Andrew [Show Intro]: This is MuggleCast, MuggleNet's brand new podcasting feature: Episode 1 for August 07, 2005. If you haven't finished reading Book 6 yet please do not listen to this podcast, as we do talk about several different spoilers.
Ben: Welcome to MuggleCast. I'm Ben Schoen.
Andrew: I'm Andrew Sims.
Kevin: And I'm Kevin Steck.
Ben: This is the first edition of a brand-new feature brought to you by MuggleNet. Our discussions will be centered around one topic. This week we'll be discussing the recently released 6th Book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. But first we need to look at this past week's news. Within the past week we've seen a lot of news for the fourth movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. A lot of brand-new pictures have also been released. Kevin and Andrew, what do you guys think?
Andrew: This movie will be one of the best ones yet. I said that about Prisoner of Azkaban too, but this one I really think is going to be good. The director Mike Newell, he's the director of Mona Lisa Smile, Four Weddings and A Funeral, and he did some television series, but if you look at his past experience with movies, Goblet of Fire doesn't really fit in with it. But from what I see, I think it's going to be looking pretty good.
Kevin: I think this movie is going to better for the Harry Potter fans as opposed to Prisoner of Azkaban, which was better for the person who has never read Harry Potter before.
Kevin: Everyone had a problem with Prisoner of Azkaban because it cut out so much stuff that we deemed vital in the Harry potter fandom.
Ben: I agree with you to an extent. The problem was with Prisoner of Azkaban; a lot of things really weren't. Why did Harry cast a stag at the end of the movie to save his past self? A lot of things really weren't explained in Prisoner of Azkaban, and it's really going to be hard to appease the Harry Potter purists so to speak.
Kevin: Same thing with the Marauder's Map. That plays a key role in the future books and they didn't even explain where it came from.
Andrew: And Alfonso, he was very artistic. When you looked at the movie, it was all about the camera shots with him.
Kevin: It is the best movie for people who are just coming to watch a good movie. It is not a movie for those who have read all the books religiously and then decided: "Hey, I want to see this movie because it is a Harry Potter movie".
Ben: But we have to realize that Warner Bros. is not about that. They are not about pleasing the Harry Potter purist like I said. They are more about making the millions of dollars, pleasing the average Joe and his kids, and that type of thing. And with the upcoming movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I have several problems with it that are pretty much going to make a lot of people mad. I'd like to point out some of the photos we've seen recently. There was one of the four Triwizard champions (you can see this picture on the site if you haven't seen it yet), but it has Harry, Cedric, Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour standing on a dock. The only problem is that Viktor Krum is short and stocky, when he was supposed to be tall and skinny. Just things like this is what's going to upset people.
Kevin: I don't think the small details are really that important. Yes, it helps the characterization but it really doesn't. I think that what people are concerned with is getting the overall plot of the movie out. What a lot people are concerned with is that the movie is going to be at most three hours long, and we're looking at a book that was upwards of what...600 pages?
Ben and Andrew: 735.
Kevin: Exactly, and it's obviously had to cut a bunch of stuff. We have a bunch of pictures showing at least two...what two...of the tasks? Meaning that they are filling all that time with the Triwizard tasks, which is good but at the same time you're losing all that back information about Hogwarts.
Andrew: That's going to be one of the main things that they promote in this movie, and I think the Triwizard Tournament is going to be the real thing they focus on. The teaser trailer, the new website, The Goblet of Fire website, it is all surrounded by the tournament. And I really think that's what it is going to do.
Kevin: Now do you think they are going to include that scene in the beginning with Voldemort? Because that was a violent scene.
Ben: The issue is they said that Harry is not going to be at the Dursleys'. So what I foresee happening is Harry having that dream and waking up at the Burrow. You know what I'm saying?
Andrew: Oh yeah.
Ben: They said the Dursleys have been cut from Goblet of Fire.
Kevin: But even that scene, do you actually think they are going to show it?
Ben: Do we have a rating for this movie yet, I haven't heard anything, have you? (Note: The movie has since been rated PG-13).
Andrew: Actually, who was it? I think it was IMDB posted...I am not sure who exactly, but somebody said it was PG. Although the Goblet of Fire website still says "not yet rated". But I think it is pretty much assumed it's going to be PG.
Kevin: Isn't that information posted on the web? Aren't they required to display the rating of a film before it's released?
Andrew: Absolutely. But it probably hasn't gone to the MPAA yet.
Kevin: Yeah, that's true. And it is a couple months away, but at the same time they can cut it as close as they want so long as they have it up in time for people to know what the rating is.
Andrew: And I think it would be stupid for WB to try to go for a PG-13 rating, although that might appeal to more adults.
Kevin: Yeah, it would be like shooting themselves in the foot.
Andrew: Yeah. Right.
Ben: I think that the movie is going to be dark enough, darker than the past movies that it is going to need to be rated PG-13. Because if you want to give the movie an appropriate rating based off the book, I think that the book should be PG-13. Because after the death that happened in the book and all those things. See the difference comes in when people read the book. When an eight-year-old reads the book, it's just their own imagination, and they may not completely understand the death.
Kevin: It is not physical.
Ben: Right. But then when they watch the movie, they are going to see Cedric Diggory die, they are going to see all these things happen which is where the real issue comes in. So I feel that it's going to have to be rated PG-13.
Andrew: But do eight-year-olds really read this book? Because my brother...
Kevin: Well, quite a few kids do. It's not really the eight-year-olds reading it, it's the parents reading it to the eight-year-olds.
Andrew: That's true. I think kids would be so intimidated by the length of it. Unless you're really into Harry Potter. So an average kid who just happens to maybe want to get into it now looks at Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince and they say, "Whoa."
Kevin: But at the same time I think they can show some of the scenes you're describing a little more innocently. For example, remember how they handled the whole Harry flashback to seeing his parents die, where they just showed the green flash? They don't have to show him physically dying. They can just show a green flash and show him on the ground, which gets a point across, but at the same time it's not that disturbing. One thing I am concerned about though...how do you pronounce it...Crucio?
Kevin: The curse...how do you show that? And that's constantly used throughout the books, so that kind of thing, I guess it could show pain without making it too violent.
Ben: Right. An eight-year-old or a ten-year-old even or anybody seeing a person... the way JKR describes the Cruciatus Curse in the books is kind of gruesome. Just like the spiders with the imposter Moody in the fourth movie would be terrifying for a little kid. So I am really excited to see how it shapes out, and I think it is going to end up being rated PG-13. The movie is out in the United States on November 18 of this year, and Warner Bros. recently released a list of release dates for many countries throughout the world. The Philippines gets the movie the earliest on November 16, which I would see how they would. I don't know what time zone they're in. It may be further ahead of us, so when it is November 16 there...I mean they may be behind us, so when it's November 16 there it already may be November 17 at midnight here. Now I think it's time that we move to this week's topic where we'll be discussing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The book has been out for three weeks now, what are your initial thoughts about the book?
Andrew: First of all, before we even get to that, I think we should go through a couple stats. There were 10.8 million copies for the first run-through print. Of those, 6.9 million were sold in the first 24 hours, which is amazing comparing it even to the other Harry Potter books. Borders sold 850,000, Barnes and Noble sold over 1 million, and Amazon had over 1.5 million pre-orders. It was definitely in demand and I think it was a huge success.
Kevin: Yeah, definitely. I've read the book twice now since it's been released and one thing I noticed with this book is it felt as though JKR was catching up with information. The book had a lot more narrative than the previous books. Did you notice that at all? Andrew and
Kevin: And it upset a few people because it wasn't the typical Harry Potter book, because it didn't show Hogwarts all that much. It showed a lot of back information, but at the same time in response to that, I think the reason why she fed us this book is that she wants to set it up for the perfect Book 7.
Kevin: She wants it so that it's absolutely perfect. She knows it's the last book. She's had the last two chapters written for thirteen years and she wants it as perfect as she can make any Harry Potter book.
Ben: And she said so herself, that in the end it is actually going to be bittersweet for her because Harry Potter has basically turned her life from being a lonely mother on welfare to a billionaire who's living in a multi-million dollar mansion.
Kevin: I think she's going to enjoy it. I think she's going to be glad it's done. She's had so much media exposure that it's hard to live normally. She's said that in her interviews where they asked her specifically how are you going to expose your children to this, and she's said she's trying not to. She's trying to make it so that they have a normal childhood without all this coverage because all that coverage can make any person go crazy.
Ben: And she's just hoping that life after Harry Potter gets back to normal.
Kevin: Yeah, definitely. Although I think it's going to take a couple of years...
Ben: ...for the aura to die down.
Kevin: Especially since the movies are still coming out and she has all that exposure.
Ben: Now, let's get back to the actual text of this new Harry Potter book. What do you guys actually think of the book itself? Was it the best in the series? Where does it rank in terms of her past writing...this new book?
Andrew: For each book I've been saying each one has been my favorite, but I think this one is definitely my favorite. Like Kevin was saying, it's a big transition into Book 7, and I think it really stands out because it's really different from the rest of the books.
Ben: Right it's really an outlier in comparison to Books 1-5. I thought really it was the best book yet. Just the way she integrated everything and how...it reminded me of Prisoner of Azkaban where it isn't the old buildup to the Harry fighting Voldemort scene. It was so much different than the other books. It set it apart, and it was really quite unique.
Kevin: I don't think it was the best book. I'm real big on the Hogwarts thing. But at the same time I really do like it the most because of the information. I really felt it important that she got that information out.
Andrew: Do you really think Harry's going to keep with his word. Not going to Hogwarts like he said at the end?
Kevin: I'm fairly positive. Not because Harry said it, but because JKR wrote it. She tends to be good to her word and when she writes something like that she means it.
Ben: But Kevin, you need to realize that Harry is going to have to return to Hogwarts just for the sheer fact that it has so many resources. But I do agree that it's not going to be regular school, and that's going to be understandable.
Kevin: I don't think he's going to be returning to Hogwarts for school...I should clarify that. I think he will be returning for either Horcruxes or information, but he's definitely not returning for schooling. I think he's done with his schooling. When JKR wrote that I don't think she had any intention of making it so that he would never go back. She meant exactly that. He wouldn't be going back to school. He's now old enough to say: "No, I don't want to go to school", and he now has a responsibility that he needs to fulfill. And she gave him every reason not to go back.
Kevin: Within this seventh book she essentially has 600-700 pages to help him find the Horcruxes...
Ben: ...and save the wizarding world.
Kevin: Exactly. Speaking of Horcruxes, did you guys pick out the Horcrux that she mentioned in Book 5?
Andrew: There have been so many theories on that.
Ben: We'll get to that a little bit later. As Andrew mentioned all the statistics with the first edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, like all the first edition printing there were millions upon millions printed, and there are actually misprinted copies which in the end somehow are going to be worth more.
Andrew: When people find their misprinted books they get all excited. And it's understandable. When you think about it, there are 10.8 million copies. It's bound to happen. There are all kinds of mistakes, just from pages missing, people would send us pictures "Hey! Look at my misprinted book". We were all impressed and everything. It's bound to happen, but is it going to be rare? Is it going to be worth a lot? I think some hard collectors might like to have those.
Ben: But I really don't think it's going to be...
Kevin: I think the thing that's going to be worth money are the signed copies. Those are the ones that always make the money. Maybe if you have a signed...
Andrew: ...misprinted copy.
Kevin: You're all set. Keep that for ten years and you'll be set for life.
Andrew: Killing two birds with one stone.
Ben: So in this recent book, ever since of the beginning of the series, JKR has had the so-called running bits. If you've read Wizarding World Press' books, The Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter, a recent one was just out (everybody should go out and buy it). They've mentioned these running bits like the No. 7. In each book we continue to mention the No. 7 with everything.
Kevin: She's called a lot of attention to seven this time though.
Ben: Yes. One thing with the Horcrux is...if any of you perhaps have forgotten...they're each individual piece of Voldemort's soul which is keeping him immortal at the moment, which Harry must destroy in order to defeat Voldemort and essentially save the wizarding world. We know what a few of the Horcruxes are: Marvolo Gaunt's ring which we saw in the Pensieve (in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...not Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), and Tom Riddle's diary is also believed to be a Horcrux. And Dumbledore has several theories, which he thinks are the Horcruxes. For example Nagini, Lord Voldemort's snake, which he seems to have quite a bit of control on. What do you guys think?
Kevin: This is getting back to what I was mentioning in Order of the Phoenix. She said in that interview with Emerson and Melissa that within a week she expects at least some fans to pick out one of the Horcruxes. But if you read it carefully, she says...
All: AT LEAST one.
Kevin: Meaning she has hidden more than one within the books. One of them is almost definite, which is the locket within the Black's house, and that's a locket they mention they couldn't open. A lot of people think that's going to play a vital role especially since the house has been robbed essentially.
Andrew: That's one of the big theories, but we'll get into that later.
Kevin: Oh yeah.
Andrew: Who else? Nagini, Lord Voldemort's snake. I think that would be a very interesting one for Harry to go at... and try to...
Kevin: Kill...yeah. [Laughs]
Andrew: Right because it is twelve feet long and where is it hiding? Where is it?
Ben: It's Voldemort's personal snake.
Andrew: So, might have hard time finding that. [Laughs]
Kevin: And not to mention there's only a few instances that he separates from that snake. So it's got to be one of those things: how do you get the snake alone without the master? You know?
Ben: See I've heard a recent theory about Nagini actually being the snake that Harry released in Book 1. You remember the Brazilian python or whatever it was in the 1st Book that he released at the zoo and then took off? I think it would be very interesting if that snake turned out to be the one that was Nagini.
Kevin: It would...it would make a lot of people mad because it's one of those things that sits right in front of your face for quite a while and it never registered. And JKR has a habit of dropping big things on us like that.
Andrew: Nagini made appearances in possibly Book 1, Book 4 in the beginning, and also in Book 5, when Harry saw the snake attacking Arthur Weasley in one of his dreams.
Ben: Right. Exactly.
Kevin: Now have you guys heard that theory about Harry?
Andrew: About Harry being a Horcrux?
Kevin: A lot of people have been posing that to me in questions in my email and I just wanted to know what you guys think about it?
Ben: The thing that completely destroys that theory...tons of people have sent this in...that Harry's scar is a Horcrux or Harry himself being a Horcrux...the only issue here is that Dumbledore told Harry that he has to destroy each individual Horcrux, then destroy the one that Voldemort is inhabiting -- the one that gave him his body back. Harry would have to first kill himself first and then kill Voldemort in order to save the wizarding world, which really doesn't seem very likely.
Kevin: I think that's why they suggested the scar because I believe if...remember the 1st Book when Dumbledore introduced Harry, and McGonagall I believe made a comment about Harry's scar and Dumbledore removing it? He said, "Even if I could, scars tend to come in useful every once in a while. I have a perfect map of the London underground."
Andrew: Yeah, I think I remember that.
Kevin: Do you remember that?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Kevin: Well, he suggested removing it, and what a lot people have been sending to me and I can't make a clear judgment whether it's a possible theory or not. They've been saying it's possible that Harry will have to remove his own scar and break the connection between him and Voldemort completely.
Ben: That is very interesting, that the scar seems to be a central thing throughout the entire books because it's what connects Harry to Voldemort.
Kevin: It does. It does and it's what identified Harry.
Andrew: It explains why so many people think he's a Horcrux. Everyone thinks well...
Ben: And in the recent interview with JKR, Emerson asked if the last word of Book 7 is still scar? And JKR said right now it is. And I do agree with you now that even though Dumbledore didn't know about the Horcruxes initially in Book 1, he didn't find out about that until after the Tom Marvolo Riddle diary. So it does make sense he says that scars come in handy, and in the end Harry's scar does come in handy in defeating Lord Voldemort. That's very interesting.
Kevin: I think it would be ironic. It would be the perfect...
Ben: The thing that Voldemort used to mark Harry that has made him so famous...
Kevin: ...is the thing that will kill him.
Ben: The thing that I think is going to be very difficult is Harry finding all the Horcruxes. There are still several of them up in the air.
Kevin: One thing that I was upset with in this book. I think JKR mentioned it in Emerson and Melissa's interview, she mentioned he has a lot of resources we don't realize yet. What upset me is that I was expecting Harry to at least put some effort into some things that normal students wouldn't. Because at the end of Book 5 he knew that Voldemort was back, he had started Dumbledore's Army, and then all of a sudden it seems like he forget about the danger. I am not sure about you guys, but if I knew somebody was coming to kill me, I'd do everything possible to learn the skills that would protect me.
Ben: And train your friends. Your friends are going to fight the same things.
Kevin: Exactly. A lot of people were upset about Dumbledore's Army.
Ben: I wish it had returned. It did come in handy.
Andrew: That was a very popular subject.
Kevin: It was very popular.
Ben: They continually carried around those rings...not those rings, but those coins that they used for communication.
Kevin: Which was another slap in the face in this book because Draco used those as a way to infiltrate Hogwarts. So I think that was another thing JKR was trying to point out. Although the good side has a lot of resources, the bad side also does. She was trying to balance it.
Ben: Has Draco been branded with the Dark Mark yet or do we not know that?
Kevin: Well we don't know it for sure, but they have a suspicion because of him covering up his arm.
Ben: The issue is...Hermione admitted where she got the idea for those coins to communicate was from Voldemort having the Dark Mark branded on the Death Eater arms. Why couldn't Draco have used his arm...is that what he what did...did he use a coin...I don't recall?
Kevin: He used a coin to contact Rosmerta. He used the Dark Mark to...
Ben: Rosmerta doesn't have the Dark Mark.
Kevin: Exactly. One, that would be a dead giveaway and two, from what they were saying Voldemort carries the one mark that can contact the rest.
Ben: Kind of like Hermione has the one coin?
Kevin: Exactly. I don't think it's like a two-way system, so there would be no way of Draco contacting anybody using the Dark Mark because obviously he doesn't have the one that communicates. I mean it's all speculation of course because there's no written proof of this, but that's my guess.
Click here to go to page two