MuggleCast 114 Transcript (continued)
Main Discussion: Book 1 and 7 Parallels
Jamie: No, we're not at all. At all. Which brings us nicely on to our Main Discussion, which is Book 1 and 7 parallels. Laura, do you want to introduce this?
Laura: Yeah. So, as a lot of people - or maybe you don't remember - but pretty much ever since we started this show, I've been going on about how I think that the series is somewhat symmetrical. Like, Books 1 and 7 have a lot in common, 2 and 6, 3 and 5, and then Book 4 is the centerpiece. And so I really felt while I was reading Deathly Hallows that I noticed a lot of things that it did had in common with Book 1.
First Chapters Parallel
Laura: Now, to start us off with some little things, you'll notice that Chapter 1 in Sorcerer's Stone doesn't start from Harry's point of view, but it starts from the Dursleys'...
Laura: ...and they don't like him. And Chapter 1 of Deathly Hallows also starts in Snape and Yaxley's - is it "Yaxley" or "Yakes-ley"? I never knew how to say his name.
Laura: Yaxley. It starts in their point of view, and they don't [laughs] necessarily like him, either.
Laura: So I thought that was kind of interesting.
Jamie: That is interesting. I really, really enjoyed the chapters that aren't from Harry's point of view. And also in Book 6...
Laura: Oh, I know.
Jamie: ..."The Other Minister." Away from the circular nature of them, they were just awesome the way they were written.
Laura: Yeah. I love seeing things from - like you said, things that aren't in Harry's point of view, because you really get, I think, a more rounded view of what...
Laura: ...of the kind of world that Jo is trying to create here.
Laura: Because in Harry's point of view, you kind of always see things through - and not to be funny here, but through his lenses.
Jamie: [laughs] Yeah, you do.
Laura: But he's kind of like - he's the kid who has had - he's the hero who's had everything pushed off on him. He never wanted to do this.
Laura: The only reason he's so important is because he was forced to be. And it's interesting to see the point of views of people who don't necessarily have that responsibility for us to ponder.
Jamie: Exactly. And also, his narration is not objective, even nearly. He's a flawed character, which isn't a bad thing. But obviously, he's a flawed character, which means we don't get completely objective views of the world. And I would love, love to read the books from Snape's point of view or from Voldemort's point of view.
Laura: Oh my God, yes!
Jamie: Because Harry - it's nice, but sometimes you get angry at the way he looks at things, because he doesn't look. He doesn't look at things perfectly the entire time or objectively, and he rushes into things; whereas I think Snape, to view it from an inquiring mind such as Snape's, or an unemotional mind such as Voldemort's would be fascinating.
Laura: Mhm. Especially Snape's. That's what I loved about seeing all of his memories at the end of the Deathly Hallows.
Laura: Where we saw - especially the whole scene where Dumbledore sort of implied that Snape cared about Harry...
Laura: ...and Snape was like, "About him?" And he cast the Patronus and it was the doe, and it made Dumbledore cry. I was just - oh my God, that was just so good.
Jamie: That was an amazing scene, yeah. Micah, what do you think?
Micah: I like the comparison between the Dursleys and Snape and Yaxley. Are you trying to say that they are also a dysfunctional family, Laura?
Laura: Maybe. Actually, no.
Laura: What I was trying to say was that it's from the point of view of two people or two sets of people...
Micah: No, no, I know.
Laura: ...who don't like Harry.
Micah: I was just trying to make a joke.
Laura: The distinction that I was trying to make there was that we have seen other chapters that don't take place in Harry's point of view. But the comparison that I drew was that the Minister doesn't necessarily not like Harry...
Laura: So that was the distinction I was trying to draw.
Laura: Sort of - sorry.
Jamie: No, go on.
Laura: Oh, I was going to say, sort of moving on, if you look at the chapter titles in Chapter One of Sorcerer's Stone it refers to Harry in the title: "The Boy Who Lived." And then Chapter One of Deathly Hallows refers to Voldemort: "The Dark Lord Ascending."
Jamie: Yes. See...
Laura: I thought that that was pretty cool.
Jamie: That is interesting. And I thought, again, that was an awesome chapter because the tone was just completely different, because it had a completely different focal point. Harry, even though he can be angry and angsty, creates sort of a light, un-tense sort of feeling in - with everyone. But Voldemort - I mean, I felt nervous when I was reading that...
Jamie: ...chapter. So I don't know how all his Death Eaters felt being around him knowing that they could be instants from death. And it's a completely different scenario, because in our world, your mind is free. You can think whatever you like, and thoughts can't incriminate you because they can't be read. But when you have an evil psychopath in front of you who can look into your mind, literally, and even though Snape says, "It's not mind-reading," to all intents and purposes it seems pretty like it to me. Perhaps I'm as unenlightened as Harry Potter, but if you think things, which he can use against you and use to justify killing you or hurting you, you're going to be pretty nervous the entire time.
Micah: Yeah, I like that because just like what you were just saying with - you get a feeling for what it's really like to be in his presence. Even somebody who's as a big of a suck up as Bellatrix, he turns on her and talks about how her family has - I can't put it the right way, but - I don't want to use the word "betrayed," but has just not been pure with Tonks and everything like that.
Micah: That scene in particular where she starts to talk about Tonks' marriage to Lupin and things like that.
Laura: Yeah, and that's...
Micah: You get a feeling for just how nasty of an individual he is.
Laura: And that's somewhat interesting that you bring up the idea of - in the first chapter of Deathly Hallows, everybody talking about the impurity, or so they believe, of certain family members, to be marrying people who aren't purebloods.
Laura: You know, you look at Petunia. The second Vernon brings up that her sister is married to a wizard or that she's a witch, Petunia doesn't want to talk about it. She kind of shuns the idea; she doesn't want to believe that they're related. So I think that's an interesting correlation.
Micah: See, and I thought that that was the biggest contradiction in the world, because - or she was just - she wanted to be a witch, though, that's the funny thing about it. She didn't want to have anything to do with it when she was around Vernon, but in the end she wanted to be at Hogwarts, so I just thought that that was kind of interesting.
Endings at King's Cross
Jamie: Laura, your point about that both end at King's Cross, I thought was excellent, because King's Cross is extremely symbolic as sort of the place where you leave one world and go on to the other. You know, the Muggle world, the magical world. It's also a symbol of safety, because all of the wizards there and that kind of thing. And also that it is sort of circular, as you say; it starts in one place and sort of ends in the other place, and Harry is happy in both places. Also, it's because the people in both places are starting a new journey, so in the first book it's Harry and his friends and in the seventh book it's Harry's children and his friends' children. So it would be very interesting to see how their experiences at Hogwarts pan out, because Harry and his friends' experiences were sort of experienced under a completely different sun than his children will be. There was a dark shadow over them with Voldemort, and even though everyone thought Voldemort was in hiding, perhaps a hiding threat is a lot worse than one which you can see in the open. So, that time at Hogwarts was, to all intents and purposes, sort of on a downer, kind of, because they had this shadow, whereas his children have more of a free life, and that kind of thing. Micah?
Micah: Yeah, I like the comparison that she drew, sort of as being the barrier between the two worlds, the real world and the magical world. But I also go back to that chapter when he's with Dumbledore and thinking about how he compares it to King's Cross, and it also being the barrier between the world - in my opinion - the world of the living and the world of the dead...
Micah: ...and there was such a religious connotation to the whole idea of King's Cross, I think, throughout the entire series.
Jamie: I agree.
The Mirror of Erised
Laura: That's interesting. Kind of moving on from that, in the first book in "The Mirror of Erised," Harry sees himself... [coughs] - excuse me, I got dry throat here - surrounded by a loving family that is - wait - and that's really how he finds himself in the epilogue of Deathly Hallows. And what I was kind of wondering was, does that mean that he would see himself exactly as he is in the Mirror now? Or has he gone through too much trauma for that to be a possibility?
Jamie: I would say that it would depend on how much closure he's got on his previous life. If he still feels regret over what's happened, and if he still longs for his family, then - I mean, obviously, he will always long for his family back, his parents. But if he's accepted closure, then - then it's - perhaps he would see himself as he is now, since he - you know, you can't - if you change history, you don't know what's going to happen. So if he - if he longed for his past life, then he wouldn't know if he'd have his children or if they'd be the same as they are now. So I don't think someone like Harry would - well, I don't think he'd take the risk of wanting to wish for something in the past when he's happy now, and that...
Jamie: ...you know.
Jamie: What do you think?
Laura: ...the impression that I got was that he was surrounded by his family because it was the one thing he'd never had. And then...
Laura: ...at the end of Deathly Hallows we see him with that sort of family dynamic. And I think that he would see himself as he was, because I think that's what he always wanted.
Jamie: Yeah, I - yeah.
Micah: Would he see anything, though? I mean, essentially, he's achieved what his greatest desire was. I mean, if you take away the whole family aspect of it with his parents, wouldn't - hasn't he really achieved what he wanted more than anything else? I mean, he has a family now with Ginny. He has his two best friends, Ron and Hermione. I don't know if he would really see anything if he looked in the Mirror.
Laura: Yeah, that's what we're saying. Like...
Micah: Because I think he's achieved - yeah, sorry.
Laura: Like, Dumbledore said that the happiest man on Earth would see himself exactly as he is.
Jamie: But I think that's a flawed thing of Dumbledore, because I don't think you can ever be perfectly happy. There's always going to be something more you want and stuff that happens changes you. So Harry's family, I'm sure - you know, it's an incredibly happy circumstance. But I doubt he's completely happy. There could always be one more thing. Like, perhaps - perhaps, you know, he - perhaps he loves his son so much that he would be happy if his son wasn't worried about Slytherin. So there's always one more thing that could make him happier. So I don't think...
Laura: I don't...
Jamie: Especially someone like Harry.
Laura: Do you really think the Mirror goes that far, though? Like...
Jamie: Well, I don't know. That's what I'm not sure about. If it can sense that type of subtlety.
Laura: I don't think it really goes that far. I think it kind of goes into, like, fundamental things that you would expect people to want. Like, obviously now we know that Dumbledore's, you know, was something a bit more important than wanting socks.
Laura: So I think that it really goes into the...
Laura: I think it really goes into the things that you want at the depth of your soul. Like, for instance, Hermione at the time that - before the end of Deathly Hallows, she would have wanted to see herself in the Mirror with Ron.
Laura: So I think it's sort of more of a human interest. Not really, like - not really little things, like, oh, I wish that, you know, my son wasn't worried about this. Or...
Jamie: Or I had a...
Jamie: ...washboard abdominal muscles.
Laura: Or I want that new broomstick, you know.
Laura: I don't think it's like that.
Micah: Yeah. I think it goes back to what Jamie said, though. How much closure he had on the issue - or on the image that he saw initially. Because it would just seem to me that - when Jo answered what Dumbledore would see if he looked in the Mirror, she said that he would see himself perfectly happy with his family. You know, with his sister alive, with his mother alive.
Micah: With his father alive. So - and no quarreling going on between him and his brother. So I just don't know if Harry looked in there, if he would see himself with his parents again. I think that he - especially in that scene in Deathly Hallows, you know, where he's walking into the forest. I think he put closure on that issue.
Jamie: Yeah, that is true.
Jamie: Very true. That is - yeah, that's good.
Laura: That's very good.
Jamie: And also, there's a big difference between desire and happiness. Like, I mean, to see yourself with your family is not to see yourself as happy with your family. Do you know what I mean?
Laura and Micah: Oh, that's true.
Jamie: So like, you know - it's like a photo. He sees himself in the Mirror of Erised as a photo. But photos can't reveal that much emotion.
Micah: So really what you're saying is there's three knives stuck into their backs, and you can't see them...
Jamie: Yes, exactly.
Micah: ...because they're facing forward.
Laura: [laughs] Oh my God. Micah.
Jamie: [laughs] Micah, that could not have been more specific on what I was saying.
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Laura: That is rather violent. Okay. So note to self: never take a picture with Micah.
Jamie: [laughs] Yeah. You'll feel the sharp pain in your...
Jamie: In your kidneys at some point.
Ginny and Lily Begging to go to Hogwarts
Laura: So anyway, kind of moving on and still dealing with the family aspect. And this is just a little thing. But in the beginning of Book 1, Ginny was begging Mrs. Weasley if she could go to Hogwarts, whining about how she wants to go, and Mrs. Weasley kind of scolds her and says, "You're too young." And then, at the end of Deathly Hallows, little Lily Potter is begging Harry and Ginny if she can go to Hogwarts, and they both tell her that it will be a couple of years. And I just thought that was kind of a cute little correlation, like - Micah?
Micah: Yeah. No, I think that's interesting.
Micah: Now Ginny is begging at the beginning, right, when they first get to King's Cross?
Micah: So, I mean, I think there are little things like that that you can certainly make a comparison between.
Micah: I don't think that, you know, it's something beyond the reach of Jo necessarily. I think that she's the type of person that would sort of draw those different parallels between the two books.
Laura: Oh yeah, I think so too. I think she definitely wrote that as kind of a way of bringing the whole story full circle. You know, Harry's now at the train station with his family and he's seeing his kids off, which is what he always wanted and he never had. So he's able to give that to someone else. So I think that's really good.
Laura: And then kind of moving off of the whole family aspect, we see a lot of Gringotts in Books 1 and 7. It's mentioned, and we see it - I believe they do go to Gringotts in Chamber of Secrets, but it's not really described in any great detail. But doesn't Griphook take - go down with them both times? It was...
Micah: Yeah, I believe it is Griphook that takes them down.
Laura: Yeah, in the first book.
Micah: In the first book Harry and Hagrid go down with him and then, of course, in Deathly Hallows he's the one that sort of sneaks them in. I'm not going to say that they went with permission, that's for sure.
Laura: No. I found that idea interesting. I always liked the idea - we were kind of talking about, you know, before the book came out, the idea that whenever Harry, Hagrid, and Griphook were going down that Harry thought he saw a burst of flame, and we were thinking that could be a dragon, and then it turned out to be a dragon, so it was really cool. So I think we've pretty much wrapped up all of the little connections. Does anybody else have anything they want to say before we move on?
Jamie: Well, I just wanted to say, kind of unrelated, but I thought the Thief's Downfall was one of the most awesome things I've ever read about in my life.
Laura: Oh God, yes. [sighs]
Jamie: I thought it was absolutely unbelievable. It was so cool.
Laura: I love how everything's awesome to you, Jamie. [laughs]
Jamie: Well, no, no, no. It's just like extremely specific things. I mean, for example, the Thief's Downfall, the dust figure of Dumbledore...
Laura: Oh, that was so cool.
Jamie: ...the genie in the enchanted globe. I think Jo writes these things - she has like a notepad and she has two headings, "normal" and "awesome," and those things are under the "awesome" heading, seriously.
Laura: [laughs] We'll have to - we should ask her about that.
Jamie: That is what I'd ask her, yeah.
Laura: If we ever run into her. No, I can just see it. Everybody at the reading in October is going to be asking these like, really difficult...
Jamie: In-depth, yeah.
Laura: ...convoluted questions, and then Jamie just stands up: "Do you have a notepad in which you label things 'normal' and 'awesome?'" [laughs]
Jamie: I would, I swear, do that if I was there. They'd be like, "Do you think the character of Hermione has sort of underdeveloped in a sort of post-modern chic sense? How awesome was that, Jo?" It would just be like that.
Laura: [laughs] Oh my gosh, I love you, Jamie.
Jamie: You too.
Laura: So - see, we all love each other on this show.
Micah: No, see, he didn't say he loved you. He said he loved himself as well.
Jamie: No, I said "you too."
Jamie: Yes, I love Bono. Oh, he's so cool.
Laura: Yeah, I was waiting for that.
Jamie: [laughs] Should we move on?
Laura: Yeah. So we kind of had, and I love bringing up things about Snape, because I love Snape, and I think Snape is just, as Jamie would say, awesome.
Jamie: Awesome, yeah he is.
[Jamie and Laura laugh]
Jamie: He's so cool.
Laura: [imitating a British accent] "Awesome," as Jamie would say it.
The Men With Two Faces
Laura: It's not ah-some, it's awe-some. Aww-some. So, in Sorcerer's Stone you had Quirrell, who was sort of like our first bad guy. Kind of, you know. He was more of a vessel, though. He wasn't - he was more evil in the fact that he allowed himself to be used for evil things because he was seeking power.
Laura: And you see him - he's known as the Man who had - With Two Faces, from the chapter title. And I thought it was interesting that Book 1 sort of had this literal use of a man with two faces, and then in Book 7 we see Snape who has two faces...
Jamie: Who actually has two faces, yeah.
Laura: ...in the sense that he was on both sides of the war. So...
Jamie: Actually, that's so, so interesting, because Harry thinks Snape is the one with two faces, first of all, and then Jo thinks it's Quirrell, but it's not Quirrell. It is actually Snape and, you know. Do you know what I mean?
Jamie: So I mean, Harry got it right first of all. I thought Quirrell was a disgusting character. I thought he was - I mean, there's no problem with being weak, but he was, you know, weak in a bad way. Weak because he needed power to sustain his confidence, that kind of thing. I thought he was an awful character.
Laura: Yeah. Oh, he was. And I just - I hated him because throughout the entire book you kind of felt bad for him because everybody was kind of mean to him, and he stuttered, and he was really weak.
Laura: And then whenever Harry confronts him, he's like - he loses the stutter and he's automatically this power-hungry - I hate that guy.
Jamie: Exactly, he was an awful, awful character. But then I guess you would be if you had Voldemort on the back of your head. And how - and you couldn't sleep on your back because Voldemort would suffocate.
Jamie: You'd have to sleep on your side. So you...
Laura: Didn't we have a debate about this a long time ago?
Jamie: I don't know.
Laura: I want to say it was like a year ago, about why would you choose to be on the back of someone's head?
Jamie: I have no idea.
Laura: Like... [laughs]
Laura: But where else would you go? Like...
Jamie: You - that is quite true, actually. And - but - I don't know. I sort of...
Laura: Well, where would you go, Jamie?
Jamie: I would probably go on the chest or something. Because - actually no, no I wouldn't. I probably would go on the back of their head. But then you can't see what he's seeing. So the arguments must be - God, look at that. What? That! But then as soon as one person turns around, the other person can't see it. So I imagine they argued a lot, Quirrell didn't get much sleep, because he had to only sleep on his side. I bet Voldemort snored as well, so I'm not surprised Quirrell was a bad person, actually. I forgive him. Do you?
Laura: Well, what I don't get is why Quirrell didn't just roll over and smother him in a pillow. Like...
Jamie: That's what he should've done, shouldn't he?
Laura: God! This whole problem would've been completely...
Jamie: These people have no...
Laura: ...solved. Oh my gosh!
Jamie: No logical thought at all. It's disgusting.
Laura: Yeah. So going off of one thing that Jamie mentioned about Snape being evil. You know, Harry thinks that Snape is evil in both books, and then at the end, he finds out that he actually wasn't, that he was actually trying to help him.
Jamie: Which he doesn't find out about Quirrell, of course.
Laura: Well, no, no, I'm talking about Snape though. Like, just...
Laura: Like at the end of Sorcerer's Stone, Harry finds out that Snape actually wasn't the bad guy. And then...
Laura: ...at the end of Deathly Hallows, he finds out that Snape didn't actually kill Dumbledore, because Voldemort ordered him to, you know.
Laura: And that he was in love with Lily.
Jamie: I do feel sorry for Snape.
Laura: Oh my God!
Jamie: He is a tragic hero.
Laura: I was reading - I was re-reading that whole thing where Snape - you know, he looked at Harry and he said, "Look at me," and I was just like - my heart, like, it just - oh my God. [sighs] It just...
Jamie: No, he poured out of him, yeah.
Laura: It just tugged - oh my God. It was so horrible.
Jamie: The thing - but...
Laura: So sad.
Jamie: The thing about the two faces thing, isn't it kind of ironic? Because doesn't Jo sort of teach us that everyone has - not two faces in the traditional sense of being nice in one or bad in the other - but she sort of says everyone has skeletons in their closet. Some have bigger ones, some have more of them, but everyone is not typically who they are to everyone. So people act differently in front of friends, family. People have bigger agendas. That isn't to say that everyone isn't nice, but...
Jamie: You know.
Micah: No, I completely agree with that, though, because you have people at work who just act like complete and utter...
Jamie: Idiots. [laughs]
Micah: And they suck up to the boss, and they act completely different around them than they would around any other normal people. So I think that's - you know, it's definitely an element in the Harry Potter series, as well. I thought that maybe Harry should've gotten a clue that Snape wasn't...
Micah: ...completely evil. In Book 1 when he saved his life...
Jamie: Yes. Yeah, that is very true.
Micah: But seeing Dumbledore die in front of him, I can kind of understand why he might take a different...
Jamie: The thing that got me, though...
Micah: ...feeling towards him.
Jamie: ...it's quite a risk for Dumbledore to take. Because he knows that Harry is - although he's not the most powerful wizard, he is a very able person. And he could have - considering he can channel his anger and his love more so - he could have killed Snape inadvertently, accidentally, or on purpose. and that could have ruined the entire plans. Because if he'd killed Snape, having not known the memory that Snape had to give him, the entire course of the book would have changed, and I doubt his victory would have been the same, if that makes sense.
Laura: Yeah. I - oh my gosh. I was just - you know, I wondered that at the end of Book 6 whenever Harry said, you know, "If I run into Severus Snape, so much the better for me, so much the worse for him."
Laura: I was like, oh crap! He's going to kill him, and then it's going to turn out that he was actually good. [laughs]
Jamie: Yeah, exactly.
Laura: So that would've been awesome, I think, but awful at the same time.
Jamie: What? See, Laura, I think it would've been just awful if Harry had killed...
Laura: [imitating British accent] Awful! It would have been awful, not awesome.
Jamie: ...the one person that would save the world. [laughs]
Laura: No, I...
Micah: See, I think that's interesting, though, because in the entire series, or - sorry, particularly in the seventh book, it seemed as if Harry was building up to cast the Avada Kedavra curse, because there was the Imperius curse...
Jamie: Yes. Yeah.
Micah: ...and then there was the Cruciatus curse on - I forget the Death Eater that was attacking McGonagall or being...
Micah: Alecto being cruel to McGonagall, and you just thought, okay, this is building up. He's going to cast this curse at some point in the series...
Micah: ...and then it never ends up happening.
Laura: I like that he doesn't have to, though.
Jamie: But perhaps it's on purpose that he doesn't. Perhaps if you - I mean, the Cruciatus curse and Imperius curse perhaps can be cast through the feelings of love. But perhaps killing someone, as it's been told throughout the entire books, it's a violation of nature. And however many times you cast the Imperius or Cruciatus curse, it won't ever split your soul in two. It's only killing the [unintelligible], so perhaps Harry - the point that even though he has anger and he has love, he can't bring himself to kill anyone using something like that.
Laura: No. All he has to do is say, "Expelliarmus."
Jamie: Well, exactly, yeah.
[Jamie and Laura laugh]
Jamie: That solves everything. Absolutely everything.
Laura: It solves all of my problems.
Jamie: Me too, me too.
Ambiguity About Dumbledore
Laura: Branching off of that, going away from Snape and focusing on Dumbledore for a minute, we kind of have a lot of ambiguity that we see in Books 1 and 7 about Dumbledore. Actually, in Sorcerer's Stone, if you guys remember, you don't see a whole lot of Dumbledore.
Jamie: No, you don't.
Laura: Harry talks to him on a couple of occasions. He talks to him at the Mirror of Erised and then at the end, and I think that's pretty much it, isn't it? There really aren't any other instances, are there?
Jamie: But - no, there aren't. Or if there are they're very sparse. Very brief.
Laura: Yeah, and you just don't find out a whole lot about him, and you see Harry kind of curious. There's one point...
Jamie: I think that was part of his plan though. Dumbledore was not a stupid man, obviously, but his plan spans seven books, if that makes sense.
Jamie: So he couldn't have said in Book 1, "Oh, Harry, you have to die," that kind of stuff. Everything was worked out and he had to gain Harry's trust. I don't think it would have worked if they'd just been talking. He had to be the mentor, father figure to Harry for everything to work out, because Harry effectively put blind faith in him and he'd have gone to the ends of the Earth for Dumbledore had Dumbledore wanted to, and I think he needed that for him to trust Snape's memory. Because how did Harry not know that that memory - although, I guess it's hard to fake a memory. A wizard as impressive as Snape and as powerful as Snape could possibly have done that on Voldemort's orders or perhaps there's dark magic that can do it. So, there had to be serious trust for Harry to do anything that Dumbledore wanted, which I think was characterized by their lack of contact first of all and gradually building up to the crescendo before he died.
Laura: Yeah, I think so too. I really like seeing Dumbledore's plan come full circle...
Laura: ...because you look at the end of the first book where Dumbledore lies to Harry when Harry asks him why Snape saved him and he said it was because "he couldn't bear to be in debt to your father." And it was actually because he was saving him for Lily.
Laura: And I just - oh my God, it's so brilliant the way she set it up. I hate to keep...
Jamie: It's awesome, Laura. [laughs]
Laura: I hate to kiss the ground that she walks on and sound - even though I do - and sound like I'm just a complete suck-up here, but she's - oh my gosh. I look at all these different parallels that she set up and everything that was set up from the very beginning and it's so brilliant the way she did it.
Jamie: It is. It is. It is brilliant the way she planned everything. Dumbledore is just - he's just such an interesting character as he is the tragic hero as well. His life is characterized by negativity and only trying to help others, but he's flawed in how he does it as well. It's such - he really is a sad character.
Laura: And when you go back and read Book 1 you don't really imagine that about him. At all.
Jamie: He's just awesome then.
Jamie: He really is though. It's just everything - again, I think it's her showing us that people aren't who they seem first of all and can and have backgrounds, and there are reasons why people do things. It's not - people don't do things illogically. There are reasons why people get upset at certain things because of their background or do certain things because of their background.
Jamie: Her books are a wealth, a pool of lessons on life and everything has some type of lesson, I think, personally.
Micah: She really humanized Dumbledore, I think.
Jamie: She really did. Yeah.
Micah: And not that she took away from who he came across as through the first six books, because he was this all powerful wizard that we knew absolutely nothing about. In a way it bothered me the way that she did that in Book 7.
Micah: I don't know why. It's kind of like you take the man that's been up on this pedestal for the entire series and then you show that he's flawed.
Jamie: But, Laura...
Micah: Not that's there's anything wrong with that...
Laura: That's actually Micah, Jamie.
Jamie: No, no, no, but are we going to trust the opinion of someone who hasn't even seen the fifth film here?
Laura: Oh, right. Yeah. How do you know that there's not something crucial in the fifth film, Micah?
Jamie: It's absolutely essential to the...
Laura: You don't know.
Jamie: ...plot of the movies, Micah.
Laura: And the books! And the books too.
Jamie: Exactly. You just don't know these things. But apart from that, I loved it. I love it when characters are humanized.
Jamie: I thought it was brilliant, to be honest.
Laura: I really thought that that was something that needed to be done for Dumbledore because he's not God or a god-like character. He is a human being, and I think that we started seeing his flaws in Book 5 when he really messed up by not being more up front with Harry. And it caused so much turmoil, and I think that we really began seeing that he was not some kind of supernatural being...
Laura: ...despite how smart he is or how clever he is. He's got his own problems.
Jamie: Exactly. And it was a turning point for Harry when he realized that Dumbledore was not invulnerable. Because that was a safety net for him the entire time, you know? When he thought that Dumbledore was there, there was nothing that could touch him, really. Anything. And even though he was worried about the war, there was Dumbledore, and Dumbledore came to save the day, and I think that was characterized in Order of the Phoenix when - even when the Order was fighting Dumbledore down in the Department of Mysteries, there was - something - things could still go wrong and did go wrong, but as soon as Dumbledore came, Neville became more excited. Everyone just relaxed slightly because Dumbledore does save the day and it was so sad to see that that is not the case and Dumbledore has worries and he was terrified about the whole Harry/Voldemort thing, that things wouldn't work out, you know?
Laura: Yeah, and just kind of looking at this one quote here from Sorcerer's Stone, it comes after Harry asks Dumbledore what he saw in the Mirror of Erised. It says, "It was only when he was back in bed that it struck Harry that Dumbledore might not have been quite truthful."
Laura: "But then he thought, as he shoved Scabbers off his pillow, it had been quite a personal question."
Jamie: Exactly. Sorry, go on.
Laura: Just knowing that at that point, Dumbledore was actually - it was actually such a dark thing that he was seeing in the Mirror.
Jamie: Exactly, yeah.
Laura: It was like his family that he wanted. His sister, that we're not really sure who actually killed her. It might have been Dumbledore.
Jamie: Exactly, yeah.
Laura: I mean, just knowing that he had been friends with Grindelwald, and that he had actually been for the - I don't want to say persecution - but he was definitely of the opinion that wizards were higher than Muggles at one point in time...
Jamie: He was, yeah. He was, yeah.
Laura: ...and just knowing all that about him, you know...
Jamie: But - sorry, go on.
Laura: You see all these conspiracy stories about public officials and stuff, you know - look at what they did when they were young...
Laura: ...and everybody sort of holds that against them, and you wonder how he has gone the whole series without anybody...
Jamie: Finding out, yeah.
Laura: ...having that information and finding out about him. He must have terrified...
Jamie: Yeah, absolutely.
Laura: ...that someone would have found out about that.
Jamie: But also, I think she was showing two things doing that. She was showing that people cannot be blamed for their situational backgrounds, so you think if we'd been in the same situation, if our sister had been attacked by Muggles, and we hadn't seen any further attacks from wizards on Muggles in that time, perhaps we also would have some sense of sort of persecution attached to them because they ruined or tore our family apart. But then she also shows that people can change, and that "it's our choices, Harry," you know, that make us who we are. So she's giving two lessons in Dumbledore. Dumbledore is a heap of lessons.
Micah: Actually, Laura...
Jamie: A dead heap of lessons, but a heap of lessons nonetheless.
Laura: [laughs] Dumbledore is a dead heap of lessons. Let's make that the title of this episode.
Micah: [laughs] Yeah, there you go.
Jamie: Dead heap of lessons? Nice.
Micah: Laura - but this actually goes back to what you were saying before on the whole book coming from Harry's perspective. He was never around anybody to hear differently. Nobody's going to tell that story to Harry about Dumbledore based on the people that he interacts with. You know what I mean?
Laura: Oh yeah, I know, I'm not...
Micah: This is what Jamie was talking about as far as us never really hearing about it through seven entire books. Well, part of the reason is that it's from Harry's perspective, and Harry never interacts with the people that we would expect to say anything negative about Dumbledore.
Laura: Well, what - something that - what I was kind of referring to was the idea that especially whenever The Daily Prophet was out trying to dig up everything they could on Dumbledore, it's somewhat surprising that you didn't really hear about his - anything that he did when he was younger. Like, you would think that that would be the
sort of thing that they were out to try and find on him.
Jamie: Yeah, definitely, because it was like politicians ruining it, saying - completely undermining the person. Undermining their sort of beliefs and opinions to completely undermine their opinions on the current situation, if that makes sense. I'm surprised they didn't as well, but perhaps they thought even that was beneath them. But not Rita Skeeter.
[Jamie and Laura laugh]
Micah: I think it was because Jo decided to be better in Book 7. You know, guys? I mean, come on.
Laura: Yeah, probably.
Jamie: Yeah, that is true. She said to Fudge, "Look, okay, I'm planning it for Book 7."
Jamie: "Do not put it in The Daily Prophet now because it won't be fair."
Jamie: And then he said, "Oh, but, Jo," and then she said, "Look, I'll buy you a new hat," and then he gave in.
Micah: or "I'll kill you."
Jamie: Yeah, or "I'll kill you."
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Jamie: One of the two. Okay, should we move on?
Anchors to Life
Laura: Yeah. And then the last thing we have on our list here is the idea of anchors to life that you see as a huge theme in these two books. We definitely know throughout the whole series Voldemort wants to be immortal, but you really see the largest presence of them in Books 1 and 7 because with Book 1 you have the idea of the Philosopher's or the Sorcerer's Stone, the Elixir of Life, which Voldemort is trying to get. And ten in Book 7 you have the Horcruxes and the destruction of them, and we really find out a lot about the Horcruxes in Book 7. I mean, we discover their presence in Book 6, but we really delve deep into what they are in Book 7.
Laura: One of the really striking images that I'm kind of reminded of by this whole idea is in Book 1 when Harry's in the forest and he finds the dead unicorn.
Laura: And it's like Voldemort has killed a very pure symbol of life.
Laura: And it's such a striking visual. Like, you never really - and they even did that very well in the movie, like the way they set that whole scene up. It was really quite well done. Do you guys remember it?
Jamie: Yes, I do. I also thought it was awesome. For those reasons, and also because it just showed that innocence is not completely protected from evil, and that was sort of - even though the books got progressively darker and there were other turning points, that was a kind of - no one's safe. This person is an absolute psychopath. He will do everything...
Jamie: ...he can.
Jamie: And it also established that he - death was his greatest fear.
Laura: Yeah, definitely.
Jamie: And also, the whole anchors to life thing is again another thing from Jo that the - that says, you know, you need to live in the present. You mustn't try and attain immortality because you'll forget how to live now. And you shouldn't be scared of death and all that kind of thing. Again, it's another lesson.
Laura: Yeah, I mean, look at Voldemort, who - he spent his whole life trying to avoid death so by the time it came, he never actually achieved anything.
Jamie: Exactly, yeah.
Laura: What were you going to say, Micah?
Micah: Oh, I was just going to say, I like the whole comparison as well to - in Book 1, Harry isn't in a race against Voldemort, really, because he thinks he's trying - well, Snape and later Voldemort - to get to the Sorcerer's Stone, and Harry's sort of in a race against time with him, and same thing really in Book 7; he's in a race to destroy the Horcruxes before Voldemort gets there as well, and
starts to realize...
Laura: Yeah, I didn't think of that. That's very good.
Jamie: That is interesting. Very interesting.
Jamie: I - but - the - also, the entire Horcruxes/Hallows thing was just - even though Harry was like Horcruxes versus Hallows, both were evil in...
Jamie: ...essence, because both were trying to prolong something that shouldn't be prolonged.
Jamie: So like, the Horcruxes were saying you shouldn't tear your Earthly soul apart to try and prolong your life indefinitely. The Hallows were like - the Stone was like, you shouldn't try to bring people back when they've moved on, you need closure. The Wand was that you shouldn't ask for power because it comes with the responsibility, and if
you can't handle that then you shouldn't be trying to get in in the first place, which is what Dumbledore realizes. And the Cloak, I felt, was that you shouldn't hide yourself, and you should act for who you are and you shouldn't try. And I
mean, obviously, that Cloak is...
Laura: Is awesome.
Jamie: Harry needed it, and he - if he didn't have it, he probably would have been dead eight pages into Book 1, but...
Jamie: ...again, it teaches a valuable lesson, I thought.
Laura: Yeah. I never really thought of it that way, Jamie. I really like that. [laughs]
Jamie: Thank you, Laura.
Laura: [with British accent] It's awesome.
Jamie: [with American accent] Awesome.
Laura: [laughs] All right, does anybody else have any other thoughts on that?
Micah: I shared my thoughts already.
Laura and Jamie: Okay.
Jamie: Well, should we move on to...
Jamie: ... A Dueling Club this week. Now... [laughs] ...I got an e-mail a while ago that said: "Harry Potter could kick Optimus Prime's..." and then an
Laura: Oh, wow.
Jamie: What do you think about that? Harry Potter and Optimus Prime.
Laura: Hmm. Well, I just saw Transformers for the first time the other night. Ah, gosh.
Micah: Oh, you mean you didn't see it in theater?
Laura: Well, seeing as I don't participate on a podcast...
Laura: ...about Transformers, no.
Laura: I would say that Prime's biggest weakness is that you can just jam something...
Laura: ...into his chest and he dies! Like, I mean...
Jamie: That is quite a weakness.
Laura: I mean, seeing as Harry managed to stab a sword through a Basilisk's head, I think that he could take that cube of power and just jam it in to Prime's chest and he'd be done for.
Jamie: That is true. But I just - I mean, Harry's magic I don't think is that advanced, really. I mean, if we'd - if...
Laura: Okay, Shia LaBeouf did it.
Jamie: Yes. That is true.
Jamie: However, he was an actor in that film, Laura, and he was supposed to do that. Oh, wait! Or did he actually kill Optimus Prime?
Laura: No, no. He killed the other guy. But he could have killed...
Laura: ...Optimus Prime.
Jamie: See, I think that if it was Voldemort or Dumbledore against Optimus Prime, we wouldn't even be talking about it because it would be obvious. Or Snape as well! But...
Laura: Or Chuck Norris.
Jamie: Huh? Well, Laura...
Jamie: ...if you try and think about that, you will suffer a round-house kick related death. It's not even worth it, trust me.
Laura: You've been telling me this for two weeks and I have yet to suffer that.
Jamie: Do you know why that is? Because you've been
expecting it. The minute - the minute you go into sort of self comfort zones, then you might as well just give up. You might as well round-house kick yourself because you're going to save yourself a lot of pain and anger. Because Chuck - Chuck doesn't understand pain and anger, he just - he just understands death. Twice.
Jamie: So Harry and Optimus Prime. Micah, what do you think?
Micah: Are we talking about Harry at the end of Book 7 before the epilogue or post-epilogue? Or post-last chapter?
Micah: Eh. [sighs] Oh boy. I hate the Dueling Club. So does Optimus get a wand?
Jamie: Well, he doesn't have blood or any through his veins...
Jamie: ... and you've got to have magical blood, and he'd probably just eat it or something, or...
Jamie: ...snap it. I don't know if he could wield a wand.
Laura: Yeah. I don't think he has a wand.
Micah: What if Harry conjured a Patronus? Do you think that would scare him off?
Micah: He'd eat the stag too.
Laura: Probably not. No, I think that...
[Jamie and Laura laugh]
Jamie: Yeah exactly. He'd be hungry. What about the Terminator and Harry?
Micah: Oh, forget it. Hasta la vista, Harry.
Jamie: Yeah, I agree. I agree completely.
Laura: I agree with that.
Jamie: I mean, Harry would try and be like, "But I've lived a great life. Expelliarmus, Expelliarmus, Expelliarmus..."
[Laura and Micah laugh]
Jamie: ...and he'd just be like - he'd just grab him
by the throat and be like, "I am not amused." And then he'd just strangle him or something and then Harry Potter would be no more. So Harry Potter should not pick a fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger. There would not be a chance in a million years. However, Dumbledore versus the Terminator. I think Dumbledore would succeed in making him cry because he isn't a human, and then he'd sort of trick him and strangle him or something.
Laura: Oh my gosh. Wow, that's deep, Jamie.
Make the Connection
Jamie: Thank you. Okay, now we're going to do a couple of Make the Connections. We only have two this week since we are only three. Laura, yours is you have to make a connection between Harry Potter and buying a 250 gigabyte external hard drive, bringing it home, plugging it in, and then finding out it doesn't work.
Laura: Okay. Gosh. I guess that would sort of be along the lines of people who went out and bought their 800-page copies of Book 7 and had pages upside down and pages
that were missing because then they couldn't get the full use of it...?
Jamie: Yes. Yes! That's not bad at all, not bad at all. That was very good, Laura, and I liked it because it was done on sort of theoretical stuff. See, I think you can
either do it on specific stuff, so Harry Potter or Hermione or Snape or something like that, or you can do it on sort of the Harry Potter book series as a whole, and I
liked that since it linked the entire series with buying a hard disk and finding out it didn't work. Okay, Micah, yours is - this is quite a tough one. Harry Potter and buying a horse, blinking, and then finding out it's turned into a bottle of Arizona Iced Tea.
Micah: Wow. Is it a specific flavor?
Jamie: Well, I think that's up to you; you're the master of this universe, sir.
Tangent: Jamie Saw an "Emo" at the Zoo
Jamie: While Micah's thinking about that, there's a story I wanted to tell. This is the story I
want to tell. I went to a zoo a couple of weeks ago, all right? And I was with a few friends, this is a big zoo, so we're going around and we came to the part where you
can feed the animals. So we bought a couple of packs of food things, and we saw a shire horse which was so cute, we went past some pigs, past some sheep, fed them, and then we came to the emu enclosure, but they had misspelled emu and instead of saying emu it said "emo."
Laura: [laughs] Are you serious?
Jamie: Yes, absolutely 100% serious. So I was expecting it to sit in the corner and be listening to Panic! with like a black T-shirt on and its hair was right over its eyes going, "Woe is me, I can't believe I'm an emo." But that didn't happen. But yes, it actually said "emo." I could not believe it.
Laura: Oh, that's brilliant.
Jamie: I might go back and see if it's still alive or if it's killed itself out of sheer emotional distress.
Jamie: Or something like that. I wonder if it has a MySpace. I should've asked it. Micah, any progress on
the Arizona Iced Tea?
Micah: No, not really. Try to give me until the end of the show. Let's see if I can...
Jamie: Okay, guys that brings us to the end of MuggleCast Episode 1-1-4. We are just about to hear Micah's answer to his Make the Connection. But before we do that, if you would like to phone in and you're in the U.S. please call 1-218-20-MAGIC, if you're in the U.K. 020-8144-0677, if you're in Australia 028-003-5668.
[Show music begins]
Jamie: Or you can Skype the username MuggleCast. Please eliminate as much background noise as possible and keep your message under 30 seconds. Please also vote for us on Podcast Alley. We have so many community outlets. We've got Flickr, MySpace, Photobucket, YouTube, Facebook, all of these. Please come in and join our groups and vote for us in every single place you can. Thank you very much and, Micah, let's go to your Make the Connection.
Back to Make the Connection
Micah: All right, so did you just want to repeat it for everyone so they know what I'm...
Jamie: Yes, I will. Micah, your connection was between Harry Potter and buying a horse, blinking, and then it's turned into a bottle of Arizona Iced Tea, flavor of
Micah: Okay, first of all, that's like purchasing an animal, right? And then it becoming an inanimate object, correct? You could view it that way, so just like what you're saying with the horse and the iced tea, it's the same thing with Harry when he buys Hedwig and then in Book 7 he blinks and it becomes an inanimate object.
Jamie: Micah, that is superb. That is absolutely superb. I am very, very, very impressed. Excellent stuff! I hope everyone isn't too gasping at that final thing with Micah. That is the best Make the Connection I think I have ever heard. I'd take my hat off to you, Micah, if I was wearing one. On that note, I'm Jamie Lawrence.
Laura: I'm Laura Thompson.
Micah: And I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Jamie: [imitating Andrew's] And I'm Andrew Sims! Whoa! I've come back for the end of the show.
Jamie: [imitating Andrew] It's good to see everyone. Okay, we'll see you later! Bye bye!
[Show music ends]
Eric's Preliminary Announcement
Eric: G'day Aussies! That's right, calling all Australian MuggleCast listeners. Yes, that's right, we mean you! It's Eric here, and I'm here to announce something supremely preliminary and not yet official. I had an idea for an event that might be taking place in Melbourne or Sydney, Australia, the weekend of the 12th of October, 2007. Either that Friday or Saturday night I had the idea to do something possibly because I might be in the area. I don't know where this event is being held, I don't know what the event will actually be; suffice to say I will be the only MuggleCaster
It certainly won't be a full panel live podcast, but it is, however, something specifically Australian that would play to all of our MuggleCast fans in
the area. Could be a question and answer session, could be something else entirely, just a fan meet up, we don't know. But this message is important because I'm trying to find out how many of you Australian listeners could possibly or
potentially make it to the event.
This is extremely short notice as the 12th of October is only three weeks away. Therefore, what we need from you is for you to send an e-mail to us, letting us know if you might be able to make it. The address is mugglecastoz at gmail dot com. That's M-U-G-G-L-E-C-A-S-T "oz" - o-zed - "oz" - o-zed. Okay,
so mugglecastoz at gmail dot com. Once again mugglecastoz at gmail dot com. MuggleCast and then
o-zed. Okay? All we would need to know is if you would potentially be free on the weekend of the 12th of October, could be that Friday or Saturday, I'm not sure yet. But if you would be available that weekend to come to Melbourne or Sydney and chill with MuggleCast fans. Once we know how many people can make it - and if some can we're going to try to set something up. There can be no guarantee yet, but there will be soon. We're all moving quite fast to make this event very planned.
Also, please make a point to check MuggleCast.com for all updates. There is likely to be an update during the following week. Thank you very much, everybody. Cheers!
Laura: Okay, so...
Jamie: I have to go for a piss very quickly. Do you want to carry on and I'll just catch up, okay?
Laura: Okay, yeah, that's fine. So... [laughs]
Micah: Can we leave that in?
Laura: Yeah, I think we should.
Written by: The Transcribers