MuggleCast 217 Transcript



Show Intro


[Intro music begins]

Andrew: This week's episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.

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["Hedwig's Theme" plays]

David Heyman: Hello, this is David Heyman and I'm the producer of the Harry Potter films, and this is MuggleCast.

[Show music begins]

Micah: Because it's our final episode [pauses] of the year, this is MuggleCast Episode 217 for December 26th, 2010.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 217! It's our final episode of the year 2010.

Eric: You had me there for a moment. You were, like, "It's our final episode..."

Andrew: Of ever.

Eric: "...of the year."

Andrew: No, just...

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: ...the year. We had our - we're coming off our awesome year-in-review show, we had a great time. Thanks to everyone who tuned in on Ustream to watch us record it live or if you've listened now, I bet you wish you were voting in those polls because we - there was some fierce competition going on in the live voting that we did. It was a lot of fun, so...

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: ...thanks to everyone who participated and helped us out with that. It's Micah, Eric, Richard and I this week. Richard, you're buried in, aren't you? Isn't the whole country of England under ten feet of snow right now?

Richard: England and Scotland, Andrew, I'd like to remind you.

Andrew: [in a bad Scottish accent] Oh, and Scotland!

Eric: So, Great Britain collectively.

Richard: Yes, exactly. There is about a foot and a half of snow barricading my door which can't be opened at the moment.

Andrew: And that's the only reason you're on MuggleCast, because you're snowed in.

Richard: I have nothing better to do.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: That's not an excuse. Don't you have windows?

[Eric and Richard laugh]

Richard: I'm on the third floor, all right? I would die if I climbed out.

Andrew: All right, so we have lots - this is going to be a big mailbag show, this episode because we've been getting so much e-mail.

Micah: Well, this is just one of those shows. It's the end of the year where you go and you clean out the...

Andrew: Right.

Micah: ...mailbox and...

Andrew: It's spring - it's winter cleaning. So, let's get started. I'm Andrew Sims.

Eric: I'm Eric Scull.

Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.

Richard: And I'm Richard Reid.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Micah, what is in the news as we approach the new year? It's kind of a slow time since everyone is not working.

Micah: Speak for yourself.

[Andrew laughs]

Richard: Yeah, I'm still working.

Andrew: [laughs] Oh, oh.

Micah: We can't all be on vacation in New Jersey, Andrew.

Andrew: I am not vacationing, I am working.

Micah: Yeah, I don't think I'd choose New Jersey, but...

Andrew: I am working right now.

Micah: Are you?

Andrew: Well, MuggleCast.

Micah: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: This is work.

Micah: You're right.

Andrew: I'm sweating bullets.

Micah: I'm sorry.

Andrew: [laughs] Go ahead.



News: Holidays in the Wizarding World theme park


Micah: Well, you posted earlier this week that there are some changes that are happening down in Orlando at the Wizarding World. It's getting into the holiday spirit, some things that are being added to different buildings and inside different stores. And this is something that we thought may have happened a little bit earlier, maybe even with Halloween given the nature of the Potter books, but they seem to be doing a little bit for Christmas. And...

Andrew: Yeah, luckily.

Micah: ...one of our site visitors sent in a recap with some photos, so people can check it out on MuggleNet.

Andrew: Yeah, MuggleNet visitor/reader Hilary who we have all met before, especially this past summer. Yeah, she took lots of pictures for us which we really appreciated. And what's interesting is that these are all specifically approved - all this decor is specifically approved by J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. So in a way, it's sort of like a new look at what holiday decorations look like in the wizarding world, the book version. So...

Micah: So, these are all approved by her.

Andrew: Right, so J.K. Rowling looks at each one and is, like, [poorly imitating J.K. Rowling] "Oh yes, yes, I like this. I like this."

Eric: See, the thing that's so interesting is that noticeably absent from the park is a Christmas tree.

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: And this is what was touched on in Hilary's review because well, she noticed this too and actually asked one of the staffers. Apparently, they said that they just didn't get it approved fast enough. [laughs] They said, really, there just wasn't time. We had to go forward with what was approved and they didn't approve it in time. Why do you think this is? It seems like a Christmas tree would be the first thing that J.K. Rowling would approve because the Christmas trees at Hogwarts, as we see in the films, are always so decorative. Was there some kind of hesitation here or - what's going on?

Andrew: I think there they probably just had some discrepancies, they weren't maybe - some design issues, that Universal came to them first and then Jo was, like, "Oh no, change this because of this and this." And then Universal changed it and then Jo again was, like, "Oh, I don't know. I don't know." And so - it probably just kept going back and forth like that, and - but they said definitely next year there will be a tree.

Eric: Yeah, by all means.

Andrew: And I wrote in the news post maybe it will look like the one in the Sorcerer's Stone film. Everybody probably kind of remembers what that looks like. It looks...

Eric: Yeah, you put a little picture. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, there's a picture on MuggleNet. It's a lot of gold ornaments. Very tall tree. Very, very, very tall tree, star on the top. I'm not sure what the particular ornaments were but I imagine they want to do something like that, so...

Eric: Well, I was just shocked that they didn't decorate sooner, you know? Because it's been open - the park has been open for six months now. And they didn't decorate for Harry's birthday, they didn't decorate for Halloween. Halloween is arguably a bigger holiday than Christmas in the books. Christmas in the books, a lot of people are away from Hogwarts and Halloween is when Harry's parents were killed, it's - Halloween is when all this action happens in the books, so - they didn't decorate!

Andrew: I think Universal is still getting their...

Micah: Act together.

Andrew: Yeah, their act together with the park. I mean, it just opened so they're...

Micah: I agree with that though. I think though to not have the foresight to plan these things in the park. And I mean, they knew it was going to be successful when it opened and they knew that they could potentially have people return for events like this, you know? If you're dressing up the park for Halloween or Christmas...

Andrew: Yeah. But they didn't...

Micah: ...or other events. It's poor planning.

Andrew: No, no, I disagree. They didn't need to bring people back over the holidays because people were just coming this year just because it was the grand opening. This whole - people are still coming to the park for the first time. They don't need to be bringing people back right now but they will in future years, I'm sure. Anyway, what else is going on in the news?



News: Deathly Hallows - Part 1 Box Office Results


Micah: Well, Deathly Hallows is still out in theaters and it probably will be [laughs] for quite a while. But as of December 12th, the grand total stood at $778 million worldwide. The movie surprisingly hasn't done very well domestically. It's done extremely well and it has remained number one for a number of weeks overseas. And I think a large part of that had to do with the fact that it was still opening up in a number of markets throughout the end of November. But it's going to be interesting to see how far this film will climb. Right now on the Box Office Mojo website it's at number 31 all-time, so it'll move its way into the top 25 I think without a problem just because those differences in millions of dollars are not that drastically different. So - but we all thought when this film first opened that with that huge opening weekend that it had, it was going to move its way into the top ten. I'm not so sure about that anymore.

Andrew: Well yeah, you thought it would move into the top ten, not everyone.

Micah: No, if you actually read the comments on the site, everybody says, "Oh, it's going to break a billion dollars. It's going to shatter Avatar's record. It's going to make its way to the top ten."

Andrew: Oh, come on! It wasn't going to shatter Avatar's record.

Micah: Well, I know that.

Andrew: Come on.

Micah: [laughs] But I'm saying - [laughs] you're putting the blame on me! I'm...

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: ...saying go look at the comments from the first post.

Andrew: I don't read the comments. I just - because I know I'll get inaccurate information like that.

Micah: You shouldn't admit that on the show.

Andrew: [laughs] I'm just kidding.

Micah: But I mean, that is still a considerable amount of money. [laughs]

Andrew: Oh, yeah.

Micah: There is no question about it and it will keep going up probably into the new year.

Andrew: At a much slower rate though. I mean...

Micah: Very much, yeah. Very much slower.

Andrew: Maybe the holidays will help a little bit as well. Families going to see it, extra downtime because people are off work, you know?

Micah: Yeah, I thought that also though with the Thanksgiving holiday, but that didn't really help...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Hmmm.

Micah: ...them that much.

Eric: It's...

Andrew: Well, Potter is different because everybody goes - everybody wants to go as soon as it opens, I guess. You know?

Eric: Right, so they returned - well, it's also - could it - what's hurting it? Really? Is it that it's Part 1 and Part 2? Are people unsure?

Andrew: Nothing is hurting it, but I think - well, I think what is hurting it is I think there is growing animosity towards it from non-fans. People are just, like, "Oh, when is this franchise going to end already?"

Eric: But that's always been there.

Andrew: "We're already on 7?"

Eric: That's always been there.

Andrew: Yeah, but now more than ever because now there are seven films out, so...

Eric: Well, I've got to tell you, I'm already like that about Twilight. [laughs] So...

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Well...

Eric: They got, what, two more films? Come on, really?

Andrew: Well, you're just not a TwiHard. But see, people are saying that about Harry Potter too and not because - I mean, some people who just aren't in the loop just are, like, "Wow, what the hell?"

Micah: Yeah, and I'm looking at it now. It's got $783.9 million, so that's probably the additional domestic total from this week and then they'll add in the foreign totals probably some time tonight or tomorrow. And it should move up into the twenties, I would think. We've mentioned on the show before, Prisoner of Azkaban is the only Potter film that's not in the top 25 in terms of highest grossing films of all time.

Andrew: And before we move on, we want to remind everyone that this episode is brought to you by Squarespace.com, the fast and easy way to create and manage a high-quality website or blog. Create a website that's uniquely you to display your photos from Flickr, a blog you've been thinking about starting, or the tweets and RSS feeds you like the most, all in the design and colors of your choice. Whatever you want to communicate, you can say it easily and with style with Squarespace. They also have an iPhone app which makes it easy to update your site while you're on-the-go. Try it all out today for free. Visit Squarespace.com and sign up for a free trial. Then choose a design template to get started. No credit card needed. Just give it a try to build your website. Then if you decide to purchase, enter code "Muggle" to receive 10% off for six months. That's Squarespace.com, offer code "Muggle". We thank Squarespace for their support of MuggleCast.

This week's episode is also brought to you by Audible.com, the internet's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times bestsellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their service. One audiobook to consider is The Hunger Games, a thrilling young adult novel that's actually part of a great trilogy. Nearly all the hosts of MuggleCast have read it and we all really, highly recommend it. So, for a free audiobook of your choice, such as The Hunger Games, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. That's AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.



News: Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Teaser Trailer in January?


Micah: Well, final bit of news for this show and for this year, looking forward into 2011, we got a bit of a rumor in the "Tips" box today that the teaser trailer for Deathly Hallows - Part 2 may be due out on January 24th.

Andrew: [gasps] Ahhh! Yeah, so we tend to be skeptical when we get these rumors but I asked the guy who provided the information with - if he could share more info and what he was saying - I'm trying to - I'm trusting him. So, it's definitely not official, it's not confirmed. We also looked at movies that are coming out in January to see what film the trailer could be attached to, but nothing really stood out. So, it's just a rumor for now. We like to post these because one, it gets people excited, and two, usually they are around - they tend to be accurate. So, unless Warner Bros. makes a big change, I expect we could see a trailer at the end of January or the beginning of February.

Richard: Movie trailers make me very nervous.

Eric: Why is that?

Andrew: Why? Because...

Richard: Because as MuggleNet server administrator, that means I really sweat that week.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Awww, is MuggleNet vulnerable to hits?

Andrew: High traffic.

Micah: Well...

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: ...what happens is we can't even get the trailer onto the site because...

Andrew: Right, to...

Micah: ...people crash the site before we even make the post.

Eric: Well, it sounds like we need a better server. We've only been doing this 11 - 13 years. [laughs]

[Richard laughs]

Andrew: I think you just insulted our server admin. Well, we'll keep everyone updated on that.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: But for now, it's a big, big rumor.

Micah: Speaking of that though, just maybe we can talk about this for a minute. The weekend that Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is released or I guess during the week in the summertime, looking at some of the other movies that are going to be coming out that week, I don't really think that any of them are going to have a chance...

Andrew: Well...

Micah: ...to take away from sales.

Andrew: Right, but what happens is when Harry Potter - when Warner Bros. schedules a date for Harry Potter, no other studio tries to put one of their big films near it because they know they are not - because they know Harry Potter would hurt them. So, the films that have audiences that studios think would not be interested in Harry Potter, they put their films there.

Micah: Yeah. I mean, I think though from a kids' standpoint, and I know really this movie is not a kids movie at this point because of some of the violence that's going to take place, but you look at Winnie the Pooh. I mean, that's going to get absolutely crucified [laughs] by Deathly Hallows.

Eric: I don't know about that.

Andrew: When does it come out?

Micah: The same day.

Eric: Well, Winnie the Pooh has...

Andrew: See...

Eric: I think that would detract - Winnie the Pooh has a huge following of adults really, I think.

Andrew: Well, if it's really good - I'm actually surprised, yeah. Because Winnie the Pooh - I don't know. I would see Winnie the Pooh.

[Richard laughs]

Andrew: Maybe the next weekend, not the same weekend. I don't know. That's weird. That is strange. Maybe they'll move it, who knows? We'll see. Anything else going on? Is this the final big news story of 2010?

Micah: It is. And it's fitting, isn't it? I mean...

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: It's forward looking. We talked at the end of last episode about stories to look forward to in 2011. And I mean, right now there aren't too many other than the finale.



When Will The Harry Potter Encyclopedia Be Published?


Eric: Well okay, guys, do you think 2011 is going to be the year that J.K. Rowling writes a second tweet on Twitter?

[Richard laughs]

Eric: Or how many...

Micah: Well, she has done a second tweet. It was the same as the first one.

Eric: Right, right. Well...

Andrew: I'm sure - I think last year at the end of 2009 we speculated that maybe J.K. Rowling will make a big announcement, but of course it never happened. [laughs]

Eric: So, why didn't it happen?

Andrew: So, we can sit here...

Eric: What is she doing?

Andrew: We can...

Eric: I expected even more news articles about what she's doing now, you know?

Andrew: Yeah, like rumors or - if somebody was smart, if one of those tabloids was smart, they would spark a rumor. I mean, that would get tons of press.

Richard: They're too afraid to. She might sue them now.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Oh, maybe. [laughs]

Richard: [laughs] She tends to win, I think, so...

Eric: That's a good point.

Micah: Well - I mean, what about the encyclopedia? We talk about it a lot, but what's the reality of it actually being published next year? I mean, we don't know where she's at with it.

Eric: Well, I...

Micah: We assume that she's been writing.

Eric: And she calls it an encyclopedia which worries me because I'm always thinking it's like the untold stories as opposed to what the Lexicon did which breaks everything out. So, will it be like a behind-the-scenes thing, or what's the deal with that? What kind of book do you think it will be when she writes it?

Andrew: I think it will be primarily info - you know how we've always heard she has boxes and boxes...

Eric: Of notes.

Andrew: ...of notes.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, so I think it's going to be all of that.

Eric: Cool.

Andrew: I think if it was redundant information, stuff we've already learned through the books - there may be some of that, but I think the primary focus and the big sell is that it's going to be all this stuff that - yeah...

Eric: But - so essentially it's already written, so why isn't it out yet?

Andrew: Because they - [laughs] I can't tell you why!

Eric: I'm asking you, Andrew Sims!

Andrew: I'm sure - well, I...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I bet she's not in a rush to release it. I mean, really, what is the rush to get it out? And two, I think they want to make - put really - they want to make it perfect. They only want to put out one of these, so...

Eric: Do they...

Andrew: ...make it as perfect as possible.

Eric: That's true.

Andrew: And it will be a good sell.

Eric: Do they want people like us to be asking, "What's J.K. Rowling up to?" [laughs] right about now?

Andrew: Yeah. I - yeah.

Micah: Well, people want to know. I mean, [laughs] it's funny sometimes the e-mails that we get about, "What's J.K. Rowling up to? Why hasn't she updated her Twitter? Why hasn't she updated her website?" It's not like we know.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: If we knew... [laughs]

Andrew: We'd post it! [laughs]

Micah: Yeah, exactly.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: But I would go out on a limb - and I could be completely off here, but I would say that if it were to be released, it will be released in July of 2011, if she's going to do it next year.

Andrew: See, I was going to say that it wouldn't be released...

Eric: Yeah, maybe Christmas.

Andrew: ...because why would they release it when the movie is coming out? I don't think they want the attention...

Eric: Well, they did that for - Movie 5...

Andrew: ...from the movie to be hurt.

Eric: ...and Book 7 were like two weeks apart.

Andrew: Yeah, but that just sort of had to be because W.B. had to put it in the summer and J.K. Rowling - they love the book and movie releases to be summer. But I don't think it's as much of a priority for a - well - I mean, look at Beedle the Bard. That was released in the wintertime.

Richard: I don't think we'll see the book in the next two years, personally.

Andrew: Two years? Oh, come on.

Richard: I think she's enjoying having a Potter-free time at the moment working on some other material.

Andrew: Well, she's had a Potter-free time for three years now! [laughs]

[Richard laughs]

Eric: It's true. It really has been three years, though, which is - I mean, occasionally she'll show up on the red carpet in places but she doesn't really say anything and just looks nice.

Richard: That's true, but I guess with all the media attention the films are getting, Potter is still in the public domain. I think she'll wait until it subsides a bit, and then release it and get everyone excited all over again.

Andrew: Do you think every time a new movie comes out, she's, like, "Oh, I'm so exhausted! I need at least another five years before I can write Potter."

Richard: [laughs] I think she's thinking what we're thinking, "Oh God, not another one!"

Eric: But still...

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: ...she was working...

Micah: Can't you go over and talk to her though, Richard?

Richard: Sorry?

Micah: Can't you just walk down the street and talk to her?

Richard: Well, I could but I'm snowed in, remember?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: Otherwise you would right now! [laughs]

Richard: Yeah, exactly.

Micah: How close is she?

Richard: Oh, about 150 miles.

Eric: Miles?

Micah: So, you could drive there?

Richard: Yeah, I could drive there.

Micah: If your car wasn't snowed in.

[Eric laughs]

Richard: If my car wasn't snowed in, yeah. It's a bit of Scotland that I've been to quite a lot. It's the capital, Edinburgh.

Micah: We should work on that.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, okay. All right, so that does it for news and our impromptu discussion about when the hell the encyclopedia will be...

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: ...released. [laughs]

Eric: I thought it was a good transition into the mailbag because people are asking via e-mail.

Andrew: Oh yeah, definitely. Yep. And so yeah, like we mentioned at the beginning of the show, it's going to be a mailbag show. We've got lots of e-mails to catch up on as well as some tweets too, because we asked people when - or we asked, "So, anything - burning question that you would like to ask us?" And also, finally we have the e-mails from the weird places people listen to MuggleCast. We did that - we asked for that a few episodes ago and now we have time for them, so it's all good. Richard, can you read that first e-mail please, from Elizabeth?



Muggle Mail: Correct Pronunciation of "Desplat"


Richard: Okay, this is Elizabeth who's 17 from Utah, and she's writing in to say to us that:

"I did a little bit of research and if I'm not mistaken, his name is pronounced 'Des-plah' not 'Des-plat'. Remember, the 't' is usually silent in French words when it's at the very end. For example, Voldemort is pronounced 'Vol-de-more'."

Andrew: Ahh, that's true. Yes, there was a big debate about this on Episode 216. Jamie called me out and I still stand by "Des-plat". [laughs]

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: But Elizabeth raises a good point. Vol-de-more, Vol-de-mort, Des-plah, Des-plat, so...

Micah: Well, I really just think it's a matter of Americanizing his name because...

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: ...if you look at a lot of other French people, what happens is their last names - or even their first names - we take it and we Americanize it so that it sounds right to us even though it's not really right, overall. But...

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: ...I think that's what the media call him though, to be honest. Don't they call him "Des-plat" when you hear his name on television and in other places?

Andrew: I don't know!

Eric: When have you heard his name on television?

Micah: Never, [laughs] but that's not the point.

[Andrew and Richard laugh]

Eric: Oh. Then yes, I agree with you, Micah.

Micah: So, she's saying it's "Day-plah".

Eric: "Day-plah".

Richard: I think the "s" is silent as well, yeah.



Muggle Mail: Nursery in Godric's Hollow


Andrew: Next e-mail comes from Allie, 23, of Pittsburgh:

"Hey guys, I have a question about the movie, specifically the Godric's Hollow scene and I'm pretty sure you haven't talked about it before. So, when Harry and Bathilda are upstairs and Bathilda turns into Nagini, they bust through a wall and it's a nursery. I thought it was Harry's nursery and it's like a flashback or something, but it's still there. Maybe I just need to see it again to get it, but I'm looking to you to help me with it for now. Thanks for the help. You guys are awesome, best podcast out there. I once tried to get my own together and it got nowhere, so now I just argue with you guys while I listen to it. Thanks, Allie."

So - oh, and she has a contribution to the weirdest places to listen to MuggleCast. She says:

"I've been listening to some of the latest shows as I sit and clean all alone in a vet office while my boss is away. How's that for a weird spot? I expect to get through a lot over the next few days."

So, what - Eric, do you know what that nursery was?

Eric: Yeah, it's - I have tried to think about this too because it's weird to me, but it's really just a nursery of the adjacent house, of the house adjacent to Bathilda Bagshot's. So, the snake tackles Harry, he goes through the wall, literally into the other building, the other house that is attached to Bathilda's. However, there's a few things that don't make sense and somebody said to me, and I completely agree. Why is the nursery so, she said, "surgically clean"? Because it is, it's a very bright white in the nursery. It feels like a medical room, doesn't it? I mean, it's - so I think they could have done something in the set dressing to convey that a little better because it does look like - it's a child's room and given that this is Harry's birthplace, it kind of feels a little weird and out of place without explanation.

Micah: I thought it was a tie back to what happened all those years ago when Voldemort first killed his parents because here is Harry essentially going up against Voldemort again, albeit in a different form, in a Horcrux form. He returns to Godric's Hollow and he is facing him again in the very same place that his parents were killed all those years ago. So, I thought that was kind of what David Yates was getting at, David Heyman was getting at. But you're right, it's just this complete bright space that comes out of nowhere and it doesn't seem to fit in with the rest...

Eric: Right.

Micah: ...of what's going on in the film.

Eric: Maybe it was easier for them to show the snake against the white light as opposed to the dark. But that's my other problem with it, is that Bathilda's house is rotting away. The floorboards and there are flies, and - granted that is because something just died in there. But to have the next house over be so clean and so almost like renovated is completely - it's off-putting, it just didn't make sense. This reader thought it was possibly a flashback and that makes sense to me how you could make that distinction.

Micah: Well, I don't think it would be a - I don't think it's a flashback. I think it's kind of a nod to...

Eric: No, it's very much happening in that moment. But...

Micah: Right. And it could also just be a complete contrast between what's going on in the wizarding world versus what's going on in the real world where people have absolutely no idea of what's really happening. The point being that here is this perfectly normal household sitting next to a house where all these terrible things are happening.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: That's a really good point.

Andrew: Yeah, I think it shows a sharp contrast.

Micah: But it was also, I think, in a way a nod towards what happened to Harry. I mean, that's what I initially thought of, right back from Sorcerer's Stone.

Andrew: Eric, can you take the next e-mail?



Muggle Mail: The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore/Albert Speer


Eric: Yep. This one comes from Carolyn from Santa Barbara. She says:

"Hey guys, I was writing in because I found an interesting connection between J.K.R.'s title for Dumbledore's biography by Rita Skeeter and a biography written about someone in Hitler's inner circle. I work in my college's Interlibrary Loan department where we borrow books from other libraries to help out students who need research that our own library doesn't carry. I was processing a bunch of books on World War II and came across a book titled, 'The Life and Lies of Albert Speer', released in 1997.

For those of you who don't know, Speer was a German architect who became part of Hitler's circle just before World War II. He designed many buildings in Germany before and during the war, and was part of the Nuremberg trials. Witnesses say that at the trial, he was one of the few people who spoke honestly about his role in the war and made no attempt to shirk his own guilt. In this book, the author talks about how Speer should have been given the death sentence but wasn't because the jury felt that he tried to stop Hitler towards the end of the war. In the author's mind, people were idiots for thinking that Speer was unknowledgeable about the concentration camps. Speer was sentenced to twenty years at the Nuremberg prison, calling to mind Grindelwald's imprisonment there. Speer was released in 1966 after serving his sentence. For the rest of his life, he made steady contributions to Jewish charities, much like Dumbledore championed hard for Muggle-borns.

Sorry about the long e-mail. I was just curious as to your thoughts on the connection not only between Speer and Dumbledore, but also Speer and Grindelwald. Do you think J.K.R. got the idea of the title from this book? I wish I could ask her. Love the show! Thanks."

This is fascinating.

Andrew: Yeah, I would say this must have been an influence.

Micah: Let's call her. Richard, would you go down the street...

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: ...and ring the doorbell?

Eric: Richard, Richard, brave the snow, man.

Richard: Sure. BRB.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: But no, particularly about this Speer being honest in his - one of the people - what was the quote? "One of the few people who spoke honestly about his role in the war and made no attempt to shirk his own guilt." I mean, in a way it's sort of like these people who Rita interviewed being allegedly honest.

Eric: Yeah. The other thing too, Dumbledore really - I feel like - well, he didn't really come clean until he had to. But when he did, when Harry asked him or whatever, he said, "Yes, I feel like I was responsible for my sister's death, I really was into these Hallows, I thought I could bring her back, and I made a terrible mistake in regards to Grindelwald." And I think that this reader - this writer, Carolyn, has made some really compelling connections between Dumbledore and this Albert Speer, not to mention the similarity of the first names.

Andrew: So, one of these questions we'll have to keep in mind...

Eric: Yeah, very, very cool.

Andrew: ...for our...

Micah: When Richard's able to dig her out of the snow.

Andrew: Or when we interview her...

Micah: Yeah, that too.

Andrew: ...in the year 2050. Micah, can you take the next e-mail?



Muggle Mail: Alan Rickman in Deathly Hallows - Part 1


Micah: Sure. The next e-mail comes from Stephanie, 33, of Montreal, and she's writing in about Alan Rickman. She says:

"Hi guys, big fan of the show. I loved the 'Deathly Hallows - Part 1' review with all your references..."

Oh, sorry.

"...all your differences of opinion. However, I'm surprised nobody mentioned the amazing acting job done by Alan Rickman in Malfoy Manor when the Muggle Studies teacher was pleading with him to help her. His expression conveyed a hint of guilt and sadness when she was killed, while at the same time trying to keep up appearances for Voldemort. His performance was so powerful and even more impressive because he didn't speak at all! Beautiful performance! That scene blew me away. Thanks for reading!"

Andrew: Yeah, he's one of those people that I think haven't read the books, right?

Richard: Yeah, I get that...

Andrew: Hasn't he said that?

Richard: ...impression too.

Andrew: Yeah. I think his excuse was, like, "I don't want to be spoiled," [laughs] or something like that.

Micah: With Alan Rickman, I thought he had a stipulation before taking the part that he needed to know if this character lived or died. I swear that that was...

Andrew: Well...

Eric: Well, I thought...

Andrew: ...we know that Jo told him something...

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: ...that he couldn't reveal.

Richard: I think it was - was it not to do with him being in love with Lily?

Andrew: Yeah, that's what everyone thinks. He hasn't said it yet. Or no, no, Jo did reveal that. But Alan is still being all quiet because I guess he doesn't know...

Eric: Well, I think what it is...

Andrew: ...that Jo [laughs] has revealed it.

Eric: Isn't he the one - he has read, I think, all the books but he won't talk about his role in Potter because he doesn't want to spoil people who didn't read, children who didn't read. Is this another actor that I'm not thinking of?

Andrew: Nope. No, no, that's exactly right. That's why he wouldn't spoil the secret, so - but anyway - I mean, yeah. He did an excellent job in this film and like I have said, the Malfoy Manor scenes were some of my favorites in this because - partially, because of Snape. Snape.

Eric: Yeah. Just an example that we have these great British actors who are essentially just overlooked. Well, not overlooked, but there are so many of them and so when they do get the screen to focus on them, they shine.



Muggle Mail: Deathly Hallows at the Academy Awards


Richard: The next e-mail comes from Ian, who's 16, from Newburgh, Indiana, and he says:

"Hey guys, I just wanted to say some some stuff about your predictions about 'Harry Potter''s chances at the Academy Awards in the next couple of years. Now that the Best Picture list is at ten, it's safe to assume that one or both 'Deathly Hallows' films will be at least get nominated. However, neither has even a slightest chance of winning. You've got to think about how the Academy works. They like dry, artsy movies that most people have never heard of that cover historical events, modern hot topics, and emotional dramas that showcase the return of a previously washed up actor or director."

Harsh!

"'Harry Potter' is going to be like 'The Dark Knight' or 'District 9': wonderful movies that aren't recognized because they feature aliens and clowns. So yeah, this year the contenders will be 'Black Swan', 'The King's Speech', and 'The Fighter'. The other two in the top five will be '127 Hours' and maybe 'True Grit'. The other five movies will simply be included to round out the top ten, but 'Harry POtter' will never win Best Picture. Sure, 'Lord of the Rings' won, but it got three movies consistently nominated for several awards and was the end of a sweeping, epic trilogy that were each three hours long and featured ensemble casts, and even that was a stretch. It kind of sucks, but it's kind of how the Academy system works. They're old, pretentious people who are stuck in tradition. It's best to not get upset over the award snubs, they aren't really a huge deal. But hey, it'll probably win some BAFTAs!"

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, it...

Richard: That was harsher than my first review of Deathly Hallows!

Eric: I completely agree. I completely agree. We found - this guy from, what did you say, Newburgh, Indiana? [laughs] Whose - I think it's Newburgh.

Micah: Or Newburgh here, as we call it.

Eric: Yeah, yeah.

Richard: Oh, sorry. [laughs]

Eric: No, no, I think you did everybody in Indiana a favor there.

Micah: "Des-plat".

[Richard laughs]

Eric: You did them a favor. But yeah, this guy is harsh, man.

Richard: There is a town next to me called Newburgh. [laughs]

Eric: He has lost faith in the Academy. What do you guys think?

Richard: I think he's right, I think he is spot on.

Andrew: I think he's right too, particularly with the "artsy" comment. Harry Potter isn't artsy and they do pick artsy films. I mean, look at Slumdog Millionaire, how that cleaned up a couple of years ago.

Eric: Look at what David Yates is doing. David Yates - I feel like Deathly Hallows feels similar to how Slumdog did. Sure you don't have the harsh tone, the drama part of it, for instance, but I still feel like David Yates is making quality adult films. I don't think just because - it's like what...

Micah: Well, I think...

Eric: People credit...

Micah: What it comes down to - I think what it always comes back to though is that there's not enough character development throughout the course of these films because you have so many of them. And it's not like you can single out Ralph Fiennes for Voldemort without looking at him throughout the entire series. The same thing with Alan Rickman. The same thing, really, with the trio as a whole. And I think you've brought this up before on the show, Eric. It's about character development a lot of the time as well. And when you're in a two-and-a-half hour movie, let's say some of these other films that are listed, you get to know a lot more about the characters whereas that's not always the case in Harry Potter.

Eric: Well, it's true. However, I feel like a lot of people credit Alfonso Cuaron with really making the best film. A lot of people still say that Prisoner of Azkaban is their favorite film because it's so adult and it's so like a real film. It plays - the cinematography. And I feel like it's an insult for David Yates not to get that same credit because even the three and eventually four films that he has done - the three we've seen have changed so much in terms of - all of them feel different, all of them play differently. We had the montages in "5" and the interesting camera angles in "6". And in "7" there's just an insane amount of mood. And to not be recognized for his work by the American audience where the films, I feel, are the most popular - or that the series, maybe even - I feel like it's an insult and maybe that's the way the Academy works.

Andrew: Well, at least we know that W.B. is trying to get it promoted. I mean, they have a site called WarnerBros2010.com...

[Eric laughs]

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