Keith Hawk (KH) John Granger (JG) Katy McDaniel (KM) Abigail Robertson (AR)
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Eric: Hey! Josée! Wait up!
Josée: Oh hi, Eric! I'm sorry, I really can't talk right now. I'm running late.
Eric: Late? Late for what?
Josée: Oh, it's because I have to go meet Keith and John Granger. I'm actually going to listen to a Harry Potter literature lesson at MuggleNet Academia.
Eric: Oh cool, that sounds awesome. Can I come with?
Josée: Yes, of course you can. Just come with me.
Eric: Okay. Let's go!
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KH: Welcome back to another session of MuggleNet Academia. This is MuggleNet Academia Lesson 12. We are going to be talking with Professor Katy McDaniel and Abigail Robertson. John, how are you today?
JG: I'm great, Keith. Happy to be here.
KH: I'm glad to have you with us. I'll tell you what, this past week has been a very exciting week for me, personally. I got to meet the Queen herself...
JG: The presence.
KH: ...in New York City.
JG: Time in the presence. And how was it?
KH: I'll tell you what, it was just amazing.
KH: I took my daughter Stephanie, she's fifteen, and we went up to New York right after she got out of school and we met a bunch of Harry Potter fans in Central Park at what is called the Bethesda Fountain. And Josée - you know Josée from our translations show...
JG: Oh, yeah!
KH: ...and a great friend of mine - she set up this whole event, this pre-event where we would spell out "JK Rowling in NYC" with human bodies on the stairs. So, it took a little bit of organizing, getting everybody in place, but once we did it I thought it came out really well. We took a bunch of pictures of that, we took... they have seven arches under the... I guess a bridge at this area, so we had people standing with each book in the arches. So seven arches, seven books. We took a bunch of pictures of that. And then we uploaded everything onto this digital frame and basically loaded everything up, it had a slideshow. Josée, when she was getting her book signed, handed it to her or showed her and she said, "Oh, I couldn't possibly take something that big!" But then she looked at the pictures and she was like, "Oh my God, that's incredible!"
KH: She was really excited that we went all out for her and did this. So, it was really awesome to meet her. But yeah, the whole day was just like, wow! You're standing in front of her, she's beautiful... I mean, she has these...
JG: Is it true that she's nine feet tall?
KH: Yeah! To me, she is.
KH: But luckily she was sitting down, so I looked over her.
JG: Oh, that's good. That's good. [laughs]
KH: Yeah. But you know, when she... I said "Hello," and, "I'm Keith from MuggleNet," and she goes, "Oh, I just love MuggleNet," and I said, "Yeah, I know you do."
KH: I said, "I'm your future husband," but...
KH: ...that didn't work out. But no, she has...
JG: She told Lev Grossman that she wanted him... she said, "I'll be the mother of your children," or whatever during her interview. Lev shared that with me and I thought, "Oh my goodness!"
KH: Well, she has these deep, penetrating blue eyes. They look right into you, a beautiful smile, and...
JG: Keith, they're green!
JG: They're green, dear!
KH: No, they're blue! No, they are blue.
JG: Well, she's had them colored then because they're green.
KH: They are blue! To me they looked, I mean, stark blue.
KH: Maybe I'll just edit that part out of the show, but anyway...
KH: ...they looked blue to me. I'll tell you, I was looking right into them. Could have been the lights too, who knows. Did you watch the Charlie Rose Show that happened I think it was two days ago, where he interviewed JK Rowling on PBS? Did you see that at all?
JG: Wow, Keith. You know I don't have a TV, so how would I watch any of these things? You have to send me links to these things!
JG: Anyway, what did she say there?
KH: Well, this is... it was on PBS, The Public Broadcasting Network, the one that does Sesame Street that we grew up on.
KH: But she discussed a lot of different things about her writings and she revealed some really neat information on the Harry Potter series. Charlie had asked her what character she missed the most from the series and JK Rowling basically said that she misses Dumbledore the most. It was like a voice inside her head. She didn't even know she had the words that Dumbledore says in the books but it just comes out of her so naturally, so she would have basically conversations with Dumbledore and herself. So she said, if there was some person I would be able to actually meet in person and talk to, it would be the headmaster. Here's one for you, John.
KH:The Goblet of Fire, Chapter 13, "Mad-Eye Moody," when we meet Mad-Eye Moody in the Great Hall for the first time, okay? She rewrote that chapter many, many times to try and properly hide the clues inside the text. She said that was the hardest chapter she ever wrote, and it was rewritten and rewritten and rewritten. It just did not come out right. So, I thought that was kind of neat.
JG: Well, that's a good one. That's a great find, Keith. I love it. I'm going to find this Charlie Rose interview and put it up at Hogwarts Professor and I'll...
KH: What I think you should do is probably parallel your ring composition from Chapter 13 and see if she had some other troubles on the parallel side of that. That would be kind of neat to investigate.
JG: Oh, that's a great idea.
KH: Here's one thing that she said, too: The only character that she envisioned when she was writing the book that actually appears in the movies is... can you take a wild guess?
JG: Luna Lovegood.
KH: Absolutely. She said Evanna Lynch...
KH: ...not only looks like Luna Lovegood in her head when she was writing the book but sounds like her, too. She said she's the most perfect character ever. My favorite character and one of my favorite actresses, of course. I've met her several times. I love Evanna. So anyway, that was some of the exciting stuff that happened this week. Now, on MuggleNet Academia, the last lesson, we had an input into the show from Lauren on the website. It says:
"Yes! I have been waiting for exactly this kind of episode. I love listening to real psychological analysis of the characters in the series, especially from people who specialize in the field - fascinating. And I absolutely can't wait for the episode on the house-elves. I seem to most love the episodes that choose an aspect of the wizarding world and analyze them in a way similar to how we would if they existed in our own world. I love the law episode for this reason too, and hope you return to that subject for another episode later on."
So, let's get into this show because she said we are going to be discussing house-elves, and John, why don't you go ahead and introduce our special guests.
JG: Well, I don't know Abigail that well, you'll have to handle the introduction for our student, but I do know Katy McDaniel at Marietta College. We met years and years ago at a CS Lewis conference where of all things [laughs] she and I chose to talk about Harry Potter. Not an especially welcoming audience to our talks, but we got a pretty good crowd, Katy, didn't we?
KM: It was pretty good, yeah! I think they were diehard fans.
JG: I mean, there we were in the middle of CS Lewis land, and Professor McDaniel and I decide, "Oh, what the heck. We'll talk about our favorite books."
JG: In light of CS Lewis where everybody was... and here I was... we had to share a time slot and I thought... I was working on my notes, as usual. I wasn't ready. And Professor McDaniel... because I thought, "Well, I'll just ignore this woman. She's talking about house-elves or whatever..."
JG: "...and I'll get my notes together." And instead, she gives this talk which has me on the edge of my seat doing the "oh my goodness." If you've read the article which is in a book published by Mythopoeic Press - it was from that conference called "Past Watchful Dragons: Fantasy and Faith in the World of CS Lewis" - what Professor McDaniel does is largely show how wrong I was...
JG: ...in the first thing I wrote about the house-elves. So, there I am trying to get my notes together for this talk and this woman is saying, "John Granger is a nice guy and he's really smart, but boy did he blow it on the house-elves."
KM:[laughs] I was so worried that you were going to be on my panel, John.
[JG and KM laugh]
KM: I thought, "Uh-oh."
JG: Anyway, I've talked more about that lecture than probably any other lecture that I've ever been to. People have asked about house-elves and I say, "Read Katy McDaniel's piece in this book...
KM: Oh, thank you. Very kind.
JG: ...because it will blow your mind." Well, it's just to say what it is, is that you really revealed what the house-elf something is. We're going to talk about that today. Anyway, Katy, I've been asked to introduce you: brilliant, wonderful, beautiful, eloquent, thoughtful... what else? What am I missing here? Humble?
JG: Really a... they'll find out, Keith, what a wonderful thinker and reader Professor Katy McDaniel is.
KH: Well, welcome to the show, Professor McDaniel.
KM: Thank you very much.
KH: Really glad to have you.
KM: Great to be here.
KH: Yeah, thank you. Also joining us is our student guest for the day, Abigail Robertson. Abigail, hello. How are you?
AR: I'm well, how are you?
KH: I'm always good, you know that.
KH: Hey, tell us a little bit about yourself.
AR: Well, I graduated from The Ohio State University this past June with a degree in English, and now I am at Bowling Green State University pursuing a masters degree in literature before I start my PhD.
KH: The Ohio State. [laughs]
KH: Yeah, the Ohio State.
KH: I'm from Penn State so I'm not from Pennsylvania...
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KH: ...so I have Penn State rooting interest which... Ohio State is our arch enemy, basically.
KH: But I do respect the Buckeyes.
AR: You have to.
JG: You'd better!
KH: Especially after the debacle that we just had.
AR: Yeah. Yeah, no kidding.
KH: Yeah. And I have a lot of friends at Penn State. All right, well are we ready to get into the show?
JG: Oh, I can't wait. This is a good one.
KH: All right. Again, we're going to be talking about the house-elves so stay tuned. From MuggleNet.com, my name is Keith Hawk.
JG: I'm John Granger, the Hogwarts Professor and author of The Deathly Hallows Lectures.
KM: I'm Katy McDaniel, Professor of History at Marietta College.
AR: I'm Abigail Robertson, masters student at Bowling Green State University.
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KH: This is Lesson 12, Elfin Mystique with Professor Katy McDaniel and also Abigail Robertson. John, let me tell you a little bit about what I expect from this show. House-elves are essential pieces in the setting and backdrop of the Hogwarts saga, would you agree with that?
JG: I would, I would.
KH: Great. But as individual actors and as a magical species, do they really do much more than highlight the prejudice or the ideas and characters of the important players of the series? I mean, what we have here is we have Dobby, Winky, we have Hokey, Kreacher...
KH: ...and all the kitchen crew. They're great for a good laugh during the series and they provide an illustration of just how evil the Malfoys are, but you know what they also do? They also give us a look into the world of Dumbledore's politics, how sensitive and idealistic Hermione is, what an insensitive twerp Ron can be.
KH: And of Sirius' blind spots, too. So, do they matter though, in the end? Hmm. Let's find out. Joining us today on the show, Professor Kathryn McDaniel of Marietta College and our student guest Abigail Robertson from Bowling Green State University. They will argue that Rowling's treatment of house-elves - and Dobby in particular - is at the core of JK Rowling's message for the entire series. So, the gang here is going to be talking about feminism, are the house-elves really housewives...
KH: ...as well as why Hermione dropped SPEW recruiting, the American Communist Party, even Dobby as a Christian hero and existentialist. This will be a wild ride with Kreacher and company.
KH: John, lead us into the conversation with Professor McDaniel.
JG: I will, I will. Welcome, Professor McDaniel. Are you ready for your inquisition here?
KM: I am so excited to talk about house-elves.
JG: All right. That's great. Now, we haven't talked about this since we met way back when. [laughs] We are the nutcases that talked about Harry Potter, but even though we shared a lectern, and I was worried about all of these things, your talk on the house-elves blew my mind, as they say. Okay. But before we get into the "Elfin Mystique" paper that you presented there... and how your thinking has changed since because that paper was written in the middle of the Interlibrum there, we were waiting on the last books.
KM: That's right. Mhm.
JG: Tell us please how you discovered Harry Potter and when you realized this series was worthy of serious adult and academic attention. I mean, you're a historian! How does a historian in European history and women's studies specialist decide, "Oh yeah, Harry Potter is worth my attention"?
KM: Well, when I was in graduate school, my Aunt Mardy gave me the first three books and she said, "I was going to just give you the one but I know you're not going to be able to stop at one," so she gave me all three that had already come out by that point. And she wanted somebody to talk about them with also, which is of course why you give the books to other people.
KM: And of course I've done this myself...
KM: ...and often given my friends the first book and said, "You have to read this." In fact, one of the people I gave the book to was somebody that you had on the podcast a couple of weeks ago.
JG: Oh my goodness! You're the connection!
KM: I'm the friend! I said, "Amy, I'm giving you this book. You have to read it. And I know it's children's literature, but trust me, you're going to love it." And she gave me a look...
KM: I know Amy's taste in literature and I said, "Don't worry, Amy. It's dark."
KH: It's a small world, I tell you.
JG: That's funny because Amy does like dark literature. Oh my goodness.
KM: Yeah, she does. She does.
JG: Gothic before breakfast, that's scary.
KM: I said, "Don't worry, there's a double murder at the beginning. You're going to love it."
JG:[laughs] Well Harry Potter fans have a lot... we owe you a lot then because Dr. Amy Sturgis has contributed a ton to this field.
KM: Yeah, she's just amazing.
JG: Anyway, what about the books made you say, "Oh yeah, I need to discuss the house-elves"?
KM: Well, I think that the house-elves... they didn't make sense to me a [whole] lot at the beginning, and I kept thinking about them and thinking about... after the first book, that seems right. Dobby is freed and that seems like the right thing. But when you read the fourth book, you find out that...
KM: ...this hasn't solved all the problems of the house-elves, and in fact it might have opened up a whole set of new problems. And I kept just turning it over in my head. It seemed so counter to what she's talking about in the rest of her books which are so much about equality and liberty and all those kinds of things. So, I just couldn't get my head around it, and actually if you look at a lot of the commentary online that was going on at the time after the fourth book, people were really angry [laughs] that the house-elves seemed to be represented as these happy slaves. And so I just kept thinking, how can this be right? I just think that the books call on you to think about not only the house-elves but lots of other aspects. Obviously, people are drawn to ask those deeper questions about them because of the richness of the world and the vision that she created.
JG: That's perfect because this is the fundamental problem we want to talk about here. In your essay, "The Elfin Mystique: Fantasy and Feminism in Harry Potter," it really brings this problem into focus. On the one hand, we've got these pathetic wizard-serving creatures that are magically bonded to cruel masters who treat them as idiot servants. But on the other hand, they seem quite content in that condition as slaves...
JG: ...with one exception: They embrace their role in the magical community and they reject the self righteous who want to liberate them. The Fountain of Magical Brethren lies, but not Harry seems to think about the house-elves and how that simpering look as they look at the wizards. Two questions on this subject, just to start this off. First, Dobby is an outlier. He's the house-elf that wants to be free.
JG: Is that meant to highlight this challenge to our post-modern sensibilities, that the happy slaves resisting liberation represent? I mean, people freak out that the house-elves don't want to be freed. Everything about being post-modern says you want to be free to make your own choices, et cetera, and here is a species that's happy and seems to be superficially happy in subjection.
KM: Right. I would say especially people in the United States but also Britain which is really the founder of modern democracy, there is this expectation that given a choice everyone would be free. Everybody wants to participate in government and to govern themselves on the smaller level. So, it's really disturbing when you're presented with this view of happy slaves, "Thank you very much, I'm happy in my enslavement."
KM: Even Hagrid who is our go-to guy for information on magical creatures, who really respects them, he says it would be a disservice to give them freedom. And as I said, it is kind of disturbing. It does make you think a little bit less of Rowling's version when you think, "Oh, but she thinks some people actually are natural slaves or deserve to be slaves." But I think when you look at Dobby, he's our introduction to the house-elves. We are led down the path of saying, "No, they really shouldn't be enslaved, and this is not right." That's the first bit that we get. It's only later that we hear that they are all these really happy house-elves. And so I think what she is doing is she is challenging the notion of easy freedom, the notion that everybody wants freedom, that everybody knows what to do with freedom, and really creates a nicely nuanced idea about the nature of this democratic movement, but also just as individuals living independently... it can be very challenging and she seems to be quite aware of that.
JG: I want to come back to this to talk about Harry in a minute, but just to jump off the page here and get Abigail in this conversation, I'd like to say that it's difficult to really understand the connection readers have with Rowling unless you understand the whole postmodern idea that essentially she's a writer of our time period, writing for postmodern people with postmodern concerns. But if I understand Professor McDaniel here, she's suggesting that here is Rowling calling into question one of the most fundamental tenets... most of Rowling is postmodern: Nazis are bad. People who resist Nazis are good. It's pretty straightforward.
JG: You don't need a scorecard to figure out who the good guys and bad guys are in Harry Potter. It's almost cartoonish in that regard. But there's this one exception where Rowling seems to put her finger right on the sore spot to say, "You know what? Liberty and freedom is a challenge that many people may not be equal to." And it's jarring. It's a jarring thing. As you point out, it comes to us in the center of the book when we've been set up to see house-elves as Hermione does. Let's explode their chains, and let them free in the world, and give them all wands! Abigail, I wanted to ask you, because you're a graduate student in English.
JG: Do you see how... Rowling seems to be conforming to all the ideas of our age and then she decides, "You know what? I've got enough of a base here in these first three books that I can start to challenge the reader on their unexamined ideas."
AR: I really agree with that idea, but Professor McDaniel and I kind of have a certain... I think we have a different way of looking at it. For me, the way I look at house-elves is the way that I kind of look at western society. Western society believes that freedom is the best option, that everyone is equal; and not all societies are established in that manner, and they can't all function in that way. For example, if we're looking at specifically an American's perspective on Middle Eastern women who practice veiling. This idea that, "Oh, they're oppressed and they don't want to be like this and we as westerners have to make them conform to our idea of what a woman should be," I think that's Harry's problem, is maybe not understanding that society completely, not understanding the house-elves as their own society with their own set of standards. So, he's kind of trying to look into a group that he's not a member of and prescribe his ideas about what being a wizard, what being a human, is about to this group of people who function within a completely different set of standards.
JG: You said Harry, but do you mean Hermione? Because Harry is...
AR: Oh, yeah! I guess Hermione, yeah, mainly.
JG: I'm sorry, I'm interrupting you, but I want to get back to Harry because Hermione as you point out... she's got it all at age, what, fourteen? [laughs] She's got the house-elves figured out...
JG: ...and she's going to be Simón Bolívar or George Washington or Abraham Lincoln to these poor slaves. And the house-elves hate her! They're terrified of her.
JG: They think she's dangerous. But Harry... he seems to be like Dumbledore, he seems to be really good with the house-elves. He's not sentimental or idealistic like Hermione, he's not indifferent or even [unintelligible] dismissive as Ron can be, but he's just right, you know? He seems to be in between. What... this is open to everybody - Keith, Katy, everybody - what makes Harry the Goldilocks figure here that really seems to get house-elves? Is it because they adore him? What is it?
KM: This is such a great question. I had never really thought about it in those terms before, but you're right. Obviously, Hermione... as Abigail said, Hermione is... she's like us, the readers, you know? She says, "Be free, already," and, "Why can't you be more like us?" and she doesn't really approach them on their own terms. Now, Ron... Harry and Hermione are both outsiders in the magical community, and so we as readers get all of our information about the general consensus of the wizarding world from what Ron says, right? He's thoroughly enmeshed in what wizard society thinks. And Ron's view is the general view of the wizarding world, which is this is just the way it is. House-elves like being enslaved, it's natural, and hey, we don't even have to worry about it because they seem so happy. But you're right that Harry, I think, gets this nice... like you said, a Goldilocks effect, nice in between. He's not really putting anything onto the house-elves, and in that way I think this kind of responds really well to what Abigail was saying, that Harry actually responds to the house-elves in a... [laughs] if you'll pardon me for saying this... in a humanistic way. He takes characters... in fact, he does this with everybody. He takes people as they are and he doesn't really try to impose anything on them, and that's one of his great strengths in the book, that he... this is why he can be a friend to almost anyone. He is quite happy to let people be as they are and he might ask questions or challenge them some, but he approaches them on their own territory and I think that's really what lets him have that, like you said, the Goldilocks effect.
JG: Abigail, yay or nay on that?
AR: No, I agree. And then also kind of, too, on that... I'm not sure if this is just me, but I sort of take issue with calling them slaves in this circumstance because if they... if it's what they like, and it's what kind of works for them, I think slaves is kind of a pejorative term because it implies that this is something that they're being forced into against their will, and I mean...
AR: ...we've said...
JG: Woah! I disagree. When Dobby can't say a word against his masters without having to do some sort of self-flagellation...
JG: Unless that's something that he's choosing. This is absolutely part of the fabric of his reality. He can't escape from the fact that if he says something bad about the Malfoys until the very end of his life, he has to crush his hands, iron his hands, or whatever.
JG: That's slavery, isn't it?
AR: But aren't we establishing Dobby as the exception to the rule? If we're talking about house-elves as a whole.
KM: Yeah, this is... I think this is kind of the key to the start of this question, John, where you sort of suggested that Dobby was an outlier. But I think the fact that they're not all happy - and as you know, I argue that none of the house-elves that we know as individuals are happy in their condition - that really does suggest that maybe this happiness of the house-elves is an illusion, maybe it's even a delusion that the house-elves themselves participate in. So, I think that they are bound in a sort of slave-like way, that's pretty clear. Dobby can't help himself.
JG: Now, I've read your article and I have to assume that most of our audience has not. Can you explain what you mean there, which was to me the real "scales falling from my eyes" type thing about your article, was realizing that not only is Dobby kind of uncomfortable with freedom and kind of struggling with his identity as a house-elf, but even the other house-elves that we meet - maybe Hokey not so much, but certainly Kreacher...
JG: ...and Winky - are troubled house-elves. Can you talk about them and how they also don't seem very happy with their condition?
KM: Sure. I think this is really the key. Dobby, as I said, he is the first one that we meet and he calls the house-elves, "We the lowly, the enslaved, the dregs of the magical world." He actually does think of himself as a slave. And it's very clear that he hates doing the Malfoys' bidding and he is so excited to be free. The degree of oppression that he felt is pretty clear. So, I think it's obvious that he's unhappy. But Winky is also unhappy. Now, she's been given a lot of power in her role as a house-elf but her position is always deeply insecure, right? And as somebody who was the guardian of young Barty Crouch, when she makes a small mistake she can be totally ousted. She then takes up work as a house-elf in the Hogwarts kitchen, and she is drunk on Butterbeer and really can't get her act together and is deeply lost.
JG: That's right! She doesn't take up work as a house-elf, right? She's still a slave to a position that she's lost.
JG: That was the mind-blowing thing to me in your essay, is that I thought Winky was just unhappy because she lost her position but it's a reflection of her condition in her absolute slavery, that even when she's been turned out...
JG: ...she can't free herself from that dependence.
KM: Which suggests that there is a way slavery works on you, internally, as a person. It affects the way that you think about yourself and what you can be in the world, and Winky is just not able to shrug that off. And then of course, who is more miserable than Kreacher?
KM: Skulking around Number 12 Grimmauld Place...
KM: ...muttering nasty things about everybody and becoming a compulsive hoarder. He's obviously very unhappy in his position.
KH: Here's my point on the whole thing of this slavery and everything: You're a product of your environment. What you grow up in, what you're born into, how you see the world, how your parents see the world, or the surrounding people that you deal with is your view, and that's really all you know from a youngster. Especially if we look at pre-Civil War days with slavery. You didn't know about the outside world. If you were born in that environment, you were a slave, you understood you were a slave, you had a certain role to do, and everything else. So, I think that's how a lot of these house-elves are, is that they are born into this condition and they don't know anything else. Now, of course you are going to have your outliers, like Dobby in the magical world. He's basically... to me, he's the Frederick Douglas of the pre-Civil War era. He knows what freedom is, he wants to have freedom, but he was born into a slave position. And now, when he gets that chance to be free, he's like, "Hey, this is really great," and he goes out and he can help Hermione in her quest to free more slaves. I'm sure Dobby would have been a very huge figure to Hermione's goal after Hermione was in the Department of Magical Creatures at the Ministry of Magic...
KH: ...after she graduated from Hogwarts.
KM: But remember that Dobby, he doesn't even... he actually talks Dumbledore down in the wages.
JG: That's right. That's right.
KM: He doesn't want to make too much money, and he doesn't want to have vacations.
KH: Well yeah, he doesn't want to take advantage of his freedom.
JG: Yeah, but Keith, he also tells Harry and Hermione and Ron when they come to the kitchen not to talk too loudly about his freedom because he's terrified of the other house-elves...
KH: Well, sure. Again, if you were the outlier and you go into an area where your like people are there being slaves, you don't want to cause the attention on yourself. You're going to get beat up. It's the same in any environment just like that. For Hokey, Hokey is basically the maid of a rich family. She's the maid of Hepzibah Smith and she's very happy. She's very content. She has a lot of easy chores to do. I mean, Hepzibah Smith is to me a pig.
KH: But she's... there's boxes laying all around the house and everything else. So, it's obviously a cluster of a place to work in, but Hokey is happy in that position. So is Winky, to a point. Winky was happy with the Crouchs, but Winky was given this burden of all these secrets that the Crouch family had: all the government work that Barty Crouch Sr. did, the secrets of Barty Crouch Jr., watching him grow up and become who he was as a Death Eater. So, there's secrets involved which really affects his personality overall. But other than that, she was very happy in that area. But when she got her freedom she's like, "Now what? I can't divulge these secrets, I'm forbidden to, and yet I don't have a house to go to. I don't have a home to go to." She just turned into a miserable SOB.
JG: I guess. Keith, I disagree with you about Hokey because it's Hokey's fate which is kind of the message, is that Hokey may be, as you say, happy - or at least unaware of a larger life that she could have - but what happens to her? I mean, she's used and abused by the Dark Lord who basically... and everyone is happy at Hepzibah Smith's death to blame the house-elf for the poisoning.
KH: Yeah, but Hokey was not knowingly doing anything wrong. She was...
JG: Right, that's my point!
KH: ...taken advantage of by the Dark Lord.
JG: She is used as because she has slave status. She winds up as the rug.
KH: Well, hang on but she has such loyalty to Hepzibah Smith that even though the blame went to her and she can't really recall it... I mean, the memory was placed there. She's like, "Yeah, you know what? I did. Oh my gosh, what did I do? How did I mess this up? How did I mess this sugar in the tea," or whatever it was, now. I can't remember how Hokey killed Hepzibah Smith. But the point is that she was distraught over this...
KM: Well, I think...
KH: ...and she took her punishment.
KM: One of the things I think is interesting about this discussion that you all are having is... in fact, this is one of the things that's problematic with the house-elves, is this question of happiness. And this is one of the areas where I think not only feminist scholarship of the mid-twentieth century but also the existentialists talked about this too, and the notion is that the goal in life is not to be happy - that happiness is not actually a very strong value, morally speaking - and that what's more important is to live a good and productive life where you're creating active... you're an active agent for good in the world, and that's what's really important, and the house-elves are really constrained in that even if they are - on the surface level, anyway - happy in that idea that they're sort of contented with their positions. They can't really do very much to advance the cause of good and I think Hokey is a good example of that.
KH: Well, they don't know any better. That's the whole point.
JG: I get you. This is great, Katy, because you talk about the house-elves are better understood as women struggling with the idea of liberation and in your article you talk about them specifically as housewives...
JG: ...in the sweep of ideas that go under the category of feminism. Where in the text do we find house-elves linked to the ideas of the feminine, or to women? We have Hokey and Winky who are women house-elves but Harry can't tell the women from the guys apart.
JG:[laughs] So, what makes you think of these characters as more feminine than, say, masculine?
KM: Yeah, I think this is a question that I think to myself, I think they really are feminized. They're diminutive, they have high voices, they are a little androgynous but mostly because they all seem kind of feminine to Harry, who is the one who sort of tells us what he thinks. He describes Dobby as sort of looking like a large doll. The house-elves live in homes, they live among families, they primarily do housework - in fact, they're dressed in doilies and pillowcases and things like that - they look after children, they keep the family secrets - I mean, Winky is a good example of somebody who basically assumes the role of Mrs. Crouch when Mrs. Crouch is gone - so she's a substitute for the female of the house, and so I think that there is a strong feminization of them.
But I also would say that I don't think that's all that they have to be. I do think that they can be understood as, say, African American house slaves, or, say, immigrant workers who wind up providing domestic service in households in a foreign country. I think the problem is really that it's domestic slavery that can be understood in a lot of ways. I think the reason that it helps to think of them as housewives... it focuses on the domestic element, but also when you talk about... and I think some of this is the reaction against the notion of them being slaves. If you say that some African American slaves didn't want to be free, or maybe were ambivalent about freedom, that's just a nonstarter in political discussions or any kind of discussion. That's just kind of throwing a grenade to say that, even though that was the experience of some people. So, I think that creates a barrier to really analyzing this ambivalence toward freedom, or even rejection of it. But the mid-twentieth century feminists... they looked at women and they said we've been given, nominally, legal equality and political equality, and women are still not really equal! They're not really liberated from their old roles. They're not engaging in politics at the same level, they're not as powerful as they could be, and why is that? So, I think that second-wave feminism gives us some theoretical tools to understand the house-elves. And the house-elves really do kind of look like these sort of twentieth century, 1950s, unliberated housewives when you actually look at the things that they're doing.
JG: I love that. I love that.
KH: How do you feel about that, Abigail?
AR: Well, I feel like there's... the way that I look at it is kind of fundamentally different. I have a really difficult time equating house-elves to American slavery. One, because the role of Hermione kills it for me. The idea that if someone had gone up to a slave during slavery in the United States and said, "Here, I'm going to help you get out of this and start new for yourself," I don't think a slave would have said no to that for the most part if they knew that they were going to be safe and they were going to be provided for.
KH: But do they know they're going to be safe?
KM: You can't know that.
KH: Yeah, you can't know that!
AR: I mean if we're looking at Hogwarts, why would we have any reason to believe otherwise?
KH: We're not looking at Hogwarts. We're looking at just the magical world or in any home environment that you're with a wizard, you're the house-elf of a wizarding family.
AR: I think that's a different story...
KH: And it's just like being on a plantation on a farm. If somebody comes up to you and says, "Hey, I'm going to escape you from this and give you freedom," the person is going to say, "What the hell is freedom?"
AR: Well yeah, sure...
JG: Oh, I... oh well. I get your point, Abigail. I'm right with you that certainly Americans are going to go on Keith's side or your side about African manumission. I think Katy's point here is the more important one, is if the house-elves are taken as housewives it's much more current and relevant because it's second-wave feminism. The question I'm really excited about here is Rowling's allegory of house-elves as housewives, and I don't mean just the dot to dot thing because it seems to me more nuance than this big broad stroke, because we see progress and I want to ask Katy about that specifically: Kreacher at the end, in his little cameo appearance at the Battle of Hogwarts, has changed. He's already gone through several transformations, especially in Half-Blood Prince. I mean, he basically does a 180 on his relationships with Harry, Ron, and Hermione after they give him the necklace or whatever. But what do you make of his cameo appearance there where he comes out for his master, Regulus Black? Is that an important change? Is Rowling saying something there with the house-elves with their knives, attacking people in the legs, in the Battle of Hogwarts?
KM: Well, John, this was sort of my vision in that paper that I wrote before the last books had come out, so I had this idea that like the twentieth-century women, that war might give women the opportunity to come into their full power and to be self-actualized as individuals and that the battle between Voldemort and the Order of the Phoenix might actually give the house-elves a similar kind of opportunity. Now of course, the problem is that once the war is over, a lot of that liberation seems to disappear. That was what Betty Friedan was particularly writing about. And I had sort of imagined that that kind of thing might happen, and certainly you've got the house-elves and they're participating, you've got Kreacher in the name of Regulus Black who is fighting on Harry's side, who is his new master. I think, though, that Kreacher is still enslaved. He's still the servant of Harry and he's also still reflecting the ideas that he now has a greater understanding for of his former master Regulus, right? He was with the Death Eaters when he thought Regulus was a Death Eater, but when he really comes to understand that he was fighting on a different side, then Kreacher switches sides. It's not really an independent action on his part.
JG: What about Dobby? Now, Dobby makes... he seems to be... from Book 2 to his appearance in the Malfoy Manor basement, and his heroism there saving Harry and company, he seems to be an entirely different person. Is he really just a servant to Harry at that point?
JG: He dies with Harry Potter's name on his lips, but he seems to have transcended his slavery. Am I wrong there?
KM: No, this is exactly... I felt so vindicated when that... I thought Dobby's story was so wrenching, but that just really shows that the house-elves, and Dobby in particular, are just at the crux of what Rowling's main themes are. Dobby is truly free, right? And he is, in some sense, still doing the bidding of Dumbledore's brother here in a way when he is sent, but he is told to go back and he is supposed to leave Harry there with the Malfoys. But he comes back of his own free will. That's his decision. He's the one who made that decision to come back so that he could save Harry and his friends. And he tells Malfoy... he tells Mr. Malfoy, all the Malfoys, "Dobby has no master. Dobby is a free elf." So, he emphasizes that this is a free decision that he's making to save Harry, who is the best hope for defeat of Voldemort. And when he is mortally wounded in that struggle, this shows that he has in... he is able to fight the good fight and make the supreme sacrifice of his life because he is free and he is free to make that choice, and that he is so much of what keeps house-elves in their service orientation - or their slavery - is the desire for security and the need for an identity from that role. And Dobby really... he's able to show that he's not concerned for his own security anymore and he doesn't care what other people say about him or what other people think about him, and that's why he's able to sacrifice his life. And he is self-actualized; he creates an act of really deep, deep goodness by saving Harry and his friends. And he represents, I think, the powerful... the defeat of the fear of death so that you can... so that good can triumph, which I think is really the center of what Rowling is saying here.
KH: That's really good. I really like that, what you're saying about Dobby and his freedom. I think if you ask any Harry Potter out there, Dobby is going to be the natural favorite of all the house-elves, not just because of the film role - how cute he was and all that stuff - but because of what he went through in his life to be free and be with Harry and all that stuff. However, going back to Kreacher for a minute, I really like what was said earlier and... John, correct me if I'm wrong. You said that Kreacher was acting as... or somebody said it... Kreacher was acting as Harry's slave when he went out of the kitchens and started stabbing toes and everything.
JG: I think Katy said that.
KM: Well, he's... yeah, he's still kind of the servant of Harry at that point.
KH: I never thought of it that way. That's actually perfect. The transformation that Kreacher goes through is what this whole house-elf theorem is to me. He hates Mudbloods, he's grown up in this house of the Blacks, he doesn't like the Mudbloods, he doesn't like Muggles. It's all pureblood only and family that the Blacks have, the tight-knit family. So then, Harry comes and visits in Order of the Phoenix and basically he's... Kreacher is under the submissive service of Sirius, correct?
KH: At that point in time, in Order of the Phoenix. He's ruled by Sirius in the Black name. So here comes Harry, here comes Hermione and Ron and all this stuff and the Order of the Phoenix, and they make this headquarters a home here. And Kreacher is miserable because these are intruders into his way of life. So, it's just really neat how he goes from one extreme, and then all of a sudden Sirius dies, and the layout goes to where Kreacher is now enslaved by Harry who is just his worst nightmare, and it shows in Half-Blood Prince how he hates this. But then, obviously, in Deathly Hallows, he gets Regulus's locket, total transformation of attitude. He's like, "Oh my God, this is really cool. Harry is now a hero, and he's a happy slave to Harry." So, the whole transformation from where he was...
KM: And Harry doesn't treat him like a slave unless he has to, to get Kreacher...
KH: Yeah, he did a couple of times.
KM: He does order him to do things, but I think only... doesn't he often do it for Kreacher's own best interests? So he tries to get Kreacher to just stop punishing himself or...
KH: He had him following the Malfoys. He had him follow Draco around...
KM: Well, that's true.
KH: ...in the castle.
KM: He seems very... Harry doesn't like being anybody's master, and so he has a kind of ambivalence towards it. He doesn't treat him as poorly as Sirius did, I think. One of the things I think is interesting in what you said about Kreacher is he's so terrible to the people who come into Grimmauld Place, and I think that that has to do with... and again, this is kind of an idea that Simone de Beauvoir talked about in The Second Sex, that the domestic routine is so contained and housewives were making themselves experts, the kind of queens of the house, and I think Kreacher is that and what is he really angry about? He's angry that they are cleaning it up, which he thinks is actually ruining it. And so, he sort of becomes a hoarder as a way of trying to maintain his old life, and it's only when he's kind of brought out of that that he's able to see anything beyond. And I do think he's on a good trajectory at the end, but I still think he's doing things as a form of loyalty or allegiance to somebody else as opposed to doing something that is just really independent, which I think is what Dobby is doing.
KH: Abigail, what do you think about all this?
AR: It's interesting. I feel like Harry, for someone who I felt like had a really good grasp on the relationship the housewi... excuse me. Housewives? Geez. House-elves...
AR: ...had to the wizarding world. I keep going back to when he is sent... and I can't remember... Mundungus Fletcher. When he sends Kreacher after him, that was a certain power that I really wouldn't have imagined Harry doing, definitely not to Dobby, so I'm wondering if it was just Kreacher's role and the poor relationship that they had that Harry felt like he could assert that and not feel too bad about it. But I don't know, I thought that was really interesting, just looking at Kreacher... the way he treats Kreacher in regard to how he treats Dobby.
JG: I like Keith's point here about how Kreacher has changed, not as boldly and dramatically as Dobby has, but he seems to arrive at the point where Dobby begins. He's moving away from his original master to choose a new master of his own volition. And when he has finally clarified his relationships with the Blacks is to his good friend and like a brother to him, Regulus Black, rather than the entire Black family nightmare, and then he chooses to fight on Harry's side with Dumbledore's Army against the Dark Lord. He seems to have arrived where we meet Dobby...
JG: ...in Book 2. Katy, is that fair?
KM: I think that's pretty fair.
JG: Is this the [unintelligible] that you're talking about?
KM: Yeah, I think so, and I do think that... initially it does seem like Dobby is really just transferring allegiance from the Malfoys to Harry, but because he has to make his own way in the world after he's liberated, and it's a challenging course for him, he develops more independence just as he goes along that I think really allows him to not follow instructions and to do things of his own free will later on. But I think that seems like it may be in Kreacher's future.
KH: John, did you say that Dobby went the biggest turnaround?
JG: Ye... well, Dobby becomes a free house-elf. He transcends his species by the end of the book.
KH: Yeah, but do you think that was a major turnaround? I see what you're saying, I do...
JG: From a guy who irons his hands...
KH: ...but what I'm saying...
JG: ...to that? Yeah. A guy who irons his hands and throws his head into the wall to a character that dies for the love of his friends?
KH: Yeah, I hear you...
JG: That's about as big as it gets.
KH: ...but what I was thinking is Dobby was also miserable as a Malfoy house-elf, and so he went to his freedom and got his freedom and really took his freedom as part of his soul. But for Kreacher, he was happy under the Black's rule, so the transformation, to me, is going from being a slave to a dark family to being a slave to a good family. I mean, that's a major transformation.
JG: I don't see it but... Katy, what do you make of that?
KM: I can see that. I think that, in a way, Dobby is already ready to be a free elf when he first meets Harry because he understands that he has been oppressed and that he is enslaved. And I don't know that a lot of other house-elves necessarily think of it that way, and I think Kreacher doesn't. You can't set Kreacher free, right? That's sort of the idea. You can't set him free, it would kill him. "The shock would kill him," I think is what Sirius says. And so, for him, maybe it is a long journey to get from that position of being so unhappy and miserable, serving a bad family, to serving people who are working for good. That's its own nice transformation for him also, and maybe it's just we meet Dobby when he's already kind of ready to be free and Kreacher has a longer way to go.
KH: That's what I was thinking.
JG: How about Winky? Is Winky ever going to wake up?
KM: I don't know. I was disappointed [laughs] that we didn't see any kind of transformation for her. She is just deeply in mourning, and I think this is one of the things that people also were sort of like, "Why can't... why is she so upset that she's free?" And I really think it's... for her, it's not just the loss of security because, in fact, we know she wasn't very secure in the Crouch household because she's gotten rid of pretty easily. But really, it's the loss of her identity. She talks about how her mother served the Crouchs and her grandmother and she sort of loses her link with this chain of relatives and who is she if she's not the Crouchs' house-elf. And she is self medicating with Butterbeer...
KM: ...and that really prevents her from really doing anything or being anything more than what she is. And I really feel sorry for her in the Hogwarts kitchen. She's really lost a part of her self, and I had some hope that she might be able to get beyond it. This is actually something that Betty Friedan talked about in The Feminine Mystique, too. She talked about how women in the house would often become alcoholics or even get involved in drugs or overeating as a way to kind of soothe themselves in their unhappy position, and it just seems like that's what Winky is kind of doing.
KH: According to our last show [laughs] with Professor Louise Freeman, we know that Winky is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
KH: Is that right, John?
JG: That's right. That's right.
KM: And Betty Friedan talked about suburbs as the "comfortable concentration camp."
JG: And this is something I... maybe this is where we close or whatever, but to argue about this point I will assert here that Rowling is making a very realistic - even though, obviously, inside a fantasy story - allegory about people's ability to adapt to greater freedom, so that we see a Winky who never can get out of this, she's stuck in this, Kreacher who can make some movement towards it, and then there will be others that are able, like Dobby, to really transcend themselves in an existential or a Christian personal resurrection experience. But here's... Travis Prinzi said this when the last book came out. He said that he was really happy about how the house-elves were treated because while there had been a lot of speculation that they would be the key to the game... Ollivander had disappeared and that he was out there arming all the house-elves, and so at the last moment they would all appear with wands and...
KM: Oh my goodness.
JG: ...do-in the bad guys. Instead, we get a very realistic thing where they come charging out of the kitchen, but all they're armed with is knives.
JG: They're not going to use their magical power, they're just going to stab people in the feet.
JG: Now, that may be a great contribution to the battle, but remember what real power they have. They don't really need wands. They can blast people...
JG: ...left and right, like Dobby does to Mr. Malfoy. Travis said, I think that's a very realistic statement. Just as you don't see, in the end, everybody, all of a sudden, become hunky dory. We're all good friends now. Gryffindor loves Slytherin. You see some motion forward, a little bit of progress, but you don't see a fairy tale ending. And that's especially true, I think, with the house-elves, where we see... if you think of them as house-elves and housewives, we see women in the second and third waves of feminism, some of them choosing to be literally housewives, moms to their children, homeschooling or whatever, and saying that's a perfectly acceptable path if chosen freely.
JG: But yet, it's not what all women want, are ready for, are capable of. So, I think that the allegory seems nuanced rather than that these are slaves, these are... there doesn't seem to be a broad stroke, a big brush allegory, as it is a relatively nuanced one. I want all of you...
KM: I agree.
JG: I got one agree. [laughs]
AR: I agree as well.
JG: All right, Keith, are you going to be the outlier here? Are you going to disagree?
KH: No, I'll agree with that.
JG: All right!
KH: That was well stated.
[JG and KM laugh]
KM: Yeah, I think that's the key. We want people to... we expect that people are going to be happy to be free, but the reality is that freedom... it's hard to be free. You do have to give up a lot of security. Sometimes you have to give up part of your identity, you have to forge an indentity for yourself. That can be really difficult, and not everybody is just going to embrace that. Especially if, as Keith said earlier, all you've known is this world where you've been very contained within a certain situation. You've been told that you're supposed to be happy in your enslavement, and so you tend to just absorb what the dominant group wants you to believe about yourself. The house-elves believe what the Fountain of Magical Brethren is saying. They are the ones who actually think that they're supposed to be like that, and it's very hard to break out of that, and it's not... you can't just wave a wand and have everybody accept freedom. It's not so easy as that.
KH: You know what? We don't know enough about the magical abilities of the house-elves. Obviously, like John was saying, they can blast people out without wands and they can...
KH: ...do all kinds of magic that we've seen, but we don't know enough about it. So, maybe they can't kill, which is why they came out of the kitchen with knives because they can't kill with their magic...
KH: ...so they had to physically do the damage in order to defeat their enemy.
KM: When Dobby blasts Lucius Malfoy right after he's been freed, he says to Mr. Malfoy, "You will go now," and Lucius Malfoy actually leaves. So, you get the sense that there is some kind of power that even a wizard would be frightened of.
KH: Yeah, we're definitely not arguing that they have power. They have huge amounts of power. Again, exactly from that point that their domination of power is very clear, but maybe they can't kill. It's a different type of power. It's a... maybe they can't do an Unforgivable Curse because they don't have that part in them that allows them to actually mean it, like Bellatrix said. You have to actually mean it when you do the curse. Maybe they don't have that inside them as part of their magic. So yeah, they can do all kinds of moving and house cleaning and blasting things away and, yeah, that's all great, but can they actually do an Unforgivable Curse? I'm thinking that maybe they can't. Obviously we might not ever know unless Rowling decides to reveal it, but in that case, that's why they came out of the kitchen with the knives because that was their only way of physically killing an enemy, was to do it physically, not magically.
AR: I think that's really interesting.
JG: What do you think, Abigail? You think interesting.
AR: Yeah, I just think... that idea that there's something intrinsically different about house-elves than wizards... I mean, we're seeing differences as far as social stations but I don't know, I think that's really... I haven't thought of it like that before.
KH: Well, John, what do you think?
JG: I think that if Mr. Malfoy had cracked his neck going down those stairs, he'd have been just as dead as if he'd been hit with an Avada Kedavra.
KH: Well yeah, but the curse itself wasn't the death of him.
JG: That's right. I get you, I get you. I would have preferred, in terms of if Rowling... I think if Rowling wanted to show them liberated... I think we're agreeing, but if she wanted to show them liberated, she would have shown them coming out there blasting people left and right, up against the wall...
JG: ...knocking them out or whatever.
KM: That's right.
JG: Instead, she has them come out - as you say - with knives, doing physical damage, doing sort of hand to hand combat because that's about as big a step as they can make not knowing who these wizards are, not being able to really show that they hate them or whatever, but this is a huge step for them to come out as kitchen servants.
JG: The cooks that never are seen or heard or anything like that, these invisible servants have appeared and shown that they are angry and that they have an idea of what's right and wrong and they're going to step up for it. That's a huge step, but it's not a step of leadership where they're going to come out and say, "Okay, everybody. Over to the right here. The house-elves are in charge and this game is over." We don't get that kind of fantasy. We get, as you say, a picture of the house-elves making a big step but not really an unrealistic step.
KH: Let me ask one question to everybody to close out the show, if you don't mind: Let's look at today. Here we are, we are twenty-something years, twenty-four years, away from the Battle of Hogwarts. Hermione has graduated Hogwarts, went on to become a Head of the Department of Magical Law after her successful bout at the Department of Magical Creatures. What do you think is the social status of the house-elves today? Are they all free? Did she do an Emancipation Proclamation and free all the house-elves, or are they still free if they want but slaves if they want? Or has nothing changed at all?
KM: Well, that's a really good question, and I have to say that I sort of wonder about that and we're not really given a lot of clues about it. My guess is that it is sort of that kind of middle position that you were saying, that maybe they're... it's Hermione, right? So, given the opportunity, you imagine that she is going to try to give the house-elves the opportunity to be free, that maybe they could petition for their freedom now, or something like that. But the elfin mystique I think is probably still pretty strong and my guess is that you still mostly have house-elves working in households and doing the same kinds of things that they were doing, but maybe now they have an out if they want it. I'm not sure, that's kind of what I imagine.
KH: Are they like Dobby and earning a wage if they're stuck... if they decide that they want to be a housewife/house-elf to a wizarding family because they're treated decently, do they get a wage of some sort and are allowed to have a day off once a month?
KM: That's a great question, too.
JG: Abigail, what do you think?
AR: Yeah, I would have to say probably more toward that middle ground of freedom if you like it, and if not you're still working for a family. But I would have to imagine that most of them... I mean theoretically, that most of them would still be working for families if the conditions were good. I don't think you'd see a lot of Dobbys unless, like Dobby, they're coming from terrible circumstances or terrible families.
KM: Oh, I was going to say the issue of wages that I think kind of important here because it's seen as dishonorable to work for wages, and this is the same way that housework became defined as really not work during the Industrial era because it didn't make a wage, it didn't seem to contribute economically to the household. And so, what Dobby has to do is he has to convince people to pay him for something that is defined as something that's not supposed to get a wage and I think that that's... it's going to be hard... maybe after twenty-five years, you might have some house-elves getting wages. I would imagine it would still be pretty low and that there would probably be still a number who are going to live in that, "I'll take my security from living in the home and I won't have a wage or vacation."
JG: I would... I agree and disagree with you both here. What I want to note that... something that Dolores Gordon-Smith pointed out to me last week after listening to the John Mark Reynolds episode on canon, she said that the first person to talk about canon in literature was a guy named Reverend Nox talking about Sherlock Holmes, and he was the first person to talk about books as if they were really happening, [laughs] that they were real-world events. And obviously that's the world in which we live. We're talking about the house-elves as if this is something that's really happening [laughs] inside some reality that we know. And I'd like to say that... because Rowling doesn't mention house-elves in the epilogue and she doesn't give us any clues... all the interviews that I've heard, I haven't heard any discussion of the house-elves and where they stand. I think what we're left with is actually what the author wants, which is Keith asking the question. And so, we're thinking about not only the house-elves, but really the larger question of women, of cultures in which freedom, liberty, isn't embraced the way it is in the west. We're left with those questions and some models of which we can discuss to say what's the right and wrong of this, and what's... are we supposed to be more like Dumbledore and Harry, or more like Hermione in her SPEW stage? Oh well. I think we're left with that great question, Keith, that you asked, is: Where are the hosue-elves as largely where are we? [laughs] Where do we stand as a culture? Where do we stand as individuals and our relationship to freedom? And that's one of the great things about this book, is it's the shared text that allows us to ask those questions and have conversations like this one which are so revealing about how we think and the choices that we make. All right, that's all I got, Keith.
KH: Well, one of the things I do wish is that I could actually just teleport myself to JK Rowling and say, "Listen to this episode. The fans want to know the answers to these questions right here."
KH: "We need to know what happened with the house-elves with Hermione after she graduated." Whether or not she ever reveals anything on Pottermore, or any encyclopedia information, or even gives an interview and says, "Hey look, this is what actually happened to them." You know what? This is one that if I see her at LeakyCon London, I want to ask her that question.
JG: I think that she's succeeded in leaving you with the question, that she doesn't want to give you the answer or she would have given you the answer. That setting the question was her real goal.
KH: Yeah, but then we get into that discussion of canon again. It doesn't matter what she says...
KH: ...it's not part of canon anyway...
JG: That's right.
KH: ...so we can pretty much go about making up our own thing.
AR: So, everyone should just tweet a link to the show at Jo, and hopefully she'll hear it and then respond to us.
JG: There we go.
KH: Let's do that.
KM: Good idea.
AR: Because we all know how often she uses her Twitter account.
KH: Let's get it trending worldwide.
KH: Anyway, speaking of social media - and we're going to end this show now - I do want to thank Rachel. Rachel has been a fan of the Mugglenet Academia show and she set up a Facebook page where she does some stuff with the fans on behalf of MuggleNet Academia.
KH: It is not an official MuggleNet page. I just want to make that clear.
KH: Nobody on MuggleNet staff is running it, but I do appreciate Rachel's efforts in it. You can see it at Facebook.com/MuggleNetAcademia. You can now get MuggleNet Academia for your mobile device. What you do is you go onto iTunes and download the app called Podcast Box. That is for your iOS devices. Either your iPhone, iPod touch, or the iPad. Once you have Podcast Box downloaded - and that is a free app - you go and search for MuggleNet Academia. All the podcasts that are available on Podcast Box do cost something, ours are the cheap $1.99 ones, and what you get with this is a couple of extra bonus features that we throw in every once in a while. If you have an Android device, you simply go to Amazon.com, pay the $1.99 there, and you're all set up. Additionally, feel free to send in any kind of quibbles or arguments to the text. What about this show? Send in a quibble and tell us what your thoughts are with the house-elves, with their future and how it lays today, and are they free or are they not free? Send it in and we'll be glad to post it on the website. If you would also like to be a student of this show, like Abigail has joined us today, then send in your submission of information that is on the website. It tells you that we need your first and last name, your age, your state, your school, et cetera, et cetera. And if a show comes in with your specialty, we will contact you just like we contacted Abigail when this show came up. So then, we're going to wrap it up, John.
JG: I just want to thank our guests here. Katy, it was wonderful having you here. Wonderful to talk to you again after all these years.
KM: Thank you!
JG: And Abigail, wonderful meeting you. It was a great show.
AR: Thank you very much.
KM: Yeah, this was great. I love house-elves.
[AR and JG laugh]
AR: Yeah, I appreciate it. Thanks, guys.
JG: Did you name your child Dobby, Katy? Is that true?
KM: No, no.
JG: There's rumors that you named your kid...
KM: It's just a nickname. Just a nickname. [laughs]
JG: A nickname, okay.
JG: All children look like Dobby at one point or another. Anyway...
KH: I don't know what children you're looking at. Well anyway, let's wrap up the show and again, thank you very much for coming on, ladies. John, it's been another great show. We'll see you in a couple of weeks where we are going to be talking with Professor Nexon. Tell us a little bit about that show.
JG: Well, this is Professor Daniel Nexon of Georgetown University. He's a graduate of, I think, Columbia and Harvard.
[Show music begins]
JG: And he wrote a book back in the day called - he edited a book - called Harry Potter and International Relations, and we'll be talking to him about the political science of Harry Potter right on the eve of our national elections. We'll be dealing with the politics of Harry Potter. Woo-hoo!
KH: And that's what we wanted to do. That's why we timed it out that way. So, thanks everybody for listening. From MuggleNet.com, my name is Keith Hawk.
JG: I'm John Granger, the Hogwarts Professor and author of The Deathly Hallows Lectures.
KM: I'm Katy McDaniel, Professor of History at Marietta College.
AR: Abigail Robertson, Masters of Literature at Bowling Green State University.