MuggleCast | The #1 Most-Listened to Harry Potter Podcast 3

MuggleCast 182 Transcript

Show Intro

[Intro music begins]

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["Hedwig's Theme" plays] Jim Dale: [as Professor McGonagall] This is Professor McGonagall welcoming you all to MuggleCast hoping you enjoyed - Dobby! Dobby, come here! Here! Dobby! [as Dobby] Yes, I'd just like to say how very pleased I am to introduce MuggleCast to all of you! Thank you! Thank you!

[Show music begins]

Micah: Because Jo will use her Twitter to reveal she's actually writing to me, this is MuggleCast Episode 182 for October 6th, 2009.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 182. Matt's back this week, it's been a while since Matt's been on. Hey, Matt.

Matt: Hey, guys! What's up?

Andrew: And Micah and Eric are both here, too. This has been the slowest news week in the world, but we'll get to that in a second. More excitingly, we are kicking off Chapter-by-Chapter once again with Chamber of Secrets chapters one through - one through three. I'm Andrew Sims.

Eric: I'm Eric Scull.

Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.

Matt: And I'm Matt Britton.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Micah, we have one story planned to talk about because - I don't even know. This... [sighs] The news...

Micah: You all right there?

Andrew: The news is so slow. Well, it's frustrating.

[Matt laughs]

Andrew: The news is so slow. My mornings used to be made from, you know, getting up, having coffee, making breakfast, and posting news, and now it's like, "What do I post?"

Micah: Well you didn't mention MuggleNet is kind of old this month.

Andrew: Yes!

Micah: That's news-worthy...

Andrew: Well I...

Micah: ...I think.

Andrew: That is news-worthy. MuggleNet is turning - well this month, October, marks ten years since MuggleNet started in the fall of '99. So happy birthday!

[Birthday music from Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" plays. Andrew interjects with "to MuggleNet" rather than "to you"]

Andrew: All right...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So we'll talk about - well we'll focus on that...

[Matt laughs]

Andrew: a later episode. We're going to have Emerson on and we'll talk with him about, you know - when he created the site, why he - you know. We'll have a nice little interview on here with Emerson because he's actually never been on a pre-recorded episode of MuggleCast.

Matt: Oh yeah, it's always been the live shows.

Andrew: Right. So anyway, besides that news item, Micah, what else is going on?

News: J.K. Rowling on Twitter

Micah: Well it seems like J.K. Rowling finally caught up with the twenty-first century and...

Andrew: Ouch.

Micah: What?

Andrew: Ouch.

Micah: Well if you noticed...

Andrew: That's kind of mean.

Micah: Well she hasn't updated her site in quite a bit of time...

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Hey, look, we're all entitled to a vacation and she certainly has earned it over the course of these last few years, but I don't even know, to be honest with you, why she got a Twitter account.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I think it was more to kind of prove that this is in fact really her as opposed to other people going out there and posing as her on Twitter, and for right now she hasn't made too many updates. She made one on September...

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: ...seventeenth and she said, "I'm told that people have been Twittering on my behalf so I thought a brief visit was in order just to prevent any more confusion. However, I should flag up now that although I could Twitter endlessly, I'm afraid you won't be hearing from me very often as pen and paper is my priority at the moment."

Andrew: Hm.

Eric: There, Micah, it took you twenty seconds to read all of the Tweets that J.K. Rowling has currently composed.

Micah: Well, that's what I don't understand.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: If you're not going to use it as a resource to interact...

Eric: She told you! Have you - did you read what you just read?

Andrew: Micah, you sound bitter. Yeah, she's...

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: ...busy writing and - the encyclopedia.

Eric: People are posing as her. She cleared that up.

Micah: Or so you think it's the encyclopedia. She could be writing anything for all we know. She...

Andrew: Well...

Micah: ...could be writing a letter to me.

Andrew: ...the general consensus...

Eric: What's it...

Andrew: that...

Eric: ...matter if she's writing...

Andrew: ...she's...

Eric: ...the encyclopedia?

Matt: She's writing! Isn't that just good enough for you?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I don't know how to tell you guys this. But the books, they're kind of done, dude.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: You guys are, like, J.K. Rowling hasn't updated her site in ever. Sorry, but I just...

Andrew: Well, there's a vast amount of information she could be divulging, however...

Matt: Well...

Andrew: ...she could be saving it for the...

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: ...encyclopedia.

Matt: That's the thing. Every - the only things that she could be adding on the site are just probably the stuff she's going to put in her book.

Eric: What is she...

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: ...going to do, really, another unlocked door on her site? Wouldn't that be...

Andrew: I think that would be wonderful.

Eric: I agree.

Andrew: You know...

Eric: I agree.

Andrew: I don't know. There's stuff. There used to be the FAQ poll. But whatever - I mean, listen. You know, maybe she's moved on from wanting to do her site. But I think the Twitter's a cool thing. It's a good idea. Let's see, that Twitter's been up for - since September 25th. So...

Micah: The seventeenth.

Andrew: Or is that, like...

Micah: So it's...

Andrew: September...

Micah: ...a couple of weeks.

Andrew: Oh, it's 17th, right.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So she's gotten about 58,000 followers in just about two weeks time, which is...

Eric: And...

Andrew: ...pretty good.

Eric: And here's the comparison between J.K. Rowling and a normal person. J.K. Rowling has had a Twitter since September 17th and she has 58,230 followers. I, because I like statistics, also joined Twitter on the 17th. And I have 242 followers on Twitter now. So, I joined the same day as Jo, because Jo did, and that is how popular Jo is.

Micah: Well, you're going to gain a lot more followers by the fact that you just said you created a Twitter...

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: ...account on...

[Matt laughs]

Micah: ...MuggleCast.

Eric: I don't think so.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: I think they all pretty much already know, man.

Andrew: Well, I wonder what the Twitter accounts - the fake J.K. Rowling Twitter accounts were...

Eric: That's...

Andrew: ...twittering.

Eric: ...the thing! Because she wouldn't be able to get 'jkrowling' if somebody else were posing as J.K. Rowling, could she?

Andrew: Well, somebody...

Matt: Right.

Andrew: ...else had it actually. And there's this good site called

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: And I notice when you type in J.K. Rowling - her handle, it hasn't been updated in a while. And it shows tweets that must have been from a fake person. So I think if any celebrity went to the Twitter people and were like, "Hey, this is my name. They're obviously impersonating me. Please take this down."

Eric: Hm.

Andrew: I think they will.

Eric: Well, what's shocking to me is you can change your username on Twitter, can't you?

Andrew: Right, right.

Eric: And that's - can that just be done any amount of times - as ever? Like...

Andrew: I think so, yeah. Which is a nice feature.

Eric: It's neat, yeah.

Andrew: But - I wonder what the tweets were. [impersonating J.K. Rowling] "Making crumpets for Neil!"

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: [impersonating J.K. Rowling] "Be back later!"

[Matt laughs]

Eric: Surely though. There's more news than that.

Matt: She needs to Twitpic more often.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Mmm.

Andrew: Well, I hope that this will - this could be a nice resource for her. I mean, the beauty of Twitter is that it's quick and easy to update. So there are really no excuses for not updating your Twitter. Of course, she wants to keep things under wraps. I'm not saying she should divulge everything she's writing on Twitter. But I think - I mean, what do you guys think she's working on? Is it the encyclopedia?

Eric: Well, honestly, if she went to Twitter and just clicked her little - you know, if she logged in and clicked her little '@jk_rowling' page...

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: ...I'm sure that it would take her at least two months just to read everything everyone has posted her on...

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: ...the last day or two. [laughs]

Andrew: Right.

Eric: I mean, how many - you know, now that she has that...

Andrew: But that doesn't answer the question. What do you think she's writing?

Eric: Well, I - oh. Well...

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: ...I can just imagine that she's bogged down with reading the posts. I don't think she's...

Andrew: [laughs] Oh!

Eric: ...actually writing anything.

[Matt laughs]

Eric: That's what I'm trying to say. [laughs] I don't think she's writing anything. If she did read it, that would be horrible.

Andrew: Matt, do you think it's the encyclopedia?

Matt: It would make more sense if it was. I mean, this is - she doesn't have much more time for Harry Potter to be relevant in the news and media as it is right now.

Andrew: Oh, that's not true.

Eric: That's...

Andrew: If she wrote a book ten years from now, it'd still be gigantic.

Matt: I know! But I mean, the theme park's still being built. I mean, it's just...

Andrew: Well, my question is - and Micah, I think - you think the - she's working on the encyclopedia, right?

Micah: Well, I mean, I said before. She could be working on a letter to somebody. I mean, who the hell knows. But...

[Andrew and Matt laugh]

Andrew: No, come on. You know Jo. If she's saying she's - pen and paper is her priority at the moment, you know...

Micah: She could be...

Andrew: ...that she...

Micah: ...writing something that's of relevance, yeah. I mean, is it the encyclopedia, who knows? It could be some other book or series that she's planning on starting up. But I just found it all kind of weird that she chose now to create this Twitter account, and post...

Andrew: Yeah, it is a bit...

Micah: ...that message in particular, basically saying, "This is what I'm doing, and this is my account, and [laughs] that's about all I'm going to say to you guys for, you know...

Andrew: TTFN.

Micah: You know, for a couple of months.

Andrew: [impersonating J.K. Rowling] "Ta-ta for now!""

Matt: I want to know what the supposed other site that was posing as her. I wonder what posts they wrote that...

Andrew: I told you.

Matt: What was it?

Andrew: [imitating J.K. Rowling] "Making crumpets for Neil!"

Matt: Was that what it was?

Eric: Yeah. That was like five minutes ago.

Matt: Sorry.

Andrew: No. I was kidding.

Eric: It's funny, though. Your J.K. Rowling voice is very, very funny.

Andrew: [imitating J.K. Rowling] "Thank you, @spielerman!"

[Eric laughs]

Micah: That's really going to make her want to come on the show at some point.

Matt: Yeah, that's...

Andrew: We should...

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Everyone e-mail in your list of funniest things Jo would tweet if she was a hard-core Twitter user and we'll make like a top 10 list.

Eric: What would she be trending? That would be the funniest thing. She'd be trending like, fan fic Harmony shippers. You know, like...

Encyclopedia Release Date?

Andrew: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, so this raises another question, though. If she's working on the encyclopedia now, which I firmly believe, when do you think she will release the encyclopedia?

Eric: Andrew, you always ask us the hard questions and I have to be...

Andrew: This is a good question. Hmm.

Eric: a representative I have to ask you, or tell you, that's a hard question.

Andrew: [imitating J.K. Rowling] Man up, spielerman. [normal voice] I believe, my opinion is that it'll be Summer 2010 because it's an empty Summer in terms of Harry Potter. There's nothing going on. There's no movie. The theme park will - [laughs] Well, the theme park will be open.

Eric: And that thing called Infinitus which we're supposed to be promoting on here.

Andrew: Yeah, but that's not, you know what I mean, that's not J.K. Rowling level. I really think this may be - I think Summer 2010 makes sense if the encyclopedia is keeping her busy right now. Because you know, after Book 7 came out, she probably took a year off, and then she started working on the encyclopedia, sort of. You know, just taking her time, doing it when she wants. But if she has some sort of date set...

Matt: Don't you think if it was for a Summer release date for next year, they'd be announcing it really soon?

Andrew: Maybe. Like think back to Beedle the Bard. That was - Does anyone remember when that was announced? That came out December of last year.

Eric: Oh, I forgot about that.

Andrew: I think...

Matt: [laughs] You forgot about the book?

Eric: Well, no. I just...

Micah: You still haven't read it, have you?

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: Oh, Eric.

Matt: Eric?

Micah: That means yes.

Andrew: Eric, Eric, Eric.

Eric: Hang on guys.

Andrew: How could you not read it?

Eric: QuickTime Pro just muted me. If I answer that question it's going to mute me again. Sorry.

[Matt laughs]

Micah: You could read it as we're doing this show. That's about how long it would probably take you.

Eric: No, I'm reading Chamber of Secrets, man.

Micah: Oh.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: That's kind of important to the discussion.

Micah: That is true.

Andrew: Okay, round the table right now. I want everyone to predict when the book will come out, so that we can play it. I am predicting Summer 2010. Eric, what do you think?

Eric: I am saying Christmas 2010.

Andrew: Okay.

Matt: I agree with Eric, Christmas 2010.

Micah: I'll go for October 2010.

Andrew: October 2010? All right.

Eric: So is this like "The Price is Right"? Where we get like the closest one to the actual...

[Andrew laughs]

Matt: That's right. [makes buzzer sound] Overbid!

Andrew: Actual release date is Summer...

Micah: Why don't you give us a month, though, Andrew, because you said Summer, Summer is a couple of months.

Andrew: All right, all right. July. July is a - because these Potter books, they're big summer releases, you know what I mean?

Micah: That's true.

Matt: They're also winter releases, too.

Eric: So, Matt, are you going to change your - we both said December 25th. Are you going to change it to December 24th or December 26th?

Matt: Oh. Is it a leap year?

Eric: If you change it to December 26th, it makes all of 2011 open to you, because no one has guessed that.

Matt: Oh, I don't know because 2011 is when the last movie comes out, too.

Andrew: Well, let's move on. I just think it's very interesting that, you know, she's busy. It's certainly exciting, too.

Eric: Yeah, that was very cool of her to say. You know, not only did she say, "This is me. I'm really here." But she said "I'm kind of working on something."

Andrew: Right, and it's exciting. So follow her on Twitter. It's And while you're there, follow

Matt: Oh!

Andrew: And then you can follow the rest of us, because we're all linked there.

Micah: That's what I meant before. It was very interesting the time she chose to do this. She doesn't do anything without a reason.

Andrew: Right.

Matt: Well, yeah, because she also indicated that she is interested in Twitter. That she could spend all day Twittering stuff, but she just can't right now.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: That's really cool.

Matt: She's going to own Twitter trend.

News: Half-Blood Prince Reaches $300 million

Andrew: All right, so I guess one other story, Micah, that we didn't put on the Google Doc was the Half-Blood Prince hitting $300 million.

Micah: Yeah, but we've talked about that movie a lot on this show. I don't know if our listeners are really...

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: ...excited to hear any more about the movie, but it passed $300 million in the United States and its moved on to number eight all-time on world-wide grossing lists. So it's just behind Order of the Phoenix. I don't know that it's going to pass Order of the Phoenix. I think it's probably going to stay at #8. What do you guys think?

Andrew: Hmm.

Micah: I don't have the...

Andrew: Well, I'm looking at the...

Micah: ...numbers.

Andrew: the difference. It was only a difference of $10 million. Half-Blood Prince currently has $927.4 million and Order of the Phoenix $938.2 million.

Eric: I think if the IMAX hadn't been delayed two weeks, we may be at that spot now.

Matt: Yeah. I think the IMAX may have - could have helped it a lot more.

Andrew: Yeah. You guys are probably right.

Micah: There's only one other Potter film on that list, right? I think it's Sorcerer's Stone, is in the top five?

Matt: What about Goblet of Fire?

Andrew: ...yes. Sorcerer's Stone has generated $974 million worldwide. So...

Matt: Wow!

Andrew: So, that's number five. So we have number five: Sorcerer's Stone, number seven: Order of the Phoenix, number eight: Half-Blood Prince, and then Goblet of Fire is number thirteen and Chamber of Secrets is number fifteen, so.

Eric: Huh.

Andrew: I think they learned one big lesson with that, which is "do not release in November!"

Micah: Prisoner of Azkaban is low, too isn't it? Still...

Andrew: Oh yeah, it is.

Micah: the top 25 though, isn't it?

Andrew: Its number 24.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: That's crap!

[Andrew and Matt laugh]

Micah: Well, I mean, if you think about it, that's pretty good.

Andrew: No, it's great.

Micah: Six movies, all in the top 25 of all time.

Andrew: Yeah. It's very good.

Eric: They've done pretty well.

Andrew: Yeah. Okay, so that's it for news. We're going to shake up the show this week. We're not going to do Muggle Mail and announcements in the beginning. We're going to save them for the end. I wanted to try to shake up the show a little bit to see how, you know - see how this works if we mixed it up a little bit, so we're rattling it up.

Matt: [laughs] I'm excited.

Chapter-by-Chapter Returns

Andrew: [laughs] So instead, we're going to jump straight into Chapter-by-Chapter. Of course, like we said we are kicking off this series once again. It's been what? Like, oh geez, two years since we last did it?

Eric: Two years.

Andrew: Wow. So these three chapters - hopefully, all of our listeners have read the first three chapters, because we want you guys to read along and sort of participate with us. The first three chapters that we're covering are "The Worst Birthday", "Dobby's Warning", and "The Burrow". And these three chapters, well, you know, brief - a brief opening summary of these three. Basically, Harry has another miserable birthday. He runs into Dobby and he escapes Privet Drive and goes to the Burrow. How's that for a summary?

Matt: Geez.

Micah: Wow, that was pretty good.

Eric: That - two sentences.

Andrew: Thanks, guys.

Eric: It's Harry's first summer back since going to Hogwarts.

Chapter-by-Chapter: "The Worst Birthday"

Andrew: That's right. So let's get into - we'll start with the first chapter, "The Worst Birthday." Micah, what immediately struck you about this chapter?

Micah: You mean immediately struck me? I mean, Chamber of Secrets - and I'm sure we'll get into this more - is a book that's just packed with racism and bias and it just struck me early on, how you just said, with the point, how uptight are the Dursleys that Harry can't even ask Dudley what the magic word is when they're sitting around the table? I forget exactly what Dudley asked Harry for, but Harry turned to him and said, "Well, what's the magic word?" And it didn't even occur to Harry, he wasn't even thinking in his mind that he used that word 'magic,' but you just see the reaction and it's just - it's weird.

Andrew: [laughs] It is weird, but then - and I guess maybe we forgot, but you - I was taken aback by how they reacted and how brutal they were towards Harry. Like, it's not as bad in the films, it doesn't look as bad.

Matt: No.

Andrew: You read it in the books and they're freaking out, screaming like mad!

Matt: Yeah, in the movies they kind of brush it aside.

Micah: I just don't know if people really get it, until they re-read the books again. Like you were just saying, in the movies, it's not that bad, but you constantly read throughout these first couple chapters that we're going to cover about how much bias exists on the part of the Dursleys, and how uncomfortable they are with the fact that Harry is this wizard and what that potentially means for their appearance to other people. They're very concerned with their own self image.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: The next point I wanted to bring up was did anybody else feel like either vomiting or laughing uncontrollably when Vernon went through his plans for the evening and the roles that Dudley and Petunia were going to play?

Matt: Yeah, I agree. Especially with Petunia and Dudley. Like...

Eric: [laughs] It's so cheesy.

Matt: [high pitched] ...every time he said something she goes, "Oh my goodness! Oh Dudley! Duddykins, you're perfect!"

Eric: Yeah. And I think it's - in the first chapter of this book is very much in Harry's perspective, you know? Like, it's very in Harry's head about, how he feels about the magic word and, you know, Harry just completely - he can't stop from laughing, you know, at these ridiculous relatives of his. And it's slightly exaggerated, but I think it is pretty funny.

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: This was a scene - and we'll talk about this more later - that was played out really well in the movie too.

Eric: And it was changed slightly.

Andrew: Yeah, it was. It was shortened a bit, I think.

Eric: And if you remember, I think in the movie he says, when they ask Harry what Harry'll be doing, he says, "I'll be making no noise and pretending I don't exist."...

Andrew: Right.

Eric: ...which I thought was even one better than what he says in the book which is that, "I'll be in my room making no noise and pretending I'm not there."

Andrew: Right.

Eric: I thought that was even one step further, that was pretty good in the movie.

Andrew: Moving along. Another thing that's interesting on page nine of the U.S. edition, we see Harry and Dudley in the backyard in the garden and Dudley brings up Harry's birthday and reminds him that today's your birthday. And Dudley sort of teases him; he says, "How come you haven't gotten any cards? Haven't you got any friends at that freak place?" It's interesting because could someone argue that - could someone like Micah - argue that Dudley kind of cares for Harry a little bit or was this is sort of an attempt to - just another way to tease him? Because why would he remember its Harry's birthday?

Micah: You said that because I put the point in there that maybe I would...

Andrew: Right.

Micah: ...argue that.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: [laughs] But, I think it could be either, or. I think with Dudley the fact is that he may remember Harry's birthday just for the sake of being able to poke fun at him and tease him and say, "Hey, you don't have any friends, you don't get any presents. Doesn't anybody write to you?" All that kind of thing. I think knowing Dudley's character - at least at this stage in Chamber of Secrets it's probably more just to mock Harry than anything else.

Andrew: Hmmm.

Eric: Hm. I think it's clear even in Book 2 that Dudley doesn't know a whole lot. In fact, even in that very sentence or in that paragraph, Harry remarks, "Oh, you finally learned the days of the week." But Dudley knows that its Harry's birthday and he knows when Harry's birthday is. And they don't have birthdays that are similar. I think Harry has an admirer. Personally, I think...

Andrew: You think so?

Eric: I think Dudley may have those posters of Harry in his bedroom.

[Andrew and Matt laugh]

Eric: I think.

Matt: Also, on his birthday the year before, so much had happened too. They were in that island in the lighthouse and Hagrid came to visit. It was - I mean, a year isn't that long.

Andrew: Yeah, I guess it's hard to forget the day you were turned into a pig.

Matt: Yeah, yeah.

Micah: Well that was when he was born.

Matt: And he could also...

[Andrew laughs]

Matt: ...Dudley isn't that bright...

Andrew: That's terrible, Micah.

Matt: ...he probably could have overheard his parents talking about it too, but...

Eric: If they did talk about it...

Matt: Yeah.

Eric: ...they didn't acknowledge it to Harry.

Micah: Yeah, just the last point. And this was after the whole, "What's the magic word?" Harry was outside and this was when he was talking with Dudley about his birthday and he made as if he was about to set a bush on fire. He mumbled a bunch of supposedly magical words, and he ends up paying dearly by having to do all this house and garden work and this'll get into something a little bit that we're going to talk about in the next chapter, but it's amazing the way that the Dursleys treat Harry like he's just some servant. I want to know what you guys thought about this or if that came to mind at all in this first chapter.

Andrew: Yeah, well they know they absolutely have the upper hand in the situation and they feel like Harry must act servant-like to repay them for letting him stay at their house. So I sort of think that's the attitude. Also, they're wizard-phobic. They treat him poorly to try to - because they don't want to get close to him. They're afraid of this magic he can do.

Matt: Yeah, but that's the thing, they're also afraid. The way that they treat him now isn't nearly as bad as how they do treat him when they found out he can't do magic. They still think that he can.

Andrew: Well he can, just not legally.

Matt: Well no, they don't know that yet.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Not yet. The next chapter they will. But that one line in particular stands out on page five of the U.S. edition says, "Back to being treated like a dog that had rolled in something smelly." When you're reading about Harry washing the car, pruning the garden, doing everything he does, which is like seven or eight things, and he comes in and just gets some cheese and crackers from Petunia before he has to go up to his bedroom. Meanwhile, there's a pot roast in the oven and cake and jello and - that line about, "treated like a dog that rolled in something smelly", is actually really, really sad.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It's seriously kind of an issue.

Micah: Right, and...

Matt: They have to even line the newspapers for him, for him to walk on.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah, and this is all because of Dudley, I mean, it's all because of everything that he said is believed by his parents, even if it's not true. I think we all knew a kid at some point in our lives that's kind of like Dudley that always gets what he wants and is kind of like this fat little squealing thing that always seems to get away with whatever it is that he does.

Andrew: Yeah. And I mean his size is just symbolic of his treatment. You know, he gets to eat whenever he wants, he gets - he doesn't - his parents don't get him into sports because he doesn't want to do sports. He obviously gets all the toys he wants, so yeah.

Matt: It's just something I really wish they kept in the books - the movies - the films. The relationship between Harry and Dudley.

Andrew: Mhm.

Matt: Because you don't - they have sort of like a little feud, and you don't really see Harry in the films as the way you see Harry in the books with Dudley, because Harry actually fights back. And I don't know, it's just something that I kind of wish we saw.

Chapter-by-Chapter: "Dobby's Warning"

Andrew: So, Chapter Two opens immediately with Harry seeing Dobby in Harry's bedroom, and we learn how certain house elves are treated by their masters and how they have to punish themselves at times. And we just see Dobby constantly revealing this information to Harry but at the same time, abusing himself.

Micah: I thought one of the interesting questions that came out of this chapter was, do we ever figure out why Dobby risked himself to save Harry? That doesn't seem like it ever comes up in this book or later on in the series, and you have to ask, does he hate the Malfoys that much? I mean, he's supposed to be subservient to this family, and yet here he is betraying them and going out there and trying to stop Harry from going back to school, so...

Eric: Yeah, it was definitely a conscious decision on Dudley's part - sorry, Dobby's part, because I mean, throughout the whole summer he's stopping his mail, and so Dobby says to Harry at one point, that for months, he's known of this plot to make terrible things happen at Hogwarts this year. So, you'd think that the plot was set in motion, kind of even before the end of last year. And we know from later on that Lucius Malfoy is the one who's the one planning this, and I wonder how Dobby would know that if it weren't for Lucius talking about it openly to someone who wasn't Dobby? And that's the other thing, is like he's got to kind of have a co-conspirator, for the story to really work that Dobby knows what's going on. And he didn't tell Draco, because Draco says later on to Crabbe and Goyle slash Harry and Ron that his father won't tell him anything.

Matt: Yeah.

Eric: So you kind of wonder how Dobby actually learned of this plot.

Matt: Do you think that he may have made Dobby do errands for him?

Eric: Well he doesn't trust him really - he's like a servant, he's not even human.

Matt: But he thinks that he has the biggest upper hand on Dobby, that he can have him do whatever he wants.

Eric: That's possible.

Micah: Yeah, and then we see a little bit later on in the chapter, when they're talking, that Dobby tries to hint at the Malfoys being behind the trouble at Hogwarts. Harry's going through a guessing game with Dobby about who he thinks could possibly want terrible things to happen to him, and he guesses Voldemort, I think, at one point, and Dobby's eyes kind of widen up, in a way. I don't know who he was trying to suggest - the only people I can think would probably be the Malfoys. But there's an interesting quote there on page seventeen, when Dobby says, "There are powers Dumbledore doesn't - powers no decent wizard..." And then he cuts himself off, and I'm wondering is could he possibly know about the Horcruxes, at this point?

Eric: I think so, and when I saw that in the Google Doc, I was so happy about that, because I like looked at it and was like, "Oh, you know what, that sounds like a Horcrux reference." I think...

Matt: Yeah.

Eric: I mean, throughout the - the one thing we know for sure about house elves is that they have this powerful magic that is separate from wizard's magic, that they are these magical creatures with their own powerful abilities, and that's an ongoing thread throughout the series, and I really think that Dobby has being a house elf, has a sense for what that diary is - really is - even more than his master does, because we know Lucius didn't know that it was a Horcrux, per se. But it sounds like from this quote, it sounds like Dobby does.

Micah: Yeah.

Matt: Mhm. Yeah, Dobby knows it's...

Eric: Powers.

Matt: This is what also I think why Dobby knows so much and why he wanted to help Harry was because that he was like maybe in the same room when Lucius was discussing the book, or the Horcrux - the diary - with maybe another Death Eater or something.

Eric: Maybe his wife.

Matt: Yeah, you know what it could have - actually his wife, that's a good...

Eric: I mean, maybe. It's just we don't know enough about it.

Matt: Mhm.

Eric: I just don't think Lucius would openly confide in Dobby. And he shouldn't especially if Dobby's going off [laughs] and talking to Harry Potter about it.

Matt: Lucius is a very proud character too. I mean he does pride himself in being one of his top followers. So...

Eric: Yeah just...

Matt: And that's also one of his weaknesses too.

Eric: Yeah. And just to clarify - Andrew, you said that when Dobby was trying to figure out about You-Know-Who it's actually - remember at this point Harry doesn't know and Dobby doesn't tell him that Lucius Malfoy is Dobby's owner. We don't know that Dobby belongs to the Malfoy family until the end of the book.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Well that's a good point.

Andrew: Sorry. How did I say that? I didn't say that.

Micah: Maybe it was me who said that.

Andrew: Yeah!

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Fred and George guess, kind of. Fred and George are like - when he's telling them the story in the car, the next chapter over, they're like, "Well, does anybody hold a grudge on you? Who would make a joke?"

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Who would send this house elf over?

Andrew: Draco.

Eric: And he said Draco. And that's...

Micah: Right.

Eric: Obviously it ends up being true, but...

Micah: Yeah, you're right...

Eric: ...we don't know at this point...

Micah: At that point there was no clue to suggest that Dobby came from the Malfoys. But one thing that I also thought was interesting was when they were talking about Dobby saying that his masters wouldn't even notice that he'd have to punish himself. I thought that was kind of a clever way of getting around the fact that if your house elf shows up ten minutes after he's talking with Harry and his hands are burnt beyond recognition - it just shows some of the ignorance, I think, on the part of the Malfoys, and not really paying much attention to Dobby and what it is that he's doing. The fact that...

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: ...he would have done this to himself and they wouldn't notice because they beat him so badly to begin with.

Matt: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Matt: And it's so often over just the tiniest things that it just becomes a regular thing.

Eric: It was brilliant.

Andrew: So as we mentioned earlier the Dursleys do learn at the end of the chapter that Harry isn't allowed to use magic outside of school, so this is when they begin to lock down Harry's room because they were very upset that Dobby ruined the whole meeting with Vernon's clients...

Eric: The Masons.

Andrew: Yeah, the Masons, and it's pretty humorous to see Dobby do all these things and as you're reading it you're like, "No Dobby. Please no, no, no!" Because you really feel for Harry and you know that the Dursleys are going to flip out. So my question is - we see the Dursleys being so abusive towards Harry. Should Dumbledore have thought this out a little bit more because - or sent someone to keep an eye on Harry to make sure he wasn't being abused? Because as Micah's pointed out, they were very abusive and I'm not saying that Dumbledore needed to do a background check on the Dursleys beforehand...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: ...but maybe send somebody over to keep an eye on her - him. Of course, we always have Miss Figg keeping an eye on him but I'm talking about like making sure he's not being abused because Figg can't see that.

Eric: Yeah, if it were - I mean especially if it's the Figg from the movie. The Figg from the movie is kind of creepy.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: The Figg from the book is kind of more protective.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: At least she's sane.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: In the beginning of book five where she's like, "I'll kill Mundungus Fletcher for abandoning this very important task of protecting you."

Andrew: Right.

Eric: The Dursleys with bars on his windows and everything - I just don't think there was - Dumbledore didn't have any other choice, did he? Because in Book 7, we learn about...

Andrew: No.

Eric: ...more about that charm where he had to be with blood relatives in order to really be protected...

Andrew: Right.

Eric: ...from Voldemort.

Micah: Yeah, but that doesn't - I think Andrew's question is still able to be answered regardless of where he is.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: They could still be checking up on him and making sure that he's okay.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: I mean, we know how scared the Dursleys are of wizards and witches and anything magical. So I think if...

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: ...anybody walked through their door and threatened them in that capacity - I mean go back to Sorcerer's Stone and you think about what Hagrid saw that - wouldn't Hagrid report back to Dumbledore? And even McGonagall says in the beginning of Sorcerer's Stone, "You're going to leave him with these people? I've been watching them all day."

Eric: Yeah.

Matt: I mean regardless of the situation he's still safe.

Andrew: Right, so he can be - Dumbledore knew, I'm sure. Even if he was starving to death, at least he'd be protected from Voldemort. But still, there's that whole abuse thing.

Matt: But if school started, I'm sure Dumbledore was fully prepared to get him. He wasn't going to have him miss school at Hogwarts.

Andrew: No.

Eric: You mean if he wasn't, yeah, if he wasn't rescued by the Weasleys.

Andrew: Right. Yeah, no, that I agree with.

Eric: Then he would've paid a house call.

Micah: You just think about the dream he's having at the end of this chapter, that he's in a cage starving to death and Dobby is on the outside saying, "You'll be safe! You'll be safe!" You know? I mean...

Andrew: Yeah, I know.

Micah: Think about how abusive that is, just in concept. And that's really how he's being treated too.

Andrew: Yeah. And I guess it didn't really affect him as he grew up. There weren't really any signs of the abuse tarnishing his development. I don't think.

Eric: That's true.

Andrew: So, I don't know. Of course, that was in Jo's power to do that...

Eric: Well when you have a whole wizarding world to escape to, it really helps you put all that abuse aside and say, "Look, okay, they're Muggles. They aren't who I associate with."

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So that...

Andrew: All right.

Eric: That helps.

Chapter-by-Chapter: "The Burrow"

Andrew: And then the final chapter we're talking about today is "The Burrow"! So Harry is rescued by the Weasleys early, very early in the morning before the sun rises. And the Ford Anglia is sitting out there and it's sort of like the godsend. And they pull out the bars and Harry escapes and its like, "Woohoo!" And they go to the Burrow, and this is Harry's first time at the Burrow. And I got to say, it was really cool re-reading the whole first-time things again. Like seeing the Burrow for the first time and seeing Harry's reaction to it. It's pretty cool to re-read that. So in the car ride to the Burrow, we learn about Mr. Weasley and Lucius Malfoy - Lucius Malfoy. Now you've got me saying it. Lucius Malfoy.

Micah: Oh, it doesn't matter.

Matt: There's two ways to say it, I'm telling you.

Andrew: It does matter. It's like, saying Hermione. Or, Her-me-own. Sorry.

Matt: Her-me-own? No!

Andrew: I used to say Her-me-own.

Matt: You say it twice. I mean, you could say it two different ways.

Micah: Or See-mus instead of Seamus?

Andrew: Oh, well that.

Matt: Well that's kind of suggestive.

[Eric, Matt and Micah laugh]

Andrew: And we see some cool things at the Burrow. We see the kitchen, which is very active, it's cleaning dishes on its own, the brush is cleaning the dishes. The de-gnoming of the garden, which was pretty funny, the goal in that. Where else do we want to go with this?

Micah: Well, we could talk a little bit about - I mean, we're really first introduced to Mr. Weasley in this chapter before he's actually - we meet him in person, we kind of meet him through Fred and George. We learn more about Lucius - now I can't say it - Lucius Malfoy. And you kind of get the struggle that goes on between these two families. You learn a little bit about it, just by the fact that - I forget if it's Fred or George who suggests that the Malfoys could be behind Dobby showing up at Privet Drive. You get a sense that these two don't like each other, especially Mr. Weasley and Lucius Malfoy.

Andrew: And one thing I thought was very interesting - and everyone knows I love foreshadowing...

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: Well of course when Mrs. Weasley is flipping out on Fred, and yelling at them for using Arthur's car she says, and I quote - she pokes Fred and says, "You could've died! You could've been seen! You could've lost your fathers job!" And I just thought that was interesting - people obviously say, quite often, "Oh, you could've died" or, "Oh I wish you were dead." But you know, jokingly. And Mrs. Weasley is very serious about losing him, and there we see what could've been a little bit of foreshadowing. Even if Jo didn't intend it, it was there.

Micah: She always intends it.

Eric: Poor Fred.

Andrew: Yeah, so there you go. There's a little foreshadowing.

Matt: I love how they describe Mrs. Weasley - or how Jo described her, as even though she was very loving and a warm person, she resembled very much like a razor sharp sabre-toothed tiger.

Andrew: Yeah. We see Ginny here, and this comes across pretty well in the movie too, but Ginny's all nervous around Harry. She's sort of hiding behind him, she drops her fork, and then goes under the table, and then comes back up smiling.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: That was kind of creepy.

Eric: A little suggestive.

Andrew: So yeah, Ginny. So I guess there's some more foreshadowing.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Ginny is clearly in love with Harry.

Matt: She's infatuated with him.

Eric: Enamoured. Well you guys I also want to talk about this confrontation between Molly and Arthur here. First of all, I love every instance of Arthur talking about his job where you find the biting tea kettle and shrinking keys and all of that is just wonderful, wonderful J.K. Rowling stuff that you can imagine a biting kettle would really hurt some Muggle somewhere who was not expecting it. Then of course he and Mrs. Weasley get into the argument about the car and the flying car and I just thought that was a brilliant piece of fiction there.

Andrew: Yeah it was.

Micah: It was typical couple bickering and I guess it was kind of interesting to hear them bickering over a flying car as opposed to like the kids staying out too late or, well I guess the kids did stay out too late but you know what I mean. In a regular family home, you know they're always arguing over something. I thought it was cool and they portrayed this really well in the film when Arthur kind of gets really excited with you know, "How did it go? Did it work well?" I almost expected like a fist bump or something like that or a high five.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. [laughs] That would have been funny. Also, what's kind of contrasting to the Dursleys, who are presumably of the same mindset all the time and they just, I mean we don't really see the Dursleys not getting along. We see Petunia eventually at the end going a little bit soft but at the same time the Weasleys are here at odds with each other. They're the mother and father that Harry never had, but they're at odds with each other as opposed to the Dursleys who are all solid, of the same mind, and almost the same person just wanting to squash the magic out of Harry. It's a great and kind of brilliant contrast.

Andrew: Yeah. And we also see one other little thing. We also see the Weasleys struggling, worrying about how they are going to pay for all of Lockhart's books and that was kind of a sad moment. Let's get into your questions now - the listener questions.

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October 8, 2014

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#244 (November 20th, 2011): For the first time ever, MuggleCast has a DVD commentary! Watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 on DVD with us. We'll comment on each and every scene - it's as if we're in your living room watching alongside you!

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