MuggleCast 229 Transcript



Show Intro


["Hedwig's Theme" plays]

Micah: Because Universal needs to step up their game, this is MuggleCast Episode 229 for May 26th, 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.

And by Hypable.com, a MuggleNet for the rest of the fandoms in the world and created by MuggleNet staff. Visit Hypable.com for thorough and up-to-the-minute coverage around The Hunger Games, Glee, Doctor Who, The Hobbit, and many more. That's Hypable.com - H-Y-P-A-B-L-E dot com.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 229! Micah and Eric are here this week as well as me. Hey guys!

Micah: Hey!

Eric: Hey!

Andrew: Summer is upon us. This is exciting.

Eric: I don't know about that, Andrew.

Andrew: I just got done classes.

Eric: Still like 55 here in Chicago. 55!

Andrew: Really?

Eric: Yeah. Below tonight is like 47.

Andrew: It's kind of cool in California as well. How is it in New York, Micah?

Micah: It's in the 80s. It's nice and sunny here.

Andrew: Wow.

Micah: Finally after weeks of rain and terrible weather.

Andrew: I'm sure you'll get more rain.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: Well, thanks. I appreciate it.

Andrew: I'm Andrew Sims.

Eric: [laughs] There is no lead-in.

Andrew: No.

Eric: I'm Eric Scull.

Micah: And I'm Micah Tannenbaum.

Andrew: Micah, what is in the news?



News: Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Character Posters


Micah: Well, you said we're getting into summer and that means we're getting closer to the release of Deathly Hallows - Part 2. And a number of character posters have been released and the first three I guess would make sense that they're Harry, Ron, and Hermione. What did you guys think of these posters? Do you like them? Do they look like they're photoshopped by a twelve-year-old?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: What's your take on it?

Eric: Are you just throwing that - is that your opinion asked in the form of a question?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: No.

Eric: Could these be the - [laughs] all right.

Micah: Maybe.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Perhaps.

Andrew: I don't think they looked photoshopped at - I mean, well obviously they're photoshopped but I don't think they're poorly photoshopped. I think they're actually pretty badass. My friend Mason who saw the Ron one this morning, he was like, "Oh wow, that's pretty awesome, actually."

Micah: I think what takes away from it is the text "It all ends." It just doesn't look right. It doesn't fit the poster.

Eric: No.

Andrew: Hmm.

Eric: Usually they're better with that. I mean, the text isn't even embossed or doesn't even have a nice little bevel or shadow effect. It just seems pretty - I don't know, put together. But I like the poses. It's always good to see these characters, that's the real thing. I mean, this is the last bit of posterage we'll get ever for a Harry Potter film. So if you don't like it speak now, but otherwise forever hold your peace because this is the last round.

Andrew: But if you think about it, this is, what, the eighth set of character movie posters now? It's like, "Okay, what are we going to do this time?"

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It's like they have to try to come up with stuff that looks different from one other. And I remember last year - or with Half-Blood Prince and probably Part 1 too, the character posters - there were those little red sparks and they're back on these posters as well.

Micah: Well, now we actually know what they mean.

Andrew: What do you mean?

Micah: We were thinking that it was blood, initially.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: But it's just all the embers that are coming off of Hogwarts burning down.

Eric: Nice.

Andrew: [laughs] All perfectly positioned in front of each character.

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: But not behind them, only in front of them.

Micah: Well, the other thing I noticed, too - and maybe they didn't do this on previous posters and I'm just forgetting - is that there is no title of the movie.

Andrew: Oh!

Eric: Yeah, that's really different as well.

Andrew: Well, that's cool. And I mean, basically people know - it was like with Half-Blood Prince when they just wrote "HP6."

Eric: Right.

Micah: Right.

Eric: That was weird.

Andrew: People - these are iconic characters now. You don't need the title.

Eric: Huh. Interesting though.

Micah: I guess that makes sense.

Andrew: I wonder - I mean, when people listen to this show now after we record, other character posters will be out. They've been releasing a new one each day. I'm wondering who else they're going to show. Probably Voldemort, maybe Draco. I don't know who else though.

Eric: Hmm. Yeah, they usually do a good guy set and a bad guy set, at least going back to...

Andrew: Right.

Eric: ...Movie 5 when there really were two clear sides of good and evil.

Andrew: What else is going on, Micah?



News: Deathly Hallows - Part 2 US Premiere to be Held in NYC


Micah: Well, the US premiere location is set for Deathly Hallows - Part 2. No surprise, I think, that it is going to be in New York City. The date is to be determined but New York City seems to be the place for the US premiere and no surprise there, like I said.

Andrew: And it makes sense because Dan Radcliffe is there shooting - or not shooting, being a part of the musical How to Succeed. They got the - what is that thing? The exhibition there.

Micah: The exhibition.

Andrew: It's convenient for the UK actors to get over there instead of flying all the way across the world to Los Angeles, a twelve-hour flight. Yeah. I miss the LA Order of the Phoenix premiere. Personally, I think that one was the best. But...

Micah: Well, it was just a short drive for you, right?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Or not at the time. You were still in Jersey, weren't you?

Andrew: Right, right. I would love to just drive to a premiere.

Micah: Well, now it would just be a short drive for you so it would be nice.

Andrew: Exactly. It would be a walk.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: It would be - and Warner Bros. too. I mean, they're based out in LA. So...

Andrew: Right.

Micah: Easy for them.

Andrew: Well, they like taking trips. They like making excuses for trips to New York.

Micah: That's true.

Andrew: Probably because they get nice hotels. We have an e-mail later on, by the way, about premiere tips. People always want to know some tips for the premiere, camping out, getting there early, blah blah blah. So we'll talk about those later in the show because I know people have questions.



Audible Ad


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 recently debuted on HBO called Game of Thrones. The first episode was actually so successful that HBO has already renewed it for a second season. 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: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 Announced


Micah: So, continuing on with the news, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 was announced. It will be released later on this year, right around Christmas time, the holiday season, trying to take advantage of all the Harry Potter fans out there that'll be buying up their Deathly Hallows - Part 2 DVDs and "1-8" sets. So, LEGO Harry Potter, what do you guys think of this? You guys both have the game? I know Matt says he has it.

Andrew: Yeah, he sold it, but...

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: You must be excited though because you loved it, 1-4.

Micah: Yeah, I thought they did a really good job, as we've talked about probably numerous times on the show, with putting the gameplay together, because it's not primarily focused on the movies like the EA games are. It really takes a lot from the books, and there's a lot more that you can do in terms of free roaming and tasks and things like that. So I think they wouldn't have gotten ahead and made 5-7 if Years 1-4 wasn't such a huge success.

Andrew: No, you're right. And I mean, we saw the sales that first month. I think the sales were extremely good.

Eric: Well, speaking of sales, I am thinking of selling my game. I can't get very far in it, guys. I have to admit, I have not done very well in the Harry Potter LEGO game. I'm thinking...

Andrew: It's a children's game. Why?

Eric: I am thinking of giving up. It's just not into it. I can't figure out what to do next. I am stuck, there's a hallway with some plants that I can't get past and I'm lost, I don't know what to do. So I'm probably going to sell the game, too.

Micah: What was interesting was I was talking to Andrew the other day, and I said I e-mailed the head of production over at TT Games to find out what the latest was, if there was going to be a LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 and he said, "Well, we're focusing our attention on Pirates of the Caribbean right now."

Eric: [laughs] That was like last week, right?

Micah: "But expect an announcement soon." Well yeah, and he said, "Expect an announcement soon," and then literally a couple of days later they announced Years 5-7. So...

Andrew: You sensed something.

Micah: I did, yeah. Yeah, exactly. I had one of those Ben-like predictions.

Eric: [laughs] Well, if it's coming out the end of this year, clearly it's something they've been working on for a little while.

Micah: Absolutely. I mean, these games take so long to create. We saw the production that went on with Years 1-4 and just how much detail goes into these games.

Andrew: What else is going on in the news?



News: JK Rowling Talks About Favorite Character


Micah: JK Rowling talked about her favorite characters to promote a new Bloomsbury campaign, and she gave an idea of who her favorite character is.

Eric: Wait, Micah, let me guess: Is it "pen and paper"?

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: No, no. Is "pen and paper" a character in the Potter series? Might as well be.

Andrew: It probably is right now.

Eric: "Pen and paper" Weasley, actually. It's the - yeah, "pen and paper." "Pen and paper" Clearwater, is that it? That's a real character, right?

Micah: Well, let me read the quote here. It says:

"[My favorite character is] Harry..."

Andrew: Yawn.

Micah: Yeah, exactly.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: [continues]

"...although I believe I am unusual in this, Ron is generally more popular (I love him too, though). Now that I have finished writing the books, the character I would most like to meet for dinner is Dumbledore. We would have a lot to discuss, and I would love his advice; I think that everyone would like a Dumbledore in their lives."

And I think she said this before though.

Andrew: Mmm.

Micah: In another interview.

Eric: She said - yeah, she would meet him for dinner.

Andrew: But I see Jo in Dumbledore, so Jo is just looking to have a conversation with herself if you ask me.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: Well, I think...

Micah: She's never coming on the show.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: The real surprise for me is that obviously - we're re-reading Order of the Phoenix and Order of the Phoenix more so than any other book is really - Dumbledore is not a good guy. His actions are called under question, I think, by Jo herself, because Harry is feeling very isolated especially where we are currently in Chapter-by-Chapter. So the idea that she says everybody wants a Dumbledore in their life, well, actually I don't think we do. She - basically Dumbledore is revealed throughout the whole series to be this really manipulative guy and sure, he's got his moments but I would not choose him to be my dinner guest. I would not. I would find myself strangling him.

Micah: Well, isn't that cheery? Next piece of news...

Andrew: Yeah.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]



News: Attendance at Universal Soars Thanks to Wizarding World


Micah: ...is - we got a lot of diverse news this week. We're moving from a lot of different topics here. Normally it's just about one thing and that's usually the movie, but attendance at The Wizarding World of - or sorry, at Universal, has soared thanks to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. No surprise there, but Andrew...

Andrew: Mhm?

Micah: ...you recently returned from Orlando.

Andrew: I did.

Micah: Did you happen to go to [laughs] The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: No, no, I went to Dr. Seuss Land. [laughs] I really wanted to go see Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat. No, yeah I did. I went with my family, actually. It was their first time going to Universal, so it was exciting. And they were all really excited to see the Wizarding World and they loved it. It was a fun time, we had a great time. The crowds were good.

But, and I tweeted this, I ran into a couple of issues at Universal, and they just really bugged me, and I wanted to spend a minute going into them because it's got to be fixed. The Wizarding World is so popular, Micah just brought up the story about the attendance at the park soaring because of Harry Potter, period. Not because of anything else. They need to up their game at Universal.

First of all, and anybody who's been on the Forbidden Journey knows this, the locker situation has to be fixed. It is extremely crowded, it's dark, it's small in there. When fifty people are trying to cram into the space, to either get a locker or reopen their locker, it's just a mess. And it doesn't help that it's dark in there. And small. It's a wreck, it's literally a wreck. I personally had a problem reopening my locker. It took me a few minutes to find the locker attendant. And I finally find him, it takes me a few minutes because it's dark, it's small, and it's crowded. And I find him, and I say, "Hey, excuse me," and he greets me with, "What's up?"

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And that just annoyed me because, first of all, they're kind of supposed to be in character because you're in the wizarding world. Act a little British...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: ...or cheery, or something. He just turns around, and you could tell he's angry because he's working this horrible job in the locker area where it's so crowded he can't even walk around and he deals with all those people who are getting annoyed at the locker situation. So he greets me kind of rudely with "What's up?" and I get the locker situation worked out but he was just really bugging me in his attitude. He obviously did not enjoy working there. [laughs] And then the next day I went on Forbidden Journey again and I went into the lockers - I didn't have anything to drop off this time but I went through the locker area - and one of the guests walks in the room, [laughs] in the locker room, and says, "I can't see in here!" and she was kind of whining. [laughs] And the attendant kind of yells across the room, "Take off your sunglasses!" in a rude tone.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It was just like - it's so - I don't know. It's just these - some of these employees just don't sit right with me. And in the Hog's Head bar, I went in over there and one person was taking care of the bar in the middle of the day. And the line was out the door!

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: And it's just like, come on! Get some better service in here! And eventually the second person did show up but that should never have less than two people, that Hog's Head bar. I love it but not - it needs two people. And finally, the Jurassic Park. The Jurassic Park land. Very cool land. I went with my family again. The River Adventure ride, the one day I was there it was closed and that annoyed me so much because there are so few rides at Islands of Adventure. These poor people who are actually going to the park, paying money to go experience the whole park probably in one day. One of the five rides at the park is closed! And it's like, that's a big portion of the park and you're just going to - you're screwing people over!

Eric: Mmm.

Andrew: So the next day I go back to Islands of Adventure and the ride's open, and I'm like, "Okay, good, good. It's open. Glad to see it." We go on the ride and you know how - you're on a river boat and the big doors open up and it says [in dramatic voice] "Welcome to Jurassic Park!" [in normal voice] It's supposed to be some epic moment because these giant doors, they're opening and you're getting a look - you're like entering the Jurassic Park?

Eric: Uh-huh.

Andrew: Well, the damn dinosaur right at the front is broken down! His head is hiding behind a rock, underwater.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: It's like, are you kidding me? There was nothing to look at! It said "Welcome to Jurassic Park" and all you saw was a river and trees, and a broken dinosaur.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Thanks, Universal.

Eric: And this...

Andrew: Real magic. I'm...

Eric: So this is the theme park, now, we're talking about, who had suffered like a 40% loss of money two years ago, and like a 180% increase in revenue this past year since Harry Potter opened, right? Wasn't that the news story?

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: I mean, we're talking millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars above expectation.

Andrew: Right. Let's spend some money to make sure the rides work.

Eric: Okay. Well, that's fair. I mean, to be fair there is a...

Andrew: [laughs] And the end of the bar has enough people.

Eric: In Disney there is a Yeti in the Expedition Everest ride in Animal Kingdom that's been broken down for years and years and years, and they still haven't fixed it. I did read about that.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: There was an article about that. So there are broken rides. It's something that happens. We don't know how long that dinosaur has been broken.

Andrew: Well, a day is too long.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: When that dinosaur is the entrance to the ride, [in dramatic voice] "Welcome to Jurassic Park! Look at our broken dragon!"

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: [continues in dramatic voice] And trees and water, but nothing else! [in normal voice] And there was another dragon - or dinosaur broken a little bit later into the ride. Other than that, Wizarding World...

Micah: Good time?

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Wizarding World is great.

Eric: Is the Butterbeer still - do you still not like the Butterbeer, Andrew? Because you said, "Ehhh, sugar."

Andrew: No, no, no, the Butterbeer is good. Yeah. I don't drink a lot of it but the Butterbeer is good. The park - I can sit in that park all day. I went into the park all three days and just sat in the middle and really just took in the ambience. Seeing - people are genuinely excited to walk into that park. And big Harry Potter fans - they're so excited and it's so fun watching them experience it for the first time. It really is wonderful and they really did do a great job with it. There's just some things that they really need to work out.

Eric: Did...

Micah: Well, how many times did the Forbidden Journey break down when we were there?

Andrew: Right. I mean...

Micah: A lot.

Andrew: In fairness there, though, the ride was just opening so they're kind of bound to have problems. And hopefully they've fixed that by now. If they haven't, then yeah, that's an issue.

Eric: Did you see any kind of expansion or signs of expansion or...

Andrew: [laughs] No.

Eric: ...any idea?

Andrew: I was looking, though.

Eric: Well, when are they going to start building on here, because we're on a deadline here. The world is going to in 2012.

Andrew: [laughs] I would say between the next one to two years we would probably start hearing something.

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: But who knows?

Micah: And you said you actually ran into a couple of MuggleCast listeners.

Andrew: I did! I did run into a couple of MuggleCast listeners. The one was Katelyn, it was very nice meeting her, and the other girl - I don't think I got her name. We ran into her when we were in the other park, Universal Studios Orlando, not Islands of Adventure. But I ran into her with her family, she was very nice. We had a nice conversation. So shout-out to both of them and I saw on Facebook a couple of people were like, "Oh, I thought I saw you there!" But we didn't actually meet, so...

Eric: Yeah, were you wearing a black wife-beater on one of the days?

Andrew: [laughs] Yes. People have seen me then.

Eric: People have seen you then. You were spotted, Andrew. You were spotted.

Andrew: Yeah. Yes, yes, that was me. That was me. People made fun of me for it, but whatever. So overall if I had to give some new tips to people, definitely go - the morning is definitely when it's the most crowded. Evenings are much better. I would say definitely go afternoon to evening, the crowds are a lot better to deal with. The one day I went, Forbidden Journey wait - on Friday it was seventy-five minutes. The following day it was twenty minutes.

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: And around the same time, too. So a dramatic difference. I don't even know why. But afternoons, evenings, are the best times to go to that park.



Andrew's Birthday


Micah: And one piece of news I noticed that we did skip over was Monday was your birthday, Andrew, so Happy Birthday.

Andrew: Yes, it was!

Eric: Happy Birthday!

Andrew: I celebrated it in the park. I was very happy to be doing that, it really is a great place. I was really happy to be there. But thanks!

Eric: And Lady Gaga gave you a birthday present, didn't she, Andrew?

Andrew: Yeah. I was born this day.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: May 23rd, the same day "Born This Way" the album came out. And we'll be playing a Lady Gaga Make The Connection later on in the show.

Eric: Fantastic.

Andrew: But I have to say, the birthday wishes were really nice. They really remind me, and I'm sure you guys too when you get them, why we do the show and the website and everything else. It's for the fans, and they genuinely enjoy it and it makes me really happy to see all these people wishing me a happy birthday. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. [giggles]

Eric: Now, next year will be your golden birthday, right? 23 on the 23rd?

Andrew: Oh yes.

Eric: Oh, we'll have to plan for that.



Announcement: LeakyCon 2011


Andrew: I can't wait. [laughs] All right, so - well, speaking of all this park stuff, we should remind everybody about LeakyCon. LeakyCon.com, it's going to be held July 13th to the 17th in Orlando, Florida. We are under fifty days away now. There's going to be that party in the park. We now know when we are doing the two podcasts. We're going to be doing a Leaky Mug on Thursday, and a MuggleCast on Friday. The MuggleCast on Friday is going to be our live review show - and by live, I mean in front of a real audience - and we're going to have a lot of fun with it, I think. I have a very good feeling about it.

We've told you guys all about LeakyCon over the past few months. There's going to be the dance, there's going to be the fantastic programming, there's going to be the opening feast, the leaving feast, the midnight premiere of the movie. It's just going to be - there's going to be so much fun to be had down there in Orlando, Florida with some of the biggest Harry Potter fans, and LeakyCon is going to be a lot of fun. So visit LeakyCon.com, click on "Register," and in the referral box, do put in "Muggle" so they know we sent you. A couple of updates, actually, there's only - there's probably less than one hundred registrations available now.

Eric: Ooh.

Andrew: Tickets left, in other words. So now is the time to register. You have to do it soon. It's going to be sold out soon and we'll no longer be able to tell you to register, [laughs] because you won't be able to. So check it out: LeakyCon.com, enter referral code "Muggle," and we will see you there, July 13th to the 17th. What are you guys looking forward to most if you had to pick one thing?

Eric: I'm looking for the movie to come out, honestly.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: That's going to be really, really awesome just seeing it with everybody.

Andrew: It's kind of funny, I keep forgetting that the movie is coming out during it, [laughs] because there's so much else going on. It's like...

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: It's crazy.

Micah: Yeah, let's just hope they don't move the release to Wednesday.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Well, if that happens, they will make changes. Everybody will still see it. Hopefully. At midnight if they come in on the 12th.

Eric: Yeah, they did that...

Andrew: Micah, how about you?

Eric: I feel like that happened in Movie 6. They released it a couple of days early and people...

Andrew: Yeah, and "7".

Eric: So people were...

Andrew: Or maybe not "7".

Eric: So the event was planned for the Friday and people did see it on Wednesday but everybody together then came back and saw it Friday. I don't know, I always thought if there's a big event planned, just wait for that. Wait two days. There's no reason not to. See it in a group.

Andrew: Micah, how about you?

Micah: I think just the podcast. I always have a lot of fun doing those live shows and meeting with everybody.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Hearing their reactions live. Every time we do a show like this, we get people's reactions through social media, e-mails, things like that, but it's really cool to be in person and having that kind of interaction. Just getting away, being able to relax for a couple of days in Orlando even though it's going to be hot as all hell down there like it was last year. But...

Eric: I'll tell you, Micah, I could use the heat. It's very, very cold in Chicago.

Micah: Well, Chicago. I mean, it'll probably still be twenty degrees when we leave in July.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: And snowing, but - yeah. No, I mean, I just look forward to going down there and hanging out. It's really a time that a lot of us get to see each other because we don't see each other all that often during the year.

Andrew: That's true. I usually forget what you look like. You have to come up to me and say, "Hey, Andrew, remember me?"

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: "I'm Micah. I do that podcast with you." I'm like, "Micah? Oh! Oh, Micah. Okay."

Eric: "Which podcast? Let's see here."

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: And he pulls out his large rolodex.



Chapter-by-Chapter: "The Advance Guard"


Andrew: "Let me go through my podcast rolodex." [laughs] All right. Well, Micah, this is why I always remember you, because of your great Chapter-by-Chapter segments. And you're going to kick us off now with Chapter 3: "The Advance Guard" from Order of the Phoenix!

Micah: Right! I hope I remember it seeing as I put this together two weeks ago.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Yes.

Eric: On the last show.

Micah: So, if I'm a little rusty on it, I do apologize. So, Chapter 3: "The Advance Guard." The chapter opens and Harry is literally freaking out at this point.

Eric: [laughs] All of the chapter.

Micah: [laughs] A number of things are going on. He's been attacked by Dementors, he's being tailed by both Arabella Figg and Mundungus Fletcher, Petunia has gotten a mysterious Howler, he's worried about being expelled and/or going to Azkaban, and nobody, really, is communicating with him in the way that he would like. So, did you guys think that this was a little bit of a misstep on Dumbledore's part, not to let him know just what the hell was going on?

Eric: Yeah, I do.

Micah: There's a lot of stuff happening.

Eric: I do, and I think - really it builds up even in the next chapter. Harry kind of takes his anger out on his friends instead. But the real thing here is that Dumbledore is at fault, and Dumbledore is really being tough on Harry. He's creating a situation that doesn't necessarily need to exist and it's one of Dumbledore's arbitrary choices that just Harry and everybody else has to kind of deal with in this book. It's really tough because up until this point in the Harry Potter books, Dumbledore has been kind of in the background, and even now - here he's in the background, but we're at least getting word of what he's doing. And it's clear that it's because Voldemort has come back. It's obviously a game-changer when the villain all of a sudden has a body again at the end of Book 4. That's a big deal. But I did expect to see sort of - at the beginning of Book 6 when Dumbledore shows up on Privet Drive and escorts Harry. That is what I expected to happen in this book, that he would get a Dumbledore escort. But as it turns out, we rarely see Dumbledore in this book, and for a good reason which is explained later.

Andrew: And this is kind of the readers' opportunity to start losing trust in Dumbledore, thinking like, "Well, he's not as perfect as we've kind of made him out to be." He's always been wise, he's always had plans in good order for the most part, except for that whole Barty Crouch Sr. thing under his nose the whole time in Hogwarts but that's besides the point. I mean, in this book we really start to lose trust in him when he's not a good communicator with Harry. This is just one instance in this book.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, he can talk Mermish, for crying out loud, but he's not talking English to Harry!

Andrew: Barty Crouch Jr., by the way. I knew that.

Micah: Now, Harry is really eager to communicate with somebody. He wants to send letters off to Ron, Hermione, and Sirius. But the big problem is that Hedwig is nowhere to be found, and he does end up getting really pissed at his only friend at Privet Drive when she does come back, and it's kind of like as soon as she returns with food - because she's been out hunting - she is immediately sent back out by Harry. And to sort of add to the level of aggravation that he's going through, several days pass with no response. So this only increases his level of agitation.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: So, more time continues to pass, and there's this one night where Vernon comes up to his room and tells Harry that they are going out for the evening. And there's this list of things [laughs] that Harry is not allowed to do, including, and I quote, "not steal food from the fridge." Now, he lives there. How is it stealing food? And I know that's just the way that Vernon likes to treat Harry, but this whole list of things, can and can'ts - it's a little bit...

Eric: Juvenile?

Micah: ...abusive.

Eric: Oh, and abusive.

Andrew: Well, isn't this something we were talking about last week? I wanted to have more of a discussion on it, just how poorly the family - I mean, somebody could call child - what is that?

Eric: Services?

Andrew: Child services? On the family? Yeah, and get this looked into [laughs] because you're right, they're basically starving Harry. They consider him taking food out of the fridge to be stealing. I mean, no family does that unless they really despise the person living there.

Micah: I mean, I can understand, "Okay, you're not allowed to watch TV." I mean, all of our parents have said that to us at one time or another, sort of as a punishment. But really, Harry has not done anything wrong in this case, and he's not allowed to take food from the fridge? I mean, we used to hear in the older books how Petunia used to put food through the flap...

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: ...in his door. It's so - like Eric was saying - juvenile, but it's also abusive on some levels, the way that he gets treated.

Eric: I think it's interesting that Vernon does this to Harry, because we expect it. Harry expects it, that's why Harry is not shocked. He's like, "Oh, whatever." He clearly expects to be this mistreated by the Dursleys, nothing new. The real shame, the real sad part, is that he expects to be treated better by his friends, and he feels that he's not being treated well by the people he thinks would normally treat him well. So it's really, really - he's really not in a good place because not only are the Dursleys - no change there, they're still as abusive as ever, limiting him and all that stuff. But now his friends aren't writing to him either, and his friends are - they're not saying anything, Dumbledore has had him followed all summer. It's a bad situation.

Micah: Yeah, I agree. Well, when Vernon is taking his family out, the Advance Guard arrives to take Harry away from Privet Drive and we later learn that the Dursleys were sent away because of some competition.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Or they won some contest that doesn't really exist.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: So that was the opportunity for the Advance Guard to come in and to take Harry away. And we get to meet the real Moody now for the first time other than him just being a rambled mess at the bottom of some trunk in Barty Crouch Jr.'s office. Lupin we already know, but we're introduced to several new characters: Tonks, Kingsley, Elphias Doge, Dedalus Diggle who we later learn [laughs] Harry has actually met before, Emmeline Vance, and Sturgis Podmore. Oh, and Hestia Jones. So these are the people...

Andrew: Don't forget her!

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah, I know.

Eric: You forgot...

Micah: [laughs] Sorry, such a huge character in the series!

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I knew you were going to forget Hestia Jones, Micah, and that's why I bolded it right here in the notes.

Micah: Oh. Well, thank you very much. I thought it was somewhat comical that Moody thinks Harry could be an impostor upon arriving, and he said, "We don't know, we could be capturing a Death Eater and taking him back to our secure location." So, the question, of course, that Lupin asks Harry is, what form does his Patronus take? And I was just wondering, couldn't a Death Eater know that? I mean, isn't it possible that they would have this information, or has Harry not done that in front of enough people yet?

Eric: Hmm. Yeah, I think Harry hasn't done it in front of enough people.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I mean, when he did it he was at school in Prisoner of Azkaban. The Dementors would know, but they're not talking. Plus - well, Dementors can't see, actually. So I guess anybody he's ever really done a Patronus in front of wouldn't be able to talk. Plus, it's a very personal question because a Patronus is very personal to you, to yourself. So yeah, I guess I feel like it's - at this point it's not quite a question everyone would know the answer to.

Andrew: It's also kind of a spur of the moment thing. I mean, I don't know if Lupin had that question planned...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: ...to ask Harry, so maybe that was just the first thing that came to his mind. I don't know.

Micah: Yeah, it's possible, but I did think it was comical on Moody's part that he could question Harry being an impostor Death Eater, but I guess he's talking from experience.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: He should have just dueled Harry, and if Harry used Expelliarmus they would have known it was the right Harry.

Micah: Exactly. And just kind of running through some of these other members of the Advance Guard - because they do get mentioned briefly, but some of them have a role later on in the series. Doge is introduced more fully in the first few chapters of Deathly Hallows. He writes Dumbledore's obituary in the Daily Prophet, and of course he speaks with Harry at the wedding. As I mentioned, Diggle says that they've met before. This is the wizard that Harry meets all the way back in Sorcerer's Stone in the Leaky Cauldron, and he also helps escort the Dursleys to safety in Deathly Hallows. Emmeline Vance is killed in the beginning of Half-Blood Prince. Sturgis Podmore gets caught later on in this book guarding the Department of Mysteries and is sent off to Azkaban. I don't know if we ever hear anything more about him later on in the series. And Hestia Jones - didn't forget about her - helps Diggle escort the Dursleys to safety in Deathly Hallows.

Eric: So Dedalus and Hestia. They maybe have a thing going on. They get the same jobs together.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: The same missions.

Micah: Yeah, maybe.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Possibly.

Eric: Romance. Cue Swan Lake.

Micah: So after they all arrive and Harry gets introduced to them, Tonks volunteers to go help Harry get his things for school, and it's revealed that she is a Metamorphmagus. And...

Eric: Hot.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Sorry. That's hot.

Micah: He also learns that both Tonks and Kingsley are Aurors, and I think he's a little surprised that Tonks is an Auror because she's already broken a few things in the house...

[Eric laughs]

Micah: ...and doesn't exactly behave like you would expect an Auror to.

Eric: Yeah. She's the cool Auror.

Andrew: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Eric: She upsets the balance. She upsets the - she offsets those stingy, book-y Aurors who can actually throw the book at people.

Micah: Now, we brought this up on the last show and we said we'd talk about it in this chapter, but why is it that these people are allowed to access Privet Drive, but it seems like the Death Eaters aren't?

Andrew: Isn't it just sort of a matter of good or evil?

Micah: Yeah, I was wondering that.

Eric: Yeah. Well, then - yeah, the question is then, what determines if you're good or evil? And wouldn't they be able to use that? Like, "Oh, if you can show up on Privet Drive without being zapped, blown to smithereens, then we know your true loyalties." But the problem is loyalties change. Now, what I thought was interesting is that the Dursleys are gone for this. So, what if the protection over Privet Drive isn't active because the Dursleys have left, and that's why all of these wizards can show up?

Andrew: Oh. But I mean, Dumbledore never really made it clear about - we never heard previously, like, "You guys have to stay here, actually be physically present here."

Eric: No, it's true.

Andrew: I think it's well established that they are still here so the protection is still there, simply because all their stuff is there too. So even if they leave just to go food shopping or whatever...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: ...it's still clear that they are present in the home.

Eric: I can just see Voldemort stalking the Dursleys, waiting for them to go food shopping before he attacks Harry. But I mean - well, the reason we brought it up last episode was because we have these people watching Harry, and he actually strays pretty far from number four Privet Drive. He's walking on the side streets and all the way to the playground which is quite a ways away. In this book he really kind of tests those boundaries, and it seems like an important question to ask. Not only what determines - what allows all these wizards to pick Harry up, but also how far is that protection? Because he goes quite a way from home and he's still apparently protected unless that's why the Dementors could find him. So yeah, I don't know.

Micah: Yeah. And that kind of begs the question, why was there no attempt planned to capture Harry by Voldemort in this book? Moody says right before they are ready to take off, "If one of us is killed," and it's interesting that he says that because he's the one that ends up getting killed under very similar circumstances in Deathly Hallows.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: So - but why no plan? I mean, they could have put something together similar to what they did in Deathly Hallows. Or was it just that Voldemort didn't have everybody assembled yet?

Eric: Well, I think several things haven't happened yet which were crucial to the attack that happened in Deathly Hallows. First, that Dumbledore has left Harry on his own, and as a result Voldemort doesn't know a whole lot about what's going on with the Order because Harry is not with them. And Voldemort also doesn't really know about the connection through the scar, and so he can't use that to sort of track Harry. He doesn't know that they're going to pick Harry up. He doesn't know that Harry is not already with Dumbledore, to be perfectly honest. And the other thing that is different from Book 7 is that Voldemort has his sights on something else. He wants to get the prophecy. He's kind of - Harry in this book is an afterthought to Voldemort almost, because now that he's got his body back - Harry already escaped. I think he really wants - he needs reinforcements. He needs to start sort of the - I don't want to say bureaucratic. He needs to start doing the paperwork to become the new evil Dark Lord again because he is going after a weapon instead of going after Harry. He's changed - in other words, he's completely changed focus, but I think that was a smart move.

Micah: Mhm. That's a good point. The only other thing I was going to bring up in this chapter was that Tonks has an interesting relationship with Moody. She seems to be the only person who can reason with him, but she's also the only person that can talk back to him. And I'm wondering if he was a mentor of sorts, is that the kind of dynamic that exists between the two of them?

Andrew: I was thinking it's more women power than anything else.

Eric: So, you're saying that Moody likes the fire in her?

Andrew: [laughs] Yes.

Eric: Yeah?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, the - no.

Micah: Well, now.

Andrew: Well yeah, I mean, we'd have to look at their friendship over time, too. There could be different aspects of their relationship from the past that has given Tonks this right to be the one who really stands up to him, reasoning with him and speaking back to him, laying the smackdown. If they've had a very good relationship in the past, Tonks may feel comfortable with being like, [in a funny accent] "Okay, Moody, you listen here!"

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Eric: Is that your valley girl accent?

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: I don't know what it was.

Micah: Get Mason.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: Oh, we do need Mason for this.

Micah: I'm sure he could do a good one.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Last part of the chapter, they all arrive safely at "Grimmauld Place, headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix," is what it says on the paper that Harry gets.

Eric: Yeah, paper.

Andrew: Hmm.

Eric: Hmm, interesting.

Andrew: Pen and paper, hmm.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Priorities.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: All right. And Eric?

Eric: So...

Andrew: ...you will take us through Chapter 4!

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