Transcript – Episode 48

[Show music begins]

Caleb Graves: This is Episode 48 of Alohomora! for September 14, 2013.

[Show music continues]

Caleb: Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.

Laura Reilly: I’m Laura Reilly.

Eric Scull: And I’m Eric Scull. And joining us this week is a very special guest, also fellow MuggleNet staffer, Rachel! She’s a news intern and a lover, it says here, of sea turtles.

Rachel Hartnett: Hi, everyone!

[Eric laughs]

Caleb: Sea turtles, huh? Where did that come from?

Rachel: Two of my best friends are actually Biology majors.

Eric: [laughs] I thought you were going to say that two of your best friends were sea turtles!

[Caleb and Rachel laugh]

Caleb: That would be a very different podcast.

Rachel: Yes. No, and they volunteer with the Sea Turtle Conservation League of Singer Island down here in South Florida, and I’ve been lucky enough to go out with them and get to see some baby sea turtles.

Eric: Oh, gosh. So you’ve actually swam with sea turtles.

Rachel: No, these are just the hatchlings. We get to…

Eric: Oh!

Laura: Aww! They’re babies!

Rachel: Yeah, we get to excavate the nests and if there [are] any little last stragglers in the nest, we get to pull them up and save them!

Eric: Aww.

Laura: How cool. Would you say… is a sea turtle is your Patronus?

Rachel: Oh, I wish. Yes. That’d be great.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: And where are you from?

Rachel: I actually live in South Florida.

Laura: Awesome.

Rachel: Yeah.

Laura: So I bet the weather is nicer there than it is…

Rachel: It is very hot.

Caleb: Yeah.

Rachel: Hot and humid.

Laura: I bet that’s true.

Caleb: That’s the way it is here in Texas.

Rachel: Is it? [laughs]

Caleb: Yeah.

Laura: That’s actually the way it is in New Jersey too. It’s hot everywhere right now. Okay, so just a reminder to fans, if you want to fully enjoy this episode and remember everything, be sure to read Chapter 10, which is “Mayhem at the Ministry” before we dive in here.

Caleb: So we’re going to start with your comments on our discussion from last week in which we talked about the chapter that’s basically the aftermath of the Quidditch World Cup and we first see the Dark Mark. One area of comments that pervaded the forums that I want to address, we had some trouble… we spent quite a bit of time last week talking about why Bagman shows up all intense, anxious, all sorts of things, and as so many of you pointed out, we forgot the fact that we do find this out later, that it is because he owed goblins money and the goblins cornered him in the woods at the Quidditch World Cup and took all that he had, but he still didn’t have enough to cover his debts. So yes, that is correct. Some of you, it seemed, were very frustrated that we forgot this and I’d just like to point out, we do definitely love that you guys remind us of things, but keep in mind, when we’re doing one chapter at a time it’s very easy to forget details that we haven’t quite gotten to in the book.

Laura: Yeah. Well, I for one am grateful I didn’t make that my Podcast Question of the Week, which was what the original thing was.

[Caleb, Eric, and Laura laugh]

Laura: Otherwise these would all be directed towards me specifically. So…

Eric: Gosh.

Caleb: But thank you for reminding us because, yes, that is indeed why he is that way.

Laura: [laughs] We’re tired. It’s fine.

Caleb: Okay. So the next comment comes on the topic of why Ron is more affected by the Veelas in the forest than Harry is and it comes from magicjinx224 in the forums. And it says,

“I agree that Harry was very preoccupied with other stuff and losing his wand also probably affected him. I also think Harry is just more capable of ignoring the charms of the Veela. I liken their charms with the effects of the Imperius Curse. They send out whatever it is and the men do things that they otherwise normally wouldn’t. We learn later on that Harry is capable of throwing off the Imperius Curse because he has a very strong sense of will. I think that once Harry learned about the effects the Veela can have, he was more able to ignore those effects, probably using similar skills that he uses to throw off the Imperius Curse. This I think helps explain Ron’s actions here and why Harry wasn’t affected like that.”

Laura: It’s a good point.

Caleb: Very good comparison.

Laura: I always liked that Harry was able to throw off the Imperius Curse in Moody’s lesson because it’s one of those very few instances where he shows himself to be especially good at actual magic and not just because of special reasons.

Caleb and Eric: Mhm.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, if only he were this good right off the bat at Legilimency.

Caleb: Right.

Eric: But yeah, totally cool.

Caleb: Right, the next comment comes on the topic of… we talked quite a bit about Goblet of Fire being the turning point, we’ve talked about that in past episodes, but last week we talked about how this is definitely true because we see real evil people violating other people, something that’s we’re even as Muggles more familiar with. And this comment comes from Hufflepuffskein on the forums and it says,

“I was very interested in the discussion about GoF as a turning point in the series and its connection to such dark subject matter. Pushing aside the fact that Voldemort is literally reborn using the most terrible process imaginable in this book, the preceding events really are dark and troubling. For example, this chapter is about a full on riot where a crowd basically kidnaps a family and tortures them in front of frightened people. This is a huge leap from previous dark moments in the series (QuirrellMort, Basilisk, Buckbeak’s beheading, Dementor’s Kiss) because as Laura and Kat said those moments were pretty heavily magical and not so closely tied to our perspective. But most of us can certainly relate to riot-like situations and the panic they inspire. The evil in this book seems so much more real than before. You can feel the evil that surrounds Voldemort building and working its way back into Harry’s daily life.”

Laura: Yeah, I think the fact that they said… the fact that it’s a big group of people that are doing it in an almost riot-like way, it makes you feel very much a sense of those organized stuff, like terrorism and things like that, rather than just one evil, dark, magical being. That’s what makes, I think, us as Muggle humans and everything, more affected by it, because it’s really more a terrorist type plot than anything.

Eric: I think what makes it more effective too is that we just saw a bunch of chaos because the Quidditch World Cup was this chaos that was lightly organized, but there was just so many people there and it was all this excitement that we were feeling because there was so many people there. But once all the people start panicking, it very really becomes uncontrolled chaos and it becomes fear of the unknown. It becomes… it was always, I guess, out of direct control, but when everybody starts panicking it’s like the downside of the fact that there is everybody there for that huge event. It was exciting at first for Harry, I guess is what I’m trying to say, but now it’s completely turned around.

Caleb: Yup.

Laura: Yeah, definitely.

Caleb: So the last set of comments… and this actually… it sparked quite a debate in the forums. We talked last week about the run-in that the trio has with a couple of Beauxbatons students, and we talked somewhat last week about the British versus French – I guess we more highlighted the French dynamic, why they respond that way. Anyway, two comments that come from different sides of the issue. One is from dramatic_sheep and it says,

“Just wanted to throw in two cents on the Hogwarts vs. Beauxbatons debate. I think Jo was actually highlighting how the French see us (British) and look down on us. I have lived in France many times (language student) and a lot of the French can actually… look down on you if you don’t speak their language. I also think Jo might be drawing upon her experiences of living in France from when she was an English teacher. A lot of the Parisians can be a bit cold and not very welcoming – I think this is reflected in the scene where Harry & co. run into a Beauxbatons student in the woods.”

That certainly set off quite a few fireworks, particularly with LilyRose who comes from the French perspective and says,

“I would like to point out that the reason most foreigners can find French people snooty is that 1) a lot of British and American people come to Europe without feeling the need to even attempt to speak the local language. I have come across this a lot: While in France it is mandatory for students to finish school having learnt not one but two foreign languages, there is no such obligation in the UK or US. 2) There is a huge cultural difference in the culture of politeness and customer service: while in the US the customer is king (because of the complaint culture and the need for tips), in France the servers don’t need tips to survive, and so they do their jobs without much pandering. In France, when you walk into a store you should say ‘Bonjour Madame/Monsieur,’ and sometimes when that custom is not respected, Parisians think the customer is being rude.”

Laura: Yeah, I really appreciate this comment. That whole idea that it has nothing to do with French or British. The same could be said really of going anywhere of people that are going to a country and expect them, expect that country to conform to themselves. It’s the whole idea of ethnocentrism. And there’s a quote that I’m paraphrasing that’s like, “A foreign country is not supposed to make you feel comfortable, it’s supposed to make it’s own people comfortable.” So yeah, there is that idea that if you’re going to France, French is the language that’s spoken. So…

Eric: Hmm. Yeah.

Caleb: I also think it’s interesting because just the fact that we’re talking about maybe a couple of lines in this huge Harry Potter series, that people are able to have this really awesome branched out discussion.

Laura: Yeah, definitely. Because this really… all it takes is something that small to spark that in that everything we see from the series is based out of the UK. So whenever different countries are introduced, it’s such a much more narrower scope that it almost becomes defined by their culture, whereas we don’t see Harry’s actions as being motivated because he’s British. The other people, like the Bulgarians and the French, they’re the only people from those cultures we see, so that’s how we tend to identify them. Like, “Oh, they’re from Bulgaria. They’re from France.”

Eric: Mhm.

Laura: And we lump their characteristics in with that just because we get a narrower scope when that’s not really fair.

Eric: Mhm. Well, now it’s time for our Podcast Question of the Week responses from last week. We had actually, I think, a really interesting podcast question last week based on a really unique moment in this book. So the question, just to reiterate was, we talked a lot about Draco and how his comment that he makes towards Hermione and about the Muggle woman in the sky is particularly vile and it’s even something that is uncharacteristic for him because it’s something that is directed towards females and not just Muggle-borns. Why do you think Draco was behaving in such an even uncharacteristic way for him? Do you think… or, do you consider this one of the lower points in his character arc or is there a moment in the future that you think trumps this from Draco? So we got a couple of comments here, first from HallowsMaster who says,

“We need to remember that Draco is 14 at the time of this incident. He is a young and confused teenager; I really don’t consider Draco ‘evil’ in Book 4. He is arrogant and very much influenced by his parents decisions. I believe that the beginning of ‘Half-Blood Prince’ is Draco’s lowest point because at that stage, he strongly believes that Voldemort is right and he shows how proud he is to be part of the Death Eaters. I think halfway through Book 6 Draco realizes that the Death Eaters are dark, twisted, and evil; he realizes that he doesn’t want to be part of that.

As for this comment, I see it as a very unplanned remark. Draco needed a quick comeback to throw at the trio and he thought of the first thing that came to mind. I really don’t believe that 14-year-old Draco actually comprehended what he was saying; he just wanted to make an impression.”

Laura: Yeah. I agree, much largely agree that I would certainly not call Draco evil. I wasn’t even implying that with this question. I think just more the word we used, “vile,” is the accurate word. “Vile” and “evil” don’t necessarily mean the same thing. It’s more just disgusting and degrading, but I do agree that he is fourteen and there are certainly boys at that age or people at that age that make those remarks because they just kind of learned stuff like that. Learned to talk like that.

Eric: Yeah, exactly. I can recall saying something equally offensive, quite different, one or twice. Regretted it completely after I said it – you would even think, “Why did I even say it?” – but as a kid, you just kind of do throw your weight around a little bit. Leah McCurdy has something to add to that. Leah says,

“I think the context is important too. This is one of the few occasions the trio meets Draco outside of Hogwarts. The other occasions, such as in the robes shop with his mother in Book 6 when he makes similar terrible comments and completely disrespects the shop owner, are similar and quite characteristic. While he can be nasty at Hogwarts too, he is constrained a bit by the presence of teachers and rules (to whatever degree he actually follows them). But in this environment, in the summertime, with his parents and likely many other associated families, he has a bit more bravado. He certainly knows that his parents are involved in the terror that night and so likely feels comfortable that he will not be harmed. I think his comments are also founded in the superiority he feels over everyone, especially Muggle-borns and Muggles. His very harsh comments are targeted at Hermione in a small group of people and out of harm’s way, so he feels pretty puffed up and a bit invincible. Perhaps adrenaline from the crazy atmosphere also contributed to his extra malice.
I think he has had far worse moments in the series. These are just words, an empty threat really. But as other commentors have said, later on in the series he attempts murder several times and though not directly, orchestrates Dumbledore’s death. I realize that when he gets the chance to actually ‘pull the trigger’ he wavers but all the premeditation and planning involved and the horrible acts of the cursed necklace and poisoning come from a very dark place. It is all the more intricate because he is compelled to carry out those acts by the threat of death. So fear plays a big role, but I find it difficult to argue that Draco is not an intrinsically bad person. While every person is not wholly one thing, Draco has both his good and his bad; I don’t find this type of comment uncharacteristic.”

Caleb: See, my thing with this and actually the comment before it is, later in the series, when he’s acting and doing all these things in Book 6, I think it is most because he feels this pressure and it has all to do with the Malfoy family working always as a family unit. It’s right after Lucius has been imprisoned, and he feels he has to take his father’s place. And that definitely does not justify his actions, but I think what Leah’s talking about in this comment, that it’s out of a place of fear, I think it’s that more than anything. Not necessarily that he’s… I do not think his actions in the sixth book are the most evil. The might have the most evil-like consequences, but his person, as who he is, I do not think those are his worst moments. I still think this is.

Eric: That’s a good point, I think. I can kind of get what you’re getting at, Caleb, here too because later, when he feels like it’s his duty or whatever to protect his family or to take up what Lucius failed, he’s not being as genuine with his feelings. Here, when there’s no consequences in the middle of the woods, he can be his true self. And he could be as good or as much like a punk as he wants to be, and he chooses to be a punk and say this. So I think this is kind of a true moment of something that he did that came from who he really was.

Laura: Right, and I think it’s, once again to stress, we weren’t necessarily asking the most evil. Yeah, the most evil thing he did was cursing Katie and killing inadvertently Dumbledore, etc. But just as far as his own motivations of being disgusting and just, like we said, a low point, a low moral thing, like Caleb said, the other stuff is so much more complicated and so much deeper than it’s not something that I keep at surface level, like “Yeah, that’s the worst thing he said” or whatnot.

Eric: And our final comment this evening comes from Jasmine Hinds, who says,

“What Draco said was horrible, but I feel that he was playing a part. He is saying what he know will make Hermione feel uncomfortable and what he knows will get under Ron and Harry’s skin. He is still immature and trying to play his part in falling in line to follow his father. Also, we have to remember that Draco was brought up in a certain way of thinking and was thought to believe that Muggles and Muggle-borns are beneath him.”

Caleb: What is your first reaction, Rachel?

Rachel: I mean, I agree with that a lot. It’s all socialization. You believe what your parents believe. And at this point… we have to remember he’s completely alone in the woods when they find him. He is completely and totally alone, and probably feeling a little frightened himself upon finding three of his biggest so-called enemies barging in on him. And so I think he is trying to get under their skin and make them uncomfortable.

Laura: Yeah, definitely. All right. So with that, I think we’re going to dive into our chapter discussion for this week.

[Goblet of Fire Chapter 10 intro begins]

Ron: Chapter 10.

[Sounds of clock chimes and ticking]

Ron: “Mayhem at the Ministry.”

[Goblet of Fire Chapter 10 intro ends]

Laura: All right, so now we’re in the aftermath of the aftermath…

[Caleb laughs]

Laura: … in a pretty chill chapter of… [laughs] everyone is leaving the World Cup. Arthur, he uses magic to put away the tents, which is pretty interesting because he doesn’t even care anymore. They’re not… they’re just getting out of there. Before, he was one of the people to care specifically about doing everything to code and doing everything without magic. No one cares anymore. So people are all clamoring to leave there as soon as possible. They’re all fighting to get to the Portkeys first. And one thing I thought was interesting was Mr. Roberts, the Muggle that had been attacked the previous night, dazed in goodbye, says, “Merry Christmas.”

[Eric laughs]

Laura: And Arthur says, “Sometimes when a person’s memory is modified, they may seem a bit disoriented for a while,” and that was a big thing they had to make him forget. So I just thought this was interesting because I’m pretty sure this was a posed Question of the Week from a few weeks ago, of what happens to someone when they get repeatedly… how does that impact their mind, right? Am I right in saying that was a question?

Caleb: Yeah, I’m thinking… it was either… I think it was a question. It was either that or a big point of discussion, but I’m pretty sure it was a question.

Laura: Yeah. I’m pretty sure it was a question. So I guess it kind of answered this, which is pretty much what we had… the point we had reached. That it’s… I don’t think it’s going to break them as a person, mentally, in the same way that Lockhart is – we find out – in Order of the Phoenix. Because he’s saying that was a big thing, so this is a very big example of someone’s memory being modified, and Mr. Weasley says he’ll be fine.

Eric: Well, Mr. Weasley says, but does that make it true? I mean, it just seems like we’ve seen Muggles… or we’ve seen wizards be careless before, “Oh, he’ll be fine. He’s a little disoriented…”

Laura: That’s true.

Caleb: He says it a little too easily.

Eric: “He’s a little disoriented. He thinks it’s five months from now, or seven months ago.” [laughs]

Laura: That’s a very good point.

Eric: “Half a year of his life is gone. Pfft, he’ll get it back. It’ll come to him in a dream, or something.” Yeah, I think wizards are overstepping the bounds here. I think they probably could have handled his presence there differently, but it’s obviously… it’s very obviously a comedic point for this book right now, trying to poke at humor.

Laura: In a kind of disturbing way.

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: Because it’s like, “Isn’t it hilarious because he doesn’t know what month it is because he got tortured yesterday?” [laughs]

Eric: Well, we think it’s… yeah, we think it’s disturbing, but I think when I probably first read the book I was probably like, “Hahaha,” because I thought the threat was gone because clearly he forgot, right? Clearly he doesn’t know anymore that that happened to him, so I think the threat is gone, and now it’s just funny. But that’s how it would have felt when I was younger.

Laura: Yeah. Okay, so now they all get back to the Burrow and after Arthur, Mrs. Weasley runs straight for the twins, wraps her arms around them, squishing them to death because she’s feeling horribly guilty about that they had gotten in a big fight…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … before they left for the Quidditch World Cup, and she could have… Rita Skeeter, which I’ll get to in a second, has now built this up to be a big thing in the press, so Mrs. Weasley thought that they could have died or whatever.

Caleb: [laughs] Yeah, because that’s never going to happen.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Oh! Here I was going to say that this is a set-up and the pay-off is later in this chapter, but the pay-off… there’s a different kind of situation…

Caleb: In about three books.

Eric: Oh, God.

Laura: I will get to that. [laughs] So I think it’s funny. They get in for breakfast, and Mr. Weasley is taking his tea Irish. He’s pouring shots of whiskey into it…

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Laura: … to get through the morning, but this is, I think – correct me if I’m wrong – the first introduction we get of Rita Skeeter. Yes?

Eric: Mhm.

Caleb: I think so.

Laura: Yeah, okay, so in the Prophet she had written all about the “disasters” that had gone on at World Cup, and Percy is not having any of it. He starts calling her “this vile woman” and the stuff that she’s writing…

Eric: [laughs] Well, she attacked his article on cauldron bottoms. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah. Exactly.

Eric: That’s what it is – he’s been personally attacked by Rita.

Laura: He’s been personally victimized by her, too.

Eric: Yes, yes. She said, “The Ministry of Magic is focusing on cauldron thickness. They should be focusing on stamping out vampires.” And did you guys catch that her half-human prejudice started now with this thing where she suggests vampires are a problem for Britain that should be stamped out? How cool is that? Because that comes into play obviously later when she does the piece on Hagrid. She just doesn’t like half humans.

Laura: Hmm, I didn’t pick up on that. But one thing I think is funny is that while Percy is going on about it, for the wrong reasons, Bill says, “‘Do us a favor, Perce,’ said Bill, yawning, ‘and shut up.'” [laughs] And I just…

Caleb: For the win.

Laura: … like when different Weasleys… we still at this point don’t necessarily know a lot about Bill, so this was really fleshing out his character of someone I really liked in the book.

Eric: It’s interesting because Bill also has had his own run-in with Rita. Or was that Charlie? I’m sorry.

Laura: Nope. That was Bill.

Eric: That was Bill. So he can totally see where everybody is coming from. He doesn’t like her either.

Laura: Yeah, he calls… Rita Skeeter called him a long-haired something or other…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … and then Molly is like, “Well, it is a bit long.” [laughs]

Eric: That’s the thing – everybody kind of agrees with something that Rita’s doing; they just don’t agree with how she’s doing it. It’s weird, it’s funny and it’s complicated, and it’s the way that all things in life are – just a little bit more complicated than they ought to be. Which is why something like this, which is a fairly short chapter, is so entertaining at the same time.

Laura: Yeah. So it goes on in the article that Rita writes that Arthur rashly… it’s not that big a deal, but it said when he emerged from the whole Dark Mark scene that, “Oh, no one’s hurt.” But Rita takes this and says that the Ministry spoke too soon, because now there’s rumors of bodies being removed from the scene.

Eric: [sighs] I wonder how much of that was her, and how much was her Quick Quotes Quill. [laughs] Because they’re like one and the same, of course, but she just, kind of, to stir the pot, she says that there were bodies. And Mr. Weasley reacts the same way. He says, “Oh, now there will be rumors.” It’s like she’s just blatantly starting rumors that aren’t true. Because she can. It’s a very good first introduction to Rita.

Rachel: Yeah, it really sets up her character.

Eric: Mhm.

Laura: We’ll probably get to this later when Rita’s officially introduced, but I’m just so curious – as a person that’s going into journalism – [about] the magic behind the Quick Quotes Quill. Is it 100 percent doing all the work? Does Rita do any of it? I totally always wanted to know what the deal is with the Quick Quotes Quill.

Caleb: I think we should save that.

Laura: We’ll save that, yeah.

Eric: We’ll probably get it in Pottermore as well.

Caleb: Hopefully so.

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah. So Arthur, because of this comment that he makes, and just the general “mayhem at the Ministry”…

Eric: [laughs] I see what you did there.

Laura: Yeah. He decides he’s going to go back to work, and Percy says that he’ll go in with him so that he can give his all-important report to Crouch in person. And it just made me think – just as a side thing – of the idea of Percy and Arthur going into work together, however way that is. I don’t know if they just Apparate, but… I guess I’m just thinking of the movie where Harry and Arthur go into the Ministry together…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … and there’s more of a conversational thing. I guess I was just trying to picture that one-on-one relationship between Percy and Arthur, because we only ever see the Weasleys in a large family dynamic…

Eric: That’s true.

Laura: … and not ever one-on-one. So I was just kind of thinking about that… for two seconds.

Eric: I think Arthur would be proud of Percy. He is the only one who is destined for a Ministry job, or looks like he’s going to get a Ministry job. The part of Arthur that enjoys being part of government is reflected in his son. I think he would be… I think they would get along. At this point, we’re seeing the very beginnings of… for instance, when Percy throws Arthur under the bus to Molly…

Caleb: That is so terrible. I get so angry at that.

Eric: Yeah. But still, at this point it’s a matter of opinion – it’s harmless. It’s a little bit… I don’t want to say self-deprecating, but it’s going against your own family. And we’re seeing the very beginnings of that here. But I think for now, Arthur would be quite proud of Percy. I think they would have a lot of good, nice things to talk about. At least they would see eye-to-eye on the way to and from work.

Caleb and Laura: Yeah.

Rachel: I don’t know, I just envision that those would be the most boring conversations I could ever imagine!

[Eric laughs]

Caleb: Oh, I agree with that.

Eric: Well, boring is in the eye of the beholder.

Rachel: That’s true.

Eric: You know, it’s… well, let’s see what we can talk about here. [laughs] Because both of them have… well, I guess being an assistant to Mr. Crouch is… I don’t know who has the more exciting job, but they are in other departments. It’s not like he’s assistant to the Minister.

Laura: Mhm. So Harry is waiting for post from Hedwig, but there is no sign from Hedwig. I don’t mean Hedwig’s writing him a letter; Sirius is. [laughs]

[Eric laughs]

Laura: But he finally tells Ron and Hermione about the fact that his scar was hurting and… I forget how much – because there’s so many chapters into this – but there’s only been three days or something that have passed…

[Eric laughs]

Laura: … but they react pretty much exactly how he thought ñ when he envisioned them in Chapter 2, “Ron would do this and Hermione would go to Dumbledore.” And they pretty much do exactly what Harry thought, so that’s pretty funny. But Harry brings up Trelawney’s prediction from last year about how Voldemort’s servant will rejoin him – “Voldemort will rise again” – and Hermione brings herself back down from terror for some sass. She’s like, “No, pssh! Trelawney can’t do anything. Stop it, Harry.”

[Eric laughs]

Laura: But Harry keeps insisting that it was different and she kind of went into this weird trance thing, which we know is legit.

Caleb: Mhm.

Laura: But one thing is that while Harry’s off, everyone’s freaking out about this between the three of them and Ron’s like, “Oh Harry, you want to go play Quidditch?” And Hermione’s like, “Oh, Harry wouldn’t want to at a time like this.” And Harry’s like, “Yeah, sure!”

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Hermione just says, “Boys.” I like it.

Caleb: Of course, it’s totally a way to get everything out of… off his mind and just do something that doesn’t relate to any of that.

Eric: [as Harry] “I want to smash some stuff into dirt! I want to hit a Bludger into your brother’s face! Grrr!” [laughs]

Caleb: There you go.

Eric: Yeah. It’s a bit like that.

Laura: So this is something that totally doesn’t matter but just kind of struck me as interest[ing]. I don’t know if this is only in the US edition, but right at this point there’s three little asterisks centered in the middle of the page to denote time passing, and for some reason I just thought that was interesting because she doesn’t usually do that. Usually she just – within the next sentence – will use a phrase that [says] “time passes” and that’s it. So I don’t know. It totally doesn’t matter, but it struck me as odd…

Caleb: Yeah, she doesn’t do that very often.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah, but it does happen. It’s kind of throughout the series. It’s just not very often, but I believe the UK editions have that as well.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: I think it’s… I don’t know what the name for it would be, but it does… it is sort of an established… because I feel like I’ve seen it in other books, but then again, I may have just seen it in Casual Vacancy. [laughs] Which she also did.

Laura: No, I use that as a writer all the time. I just think it’s interesting that she usually just passes through time without feeling the need to justify it with any sort of visual break.

Eric: Mhm.

Laura: I don’t understand why this was necessary, especially when time isn’t jumping more than an hour or so, but…

Eric: At a time. Yeah.

Laura: It is what it is. Okay. Now, there was just one really great subtle detail that I just appreciated – where they’re just talking about… all the Weasleys are just sitting around. But it just says that Ginny was sitting on the floor mending her textbook with Spellotape. And I just think… it caught me as a really nice detail to just remind you that it’s all of the Weasleys [who] suffer of having second-hand things. Because we’re always consistently shown that as Ron, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that the Weasley twins become wealthy on their own and we think of them as wealthy…

Eric: Right.

Laura: … that I forget that Ginny also has all second-hand things, and all the older boys have second-hand things, and it’s just everyone, so…

Eric: Yeah. You’re absolutely right. I got to that point and thought the same thing. Oh, that’s special, and Ginny has to deal with it, so…

Laura: Yeah. And Ginny’s the youngest at this point, so her stuff has been through the ringer more than anyone else’s.

Eric: Oh, poor Ginny.

Laura: And this I feel like I’m wrong at, but… more so than what I said about Rita Skeeter, but is this the first mention we get of Mundungus Fletcher?

Rachel: No.

Laura: No?

Rachel: It’s not.

Laura: I didn’t think so. I didn’t think so.

Rachel: There’s a passing reference to him in Chamber of Secrets

[Eric laughs]

Rachel: … when Arthur comes home from the Ministry and he says that Mundungus Fletcher was trying to hex him behind his back.

Laura: Ah.

Eric: Hmm…

Caleb: Hmm. That’s right.

Laura: Here we go. Maybe Mundungus Fletcher is just J.K. Rowling’s go-to irritating character that does irritating things. But it’s funny because he puts in a damaged property claim for a twelve-bedroom tent with an on-suite Jacuzzi…

[Eric laughs]

Caleb: That was it.

Laura: … when he was sleeping in a cloak propped on sticks. So, you know what, even wizards – they know what Jacuzzis are. They’ve got them.

Eric: To try to cheat the system like he did. Yeah, it’s just… it’s such a deep… it’s something that happens in the Muggle world. You wouldn’t expect to see it show up here and it does. The fact that there’s people trying to take advantage of the system and Mr. Weasley’s complaining about it, it’s really brilliant.

Laura: Yeah. So Molly talks about how Arthur hasn’t worked this hard – because he’s all gone at the office – since the days of You-Know-Who, and that’s another thing that just reminds me… to me, all of the entire Harry Potter series is the days of You-Know-Who. I always forget that there’s the rest of the world to meet… to them those days are so over, finite, not coming back, so it’s like, “Oh, you remember the days of You-Know-Who?” And it’s just weird that those days are coming back in a few short months. And to me they’re always omnipresent, but to all these characters it’s totally in the past. Which is obvious, but I don’t know. It still struck me in this sentence. Okay. And Eric, you mentioned this: Percy says that Arthur needs to make up for his mistake at the match, and Molly is having none of it, and Molly freaks out on him, and it reminds me of Game of Thrones when Tyrion slaps Joffrey…

[Eric laughs]

Caleb: Yes.

Laura: … not going to say that I wish she’d actually slap him, but yeah, this is pretty much one of the first instances we see of Percy turning against his family.

Eric: Come on. [laughs] Everybody hates Percy. I don’t get it.

Laura: Do you, though? [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, okay, I get it. But I just think that he’s not quite that bad now. He’s just… they should… if he had more love from his family to help him see the error of his ways… that’s all. That’s all I’m saying.

Laura: Well. Now this is just a one thing, and I wish,,, I don’t know if there’s a difference in the phrasing, if it’s a British term, how “sweater” is “jumper”… this is like, “Charlie was donning a fireproof balaclava.” Aren’t balaclavas those big, black, ski mask-looking things that cover your whole head? [laughs] Isn’t that what it is?

Rachel: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, I think so.

Eric: I have to look it up. Yeah, huge ski mask things.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Open eyes, though. Open face but…

Laura: But that’s not something you just casually wear around the house. [laughs]

[Eric laughs]

Rachel: Well, no, when I was rereading it, it struck me because I didn’t know what it was, and when I looked it up on the Wiki it said that they’re actually commonly used by firefighters. Fireproof ones are used by firefighters, and it helps minimize the risk of potentially fatal burns to the neck, back, and scalp, and face.

Caleb: Oh.

Laura: Right.

Caleb: So since he works with dragons, yeah.

Laura: Yeah, no, I got that much, but the point is that he’s not… there'[re] no dragons around.

Caleb: There could be.

Laura: He’s at home.

[Everybody laughs]

Caleb: Here be dragons.

Laura: That’s my issue. [laughs] It’s a perfectly suitable attire for work for him.

Eric: I think he’s gotten used to it. At this point it’s as much a part of his skin as anything else. [laughs]

Laura: [laughs] I suppose. So this is… like we said, there isn’t a whole lot that happens in this chapter. It’s a lot of just really nice dialogue, and particularly there’s stuff with the twins again. Fred and George have their quills out, and they’re bent over, and they’re talking in whispers, and at this point we don’t really know if they’re working on Wizard Wheez[es] stuff or the issues that they have with Bagman. I’m leaning toward Bagman. What do you guys think?

Caleb: I think they’re working on the store.

Eric: Later on we find out that they’ve been writing letters to Bagman to try [to] get their money back and… just because he cheated them out of it.

Laura: Yeah.

Caleb: Yeah, but it seems like that would be something they need to huddle up and go back… it seems like they’re having a discussion here, to try to plan stuff.

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: I think it’s… but for the rest of the book, they are all huddled about it because every time Ron asks, they’re like, “Oh, what’s it to you?” like they don’t want anyone, I guess, knowing. And I think also they don’t want their mother knowing that they were gambling their stuff away.

Eric: [laughs] Yeah, because if the outcome of the match had gone the other way, I mean, can you just imagine? Bagman would be beating down their door, looking for that money because he needs it to pay off the goblins.

Laura: Yeah. I think it’s interesting how the whole Fred and George gambling thing in the absence of Bagman in the films got interprative for the Goblet of Fire film because it’s pretty much the only role they serve in the film is to… the transitions of the tasks of going and doing the bets with people.

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: But “R.I.P. Weasley twin plots” is what I say.

Eric: Oh.

Laura: Every film, but… and I think it’s funny because Mrs. Weasley asks, “What are they up to?” and they’re like, “Homework!”, and they’re like, “Don’t be ridiculous. You’re on holiday!” And George says, “Yeah, we’ve left it a bit late.” I thought it was funny. Okay, and then Mrs. Weasley accuses them of working on Wizard Weasley… Wizard… Wizard…

Eric: Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.

Laura: [laughs] I normally can say it. And Fred says, “Now Mum, if the Hogwarts Express crashed tomorrow, and George and I died, how would you feel that the last thing we ever heard from you was an unfounded accusation?” So this is pretty much what Caleb was alluding to before, but it’s double hard to read this now. And I’m just like, “Oh, haha, everyone’s laughing at the idea of them dying.” And it’s like, [sobs]

Caleb: Yeah, it’s pretty rough.

Laura: [sighs] Too much. And Rita also finds out about Bertha Jorkins at this point and that now the Ministry is finally starting to pay attention to it, and Percy gets in another argument, particularly with Hermione once again about the house-elves. And I think at this point in the series Percy is just a continually… chapter for chapter being developed more as an antagonist and not just someone [who]’s the annoying older brother.

Caleb: But he is still that.

Laura: Right. This is pretty much the transition between that.

Caleb: Yeah.

Laura: And then the chapter ends with Ron discovering his lacy, dodgy, old collars of his dress robes that Molly has packed for him. They’re secondhand. Harry’s aren’t. It’s a shame. And Mrs. Weasley says [that] they’re bottle green because they bring out the color in his eyes, and I always remember in the movie how the guys obviously just wear normal things. They’re not in the different-colored dress robes. It could’ve been interesting.

Caleb: Yeah, I would’ve liked to see the bottle green dress robes in the movie.

Laura: Yeah, it would have brought out the green in Daniel Radcliffe’s eyes.

[Eric laughs]

Caleb: Whoops.

Eric: Something needed to. Oh.

Caleb: Whoops.

Laura: But Harry feels uncomfortable again because he would have bought new robes for Ron because he has an endless supply of money – that’s never explained – but Mrs. Weasley says, “Fine. Go naked. And Harry, make sure to get a picture of him. Goodness knows I could do with a laugh.” Oof! And yeah, so it just ends [up] in the same way that the throwaway line with Ginny of mending her book [does]. It’s a particularly pitiful quote that Ron says of “Why is everything I own rubbish?” as he’s unsticking Pigwidgeon’s beak from wherever it’s stuck.

[Caleb and Eric laugh]

Caleb: I mean, I feel terrible for Ron. Just the way… the things he does when he says things like this are so hilarious.

Laura: Yeah.

Caleb: Not for the right reasons, but they are.

Laura: Yeah, that was pretty perfectly done.

[Caleb laughs]

Eric: Gosh. [laughs]

Eric: Don’t worry, Ron. Your time’s coming. Sort of.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Not really.

Eric: And that leads us to our Podcast Question of the Week. Who’s excited?

Caleb: I’m excited!

E You’re excited? Okay, good.

[Laura laughs]

Caleb: Well, I’m excited to see where you could take it because this is a really interesting chapter. Because we had really intense things happen in the chapter before, and this is like, “Oh, we’re settlng down before we go back to school.”

Laura: So this better be the most intense Question of the Week we’ve ever had on our podcast. Go.

Eric: Okay. So a week passes in this chapter, and during that week, it said that everybody – Arthur and Percy – [is] leaving before people wake up and getting home late at night after work. So this week’s Podcast Question of the Week is related to that. “In this chapter all the Ministry officials are in an “all hands on deck” mode. Even Arthur, who is working in an off department about Muggle artifacts, and Percy, an assistant, are going in to work to try [to] keep some of the slanderous acts of Rita Skeeter and the general fright and mayhem from consuming the public and bringing down the government. Since the Dark Mark event didn’t even leave a huge physical mess for everyone to clean up, what is everyone in the Ministry doing, and how should they be handling this PR issue? What is everyone doing day in, day out that’s consuming all of their efforts?”

Caleb: Yeah, definitely an interesting question. Especially considering we know how lacking in effectiveness the Ministry generally is.

Eric: Yeah, it’s hard to ask this sort of question because we know that not a whole lot does happen as well.

Caleb: Right.

Eric: But maybe that’s why it raises the question because…

Caleb: Right.

Eric: … ultimately there’s no great statement made that I can think of that really calms the masses of people.

Caleb: Yeah.

Eric: So what’s everyone working on?

Caleb: Cool.

Eric: Send us your thoughts on that for sure.

Caleb: All right, we want to thank Rachel for joining us today. We hope you had fun. It’s been a crazy day in the land of MuggleNet, but thanks for still giving us the time to join us.

Rachel: Thanks for having me. It was a lot of fun.

Eric: And if you want to find out how you can be on the show, head over to our website – – or you could email us at alohomorapodcast at gmail dot com. We do ask that all of our applicants – all the people who would like to join us on the show – do have good recording equipment and a recording program upon which to capture their audio. Also, if you are working on getting that and would like to be on someday, that’s cool. In the meantime, you could always subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes.

Laura: And you could always contact us at our usual ways of contacting us, which are our Twitter at @AlohomoraMN,, and you can leave us a voicemail at 206-GO-ALBUS, which is 206-462-5287.

Caleb: And make sure you check out our really awesome store that has a lot of merchandise: shirts, tote bags, other stuff, sweaters, all sorts of stuff. You should go look at it. It’s great.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: And not to mention the Alohomora! podcast app, which features special content, downloadable transcripts, bloopers, alternate endings, host vlogs, and more. Caleb, you and I should start working on a game for the app where the Jarveys are getting chased by the gnomes. What do you think?

Caleb: Yes, I am down for that.

Eric: So we’ll see if we can do that. Maybe…

Caleb: Maybe the next shirts after we get the newest shirts that are coming out will have “Team Jarvey” and “Team…”

Eric: [laughs] “Gnome.”

Caleb: “… Gnome.” [laughs]

Eric: I like that idea. But of course, back to the app. It is available both in the US and UK for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle. Also, Windows 8 availability is in the US only. It is $1.99 in the US and £1.29 in Great Britain.

[Show music begins]

Caleb: All right. Well, that does it for this episode of Alohomora! I’m Caleb Graves.

Eric: I’m Eric Scull.

Laura: I’m Laura Reilly. Thank you for listening to Episode 48 of Alohomora!

Eric: Open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]

Eric: And if you would like to be on the show the way [that] Rachel was, join MuggleNet staff.

[Everyone laughs]

Caleb: Whoa.

Eric: That was a joke. But… okay, I guess it wasn’t really funny. Thank you for the pity laughs, though.

[Caleb and Laura laugh]

Caleb: It was funny. I just didn’t catch it at first. I was like…

[Prolonged silence]

Laura: Serious dÈj‡ vu.

[Eric and Laura laugh; prolonged silence]

Eric: Store.

Laura: Store. Caleb.

Eric: Caleb.

Caleb: I accidently muted myself.

[Laura laughs]

Caleb: I was like, “Why are you interrupting me?”

[Caleb and Eric laugh]

Caleb: Okay…