[Intro music begins]
Mason: Listen up, MuggleCast listeners! 2009 is finally here, and now GoDaddy hosting plans are more powerful than ever! Best of all, plans start at just $3.95 a month, and no matter what plan you choose, your site receives 24/7 maintenance and protection in the GoDaddy.com world class data center. Plus, as a listener of MuggleCast, enter code Ron - that's R-O-N - when you check out, and get your dot com domain name for just $6.95 a year. Some restrictions always apply, but check that site out for the details. Get your piece of the Internet at GoDaddy.com.
Andrew: Today's podcast is also brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of spoken word entertainment. What are you listening to after today's episode? How about a free audiobook download of your choice when you sign up. Log on to www.AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast today for details.
["Innuendo" by Queen begins playing]
Andrew: Because we're here to usher in the new year, this is MuggleCast Episode 168 for January 15th, 2009!
[Show music begins playing]
Andrew: And look at this.
Andrew: Look at this. 686 people in the Ustream feed right now, and there's not even big news. This is like - this may be one of the biggest shows we've done live on Ustream, and there's not even news. There is news. There's a lot of news, and I'm excited...
Micah: There's news.
Andrew: ...to introduce - thank you, Micah - I'm excited to introduce the panel today. First, joining me in studios, Matt Britton.
Andrew: Well said. Also, via Skype today is Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: Man of many words, as always. Who else have we got here? We also have Laura Thompson. Hello, Laura.
Laura: Hey, how are you?
Andrew: You are looking dashing today.
Laura: Oh I know, thank you. I dressed up just for...
Andrew: Anyway, also, Eric is here. Hey, Eric. Just kidding.
Eric: Hey guys.
Andrew: Eric, there's a lot to talk to you about since you've seen this movie, and now we have a PG rating. Very confusing.
Eric: Actually, I'm not so sure, Andrew. I'm not so sure I've seen this movie. I think...
Andrew: You think they changed it? [laughs] I see. And lastly, also joining us today, Nick Myers, a - he was petitioned on MuggleSpace to come on the show, so we have him here on MuggleCast. Hey, Nick.
Nick: Hey everyone, how are you doing?
Andrew: There's Nick, isn't that refreshing? An English voice. Haven't heard one of those in a while. [clears throat] No, I'm just kidding. Jamie's a great - Nick, how about you start the show off, tell us - tell everyone a little bit about yourself. We need to know who you are.
Nick: Well, I've actually worked on MuggleNet for two years on the movie section, the picture page, the gallery, just doing general maintenance around the site. I live in sunny England, I'm nineteen years old. What else do you want to know?
Andrew: That's about it. You sound like Jamie, so I think everyone will be happy with you.
Andrew: No, but you'll come into your own on the show, I'm sure. [laughs]
Andrew: And don't forget, ladies and gentlemen, today's podcast is brought to you by Audible.com, the leading provider in spoken word entertainment. Audible has over 35,000 titles to choose from to be downloaded and played back anywhere, just like MuggleCast. Log on to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast to get a free audiobook download of your choice when you sign up today. Again, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast for your free audiobook.
Andrew: Anyway, welcome, everyone, to MuggleCast Live. Like I said, it's a wonderful Thursday evening. I didn't say that part. I did say there were six - over six - over 700 people listening now, so this is great. Thanks, everyone, for tuning in. Quick reminder before we start, there's obviously - with a lot of people listening, there's a lot of people in the chat room. If you want to listen to this without the chat, just go to MuggleNet and you'll see at the top post there is a reminder about the show. Click the "Read More" link and then you'll see a window that's just streaming this and it won't be with the chat. So that'll help calm that down if you don't like the chat. Anyway, Micah, what's in the news this week?
Micah: You mentioned it before, Andrew. Half-Blood Prince was given a PG rating. This story was back on January 7th, not too long ago. But what kind of makes me wonder is that it says PG is for "scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality."
Andrew: Yes. Okay, now this - this is surprising. I mean, because everyone was expecting - let me put it this way: Goblet of Fire - before Goblet of Fire came out - of course that was the first movie with the PG-13 rating - everyone was like, "Well, is this going to be PG?" because we've seen before that there's been a - you know - the books are obviously getting darker. So why did it go back to PG? That's the question I guess we should try to figure out, and a lot of people are also disappointed. Nick, you had an interesting take on this. To get the discussion started, you e-mailed me about it the other day. Can you tell us about that? It's really interesting.
Nick: Yeah, of course. After the announcement of the PG rating in America, the first thing I did was I went on the BBFC website and looked at the U.K. classification. I found something quite interesting. Basically, the trailers for the latest Half-Blood Prince movie in the U.K. have been rated 12A, which usually means that the film will also follow suit and also be a 12. The past two films have also been 12s and they had trailers with 12A ratings.
Nick: So I guess what I'm saying is it's going to be rated 12 over here by the looks of things...
Nick: ...which is kind of a PG-13 equivalent.
Andrew: Yeah, so isn't that interesting? So that would be actually - that would be a first time one of the Potter films has a different rating here, isn't that right? I mean, there's never been a time when it's rated 12A over there and PG here, or vice versa.
Andrew: PG's silly, but, Eric, let's go to you now. You've seen the film, and you said it was the darkest yet when we discussed this on the phone the other day.
Eric: Yeah, it wasn't just the darkest yet; it was painfully PG-13 in my opinion, and I actually didn't want to say anything then when I had first begun. First of all, Andrew, I just logged into the Ustream and it says "Off Air." Are we actually on air?
Andrew: No, we're on air. Yeah.
Eric: Okay, because I can't pull up the chat, so I'm just making sure. But anyway, when I first got done seeing the movie I didn't want to mention exactly how dark the movie was, specifically because I think one of these news articles now, one of the stars, is saying that they feel they've achieved this perfect balance between humor and darkness. I actually felt that the scale was tipped a little bit more in the darkness, to be honest, and I spoke with David Heyman and David Yates afterwards and said, "Dude. Okay, first of all, the entire movie - the entire movie that we saw was in sepia." I mean, it just felt like the whole thing was color-washed and really dark, and dark literally. We're talking literally dark. They assured me that they were still working on the color, et cetera, et cetera. But whatever happy scenes there are, and there were some genuinely funny scenes in this movie, I just felt that the darkness was really intense when there was. And I just don't see any way that this movie could be PG from the film - from the preview that we saw. The movie we saw had, you know, not a completed score, so maybe it's a really happy score. Maybe they just set all the depressing, horrible scenes to happy music. I don't know.
Andrew: Is there a chance that the Motion Picture Association of America, they just decided - maybe they were feeling lenient that day or something? That's what one blog suggested, which I thought was kind of funny.
Eric: I think it's possible, but what I wanted to bring to the show as far as discussion-wise is, the more I thought about it, the sixth Harry Potter book to me is actually a lot lighter, I think, than Book 5. I mean at least Harry's not as angsty, so...
Eric: I mean, and it's not until Book 7 that everyone starts dying. So Book 6 being a lot about Voldemort is very interesting, but if you're even going to take most of that away, then you've kind of got the makings of a PG movie, I guess, right? I mean...
Eric: ...it will get dark, but it might not be. The book seemed...
Matt: Eric, do you - now when you say that there are scenes that are - like this film was a lot more darker than the previous films, do you mean it was darker in the action, like physically darker, or verbally, like in the script and stuff? Do you know what I mean? Like, if someone - like it had deeper tones.
Eric: Language hasn't changed too much, so language as far as in the wording and stuff is much darker. No. I think it's more in the events, the thematic - maybe then they were really trying to play up the Voldemort aspect of it, but it just felt - I mean, a lot is going on, and one of the things I liked about this film was how slow it was. I'm going to use the term slow because I felt that they spread all the events that happened in Book 6 out to actually make them feel like they were taking place over the course of a longer period of time, unlike when they rushed things.
Andrew: Let's get everyone else's thoughts. Laura, Micah, and Penny's joining us now. I'll be completely honest, Penny, I completely forgot to call you... [laughs] ...when I was getting this.
Penny: Yeah, I'm forgettable like that, aren't I? [laughs]
Andrew: Yes, you are, and by forgettable I mean amazing. Anyway...
Penny: We'll remember that in the future.
Andrew: Yeah. Awkward. Laura, Penny, Micah? What do you guys think about this? I mean, is it a disappointment?
Laura: I'm kind of scared. I'm not going to lie. I mean, considering that the previous - the couple movies past have been PG-13, and I really consider the content of Book 6 to be just as, if not more, frightening than the content of Books 4 and 5.
Laura: So, I'm really kind of confused.
Laura: I'm not going to lie.
Andrew: Yeah. Micah?
Micah: Yeah, I agree with Laura. I think that it's kind of disheartening to see that it's rated PG, and - just because you do have a death in this book, probably the biggest in the series for most people, and you have a rogue necklace running around the grounds of Hogwarts, and I'm sure that's a pretty creepy scene. And a couple of other things. I mean, like Laura did say, you're dealing with a lot of dark material here. It's really where you get your first glimpse into Horcruxes. I'm assuming that they kept that in the film. And I just think that for PG rating, it's kind of questionable with the past two films being PG-13.
Andrew: And Penny? How about you?
Penny: Yeah, I just worry that they're not going to be able to do justice to everything. That's my biggest problem with it. I don't know if you guys said that before, but there is so much in this that is darker, and there are so many more mature themes, that if they can't do justice to it with that rating, it's going to be a real disappointment.
Matt: What kind of things, though, would make it PG-13? Let's just name off some stuff.
Andrew: Well, I mean - the book itself?
Micah: The sex, drugs, rock n' roll of Harry Potter.
Laura: Well, there was the whole scene where...
Andrew: Yeah, where's the sex? Where's the drugs?
Andrew: I want the Harry smoking some hash.
Andrew: He needs to relax!
Eric: Yeah, just take a kitten and - just cut some kittens in half. That would make something - actually, probably more than PG-13.
Matt: Yeah, about that.
Andrew: Yeah, because I just started reading Half-Blood Prince the other day actually, again, to figure out what could - what's - what - because obviously because we're talking about it more. But can anyone think of any scenes that may be a problem?
Laura: The Inferi? Dead people...
Eric: That's where, like...
Laura: ...coming out of the water?
Matt: Yeah. Oh, and the whole Sectumsempra thing with Draco...
Matt: ...with his insides coming out, but they cut that.
Eric: Okay, well, let me interject then. The movie that I saw did do the book justice. In fact, it did the book so much justice that it was my favorite film that I had seen, and I hadn't seen the whole thing that was finished and edited. So we know that they haven't cut nearly anything. They - David Heyman said they were just - they added one scene and that was it; they just tinkered it a little bit. Okay, the movie I saw did great justice to the book. And so maybe we're overreacting, because to be perfectly honest, I was very satisfied. And you guys know, listening to me on MuggleCast for however long it's been, three years, that I'm not easily pleased.
Andrew: Yeah, you're just a big complainer.
[Nick says something unintelligible]
Andrew: What's that, Nick?
Eric: So I think they have to...
Nick: Could this just be a marketing ploy to get more people to - more people to go visit - or watch it. I mean, this will have made press all over the world, the rating thing. It's great advertisement for the WB. It just seems very sort of - almost like it is a PG-13, they've just mis-rated it.
Matt: I'm just scared it was probably originally PG-13 until they just added more stuff and then kept editing it until it was a PG film.
Andrew: I don't think they would do that.
Matt: You don't think they would?
Eric: Do you think the were aiming for a PG rating?
Matt: I don't know. A broader audience? I mean, PG-13 is not that bad. I mean...
Matt: What - I just want to know, what was it that made it a PG and not PG-13?
Andrew: Eric, do you think it's darker than Order of the Phoenix and Goblet of Fire? Like, you know - I don't even know how to explain that.
Eric: It's rough. I mean, it's a different movie altogether. I mean, that's the problem. Movie 4 I thought was really dark and stuff, and obviously there's the creepy Voldemortness of it all. It's a different film, but I did feel it was dark. The first thing I said to - when I had the pleasure of meeting those guys, I said, "This is not, nor can it be marketed as, a kid's movie." Because actually, I felt that the young kids who would see this, if it were, say, PG - you know, the five or six year olds - I made the contrast of Chamber of Secrets, which was rated PG for some scary scenes, and they had to, in the trailer, mention that it was rated for these scenes of scary spiders and the Basilisk was supposed to be scary. Okay, if you're comparing rating here, the stuff they have in Movie 6 is a lot scarier. Like you guys said. Dead bodies coming out of the water. Souls being split in pieces. A lot scarier than giant spiders.
Matt: Well, that's the same exact thing that happened in Chamber of Secrets. Voldemort's soul was split in half, and there were giant spiders. But the spiders didn't come out and kill anybody, they were just there. They were just there. [whispers] They were just there!
Andrew: So, I mean, is there anything else to talk about this? I mean, it is somewhat disheartening, I guess, in a way, but I'm just holding out hope that the people who decided to rate it at the MPAA were just like, "Eh..." I don't know. I mean, did Order of the Phoenix - did Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix even deserve the PG rating? PG-13 rating?
Eric: That's a good question. Maybe they're trying to reform a little bit. I don't know. I mean, it's not really a shame to be - I mean, if you guys look at older movies, like Planet of the Apes for instance, that's rated PG by the Motion Picture - we're talking about the one in the '60s - is rated PG, and there is all sorts of swear words in that movie.
Matt: Well, yeah, there wasn't any headway - there wasn't no middle ground between PG and R rating at that time.
Eric: Right, right. Then. So they - nowadays that movie might get a PG-13 rating. But I'm just saying, certain time changes sort of what ratings mean...
Matt: Well, maybe the times are changing, Eric. I mean, do they have a refresh every year saying, "Well, should we up the PG rating?" or what? We've got to get somebody on the...
Penny: Yeah, but they're not letting the public - the problem is that they're not letting the public know that, though, so let's say the MPAA or Warner Brothers says, "Okay, now we're making this PG," you still have kids out there who maybe shouldn't be seeing this movie because it is pretty dark, that are going to go and see it because it's a PG movie. So if you think about what the ratings are for, that might be problematic. Whether we're disappointed or not is one thing, but when I think about parents taking their kids, that bothers me too.
Matt: Well, we don't really know...
Micah: I like what Nick said earlier, though, when he was talking about - does Warner Brothers have something to gain by making it PG?
Micah: A wider audience would be one.
Eric: Just the ability to corrupt the minds of the innocent. Virgin eyes.
[Matt and Micah laugh]
Eric: I hate thinking - I mean, we just got over thinking that WB were the villains, and now I just feel that I was tragically misunderstood by the makers of the film and that they agreed with me then, and said, "Hey, it's not for kids," but then went and advertised it to four year-olds in fricking day care!
Matt: [laughs] Maybe Warner Brothers was just too busy with the whole Watchmen thing that they just thought, "You know what? Just give Harry Potter a PG rating, we're too busy with this."
Micah: [laughs] But how do you go from Half-Blood Prince being PG to Deathly Hallows potentially being rated R?
Andrew: No, it can't be.
Matt: No, it's never going to be rated R.
Laura: It can't be rated R.
Andrew: Unless you see death or something.
Matt: Unless there's an intimate scene with somebody.
Eric: Unless they actually do the Hedwig scene.
Laura: They wouldn't rate it R for that.
Matt: I mean, they would have to graphic up that death.
Andrew: Yeah, that death is not very...
Eric: Do you have any idea what special effects can do, Laura? We can see...
Eric: ...the little Hedwig body parts, little organs and...
Laura: Mmm, I'm pretty sure they're not going to do that, but maybe you should pitch that to David Heyman and see what he thinks.
Eric: I don't know. David and I aren't getting along.
Andrew: It would be kind of funny if... [laughs] ...they did decide to rate it R. I mean, you can't - no Harry Potter book is rated R. Even if the book, exactly is for what it is, became a movie. Am I right?
Eric: No, it's only the fanfic that's R.
Eric: Even that just gets...
Laura: That's so true.
Andrew: Just a word to those listening in the chat, we had to disable the video because we're having some Upstream problems with the thing.
Eric: Andrew, we had video?
Andrew: Yes. There's video of me and Matt. We're naked. It's fun.
Andrew: [laughs] But anyway, we did have to do this. So anyway - just so everyone knows. And it keeps disconnecting, so I don't know why. But hopefully it'll get fixed. We should just switch to Stickam or something. That'd be funny.
Andrew: Anyway. What was I going to say?
Matt: [whispers] I don't know.
Andrew: Well, let's move on. What else is in the news, Micah?
Micah: A couple more stories. Back on January 9th, the Telegraph reported that Toby Jones will be back to voice Dobby in Deathly Hallows. And we haven't seen Dobby since Chamber of Secrets, so that was good news. And which begs the question, when do you think we're going to hear some more casting news? They're starting filming in a month from today, actually, so any idea as to when we're going to hear some more information?
Matt: Jeez. How long has this movie been in production? Has it been over a year?
Andrew: Yes, it is. It is.
Matt: Oh my gosh.
Andrew: So. Yeah, I mean, that's kind of cool to hear that he's coming back. That was actually - people were pleasantly surprised to hear that, weren't they?
Matt: Yeah. I was so excited.
Matt: Well, because, hello, he's been out of the movies for, what, three movies now? Where he's actually been in the movies - or the books?
Eric: It means that there's got to be some kind of planning to have his character back in the movie adaptation, which they didn't have to do.
Matt: Well, we get to see him die, pretty much. Oh, sorry, spoiler.
Eric: They bring him back to kill him off.
Matt: I know. Gosh. Warner Brothers is so nice. I don't want to talk about his death.
Andrew: I guess there's not much to discuss with there. What else is going on, Micah?
Micah: Well, I'm going to go over to Laura for this, because I heard she was sneaking around Universal Studios.
Laura: Oh. [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: What were you up to, Laura?
Laura: I was just at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, in Orlando, Florida, which is pretty exciting for Potter fans, because we all know they're building the theme park. And, first of all, funny story - I was walking through the section where they're sort of doing a lot the construction, and it's like the Jurassic Park area, and the Lost Continent, for anybody who's ever been there. And they have all these big tall wooden gates that look very Hogwartsy-ish that are - it's really exciting, but they're hiding all the construction. And I saw one of them was cracked open, and so I went to just sort of stick my camera lens through and take a picture, but then I realized the gate was totally unlocked! And so I kind of opened it a little bit...
Laura: ...and as I was doing that, a Universal employee comes up to me and was like, "Uh, no."
Laura: So I was like, "Okay, okay, I'm leaving!" But I just thought it was funny, because there wasn't actually anything back there. I looked and there was nothing behind this particular gate. But they didn't want me back there.
Eric: Muggles can't see it, Laura.
Laura: [unintelligible] so far. Oh, that's true.
Andrew: Is there anything interesting going on? Because we get people commenting, you know, or sending in picture reports every once and a while, but all they are - it's the same thing! Now, granted, the park's not opening up for one - maybe two - years. So, I mean, was there anything?
Matt: Did you see any dirt?
Laura: A lot of it...
Laura: What? I'm sorry, the feed's freaking out.
Laura: Essentially, I think it would take somebody who had been to the park a few times to notice the changes, because it's become very apparent that they;re using a lot of pre-existing structure from those parts of the theme park so they're not going to be rebuilding new things. Like there was at one time in the Lost Continent area a huge restaurant, and now, if you stand on a bridge, you can see where they've completely taken the roof off of that and they've gone down to sort of - the more foundation part of it where there's still some castle-looking area that's on the water.
Laura: So it looks like they're building it up from there.
Andrew: That's cool!
Andrew: So it'll be on the water?
Laura: ... [unintelligible] being constructed. It's sort of on the water. The way they had it was the restaurant was inside, and you went out on to a back patio area, and it was on the water.
Andrew: I see.
Laura: I'm thinking maybe that'll be the Three Broomsticks. I don't know.
Matt: Hmm. Interesting, interesting, interesting.
Andrew: That's very exciting.
Andrew: I mean, that would be really cool if it was on the water. What was I going to say? Pie, that's what. Not to change the subject so quickly, but Eric just sent a link in the chat that - yeah, I've seen this, Eric, it's actually pretty interesting. It's an article asking, could the Harry - and my immediate answer is no - could the Harry Potter series end early? What are they saying in this article, Eric?
Eric: They're saying that movie studios are pulling movies and is it that far-fetched to suspect that they just wouldn't go on making a seventh Harry Potter film due to the massive budget that it would require, and do they really need to? As Warner Brothers, couldn't they just squash - couldn't they just not make a seventh Harry Potter film and sit on the rights so that no one else could make it? Really, a bit of a paranoid sort of idea-maker there.
Micah: If they thought they had a problem pushing back Half-Blood Prince, they would have a huge problem...
Matt: Right! [laughs]
Micah: ...doing something like that.
Andrew: Listen. I mean, the Harry Potter franchise is now the biggest franchise of all time. Why would you even think they would not do a final film? WB can certainly afford it!
Andrew: [laughs] It's...
Matt: Don't you think they've been saving up for this movie, though, too?
Andrew: I think the idea - no! What, they're like throwing some money in their...
Matt: Yeah, they've got a savings account.
Andrew: ...Deathly Hallows piggy-bank?
Matt: Yeah. I'd like to deposit this in the DH account, please.
Andrew: Yeah. No.
Eric: Whatever it costs, they'll make it back plus some.
Eric: You know what I'm saying?
Andrew: Plus double, triple! I mean... [laughs]
Eric: They really have nothing to...
Matt: It's in two parts. I mean, shoot.
Andrew: Oh, yeah! Hell, yeah! I mean, it's insane, when you think about it, how much money the final film alone will generate.
Matt: A lot.
Andrew: A lot of money.
Andrew: So that's - I think this article, more than anything, is sort of just an attention grabber. Like, "Ooh, will it really end?" And the sad thing is, it made so many stupid headlines in the different movie blog sites and all that.
Matt: Well, what kind of movies were pulled? I know that the Chronicles of Narnia film was pulled by Disney, but that's all I know.
Eric: [unintelligible] Narnia
Andrew: Yeah, well, that was pretty sad. What did you guys think of the Narnia films being cancelled? Well, the third one. I was looking forward to the third one.
Matt: Yeah, I was too, because everyone who read the books said it was so good.
Eric: The book is great. Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a great book, but it became apparent when I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End that if they were to do a - they're very similar, let's just put it that way. The scenes and - C.S. Lewis wrote it way before Pirates came out but they're very similar. Why film the same movie? Et cetera, et cetera. I just think Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a massive underwater tank, undertaking, and it's a bit disappointing that they won't do it, but some things are better left to books, I guess.
Matt: I guess so.
Andrew: Yeah. What else is going on, Micah? In the news?
Micah: One final piece of news. A lot of people actually asked about this, so we have kind of exclusive information here that Andrew was able to go and get.
Andrew: Ooh, everyone, listen up.
Matt: Oh, shh.
Andrew: Where's my exclusive sound effect?
Matt: [whispering] Okay, okay.
Andrew: Oh, I don't have one.
Micah: Have you got one? Oh, you don't have one. Oh, okay.
[Andrew makes sound effect]
Micah: Anyway - nice. Thatís good. Jim Dale has not been approached to do a Beedle the Bard audiobook as of right now.
[Andrew repeats sound effect]
Andrew: That's kind of sad. I'm going to be honest. We posed this question to his agent, because a lot of people are wondering, is Mr. Dale going to do it? Because he's been involved in so many so many Potter books and...you know?
Matt: Now that we've seen the book, we know how small it is.
Andrew: Yeah, so he'd be able to knock it out.
Matt: He'd be able to knock it out, but it would be on like half of a CD, or - what? - an hour on an MP3 player?
Andrew: Bless you.
Matt: Oh, bless you.
Laura: Excuse me.
Andrew: It'd take him like three Apples. He'll knock it right out.
Matt: Would it even be worth it, though? I mean - what?
Andrew: Three Apples.
Micah: It's for charity.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. Jimmy-boy can read it. Maybe we can read it. Maybe we can petition.
Matt: Ooh, let's do an audiobook. Yeah.
Laura: Heck yeah, sure.
Andrew: Hey, speaking of that, real quick plug for MuggleNet Fan Fiction. They started this thing called Audiofictions, and basically they are audiobook versions of Harry Potter fan fictions. And they just released the first one a couple of weeks ago; we plugged it on MuggleNet, and they're really cool. I want to get in on it. [laughs] I asked them if I could read one for them one time. That'd be fun. I'm an inspiring Jim Dale user...
Matt: No, you're not.
Micah: We should get Mason to do it.
Matt: [laughs] You're so not. Yeah, let's get Mason on it.
Andrew: So, if you want to check this out: FanFiction.MuggleNet.com. They're very innovative, I must say. Is that it, Micah? Is there anything else to talk about?
Micah: That is it. We're done.
Andrew: Oh, that's it? Oh.
Andrew: Okay, well, also going on this week, a couple announcements. First of all, this isn't an announcement, but we want to talk about it. The 2008 Web Blog Awards. We came in second place.
Andrew: Which, not a big deal, it's fine. But what happened was NPR was also in the running for this, and they were trying to compete with us. Now, for some reason, it was called The Harry Podcast MuggleCast on the voting thing...
Andrew: ...which is weird in and of itself.
Matt: It's so awkward to read it too.
Andrew: Yeah, and kind of embarrassing, because who would name a podcast Harry Podcast MuggleCast? But anyway, we need to call out NPR, a little wag of the finger, in the words of Colbert. Because what they did was kind of weird. Let me play this. This is their little plea to beat us.
Matt: Play the clip, Andrew.
Andrew: Okay. Here's the clip.
NPR Host 1: ...this morning about the 2008 Web Blog Awards. These are where people get to vote for the best podcast of the year.
NPR Host 2: And we don't really care about awards. Our mothers do, but we don't particularly...
Andrew: Oh, right, sure.
NPR Host 2: But there was something about this e-mail from Adam that really made us all snap to attention.
NPR Host 1: Which is that we are losing to the Harry Podcast MuggleCast.
[NPR hosts laugh]
[Andrew laughs mockingly]
NPR Host 2: And I'm sure that the Harry Podcast MuggleCast is an excellent podcast, and we wish them well, but we want them to come in second place.
NPR Host 1: So, if you don't mind, please go and vote. You don't have to register or anything. Just go click. And actually, I'm going to do it on this computer because I think you can do it once per computer per 24 hour period.
Andrew: So that's NPR trying to encourage their visitors to beat out a amateur Harry Potter podcast. [laughs] Which I thought was really funny and kind of ironic because they said they wanted...
Micah: They got it right.
Matt: Well, yeah. We did get second place.
Andrew: They said they didn't want us to get second place...
Matt: No, they did.
Eric: They got what they wanted.
Matt: "We want them to get second place." Well, we did get second place.
Andrew: And they got third. Apparently Econ Talk didn't matter. But then at the end of the show, once isn't enough, they have to do it again. Sorry, turned my audio down. They had to do it again. Listen to this.
NPR Host 1: Well, right now I'm making a living working on this podcast.
NPR Host 2: I think we just finished another one. Do not, Planet Money listeners, forget to vote for us in the 2008 Web Blog Awards. Don't let the Harry Podcast MuggleCast make Adam cry.
NPR Host 1: Don't let them win.
NPR Host 2: No! The link's on our blog: NPR.org/Money. I'm Laura Connoway and I'm going to win this thing.
NPR Host 1: And I'm David...
Andrew: Like - what? Do you really need to - I mean...
Andrew: [laughs] What!?
Laura: Wow, NPR is threatened by MuggleCast.
Andrew: [laughs] I know. I find it very flattering. NPR is a fantastic group of radio programs.
Matt: They have a whole bunch of them. I was on iTunes. They have what, thirteen?
Andrew: Probably more. Close to thirty, I think. They're...
Matt: Oh my God.
Andrew: So we did get second place, just like they wanted, so - but they ended up getting third, and they posted a picture on their blog. It was like Jim cried - or whoever that guy was - he cried because we lost - he lost.
Matt: Well, everything works out in the end.
Andrew: Yeah. So listen, NPR...
Laura: Plug on NPR.
Andrew: ...we beat you. We're better than you.
Matt: No, don't say that.
Andrew: All right. Yeah, that's cocky.
Laura: We're a lot better than you.
Andrew: ...do you have a cold? Laura, do you have a cold, Laura?
Laura: Yeah, I do.
Laura: I was hoping no one would notice.
Andrew: You know what? I didn't notice, but someone in the chat did. So I had to ask.
[Andrew and Matt laugh]
Laura: Thanks for noticing, person in the chat. Feeling bad for my sickness.
Andrew: That's funny.
Eric: You got to get down with the sickness, Laura.
Matt: You got to get down with the sickness [unintelligible]
Andrew: Anyway, in other announcement news, don't forget to vote for us on Podcast Alley. Currently, we're in number three, so thanks for that. And don't forget - and this was just announced today (another announcement about Azkatraz) - Azkatraz 2009 in July. It's going to be a fantastic event. Of course, it's going to be right after the movie release, and we just announced today that the podcast we are going to do after the midnight release of Half-Blood Prince is actually going be... [gasps] ...a Leaky Mug.
Matt: [gasps] OMG.
Andrew: So we announced that on that on MuggleCast today.
Micah: So excited.
Andrew: MuggleNet today. You can get more details on MuggleNet.com. Okay, how you doing, Nick? Nick?
Nick: Okay, sorry, I lost you on your audio for a second there.
Andrew: That's okay. Just wanted to check in on you to make sure you're still okay. You're a first-timer; we have to take extra good care of you. [laughs]
Nick: You're doing a wonderful job. Thanks.
Andrew: [laughs] Can you say "brilliant," please, instead of "wonderful"? The fan girls like that.
Matt: Stop making him Jamie!
Matt: Let him be himself.
Andrew: I'm just kidding. Usually Brits say "brilliant." Anyway - whatever.
Andrew: Okay, Muggle Mail this week. We have a few e-mails to get through, then we're going to talk about 2009: what to expect this year. Another wonderful year in Harry Potter. So who wants to take the first Muggle Mail? Matt, how about you do it?
Matt: Okay. Okay. So, our first e-mail comes from Thalia Culvin. She's thirteen from Mason, Ohio. That's what the OH means, right?
Matt: Okay. And she writes:
"Hi guys, love your show. I just had a couple comments regarding your discussion of the Top 7 News Events of the year. You talked about which ones have had the most impact on the fandom. Although I agree that a new book by J.K.R definitely deserves a high place on the list, 'Beedle the Bard' didn't really do that much to introduce new people to the fandom. Although it's sort of - it's the sort of the thing that keeps the fandom going, I found that only people who were already mega-fans of the books have even heard of it. My friend who is a big fan of 'Harry Potter' and movies came to me and all excited about a week ago and informed me that there was a new book by J.K.R coming out. She was very surprised to hear that I had known for many months. On the other hand, I know lots of people who became fans of the books through the movies. So the 'Half-Blood Prince' delay really could be at the top of the list, I think. Anyway, just thought I'd throw that - my two cents in. Lots of love, Thalia."
Andrew: Yeah, so that was interesting, I thought.
Matt: Yeah, I thought it was interesting, too.
Andrew: Sorry, I have to re-read it, but I know I put it in for a reason.
Eric: She says that only people who were big fans of the books knew about Beedle the Bard. But actually, I found the opposite...
Eric: ...to be true. Yeah, people - just knowing Kristen at work, people come up to her and say, "Hey, is this new Beedle the Bard thing - is that any good and what's that all about?" So they've heard of it and they are just regular random co-worker normal people, not inside fandom at all.
Matt: Well, I mean, they probably heard it in the news, but it doesn't have Harry Potter and the Beedle the Bard. It's just Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling. So they probably thought - they probably just wanted to know if it was connected to Harry Potter or anything. I mean, it's basically the first book that doesn't have Harry Potter and the blah, blah, blah written by J.K. Rowling.
Eric: But what this girl is saying is that Beedle the Bard did nothing for new people who don't already belong to the fandom and, therefore, is a less significant event of the year. And I mean when we did that show, we were arguing about which is more important, and we had a nice little discussion there so that's all fine.
Matt: Right. But I do kind of agree with Thalia on her opinion on Beedle the Bard though. I do think that Beedle the Bard is only a novelty of the Harry Potter series. I don't think it has any real influence on a general audience to actually read the rest of the Harry Potter books because there's no real connection, except for the brothers story.
Andrew: Mhm. Next e-mail. Nick, you want to read that one from Tawney?
Nick: Yeah, of course. This is from Tawney. She writes:
Hey MuggleCasters, I really love the show and I love you all as individuals. I was watching the 'Goblet of Fire' movie with subtitles, not because I can't hear but because I like to know every word said. And in the scene where Fred and George try to put their names into the Goblet of Fire, they start to fight and one of them yells, 'I'll rip off your ears!' When I saw this line, I couldn't help but laugh, as we very well know that George does lose his ear in the final book. I was just wondering what you thought about this line as the movie did come out before 'Deathly Hallows.' Thanks and Happy New Year."
Andrew: Isn't that kind of interesting? It's a nice little parallel.
Andrew: A little foreshadowing.
Eric: Irony. Ha.
Matt: It would be funny if he said, "I'll rip your ears off!" And then the other twin goes, "Yeah, but you're going to die!"
Laura: Oh my God.
Matt: Too soon?
Andrew: No, it's not. That was perfect timing.
Eric: Too soon, too soon?
Andrew: Next e-mail. Laura, go.
Laura: Okay. Jordan, seventeen, of Australia writes:
"Hey. Did you guys think Dumbledore's comments were too lengthy? I thought they were only going to be footnotes but they were pages long. This seems to be a major complaint among 'Beedle' haters so I thought it was worth addressing. That's it, really. Thanks for reading."
Andrew: [laughs] This is weird. This is one of the very few e-mails who complained about this.
Andrew: Does anyone think his comments were too lengthy? Now, I do have to say, actually - this just reminded me of something - Matt - not Matt - Ryan, my brother, Ryan, he read Beedle the Bard while I was back home in New Jersey and he didn't want to read Dumbledore's commentary either. He thought it was too boring. Then again, he's twelve. Although, I take that back; twelve year-olds obviously like Harry Potter. But I don't know. Jordan isn't the only one.
Eric: Do you guys think it sounded like Dumbledore?
Andrew: Yes, definitely!
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Eric: Like it wasn't...
Andrew: Have you read it yet, Eric, by the way? [laughs]
Eric: I haven't...
Andrew: You still haven't read it?
Eric: ...but I've heard a few comments...
Eric: No, I have not.
Andrew: Eric, it takes an hour to read. Surely you've had an hour. [laughs]
Eric: I just started college, Andrew.
Andrew: I know, but...
Eric: I'm reading about the French Revolution.
Andrew: Oh, sorry.
Laura: I was in college when it came out.
Micah: Come on!
Laura: Finals week.
Micah: New Year's resolution.
Eric: Seriously, I - seriously, the comments I've heard say...
Micah: By the next show, you have to...
Eric: ...that it doesn't sound like Dumbledore.
Matt: Eric, that's sad.
Eric: Oh, don't give me an ultimatum, Micah!
Matt: It's so depressing.
Eric: Mr. Goblet of Fire movie.
Andrew: Order of the Phoenix!
Micah: It was Order of the Phoenix!
Andrew: You screwed it up again! [laughs] I don't know, I...
Micah: What is interesting, though, Andrew.
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