MuggleCast 228 Transcript (continued)
Chapter-by-Chapter: "Dudley Demented"
Andrew: All right, Eric. Well, you have the first chapter so...
Eric: All right. We start at page 1. At the beginning of the book, Harry has been home on Privet Drive for one month and he has taken an interest in Muggle news channels, which really annoys Petunia and Vernon. So he's not really welcome in his own house anymore because he really annoys Petunia and Vernon, but he is hiding, as we find him, in a flowerbed just outside of the living room of the Dursleys' house, at 4 Privet Drive. And he's listening to the news, just like Petunia and Vernon, but he's listening to it through the open window and that is - I don't know, he's hiding in a bush. So my first question for this chapter - we assume that Harry is listening to the news because at the end of the previous book, Goblet of Fire, Lord Voldemort came back. And Harry is really expecting to hear news, it's a recurring theme, about Voldemort but he's trying to do it through the Muggle news. Who gave Harry this idea? And is it really effective or really practical for him to hear something about Voldemort on the Muggle news this early?
Andrew: Well, yeah, because as he guesses it's likely that if there was damage being caused somewhere in the Muggle world, it's likely it would have been reported on the news because of course it would be reported. Obviously it's not going to be news about what Voldemort has done in the wizarding world but if there was something going on in the Muggle world as we see in Half-Blood Prince - he was on the - he had the right idea.
Andrew: And considering that was the only place he could really get his news from.
Andrew: Where else could he go?
Eric: It's true.
Micah: I think the other part of it, too, is just that he wants some sort of information about what's going on and clearly he's not getting anything back from people that he's corresponding with so it's just kind of hopeful that something will come across the news that will give him an idea of what's going on.
Eric: Harry is a really sympathetic - Harry is really different, I think that's the biggest theme of the first chapter of this book, the one we're doing now, is that Harry is really different than when we last met him. She paints him really sympathetically at first. He's actually walking around grabbing newspapers out of trash bins, or she says he's done that in the past. So anyway, he is deprived of news. So he gets up from the news report, he's decided that nothing important has happened, and several things - in true JK Rowling style, suddenly several things all happen at once. So first there's a loud crack in the air and a cat runs out from underneath a local vehicle. Now, Harry pulls his wand out due to this loud crack that has startled him, and soon he finds Uncle Vernon's hands around his throat. And - so I guess Vernon - he mistook the loud noise for having come from Harry's wand, and he begins to strangle Harry and tells him to put his wand away. So that's really interesting. Harry feels that the bang was the exact sound made by Dobby when Apparating or Disapparating, and he is sure that somebody magical has just Apparated near him to Privet Drive. Now my question here - it must have been a really loud crack for Petunia and Vernon to hear it, because they were inside the living room listening to the news. And not only did they hear it, they recognized it as being magical, and then they immediately ran out and found Harry with his wand. So - now these spells - this Apparating obviously, it doesn't make any noise in the films. That's one of the biggest departures between the films and the books I'd say, at least casually. But just how loud was this crack of somebody Apparating? Is it - it seems to have echoed or gone quite a large distance.
Andrew: Well, I think they were reacting more to Harry hitting his head on the window...
Eric: Oh okay.
Andrew: ...than the crack. But Harry made an accurate guess at what was going on here. As we learn in the next chapter, he was right.
Andrew: Or later in this chapter.
Eric: Yeah. That's interesting. Now Petunia and Vernon, they don't believe that Harry is listening to the news to listen to the news. He's actually - so the past month he's actually been taking more of an interest in the Muggle news and they're really suspicious. Then they also tell him that they know he's getting news from the owls, because lots of owls are swooping by, and Harry says the owls aren't actually bringing him news. Now, JK Rowling draws attention to the idea that Harry is losing something by admitting this, which is interesting. She says - the quote from the book is something along the lines of, "Harry knew that he would be losing if he admitted to this, that the owls weren't bringing him news." But the owls are delivering - it says later in the chapter, the owls are delivering the Daily Prophet to him, and occasionally letters from Ron and Hermione. So although Harry's attempts to get actual information are thwarted, it is pointed out later that the Prophet is actually reporting relevant details to Harry. Harry only looks at the front page of the Daily Prophet and tosses it aside. So, is this typical Harry? Because he seems to be looking for news in all the right places but just not finding it.
Andrew: Well, the fact that he's looking at the front page - don't we - we hear later on, right, that deep in the paper there's a small story?
Eric: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: About - yeah.
Eric: Hermione says - actually I think Hermione says several stories, like it's been interesting all summer.
Eric: So it's just beyond - it's this notion that Harry has that the first - the front page news is going to be...
Andrew: Is going to be headline.
Eric: Is about Voldemort.
Eric: As opposed to what we find out later, strange disappearances, things like that. How it started last time is actually where he should be looking.
Andrew: And back to the whole losing something thing, I think Harry - what he's losing is his confidence. I mean, he's saying - he says the owls aren't bringing him news and he wants to say, "Oh yeah, Ron and Hermione are sending me all the information, I know what's going on," but he can't say that and that's why he's losing confidence.
Micah: Yeah, it's almost like he's defeated in a way because...
Micah: ...he never wants to give an edge to - I'd say Vernon more than Petunia. He doesn't want to give them anything that they can kind of use against him, and by admitting that, that's exactly what he's doing. So that's what I think JK Rowling means by losing something. And what you guys were talking about before, with reporting the relevant details, I think that Harry is just somebody who is reactionary and he's just so quick to look at what's on the front page, as you guys mentioned. And if this is indeed the return of Voldemort, it's not going to be front page news. Remember how the last book ended, remember what was the relationship between Fudge and Dumbledore, and what was about to be the parting of the ways, I think is what the name of the chapter was. So...
Andrew: And that's why Jo went out of her way to say that Harry is looking at the front page and throwing it out.
Andrew: I mean, if I wasn't so young back then, if I read this now I'd be like, "That's - why would she even mention that he's only looking at the front page? I mean, yeah, she's a descriptive writer..."
Andrew: "...but I don't know. That seems like even that's pushing it."
Micah: Right, exactly. The Ministry is still - or already, I should say, not still. They're already at this point doing everything they can to kind of keep news about Voldemort's return very quiet.
Eric: Yeah, I think when it's explained to Harry that the news is actually second, third page news, he understands it. But it's just a shame that he doesn't know that now, because again we're pulled into this very-not-happy Harry, which is what I'm getting into next.
Micah: Oh yeah, but I will say this: He is treated in ways by Dumbledore in these first few chapters and I guess even throughout this book in my opinion worse than he was treated by the Dursleys.
Eric: Yeah. So we're - and you'll get your chance to make that point next. So Harry is angry, he's very angry. He's so disappointed that Hermione and Ron are together "having fun." He thinks they're at the Burrow without him and that - he's so angry. Harry - it says Harry threw away both of their birthday gifts to him, and they sent him Honeydukes chocolate. He didn't even open the chocolate. He knew it was chocolate, somehow. He didn't even open it, he threw it away because he's angry at Ron and Hermione. This is shocking. Also, he's having nightmares about Cedric and his scar is prickling very often at this point. He's furious because he's the one who saw Voldemort come back, and he had to endure all that pain only to be shut out of contact with Dumbledore for what Harry says is four solid weeks. Now, I know kind of, Micah, where you stand on this, but just how justified is Harry's anger towards Ron and Hermione and Dumbledore? And also, how justified are Dumbledore's reasons? Because obviously we've read this book. How justified are the reasons for isolating Harry?
Micah: I think if - from Dumbledore's perspective, they're very justified because if information is being sent in an unsecured way by owl from Ron or Hermione or any other member of the Order of the Phoenix - or I guess we don't know about the Order of the Phoenix yet, but say Sirius. He's not always the most careful individual when it comes to taking action, let's say, we see that at the end of this book. But he can't risk that kind of information being put out there and getting intercepted in some way, so from Dumbledore's standpoint he's completely justified in what he's doing. Now, on the other hand, Harry is the one who has gone through all this. Dumbledore knows that he's their only solution, and yet he is being treated not even like he's fifteen years old, more like he's eight years old or maybe even younger. And I think that there could have been something done earlier to make this situation better for Harry.
Eric: Well, the owls - bringing up the owls is a good point because we know owls do get intercepted very easily it seems by Death Eaters, so that's why Ron and Hermione, for instance, couldn't actually tell Harry anything in their letters to him. But it has been four weeks, Harry's birthday has come and gone by this point. Four weeks without actual physical contact. It almost seems, at this point, that nobody is coming to rescue him, essentially. So...
Eric: ...something like, "I'll come get you, Harry," wasn't even said in a letter. Harry hasn't heard from Dumbledore, he's been given a cold shoulder.
Micah: Yeah, there are so many ways that he could reach out to him that doesn't necessarily require compromising any information, and I just think it's so cruel that you're locking up this kid in a house where he doesn't get along with the people that he's living with, and on top of that you're keeping him from his best friends and from his godfather, and not allowing any information to be shared between any of them. So...
Micah: ...to me that's pretty ruthless.
Eric: I think - and I'm not trying to defend Dumbledore, because I agree with what you're saying, but is it possible that Dumbledore just knows the truth which is that the magical spell on Privet Drive is the tried and tested ancient magic. It's the safest thing even if Harry is at the Burrow or at the Order of the Phoenix. To be perfectly honest, I feel like Privet Drive is more safe, more impenetrable I should say, than the Order of the Phoenix headquarters at 12 Grimmauld Place protected by the Fidelius Charm.
Eric: We've seen the Fidelius Charm broken. It's possible that Dumbledore really does believe that isolating Harry is the best way to accomplish this.
Micah: Yeah, but to his end, I think. To Dumbledore's own end. In order for him to...
Eric: Well, Harry is safest. I mean, to be honest even ten or fifteen wizards, Aurors, might have bad days and fail to protect Harry, whereas Harry is safer on Privet Drive without any wizards than he would be at the Burrow or even Grimmauld Place with all of the Order. Actually - well, how protective do you think the enchantment is? I mean, clearly it's...
Andrew: Well, it worked.
Eric: [laughs] It works all the way until Book 7 when it can't work anymore, and it lasts that whole time.
Eric: Three years of Voldemort.
Micah: But what I don't get about that, and we can talk about this another time, is - and actually it's more relevant in Chapter 3, but how certain people can just show up there. If there is this protective enchantment, why is it that these members of the Advance Guard can show up?
Eric: Oh, interesting. Because why wouldn't it block everyone?
Micah: Why wouldn't it block everybody?
Eric: Hmm, interesting.
Micah: But we can talk about that later.
Micah: Or next episode.
Eric: Especially if it's relevant in Chapter 3. So anyway, Harry is walking and he sits on a swing at the playground. It's the only swing that Dudley's gang has not managed to break yet. He sees Dudley's group, actually, Dudley's gang. He sees them walking by, and he - it's weird. Harry has a moment where he feels like he wants to run up to them and start taunting them, he wants to pick a fight. And he gets up with pure intentions because he says that Vernon and Petunia will want him to be home when Dudley gets home, so he does follow Dudley's gang. But once they split up, he does walk up to Dudley and actually - he picks a fight with Dudley. This is the first time the readers get this sense of Harry - it won't be the last. He gets into a really huge fight with Dudley and just insults him, left and right, and left and right, and left and right, until - well, eventually it gets even worse. What's wrong with Harry?
Micah: He's pissed, man!
Andrew: He's angry! We were just talking about it.
Eric: [laughs] Sorry, I only had to - I only asked that question because it was in my notes to ask that question.
Andrew: I know.
Micah: Well, he's been cooped up for four weeks, like you said. He's not getting any information, he's living with people he doesn't like. I'd be pissed, too.
Eric: But it's not Dudley's fault! It's not Dudley's fault. In fact, the things...
Andrew: But people always take out anger on others, it's human nature.
Eric: The things he says to Dudley, though, the things he says. So anyway, the good thing about him picking a fight with Mark Evans - [laughs] or with Dudley - or it would be important the way JK Rowling - she classically drops names like dropping Sirius Black's name in the first Harry Potter book in the first chapter. Harry says to Dudley, "I know you did," meaning punched Mark Evans two nights ago. "Beat up on any ten-year-olds lately?" Mark Evans shares a last name with Lily Evans, Harry's mother [laughs] and this is kind of a funny sub-story, just in Harry Potter history and fandom history. There were a lot of theories going out about this kid that just gets his name mentioned, nothing else. His name mentioned - Mark Evans - as having lived near Privet Drive, and a lot of people really felt that maybe he was a lost relation for Harry, or Lily, or that he would somehow play a larger role.
Andrew: And it's a shame because in the next chapter we see an even bigger theory, one that JK Rowling actually intended to create.
Eric: Well, we'll have to get into that.
Andrew: We'll talk about that in a few minutes.
Eric: So, eventually - what I'm getting at, eventually, this Mark Evans was debunked on JK Rowling's site. [laughs] And it was not without a fight, though. The fans kept asking her, and I think she really answered it out of - what's the word?
Eric: Desperation. [laughs] Yeah, volume and desperation. She said - I guess we should probably have the actual quote from the website.
Andrew: I have the quote, actually, in the next chapter...
Andrew: ...because it relates to this.
Eric: Oh, it does? Okay, fantastic.
Eric: So anyway, unfortunately, Harry picks a fight with Dudley, Dudley's going to fight back. He's better at fighting than Harry and he mentions Harry's nightmares, asks him, "Who's Cedric, your boyfriend?" And Harry just gets really upset that Dudley knows about his dreams, because he's being plagued by his nightmares, and Harry draws his wand and almost, almost uses it. He tells Dudley, "Take it back, or else." But, [laughs] as if things couldn't get any worse, suddenly the sky goes dark and Dementors appear in Little Whinging. So anyway, all of a sudden there are these Dementors, Harry fights them away eventually. He tries the spell a bunch of times, can't think of a happy thought, and he's losing the battle. Dudley is about to be kissed and his soul sucked out, and finally Harry thinks of Ron and Hermione. It's powerful enough - even though he's angry at Ron and Hermione, and he threw away all their birthday gifts, he's able to think of a happy enough thought, conjures his stag Patronus, and it tackles more than one Dementor - two or more Dementors are in Little Whinging - tackles them, gets them away. The Dementor is actually really close to kissing Dudley, like one inch, it says. He's already pried away Dudley's hands from his mouth and his face, so it's really scary. And all of a sudden, [laughs] funny enough, Harry hears some footsteps behind him and Mrs. Figg, this crazy old cat lady from Book 1 and who has been asking him around for tea all summer, comes running up to Harry. Harry tries to put his wand away, Mrs. Figg says, "Don't do that, idiot boy. Don't put it away. I'm going to kill Mundungus Fletcher." And that's how the chapter ends. Big, big bang. Big, new, scary, different Harry for Chapter 1...
Eric: ...of this book.
Chapter-by-Chapter: "A Peck of Owls"
Andrew: Well, and as we talked about in the last Chapter-by-Chapter segment for Goblet of Fire, we see Harry's anger starting to come through. I specifically mentioned that because we know it's very apparent in Order of the Phoenix and Chapter 2 is just as action packed. "A Peck of Owls" is the next chapter. Harry begins to learn that Mrs. Figg is a Squib and has been keeping an eye on him with Mundungus. Harry then learns that it was Mundungus who had Apparated earlier, so that got clarified, but at the same time Harry's temper is rising because now we're hearing that Mrs. Figg has been a Squib. Harry didn't know about this.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: He didn't know somebody was secretly spying on him.
Micah: Well, what was interesting - at the end of Goblet of Fire, there is reference to both Mundungus and Mrs. Figg. I can't remember - I believe it's Sirius, that he - or no. He tells one of the Weasley kids to go round up the members of the Order of the Phoenix, and I believe that those two are mentioned.
Eric: Arabella - yeah.
Micah: I think it's - is it Charlie or Bill? Whoever is at the...
Eric: Well, I think it's Dumbledore, isn't it? Dumbledore tells them to round up members. He says "Arabella Figg."
Micah: Yeah, I can't remember who he gave the task to though.
Eric: Yeah, I can't either.
Micah: Let's look at Episode 226. I'll be right back, you keep going.
Andrew: [laughs] Okay.
Eric: [laughs] You look at the book.
Andrew: Well, as Eric mentioned, the Dementor had affected Dudley, so Harry carries Dudley back to Privet Drive, and while on their way Harry asks Figg why she hadn't told him she's a Squib.
Eric: God, everybody's keeping...
Andrew: "Dumbledore's orders," says Mrs. Figg. Uh-oh! Harry continues to...
Micah: That bastard!
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: ...feel left out of the loop.
Eric: Dumbledore's orders.
Andrew: Pig for slaughter.
Eric: Seriously! This is not even keeping secrets about Voldemort from Harry, who is potentially compromised.
Andrew: Right, this is a simple thing.
Eric: This is preventing Harry from having any friends while he's on...
Eric: Anybody he can relate to even, not just...
Micah: Okay, he sends Sirius...
Eric: Sends Sirius to...
Micah: ...to round up the old crew.
Micah: Just to clarify so we don't get a million e-mails.
Eric: Well, at least he gives Sirius something to do. God, that changes come Book 5.
Andrew: This is the first in a line of secrets that Harry is not involved in. So Mundungus comes back and Figg yells at him, understandably. He then sets off immediately to tell Dumbledore what happened, but after reading this back after having read Book 7 and what transpires with Mundungus in there in terms of trust, I almost didn't expect him to come back.
Andrew: Or go and do his duty, go and tell Dumbledore. I kind of would have expected him to just run off, peace out, [laughs] and never show up again.
Andrew: To never show his face to anybody in the Order. Harry wants to learn more from Figg, but as soon as they're back at the Dursleys' home, Figg runs back to her house. Obviously she's very surprised by all this. She is worried that Dumbledore is going to give her a spanking.
Andrew: Nobody wants that. Dumbledore has big hands, he's a big guy.
Micah: Those were her words?
Andrew: No. Vernon and Petunia are alarmed at seeing their son in this condition. That's very understandable. No matter how evil they are, they're upset to see their son like this. Dudley implies that Harry was the cause of this. He just says, "The boy." And Harry begins to explain the situation, but at that moment an owl arrives which sets off Vernon. We all know he does not like owls. And the owl is carrying a letter from the Ministry, which says Harry has been expelled from Hogwarts.
Eric: [gasps] Expelled?
Andrew: It immediately sunk into Harry. He was devastated, and I have a quote here: "He was expelled from Hogwarts. It was all over. He was never going back." It kind of - it sunk in very quickly for him...
Andrew: ...even though he didn't really stop to think about it.
Eric: [laughs] She's really dramatic.
Andrew: Yeah. Well, Harry was.
Eric: This is all about a different Harry.
Eric: This is all about...
Micah: This is just...
Micah: When things aren't going well, they are not going well. [laughs]
Eric: It's such a difference.
Andrew: It's a bad day.
Eric: It's such a change in tone. We talk about the books getting darker, I really feel like this is why. She's using infinitives, and [laughs] they're just - he's never going back. Oh my God.
Andrew: Harry believes he has to run, and as he gets ready to leave, another owl appears. This next owl is from Arthur Weasley who says Dumbledore is at the Ministry trying to sort the whole situation out. He says, "Do not leave the Burrow -" or, "Do not leave the Dursleys' home!" So Harry suddenly changes his mind, he trusts Arthur. At this point, the Dursleys thought he was going to leave, so now they're like, "Okay, you're staying all of a sudden?" Harry is again having an internal struggle. He's trying to figure out, what is Dumbledore trying to figure out at the Ministry? What on earth is going on?
Eric: Now that would have been a good...
Andrew: So anyway...
Eric: That would have been a good play, wouldn't it? For Voldemort to have just sent some Dementors to Harry, smoke him out of The Burrow - or smoke him out of Privet Drive, essentially, because Harry wants to leave. He's about to leave...
Eric: ...before Arthur's letter comes in.
Eric: It would have been all that protection for nothing, so that was really smart.
Andrew: Well, he was out and about to begin with without the Dementors. They didn't even need to smoke him out.
Eric: That's true, because he's walking...
Andrew: I think - it seems like he seems safe around Privet Drive too. It almost seems like it's not just the house.
Andrew: But we can talk about that another episode, in terms of all this protection and what the rules are. Dudley slowly tries to come to explain what had happened, and Harry finally gets to explain that all this was caused by Dementors.
Andrew: Now, as Harry begins to explain what Dementors are, Petunia finishes his sentence, which takes Harry and Vernon aback. They're like, "How does Petunia know?" And she says, well, she heard Lily and James talking about them while they were still alive. A third owl arrives, which says Harry is not expelled and he will have to attend a disciplinary hearing to sort the matter out. Vernon says he still has hopes Harry will get expelled. [laughs] But I was wondering here, why? I mean, if he does get expelled, doesn't that mean he's at the house for longer? Unless Vernon was hoping he would get thrown in jail.
Eric: Right. Yeah, Vernon is kind of like that. Not that he has double standards, necessarily, but he wants Harry to be miserable but also out of his hair. So yeah, you're right. Unless he thought that Harry would be imprisoned, that would be a bad thing for Harry not to be in school, not to have anywhere else to go besides Privet Drive.
Micah: Now, did you assume that it was James? Because I was always under the impression after Deathly Hallows that it was Snape that she was talking about.
Eric: Because she just says "that boy."
Micah: Because she refers to him as "that boy."
Eric: "That wretched boy," I think she says. But yeah, that's right! I guess - wow. Yeah, that's got to - I'm sold now. I think that's probably Snape because if you think about it, Petunia had more access to Lily when Lily was younger and with Snape on the prairie or whatever it is, and surely Snape would want to interest Lily in talking about the magical world and Snape, being such a macabre - coming from such a macabre family - would have certainly mentioned Dementors. Yeah, I'm sold.
Andrew: Vernon believes Dudley physically fought the Dementors - oh yeah, okay. So Vernon believes Dudley physically fought the Dementors, but Harry begins to explain it was actually he, Harry, who got rid of them. And there's not much more time to explain that because a fourth owl appears, setting off Vernon once again.
Andrew: At this point, I'm surprised he didn't poop himself or his head didn't explode.
Eric: He swears! He swears!
Andrew: Yes, that's true.
Andrew: It's from Sirius this time, and he just says he's learned what happened. Harry's temper is continuing to rise because he's not learning anything...
Andrew: ...while it seems like everyone else is in the know.
Eric: [laughs] It's kind of like that scene and there's something about - no, I guess there's not. But everybody is watching Harry this whole time, breathing down his neck, but he - they're not talking to him. They're not sharing any information. All they're doing is telling him the important things, stay put, etc. It gives Harry this false impression or false hope that it's all going to be revealed to him soon, but in general it's just - what it's doing is controlling him and they don't have to give up anything. They don't have to give up any of that information. And of course there's no time, it's all happening so fast.
Andrew: Vernon demands to know why Dementors were in Little Whinging but Harry admits he doesn't know. Vernon surmises they were due to him.
Eric: Of course. He's everybody's favorite target.
Andrew: Yeah, right. Harry suspects Lord Voldemort sent the Dementors after him. At this point, Vernon doesn't understand how this is possible if he's gone but Harry tells him he's back. And another big moment here: Petunia whispers, "Back?" And Jo writes how Harry is so appreciative that Petunia understands the importance of this information, and I quote: "All he knew was that he was not the only person in the room who had an inkling of what Lord Voldemort being back might mean. Aunt Petunia had never in her life looked at him like that before. Her large, pale eyes were not narrowed in dislike or anger, they were wide and fearful." So this is comforting to Harry that somebody else gets it in this house.
Eric: And not only that, she's showing some kind of shred of care for him in that her eyes are wide - I mean, it might not be for him, that might be too far. But her eyes being wide and fearful, she understands. In fact, he could have told her sooner. Maybe they would have had - maybe they would have been on speaking terms by now.
Andrew: Well, I think - and it also mentions that Harry felt like "This is my mother's sister. This is the person I was hoping to know."
Micah: And finally somebody believes him.
Andrew: Yeah. That's comforting too, especially with all this other bad news he's been getting today. Finally some good news!
Eric: So it is pretty well orchestrated.
Andrew: This all begins to click with Vernon and he orders Harry to get out. At this time a fifth owl arrives and it's addressed to Petunia. And this is the big theory I was talking about earlier, Eric. It's addressed - I like this: "Mrs. Petunia Dursley, The Kitchen, Number Four, Privet Drive." It's a Howler, Petunia is about to open it and she's kind of hesitating. Harry says, open it, it's just going to open itself anyway. And it says, "Remember my last, Petunia." Everyone is surprised by the message. Petunia is equally caught off guard. She tells Vernon all of a sudden that Harry must stay. She argues he needs to stay because otherwise "the neighbors will talk," and it's clear she's hiding some information. So Harry tries to ask - he's really surprised by this note. Harry tries to ask if she's been interacting with wizards but she dodges the question and orders him upstairs. Now, this was a big thing that a lot of people talked about, because everybody was thinking, "Okay, why would Dumbledore say this to Petunia?" And it was so speculated upon that JK Rowling added this question to an FAQ poll on her site. You guys remember the good old days when Jo would put up theories and fans could vote on which one Jo would answer?
Eric: Before pen and paper were her priority?
Andrew: Her priority, right.
Eric: Those nine or eight times. [laughs]
Andrew: So she said:
"What did Dumbledore's Howler to Aunt Petunia mean? ('Remember my last'?)"
That was the question, and she answered:
"Well, it is a relief to move on after the Mark Evans fiasco."
"This time, two out of the three poll questions had interesting answers (or so I think) and thank goodness you chose one of them.
So: Dumbledore is referring to his last letter, which means, of course, the letter he left upon the Dursleys' doorstep when Harry was one year old. But why then (you may well ask) did he not just say 'remember my letter?' Why did he say my last letter? Why, obviously because there were letters before that...
Now let the speculation begin, and mind you type clearly, I'll be watching..."
[laughs] So what Jo is saying is that yes, Dumbledore was referring to the letter put on the doorstep with Harry.
Eric: I don't...
Eric: Go ahead.
Andrew: But there were other letters that were being sent between Petunia and Dumbledore, so now fans were thinking, "What is this extra communication..."
Andrew: "...between Dumbledore and Petunia?" And hold on, one last thing: correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe - didn't Jo say there would be more information about Petunia revealed in Book 7?
Eric: Well, it's revealed in Book 7 that Dumbledore did write - I think Dumbledore wrote young Petunia a letter because she asked to go to Hogwarts. Am I completely...
Andrew: Yes, that's true.
Eric: Okay. So he wrote a letter back, I think, apologizing, explaining things, which he didn't have to do. Totally nice of him. So I feel like that - but the questions I have about this Howler - first of all, Harry doesn't recognize it being Dumbledore's voice and Harry sees Dumbledore frequently. Why and how would Petunia be able to discern that this is Dumbledore, that this is Albus Dumbledore? Especially if Dumbledore hasn't talked to her, but then it was in fact a letter. Dumbledore just says, "Remember my last." He doesn't say, "Remember my last letter," and the fact that JK Rowling is like, why wouldn't he just say "Remember my letter" because it's his last letter? He doesn't say anything about a damn letter. And you don't hear somebody's voice in a letter unless it's a Howler, or in the case of the movie, Ministry - I just don't feel like Petunia would have ever heard Dumbledore's voice, especially when it's not recognizable enough for Harry to hear it because he's screaming it at her. This just doesn't make any sense at all.
Andrew: Micah, what do you think about all this?
Micah: Well, to answer your question I think there was stuff revealed about Petunia. Eric brought up that there was correspondence obviously between her and Dumbledore when she was younger, and also I think we got some insight into her relationship with her sister and her obviously knowing Snape a little bit, in "The Prince's Tale," if for nothing else at least by sight. So something was revealed about her. To Eric's point though, I mean, I think you're just kind of [laughs] trying to create some...
Micah: Yeah. I mean, she clearly states that the reason why it was "Remember my last" was because it clearly wasn't - there were clearly more letters than just the last one that was sent. And she even goes on...
Eric: Isn't a term. "Last" isn't a term!
Eric: Nobody says "last" meaning last communication.
Andrew: That's - oh, come on.
Micah: I think...
Andrew: Eric, that's really...
Andrew: ...being over...
Micah: I think it's trying to be - it's to create a vague situation.
Andrew: Yeah, of course.
Micah: I mean, where - and vague in the sense that it doesn't give away what last he's referring to. Only Petunia would know.
Andrew: And it's bad-ass. "Remember my last."
Andrew: That's cool.
Eric: [laughs] He can see people getting it tattooed on their arm.
Micah: Yeah, Dumbledore is a very...
Micah: ...cryptic person.
Eric: He is cryptic, I'll give you that. But how would she recognize his voice anyway? How would she know it was from him?
Andrew: I don't know that.
Andrew: I don't know that.
Eric: They had only sent letters before. All right.
Andrew: I get - well, I mean, she recognized it somehow so they must have spoke with each other at one point.
Andrew: Face to face.
Eric: Now, it's interesting...
Andrew: I guess.
Eric: This FAQ...
Andrew: The weird thing...
Eric: Okay, go ahead.
Andrew: Well actually, here's the weird thing: Harry didn't recognize that it was Dumbledore's voice.
Eric: That's what I'm saying.
Andrew: But Petunia did.
Andrew: Yeah, that is strange.
Eric: Oh, this FAQ - there's a P.S. here. Can I read that?
Andrew: Yeah, what does it say?
Eric: Yeah, when she answered the question there, she said:
"It has been suggested that I am wrong in saying that Dumbledore's last letter was the one he left on the doorstep with baby Harry, and that he has sent a letter since then concerning Harry's illegal flight to school. However, both Dumbledore and I differentiate between letters sent to the Dursleys as a couple, and messages directed to Petunia ALONE. And that's my final word on the subject - though I doubt it will be yours."
[laughs] So I guess fans were accusing JK Rowling of being wrong. But she says - so the letter that Dumbledore is referring to is one he only sent to Petunia. Wait, but no, because she said it was the letter he left upon the Dursleys' doorstep. I don't know. Anyway, moving on. But yeah, this is kind of funny.
Favorites: Harry Potter Quote
Andrew: That's Chapter-by-Chapter, Order of the Phoenix Chapters 1 and 2. We're going to move on now to Favorites: Favorite Harry Potter quote.
Andrew: Now, personally I do not have to have just one favorite quote. I mean, there's so many great lines. But in the spirit of us starting Order of the Phoenix I am going to say that my favorite quote - "Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. 'It is time,' he said, 'for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything. I ask only a little patience.'"
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Well no, I think - that was a perfect strategy for anybody to put on the flap, on the side flap. The other thing, wasn't it - it was obviously - that was officially released before the book, because people have access to the artwork in the flap before, right? I mean, that came out before the book so it wasn't just on the book before you opened it. It was actually released ahead of time, wasn't it?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: People were really excited.
Andrew: Well, I mean, we may have gotten a preview of the inside flap so that may have been how it appeared, too.
Eric: Ahhh, I think that's what it was.
Andrew: I don't know.
Eric: Yeah, well - so reading that and having that on the front inside flap or back inside flap is really kind of cool because with that in mind that that scene is apparently going to happen at some point in this book, you kind of forgive Dumbledore and how for most of the book he just completely avoids Harry.
Andrew: Mhm. Yeah.
Eric: So there is a lot of build-up, but I can see that - that was kind of clever putting that quote there and it's also a good favorite quote. I like the story behind that.
Andrew: Micah, what is your favorite quote?
Micah: Yeah, it's kind of like what you were saying: it's a little bit tough because there are so many great quotes from different characters throughout the course of the series. But just for right now for this one, I'm going with Sorcerer's Stone and I believe it's the quote that Dumbledore says to Harry when he's looking in the mirror. It's when he says, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
Andrew: Mmm, yeah.
Micah: It's a very powerful quote, very powerful statement, especially knowing now after seven books how much Dumbledore...
Micah: ...really did dream and was so consumed by power in the chance to kind of be this all-powerful individual and not really live for those years of his life.
Andrew: Yeah, absolutely.
Eric: Yeah, it's kind of...
Andrew: And Eric?
Eric: ...a quote that has gained more meaning the longer it's been around.
Micah: Yeah, especially also now knowing what he himself would see if he looked into the mirror.
Eric: Right, the same thing as Harry. So...
Andrew: Eric, your favorite quote?
Eric: My favorite quote. I had one from Sirius Black in this book but I'm actually going to go back to - I've just decided I'm going to choose - it's from Prisoner of Azkaban. It is a quote spoken by the owner of Flourish and Blotts to Harry and he says, "I thought we'd seen the worst when we bought two hundred copies of The Invisible Book of Invisibility - cost a fortune and we never found them." It's a quote that happens after [laughs] the owner has to wrestle The Monster Book of Monsters into a cage and he says, "I thought we'd seen the worst." So The Invisible Book of Invisibility - funny, funny, funny, funny stuff from the world of JK Rowling.
Andrew: And those are our favorite quotes.
Micah: [laughs] That's also retailing of the WBShop.com for four hundred dollars.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: Or actually, maybe you get a free book with the cloak when you buy it.
Muggle Mail: Story About Steve Kloves Gaining JK Rowling's Trust
Andrew: Let's get to some Muggle Mail now. This first one comes from Karina, 20, of Indonesia:
"Hi MuggleCast, I was just listening to MuggleCast 226 when you guys were talking about Rowling's 'new' interview where she says she trusted Kloves because of 'one word.' Someone mentioned..."
It was Laura.
"...this was covered in a really old interview. I almost immediately remembered that I read something like it in 'Reader's Digest' when the first movie was coming out and I found the article online. The exact quote was..."
Back in the year 2000.
"...'When I first met screenwriter Steve Kloves the fact that he was American made me spiky and I felt he was going to mutilate my baby. But as soon as he said his favorite character was Hermione, I melted because she is very close to me. I was very like her at that age.'"
So Laura and Karina were absolutely right. JK Rowling once said this before so this indeed was technically not news.
Andrew: But we all forgot it, so...
Eric: It was probably - I'm surprised Laura picked that out. I listened to the episode. She was awesome at that.
Andrew: She's very smart.
Eric: Yeah. But it's also good for Karina to have found this quote because now we know and that's a - and I think you said on that episode that it seemed kind of like a fake story that they make up later to kind of romanticize the first meeting.
Eric: But I think that lent some credence to it actually having happened even though I agreed with you.
Andrew: Good point, Eric. Why don't you read the next e-mail?
Micah: Well, that proves two things: one, they are recycling interviews, and two, she doesn't like Americans.
Eric: [laughs] Do you think...
Andrew: Good point, Micah. Why don't you read the next e-mail?
Eric: [laughs] JK Rowling doesn't like Americans?
Micah: Who's reading it? Me or...
Andrew: It doesn't matter.
Muggle Mail: Episode 226's Make the Connection
Eric: I'm going to read it. This next one is from Misti.
Andrew: Go ahead.
Eric: She says:
"Hey MuggleCast! I really enjoy your show. I was listening to Episode 226 when you guys were relating 'Harry Potter' to random things."
I assume she means Make the Connection.
"I was thinking that it was like when Hagrid told Harry that he was a wizard. He had no clue or idea that a wizarding world even existed prior to the conversation. Also, Harry was pretty unprivileged due to the Dursleys' bad treatment of him even though he had a roof over his head. Just a suggestion. You guys are awesome! I always look forward your podcasts! Misti."
This was in response to one of Jamie's Make the Connections. I just don't know which one.
Andrew: That was the Two and a Half Men connection.
Eric: Oh, look at that.
Micah: Make the connection between Harry Potter and asking a homeless person if they've ever watched an episode...
Micah: ...of Two and a Half Men.
Muggle Mail: Birthday Shout-Outs
Andrew: Also on the last episode I think we read a birthday e-mail and we joked that we would suddenly get a lot of birthday e-mail requests. We did get a few and we're happy to read them. I'm just going to go through a couple of the birthday names real quick. First of all, Happy 17th Birthday to Ivory. Happy 13th Birthday to Ike. Happy Birthday to Megan Himel. Happy 14th Birthday to Claire. Happy Birthday to everyone.
Andrew: Guys, come on.
Micah: All right.
Andrew: Say "Happy Birthday."
Eric: Happy Birthday!
Micah: Happy Birthday! Today's birthdays are brought to you by Audible.com.
Eric: The web's leading provider of audiobooks. [laughs]
Muggle Mail: Shout-Out to AP European History Exam-Takers
Micah: Last e-mail, you want me to do it?
Micah: Is from Christie, 16, here in the US and she says:
"Dear MuggleCasters, I thoroughly enjoy the show and regretfully I am getting this e-mail to you late. I have my AP European History exam on Friday. My stomach is in knots and it's only Monday. For the written portion of the exam - a document based question essay and two free response essays - I will be channeling my inner MuggleCaster. Your debates are fantastic and help me when proving points. Please give a shout to me and anyone else taking this exam on Friday. Wish us luck, please, we are going to need it. Much love, from Christie."
Eric: Look at that.
Andrew: Good luck, Christie. It's kind of a Chicken Soup around finals time. Lots of people are finishing up their schooling for the year. Congrats to anyone who's graduating. Congrats to anyone who's finishing their first year or their second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth. After that, I don't know if we should congratulate you. I'm just kidding.
Eric: [laughs] You bring it upon yourself. And good luck to anybody in AP European History this year.
Eric: Look at that.
Andrew: A couple of announcement reminders before we wrap up today. LeakyCon.com, it's where we're going to be for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 in theaters. The biggest fans are all going to be descending upon Orlando to watch the film together. Visit LeakyCon.com for more information and when you register, use code "Muggle" so we know how many MuggleCast fans we can expect at the event. I also want to remind everybody about Hypable.com - H-Y-P-A-B-L-E.com. It's a MuggleNet for multiple fandoms: Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Glee, Doctor Who, Idol, Gaga, Adele, a bunch of comics, The Hobbit, many more, all right there. All the news you need quickly, reliably, dependably, you got it at Hypable.com, for fans by fans!
Eric: Mhm. And if you ever forget to spell it, look on MuggleNet. It's there three different places down the page.
Andrew: [laughs] And finally...
Micah: The Voice. Do you guys do The Voice?
Andrew: We've done a couple of reports on that. I actually wrote an opinion piece on it. You can visit Hypable.com, check it out.
Eric: What's The Voice?
Andrew: I've written two about The Voice.
Micah: Why? I can talk to you right here. What do you think of The Voice?
Eric: What's The Voice?
Andrew: It's a great show.
Micah: Just really quickly.
Andrew: It's a great show.
Micah: Yeah. I like it.
Andrew: It's original and the judges are actually talented.
Micah: Yeah, and you know who created it?
Andrew: Mark Burnett.
Micah: The same guy who created Survivor, yeah.
Andrew: He's a smart guy.
Eric: No kidding.
Micah: Yeah. Very successful.
Andrew: And finally, good old MuggleCast.com, the website you can go to for everything you need about this show. We have links to LeakyCon. There should be a link to Hypable there quite honestly.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Four places, everybody. Four places to find out how to spell "Hypable."
Andrew: A link to our Twitter which is Twitter.com/MuggleCast, our Facebook page...
[Show music begins]
Andrew: ...which is Facebook.com/MuggleCast, and our fan Tumblr which is MuggleCast.Tumblr.com. Also visit the MuggleCast website for a contact link. Just click on "Contact" at the top of the page and there you can send in your feedback about the show, and we may just read it on Episode 229. So thanks everyone. I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: I'm Eric Scull.
Micah: And I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: And we'll see you next time on Episode 229! Buh-bye.
Eric: Take it easy, everybody.
[Show music continues]
Written by: The Transcribers