MuggleCast 121 Transcript
Andrew: Hey, Mason, I really need a good gift for my generic loved one. Any ideas?
Mason: Oooh, yeah Andrew, I have the gift they need. If you sign up for for GoDaddy's economy blog package you'll receive 1 gig of disk space, 100 gigs of bandwidth, recording tools and much more!
Andrew: Whoa! With all those features, I guess that kind of package will run me atleast $20 a month and be plastered with ads.
Mason: You're wrong, Andrew. The blog/podcasting economy package is just $4.49 a month for 12 months!.
Andrew: That's a deal! And I perfect way to get your own website blog, or podcast started.
Mason: Oh, yeah! That is a deal! Plus enter code MUGGLE when you check out. Save an additional 10% on any order. Get your piece of the internet at GoDaddy.com.
[Into music starts]
Micah: Because Bellatrix doesn't get any. This is MuggleCast Episode 121 for November 25th, 2007.
[Intro music continues to play]
Micah: So, Andy. How was your Thanksgiving?
Andy: Oh, it was great.
Andy: Celebrated it well.
Micah: Did you have turkey?
Andy: Lots of.
Micah: Mikey - Micah thinks this is the greatest joke ever because he keeps running with it. He's not going to stop.
Andy: [laughs] I've got to think of a witty answer for it. That's the problem. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah. It was pretty chicken. [laughs]
Eric: Hey, Micah. How was your Christmas? Sorry.
Micah: Well, Eric, considering...
Micah: It's a month away.
Andy: I had a turkey of a Thanksgiving.
Eric: We had a Black Friday because they don't have Thanksgiving, they don't really have Black Friday, but it was a busy day nonetheless. Really got me in the spirit for... I need stuffing, guys. I really need stuffing.
Andrew: Yes, I had stuffing, and it was very good. I also went Black Friday shopping. The Cherry Hill Mall. Ever been there, Eric? The Cherry Hill Mall?
Eric: Cherry Hill? yeah, the Cherry Hill Complex. There's an iMax there, isn't there?
Andrew: I don't know that.
Eric: Ah, just wondering.
Andrew: It was the first time I've been there. Actually I did go there with Jamie. I actually took Jamie to that mall. He loved it.
Eric: Oh, nice.
Andrew: Yeah, they don't really have malls in the UK.
Andrew: But yeah so, went Black Friday shopping and no Order of the Phoenix DVD because it's not on sale here yet.
Eric: Oh gee, we have it. I bought it. I've got all my Christmas shopping done on friday.
Andrew: Anyway, welcome everyone to the show. As you see, we have Micah, Eric, Andy's back...
Andrew: As well, and I'm here. I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: I'm Eric Scull.
Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Andy: And I'm Andy McCray.
Andrew: Micah's over in the MuggleCast News Center with the past weeks Harry Potter news stories.
Micah: All right, thanks Andrew. Universal's Harry Potter theme park, set to open in late 2009 or early 2010, will focus heavily on holiday-themed events, particularly at Halloween and Christmas time, according to Jim Hill Media. It is hoped that this "Holidays at Hogwarts" idea will rival Disney World's current dominance during the holiday season.
Promotion for the park is due to begin as early as next year, with television commercials featuring clips from all five of the Potter movies to date.
With the release of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix DVD in the US less than a month away, Warner Brothers has released a new behind the scenes video which features actors Dan Radcliffe and Evanna Lynch, and shows how special effects were used to create the flying thestrals sequence in the movie.
Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling has been named Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year. The announcement was made earlier this morning on The Today Show, which you can see video of here on MuggleNet.com. Rowling, who appears on the cover, is the first author to ever receive this award.
Finally, Sir Ian McKellen was recently interviewed by The Guardian where amongst other things he discusses Dumbledore vs. Gandalf, the character who he played in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
McKellen says that while he and Michael Gambon are close friends, the topic of "how to play a wizard" has never come up. And as far as if he would have taken over the role of Dumbledore from the late Richard Harris, McKellen said:
"People say to me, don't you wish you'd played Dumbledore? I say no! I played Gandalf! The original. There was a question as to whether I might take over from Richard Harris [Gambon's predecessor in the Dumbledore role], but seeing as one of the last things he did publicly was say what a dreadful actor he thought I was, it would not have been appropriate for me to take over his part." He smiles icily. "It would have been unfair."
When asked who would win the battle between Dumbledore and Gandalf, McKellen never hesitated, "Gandalf. Of course."
That's all the news for this Novemer 25th, 2007 edition of MuggleCast. Back to the show.
Andrew: Okay, thank you Micah.
Micah: You're welcome.
Andrew: You know, it was a slow week.
Micah: It was a slow week.
Andrew: The news makers are off this week to the rest of us.
Eric: The news makers?
News Discussion: HP Theme Park's "Holidays at Hogwarts"
Andrew: Yes. Besides the big Thanksgiving - the annual Thanksgiving post, we had a little update on the Harry Potter theme park, finally. I mean, we haven't heard about it in a while. And this comes from a theme park blog. It's sort of an entertainment industry blog, but they focus on theme parks. They've got some connections in the theme parks. And they - let me read part of the recent blog post, here. It concerns "Holidays at Hogwarts," this concept.
"You see, Universal is hoping to turn Islands Of Adventure's Harry Potter-themed section into a way to challenge Disney World's dominance when it comes to Christmas in Central Florida. Picture -- if you will -- a yearly "Holidays at Hogwarts" promotion at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. With carolers strolling through the streets of Hogsmeade and a traditional English Christmas feast being served nightly in the Great Hall at Hogwarts Castle."
Andrew: Is that a great idea, or what?
Eric: Ummm, maybe.
Andrew: Holidays at Hogwarts.
Andrew: Now, here's the thing. This blog post also said that this might be opening by 2009. And this blogger said they will open the park when it's half-finished. Just to, I guess start getting people in early. Now, is this a good idea? Or shouldn't you wait a couple extra years for the whole theme park to be open?
Eric: Well, why would you do that if you can make all these sorts of sales on memorabilia and all the stuff you can have prepped and ready to go.
Andrew: I guess, but I would just want a huge grand opening, instead of it just opening in pieces. But this is a very good way to get those Disney fans out of Universal. Because, personally, who pays for two parks? I mean, you know? So I think it's going to hurt Disney's holiday popularity. Maybe not much, but I'm sure there are several listeners out there who go to Disney for the holidays every once in a while. And I think most of our listeners will definitely start turning to Universal Studios. Have any of you guys been to Universal Studios?
Eric: In Florida, yes.
Andrew: Ah, I've never been there.
Micah: It's been a while.
Andrew: I'm a Disney fan.
Eric: Yeah, I didn't go to Islands of Adventure at the time, so I cannot speak for it. They had a cool Spiderman ride my friend told me I had to ride before the movies came out. And I didn't. But I was at Universal in Orlando, Florida and I just have to say that the Nickelodeon building does not have sweeping front lawn in it, like any kid was always lead to believe. With the big, giant, sort of globe that says Universal. They're completely placed disproportionately and there's no big, sweeping front lawn. And I was very disappointed. But other than that, I had a good time.
Micah: Yeah. I mean, I was at Universal back in 2000, I would say. When I was on a band trip down there with school. And I haven't been back since, but I think this definitely adds an element for them that they were seriously lacking. As far as drawing people there for the holidays. I think now they have something that people are going to want to definitely go and experience.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.
Eric: I think so, too.
Eric: Though, they've taken the Back to the Future ride down since I've been there. Which is upsetting.
Andy: It's very disturbing.
Andrew: See, I'm like - That whole Harry Potter area is definitely a selling point. But, like, I love Disney just because it's magical. [laughs] I mean, it just is. And..
Eric: Yeah. Disney has the one-up on everyone, I think.
Eric: Just because of their name. And their whole - you're not going to have breakfast with the Terminator, you know? You what I'm saying? I mean, that's the thing, Disney has all these characters and they continue to invent them. Like Woody and Buzz, for instance. You know, Toy Story? Nemo. All these new films come out, you get all these new, dressed-up characters. And Universal doesn't really have that thing. Because Universal's for the movie-lover.
Eric: And movie's aren't necessarily - like, it's for an older sort of audience. Such as the Terminator 2 or T2: Battle Through Time or whatever it is that they have there.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. So, overall...
Micah: Eric brings up a good point.
Micah: That Disney is magical overall as opposed to Universal adding just one area of their park that is going to have a magical feel to it.
Eric: Be magical.
Eric: Yeah, but I personally enjoy entering Universal, because they play the movie soundtracks as you - there's these long, I don't want to say escalators, but moving pavement or moving sidewalk, whatever you want to call them.
Andy: The skywalk?
Eric: Ummm, okay, if that's the Australian term, we'll go with that.
Eric: Yeah, skywalks. They're like the moving pavement, that's what they're called.
Eric: And as you're going into the park, into Universal, they play the movie themes.
Eric: And that was just really awesome for me. So, yeah.
Micah: What do you guys think about them playing us while people wait in line?
Andrew: Oh, they should. Oh, that's a great idea.
Andrew: Us, the pod - didn't someone bring that up before?
Micah: I don't know.
Andrew: I think someone said that. I don't know. Either way. See, that's like a great place for all the fan sites to go and just like hand out their business cards and stuff. Because I mean, if you're going there, you must be interested in Harry Potter a little bit, so...
News Discussion: J.K. Rowling Named Entertainer of the Year
Andrew: Then we'll be kicked out for loitering. Hey, but anyway, moving on to some other news now. JK Rowling named Entertainer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly had this to say about JK Rowling:
"She is our Entertainer of the Year because she did something very, very hard and she did it very, very well, thus pleasing hundreds of millions of children and adults very, very much. In an era of video game consoles, online multiplayer environments, and tinier-is-better mobisodes, minisodes, and webisodes, she got people to tote around her big, fat, old-fashioned, printed-on-paper books as if they were the hottest new entertainment devices on the planet."
And that is so true. I love that little connection, because I remember when the book came out, everyone was carrying them around. Like in London, I would see people carrying them around. And when we got back to the States, people were walking around with them. They were a fashion statement. And it was cool. [laughs]
Micah: It was cool. People had them on the train.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: Yeah, it was our time.
News Discussion: Rowling as Time's Person of the Year
Andrew: Yeah. Yep. And I have to say, I think this is a really good reason why she should be Time's Person of the Year. We were talking about this last week, or two weeks ago. She should be Time's Person of the Year for this exact reason. She is an entertainer, and not by the standards that we have today. I was looking back - Entertainment Weekly had a little archive of all the past Entertainers of the Year since like 1990, I think, they started this in, or '96, or somewhere in the 90s. And all of them have been movie stars, cartoon characters. None of them have actually been a book or its author. So this is a first for Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year, and I think it says something about JK Rowling this past year.
Micah: It does.
Eric: Who was she up against?
Andrew: For Person of the Year?
Eric: Is it Person or Entertainer of the Year?
Micah: Well, no, it's...
Andrew: Well, she wasn't up against anyone. I mean, there was a list. They were all movie actors and stuff.
Andrew: But she won the top Entertainer of the Year.
Micah: Yeah. If you watch the video on The Today Show, they kind of go through a list of people that she was up against, and she came out pretty clear ahead of anybody else. But I agree with what you're saying, Andrew, as far as Person of the Year. I think that it's sort of the right time. If she's ever going to get it, the time is going to be now, because it's the culmination of her series.
Micah: It's all the work that she's done throughout the world with various charities, and I think it would be just the right time. I mean, when else is she going to receive it? I don't think there's any other time that it would be more suiting than right now.
News Discussion: Ian McKellen on Dumbledore
Andrew: Okay. Moving on to final story of today. This was posted on Saturday. Ian McKellen finally comments on Dumbledore. Is this - I could be wrong - is this the first time he's ever mentioned Dumbledore? Like, being cast as Dumbledore?
Eric: Well, first time I remember, yeah. Yeah, it's interesting.
Andrew: Well, here, let's set it up. Ian McKellen says, "People say to me, 'Don't you wish you'd played Dumbledore?' I say, 'No, I played Gandalf, the original.'" Think about that for a second.
Eric: Hold for a break, yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. "There was a question as to whether I might take over from Richard Harris, but seeing as one of the last things he did publicly was say what a dreadful actor he thought I was, it would not have been appropriate for me to take over his part. It would have been unfair."
Andrew: Richard Harris actually said that?
Micah: I guess so.
Andy: It's hard to imagine that he said he was a dreadful actor.
Andrew: Yeah. I guess unless, you know, you know you're going to die soon anyway, so why not?
Eric: So just insult all the people that you can?
Andrew: Yeah. Speak the truth. That's surprising. I mean -The other thing that I think would upset a lot of Harry Potter fans is [laughs] McKellen calls Gandalf the "original"? What does
he mean by that exactly? Is he trying to say that Dumbledore is a copy off of Gandalf?
Eric: No, well, surely there was Merlin before Gandalf.
Andrew: Yeah, but, yeah. So, he's not even the original...
Eric: So, yeah, I don't think you can call him the original. Well, then again, maybe he means...
Andrew: Hang on.
Eric: By the orginial...
Micah: The original gay wizard?
[Andrew and Andy laugh]
Andrew: Ah, so funny.
Eric: Nah. I don't know. But I take it with a grain of - I think this is interesting because it's good to hear his opinion on it, you know what I'm saying? Because his opinion is well, Richard Harris said he was a "crap actor," sort of one of the things he did publicly before he died.
Eric: So, I mean Ian's had a steady line of work with with -I mean, the XMEN franchise and DaVinci Code, and he's in a steady line of work and will never be out of work.
Andrew: You know, come to think of it, it would be weird if he played Gandalf and Dumbledore.
Eric: Yeah, it would.
Andrew: I mean, that's like the same guy playing Superman also playing Batman.
Eric: That's a good comparison
Eric: That's a really good comparison.
Andrew: Thanks, but, you know.
Micah: It's interesting that he said it would have been unfair. How is he saying that? I mean, is he saying that in the sense that he's a better actor. So...
Eric: Because he out-lived Richard Harris.
Micah: No, no.
Andrew: It would have been unfair to follow him after Richard Harris already said he's a crappy actor. I guess.
Micah: But why?
Micah: Because he would have proved just how much better he was by...?
Andrew: Just because I think that's like...
Andrew: ...disrespecting his wishes. I mean, not directly. But it sort of is. [laughs] I don't know.
Eric: Well - hmmm. Yeah, I don't mind that much.
Eric: It's good to have an actor like, well, I was wondering other ways. Was there a good reason?
Micah: Well, just that whole icy smile part. It leads me to believe that he was sort of...
Micah: ...conveying the message that he was a better actor so would have assumed the role, he would have ut Richard Harris
to shame. That's what I took it.
Andrew: Well, yeah.
Eric: I'd like to see Ian McKellen try it, but him and Michael Gambon are friends, so, and apparently they never talk about it, which isn't surprising.
Micah: Which, you know, may benifit Michael Gambon every once in awhile.
Micah: Talk to McKellen on how to play a wizard.
Andrew: Yeah, I don't know.
Micah: Or how to act in general.
Andrew: Yeah, that's kind of mean, Micah.
Micah: Hey, hey, no - well, yes it is. But...
Eric: I'm sorry I pulled back on that one.
Eric: I was just waiting to see if anybody else agreed.
Eric: I'm pulling my punches in light of this toll. It's 120 episodes later I have decided to do that. So... [laughs]
Micah: I was going to ask Andy, though, because we've never heard his thoughts to what he thinks of Michael Gambon.
Andy: Well, I think he plays Dumbledore well, but my favorite has always been Richard Harris. So, I don't think there is anyone that can replace him, but that's just my view anyway.
Andrew: I think...
Eric: I think...
Andrew: That's what a lot of people say.
Eric: If Richard Harris would have stayed on just for the third, I know he didn't have much say in the matter, but...
[Andrew laughs and Andy gasps]
Eric: I reckon if... No.
Andy: I don't think he had any say in the matter.
Eric: He were available in the third one, I think we would have seen whether, or not he could actually do it. I know a lot of people make the comment, "Oh, Richard Harris, look at him in 'Chamber of Secrets' it looks like he can blow him away." Just with a bit of air, and wind, and he'd get blown away. That's a lot of the - and he does look it. But he also had a force behind his movement. If he were in the third one, I think we would have been able to see for sure, sort of what I think are his capabilities, because that's where Dumbledore gets kind really good at - yeah, just a little bit of hint. But we lost him when he did.
Eric: And I'm not minding Michael Gambon in Movie 5.
Eric: But you guys haven't seen it since theaters so.
Andy: But the thing to say about Michael Gambon is he sort of plays Dumbledore in that whole "angry" style, like in the fourth movie. "Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?!" And I preferred Richard Harris...
Andrew: Right, that's what upset a lot of people.
Eric: Somebody listened to our show.
[Eric and Andy laugh]
Andrew: And also in The Order of the Phoenix, when he says, "Don't you all have school work to do?" After he sees Trelawney.
Eric: Yeah, what was the point in that?
Andrew: It's just, we've talked about that a lot, though. We'll move on. We do have a couple announcements now. Micah, you've got the first one.
Micah: Yeah, I've been getting a lot e-mails for people who are interested in transcribing for the show. I know you have mentioned that the end of one of the shows a couple of weeks back, but I think I am pretty set as far as that's concerned for now. If anybody else does get hired, we will let you know, but please stop sending emails for now, and thanks to everybody who sent something in.
Andrew: Thanks. Let's move on to some e-mails now.
Muggle Mail: Harry Potter and Schooling
Micah: Sure. The first e-mail comes from Stephanie, 15 of Lansing, IL, not Michigan. She said:
On last week's episode you mentioned the school in England that improved from 'Harry Potter.' The Catholic elementary school I went do did just that, but for only the 4th grade. They started when I entered 5th grade and what they did was divide the grade into houses and you could earn or loose points for your house. My little sister is a proud Slytheirn, and I think the whole concept is a good idea.
Andrew: That could also help encourage students to have better behavior.
Eric: I agree.
Andrew: You know. Beause if you screw up and you bully some kid on the playground you're going lose points for - I'm assuming it's for stuff outside the classroom as well.
Eric: Yeah, it's good. I like that idea a lot, especially 'cause kids know Harry Potter, you know what I'm saying?
Eric: Like for instance, I taught CCD. I taught first grade religion classes with my mom. It's for all the kids in the Catholic church who go to a public school.
Eric: They get some classes, and it ends sort of eighth grade when they get confirmed in the Catholic church. Doesn't have to end there, but it can. It usually does for most people. So we taught and I used Spiderman actually to teach religion, and it was quite a novel concept. I didn't - because the kids knew Spiderman obviously because the first movie had come out and you know, they'd seen the cartoon series, etc. So, what I would do is I would draw Spiderman on the dry erase board and every time that they were loud or noisy, I would erase part of Spiderman. And so, the thing being that their hero - well, they would have to be good otherwise there would be no Spiderman. And it worked.
Andrew: That's a good idea. That's a good idea.
Eric: And I did it with Harry Potter towards the end of the year as well.
Eric: So, that was quite good.
Muggle Mail: Does Harry Potter Lead to Other Reading?
Micah: The next one comes from Dan, 37 from New Mexico. He said:
I read a good article on the state of reading in America, and it mentions the 'Harry' Potter books. I have included the link to the article and the paragraphs that mention, and are important to the mention of, the 'Harry Potter' books. I have always believed that kids that are already reading all over the world are buying the 'Harry Potter' books on a huge scale. I don't believe that the books have turned many non-reading children into readers. and if this has happened, what else are they reading now that they are true readers? Or are they just reading the 'Harry Potter' books?
And he goes on to list the articles from the Chicago Tribune and a bunch of quotes. But I think what he's generally getting at is, are the Harry Potter books really getting kids to read more? Or, are they just reading Harry Potter and then not moving on to anything else?
Eric: Well, that's an interesting question. I think it's an interesting Muggle Mail as well. I'm happy to read it and contemplate. I think that even if they're only reading the Harry Potter books, that's sort of 30 or 40,000 more words than they would be reading. Or, you know, at least seven more big books. Even if they're... So, the question is, I guess, are they making kids read more in general or are they just reading more Harry Potter books. But I've found that the Harry Potter books have been - that's why I like them so much because I can read them and can enjoy them. They're written in such a way so as to like - but like, it's true, I haven't read too terribly much beyond Harry Potter since Harry Potter with the exception of a few Stephen King novels. So, I would perhaps be in that column.
Micah: Right. And one interesting quote that came from the article that he put in his e-mail said: "It's great that millions of kids are reading these long, intricate novels, but reading one such book every 18 months doesn't make up for daily reading."
Andrew: Yeah, I think this is a good point. I mean, when I first read this I was like, "Wow, that's actually pretty true." Because the Harry Potter books are credited with getting children to read, but the question is, does it keep them reading? Like, you know, okay they'll just read Harry Potter, you know? Is it long term?
Eric: Though fair enough, I think there are plenty of fans, and we might hear from them in Muggle Mails next week, that have actually, you know, were introduced to reading. I think there are. I think there are some. Maybe not as large a scale as people think, in that case Dan is right to point this out. It feels like debunking, or just it feels like a blow, but it's not. But I'm sure there are people that have gotten into reading and have read sort of the other fantasy novels out there. Like, for instance, Lord of the Rings, I would - I can see how people would read Harry Potter first and then get into Lord of the Rings as opposed to the other way around, because Lord of the Rings are quite intense to read and so if you like the - well it depends on what you like about Harry Potter. If it's Jo's writing style, and that's the thing you like the most, you might only read the Harry Potter books. If you like the fantasy genre as a genre, you will be highly interested in reading any or all other science fiction and other fantasy books.
Eric: You know what I'm saying. Phillip Pullman, for instance. With all these movies coming out and treatments and Northern Lights or Golden Compass or whatever, coming out as well I think. With Harry Potter fans with the completion of the series are looking for books to read.
Andrew: Yeah. It definitely inspires them to read beyond Harry Potter, but the question is do they stick with it.
Eric: And that is unpredictable. I don't think...
Micah: And I just found it interesting that they were quoting people from the Penguin Group and Simon and Schuster, all these other companies, instead of maybe asking somebody from Scholastic.
Eric: There is a good...
Andrew: They could be reached for comment.
Eric: There is a good quote here. "There are so many nuances", Whiteman says, "reading scores don't necessarily have today's sells." [laughs] I find that funny.
Micah: Well, yeah, I mean I think what they were getting at was, "Do the 'Harry Potter' books, when there are a release. Are they skewing the sales"
Micah: "...the teenage range so much that you think that there is this large group of people out there that are buying these books, but really it is just because of one major release."
Eric: Well, in that case I would be "pro" the idea that no there is not enough reading out there and we should pay more attention to books than we should to iPhones, sorry Andrew. [laughs]
[Andrew sighs deeply]
Eric: Or iPod touch.
[Andrew sighs deeply]
Eric: Or - look, I love iTunes okay? I just got, you guys saw my blickle I have "Phase," itis a great video game for iPod. I love it. It takes all these songs and it Guitar Hero-izes them.
Andrew: Yeah I say that. It looks pretty cool. But, hey...
Micah: So lets get back to Jo.
Micah: She has always said that the biggest thing that she has gotten out of all of this is that kids not only read her books but go on to read other stuff, so hopefully that is the case.
Eric: Yeah, and I think she would probably because they would send her the letters. You know what I am saying.
Eric: And, I think it is also impossible to not just - the other thing is these statistics, because the Chicago Tribune did them, are American. You know, so think about all the countries worldwide that are - that is the whole reason why the Harry Potter fandom is so massive is because of all the other countries who are reading these books and everybody knows Harry.
Micah: I am going to go out on a limb and I am going to get a lot of e-mails, but I am going to say that other countries, putting the U.S. aside, probably generally read more than Americans do.
Eric: Oh, well that is a good point. And you are right.
Andrew: I agree.
Click here to go to page two
Back to MuggleCast home or MuggleNet.