Puppet Master and the Puller of Strings and all of that. And there’s this really wonderful paragraph that I guess I was going to read, but Michael, now that you’re here, will you read it? [laughs]
Michael: [laughs] There was a whole chain last week from the listeners where they were like, “Michael, read this! Read that! Can you read the whole series for us? We should get some money together so we can pay you to do that and also get the rights to Harry Potter so that that’s legal!” And that was very sweet of you guys. I just wanted to point that out; that was very sweet. But I can, at least, read these segments without J.K. Rowling suing us, ostensibly. So let’s see.
“He was rolling his wand between his fingers, watching it, his thoughts on the room in the castle, the secret room only he had ever found. The room, like the chamber, that you had to be clever, and cunning, and inquisitive to discover. He was confident that the boy would not find the diadem. Although, Dumbledore’s puppet had come much much farther than he had ever expected. Too far.”
Kat: So good.
Kat: And then it made me laugh because I was like, “Haha! Too late! The diadem is gone! Jerk!”
Michael: You lose!
Noah: You loser!
Kat: Too late, too late.
Noah: Literally everybody knows about that room, too. He has no idea. Dumbledore’s Army used that room. Dumbledore used it as a toilet. He probably pooped on the diadem in some capacity.
Michael: [laughs] There [are] those Noah comments we’ve been waiting for!
Kat: Yeah, well, I think someone pointed it out last week or the week before, but the entire school knows about the Room of Requirement now.
Michael and Noah: Yeah!
Kat: Because they’re all escaping out of it!
Michael: Rosie pointed it out. She was just like, “They all just went through there,” and then I was like, “Yep, it’s just a room now. Everybody knows about this room.”
Noah: Missed the memo, Voldy. Where you been, buddy?
Michael: That’s what I like about this aspect of the Horcruxes way more than what they had to do to repair the movies, which is that Voldemort doesn’t know that the Horcruxes are being destroyed when they are destroyed.
Michael: I like that so much better here in the book version.
Kat: Agreed. Speaking of Horcruxes and destroying, there is a moment where they’re all fighting over who’s going to go get Nagini – now that they know that Voldemort and Nagini are in the Shrieking Shack – and I thought it was funny that all three of them… even though we didn’t get specific reasons, I feel like they all – well, I don’t feel like, they definitely all – are like, “Well, I’ll do it. No, I’m going to do it. But I’m going to do it.” Because Ron says that he’s going to go so that Harry can watch over Hermione – which, I thought, was very sweet – and then Harry says, “No, no, I’m going to go. You two stay here, I’ll be back as soon as possible.” And then Hermione, we don’t really get a reason; she just says it makes much more sense for her to take the Cloak and go. And I thought it was just sweet that they’re all trying to protect the other two.
Michael: It always makes…
Caleb: It’s an interesting – like you said, we don’t really get the reasons – but it’s an interesting parallel because I immediately, when I read this, thought of when they say which of the Deathly Hallows they would have picked…
Caleb: … because each of them speak up for their… each of them pick one of the three and they talk briefly about it. Here, each of them [speaks] up. Jo gives them each dialogue to speak up why they should do it, killing the last Horcrux. So I thought that that was a neat parallel.
Kat: Yeah, I hadn’t even thought of that. That is a great parallel.
Michael: This makes me think of – and Kat, you had mentioned earlier in the summary about callbacks to Book 1 – this makes me think of when Harry is like, “No, no, no, I’m going to go down the trap door. You guys stay here,” and it’s always that… and that moment’s even been specifically brought up in this book earlier. Just the idea that the three of them, they just can’t… they all argue that one of them should do it, but they all have the equal bravery and the chutzpah to do it. So yeah.
Noah: But in the end, it’s Harry that has to go up against Voldemort.
Michael: Yeah, but that’s just because of the deus ex Elder Wand, so… bah.
Kat: He knows that, but he doesn’t quite know it yet.
Kat: He doesn’t know the extent of how it absolutely has to be him.
Noah: [as Harry] “It’s got to be me. It’s got to be.”
Kat: But I like how, too, in this moment, Hermione has a total feminist moment because Ron is like, “Don’t even think about it.” And she’s like, “Ron, I am just as capable.” And you know she’s about to go onto a diatribe about “because I’m a girl” or whatever. I can just, I can see it.
Michael: Yes! I mentioned that moment last week, but [in] Jurassic Park when they try to get Ellie to not go to the shed to take care of the raptors and she’s just like, “We can discuss sexism in emergency situations when I get back,” and Hermione was probably about to say that. So if she hadn’t… she can talk to Ron about it later, as Noah said, in couple’s therapy.
Kat: Right! Oh, God.
Noah: [in a German accent] “This was quite traumatic for both of them.” [back to normal voice] As I become the German therapist that works with them.
Michael: [laughs] Freud.
Kat: I hope no moments from the Battle of Hogwarts [come] up in their therapy sessions. I’m just saying.
Noah: [in a German accent] “I see you are scared of spiders. Does this perhaps reflect your incapacity to…?”
Caleb: That’s a big old nope!
Kat: Right. So the trio finally [gets] out of the castle and they’re running toward the forest and a lot of things are happening to them as they’re going, but there’s a quick line about the Black Lake. It says, “The sound of the lake crashing like the sea…” and I was thinking about… because we know that there [are] some things happening in the forest because the spiders came from there. We know the Death Eaters are out there [and] Voldemort is out there. Do you think there’s anything happening in the Black Lake?
Michael: Giant squid’s killing people!
Kat: That’s what I mean! Is there anything actually happening in the lake? It sounds like there might be from that description.
Noah: So Kat, are you saying there was a secret Battle of Hogwarts that was happening underneath the lake?
Kat: That’s where Zacharias went, right?
Noah: Wait a second. That’s pretty good. Maybe that’s it.
Kat: I want the credit in the book.
Michael: Well, we know that the squid is benign. It’s not really that dangerous. It’s actually quite friendly to the Hogwarts denizens, and it seems to know them, to some degree. So I imagine… because we get the summary, too, that the grounds are almost coming to life to defend Hogwarts, so I wouldn’t put it past the squid to have become a part of the battle. I’m surprised, actually, that he’s not specifically mentioned as part of the battle.
Noah: This is giving me a lot of writing ideas.
Michael: Well, yeah.
Caleb: You’ve also got the Merpeople down there, too. So…
Michael: They have spears.
Kat: Right, that’s… I guess that’s mostly what I was thinking about, was the Merpeople.
Caleb: I would have thought, though, that if they were involved Jo would have given them a line, at least, but…
Noah: In Mermish.
Michael: I’d like to think they were involved because everything else in Hogwarts is at this point. The…
Noah: All they would have to do is come on shore and talk and then everyone’s going to cover their ears. Ah! And then the battle would have to stop.
Michael: That’s true. Well, and the only ones that aren’t participating to their fullest yet are the centaurs, and they’ll be a part of it later. Firenze is actually, at least, included right now, but the Merpeople don’t have any reason not to stay out of the battle, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t be there.
Kat: What could they be doing underwater?
Michael: They could be throwing their spears out of the water. They have spears.
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Kat: Oh, that’s true.
Noah: They could be doing something.
Michael: They could be doing…
Kat: I would like to see the squid come out of the water and…
Noah: Dumbledore talked to them, so he must have had some kind of relationship with them.
Noah: He could have at least done some recruiting when he knew that his time was coming.
Michael: That’s possible.
Kat: Perhaps, perhaps. And speaking of things that are possible… so as I mentioned, they’re running toward the forest and there [are] all sorts of curses flying all over the place at the castle, out of the castle, at people, at whatever. And the protective enchantments that the teachers put up around Hogwarts are gone. So I was just pondering and thinking about how far those protections have been stripped. Do you think it’s possible at all that Muggles could maybe see Hogwarts right now, seeing as it’s at its most vulnerable?
Michael: Ooh. I wouldn’t think so, just because I thought that spell was something different since the ones that have been taken down at this point that we know textually are the ones that Flitwick and Sprout and McGonagall and all of the Heads put up as more protective enchantments, not necessarily as unplottable. I don’t think curses like that would necessarily take off the unplottable nature of Hogwarts, but that’s a good point with all of the hubbub and noise that’s going on.
Kat: But wait, is Hogwarts unplottable? Isn’t it just…? I don’t think it’s unplottable. Right?
Michael: I thought it was.
Kat: Because Muggles can walk up to it and see a building.
Caleb: They see… they don’t see a building. Don’t they see a sign and then they start to remember something else?
Kat: I think so. Yeah. I guess that’s what always led me to believe that it’s not unplottable like Durmstrang, which we know is unplottable.
Michael: Yeah, maybe it’s not unplottable. Oh, yeah, no. According to the Wiki, which generally is correct – not all the time – but Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts are unplottable. They’re all unplottable. They all have different effects on them. Durmstrang is harder to find because it’s farther off in a mountainous area. But I think – and you guys are right – I think when people see Hogwarts, they just see a shack with a sign that tells them not to approach. And there [are] also other charms that make them think that they need to leave, even though… even if their curiosity gets the better of them, the charm will override that, so… But I don’t…
Noah: It’s very curious because if you were a really determined Muggle, could you really just walk into an invisible wall? Ouch.
Michael: Oh, there is so much fan fiction out there, Noah. Believe you me. That is…
Kat: Oh, about Muggles at Hogwarts?
Michael: Oh, yes. It happens all the time.
Michael: That’s the thing is that there is always a curious… just like Noah said, there is… in fan fiction, there is frequently a Muggle who is hanging around King’s Cross Station and they see somebody go through the wall and they’re just like, “What the heck was that?”
Michael: And then their friends… Then the charm is trying to turn them away and their friends are just like, “It’s nothing, you just saw things. You didn’t see anything.” They’re like, “No, I didn’t. I know I saw it!” And then they walk through the wall and the enchantment breaks.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Noah: Oh, man.
Michael: It happens all the time. So I mean, if we’re going by the fan fiction rule, then yes, the enchantment is broken and everybody can see what’s going on.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Kat: I know that it’s unlikely. Just like I said, I assumed… I was just thinking about… Since so much is happening at Hogwarts and the school is being attacked in every possible way, I feel like if any time a Muggle was going to be able to get by that gate or see it, or even hear all the noise with the giants and the flashes from the spells and all of that, I feel like it would be now.
Noah: Can you imagine somebody just hiking or walking on by as the war is happening? They’re just like, “Hmm.” They see the shack or whatever, they see the sign, and they’re like, “Hmm. You know what? I feel something weird. Is it indigestion? Am I hungry? I don’t know what it is.”
Kat: Well, and they’re looking at the enchantments flash for a second.
Noah: Poof. [laughs] It flashes.
Kat: And they see this giant castle that is burning with giants.
Noah: They see themselves in the middle of a giant war. Just for a second they’re like, “Huh?” [laughs]
Michael: Maybe J.K. Rowling saw it all go down and that’s why she wrote Harry Potter because she was just wondering around in the Scottish island.
Kat: That is a wonderful thing.
Michael: [laughs] So I don’t… I think if anybody could break that enchantment, it would be Voldemort. And I can’t see the advantage for him to do that because that enchantment has always struck me as being very powerful, deep magic that’s been placed on Hogwarts for eternity. That’s…
Kat: Like a wine that gets better with age.
Michael: Yes. Yeah.
Kat: Yeah. Harder and harder to break. Yeah. I get it.
Michael: Yeah. So…
Kat: Well, too, in this chapter we’re going to go back inside the castle for a minute. There [are] a ton of cameos.
Michael: This is the best.
Kat: As we know has… which has been happening, okay. So our first one here… I had to bring it up first because it’s really amazing.
Kat: And so there’s a moment where McGonagall goes running by with galloping desks and her hair is all down from the battle and everything.
Kat: And Caleb, I saw your notes. Very good.
Kat: Are they Desk!Pigs?
Noah: All right, all right. So Desk!Pigs…
Noah: Thank you, Caleb, for putting that in.
Noah: I actually had this exact thought.
Caleb: You’re welcome.
Noah: Exact thought when I was reading the book, when I was reading the chapter for today. And this is the Desk!Pig’s herd.
Noah: This is his people that… They were just there in the classroom the whole time.
Noah: But after this, presumably they’ll just go off into the Forbidden Forest and Desk!Pig finds them and they have a great time in my fantasy.
Kat: Is that going to be the epilogue for Zacharias Smith’s story?
[Caleb and Noah laugh]
Noah: I don’t know if that’s the epilogue or if they just trample somebody, just saving somebody’s life. I don’t know. But it’s all going to come together. [laughs]
Kat: Good. Well, in my mind they are definitely Desk!Pigs, so that’s my head canon.
Noah: I mean, what’s the…? Is there any kind of indication of what kind of animals they could be? Are they horses? Or are they…?
Kat: No, it just says “galloping desks.”
Michael: Pigs don’t gallop.
Noah: They don’t gallop, that’s true.
Kat: Right. So I think that the desks have just come to life, so to say.
Noah: No, they’re Desk!Horses.
Kat: Oh, gosh. No.
Michael: There’s a Hogwarts…
Caleb: It is interesting that they’re galloping and not just levitating toward things that they’re attacking or whatever, right?
Michael: Well, this makes me think of – this is a fun comparison because it’s my favorite Disney movie of all time – this makes me think of the end battle in Beauty and the Beast, at the Beast’s…
Michael: It’s all the inanimate objects coming to life. They’re animated so that they all… They found the legs and the arms on every inanimate object and brought them to life. And that’s what I picture in my head when McGonagall goes by with her…
Noah: I was about to be… Michael, I was about to be really sad because I thought you were going to say The Lion King when Mufasa died.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: No, no. [laughs]
Michael: But I love The Lion King. It’s a great movie. But no. [laughs]
Noah: Okay, good. I’ll just bring it up instead.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: Just to add insult to injury, also dead Mufasa, too because we don’t have enough.
Kat: Ugh. [laughs] Speaking of insult and injury, another really good cameo here is Peeves, which… we get him and his Snargaluff pods, or however you say that. And I just love it. I think it’s a really funny moment where he’s throwing them down onto the Death Eaters. And it actually gives the trio away at one point and they’re almost hurt because of that, but that’s okay. Do we know…?
Noah: These are really cool. Have we had any instances of Snargaluff pods before?
Michael: We’ve seen Snargaluff pods, but we’ve never seen them used in battle, so…
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Kat: Leave it to Peeves, right?
Noah: I love the way you put that.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Kat: Can Peeves…? So he’s a poltergeist. Can he be killed or injured in any way? I feel like it would be a pretty good advantage to be a ghost in a battle if you can actually throw stuff at people and hurt them.
Noah: I feel like not. I feel like he is immortal.
Caleb: Yeah, because… I feel like we’ve either talked about it before, or something on Pottermore, or something that… It’s like he’s a force – well, he is a force – of chaos, so I don’t think he can be extinguished or dealt with in the same way that a ghost can.
Michael: No, yeah. Peeves is like the… He’s from the same family – in an interesting way – he’s from the same family as Dementors, where he’s just birthed out of an emotion [when] there’s enough people to make that emotion occur. And Peeves is birthed out of the youthfulness and chaos and unpredictability of teens, as she’s explained, I believe, on Pottermore, versus the Dementors, which are born out of depression and darkness in high concentration. So no, I…
Noah: So is he…? If he is part of the Dementor family, is he the cousin that nobody wants to talk to at the Dementor wedding?
Michael: Well, I don’t know. You should ask Jim the Dementor because I’m sure he’d know. Right? [laughs]
Noah: Yes. He would know.
Kat: You don’t keep in touch with Jim, huh?
Noah: No. I mean, he’s still active on Twitter.
Caleb: Sounds like something went sour.
Michael: Yes, he is. I’ve seen him.
Noah: He’s seen occasionally… He’ll occasionally tweet to the Mandrake Liberation Front. They will exchange tweets.
Michael: You should tweet to him about Peeves and see what his opinions on Peeves are. Because yeah, the way that Rowling explained it, it’s funny because they do seem to come from the same concept: a high concentration of a certain emotion. So I think the only way you could get rid of Peeves is if you took all the students out of Hogwarts for a very, very long time.
Kat: Oh, man.
Noah: Or if they all became monks and just started meditating and all their minds were really organized.
Michael: [laughs] That’s a lot to ask.
Noah: If Hogwarts became a Buddhist temple, then Peeves would be forced to just slowly disappear.
Kat: Another great cameo we get here is of Neville, which isn’t really a cameo, but we don’t see him too much until the end. And he is carrying the Venomous Tentacula and I was wondering if that was a rough way to die. We know that the plant strangles you, but it’s venomous. So then does it inject you, or does it bite you, or what does it do?
Noah: Pick your poison, Kat. Pick your poison of death.
Michael: [laughs] I think it does both. It can do either…
Noah: Sorry, that was a little obtuse.
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Michael: I think it does both because we know that McGonagall… Didn’t McGonagall’s first husband… wasn’t he killed by a bite from a Venomous Tentacula?
Kat: Oh, possibly.
Michael: I thought he was. So it can be just a bite or it can be strangulation, or, ostensibly, both.
Caleb: I feel like… I have to look it up and I feel slightly ashamed that I don’t know the answer, but I don’t think they were even ever married, right? They were just engaged? Or were they married?
Michael: Let’s see. I thought they were…
Noah: I think they were engaged.
Kat: I think they were married. Oh, boy, this is pathetic.
Noah: Wait, so Michael, so just a little bite and then that’s it? You’re dead?
Michael: Let’s see. I think so. I’m close to it…
Caleb: Yeah, he did die from a bite by a Venomous Tentacula.
Noah: Very good.
Caleb: Their marriage lasted only three years, so they were actually married.
Michael: Yep, okay. So yeah, you can just be bitten by one, I guess, and die that way.
Noah: Wow, Neville was very, dare say I, brave in that moment.
Kat: But he knows how to wrangle the Tentacula.
Noah: Yeah, you stroke the thorns.
Kat: Okay, moving on.
Michael: Do you guys remember…? Because they’re in the… This isn’t the way I [pictured them] and I don’t think they look this way in Rowling’s head, I’m assuming. But do you guys remember the Venomous Tentacula in the PC version of Sorcerer’s Stone?
Michael: They looked like Venus flytraps and they’ll nip you as you come by.
Michael: Which, of course, in the game Harry just goes, “Ow!” so I think it’s not as bad, but not that venomous.
[Kat and Noah laugh]
Kat: Yeah, and then in the movie, isn’t Slughorn trimming them? He is, right?
Michael: Yeah, he is. Yeah, he is. That’s right.
Kat and Noah: Yeah.
Noah: They treat these guys very casually even though they are literally death. Like instantaneous death.
Michael: Yes, which [is how] wizards seem to treat most things. “Okay, whatever.”
Noah: Oh, wizards.
Kat: Like poor Lavender Brown, who dies, or maybe doesn’t die. Whatever.
Michael: There is so much controversy over that.
Kat: Well, it’s terrible because there’s no conclusion in the book. Obviously, we [are] pretty sure that she dies in the movie. But then Pottermore put up on their site that she had died in the book and we were like, “Wait a minute, no she hasn’t.” So yeah, it’s a bit of a controversy. But Hermione saves her from Fenrir no matter what, so… or maybe.
Michael: And then Pottermore took it away when all the fans were like, “She didn’t die!” and now it’s not on there anymore. Yeah.
Noah: Oh, really?
Kat: Really, yeah.
Michael: Yeah, so now it doesn’t say what happened to her.
Michael: I remember being just flabbergasted when she died in the movie. I think my whole… because my friends, we were all in a row, and I think there was just a collective gasp because none of us were… We were like, “Oh, is that Lavender Brown? Ooh, she is definitely dead. She is missing a part of her neck. She is definitely dead.” That was interesting that they chose to go with that since there is so much ambiguity in the book.
Kat: Right. Good moment, though.
Michael: Yeah, “Go Hermione! Yay!”
Kat: I do wish that Jo would come out and say whether she was dead or alive. I feel like that’s the… I mean, we know Moaning Myrtle’s middle name. I feel like we should know if Lavender is dead or alive. I’m just saying.
Michael: [laughs] Priorities.
Kat: For real, though. For real, just like Grawp. I mean, he makes a nice little cameo in this section. He doesn’t do a whole lot except scream for “Hagger” and stomp around.
Michael: Noah, scream it again. Do it again.
Noah: [as Grawp] “Hagger! Hagger!”
Noah: Well, it’s funny because they’re talking about Hagrid and it’s like, “We have to get Hagrid! We have to get Hagrid!” [as Grawp] “Hagger?”
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Noah: He just hears it somehow with his giant ears.
Noah: And then, giant battle.
Kat: Speaking of Hagrid, he, of course, has a nice little cameo in the middle of the battle. But I wanted to rewind a little bit because there’s a quote at the very beginning of the chapter when they first see the spiders and it says, “More giant spiders were climbing the side of the building, liberated from the Forbidden Forest into which the Death Eaters must have penetrated.” So were the spiders magically locked in the forest? Because I feel like we don’t know that.
Noah: Hmm. That makes a lot of sense.
Michael: That’s really interesting.
Kat: So who would have done that? Dumbledore? Because Hagrid certainly wouldn’t have.
Noah: No, he loves his spiders.
Kat: Did Dumbledore know about Aragog?
Caleb: I would assume.
Michael: I think he did.
Caleb: Yeah, because Aragog gets out in Chamber of Secrets when Harry is doing the flashback, right?
Michael: Yeah, Aragog escapes
Michael: Nobody seems to know properly what he is since they suspect that Hagrid was actually… since there’s no proper defense for Hagrid and they think that…
Caleb: Right. And I would assume, yeah, that Dumbledore would’ve known what happened there.
Noah: But did that spider community build from Aragog beginning there, or was there already a spider community living there? That was like…
Kat: I’m pretty sure they’re all Acromantulas, aren’t they?
Michael: They are. It’s implied that Aragog started it.
Noah: Okay, then. Yeah, I feel like they’re probably locked in there after some kind of deal with Dumbledore.
Michael: I was wondering that because if there was a deal with Dumbledore and he was dead at the end of the previous year, and the Acromantulas really lost their interest in keeping deals with Hagrid after Aragog died… in fact, they didn’t want to see him anymore. They tried to kill him the last time he went into the forest to see them when he was trying to get Aragog’s body.
Noah: It’s a question of… is this literally a deal like, “You guys aren’t going to come eat the students”?
Michael: It’s a magical deal.
Noah: Or is there some kind of enchantment keeping them back, or some combination?
Kat: If it was an enchantment by Dumbledore, that would have broken when he died, right?
Michael: Mhm, yeah.
Noah: What if it…?
Michael: If it was Dumbledore, yeah.
Kat: I believe we’ve come to that conclusion, yes.
Michael: We usually come to the conclusion that an enchantment by a wizard ends when they die.
Noah: Is that the case with the Fidelius Charm?
Kat and Michael: Yes.
Michael: The Fidelius Charm breaks and everybody who was a Secret Keeper… It spreads. The information spreads more than it previously did, or it has the potential to be broken by that point. The only one, though, that we did see that didn’t break was Moody enchanting Grimmauld Place to do the weird Dustledore. That didn’t die.
Noah: There you go, yeah, there’s that one. And you could even say the founders’ enchantments over the castle after they die stay.
Michael: Mhm. The Sorting Hat is enchanted by all of them.
Noah: Mhm. So I don’t know. Maybe it’s a case-by-case basis that depends on the spell.
Kat: Or maybe [they’re] enchantments that are done with another wizard. So if Moody maybe put that thing on Grimmauld Place with somebody…
Kat: … or the founders put all of the enchantments on Hogwarts together? I don’t know. I’m reaching; just trying to come up with an explanation.
Noah: Oh, I like that, though, because then the spell is a combination of two or more and it kind of lives on its own.
Michael: Well, and the last part of that passage where it’s saying that the Death Eaters got into the forest, I guess that the only thing we can take away from that is [that] we’ve seen since Order that the Death Eaters have been sent out on Voldemort’s orders to go recruit members. So it’s possible that since the Acromantulas are so far into the forest, they perhaps don’t even bother to venture out since they don’t have any reason to, other than for food. But they [have] got plenty of food in the forest, ostensibly. So perhaps the Death Eaters got in there, told them, “Be free!” and that’s why they left: because the Death Eaters probably struck a deal. I’m sure it would be an easy deal to be like, “Huge buffet going on just down the way.”
Kat: “All you can eat! Small children!”
Noah: Wouldn’t they attack the Death Eaters, though? Like when they go [in] Chamber of Secrets?
Michael: They probably did.
Kat: Yeah, probably.
Noah: They probably did. That’s right.
Michael: I don’t see why they wouldn’t have.
Noah: How many Death Eaters died?
Michael: Yeah, probably. The spiders probably didn’t care about that.
Kat: And you definitely confirmed my thought that they would have killed Hagrid because Hagrid goes chasing after them because he doesn’t want them to be killed, which is ridiculous. And it seems to Harry that Hagrid is overtaken by the spiders.
Noah: I mean, they don’t kill him.
Kat: Right? They would have killed him.
Michael: Oh, yeah.
Kat: But he makes it out.
Michael: Oh my God, yeah. He would have totally died.
Kat: Yeah. Well, I mean, I know he makes it out. I’m just saying, they would have killed him. So as the trio…
Noah: I don’t know. But I’ll say yes so that we’ll move on.
Kat: What do you mean, you don’t know? Go for it.
Noah: I still think that even though they’re not necessarily on Hagrid’s side… I mean, he literally gets buried in spiders, so if he’s not killed in that moment, are we assuming that he escapes sometime before he gets to the forest, before they bring him back to their den, so to speak? Or do they not kill him because they still have some lasting ties to him or to Aragog or something?
Kat: Well, I guess the question is, when does Hagrid get captured and brought out to the forest?
Michael: Ostensibly, if we’re going with the theory that the Death Eaters do have some kind of a partnership with the Acromantulas, maybe they brought him to Voldemort.
Kat: Oh, yeah. Because it’s not like anyone else would be able to carry him, right?
Noah: Right, because that’s the next time we see him.
Michael: Yeah, no. You can’t really capture Hagrid in that respect, so… just as a regular wizard. So yeah, no, I guess that’s the implication because otherwise there’s a whole big chunk of story missing there about how Hagrid got from the hands of the Acromantulas to the Death Eaters.
Kat: Right. Yeah, maybe they… what’s the word? I don’t want to say [drugged] him; what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, sedate him or something with some of their venom because spells just bounce off him, pretty much. Speaking of things bouncing off of people, we have this great moment where they pass Draco in the hallway and… so Draco is talking to the Death Eater and saying, “No, no, I’m Draco Malfoy. Let me up, let me up.” And Draco never shows his Dark Mark to the Death Eater. And I found that curious.
Noah: It’s not so much curious as it is pompous. “I’m Draco Malfoy. You should know who I was. You guys hung out in my Malfoy Manor for a couple weeks.”
Kat: Well, I feel like pompous is implied when it comes to Draco.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Caleb: Now we’re circling back to Book 1 where his name is supposed to be enough to get him what he wants, or to at least convince people. [In] Book 1 it was Harry. Or I guess he didn’t really use his name to convince Harry to be his friend; he was just… he did, but in a different way. But that was one of the first things we met about Draco Malfoy, was that his name was supposed to be enough. He’s important enough. And here he is, trying to use that again.
Kat: Right. And it’s failing miserably.
Noah: Because it’s pure wizard blood.
Michael: This is my favorite bit with Draco, where Ron… they kick him in the face. That’s just… [laughs]
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Noah: This is all that energy…
Kat: Yeah, Ron just punches him and he’s like, “Damn it.” Yeah.
Noah: Literally, he couldn’t kill Death Eaters, Ron, so he’s taking out his anger…
Michael: Out on Malfoy? [laughs]
Noah: … or his anger on the death of Fred is just going on Malfoy completely.
Kat: Yep, punching him in the face. Good old Muggle fight.
Caleb: That’s why they’ll never be friends.
Kat: Nope. So we get out of the castle and there’s a moment where they are running toward the Forbidden Forest — or the Shrieking Shack, sorry — and Dementors come. And this is a shining moment for members of the DA because we get Luna, Ernie – again, mister Macmillan there — and Seamus, who come out and pull the good old Patronuses out of their hat. And first off, just briefly, I wanted to say this is a beautiful teaching moment for Luna, and I feel like it reinforces the reasons why everybody should love her because she just comes up behind Harry and she’s like, [as Luna] “That’s right, Harry, come on. Think of something happy.” [back to normal voice] And he’s like, “Something happy?” [laughs] She’s just this ethereal drug that makes him able to do a Patronus and I thought it’s a beautiful moment. And then also…
Noah: That’s a good way to put it. That’s a good… she really is like an ethereal spirit, just making him feel better in that moment.
Kat: Yeah, for sure.
Michael: And it makes sense that this is… I think we’re so… I like this part of the narrative because we’re so used to Harry just doing a Patronus whenever we need him to do it, and to the point where perhaps we’ve forgotten that it’s actually really hard to do a Patronus.
Kat and Noah: Mhm.
Michael: And [in] this particular moment, Harry is just getting to his lowest point. He’s almost there. So it would be logical that he wouldn’t be able to power a Patronus; that all three of them wouldn’t be able to in this moment. Makes perfect sense.
Kat: Well, it even… and just before that moment with Luna there is a quote that he says, or he’s thinking, “He felt as though his soul had already half left his body.” And I know it’s not a Horcrux moment…
Kat: … but it feels like it’s hinting at a Horcrux moment because I feel like any time you talk about a soul leaving the body or half of something, I tend to think about all those hints that Jo was leaving us, that Harry is a “Horcrux.”
Noah: I didn’t… that’s really cool [that] you picked up on that. I just thought it was a real allusion to depression and what he was feeling in that moment.
Kat: No, I mean, I think it’s definitely that. I felt like I had to up my game a lot this week because you’re here, Noah…
Noah: No, you’re very… you’re all very talented.
Kat: So, too, I figured since I’m… I looked back and I didn’t see that we talked about this when we encountered Patronuses in the DA. So I wanted to talk briefly about Luna, Ernie, and Seamus’s Patronuses. So they are a hare, a boar, and a fox. And that’s… the hare is Luna, the boar is Ernie, and the fox is Seamus. And I just looked up a little bit of mythology on them. So it says about the hare that they’re usually shy, they’re swift, and they mostly live in solitude or in pairs, and they’re born out in the open, which continues on to say that young hares are adapted to the lack of physical protection relative to the fact that they’re not born in a burrow but out in the open. And they are born fully furred, with eyes wide open.
Noah: Fully furred?
Kat: And that description just made me think of Luna so, so much. And it goes on to say that they are hence precocial, which means mature and mobile from birth. And they are able to fend for themselves soon after birth, which also, with the loss of her mother so young, made me really think of her. It just makes sense for her, I think.
Michael: I really like that, the summary of the eyes open and just being so aware of the world from almost too early an age.
Michael: That fits Luna really well. We talk about her being wise beyond her years, and…
Noah: Yeah, totally.
Michael: That definitely [fits]. I love, too, that the movie crew have pointed out just how committed Evanna was to this. If you watch the special features on the Half-Blood Prince DVD, they talk about… she made her own corsage for Slughorn’s party, and it’s the hare Patronus. She’s got three little loops on the corsage and there’s a bunny leaping through it and she made it herself. And she based it on the Patronus because she knew that her Patronus was a hare.
Kat: She’s amazing. [laughs]
Noah: Not to toot our own horn – but absolutely to – she saw the post on MuggleNet and that’s why she auditioned, right?
Kat: Yeah, mhm.
Noah: That’s pretty cool. Yay. [laughs]
Kat: Yeah. So the next one, Ernie’s, is a boar, which… first off, if you up look mythology of a boar, there [are] twenty million boars in mythology.
Kat: So I picked a few general comments about general boars. And it says that they are surprisingly shy and tend to avoid human contact. And they “come to symbolize courage and ferocity in many cultures.” And they were generally used on shields and [in] battle as a symbol of leadership, which I thought was very surprising given what we had talked about with Ernie before and his Hufflepuffeyness.
Michael: Wouldn’t that be interesting if maybe he is actually shy and that’s why he’s so socially awkward?
Kat: It wouldn’t be surprising. Yeah.
Michael: That could explain his behavior because that happens with some people. I know that I used to be that way. Probably still am. I talk all the time, so it’s probably because I’m shy.
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Michael: I don’t know. But yeah, that can be a thing. I don’t know if… I guess the battle part works because Ernie is certainly proving his mettle here.
Kat: Mhm. It’s hard to say if it fits his personality since we know so little about him, but…
Noah: And the badger is also sort of ferocious, too, so I guess it’s like a brother to the boar in a way.
Kat: Well, the last Patronus we see here is a fox, which is from Seamus. And again, same thing; there [are] a lot of foxes in history, so I picked a few general comments here. It says that the fox is a symbol of cunning and trickery in many cultures and it embodies chaos. It symbolizes the victory of intelligence over both malevolence and brute strength. And the word shenanigan, surprisingly, which means a deceitful, confident trick, or mischief, is considered to be derived from the Irish expression…
Kat: … Michael, you want to take a stab at that?
Michael: God, no. No, I hate saying Irish words. They don’t make any sense. There’s…
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Kat: Anyway, the word – whatever, however you pronounce it – means, “I play the fox,” which I thought was really fun because we think of Seamus and we think of chaos and shenanigans, which I thought was really cute.
Noah: Wait, wait, wait, before we move on, I don’t love these Patronuses for Ernie and Seamus. I get it, but maybe it’s because they weren’t really strong characters in the books. But I don’t believe it as much as Luna is the hare, you know what I mean?
Caleb: So I think that part of it is, like we said, we don’t know enough about Ernie to justify or argue against it, right? But I buy the fox for Seamus. I think he’s still someone we know relatively little about in that circle of characters, so I would still buy it based on what we know.
Kat: Yeah, I agree.
Michael: [laughs] I don’t know about the fox just because…
Kat: I think it fits him.
Michael: … it’s like, “Oh, that’s an Irish thing! Slap that on Seamus because it’s Irish.” [laughs]
Noah: I don’t want it to be that. I want [to] believe that Jo thoroughly thought out every single character…
Noah: … and really went for it with “This is the Patronus, this is it,” but…
Kat: I think she did.
Michael: She has her reasons.
Kat: I choose to believe that as well, so… she does.
Noah: Believe what you want to believe.
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Noah: I don’t know.
Kat: Well, the trio finally [makes] it out of the castle, and they are finally at the Shrieking Shack – well, almost, actually, because they are standing outside the Whomping Willow – and there is a beautiful moment, which is a call-back to Book 1 again, where they’re talking about Crookshanks, and Ron is like, “Oh, where is Crookshanks to push the little thing?” And Hermione says, “Are you a wizard or what?”
Kat: And we’re reminded of that moment when she can’t make fire and he says that to her, which I think is the most adorable thing ever.
Kat: Obviously, it also reminds you of Book 3, but mostly Book 1. So…
Noah: Where is Crookshanks?
Michael: Safe at home? In Australia? [laughs]
Kat: Probably with Hermione’s parents.
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Caleb: Taking care of them maybe. That’s what I’m going to choose to think anyway.
Kat: Oh, no, that’s a cute thought.
Michael: Crookshanks is half Kneazle, right? So yeah, Hermione probably gave him instructions.
Michael: She was like, [as Hermione] “Please look after them. Take good care of them. Don’t let them come back to the UK. Have fun in Australia.”
Kat: [laughs] How was Crookshanks going to stop her parents…?
Michael: He’s smart, he’ll figure it out. He got Sirius into Hogwarts. [laughs] I’m sure he can figure it out.
Noah: He’ll figure it out.
Kat: I suppose.
Noah: He befriended the Whomping Willow; he’s going to be fine.
Kat: True. So also in this moment, while they are sitting there thinking about Crookshanks and how they’re going to get into the Whomping Willow, Harry actually stops and thinks for a moment, which rarely happens…
Caleb: Hashtag personal growth.
Kat: Right, exactly! For real, though, for real. And he actually wonders if he’s leading his best friends into a trap. And you’re right, it’s exactly it: the first time we see him actually grow as far as impulsiveness goes. So they climb into the tunnel and they’re headed to the Shrieking Shack, and they’re crawling because they’ve all grown in the last four years, which is exciting to know. So they’re sitting there in the tunnel, but before they even got to the Shrieking Shack – earlier, when Harry was in Voldemort’s mind – he saw him talking to Lucius, and there’s a moment where Voldemort says that Draco didn’t join Voldemort, “like the rest of the Slytherins.” And this got me thinking a lot about Slughorn and how we know that back in Half-Blood [Prince], Dumbledore was saying that the Death Eaters had been trying to recruit [Slughorn] – or Slughorn said that. And I was wondering if maybe this was part of the plan for Slughorn, to be a leader or influencer for the Slytherin House, so that when it does come to this point, Voldemort would have somebody besides Snape there in case Snape left – kind of exactly like he did.
Michael: I always thought this line was in relation to the fact that Malfoy went to hunt Harry because he didn’t go right to Voldemort; he was looking all around the castle to see if he could bring Harry to Voldemort. I didn’t think of it that way, that there could be… I don’t even know if that… because Malfoy, I don’t think, is thinking perhaps in that. I don’t see Malfoy as being quite that… he himself reflecting in this way, like Slughorn would be by that point. I don’t know.
Michael: Because Slughorn knows both sides of things by this [point]. He’s a little more learned in that versus Malfoy who’s really just looking out for himself still, as we see when Ron punches him in the face and that’s why it feels so good. But I don’t know if that’s part of what leads Malfoy into being perhaps one of those game-changers for Slytherin. I don’t know if that’s really his role in the future or not.
Kat: I just thought it was interesting that Voldemort pointedly says that, “Draco didn’t come to join me like the rest of the Slytherins.” Because hasn’t Jo said before – we were just talking about this last week or the week before – that the Slytherins go back to the battle? Right? They go and find somebody and they go back to the battle with Slughorn.
Michael: Rowling says that’s what happened. Textually it’s only suggested that Slughorn came back. Rowling later added that it was “the Slytherins,” kind of like she added that thing about “all the Hufflepuffs.” So… that’s not necessarily confirmed by the books, but I guess if we take that as canon, I suppose so. I don’t know… where are the Slytherins right now?
Kat: Well, according to Voldemort, they’re with him because he says on page 641 of the US edition: “[Draco] did not come and join me like the rest of the Slytherins. Perhaps he’s decided to befriend Harry Potter.”
Noah: Yeah, are we sure that’s all the Slytherins, or is it just a group of Slytherins? Maybe I just didn’t realize it when I read it before that so much of Slytherin House joined the Death Eaters.
Kat: It could be either. It just says, “like the rest of…”
Noah: But then again, he’s not even… he’s not really in the war at this point. He’s just going off of what he thinks is happening. So maybe he’s just imagining – I hate to say it – that all of Slytherin House is behind him and he’s making his glorious comeback.
Kat: Perhaps, but also, we have to remember that Voldemort was a student at Hogwarts, and he would know approximately how many people are in a House. And if we go by Jo’s numbers, that’s 250 – which is BS – but anyway, he would know how many people came out of the castle.
Michael: That gets really interesting because that brings up the issue that we talked about before about the students… Rosie brought this up, about the students being evacuated: Where did they go? Because ostensibly, if we’re going by Rowling’s canon of how many students there were, they wouldn’t all fit in the pub, but they couldn’t leave Hogsmeade because a bunch of them are underage and can’t Apparate. And now we’re saying that we’re thinking that some of the Slytherins went to join Voldemort. Voldemort is in Hogsmeade right now, not that far away from the village proper. How did that even work? Did the Slytherins who wanted to go just troupe back to the castle with the Death Eaters? What happened? What even happened?
Kat: I don’t know. I feel like we may have uncovered a plot hole here.
Michael: [laughs] Maybe Voldemort just generally refers to all bad people in his group as “Slytherins.” I don’t know.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Michael: That’s not right because his right-hand man was a Gryffindor for a while. At least one of the ones. He’s dead.
Caleb: Yeah, I think that’s possible. I think he could just be loosely saying this for the effect of it, try to draw out… put the pressure on Draco not being there…
Noah: Again, just to reiterate, I think his sense of reality is a little warped because he thinks that nobody knows about the Room of Requirement. Everybody knows about the Room of Requirement, Voldemort!
Kat: Yeah, he’s a bit of dummy. It’s okay. [laughs]
Noah: Such an idiot! [laughs]
Kat: So actually, in that moment when he’s talking to Lucius, after he says, “Go find me Snape,” there’s a moment… Okay, so we know that Voldemort doesn’t have feelings. He doesn’t feel remorse or regret or any of those things because Jo has said that that’s the only way that you can reverse a Horcrux, and that Voldemort would never have those feelings, therefore he could never do that. However, there is a moment where, to me, it at least felt like Voldemort was feeling some sort of melancholy over Snape, and not necessarily about Snape himself, but perhaps about losing an ally or somebody that he can “trust.” I don’t even know if he trusts anybody. But what do you guys think about that? Because he’s whispering to himself and he’s saying… the quote is, “It is the only way, Nagini,” and that feels to me like melancholy.
Kat: It did.
Caleb: It’s such an interesting passage. I read it several times and I’ve never really thought about it this much because clearly there are words that show if it was stopped there – and I don’t have the page in front of me right now – that there’s clear regret there. But then there [are] a couple of lines down where… I can’t remember what exactly it says, but it’s almost directly contradictory to him feeling any sort of regret or remorse.
Kat: Yeah, I think the line you’re talking about is after he kills Snape because it says, “He turned away; there was no sadness in him, no remorse.” Is that what you’re thinking of?
Caleb: Yeah, yeah. So yeah, it goes over a couple of passages. So it’s very weird, and I feel like Jo had to have written with this internal tension in mind; that maybe this is that one moment. And I think you’re right, that maybe it’s not about the individual, Snape, who he is or whatever as a person, but what he represented. And it’s funny if that’s the case because he was wrong about Snape.
Michael: I was going to… I guess I’ll throw in that I don’t think there’s any emotional feeling [or] attachment in that way. I think he’s purely… I think the only reason Voldemort is feeling this way, whatever this feeling is, is not…
Kat: But it’s a feeling! That’s the thing. It’s not just him being cold and unfeeling.
Michael: No, but I think in a way it is because this is not a feeling about Snape as an individual. I think this is a feeling of losing a really big asset.
Kat: Right, that’s what I mean. Yeah.
Michael: Like a tool. He’s not upset in the way you get upset about losing somebody. It’s upset in the way that you can’t, I don’t know, find the best screwdriver head in the toolbox or something. He’s lost the best tool.
Kat: When your laptop crashes and you lose your data.
Michael: Yes. You’re more pissed off than anything in those situations.
Noah: I actually…
Kat: But that’s still a feeling, though. Sorry, Noah, go ahead.
Noah: So I think this line does have feeling, but it has nothing to do with Snape. This is about his frustration to get the Elder Wand working, and he is just at the end of his rope now, and he’s just decided that he has to kill Snape. So this is the last thing in his way, and he’s like, [as Voldemort] “It is the only way, Nagini. We will kill Snape, and I’m going to have the Elder Wand be working great.” [back to normal voice] [That] is what I think.
Michael: Well, and to be clear, just because you have a Horcrux and you’ve lost pieces of your soul, it’s not that you can’t feel anything. Voldemort has just been so much… in a way, he’s been… The feeling of love that he can’t feel is a mixture of being a victim of circumstance and also doing what he did to his soul because he was born under a love potion, and so that is more metaphorically a part of why he can’t feel affection in that way.
Noah: Which sort of is interesting because then if he’s a sociopath by birth, then how can he really control…? Free will…
Michael: Yeah, and we’ve talked about that in Half-Blood Prince: if he’s to blame. But I think Rowling has clarified – and we’ll hear Dumbledore talk later about how if Voldemort had repented in any way, he would’ve died – he would’ve actually killed himself because there would have been a rush of emotions that he hadn’t experienced before. It’s the same thing [as] when he possessed Harry in Order and he felt love for a little bit, and he couldn’t handle it. And he would’ve died if he probably stayed in Harry for longer. Well, he would’ve become whatever he was in Book 1 since he still had Harry as a Horcrux. So I don’t… he can feel, but I still don’t think there’s necessarily anything toward… there [are] no positive emotions going toward Snape in this instance. I think when Voldemort does these things, these weird things where we think he’s showing that kind of emotion, it’s more to point out that he doesn’t understand this stuff properly. The movie gets it across with the weird hug with Malfoy.
Michael: It’s the same idea. He does something super… in the movie it’s that he’s doing something that we all know how to do, that we take it for granted, that is a show of affection… that Voldemort can’t even do something as simple as that. But I think that’s kind of what’s happening here. Voldemort is not upset about Snape in that way. [He’s] not feeling a positive emotion toward Snape, I would say.
Noah: He’s actually more upset, possibly, with Draco not coming to join him with the Slytherins. And now that I think of that in context of the hug in the movie – which I know is a different canon – why is there so much focus on Draco for Voldemort? Is he sort of like a son figure for him? I’m totally taking us off path here, I know.
Kat: [laughs] I feel like… let’s hold that comment for the movie.
Kat: But it’s funny; I’d never thought about the hug as a context of emotion like that, and that pulling this from the book or pulling that from this feeling in the book… So that makes the hug make more sense to me now. But I’m excited to see what the listeners think because I think we’re a little bit split on the issue, is what it sounds like.
Michael: Well, and I think that was great that you pulled that, Kat, because there [are] other lines we’ve touched on throughout the series where we wonder if Voldemort doesn’t have an ability, at least somewhere in there.
Michael: And this would be one of those that maybe hints at that ambiguity. I don’t know.
Kat: Yeah. There’s another one that I suppose supports more what I was thinking of, as well. Once Snape arrives, and the trio [is] listening from the tunnel, Voldemort says, “I have thought long and hard about this, Severus.” So that to me also speaks to not only his determination to figure out what’s wrong, but a little bit of ambivalence about what he might have to do to Snape. And again, not because of Snape [and] who he is, but because he’s losing that tool, that person that he can use and bend to his will.
Noah: Yeah. Totally.
Caleb: Right, because why else talk it out? Why feel the need to explain it to Snape? Why not just kill him immediately?
Michael: Ooh, so Kat, so it’s like your metaphor with the laptop. So it’s like if your computer has been infected with a virus and you do everything you can to erase that virus, but you still cannot get your computer to work properly.
Kat: Yeah. There you go.
Michael: And you have to make the decision because all your files on that… everything precious to you is on that computer. You need that computer, but the only other option is to just wipe the slate clean and start again.
Michael: And you hate to do it, but you have to do it.
Noah: And Snape was like a really awesome file for him; an inner circle file, like a really great document.
Michael: Snape is like the Internet. [laughs] He’s got it all.
Kat: You can’t do anything without it. [laughs]
Michael: Nope. You’ve just lost your Internet. Your browser has been infected. You have a virus. Boo.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Kat: Since we’re now on the topic of Snape, we’ll move onto that. And I wanted to bring up something that I had also definitely never thought about. I feel like I haven’t read this book in so long…
Kat … that there are so many things that are popping into my head that I’d never thought about before, but this one specifically. So the first conversation, or the first topic, that we see Snape and Voldemort talking about is that Snape is offering to go to the castle to find Harry and bring him to Voldemort. And we know from information before – or later – that Snape is on “Harry’s side.” So what were Snape’s intentions? Where was he going? What was he going to do? Was there some sort of fail-safe in Dumbledore in his plan as to what would happen if it came down to that moment, what Snape was going to do for Harry?
Michael: That’s a good…
Kat: I feel like there’s this big hole there that I don’t know what was going to happen and I’m dying to know.
Noah: I was going to say maybe he was going to do exactly what he just said he was going to do because Harry had to die as far as Snape was concerned for the Horcrux to be destroyed.
Kat: But Snape didn’t know that.
Noah: Are you sure?
Caleb and Michael: Yeah.
Caleb: He does. We’re about to learn that.
Michael: The thing Snape doesn’t have knowledge on is the… and he’s really… he’s telling the truth right at this point; he does not know about what happened with the Elder Wand. Right?
Kat: Right, right.
Michael: So he knows that he had to kill Dumbledore. And that’s the part of Dumbledore’s plan that got ruined: [whom] the Elder Wand was supposed to stay with. But Snape doesn’t know anything.
Kat: But it did because in this moment Voldemort would have been in possession of the Elder Wand if it hadn’t been screwed up by Draco.
Michael: Yeah, and I guess the same thing would have happened except Harry wouldn’t have had control over it at any point because Dumbledore’s intention was to die with it, Snape having helped him die, so that the power of the Wand would have died.
Kat: The Wand would have ended up with Harry regardless because Harry then cast Expelliarmus and took the wand from Voldemort. So the Wand would have ended up with Harry regardless, but…
Noah: Wait, are you talking about the final Expelliarmus?
Noah: I thought that…
Caleb: Yeah, but doesn’t that only work because Harry has technically won the Elder Wand?
Noah: That works because he has the Elder Wand, yeah.
Michael: Yeah, and that’s the part that Dumbledore didn’t plan, so the Elder Wand stuff isn’t… Snape can’t even be accounting for that right now. And when he answers Voldemort about, “What does the Elder Wand do?” And he’s like… or “Why isn’t it working?” And Snape is like, “I don’t know,” that’s the honest to goodness part.
Noah: Maybe Snape has no plan and he just wants to look in Harry’s eyes again.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Kat: Maybe. Perhaps.
Michael: That’s it! Canon accepted.
Kat: So there [are] two… There’s also this moment – we’ve talked a little bit about Lucius before – but there’s a moment where Voldemort compares Snape to Lucius and to me, that felt a little mean [and] a little harsh because Snape has been far and above and beyond a better servant, so to say, a better ally than Lucius has by far. And I feel like this is maybe a little bit of Voldemort – God, I keep losing my words tonight – justifying, a bit, of why he is killing Snape.
Caleb: I agree. I think… See, my first thought when I was thinking about this is [that] it just doesn’t make sense at all. But then I think it speaks to this possible – at least what I believe is – this internal struggle that he might be having, at least on some level, and he’s trying to justify it to himself. Like this is just some subconscious justification, “If he is as worthless as Lucius, then he’s expendable. He’s just as expendable.”
Noah: It’s so interesting because also, we know that Voldemort has given Snape leeway in the past. At the very, very beginning of the series, before Harry was born… or no, no, not before Harry was born, but Voldemort listens to Snape’s plea to not kill the Potters.
Noah: He offers them… “Just let me kill the baby,” and that’s all because Snape asked. So he has some sort of, I guess, feeling for Snape in spite of everything. And maybe it’s just his sense of pride of being able to mentor a little bit and have this cult around him of people, but he didn’t have to do that for Snape. So he does seem to have this history of showing special care for Snape. It’s very bizarre.
Kat: I like the mentor angle. I hadn’t really brought that into it before. It’s an interesting lens to look at it through.
Noah: Because he wanted to be a teacher at Hogwarts, too for a time.
Kat: Well, I think that there was motivation behind that, right? To find the Gryffindor Horcrux?
Michael: See? And I think that’s a good point, though. The idea of him being a teacher is not the positive way we think of people wanting to be teachers.
Michael: Voldemort wants to be a teacher in the way Hitler wanted to be a teacher. The idea that you can… [that] instructing the young gets [them] on your side faster. And in that way, I think that ties into the idea [that] Voldemort, as a mentor, is not a mentor in the way we think positively of a mentor. Voldemort is more the kind of person who hangs the carrot on the string in front of your face and he’s just like, “I’ll give this to you but you’ve got to do everything I do,” and he will never give you that carrot. He just keeps tempting you with things. That’s Voldemort’s whole platform: lying. If it doesn’t fit his ultimate goal, he’s not going to make good on his promises.
Kat: Man, are we talking about American politics right now, or Harry Potter?
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Noah: But he…
Kat: Oops, hopefully I didn’t just offend half of our listeners.
[Kat and Michael laugh]
Noah: I mean, he totally thrives on just having followers and it’s sort of part of him and makes him feel powerful. So I don’t know why Donald Trump does this. Oh.
Noah: Oops, what did I say? What?
Michael: Well, no, that… and it’s fair to bring that up, both of you, because that’s another reason why Harry Potter is so important and why it transcends a lot of youth literature; [the reason] is that it’s still genuine. I mean, this was written… this got published in 2007, and look how relevant this still is. The fact that we can make that parallel just immediately speaks to how important it is, the ideas in Harry Potter.
Noah: I don’t think cults of personalities are good in most cases.
Michael: No, they’re not because you… Cults of personality just… a personality doesn’t get things done. A personality just… and that’s Voldemort. In many ways, he is a cult of personality.
Kat: Right. Snape is the doer behind that personality.
Michael: Mhm. He’s… All of…
Kat: At least Voldemort thinks so, the tool.
Michael: All of Voldemort’s followers are really tools. He’s just full of false promises, that’s all.
Kat: Yep. So in this diatribe, when Snape and Voldemort talk, there’s a moment where Harry just succumbs to the pain that he’s feeling and it switches to Voldemort’s point of view. So we’re seeing Snape out of Voldemort’s eyes. And there’s a moment where Voldemort yells at Snape and says, “No! I told you no. Don’t go get Harry because Harry is going to have to come to me.” He goes, “I know this boy. He’s going to come to me. I understand him.” And I’m not sure. I feel like in this one very, very particular instance, Voldemort does know what Harry is going to do; he’s going to have to find Nagini. But I feel like, overall, Voldemort doesn’t really understand Harry. And I was curious if you guys agree with that.
Noah: Meh, I sort of feel mixed about it because… in the same way that Voldemort is this strong personality or this very polarized entity with a strong ideology and ideas [and] mindset, Harry becomes this opposite to counteract Voldemort. Honestly, because Voldemort made him that when he chose him to be his arch enemy, this nemesis. So I think, in this case, he does know what Harry is going to do as this force of good that’s been set up. But does he understand Harry’s depth of feeling for his friends or love? Definitely not.
Michael: Yeah, that’s exactly it, I think. I think Voldemort understands Harry on a fundamental level but he doesn’t understand him. But he thinks that everything he understands about Harry is to Harry’s disadvantage. He thinks it’s Harry’s weakness and that’s his mistake.
Kat: Right. So then, too, also in this moment where they’re fighting and when Voldemort says that he took the Elder Wand, the Deathstick from Dumbledore, there’s a little bit of a moment where I feel like Snape is a little bit shocked. And I’m not even sure if shocked is the word but it just seems like he’s very cold. And that also, in that moment, is when Snape is staring at Nagini while Voldemort is monologuing and talking to him about the Elder Wand, and I was thinking that this time, does Snape know…? Well, first off, couple of questions: Does Snape know what that bubble is that Nagini is floating in? And does he know that the ultimate goal would be to destroy the snake? I don’t know how much he knows or has contemplated about the Horcruxes. And then also because he’s not looking at Voldemort, was he trying to keep him from reading his mind? Because Snape, possibly, would know that his moment is near and he’s trying to keep his thoughts pure and protected by not looking at Voldemort in that moment?
Michael: I think the lack of eye contact is definitely because he’s trying not to have his mind read because we know that Voldemort is a very powerful Legilimens, right?
Michael: And we’ve got a battle of the minds almost literally in that sense because they’re both… it’s implied that they’re, almost, both on an equal level of Legilimency.
Kat: Right. And Voldemort is staring him down.
Michael: Voldemort… Yeah. What’s so great about this passage and I think why we, as readers, know what’s coming is because Snape is acting really out of character in this passage. Snape doesn’t break eye contact. Snape doesn’t really repeat himself. He knows that when he says something, people have listened. And here, he’s almost on the verge of begging Voldemort to let him go find Harry and he’s never done that before.
Noah: Yeah, he’s desperate.
Caleb: I think he just… he really senses a lot of the danger in this moment. Maybe he thinks it’s already over. Maybe he really is just frantically trying to search all ends to get out of there.
Michael: Mhm. I think he knows that… I don’t think he’s looking at Nagini because he knows she needs to die because I don’t think Snape has full proper knowledge of that. I think he’s just looking at her because he knows that that’s what’s going to be his end, unfortunately.
Noah: Do we think that he’s reading Voldemort’s mind in this case or are his intentions pretty clear as it is?
Caleb: Don’t think he can be reading his mind again because there is no eye contact.
Kat: No eye contact.
Michael: Well, ostensibly, right, if Snape is reading Voldemort’s mind, Voldemort can sense that because that’s the point of Occlumency, right? [That] you can consciously block it off. So yeah, I don’t think he’d even be trying then.
Kat: Oh, and Voldemort is so focused on Snape right now; that’s how he doesn’t know Harry is in his head, is what I would assume.
Caleb: Yeah, I think that’s possible.
Michael: Is that…?
Caleb: Because you would think that with the proximity and him reading his mind, the fact that Voldemort and Harry are so physically close to one another right now in this moment, that normally he would be able to sense that. So I would buy that that’s something of a distraction.
Michael: I guess that’s the thing to explain it away. I always thought that as… this is the weirdest moment where Harry is in Voldemort’s head because he is so close. If Voldemort just looked over a little to the left… I don’t even know what would happen, actually, if he did. [laughs]
Kat: Well, he has the Cloak on. So he’d see nothing.
Michael: Oh, I guess that’s true. It’s just weird because Harry is consciously in there, looking through Voldemort.
Noah: I think it’s totally a good thing that it didn’t go the opposite way, and that Voldemort’s consciousness just went into Harry’s, looking at him behind the crate. [laughs] And he just puts his hand back, and he’s like, “Who is this? Where am I?”
Caleb: “What do we have here?”
Noah: “Oh, my.”
Kat: Right. Oh, God.
Noah: “I’m going to kill these people.”
Michael: “We are in trouble now, aren’t we?”
Noah: That would be terrible. [laughs] That would be awful.
Michael: Yeah, good thing it didn’t work that way.
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Kat: Yeah, thank goodness. So does Snape maybe…? I mean, okay, so he’s staring at Nagini, not because he knows she needs to be destroyed. But do we think he’d know what that bubble is around it? Because I feel like Snape has learned so much from Voldemort that he might possibly know. And I remember reading it and hoping and being like, “Oh, I hope Snape tells Harry what was around the snake,” or something.
Michael: What is that bubble?
Noah: Yeah, what is that? I was just thinking that.
Michael: Because we have protective charms, like Protego, but this is a permanent magical cage protection. What is this?
Noah: And why aren’t there bubbles…? Why didn’t he just put his Horcruxes in bubbles?
Kat: I mean, Harry wouldn’t have been able to destroy them.
Michael: Well, and the weird thing, too, is that we see later that the bubble can envelop things on Voldemort’s direction because Snape is in the bubble and he can’t get out of the bubble.
Michael: [laughs] So what is this bubble? I have no idea.
Noah: [as Voldemort] “Nagini, I shall encase you in my special bubble!” [laughs] [back to normal voice] Never taking a bubble bath with this guy.
Michael: [laughs] Maybe this is a product of Dark magic and Snape doesn’t… I don’t know if Snape would even know what it was.
Noah: That’s probably why he repeated himself. He was just so confused. Why does Voldemort have a bubble here?
Michael: Well, I was going to just say that Snape would probably… if he doesn’t know the Horcrux stuff, then he’s probably very perplexed as to why Voldemort is being so protective of Nagini. So I’m sure that’s just confusing to him. I’m pretty sure he’s just looking at it because he’s freaking out.
Kat: Wouldn’t it be so cool if we got a chapter that told us all about everything Snape knows? Just saying. [laughs]
Michael: Yes. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Noah: That’s part of his charm. What we don’t know, that he knows.
Michael: Oh, I know.
Kat: So right at the moment of the end of Snape and Voldemort’s exchange, after he has sicced Nagini on Snape and said, “Kill,” Voldemort is standing in the room and he says, “I regret it.” Oh, can you say that, Michael? It’ll sound better in your voice.
Michael: Oh, pfft.
Kat: Just the, “I regret it.” I’ll do the narration.
Michael: [as Voldemort] “I regret it.”
Kat: “… said Voldemort coldly. He turned away; there was no sadness in him, no remorse.” I don’t know. I know that it says the words “no [sad]ness.”
Caleb: Yeah, that’s the thing. I got a little ahead of myself earlier, but this is the one that really made me think the way I do about him possibly having some sort of complicated, don’t-know-how-to-deal-with-it regret.
Michael: Nope! Nope. It’s a Malfoy hug. [laughs] It doesn’t mean anything. It’s awkward. It means nothing. It’s that thing that Voldemort knows that evil villains say when they do something evil and villainy.
Kat: So Snape is dead.
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Kat: He takes a few more final moments in his death to actually give Harry a tiny bit of information. Of course, we won’t see the majority of that information until the next chapter. However, there’s a moment where Harry walks out from the tunnel, and Hermione is like, “What? Harry! What are you doing? Stop!” And I was wondering, why did Harry actually approach Snape? I know that it’s probably because he felt safe in that moment; Voldemort was gone. But was it pity? Was it hope? Was it respect, in some way, for Snape? What was his motivation for going over to talk to Snape?
Noah: I don’t know. Harry doesn’t think these things through. He just does it because he’s the hero of his own story.
Michael: Well, no, that… [laughs] I like that answer in terms of… because listeners have talked about that, that Harry, Ron, and Hermione are just inherently good people.
Michael: And there’s something about them that… and we’ve just seen that in the previous chapter with Malfoy. I mean, Malfoy and his cronies almost killed the three of them, but they still go back and save them. There’s this constant inherent need to do something to help people. I think that’s valid. I’ve always… I mean, I’m with you, Kat; I’ve always been befuddled by this. I almost feel like the narration doesn’t really know what to say.
Michael: But in a way I think that’s… and yet, simultaneously I think that’s perfect because… I guess the word I would use is “shock” because Snape for good or ill has been a part of their lives for the last seven years in a very prominent way.
Michael: And I think, just like the reader, Harry has just as much curiosity about Snape, no matter how much he dislikes Snape. He’s very befuddled by Snape because he knows that Snape knows something.
Noah: I agree with all of that, Michael, and I’d even add that Dumbledore always trusted Snape, so in the back of his head, Harry still has that sense of…
Noah: … a little bit of trust or respect for him, just because Dumbledore respected him so much.
Michael: Mm. Yeah.
Kat: That’s a good point.
Michael: I think there’s just… I think the mystery of Snape works for us as the readers because Harry has been entranced in the same mystery for all these books, right?
Kat: Yeah. Well, and we also get this moment when Snape is dying, which I feel is probably a little bit of his true nature peeking out with the memories leaking from his face.
Michael: This is weird.
Noah: Now, how did he…?
Kat: It’s the weirdest description.
Michael: Yes, that’s so bizarre.
Kat: I have no idea how.
Noah: Did he have to plan that? Was he storing some memories in his face, just in that final moment, before, leading up…? Or does everybody do this, a little bit? Or… it can’t be a common thing, right? He would have had to plan that, right?
Kat: I think so. Because I mean, if memories can leak out of your eyes, imagine… [laughs]
Noah: That’d be a bit more commonplace.
Kat: I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I’ve definitely woken up from dreams where I’ve been crying. And I feel like maybe if I [were] a wizard, those could be memories if I can’t control that? I mean, I don’t know. I don’t know how it works.
Michael: It must be… okay, because I’m just looking through the passage again, and Harry notices that the memories are starting to leak out of Snape after he approaches Snape. So Snape seems to be purposefully pushing his memories out.
Michael: This isn’t just something that happens… because that’s the other thing that’s so… because if Harry hadn’t showed up… Snape seems to know that Harry needs these memories to figure out the rest of it. This is a piece of the plan, and big whoopsies if Harry doesn’t get these memories. So I mean, how fortuitous that Harry showed up at this moment.
Kat: How convenient! Yes.
Michael: Yes. This is one of the few things that I like that the movies changed because it’s more romanticized but I really prefer the single tear. I like that the memories are just coming out of his tears, as opposed to leaking out of his ears and eyes and… [laughs]
Kat: Yeah, it says, “It gushed from his mouth and his ears and his eyes.”
Michael: That’s weird.
Noah: Hashtag ew.
Kat: It’s gross. For real.
Michael: That is very bizarre. Those memories acting like… that’s fascinating, the idea that you can just force them out that way, and the only way we’ve seen that you can extract them is with a wand. And the idea that when you die you can push them out, that’s…
Noah: But probably more disgusting than all of that is what comes next.
Kat: Which is what?
Noah: “The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty.”
Kat: Keep going! You have to read the last sentence.
Noah: “The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.” That rhymed; that’s cool.
Kat: Wow, it rhymes.
Caleb: It sounds very Edgar Allan Poe.
Caleb: Almost “The Raven” or something.
Noah: I was channeling that a little bit, so thanks for picking that up.
Kat: No, it’s funny; just as you said that, Caleb, I was thinking, “Ooh, that feels like Poe.” It’s funny.
Noah: Yeah, I’m actually really into Poe right now. That’s another podcast.
Kat: That is not what I thought you were going to say. That’s another podcast…
Kat: That is not what I thought you were going to say. So… cool!
Nah: [laughs] But what I mean to say is that Snape basically has a very tender moment. “Let me look in your eyes, Harry, and just basically look at my past love,” but it’s also creepy. He’s literally just using Harry as some kind of medium to see Lily. “Just stand there, Harry. Just not even look at you, but look through you.” I guess it’s either… that really speaks to Snape as a person. He’s tender, but also creepy.
Kat: Yeah, I feel like death brings out the true nature in most people.
Michael: That’s what’s always put me off of this, and about the justification of Snape, and I know many of our listeners… and listeners, please, feel free this week – I know you will – rush to Snape’s defense because none of us [is] going to do it. You know we won’t. [laughs]
Noah: Exactly zero of us.
Michael: But I don’t know. The thing… this is part of what has always bothered me about Snape in his unrequited love for Lily, is that he chooses rather than to… he chooses to see Lily strictly in the physical nature of Harry’s eyes, but everybody else notes that, while Harry’s eyes are very similar to Lily’s – an, of course, that ends up being a big thing and that’s the reveal here – but that he never chooses to see Lily’s personality in Harry’s personality. And everybody else can see that, and I don’t know why it’s okay. That, to me, that doesn’t make Snape’s story more romantic. Like Noah said, to me, it makes it creepy.
Kat and Noah: It is creepy.
Michael: I think it’s weird that he would choose to see that… he just purely chooses to see Lily’s physical nature. The windows are the eye to the soul. We can go with that, sure.
Kat: Which is why I’ve always said that it is not love, it is obsession.
Michael: Yeah. No, I…
Noah: Maybe this is a real super reach, but maybe there’s some pagan stuff in here, too. Maybe Harry is like the carrier of some kind of feminine or pagan spirit embodied by Lily and he’s bringing that to Snape in this last moment and that was the call to why he felt like he had to go over.
Kat: Sure. Yeah.
Noah: That’s such a reach. I don’t know if that’s actually a true, sure thing.
Michael: See, to me, the way I interpret that is that [it] goes back to the whole idea of seeing Lily’s personality in Harry, rather than just seeing her eyes. But that’s all that Snape sees, is her eyes. And that’s the part that’s disappointing to me because Harry has many… throughout the series, we hear other characters tell Harry that he has very many likable qualities that Lily had. I guess you could argue that Snape… that reminds him of Lily too much? I don’t know. It just……that’s always bothered me.
Noah: I guess Snape has suffered a lot, for sure. He has gone through a lot of hell. So I think he’s entitled to this last moment of creepy selfishness and basically using Harry to mentally commune with Lily, to whatever extent is possible. I give it to him. He can have it. He’s gone through a lot.
Kat: I guess my problem is that it hasn’t been one last moment of creepiness.
[Michael and Noah laugh]
Kat: It’s been seven years of rudeness and creepiness.
Michael: I really like Noah’s idea, though, that part of it is that that’s Snape’s last thing that he needs to cross over, is to almost see Lily welcoming him over to the other side. Harry gets that more literally, I suppose, but I don’t know.
Noah: He does. Well, we do know that Lily is in his heart, to whatever extent…
Michael: That’s true.
Noah: … because when he uses the Stone, she literally comes out. So maybe he is seeing something that we’re not seeing, Snape is.
Michael: That’s true. That’s true. Didn’t think of it that way. That’s very true. Maybe he is seeing something more there than just eyes. Windows to the souls, whatever. It’s still creepy. [laughs]
Kat: [singing] “Something there that wasn’t there before.”
Michael: Oh, more Beauty and the Beast. Yay! [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] So I guess we’ll save the bulk of our Snape discussion until next week because I’m sure that is going to be a very controversial show, and that’s it!
Noah: Wait, you guys don’t play songs anymore when characters die? We did that for Cedric.
Caleb: We do not. There are too many deaths.
Noah: There are too many deaths. That’s true.
Kat: I just did. I just sang the “Beauty and the Beast” song. Okay? So that’s it. That’s Snape’s song.
Noah: That works for me.
Kat: Okay. So that’s it. That’s the end of Chapter 32.
Michael: So before we end our episode today – and although we said we were going to save Snape’s discussion for next episode – we still have a few questions about Snape. There [are] going to be a lot of those for a little while, I’m thinking. [laughs] So we do have a big question from this chapter, and that is: “In their final encounter, Snape continually insists to Voldemort to let him go and find Harry. We will discover in the next chapter the breadth of Snape’s knowledge on what Harry has to do, which clarifies that the transfer of the Elder Wand’s power is not something he is aware of. With that in mind, and knowing what information Snape bequeaths to Harry via his memories, what was his plan? Was his intention to seek Harry out, or relay the information another way? Does Snape know that, regardless of his course of action, he would be as much a pig for slaughter, as Harry?” So to answer that question, listeners, head on over to alohomora.mugglenet.com, where you will see the Podcast Question of the Week post. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Kat: And now it is that time of the show where we must thank our guest, Mr. Noah Fried, for joining us today. Thank you, Noah, so much!
Noah: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’ve been really feeling… I really loved the conversation today. I think this is a rocking discussion and I’m just so happy that everything is just… that we’ve gotten to this point of Deathly Hallows. I know I wasn’t really necessarily part of it, but…
Kat: You’ve always been a part of the show, Noah, let’s be real.
Noah: I’ve been a part of it from the sidelines, and I just dig it. I dig what it’s about, and honestly, Harry Potter is making a little bit of a comeback right now. I’m just seeing it everywhere. I’m feeling it. I think maybe some combination of the new movies and just general excitement about it… but Harry Potter is awesome. I’m just going to leave it at that, and I’m done.
Kat: I feel like you need to go on SpeakBeasty and talk about all the weirdass animals in the world. I feel like you would enjoy that.
Noah: Yeah, I’d love to be involved. I’d love to come on.
Michael: SpeakBeasty is a fun little podcast. Noah, yes, I think we definitely… I speak for everyone when I say we miss you. There are many episodes where I’m sure all of us have said, “Well, I’m going to say this because this is a Noah thing,” or, “That sounds like something Noah would say.”
Michael: So no, Kat is right; you’ve definitely been here in spirit this whole time. It makes me wonder all of the unsaid Noah things that we’ve potentially missed [laughs] throughout these…
Noah: Well, it sounds like you caught a lot of them, so I’m glad. [laughs]
Michael: Well, and thanks to our other fantastic listeners and guests we’ve had. We’ve had a lot of creative input on the show, and there is a way to still be a part of that… not for Hallows, listeners! Hallows is full! I told you it was going to fill up! I told you every week! [laughs] So… but there’s still a chance to be on the show in some way, maybe, because we will have details on that, for our post-Hallows plans. There are also those post-Hallows plans, of course, on Patreon, which we will mention again in a bit. But please, keep sending in your audition clips. We want to hear those! If you have a set of headphones with a built in mic, a separate microphone, or a built-in mic on your computer, as well as recording equipment on your computer, you’re all set! We don’t require any fancy equipment for this show! And to figure out how to be on this show just head over to our main page, alohomora.mugglenet.com.
Kat: And in the meantime if you want to keep in touch with us, you can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, [and] facebook.com/openthedumbledore. We’re on Tumblr at MNAlohomoraPodcast, our Instagram is AlohomoraMN, [and] our website, as you know, is alohomora.mugglenet.com. And don’t forget to download your ringtone for free while you’re there, or go ahead and send us an AudioBoom. Go over to alohomora.mugglenet.com. It’s free. All you need is an Internet connection and a microphone. Click the little green button, leave us a message that is under 60 seconds, and you just might hear yourself on the show! Noah, can you tell us the Twitter handle for Jim the Dementor? I feel like maybe our listeners don’t know what that is.
Noah: So I believe it’s @JimTheDementor, on Twitter.
Kat: Oh. That’s easy to remember.
Caleb: And we want to give you just one last reminder to check out our Patreon page at patreon.com/alohomora, and you can be a sponsor for as low as $1 a month. All right, well, that’s going to do it for this week’s episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.
[Show music begins]
Michael: I’m Michael Harle.
Kat: And I’m Kat Miller. Thank you for listening to Episode 183 of Alohomora!
Noah: Open the Dumbledore!
[Show music continues]
Michael: With that in mind, and knowing what information Harry bequeaths… ooh, nope. That’s wrong. Snape bequeaths to Harry. Harry ain’t giving Snape nothing. He dead.
Kat: Oh, whoops. [laughs]
Michael: There we go.
Kat: He gave him undying love through this eyes.
Michael: There we go. Okay.