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["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Jim Dale: [as Professor McGonagall] This is Professor McGonagall welcoming you all to MuggleCast hoping you enjoy - 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]
Andrew: Because there is a place for pets to go to when they've been very bad - this is MuggleCast Episode 196 for April 16th, 2010.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome everyone to MuggleCast Episode 196. Here with Micah and Eric again. It's the wonderful MuggleCast trio. We have lots of news to discuss this week. We have - this is going to blow your minds! We have - this whole Chapter-by-Chapter series for Prisoner of Azkaban we've been doing three chapters an episode. This time we're going to do four! No, I'm just kidding. We're going to do two.
Andrew: Because we're timing everything around the elusive, grand Episode 200. So, this episode will have two chapters from Prisoner of Azkaban, then the next one will have two, and then the final one will have three and then we'll be done with Prisoner of Azkaban! All right!
Eric: And that will be like 199 right?
Andrew: Right, right. And then it will time perfectly with - no wait that will be 198 and then 199 we'll just mess around.
Micah: Will be the new Deathly Hallows trailer and then 200 will be our grand episode.
Andrew: It will be like that extra day of school that you have...
Andrew: ...but no lessons so you just mess around and waste time.
Micah: We need a better title for 200. It's our bicentennial right?
Eric: Yeah. Yeah - not just grand - well, bicentennial means 200th anniversary so I like it. I prefer to use it, bicentennial, but it doesn't really mean 200th show. It means 200th anniversary. So in 195 years...
Micah: Close enough.
Eric: Yeah, I think it's the best way to describe it.
Andrew: Well, how about just during the Episode 200 we'll just be like, every time we reference it we'll just be like, "Episode 200!" Let's get into the show. I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: I'm Eric Scull.
Micah: And I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Micah Tannenbaum, what is in the Potter news atmosphere this week? Stratosphere! Wizarding World!
Micah: Wow, are you watching the news?
Andrew: [laughs] No. Everything must be grand as we lead up to our 200th episode.
Micah: Oh, I thought maybe you were watching the news with you talking about the atmosphere and the stratosphere.
Micah: With everything that was going on with the - was it a volcanic eruption in Iceland?
Andrew: Yes, that was big.
Micah: But, anyway, we can talk about that another time.
Micah: The first piece of news, and there is a lot of news this week - I know the last couple of weeks we've been struggling a bit...
Andrew: [laughs] So get cozy!
Micah: ...but we have a lot of news this week. Back on April 5th, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was at the White House to read Sorcerer's Stone to children as part of their Easter Egg Roll.
Andrew: Thank you for clarifying that she's the author of the Harry Potter books.
Micah: Some people need that clarification.
Micah: You'd be surprised, Andrew. We would get e-mails. Somebody would say, "You didn't mention that J.K. Rowling was the author of the Harry Potter series."
Micah: She is an author of a very strongly opinionated political piece now, so I didn't want people to get confused.
Micah: But, anyway, during both of these readings, Jo read from Sorcerer's Stone, specifically when Harry gets his wand. And there was a question and answer session that followed both of these readings and we got bits and pieces of information - some of it old, some of it new - and one of the major pieces that J.K. Rowling said was it's possible she could revisit the Potter storyline - or the Potter world - sometime in the next ten years.
Micah: So what does everybody think about that? Obviously, I think the Encyclopedia will be before that.
Andrew: Well, here's the thing, back in 2000 - sorry - back in 1999, she said, "Hey, maybe 10 years down the road, I'll write another Harry Potter book." [laughs] So...
Andrew: I think she uses the whole ten years thing as sort of like a...
Andrew: ...like a - obviously she didn't mean exactly ten years from now, she just meant down the road. She already lied to us once.
Andrew: She said in '99 - she literally said in the late 90's, "Maybe ten years down the road."
Eric: I want to see it cited - a source cited for that, Andrew.
Andrew: I'm telling you, I looked it up the other day. I'll look it up again now.
Eric: Oh, okay. But that's - I just think it's nice to hear that she read at the White House.
Eric: And she read from Philosopher's Stone or Sorcerer's Stone - so regardless, it's kind of like embracing who she is. I mean, she read a book that she wrote - because for so long we haven't really heard much - radio silence, pen and paper - and then she comes up with the White House Easter Egg Hunt, wasn't it? And reads Harry Potter - it's wonderful. And her story still affects young kids. It was good to see her embrace that. I can't necessarily imagine her saying "No", but I wouldn't have been shocked. I don't know.
Micah: Well, and I don't think the Encyclopedia is that far off. I think when she's talking about writing Potter again she's talking about possibly developing the storyline a little bit more or writing more books about characters that have been introduced to us in the series, where I think the Encyclopedia's going to be something more of a reference point.
Micah: And giving us bits and pieces of information on things that may have been left out of the 7th Book. Now she also mentioned that she's enjoying writing now, and there's a lot of speculation what could that be. And she said it's something that could be released in the not-too-distant future. And we got a very opinionated political piece that she wrote. I don't think that's what she was referring to...
Andrew: [laughs] No.
Micah: ...considering that she was talking to children, so we should keep an eye out for something else in the next couple of weeks, months, probably.
Andrew: I think weeks is too soon but I bet we'll see at least an announcement sometime this year. Getting back to what Eric said, he was looking for proof about Jo's ten years quote. Back in '99 at the National Press Club, it was at an author's luncheon, she said, "The only reason you'll ever see an eighth Harry Potter book is if I really, in ten years time, burn to do another one, but at the moment I think that's unlikely." Additionally, the following year, during an AOL chat in the year 2000, she said, "If there is an eighth, it will be because ten years down the line I had a burning desire to do just one more, but I don't presently think that will happen. However, I think I might write a kind of Harry Potter encyclopedia and give the royalties to charity, so accept no substitutes."
Andrew: That's actually kind of ironic [laughs], "accept no substitutes," because of what happened just a couple years ago. But thank you to Accio-Quote.org for those.
Eric: See? Our show is so much better when we cite our sources.
Micah: Well, usually that comes in the form of fan mail.
Andrew: Right, exactly. Hey, let's listen - it was very nice to hear Jo reading at the White House. I pulled up some audio from it so let's listen a little bit to Jo reading from Sorcerer's Stone.
[Andrew plays clip from White House reading]
J.K. Rowling: "Peeling gold letters over the door read 'Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C.' A single wand lay on a faded purple cushion in the dusty window. A tinkling bell rang somewhere in the depths of the shop as they stepped inside. It was a tiny place, empty except for a single, spindly chair that Hagrid sat on to wait. Harry felt strangely as though he had entered a very strict library; he swallowed a lot of new questions that had just occurred to him and looked instead at the thousands of narrow boxes piled up neatly right up to the ceiling. For some reason, the back of his neck prickled."
[Audio clip ends]
Andrew: Ah, isn't that nice?
Micah: Thank you J.K. Rowling for finally being on our show.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: An exclusive reading here on MuggleCast, via YouTube.
Eric: I don't know about you guys but I just got really envious of her kids.
Andrew: Her kids?
Eric: Yeah! Do you think she reads to them at night? Like reads Harry Potter?
Andrew: Well, probably not her own books. I think...
Andrew: I think that'd be kind of...
Andrew: I don't know. I don't know.
Eric: Now, if she did audio books and sold them for charity I would buy them.
Andrew: Yeah, she's got a great voice. She's a great reader.
Eric: And who else knows the story, you know?
Andrew: Right, of course, yeah.
Micah: Yep. And a couple of other things that came out of this interview - or this reading rather. Interesting backstory, I thought, with relation to Hermione and how she was going to develop Hermione's character early on in the series that she was set to be a neighbor of Harry's and that - I think it was her father saw Hagrid taking Harry from the house in Godric's Hollow after the night that Voldemort fell and the house was destroyed.
Micah: So that would have completely changed the context of the two of their relationship. They would have grown up next to each other. They probably would have been friends in some capacity especially after having both gone off to Hogwarts so I thought that would have changed the dynamic of the series a little bit.
Andrew: Yeah, definitely. I think...
Andrew: I think that would have been a cool little change. It would have been interesting to see how Harry and Hermione would have first met then in that case...
Andrew: Like if they met like playing in the backyard or what not.
Eric: Or in the girls' lavatory at the park.
Eric: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: [laughs] What?
Micah: Well, I was actually going to say something a little similar to that. You know, maybe he would have developed a little bit of a crush on her, you know, girl-next-door type of situation? You never know.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Harry peered through the window and...
Andrew: ...saw Hermione in her bedroom window.
Micah: [laughs] All right. I'm sure there are plenty of fanfics that could be written about that.
Andrew: [laughs] But then that'd be that whole, "Ah, we've been friends all - all along since we were, you know, just toddlers. We could never possibly be in a relationship. We're just friends."
Eric: Snogging in the cupboard under the stairs.
Andrew: If I've heard that once I've heard it a million times.
Micah: All right. Well, let's move on here in the news. Let's talk a little bit about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park and two shows on televsion have done pieces now on this theme park. The first was Ellen and that aired back on April the 2nd. She put together a six-minute video and in this video we see the Hogwarts Express, our first look at Butterbeer, the shops at Hogsmeade and one of the rides - Flight of the Hippogriff. And I wasn't too big on this video, didn't really do anything for me but, I guess, in the grand scheme of things it was okay and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves so that's all that mattered.
Andrew: Well, briefly, what were your problems with it?
Micah: Well, Ellen really didn't seem to know much about Harry Potter and, granted, that's going to happen with shows and celebrities that are going to be going to the theme park and they're going to be doing these types of press events, but I thought for somebody who seemed to be into it, leading up to it, I thought she did a pretty poor job...
Micah: ...of her knowledge. It's kind of something that showed up in the Celebrity Apprentice as well, which we'll talk about in a little bit...
Andrew: I mean, if you're...
Micah: ...she could have read up a bit.
Andrew: If you're a fan of Ellen, I think you'll like it. Like I'm a fan of Ellen and watching that, it was kind of fun. It was Ellen's style of humor. She was messing with the kids, she was messing around in the park. Micah, I think you were just bothered that she was there, not you.
Micah: [laughs] That must be it. No, I mean, there's parts where she's saying spells or she's doing things and it ...
Andrew: She's mocking it.
Micah: Would it have been that hard - in a way, yes, she is, but...
Micah: ...would it have been that hard for her to use spells from the books?
Andrew: [laughs] She doesn't care, though. That's...
Micah: Think about - no, I know she doesn't care but think about if you're producing it from - you're Universal or you're Warner Brothers you want that because it stays true to what you're trying to create.
Andrew: That's true.
Micah: ...the kids, like I said, they were excited to be there. At times, I just don't think that they kind of got what Ellen was trying to do, just like I didn't get what Ellen was trying to do.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Micah: They looked a little bit scripted when they were talking about certain things, which I don't think...
Eric: Yeah, it looked scripted.
Micah: ...that Warner Brothers or Universal came to them and kind of gave them these different points to talk about. I think that kind of stuff happens all the time. And my big thing, and Andrew, I don't know how you felt about this, because you're always a stickler for this stuff, but you could constantly see the crew from Ellen's show running around with different props and they never cut it the right way.
Andrew: See, I'm a stickler for that in movies or something but this was a very loose piece. It was just a loose, fun documentary-style sort of segment, so...
Andrew: Well, anyway, we don't really need to analyze the... [laughs]
Micah: No, we don't need to break it down. Let's move on to the Celebrity Apprentice.
Andrew: Yes, please.
Micah: And that aired on April the 4th. And they were tasked with creating a three dimensional traveling marketing tool, essentially, for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. And these Universal executives came to them and they wanted them to be able to sell the park in this small little traveling set. So I guess they take it to different places with promotional materials and get kids and get parents and even adults interested in this theme park, and explain what it was all about. And I think that [laughs] it was just funny to watch to be honest with you. Because a lot of them had just no clue about the series and...
Micah:...what's frustrating is some of them made light of it, but they only made light of it in the sense that they didn't do enough to learn about the series and about the canon and things like that. But you would think that any product that you are trying to sell, you should learn a bit about it, in order to sound knowledgeable.
Andrew: Right, right. You know, the whole thing with this was NBC owns Universal, so it was just natural for this sort of thing to happen. Of course, Donald Trump, this is like his millionth season of The Apprentice...
Andrew: ...so he was looking for something new and there's something new down in Florida, Harry Potter. All right, lets do it!
Andrew: Gets some kids to watch, it'll be great! Boom!
Micah: It wasn't really entertaining to be honest with you. It was funny watching them go through their demonstrations but for anyone who watches the Celebrity Apprentice, it's two hours every week. So it gets really drawn out and really boring. And I thought this might be an episode where it might be at least a little bit interesting. It wasn't.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, that's a shame.
Micah: Moving on. Harry Potter: The Exhibition has now officially opened in Toronto. And Eric, you went to it while it was in Chicago, we had a staff member go in Boston, and actually, one of our transcribers, Shana went to this event in Toronto. James and Oliver Phelps, who of course play the Weasley twins, they opened the exhibit at the Ontario Science Center last week. There's a full report on the site. I don't think there is much new to report on. One of the key things though that we did learn is that there's going to be four North American locations. So this is the third one. So after...
Micah: ...here in Toronto, the question is where it's going to go. I'm guessing it going somewhere on the West Coast before it goes over seas.
Andrew: There's only one more left in the U.S.?
Micah: Not the U.S., North America.
Eric: I'm not surprised.
Andrew: North America.
Andrew: That's ridiculous!
Micah: Why is it ridiculous?
Andrew: Because it hasn't barely crossed the East Coast yet!
Andrew: And it's ready to leave?
Andrew: It's been in Chicago, Boston, Toronto, and it's got one more place in the United States? That's insane!
Eric: For three months at a time! Four months! Five months!
Andrew: Well the world's not ending!
Eric: No, the world is not ending, but the world is also not just consisting of North America, and maybe some fans overseas like in Asia want to see Harry Potter: the Exhibition.
Andrew: How about people in Nebraska? Shouldn't they get a fair shot at seeing...
Eric: Yes, but they...
Andrew: ...the Exhibition?
Eric: Either drove to Chicago to...
Eric: ...see it when it was in Chicago or they're going to be driving to Oregon or L.A. or somewhere on the West Coast to be later speculated.
Micah: Yeah, I think it's going to the West Coast. That's where it's going to go next.
Andrew: It better!
Micah: We'll see what happens from there.
Eric: I think that makes strategic sense.
Andrew: It better!
Eric: But remember, weren't there only locations planned for five years? It was going to have a five-year run...
Micah: It'll be extended.
Eric: Four locations a year? I mean, they've got quite a few places to visit, Andrew.
Andrew: I'll tell you what...
Micah: They haven't been anywhere in the South if you think about it.
Andrew: Right! They haven't been anywhere.
Eric: That's true too.
Andrew: They've been to Chicago, Boston - I'm telling you what, W.B., I hope you're listening. If this does not come to Los Angeles there will be a riot...
Andrew: ...at the next location, a protest. I'll be there protesting [laughs] the next location. If it's in Seattle, I will be there protesting that it is not in L.A.
Eric: They should really open up in really far out places like the middle of the desert or something and see how many people show up. Maybe that's better.
Micah: I'm also surprised they didn't end up in New York at all because you would think that...
Micah: ...with the tourism that they get, I mean, they do an unbelievable amount of business.
Andrew: It has missed so many great places. There are so many cities in the United States where this would be huge.
Eric: But honestly if I had to comment on one thing about the exhibition that isn't good, it's the crowd control was always an issue. There is just too many freaking children in there, at one time that they let in - who run - crowd control in Chicago just didn't work. And from the reports in Boston, same thing. They may need to work on that additionally. But if they open it up somewhere in New York - I mean, obviously they're going to let people in because it's money making but they were never able to get the timing down, at least when it was in Chicago. I'm speaking from personal experience. And opening it up in New York City, as opposed to Boston, I think would've just made the experience that much worse that it's that much more of a populated city.
Micah: Well, and it has been extended, at I think the Chicago location, right? Early on, it was extended past...
Andrew: All of them have been, yeah. Chicago and Boston both did that.
Micah: So I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen in Toronto as well.
Andrew: I just want to say, actually, I went on the W.B. Studio Tour last week with my mom and brother. They have a really nice mini Harry Potter exhibit. They dedicated this entire floor of their museum to Harry Potter stuff. And they've got costumes there, they've got props...
Andrew: ...they have a Sorting Hat. Really nice. So I mean that is sort of like the Harry Potter exhibit. Not as much stuff but one thing I did notice, they were missing one item. It was temporarily unavailable. It was the Deluminator.
Andrew: It was not there. So they must have brought it back for filming.
Micah: Oh, interesting.
Andrew: Yeah, or it's on the exhibition tour. [laughs]
Eric: The Put-Outer.
Andrew: Yeah, the Put-Outer. I would assume it's back in Leavesden.
Micah: So a bit of movie news to wrap up things this week. Deathly Hallows - Alan Rickman has finished filming his role as Professor Severus Snape.
Andrew: Oh, no!
Micah: He did an interview with the International Herald Tribute and he acknowledged that he is, in fact, done. And this is really the first big piece of filming news that we have gotten where a major character is done. And I know a lot of people commented on it. They were sad, they were disappointed. I mean, I don't really get into that as much, but it is all coming to a close in a sense that now, over the next few weeks really, we're going to be hearing about more and more of the major actors and actresses in the series who are going to wrap filming for good.
Andrew: [fake cries] I actually got a little sad when you said that.
Micah: Did you?
Andrew: Yeah, I did. That's a shame. I mean, it is sad to hear like - we've been doing this podcast since 2005, back when they were filming Order of the Phoenix, and to think four films later, they're finished the entire series, is just insane.
Micah: Yeah, that's unbelievable.
Andrew: What about Jason Isaacs, wrapping up? Doesn't he sort of count as a major character?
Micah: Yeah, he does. He was probably the first, but I think Alan Rickman kind of resonates a lot more with people because...
Micah: ...Snape is...
Micah: ...the character that he is.
Eric: Honestly, he didn't have that big a role in the seventh book. At the end, it was a big deal, and obviously the ending is going to be portrayed - is going to take a while to film, to show in the movie. But most of the book, he's not really there.
Andrew: But he has been on set since the beginning. You can't say that about Jason Isaacs. And Alan Rickman's just a great guy and really into the role. He obviously does a great job.
Micah: Maybe now he'll finally answer questions.
Eric: Yeah, he doesn't have that answer to hide behind. Like, "Oh, there are children who haven't seen it." once it's up.
Andrew: Yeah, I don't know. Well, that's a shame. What other Deathly Hallows news is happening?
Micah: Well, our good friend Warwick Davis, he had an interview recently, as well, and he talked about how he first got the role of Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter series 10 years ago, and that he's also going to be wrapping up in June. But what was the most interesting thing that he said was that he was happy with the fact that Deathly Hallows was being split into two films because they're so rich, the stories themselves, and he believes that it's going to do the final book justice. And I thought that was interesting to hear an actor say that because so oftentimes you don't hear that. And he seems to be someone who's really into the books, who's read them, and even admitted that he was disappointed because of the length of some of the other films that have preceded Deathly Hallows and the fact that his parts have been cut out from them, and that's why he's been disappointed.
Micah: So, he wanted more screen time, essentially.
Andrew: Right. I can't blame him. I mean, I've said it before, what's so great about them splitting it into two is because this is their final chance, their final opportunity at taking these books and making them amazing films. So now they have two films for one book.
Andrew: And it's just an amazing opportunity they have. I think it really gave them an extra bit of motivation to say, "Hey we have this huge opportunity now, we get two films, we have all this extra time. Let's make it count!" What else is going on?
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