MuggleCast 225 Transcript



Show Intro


["Hedwig's Theme" plays]

Micah: Because Harriet Potter just wouldn't have sold as well, this is MuggleCast Episode 225 for April 9th, 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.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 225! It has not been two weeks like it normally would be. Usually we release a new episode every other week but we had so much to get to on 224 that we wanted to do a quick turn around with 225, and that's exactly what we're doing. Micah and Eric and I are here this week, and also back after not being on for a long time, Ben - oh no, Matt Britton. Sorry.

Matt: Sorry. Second choice.

Andrew: Yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Sorry.

[Matt laughs]

Andrew: I don't know, out of the corner of my eye, you looked like Ben. It was really weird.

Micah: No, our first choice!

Eric: Yes!

Matt: Oh. Well, thank you.

Andrew: That's really sweet.

Matt: You guys are so sweet.

Andrew: I don't know what the motive is there, but...

Micah: I was just trying to be nice. People tell me I'm not nice enough on the show...

[Eric laughs]

Micah: ...so I'm just trying to be nice.

[Matt laughs]

Andrew: All right. Well, we have lots of news to get to and also we're going to have the penultimate Chapter-by-Chapter installment for Goblet of Fire.

Eric: Woo!

Andrew: We're going to be looking at Chapters 34 and 35 before wrapping it up next episode, so we have a lot to get to. I'm Andrew Sims.

Eric: I'm Eric Scull.

Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.

Matt: And I'm Matt Britton.



News: Deathly Hallows - Part 1 DVD/Blu-ray Launch Event in NYC - "Maximum Movie Mode"


Andrew: Micah, what is in the news? We missed your anchoring on the last episode, I had to do it!

Micah: Yeah, yeah, I know and I did take a listen to the episode. You did a pretty good job, Andrew. I was rather impressed.

Andrew: Did I pass?

Micah: Yeah, you passed. You passed.

Eric: [laughs] Micah's school of Harry Potter news anchoring.

Micah: But the reason why I wasn't here last episode was because I was covering the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows DVD and Blu-ray release in addition to the opening of Harry Potter: The Exhibition in New York city. WB I guess decided [laughs] it would be a good idea to combine both of these together, and just a lot of events that took place over the course of the last few days and a lot of stuff went on. So, the first event that took place on Sunday morning was they had all the fan sites get together and take a preview of what was going to be on the Deathly Hallows DVD and Blu-ray, specifically the Blu-ray. There's this cool new feature called "Maximum Movie Mode" and it really allows you to get insight into what's happening in a particular scene. And WB gave us two clips that were exclusive to the fan sites, one of Umbridge, and the other of Voldemort and Ralph Fiennes getting the makeup put on to play that role, and it's really cool because you have either a member of the crew or, in the case of Umbridge, Jason Isaacs, talking about who the character is, what their role is in the series, or in the case of where you have the makeup being applied, how Ralph Fiennes goes about transforming into Voldemort. So...

Andrew: And you get this while you're watching the movie, right?

Micah: Exactly.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah, it's happening in real time as you're watching the movie.

Andrew: Which is cool because if you're watching Part 1 again and maybe you don't feel like - you want something new to look forward to, this is perfect and you get some canon as well, so it's really interesting to watch.

Eric: Well - so my question - obviously they're trying to - I saw these clips and they're really cool, but I can't help but feel like these special features, these behind the scenes, should have been on their respective DVDs, because, I mean, they're showing how to create Umbridge, that happened in Movie 5, how to create Mad-Eye Moody, that happened in Movie 4. You're watching Movie 7 but they're going back to these old making-of's. Where are the Movie 7 making-of's that are going to show during the film?

Andrew: I'm sure there's some of those in there.

Matt: Yeah.

Eric: And why is it - why weren't these features utilized before? I guess I feel like, well, at least we're getting them somewhere and somehow, but even the Extended Editions don't have these - or these Ultimate Editions don't have these really cool features that are on this Blu-ray "Maximum Movie Mode" of Deathly Hallows - Part 1 coming out Tuesday.

Andrew: Not all brilliant ideas come...

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: ...during the original conception, so...

Matt: There will be another release of all seven together...

[Micah laughs]

Matt: ...and they'll probably put them all again, so it's going to be like the Ultimate Diamond Blu-ray Edition Extended...

Eric: I see. Well, that's cool.

Micah: Yeah, I think it's a good question, but the other side of it is, how many were available when Blu-ray was a reality?

Andrew: Right. Right! Micah makes a lot of sense. Blu-ray has only been around a couple of years, and you can only really do those kind of cool - well, I don't know if this is a Blu-ray exclusive feature. They may have been able to do it on the DVD. In fact, they probably could have. If you can turn this "Maximum Movie Mode" on and off while you're watching the movie then yes, that would be exclusive to Blu-ray. All right. So, the Apple Store Q&A, what happened over there?



News: Deathly Hallows - Part 1 DVD/Blu-ray Launch Event in NYC - Apple Store Q&A


Micah: Yeah, so after this event at - their offices, actually, is where we got a chance to take a look at the Blu-ray - they bussed us over to the Apple store which wasn't that far away, and we got a chance to participate in a Q&A with a lot of members of the cast. This was, of course, in promotion of Deathly Hallows - Part 1, again, on [laughs] Blu-ray and DVD. They showed us a quick little snippet from Deathly Hallows to kind of intro it, and then all the members of the cast that were participating in this event were there.

Andrew: And who were some of those cast?

Micah: [laughs] Okay, let's go through this: Freddie Stroma who plays Cormac McLaggen, Natalia Tena who plays Tonks, David Thewlis - Lupin - Evanna Lynch - everybody knows who she is - Warwick Davis who's been on this show a couple of times, Helen McCrory, David Barron who is one of the producers, and Robbie Coltrane.

Andrew: David Heyman, too.

Micah: Yeah, I'm not done yet.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: That's a lot. Wow.

Micah: There was a lot of seats there. There were a lot of seats. James and Oliver Phelps were there, Bonnie Wright, Michael Gambon, and as you mentioned, David Heyman. There were a couple of other cast members that showed up the next day for events at the exhibition, but those were the people that were there. And it was just - it was a huge showing by the cast.

Andrew: So, you said one of the highlights was this clip…

Micah: Well, that's actually from the next day.

Andrew: Oh. I can't keep track of all this. This is so much.

Eric: But why was this Apple Store - was it for the DVD?

Andrew: Yes…

Micah: Yes…

Andrew: …this was all…

Micah: …this was all for the DVD.

Eric: But when have they done this kind of promo for the DVD? I mean, this is massive.

Micah: When has ever one of their movies been on Blu-ray?

Andrew: Well…

Micah: I think that's part of it.

Eric: Oh. Pushing the new format.

Andrew: Well, I think the thing is they are really trying to promote the films as much as possible now that everything is about to wrap up. They're giving - they have one last shot for a lot of this stuff, so…

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: …this is part of it.

Micah: Well, Apple does this thing, though - isn't it called "Meet the Producers" or "Meet the Directors"?

Andrew: Yeah, "Meet the Filmmakers," something like that.

Micah: "Meet the Filmmakers," that's what it is, yeah. So, this was part of that series and this should now be available for free to download on iTunes where you can go and experience this just as we did. This was kind of an event, I think, that was more for the fans that showed up. We were able to ask questions if we wanted to, but we were kind of on the side just watching as the other fans that were there.

Matt: How many fans were there, Micah?

Micah: I would say there was probably seats for somewhere around 75 fans, and then there were some that were standing a little behind them in the background.

Matt: Mhm.

Micah: But one interesting thing - Matt, I know you were just at one of these events, but the captain of the NYU Quidditch team was there with members of the Quidditch team...

Andrew: That's cool.

Matt: Wow.

Micah: ...and they posed the question to the cast if they knew about Quidditch in its Muggle form, I guess you would say.

Matt: Uh huh.

Micah: [laughs] And Warwick Davis joked, "Do you have to be drunk to play it?"

[Andrew and Matt laugh]

Micah: So, they had a lot of interesting questions that they threw back at members of the crowd.



News: Harry Potter: The Exhibition Opens in NYC


Andrew: So - and then what else happened? An exhibition tour? You got to see the exhibition, finally!

Micah: Yeah, I did. It was really cool. That afternoon - [laughs] I was all over New York City on Sunday. Got a chance to go up to Times Square and see the exhibition, to walk through.

Andrew: Was it worth it?

Micah: Yeah, I definitely think it's worth it if you're a fan of the series. There's a lot of cool stuff to take a look at. I know that they've added stuff that wasn't there previously. There's a few things from Part 2. The only thing I noticed was one of the Horcruxes, which was the cup. But there's also been things that I'm sure have been added since it made its debut, stuff from Deathly Hallows - Part 1. So, it's just really a lot of authentic things. I think any Potter fan, as I said before, is going to want to go and experience it. It's right in the heart of New York City, so I know a lot of people make trips there at one point or another during the year. It's going to be there over the summer through September, so I really recommend that fans that listen to us go out there and have a good time.

Andrew: And obviously, perfect timing with Dan's musical being two blocks away, two or three blocks away. I mean, perfect two-in-one trip you can kind of make into the city to see both of those things.

Matt: Mhm.

Andrew: How much is the exhibition in Times Square? I imagine it must be pricey.

Micah: Actually, I didn't even look. That's a good question, I was wondering that.

Andrew: Wow, you make so much money, you don't even...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Money is of no concern to you. That's unbelievable, Micah!

Micah: But I didn't pay to go see the exhibition. [laughs]

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: Oh!

Matt: Oh!

Andrew: That makes more sense.

Micah: [laughs] Warner Bros. was nice enough to say, "Go to the exhibition."

Matt: How long, Micah, do you think that tour takes?

Micah: I think if you're - well, there's two ways you can go about it. You can get an audio companion, which I remember is $7.00. You can buy the audio companion and you press the buttons as you go along to get deeper insight into what you're seeing, so if you do that, that might take a little bit longer. Or you can just go through without the audio companion. It's probably somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes if you're going to stop and you're going to look at everything. There's a couple of interactive pieces, like you can pull Mandrakes from dirt.

Andrew: Hey, I have a great idea. We should do our own exhibition commentary.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Like, go through the exhibition, tour it - record as we're touring it, tell people which way to go about the exhibition, and then we release it.

Eric: But what would we say? Because...

Andrew: Well, we'd give our own insight like, "Hey, this is from that specific scene. Do you remember that? Yeah!"

Matt: "Oh, hey. Yeah, you can't see it right now, but we can."

Andrew: No...

Eric: The insight...

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: ...you would bring this with you, the viewer would bring this with them, and we would be the walking tour.

Eric: Like our... [laughs]

Matt: But maybe they want to go at a different pace than us.

Eric: Oh my God.

Andrew: Then they don't buy the walking tour!

Matt: Oh.

Eric: Okay, so I looked up the Discovery Center, and the tickets for Harry Potter: The Exhibition are adults $25.00, seniors $22.50, children four to twelve $19.50, and children under four are free.

Andrew: That's not too bad, actually.

Matt: Oh. Well, that's because they won't remember it.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Okay, before we continue with today's show, we'd like to remind everybody that this podcast 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 and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of this podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. One audiobook to consider is A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1. It's a very popular book on Audible and a television adaptation is about to debut on HBO, called Game of Thrones. You may have heard about it. It's getting a lot of pre-premiere hype. I'm personally really excited for it to begin. So, for a free audiobook of your choice, such as A Game of Thrones, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. That's AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.



News: Harry Potter: The Exhibition Roundtable


Andrew: So, in relation to the exhibition, there was also the roundtable, another press interview.

Micah: Yeah, another press conference, and this was, I think, really for the exhibition. This was inside Discovery Times Square. It was actually down where everybody gets sorted, that's where our grouping was because the way that they did it was they put the fan sites together, and then they put [laughs] the rest of the media together. So, we got a chance to really have sort of that in-depth, personal conversation with a lot of - with all the actors that were there and...

Andrew: Good.

Micah: ...the members of the crew, in addition to the people that I mentioned already. Mark Williams who plays Arthur Weasley was there, Clemence Poesy who plays Fleur, and Domhnall Gleeson who plays Bill, so those were three other people that were there.

Andrew: And we have a clip from it now. This is a funny moment, Micah particularly enjoyed this. This is Michael Gambon making a joke. What was the prompt? What was the question? Funny moments on set?

Micah: Well, we might actually hear it.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: Yeah, it was something along those lines.

Andrew: All right, let's listen.

[Audio clip plays]

Michael

Gambon: In Film 3, I had to - the first film I did, I had to walk through the Great Hall in the middle of the night, with 500 children in sleeping bags...

David

Heyman: Beautiful shot.

Gambon: ...with Rickman. And Dan - Danny said he wanted to be put next to a certain girl.

[Everyone laughs]

Heyman: It's true. Absolutely true.

Gambon: So Alfonso, the director, put him next to this girl, [laughs] but we hid a fart machine inside his sleeping bag.

[Everyone laughs]

Gambon: And I had the controller in my pocket. Dan thought the camera was running, but it wasn't running. I mean, I operated it.

Moderator: Very well done.

Gambon: We nearly died laughing.

[Audio clip ends]

Andrew: That's funny. You would have thought they would have kept that - put that in the - like, that's just classic.

Eric: [laughs] It's class-less.

Andrew: Oh, it's Michael Gambon.

Micah: Yeah, he's just having a good time.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: There was another funny moment, too. Somebody asked the question of all of them, what is it like working with Dan? And everybody had nice things to say, but Warwick Davis mentioned that he thought that he was actually taller than Dan when Dan started the series.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Which probably actually isn't true, literally speaking, but I get the joke. That is a funny joke.

Micah: But yeah - I mean, a lot of great questions, a lot of funny moments, and you can listen to both of those panels, I think, on the site right now.

Andrew: All right.

Micah: We have the audio up there, so...



News: Harry Potter: The Exhibition Red Carpet


Andrew: And then last but not least, the last event you attended was the red carpet for the exhibition and the DVD.

Micah: Yes.

Andrew: So, that was a two-in-one thing.

Micah: Yeah, that, I think, was for the rest of the media, in addition to us, to go and be able to take some photos. But all in all, just a lot of stuff going on, but great events and great job by Warner Bros. And it was a lot of fun.

Andrew: Well, thanks for covering it for...

Micah: I appreciate it.

Andrew: Yeah. Oh, you didn't mention the after-party. That's funny. You didn't mention the after-party with the free alcohol.

Matt: Oh, what?

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Well, [laughs] we went over to the Hard Rock. It was just the fan sites and...

[Eric laughs]

Micah: ...some other people that were working with us the whole weekend, and we got treated to a very nice dinner and some drinks from them, so...

Eric: So, that's why you weren't on MuggleCast on Monday.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Yeah, that's why I was...

Eric: You were still raising up the bill over there.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: All right. Great job, Micah. That was really...

Micah: Oh...

Andrew: What?

Micah: ...you mentioned something on the last show, though, that I didn't talk about yet, and that is that I did get a chance really briefly to talk to David Heyman.

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: Oh, right. Did you introduce yourself as "the person who you dueled"?

[Eric laughs]

Micah: No, I did not.

Andrew: The person he dueled on MuggleCast?

Micah: No, no, no, no.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: I did not. But...

Andrew: So, how did the conversation go?

Micah: Yeah, it was a really quick conversation. He was coming out of the Apple store and talking with fans.

Andrew: Oh, okay. I thought you were going to be like, "Yeah, I kind of followed him for a couple of blocks."

Micah: No, no, no.

[Eric and Matt laugh]

Micah: I turned the corner and he was talking with a bunch of other fans, so I figured it's really just a good opportunity to say hello, and I mentioned that he did come on our 200th episode and he remembered it. He said that he was very gracious I think and just - he said he hoped that - Eric mentioned this on the last episode, but hoped that we all enjoyed Movie 2, or Part 2. And yeah, I know that you said that even if I didn't enjoy it, I probably would have said that I did enjoy it.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, I don't think you'd be honest with him. I wouldn't.

Micah: Would you?

Andrew: No.

Micah: No, you wouldn't either, so...

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: I'd say, "Great job," yeah.

Eric: Micah has turned the tables.

Micah: No, I listened to the last episode, so I know everything that got said. What's interesting, too, I think is - and I couldn't believe this when I heard it, was that it was Natalia Tena's first time in New York.

Andrew: Oh wow. That's exciting.

Micah: So, that was pretty cool. And one other really quick funny story and then we can move on, because you were talking about flying over here. There was a question if they had ever seen - kind of what their reaction is when they see themselves on television or when their movies are playing, and it so happened that the guy next to David Thewlis on the plane ride over here was watching - I think it was Deathly Hallows - Part 1 actually, or maybe it was Half-Blood Prince, something like that. And Robbie Coltrane was sitting a couple of seats behind and Natalia Tena was a couple of seats in front, so he was joking about how funny it would be if the other two just kind of walked over and joined David, and they kind of looked over the guy's shoulder as he was watching the film.

[Matt laughs]

Micah: It's kind of a surreal experience to have those people right there as you're watching the movie.

Andrew: He probably wouldn't have even noticed them. [laughs]

Micah: [laughs] No.

Andrew: They all look the same. I thought you were going to say they were going to act out one of the scenes or something.

Matt: Yeah.

Micah: [laughs] That would have been cool, too.

Andrew: That would have been funny.

Andrew and

Micah: Yeah. All right.

Andrew: Well, what else is going on in the news?



News: Deathly Hallows - Part 1 Deleted Scenes


Micah: Well, just quickly wanted to mention a lot of deleted scenes have been uploaded online from the Part 1 DVD, but we're actually going to save talking about them, I think, until the DVD actually comes out, because it would just make sense on our review show, as we do with every DVD, to talk about it then.

Andrew: That's absolutely right.



News: Helen McCrory Says Multiple Endings Shot for Malfoys


Micah: Good, I'm glad. Glad you agree. All right, final bit of news. As we've been talking about a lot of press going on the last few days, Helen McCrory, when she was on the red carpet with MTV, mentioned that there were multiple endings shot for the Malfoy family in Deathly Hallows - Part 2, and she wasn't quite sure which one was going to end up being used. But seeing as how you and Eric have seen Part 2, maybe you can answer that question for her.

Andrew: I don't think - I have to say, there wasn't much of an ending. When I first read this article, I was kind of confused. I would just say don't get your hopes up about a big ending for the Malfoys, because - at least in the cut that we saw, it's not much of an ending.

Matt: But there isn't really much of an ending for them in the book anyways.

Andrew: I know, but the point is that they shot four different things, including Narcissa - Helen says that she shot a duel, I think. So, hard to say right now. I'm surprised that they shot four for the Malfoys, that seems like a lot. But with the current cut that Eric and I saw in Chicago last week, I would say don't get your hopes up for an exciting Malfoy ending.

Micah: All right. Well, that's all the news.



Announcement: LeakyCon 2011


Andrew: All right, excellente. Well, before we move on to our What If segment this week, we would like to remind everybody that we're going to be at LeakyCon 2011. LeakyCon.com is the site you can go to get all the information about the Harry Potter conference. It's going to be held July 13th to the 17th in Orlando, Florida over the release of Deathly Hallows - Part 2. So, if you want to see the movie at a midnight showing with some of the biggest Harry Potter fans, this is the place to be. Not only is there going to be the midnight showing of the film, but there's going to be group therapy after the film is released...

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: ...and other things to help you deal. But not just that, there's going to be a dance, there's going to be a party in the theme park. There's going to be a lot going on, including podcasts with Micah, Ben, Eric, and I. So, visit LeakyCon.com. When you do register, get excited because we can't wait to see you there, but also use the code "Muggle", and that way we know that you're coming, and we can't wait to see you there at LeakyCon.com.

Matt: Yeah.



What If The Main Character in Harry Potter Was Female?


Andrew: So, for the What If segment this week - we may have done this before but we're not entirely sure. [laughs] So, instead of looking it up and figuring out if we did, we're just going to do it anyway because it's a good question. What if the main character in the Harry Potter series was a girl, and as Eric noted, Harriet Potter? And some examples of sub-questions are: Would the villain also be female? Micah, would the villain have to be a female Voldemort? Volderetta?

Micah: That's, I guess, a good question. I don't think it necessarily have to be the case.

Matt: Would it really be different, though, if Voldemort was a woman? I mean, what kind of a character change would there be?

Eric: The question is, because if Harry were a girl, would the villain - the villain would be like, "Oh, you mean old man," you know? What kind of male villain picks on a young girl? You can't even - you almost can't even write about that.

Andrew: Well, think about Voldemort. He kills his fair share of women in the books over the series.

Matt: He's not sexist when it comes to murdering people.

Eric: He's not, no. But in terms of a story - the other thing that I kind of was going at with wanting to discuss this was, would the books have sold as well? Or how do you sell the books?

Micah: That goes back to the first question that Andrew asked, though. It was, if the main character changed, if Harry was a girl...

Eric: Well, they've...

Micah: I don't think so.

Eric: If Voldemort were female, as the same...

Micah: I don't think it would have sold as well.

Eric: Well, my question, I guess, as a sub-question was, would Voldemort be female because Harry was female?

Andrew: Yeah, I don't think that's a cause for...

Micah: Not necessarily.

Matt: There are series where the main character is a woman and the villain is a man.

Eric: True.

Andrew: Like?

Matt: The Hunger Games.

Andrew: Oh. Hmm, good point. I think they would have to call the books H.P. and the Sorcerer's Stone, H.P. and the Chamber of Secrets...

Eric: What, "H.P." as...

Matt: Just like they do with JK Rowling?

Andrew: Exactly.

Eric: What? So, they are hiding, they are masking her femininity.

Andrew: Right, just like they did "JK Rowling."

Eric: Well, that's true.

Andrew: I wonder if JK Rowling is a little offended by that, in hindsight.

Eric: I'm sure that she doesn't really...

Andrew: So, would the books be as successful?

Micah: No, I don't...

Andrew: No?

Micah: Yeah, no. There's no - it would not even come close to being as successful as it is right now. I think that because it's a male character, it's able to resonate more, I think, across gender. If it was a female character, I don't think there is the chance of that. I mean, isn't that the basis for Twilight, right? One of the main - or I guess - is the main character female, right?

Andrew: Yeah, but it's a teen romance...

Eric: But she's also the least rewarding female. She has the least rewarding qualities that you can possibly hope for. But I guess that series is pretty successful.

Matt: Well, no, the series is different than this because this is a fantasy novel and Twilight is more of a teen romance, where the readers are predominantly women or young girls...

Micah: Well, don't you think...

Andrew: That's true.

Matt: ...and they want to connect with the main character because they want to be living through that character.

Micah: Well, don't you think, though, that if Potter was a female, that you would lose a large demographic of people that read these books?

Matt: You know what? I kind of agree with you, Micah, but I don't want to sound sexist.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: No, but it's a good question because I think it's really relevant in that, how would the books have to change so that they would be equally successful?

Andrew: Well, a comparable example is The Hunger Games. I wouldn't call it a romance and there's a large - the main lead character is a female, and I don't think that affects the story at all.

Matt: No.

Andrew: Now I don't think there's - and so with that in mind, I don't think there's much about Harry that's very - anything he does that's very masculine...

Matt: No.

Andrew: ...in the series. I mean, whether you're a wizard or a witch, you're going to cast the spells and you'll cast the spells you need to get your way. I mean, look at Bellatrix. She's an evil woman. Molly had the guts to kill Bellatrix.

Matt: And be the only one in the series to swear.

Micah: [laughs] Well, I definitely think there are strong female characters in the series. I would just wonder if - say there are young males. Are they going to read about a young female witch growing up over the course of seven books? No, they're probably - they may read the first few books, but eventually it's going to taper off because the interest, I don't think, is going to be there.

Eric: Well, say it was written by the same JK Rowling, who is endlessly talented, who - she's read all the same books as she did when writing Harry as a male character. The focus would not be, for instance, more on romance than it is for Harry. Romance might be in the book, but say all the books - everything about the books was the same, even, but Harry was a girl, and maybe the trio was then one girl and two guys.

Matt: Mhm.

Eric: How does that change things?

Matt: Well, the story wouldn't - I don't think the story would be affected. I mean, it would still be one of the best series written, but I kind of agree with Micah on the fact that - I think the fact that Harry is a boy that it caters to a broader reading group.

Andrew: That's true. It is true. And I mean, then getting back to The Hunger Games, you have to wonder if the main character in The Hunger Games series was a boy, would it make a difference? I mean, I have yet to see a boy that's like, "Oh, I'm not reading that because it's a lead girl," but I'm sure there's people out there.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And I mean, visa-versa about Harry Potter. Maybe there are some girls who haven't wanted to read Harry Potter because it's a lead boy.

Eric: Well, the...

Andrew: At least at a young age.

Eric: Yeah. I think Harry Potter - I mean, the interesting thing is - look, I was hesitant to read about a boy wizard because I was like, "Oh, magic..."

Andrew: You were hesitant to?

Eric: Yeah, yeah, because it's like, "Magic, wizards, how silly!" It doesn't seem like - oh, and there's this mean guy out to get him with a weird name.

Matt: Who told you the premise of the story? They should be shot.

Eric: Well, it was...

Matt: "There's this guy and he's a wizard..."

Eric: It was just known because the books had been getting a lot of hype. It was, like, seventh grade, and sure enough, I picked up the fourth book, Goblet of Fire, and in the first chapter, there's this guy named Wormtail and I didn't understand it at all. So, I continued not liking and being really hesitant to read Harry Potter, and this was with all the - I mean, all the cards were stacked in what I would consider to be the right way for the books' success, because I do believe, really interestingly, that the series would be completely different.

Micah: It would be because you would be following a female growing up versus a male growing up, and I do think that you would lose a lot of readers as a result of that and I don't think the series as a whole would have been as successful. And it's not trying to be sexist, it's just the nature of writing that kind of book because you're coming at it from a completely different perspective.

Eric: So, how - I ask this again: How would Voldemort change? How would Voldemort...

Micah: Would you even know that he's male or female? I mean, when he was reborn did he get all his parts back?

Eric: Wow, wow, he could be...

Andrew: I mean, no. The only real indication is "He Who Must Not Be Named..."

Eric and

Matt: Hmm.

Eric: He...

Andrew: ...and...

Eric: ...or She...

Micah: Oh yeah...

Eric: ...Must Not Be Named.

Micah: ...that's true.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I was just trying to lighten the convo a bit.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: But...

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But...

Matt: I think with the case of - with the villain as Voldemort, I don't think it really would even matter what sex it is. It is. [emphasizes "It"]

Eric: Well no, I'm still saying if Harry were a girl - but I'm saying how would the series play - it's almost like because there is an obsession between the two of them, like a mutual obsession. It's kind of really strange in a way even as it is.

Matt: Yeah, but then they could also play the whole, "They are complete opposites and they must duel because one is a male and one is a female." I mean, it could still work.

Andrew: Yeah, but like I said earlier, Voldemort has never held back in terms of killing women, so I don't think it would make much of a difference.

Matt: Yeah. And female villains can be just as ruthless.

Andrew: "The Chosen One" is not a gender-specific term.

[Eric laughs]

Matt: They are an equal opportunist.

Eric: Well, JK Rowling has a lot of strong female characters in her books, which is why it's still - I feel it's still rewarding. These books are so relevant for women to read because there are still these strong female characters and that helps, I think. People read about this boy and all these other boy characters. But at the same time, I was just - I couldn't help but think, "What if?"



Chapter-by-Chapter: "Priori Incantatem"


Andrew: Well, that is how we play What If. I'm sure some people have some opinions on that, so feel free to e-mail in. Give us your feedback and we'll read some of your responses on the next episode. So, now let's get into Chapter-by-Chapter. As I said before, this is our penultimate, which means second to last, in case you didn't know.

Micah: I like that word.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: [laughs] Because penultimate and paper are our priority at the moment.

Andrew: Yes. Chapters 34 and 35 are the ones that we're looking at this week.

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: It doesn't help when I'm congested.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I can't breathe. Chapter 34, Priori - uh oh.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Priori Incantatem. Priori Incantatem.

Eric: This is why...

Micah: Come on, what Michael Gambon says.

Andrew: It's my New Jersey accent. I'm blaming all future misspeakings...

Eric: Mispronunciations?

Andrew: Yes.

Matt: Are you okay with your New Jersey...

Andrew: And also my cold. Okay, so the chapter begins with Voldemort asking Harry if he knows how to duel, and Harry considers what his options are because he's never really dueled like this before and realizes the only spell he knows is Expelliarmus. He doesn't think it's going to be much use, but that's pretty interesting because as we've talked about on the show before, especially after the seventh book came out, this ends up being his go-to spell throughout the rest of the books. So, Voldemort asks Harry if he'd like to be Crucio'd again. He's already Crucio'd once and then Voldemort says, "Do you want it again?" And he doesn't answer, so Voldemort puts the Imperio curse on him. So, we're getting the whole tour of the three Unforgivable Curses. I don't know if that's like a thing of Voldemort's to show off that he can do all three when he's battling people, but that's besides the point. Voldemort puts the curse on him. Now the question is, did Voldemort put the curse on him to simply answer the question because Harry wasn't answering if he wanted to be Crucio'd again, or was it to answer yes? If it was to simply answer, then Imperio did work. But if it was to answer yes, Harry actually overcame the Imperio curse. I don't know if this was some sort of sign that Jo was trying to give us that Harry can take on Voldemort. What did you guys think?

Matt: Hmm.

Eric: I think it was to answer. I think it was to answer, because Voldemort makes a show of things in this whole scene. His Death Eaters have been long away from him and he wants to kind of showcase his own best traits - what he thinks to be the best traits. He wants to instill fear, he wants to show that he can be formal, "Harry, surely you've been taught to duel," that sort of thing, and - so yeah, when he Crucio's him, it's kind of to show that he hasn't lost his edge, but also, he's not looking for a yes answer, he's looking for an answer because he feels that wizards - full-blooded, pure-blooded wizards - which Harry isn't, I guess, but neither is Voldemort - should duel properly and I think that that's really important to Voldemort. He wants to play with Harry before he kills him.

Matt: Mhm. Well, Voldemort is a very theatrical villain if you really think about it. I mean, with everything that he does, especially with the Unforgivable Curses, he only does them mainly because to show that he can do it with just a flick of a wand, he doesn't even have to think about it. And the fact that he just became resurrected and can do this for nothing, he's basically showing to his followers that he hasn't lost his edge at all for being gone for so long, and...

Andrew: That's true.

Micah: Yeah, didn't Harry resist the Imperius Curse during the Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons with...

Matt: Yeah, he did.

Micah: ...impostor Moody? So, clearly I think it's just a sign that he's good at Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: And he has this ability to resist even an Unforgivable Curse. We see, later on in the next chapter, that he's not the only one who can do it, but it takes a lot of character to be able to accomplish that.

Andrew: In this moment, too, we do see Harry try to resist it, and he does hold it off for a little while, but then eventually he can't help but scream, "No!" Harry and Voldemort end up throwing Expelliarmus and Avada Kedavra, respectively, at the same time at one another. And then it enters this crazy mode, where their wands are connecting, their spells are connecting. And Harry begins to hear the Phoenix Song. And slowly, one by one, smoke-like figures start coming out of the wands. First is Cedric, then Bertha, then Lily, and finally James, and Lily kind of teases that James is about to arrive. He's sort of like the grand finale. And the dead begin to speak to him and tell him, "We can hold you off, Harry. We can hold off Voldemort, but only just enough time for you to get back to the Portkey." And Cedric says, "Hey, also, can you bring my body back?"

Matt: [laughs] Hey, Harry, buddy...

Andrew: One last favor.

[Eric laughs]

Matt: If it's not too much trouble, can you...

Eric: Hey, buddy.

Matt: ...bring my dead carcass with you, please?

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Well, wasn't - this was a big issue at one point, right? Because the order was messed up in some of the earlier publications.

Andrew: Yes.

Micah: It was James, and then Lily...

Eric: Yeah. Yeah, it was.

Micah: ...so people thought something was up.

Eric: Yeah.

Matt: Oh yeah!

Eric: That James had somehow outlived Lily, which is not technically how the story goes and that we were told previously. So, that was cool. And then also, I thought - isn't the reason - well, kind of smart. I mean, I know he's only in his fourth year, but - or no, seventh year. He's a seventh year. Do you think Cedric asked Harry to take his body back because the Death Eaters would have misused it? Turned it into an Inferi or something?

Andrew: Well, Cedric...

Eric: That later on in the book series, Harry would have had to face a zombie Cedric?

Andrew and Matt: No.

Andrew: Cedric said, "Bring it back to my parents." I mean...

Matt: His father.

Andrew: His father. So, any...

Eric: But really, you don't want Death Eaters misusing your body.

Andrew: No. And you also want your body to go back to your father, so...

Matt: They can at least do something.

Andrew: ...it was a reasonable request.

Matt: Yeah. I would do it. [laughs] I'm already dead. Well...

[Eric and Matt laugh]

Matt: ...I don't have many options after...

Eric: Okay.

Micah: How does the Portkey get activated, though?

Eric: That's a good question because Portkeys - are they a one-time thing? Are they not a one-time thing? I mean, you've heard that they kind of have to schedule them, right?

Andrew: Well, they did for the World Cup.

Eric: At the beginning of the book.

Andrew: Yeah, and that was to help stagger the amount of people going into the World Cup area at specific times.

Matt: And you also don't want random people picking them up, too.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: So, the fact that the cup is a Portkey now - as though like, once a Portkey, always a Portkey, is what it...

Matt: Yeah.

Eric: ...seems to be like now.

Andrew: In this case, yeah. So, Harry-o...

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Harry Accio's the Portkey and it comes flying to him, and he's already - he's got Cedric's body so they both are transported. Now, I'm wondering if this was kind of an oversight on Voldemort or the Death Eaters' part to not have destroyed the Portkey, because for it to just be sitting there - obviously they knew it was still active. They had to have known that. So, who screwed up? Who's getting killed for this?

Eric: Well, Voldemort didn't have a body [laughs] when Harry first arrived, so we can't blame him.

Andrew: Right. Well, of course Voldemort would end up blaming it on one of the Death Eaters.

Eric: Yeah.

Matt: Yeah.

Andrew: Or maybe Wormtail. But I just thought that was kind of an oversight that - that is the cause, the reason, that the series continued is because somebody...

Eric: [laughs] Forgot to...

Andrew: ...forgot to [laughs] get rid of the Portkey.

Matt: Well, he also over-sighted the fact that there could be Priori Incantatem with him in his wand, too. I mean, it wasn't even really a factor that he would even escape even the clutches of [laughs] Wormtail.

Eric: Because at that point, Voldemort didn't know that there was something wrong with using his wand against Harry's, which was flawed. The Phoenix Song, though, during Priori Incantatem - do you think that's because of the phoenix core in their wands? People associate the phoenix with Dumbledore, and either way it looks bad for Voldemort. But do you think it's because both their wands contain phoenix feather that there was some kind of...

Matt: I think so.

Eric: ...song when they connected?

Matt: I think - well, the fact that both of their wands are connected to a single song bird, I think there's that sort of connection. And doesn't it say in the book that he hears it in his chest, or in his heart or something? Like he doesn't - he feels it more than he...

Eric: It's kind of like a magic, yeah.

Matt: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Matt: Like it's going through his body.

Andrew: Yeah, because he describes the sensation similarly to holding that spell against Voldemort, as well.

Eric: Very interesting.

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