["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Micah: Because we're moving from the shack to the boathouse, this is MuggleCast Episode 219 for January 23rd, 2011.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week's episode of MuggleCast is 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, including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
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[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 219! Andrew, Micah, Eric here this week to give you the lowdown on what's going on in the Harry Potter world. Slow news, but big Chapter-by-Chapter segment to get through this week, and we're going to do it as professionally and as...
Andrew: ...entertaining - accurately...
Andrew: ...and inspirationally as possible, as you've come to expect it from us. I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: I'm Eric Scull.
Micah: And I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: Micah Tannenbaum, what is in the news? Come on, don't hold out any longer.
Andrew: I've got to know.
Micah: You said it was a slow news period and you're right, but the good thing is the news we have gotten is big news. We got our first still from Deathly Hallows: Part 2...
Micah: ...and you know how big I am on pictures.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: The first...
Eric: Micah, you should have said the first of, like, 15,000 pictures, right?
Micah: Yeah, and given that this is the last film, there probably will be at least that many, Eric, I'm thinking.
Andrew: Well, I actually got kind of sad when I posted it because I was, like, "Oh, this is one of the last firsts."
Andrew: We have a first picture, we have a first trailer, we have a first TV spot. These are all big, big stories. However it's not technically the first picture because - I put "first picture" in the headline because it creates more buzz.
Andrew: But the big first picture will be the first official still released by Warner Bros. in high resolution.
Micah: I was going to say...
Eric: ...so this is not that, right?
Micah: Well, I was going to say, the first one that you don't have to take down at the request of Warner Bros.
Andrew: This one that you are talking about we had to take down at the request of - as was predicted, by the way. It was a black and white photo with a "Property of W.B." watermark in three places on... [laughs]
Micah: I think they release those on purpose, though.
Andrew: Maybe. We still don't know what the source was.
Eric: So, you didn't stick up to Warner Bros. and say, "Well, if you want us to take this down, you've got to give us a high-res version of it"? You didn't say that?
Andrew: No, I think they weren't ready. But I did say to them, "I'll take it down, but you do know it's on every other movie website right now, right?"
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: And the W.B. rep was, like, "Welcome to my morning."
Micah: No thanks to us.
Andrew: Yeah, no thanks to us, we were kind of first with it. But anyway, it's a picture of Neville in the foreground and you see Bellatrix in the background, and it's a cool photo. I mean, it's low-res, but it's an exciting photo, it's from the battle, which apparently is going to take up about forty-five minutes to an hour of the film, so I would guess the majority of the photos [laughs] may be coming from the battle.
Micah: We're keeping with the Deathly Hallows theme here, but we're going to go to Part 1 for just a minute. And we talked about it on the last show, it's slowly climbing up the charts, and Andrew, I know you mentioned how much I like to post about...
Micah: Numbers, yeah, exactly. And so finally, it has moved past both Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince. It's currently number ten all time in worldwide box office gross, and it only has - if it is going to make it there - Sorcerer's Stone to pass. I don't think it's going to happen, though.
Andrew: That's really cool. I mean, and W.B. is kind of used to it now, but for any film to reach the top ten grossing films of all time? I mean, that's an amazing figure.
Eric: What does that mean for fans?
Eric: Does it mean that...
Andrew: [laughs] It means nothing for us.
Eric: ...people are still going to see it, though, in other countries and all across the world, people are saying, "Hey, you should go see this movie"? Or is it that Deathly Hallows: Part 1 have really late release dates in some countries and that's why it continues to climb?
Andrew: That could be it, and I think winter break helps a lot. A lot of people are off over the winter break, so they may want to go see the movie again. And yeah, I think you're right, those international release dates that were later than the November date that we saw in the U.S. and in the U.K. as well as a few other countries. So, you noted in the news post, Micah, it's now $500,000 away but...
Micah: Well, what happened is this, and I'm actually looking at BoxOfficeMojo.com right now, which is where we get all these numbers from. It had moved passed Order of the Phoenix, it is now below Order of the Phoenix again. I'm not sure exactly why that is...
Micah: ...because the number posted earlier in the week was $938.3 million.
Andrew: And now it's $937.3 million.
Micah: Suffice it to say by the time this show is released, if it's going for a Sunday release, that it will pass Order of the Phoenix because it's only about $0.9 million away [laughs] from passing Order of the Phoenix. The tall task is going to be catching Sorcerer's Stone which is at $974.7 million.
Micah: I think it's too far away. I don't even think it'll get past Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Andrew: But keep in mind it's not going to be in theaters for much longer, so...
Andrew: ...I think...
Micah: Unless it is re-released in 3D, which is something to keep an eye on because...
Micah: ...if that happens, it has a chance to catch Sorcerer's Stone.
Andrew: My prediction is Part 1 will be back in theaters in 3D right before Part 2 comes out or right with Part 2 because...
Eric: I thought they scrapped that project.
Andrew: No, no, they said they do want to eventually release it, whether it's on DVD in 3D or back in theaters because at this point they have spent so much money on it, they want to get that money back. So, it's got to be in some theaters right before Part 2 because some people will want to see Part 1 at, like, 9:30 PM and then Part 2 will start almost right away, right after Part 1 ends at midnight.
Eric: I wonder what the benefits of seeing Part 1 in 3D are going to be like, what scenes are going to stand out that much more in 3D.
Andrew: The snake will come out at you.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: I guess so.
Micah: But I think, though, regardless of how they're lined up right now - I mean, having one quarter of the top twelve movies of all time is pretty good.
Andrew: Before we get to the big story of the week, first we'd like to remind you about our two sponsors for this week's episode. First, 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 awesome service. One audiobook to consider is Orson Scott Card's classic, Ender's Game. Check out the special 20th anniversary edition, which is digitally remastered with a full cast production. So, to purchase that, or any other audiobook of your choice for free, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. That's AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
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Micah: Well, let's get to the big story of the week. Andrew, you were all set, I know you were pumped up to reveal this in your set report...
Andrew: I was!
Micah: ...and somebody beat you to it.
Andrew: And it was so funny because I was talking with my friend Edward from The Leaky Cauldron the other day, and I said, "It's really exciting. We're going to get to reveal in our set reports this big scene change," and he's, like, "Yeah, yeah, it's going to be really cool." [laughs] And then two days later, this comes out. I'm, like, "Nooooo!" Ugh, so frustrating.
Eric: Was it...
Micah: So, what happened is Andrew Ackland-Snow, who is the art director for Harry Potter...
Andrew: And now my worst enemy.
Micah: I've never even heard of him before...
Micah: ...to be honest with you and this is in no way supposed to be offensive towards Andrew, but I've never heard of this guy before. Usually we hear about Stuart Craig or Alan Gilmore, so I'm not quite sure who this guy is. But he did reveal that Severus Snape will have a different death scene in Deathly Hallows: Part 2 from the book, and this has created a little bit of a discussion [laughs] over the course of the last couple of days.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, let's - I'll read the quote from Andrew Ackland-Snow, and some people in the comments were confused by this, but I think I understand what he's saying. Quote:
"We wanted to change a bit where Snape dies. In the book, he dies on the Shrieking Shack, and we wanted to get him out from, not a conventional interior, but from that kind of box, to do it in a more dramatic atmosphere. We asked J.K. Rowling if she agreed for that to happen in there, because we hadn't really seen it before."
Referring to the boathouse.
"We made a crystal house..."
And now, people are confused by this crystal house comment. He's saying that the boathouse is kind of made of crystal, [laughs] I guess. But I think what he's saying is it's transparent. So anyway, he says:
"...and you can see what happens in the boat house from there - but also the school is in flames and she..."
"...loved it. Besides, it's a very romantic place to die. Snape dies in a extremely good way, I gotta say."
And in the same news post, I reminded everybody about the comments from set designer Stuart Craig, who said last February, quote:
"The last time I cried was a few days ago when we filmed the death of Alan Rickman's character, Snape. It's quite difficult to cry in rushes - where we watch the previous day's work - but he is an extraordinary actor and he dies an extremely good death."
Micah: So, now we can finally talk about this.
Micah: It's not embargoed.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think I'm still technically embargoed from what...
Micah: Revealing further details.
Eric: Until when?
Andrew: Yeah, there are a couple of more details that Stuart Craig said to us on set, and we'll be able to release those in a couple months. But are you guys disappointed in this change for Snape?
Micah: I think if you're taking this purely from a movie standpoint, it is going to be great. And the way that they set this up, with Hogwarts burning down in the background and Snape lying there dying in this boathouse, is going to be great for film. But I also understand the argument that other people are making where there are just certain things that you don't change. It's not about saying that J.K. Rowling approved it so we're okay with it, it's about taking what was in the book and putting it on the screen, and not changing that, being true to the book in that sense. Not to say that what they do isn't going to be great or isn't going to be better, it's just a matter of following what's in the text. And I think those people have just as much of a legitimate argument as the people who say, "Well, if J.K. Rowling likes it, how can we disagree?"
Eric: So, you're saying some people in the comments are saying, "Is nothing sacred?" right?
Micah: Yeah, exactly.
Eric: I mean, as far as keeping...
Micah: And I don't think - they're not saying that, for the purposes of watching a movie, that this isn't going to be this great, epic scene, they're just saying, "Hey! Can't we just stick to what's in the book?"
Eric: I see that.
Andrew: And your thoughts, Eric?
Eric: There was a scene that was supposed to take place in the Shrieking Shack that was cut in the Shrieking Shack in Movie 3 and that mattered far more to me than this, [laughs] Snape's death scene. It happens. At least we know it happens. They're not going to not kill Snape, it happens somewhere else. I'm excited. I think when we heard from Stuart Craig - I was talking about the Marauders scene, by the way. But when we heard from Stuart Craig in February, that he cried when Snape died, or when Alan Rickman's Snape died, when they were filming it, it just made me feel so good about it. And seeing Part 1 and how there were scenes of Deathly Hallows: Part 1 where it wasn't true to the book, for instance, Hedwig's death. And I think that the choices they made were choices, in the end, I really agreed with and I can definitely see where fans are coming from. Why couldn't it have happened in the shack? But I just feel, personally, that during the final battle, Harry is kind of everywhere. And the Shrieking Shack is pretty far away for him to walk while people are engaged in battle and dying and stuff. It just seems - so I figured they'd do something different for the film and I was kind of expecting this, almost. But I will say the crystal house comment did not make sense to me. But it's a boathouse, so that makes sense. I was, like, "Is there a house on the school grounds? What's up with that?" Like, Dumbledore's tomb...
Eric: ...isn't even on the school grounds. But if it's a boathouse that makes sense, right?
Micah: I think my biggest problem with it - Andrew, when you first told me about it - was that for the story, it's about, in a way, coming full circle because, if you remember, Snape almost died going into the Shrieking Shack and he was saved by Harry's father. And that is inevitably where he ends up dying in the series, and I think that was written for a specific purpose. And to take that and to completely change it for the film just because it may be more dramatic, that's where I had the problem with it because I thought that J.K. Rowling wrote this a specific way. He almost died, and then in the end, he does end up dying there. So...
Andrew: Yeah, I think that everybody in the end will feel good about it. I mean, considering again the Stuart Craig crying comment, I think that's a very - that spoke volumes because it was so moving and even incomplete. It wasn't digitally - it wasn't finished, it wasn't part of the editing. It was just the sort of shot that they got and he was so moved by it. So, I think it's going to be really something special, and what a lot of people brought up in the comments - which I do agree with - is Jo did sign off on it, and if she's cool with it...
Andrew: ...I think we should all bow down and be cool with it, too.
Micah: But somebody else also brought up the point that she's approved a lot of the other changes that have taken - She approves every change...
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: ...that takes place in the films, and there are plenty of people who don't like it. So, you've got to remember that as well. The other thing that somebody brought up in the comments was with the Shrieking Shack scene, Harry, Ron, and Hermione - or Harry - is hidden. How do you hide around the corner of a transparent house?
Micah: Because remember, Voldemort is there. He kills Snape with - or Nagini kills Snape...
Andrew: Maybe they're under the cloak? [laughs]
Micah: Maybe. I mean...
Andrew: I'm sure they have a way. And not to mention the other minor issue, which is that we've never been introduced to the boathouse before.
Micah: [laughs] It's in the video game.
Andrew: Oh, really?
Eric: [laughs] Well, I hope it won't feel like it did in Lost, when everyone on the show - they would add new Dharma hatches that only lasted, like, one episode, it just felt cheap. But I think it'll be done artfully. I think it'll be done fine.
Andrew: All right. Well, that's all for news this week. Like we said, a little bit shorter but of course, that big story - everybody was talking about it. It's the most commented story on MuggleNet this month, about Snape, the death scene changing...
Micah: And you got some tweets, right? Later on?
Andrew: Yeah, and later on we're going to get through some tweets. People reacted very passionately about the news at hand, so we'll get to those after Chapter-by-Chapter. For now, this week we're looking at Goblet of Fire, Chapters 21 through 23. I have the first chapter, Micah has the second, and Eric has the third.
Chapter 21, "The House-Elf Liberation Front." It starts off with Harry telling Ron about what Sirius had to say about Karkaroff, and Ron thinks Karkaroff must feel pretty dumb now about his plan not working. But I disagree because there are still two more challenges left, and surely Karkaroff knows that they're going to get more challenging. But would you guys say it's fair to say that Karkaroff was surprised by how well Harry did? Do you think Karkaroff would have expected him to be dead by the end of the first task?
Eric: I think it's fair to say. I mean, he is a fourteen year old in a seventeen year old's game, and he's facing a dragon. I think everybody was surprised by the fact that Harry was kind of still around.
Eric: But the other thing is that Harry feels that Karkaroff was - Karkaroff is the suspect here, where he kind of sees it as having to prove something almost in the way, where Karkaroff is kind of just gritty and edgy, and I think - obviously he would prefer if there were less competition for Durmstrang in this contest, but...
Eric: ...Karkaroff is - seeing as how Karkaroff isn't the main bad guy here, it's not his disappointment to suffer, really.
Micah: And of course - I mean, clearly he is not happy with Harry's performance because he gives him such a low mark. What does he give him, a four?
Micah: For his performance against the dragon?
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Eric: He does what he can.
Andrew: Clearly, very biased.
Micah: Yeah, and I think it's a bit ironic though, too, because the whole book, you're really thinking that somebody put his name in the Goblet of Fire in order to kill him in the tournament, when in fact the whole reason he's been entered into the tournament is to make it through...
Micah: ...to the very end.
Andrew: So, to celebrate Harry's victorious win, there's a celebration party that's held for Harry in the Gryffindor common room, and during the party, Harry's encouraged to open the golden egg that he had grabbed during the first task. He opens it and it screeches very loudly, and everybody begins to take guesses at what this very loud, annoying sound could mean, where is the clue in that? Neville assumed that it's the sound of someone being tortured, so they're going to have to face a Cruciatus Curse, but George notes that they wouldn't make them do that because it's illegal, but Harry entering the tournament was kind of - I don't know if it was illegal, but nothing is ordinary in this tournament, so...
Micah: Interesting that Neville mentions the Cruciatus Curse.
Eric: The Cruciatus Curse, yeah. I mean, what he's actually hearing is what mermaids sound like above water, right? Because the clue is in Mermish.
Eric: So, the fact that Neville hears the screeching and associates it to his childhood, the torture of his parents, that's just pretty spooky.
Andrew: And do you think that that's what the mermaids sound like above water? Because - do they automatically scream like that, do you think, once they are brought above water? Because presumably they can't go above water, or else...
Eric: Oh no, they can because in the book, Dumbledore is seen conversing with the merpeople.
Micah: Yeah, after the tournament.
Micah: After the second task.
Eric: But I don't think that - yeah, I think the fact that it's screeching - obviously they're singing, so there's music or whatever. Yeah, I just think it's not - again, the not-human-ears thing, where...
Eric: ...[laughs] it doesn't have to sound good to humans.
Eric: But it's - yeah, it was really, really weird, and at this point, you're, like, "Okay, a screeching egg, this gets weirder and weirder," but it kind of pulls you in, in a way. All...
Andrew: Yeah, it's a very odd clue, and I'm sure readers, the first time - I can't remember that far back, personally, but the first time I was probably very taken aback by that, too, and I think the Cruciatus Curse was certainly a valid - yes. [laughs]
Eric: It seems reasonable, especially because we just learned about the killing curses this year.
Andrew: Yeah, right.
Eric: They're going to continue to play a big role in this book particularly and we know that, so the question is, where and when?
Andrew: So, Hermione learns all this party food had been from the Hogwarts kitchen, and meaning the house-elves. She asks how Fred got in there because he was the one who got all the food, and they become suspicious at the question - Fred and George - why Hermione would be asking such a thing, and George suggests that Hermione probably wants to go lead them out on a strike, half-jokingly, half-serious, because they know that Hermione has been up to this S.P.E.W. business lately. So, later on, Hermione does go down to the kitchen, taking Fred's tip, and she comes running back into the common room, after having been there, to find Harry and leads him down to the elf kitchen below the Great Hall. And it's very interesting, I really liked how Jo described it. Basically, there are four tables right underneath the four tables in the Great Hall, so somehow the house-elves presumably set all the tables and whatnot, and then the food magically transfers from the kitchen hall to the Great Hall, which is cool.
Micah: Yeah, I always liked that.
Andrew: I liked how that was described.
Micah: When I first read that, I thought that was really cool, the way that she laid that out.
Eric: Yeah. So, where do they cook the food? Is there a third layer? Is there a basement to the basement that is like...
Andrew: Maybe the kitchen is just off to the side. It may have been briefly mentioned, I'm not sure. I mean, because we do hear in a little bit that Dobby has pots - he starts hitting himself with pots and pans...
Andrew: ...so it couldn't - it has to be in that same room.
Eric: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: Harry brings Hermione down into the elf kitchen below the Great Hall, and Hermione had found Dobby and wanted to bring Harry to him straight away. So, Harry immediately notices Dobby wearing a ton of clothing, and Dobby introduces him to Winky who immediately begins crying. It's noted multiple times, though, that all of the elves are very enthusiastic and smiling. They're just happy to be working, except for Winky who still feels guilty about leaving Crouch. Dobby explains he wanted pay to Harry, now being the free elf that he is, and while Dobby is explaining this the other house-elves kind of step away from Dobby because they - as Jo notes - they thought that he were - it was as if he were carrying something contagious because he's speaking of this unspeakable kind of attitude, of wanting pay, which of course sickens Hermione. Dobby reveals Dumbledore agreed to pay him a Galleon a week and give him one day off a month. Hermione is horrified at this deal, but Dobby is ecstatic. And Dobby notices Hermione reacting this way and he says, "Oh no! Dumbledore actually originally offered ten Galleons a week and weekends off, but Dobby thought that was too much." [laughs] So, Hermione - this doesn't make Hermione feel any better. She's very concerned, I guess, that Dobby is still programmed - and this should maybe make something click with her - that Dobby, he's okay with this, he was okay with the lower pay. Do you guys think that should have struck Hermione, like to, hey, maybe back off? [laughs] Considering he was offered higher pay and he wanted lower pay?
Eric: She doesn't want to be proven wrong, is the thing, and so when Ron or somebody will just say, "Well, the house-elves like it like that," she's not so quick to agree. I think eventually she sees that, but the fact that Dobby talked Dumbledore down... [laughs]
Eric: "I'll give you ten Galleons." "No, no, no, no, sir. No, [laughs] Dobby only requires one Galleon." It's just - it's amusing, but I think Hermione is definitely fighting. Dobby is the odd one out. I think she has more hope - Hermione has more hope for the other house-elves, maybe Winky, but in general the whole lot of them - because they're not even as free as Dobby is. I think she tries to focus - and Dobby is kind of the odd one out, I think, in both groups, to both groups of people.
Andrew: Do you think that Dumbledore was paying Dobby out of his personal pocket?
Eric: [laughs] Is there a fund?
Micah: Yeah, probably.
Andrew: Well, I'm just wondering because it was so minimal, and Dobby probably goes to Dumbledore directly for the pay, so...
Micah: I don't think he gets like a check or what the equivalent of that would be...
Micah: ...like the other professors.
Andrew: Because I wonder if it would even be allowed.
Eric: To pay an elf. Yeah...
Andrew: A house-elf.
Andrew: So, maybe Dumbledore kind of does it under the table?
Micah: This way Dobby doesn't have to pay taxes on that.
Eric: [laughs] Taxes.
Micah: [laughs] On that one Galleon.
Andrew: So, Hermione asks Winky how much she's getting paid, but she says she refuses to stoop that low, still, of course, crying. She's okay with - I think she was wearing an article or two of clothing but she still refused to get paid, and Dobby - by the way, Dumbledore's - or Dobby's - character really shines in this chapter. The way he speaks, you really get a sense of him personally. I kind of fell in love with the Dobby character all over again re-reading this chapter, but Dobby says Winky still feels very loyal to Crouch. And Dobby doesn't feel that way as much towards Lucius, and dares himself to say something bad about Lucius. He does, but he can't quite resist the urge to punish himself for speaking badly, saying that Lucius is a very bad Death Eater, I think the wordage was. So, that sort of wraps up the conversation, and Hermione thinks Dobby's presence in the kitchen is good for the rest of the elves as they can see how happy Dobby is as a free elf even though the elves were backing away a little earlier, still very weary of what the heck Dobby is up to. And to wrap up this chapter, I just have an overall question: What's in Dobby's character that allows him to be so comfortable and happy with being free while there's not one other elf who feels this way? Why is Dobby like this? Is it because maybe he connected with one human, being Harry? Was the fact that Harry freed Dobby suddenly, like, a light switched in Dobby's head?
Eric: That's a good question. Micah, what were you going to say?
Micah: I think you could almost make the argument, if you really wanted to, when you look at Dobby and where he came from, freedom would be really the best alternative in the world, whereas you have these elves that work at Hogwarts, right? And I'm assuming that their lives are a million times better than what Dobby was experiencing when he was living at Malfoy Manor, so maybe - and I know it's a stretch because every case is different, but I'm assuming Dumbledore treats his house-elves or the house-elves of Hogwarts far better than the Malfoys treated Dobby. So, maybe Dobby [laughs] in the end deep down inside really just wanted to get away from being beaten all the time.
Eric: It's interesting, though, for a house-elf to want that because it almost seems like house-elves...
Micah: Are programmed?
Eric: ...are so bound, programmed, brainwashed, whatever you want to use, that even if they have an owner who misuses them or isn't that great to them - I believe Hepzibah Smith's house-elf was shown as very loyal, but she also very care-taking. My point is that Dobby - we have to remember that he actually strayed from the Malfoys and made his way to Privet Drive not just once to visit Harry in Year 2, but somehow he was collecting and stopping the owls that were going to Harry. Dobby spent a lot of time thinking about Harry Potter that year based on his own motivation because there were talks about terrible things happening at Hogwarts, and I think that act that Dobby did back in Harry's Year 2 shows that he was always kind of the odd one out. He was always somehow able to realize that what was - he was somehow able to dissent.
Micah: The role of house-elf.
Eric: Even if house-elves know right and wrong the way humans do, the fact that he was able to act on it makes him really strange.
Andrew: So, that wraps up Chapter 21, and Micah, I hand the keys over to you now to drive us through Chapter 22.
Micah: [laughs] Well, Chapter 22 opens at "The Unexpected Task" with Harry and Ron in the back of their Transfiguration class with Professor McGonagall, and of course, they're not paying attention. And it's one of those scenes where McGonagall yells at them, and...
Andrew: An unexpected task, by the way, that everybody has in...
Andrew: ...high school or middle school.
Eric: Yeah, I love the name of this chapter.
Eric: It's a task. It's right up there with battling dragons and screeching eggs.
Micah: It may be worse than battling dragons.
Eric: [laughs] I feel like Harry...
Micah: In some cases.
Eric: ...would have chosen to face the dragon again.
Eric: ...than find a date.
Micah: Well, McGonagall, at the end of class, informs all the students that the Yule Ball will be taking place and she lets them know that it's going to be open to fourth years and above, but you're more than welcome to ask somebody who is younger than you are. Now, is that really fair? I mean, why is it fair that you can go ahead and ask somebody younger than you, and they can go, but that person's best friend can't go? Is that really a good practice to be setting? And is it only open to fourth years and older because of Harry?
Eric: Oh, that's - you mean otherwise it would be seventh years and older? Not that there are older. Huh.
Andrew: That's an interesting question. I can see why they wouldn't want the ten year olds in...
Eric: Yeah. Well, eleven.
Andrew: Or eleven. Yeah, it just - I don't know if that makes sense when some of the students are also seventeen, eighteen.
Eric: Well, it's like junior and senior prom. I mean, sophomore and freshmen and not allowed in unless they're dating or going with a junior or senior.
Micah: Right. I guess that's kind of where it came from.
Eric: They all have their time - it's a formal thing, it's just kind of exclusive so that it makes it that much more special when you are a junior or senior to attend.
Andrew: Yeah, that's true.
Eric: I do think that, yeah, the fourteen-year-old is probably because of Harry, but then again it would be an extremely not - well, not an entirely well-populated dance if only one year of students were there. It would kind of...
Andrew: I think we forget how young they are, too. I mean, eleven year olds at a dance just doesn't make sense.
Andrew: Well, you can't mix with seventeen, eighteen year olds. I mean, that's a completely different end of the spectrum, really.
Micah: Yep. So, during all of this, Harry also learns that he is going to have to be part of the ball's opening dance, so deal or no deal, fair or unfair, [laughs] what do you guys think? I mean, it's almost like it's one of those things that you find out about and then all of a sudden, your mind starts racing in a million different ways to try and figure out how you can get out of it, because that seems like what was going on with Harry right then and there, so...
Andrew: Yeah, it's a formality, though, so...
Micah: It is a formality, but also - I mean, he's just finding out about this weeks before the Yule Ball. Is that really okay to do to somebody?
Andrew: But, well - I mean...
Micah: He always seems to get information right before, [laughs] he never gets it in advance.
Andrew: It's just a typical thing that happens in high school or middle school. You have these last minute - you have to make last minute plans for the ball.
Eric: Yeah. I mean, I think that's part of the - it is a tradition, the Yule Ball, and it was obviously pre-planned but it was supposed to be a surprise. But that does happen to Harry often, that I agree with, where he just has things come up...
Eric: ...during the year.
Micah: Well, I guess it's almost like a prom king and queen, they have to - they stand out above the rest of the group, so they have to take this first dance, so to speak.
Eric: And it's not exactly a school dance. It's also Durmstrang and Beauxbatons, and it's only an event that would only happen if the Triwizard Tournament were going on, which hasn't happened in quite some time. So, that's what I liked about the Yule Ball, was the fact that it's associated with the Triwizard Tournament and so the fact that the champions have their special dance - and it's a great honor to be one of the champions, but also a date of one of the champions - is exclusive and special.
Eric: I don't know what the Weird Sisters have to do with anything...
Eric: ...but we'll get into that later. [laugh]
Micah: Harry starts to notice all of these female students that currently attend Hogwarts, as if they didn't exist previously. And I thought it was more of a coming-of-age type of maturity - whatever you want to call it, that he's sort of experiencing this, especially since now he needs a date for the ball. And there's a lot of little scenes here where he's walking around and he's got some female students that come up and ask him, and I think one he was really quick to respond and say no to her, out of nowhere. He was kind of surprised at how quickly he reacted. But with all these people that keep coming up to him, he starts to wonder to himself, would anybody want to go to the ball with him if he wasn't a champion? But - say we're at this point in the book and it's a different title, and Harry doesn't end up in this Triwizard Tournament. But I think - wouldn't you guys agree that he's pretty famous, regardless? Somebody would want to go to the ball with this guy because, let's face it, the series is named after him, right? He's still famous regardless...
Micah: ...of whether or not he's in this freaking tournament.
Eric: Yeah, he's still probably - he's still the most popular Gryffindor. But I think you have to want it and here's a situation where Harry finds himself stuck where he needs a date, and I think if he weren't a champion here, he wouldn't need to worry about this. But also, he wouldn't ñ I think girls can be interested in you, but unless you're interested in being with a girl, there's really not a whole lot they can do, except to try and persuade you. I think - so Harry's at that point where otherwise, I don't think he would be enough of himself that it would be fun for - to go to a dance or fun for anybody to take him to a dance. I think ó the fact of the matter is is that he's rising to the occasion. He has to do this, this is something...
Eric: ...and it's in his character to...
Micah: So, you think it would be more of, say, he didn't find out about ó no pun intended, but if he could have, he would have went stag, that's what you're saying.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Yeah. I think so, I really think so. Or...
Micah: At this point in his life, he's just not there.
Andrew: Sometimes it's just easier.
Eric: Hung out with Ron, or if Hermione hadn't gone off with Krum, I think things would have turned out a little bit differently. But obviously, this is Hermione's time to shine. But yeah, I think...
Andrew: In the words of Jason Derulo, "I'm riding solo, I'm riding solo." That would be a good Make the Music Connection.
Micah: All right. [laughs] So...
Andrew: The song, "Ridin' Solo"?
Andrew: He's riding solo. Okay, just wanted to make sure you get that.
Micah: I got it. So, Harry and Ron find it difficult to find dates to the Yule Ball, we've pretty much established that. And it seems...
Andrew: They should have went together! Who says you have to go with a girl?
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: Okay, okay, so...
Andrew: Dumbledore should not have a problem with that!
Eric: That's true. This is a progressive, progressive castle.
Micah: But the point to make here, though - it seems like everyone else is ahead of the game, doesn't it? I mean, you hear about all these people as they start to ask, and it seems like Harry and Ron just really didn't plan much ahead. Not that they ever do, but you find out Hermione is going with somebody, Ginny is going with somebody, Neville is going with somebody, Seamus is going with somebody, Fred asks Angelina Johnson right in front of them. So, a little behind the eight ball, these guys are.
Andrew: It happens, though, and there's always one or two people that still don't have a date. I mean, it's almost like Jo is writing from experience. I mean, she got it down perfectly. Almost anyone can relate to that type of situation. Most guys can - I mean, unless you were in the popular, popular groups. But Lord knows none of us were, back in the day.
Micah: It's true.
Micah: [laughs] So, we get to the point where Harry finally gets up enough courage to go and ask Cho Chang, and he - it's interesting reading sort of the emotions that he's going through right then and there as he's approaching to ask her, and how quickly the emotions change from kind of having those butterflies - or I think he talks about having snakes in his stomach, and then all of a sudden it turns to ice cold when she tells him that she's already going with somebody else. And kind of comparing who Harry goes after versus who Ron goes after, do you guys think it shows how mature they are at this point in the series?
Eric: Well, Harry likes Cho for the same reason Ron likes Fleur, I think. Or - well, no, I guess Harry does like - well, Harry finds Cho very pretty but I think he also does like her because she's also into Quidditch, right? I mean, why does Harry ask Cho? Why is Cho the one that Harry asks?
Micah: Because he likes her.
Andrew: I think that's it, yeah. I mean, every once in a while when you're in middle school, high school, heck, elementary school, you get these little crushes and then you're, like, "Oh, I want to..."
Eric: Well, Ron has that for Fleur, but I guess also...
Micah: I think it's on a different level, though.
Micah: I think more like Fleur is - she's hot. I don't know how to...
Eric: But it's the obvious...
Micah: I think there's more emotional involvement with Harry and Cho than there is with Ron and Fleur.
Micah: If that makes sense.
Eric: I think, in fact, Ron is avoiding his feelings by asking Fleur because it can be guessed that he has those kinds of feelings, if he were to sit down and think about it, for Hermione. Okay. So yeah, I do think it's a difference in maturity. And obviously both guys don't actually get anywhere from asking their crushes, unfortunately.
Micah: We're going to get an e-mail that we should have had a girl on this show, [laughs] I'm telling you right now.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Eric: It is the romance side of the...
Eric: ...of the story.
Micah: We're trying, we're trying.
Andrew: Who would really think, though, it would have been too hard for Harry to find someone, really? I mean, I think it just came down to the fact that he waited too long. And that happens a lot in real life, so...
Micah: So, towards the end of the chapter, when they are all in the common room, and Harry and Ron still do not have dates, we start to get a little bit of insight into how Hermione feels towards Ron and how Ginny feels towards Harry based on what happens and what takes place. And I added, [laughs] "Man, Neville is a pimp..."
Micah: ...because it's just so interesting to hear about Neville, Neville asked Hermione. Well, then Neville asked Ginny. And it's just - you don't think that he would be the one.
Andrew: Yeah, you never would have guessed that.
Eric: He's got [pronounces incorrectly] chutzpah.
Micah: [pronounces correctly] Chutzpah.
Andrew: It's a fun little twist to his character.
Andrew: It's a fun twist to his character because you never would have guessed that he would be the one, and then he ends up being the P-I-M-P.
Eric: Yeah, and he scores Ginny. Look at that. I mean, I think obviously, she felt bad for him because Hermione said no, right? I mean, I think that's said.
Micah: Well, she had already committed to somebody else.
Micah: That's why she said no.
Eric: Right, right. I just...
Micah: Otherwise she probably would have said yes.
Eric: But the courage - that's just the thing, that's what Ron lacks, Neville has. And I guess being a Gryffindor is all about courage.
Micah: Yeah, but you do get that insight, sort of, with the interaction between Hermione and Ron, specifically when Ron tries to keep having a go at her about not really having a date and just pretending for the sake of making herself look better. And then Ginny, who kind of turns red when Ron suggests that Harry should just go with her, but she already has a date. You get to see a little bit of the jealousy that's taking place there.
Andrew: I'm going to need counseling after this.
Micah: I know! It's...
Andrew: This chapter...
Micah: This chapter hurt my head...
Andrew: ...brought back a lot of bad memories.
Micah: ...when I was reading it.
Eric: I wanted to - yeah.
Micah: But it does end with, at least Harry, a hundred percent certain that he does have a date with Parvati.
Eric: And he asks...
Andrew: All right, good.
Eric: He asks Lavender to go with Ron, actually.
Micah: Yeah, which is kind of funny. [laughs]
Eric: I thought that was funny. She's - Lavender Brown, of course, is going with Seamus at the time. But they - I think Harry goes up to Parvati and Lavender as they walk into the common room, and they burst into a fit of giggles, or Harry says...
Micah: There's a lot of giggling going on in this chapter.
Eric: Yeah, it's very odd...
Micah: Brought me back to high school.
Eric: ...because Harry says, [laughs] "Will you go to the ball with me?" and "Parvati went into a fit of giggles. Harry waited for them to subside, his fingers crossed in the pocket of his robes." So, he's - it's laughter, I can take laughter. But it's not a no. [laughs] So, will she say yes? That's what he's hoping.
Andrew: Okay, good. Well, let's move on now to Chapter 23.
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