["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Micah: Because James Potter just should have known better, this is MuggleCast Episode 253 for May 13th, 2012.
[Show music begins]
Micah: Today's podcast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 100,000 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 253. Selina, Eric, Micah, and I are here this week, bringing you all the latest Harry Potter news and we're going to talk more about Pottermore. And no, we're not going to complain this week.
Andrew: We have positive things to - well...
Micah: A little bit.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] You never...
Micah: Never say never.
Selina: Yeah. [laughs]
Eric: I love how you...
Andrew: That's always a given.
Eric: You said that with a straight face, but the first news item is like, "Pottermore: Are they telling the truth?" [laughs]
Andrew: Right. Yeah, I take it back. [laughs] Well, what I meant was our main discussion...
Andrew: ...will be a positive Pottermore discussion.
Andrew: We're going to be talking about the Dursleys' backstory as well as J.K. Rowling's thoughts on the Dursleys, and McGonagall's backstory as well. And then we have your e-mails and tweets to get to. So let's start with the news. Micah, what is in the news this week?
Eric: Oh, okay. Thanks, Micah.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Andrew: Okay, thank you. Moving on now.
Micah: Yup. Well, you didn't want to talk about anything negative associated with it, but the...
Andrew: This isn't negative news.
Eric: This is...
Andrew: I think this is good news.
Micah: It's not negative news, but I guess the discussion that we have about it may lead in that direction. But Charlie Redmayne, who is the new CEO - or newly-appointed CEO several months ago - spoke at the London Book Fair. And I guess he was asked about Pottermore, and he said that Chamber of Secrets and other books are coming in the next few weeks or months. And what do you guys think about this? I mean, Chamber of Secrets obviously would be the next, and if you're saying the next few weeks...
Micah: ...where does that put us? Maybe into June sometime, and then obviously the other books would follow. But it's just, to me - I'm trying to get my head around - what's the schedule for the releasing of these books? Why are they not committing to a specific date? I know they've had issues committing to dates in the past, but why not just lay it all out there? Is it a material issue? Is it - are not all the books ready yet? What do you guys think?
Selina: Well, I don't think all the books are ready yet, because it seems like a lot of work goes into creating each book, and I almost feel like it would be better for them if they spread out the releases. If he's really saying the books will be coming within the next few months and he's sort of expecting this scattering release of all six remaining books, I think that would just be a bit anti-climatic for fans. Like, I wish we had something to look forward to in that way.
Andrew: Oh, I think - and I think it's better that they do spread out the releases.
Andrew: Because, one, I doubt they're much further than maybe even Prisoner of Azkaban. They may still be completely focused on Chamber of Secrets, who knows how far they've gotten. But I think - if they were to release all of these books at once - say they did do that, or released even three at once - people would page through them so quickly they'd be done...
Eric: They'd be done.
Andrew: ...in two hours.
Eric: Yeah. No, I think that the initial timeline that they had said - it had new books every six months, maybe longer. And that was too long. That was like a - we're talking three years of every six months, and it didn't work out that way. Now that we have this news that it's going to be a few weeks or months between each of the books, I'm glad that the timetable has sped up a little bit, because we've been in beta for so long as well. I think it's more suited that we get it maybe a few months - maybe three months, apart. Say it's three months apart for every book.
Eric: Okay, I think that's a little bit better, considering you can finish each book within a couple of hours. Content wise, who knows where they're at? But I think - this timetable, if they stick to it, if they're able to stick to it - and I've always hated the vagueness of their dates, like, "Oh, beta's open in October." Well, does that mean the 1st or the 31st? I've always hated that. So I do wish, agreeing with what you said, that they'd give us a specific date, for crying out loud, and just stick to it.
Selina: [laughs] Yeah, but here's the thing though with that: I agree that I think that maybe a three-month release is a pretty good amount of time, but what are they going to do with Pottermore once all the books are out? Because this huge thing, Pottermore, was going to keep the fandom going, but once all the information from all seven books has been released, what's the point of it? Collecting house points? [laughs]
Eric: Well, then at that point, they'll just work on the second part of Pottermore...
Eric: ...which is the shop.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Eric: There's always...
Selina: They'll have Casualmore. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, Casualmore. Exactly.
[Andrew and Selina laugh]
Andrew: Well, I just think that - getting back to what he had to say, these interviews he's done lately have been very reassuring. It's good to hear that they actually are pretty close to Chamber of Secrets. I didn't really expect it to be this soon.
Micah: Right. And in that article, you actually bolded a couple of things worth talking about, aside from the fact that new books are in the works over the next few weeks and months. Something else that came up is the site is going to get incredibly exciting, and his job will become much more exciting. So that should have fans excited.
Micah: And then, "Over the coming weeks, you will see more of J.K. Rowling's content and books 'fly by.'"
Micah: What does that mean?
Eric: Fly by. It means fast, it means speed.
Andrew: Well, now that they have their server problems out of the way, all they've got to focus on now is books.
Eric: Are the server problems out of the way truly? Do we...
Andrew: I think so.
Eric: I'm having trouble with Flash.
Micah: Well, no one on this call can answer that.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah. Well, I'm having trouble with Flash, I think. When I went back in there to grab content for today's show, I was clicking things and it wasn't working. And then I was scrolling - I was hovering over with my mouse and then things would click. I don't know if I'm just doing the whole Pottermore thing wrong.
Selina: No, that happens to me as well. I'll go in there and I'll hover over stuff and it will sort of - you know what it does? It kind of moves when you can click on it, but I can't actually click on it. And it really annoys me.
Andrew: What I'm about to bring up may be a little too nerdy, but Flash, which the site is based on - and we all know Flash.
Andrew: We've all seen Flash sites before. It's kind of...
Andrew: The technology is aging.
Andrew: And it's never been that great. And it's bad for tablets. It's bad for actually physically touching, so this stuff will never work on an iPad unless they completely revamp it. Something else he - Charlie Redmayne, the CEO - mentioned is that there will be new interactive and community functionalities...
Andrew: ...being added in the coming weeks as well. And in a follow-up interview - he's been doing a lot of interviews lately. In a follow-up interview, he said they are going to make it less restrictive.
Selina: That's a good sign.
Eric: So clothes are coming off.
Andrew: Well, one of the things I thought would be the first things that they would change is they would let people see their real names.
Eric: That seems like a big thing that they were a stickler against, though.
Selina: Yeah, it seems like they're really going back, but I guess they are listening to fans though, which is good.
Andrew: Well, the one thing - because he also said, "Well, we're going to keep it just as safe but make it less restrictive," so it's like, "Well, how are you going to do that?" I mean, one of the ways could be maybe you can opt in. You can be like, "Yes, I am 18 years or older."
Andrew: "Please show my real name," whereas people younger would still not be able to.
Selina: Or only your first name, maybe.
Andrew: Yeah, or maybe just first name, right. And maybe new messaging features, who knows.
Selina: I hope so.
Andrew: I don't think they'll do a chat room, though.
Selina: Like, have some kind of thing, personalized thing on your profile, or have some kind of thing that you can say, "I'm not just a number collecting points for a house, but it's actually me."
Eric: Well, no, hang on, hang on. I think you've gone too far.
Selina: Oh. [laughs]
Eric: Because we each have our own house, we each have our own wand.
Eric: And a wand is very specific.
Selina: But I...
Eric: And I think - we speculated before, sorry, that as later books come, we'll get more things, like a Patronus in Book 5, say, or an Animagus in Book 3. Things like that, that may make it a little bit more in-depth. I mean, it's just the first book. I think what he's saying here with these exciting new community features, they may come hand-in-hand with each book. I'd hate to think that sorting and wands is the only book tie-in to your profile page. I would like to think as you go through, you can have different things like pets, like what Andrew had said, and other stuff.
Selina: Do you guys remember - and this might again be going too far, they probably wouldn't allow this, but do you guys remember really old school Internet chat rooms where you had little icons and you sort of moved from room to room and you chatted with people? That would be so cool if you could chat with people in the common room and in the Great Hall and... [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, that would...
Eric: Yeah. They always said the same thing to me when I got in those chat rooms, and it was "ASL?" ASL, question mark. ASL, question mark.
Andrew: Even today though, I don't think you can go in chat rooms and really - people don't really ask "ASL" anymore, do they?
Selina: What does "ASL" mean? Do I want to know?
Andrew: "ASL" means "Age, Sex, Location."
Eric: Question mark.
Selina: Oh right, of course, yeah.
Eric: They're trying to hook up. People trying to hook up.
Eric: I don't know. I still have AOL, I could go into the chat rooms.
Eric: But I don't see a reason to. Yeah, obviously - if we get a forum, chat rooms would be good.
Micah: I don't think - no.
Selina: I think it would be too far, I think you guys are right. We don't want "ASL."
Andrew: And chat rooms require moderators.
Andrew: I don't think they're going to do that.
Micah: You just see that, though, on sort of the social communities that have already been created - look at, for example, with MuggleSpace. I mean, I doubt the chat there is Harry Potter all the time. In fact, I know it's not.
Andrew: [laughs] Very rarely.
Micah: So it would take a lot of moderation, like you're saying, on the part of Pottermore...
Micah: ...to really keep it in line, I think, and fan-friendly.
Selina: I think I just want Pottermore to be some kind of interactive Hogwarts. [laughs] That's what I keep wanting it to be.
Micah: Well, they're trying, supposedly, and my concern remains - if you're going out there and you're saying now that within the next few weeks that fans are going to have this new book - because let's not forget, the people who were in beta for so long have had Sorcerer's Stone since last summer. So...
Eric: Or some variation.
Micah: Yeah, they've had almost a year now to play around with this thing, whereas the new members are just getting accustomed to it. But it's kind of like, well, your one million beta testers really want something new. They've been sitting out on the sidelines and haven't really had much to experience. So they better deliver, and deliver soon. That's just...
Eric: I like this guy.
Micah: ...what I think.
Eric: I'm just going to say that this Charlie Redmayne, he seems pretty cool.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Micah: Well, I'm glad you like him. But the other thing I wanted to bring up really quick - because I saw a couple of people tweet about it and I actually got an e-mail this morning - is why is Pottermore sending out sign up e-mails to people who have already signed up? I understand...
Andrew: I got that, too!
Selina: Me too, I got one.
Eric: I got that, too.
Micah: I understand if you registered an account and you didn't follow through on it - Andrew, you brought up in previous episodes that people probably signed up and forgot about it. Okay, if it's a reminder that's one thing, but you should know the people who followed through and signed up on your system. I don't get that.
Eric: Yeah, one day ago I got the same e-mail:
"Have you signed up to Pottermore?"
Andrew: And "to Pottermore" sounds like it's a verb.
Andrew: "Have you signed up to Pottermore?" Like, "Have you done the Pottermore?"
Selina: [laughs] To Pottermore.
Andrew: Do the Pottermore!
Eric: Sign up to Pottermore.
"We are delighted that Pottermore is now open to everyone."
This is from the e-mail.
"If you haven't yet signed up, now is your chance to discover if you're magical."
What do you mean "if you're magical?" [laughs] Is there an option that you'll...
Selina: You're a Muggle. [laughs]
Eric: ...sign up to Pottermore and you won't be magical? "Sorry, Muggle. Can't come in." [laughs]
Selina: Yeah, you fail the Sorting.
Micah: I don't know...
Andrew: Yeah, it was - I thought the same thing when I saw that.
Micah: They seem very unorganized across the board.
Micah: In terms of what they're doing. Yeah, I mean - well...
Andrew: I'm starting to think you're right.
Selina: What was that you guys said about not being negative? [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, let's...
Micah: Well, no - look, I think it's a great platform, I think there's a lot of great content in there, but I think the way that they've done things so far is less than desirable for fans.
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Andrew: What else is going on in the news?
Micah: The Wizard's Collection is continuing to cause much controversy amongst fans.
Micah: And we talked about it, I think, on the last episode, but it seems as if this collection is just not sitting well with fans of the series. Hypable had a great article about the fact that the collection itself has a 1.5 star rating amongst 200 reviews, or over 200 reviews...
Micah: ...on Amazon.com, which is interesting considering the Wizard's Collection is not due out until September.
Andrew: Nobody has seen it.
Micah: So how you can review something...
Eric: This was a fantastic article. I loved this article.
Andrew: I'm glad you liked it.
Eric: It's just - you give Harry Potter fans a year - this is the other thing, [laughs] is that they're going to - they're going to speak their mind. But this just is a good indicator of what the Harry Potter fan is thinking. The reviews that are talking about this Wizard's Collection so negatively before it comes out shows that we're kind of fed up with Warner Bros. marketing. And it's not just this collection. Maybe this one got the brunt of it because it's the latest incarnation of basically repeating the same stuff we already own, and reiterating it, and putting features that we've already seen onto these discs, and selling it for this huge price, this ridiculous price.
Selina: Yeah, I think it is a huge price. That's the main issue here. I mean...
Selina: So huge.
Andrew: So what should the price be?
Selina: A hundred dollars? [laughs]
Andrew: WB has it retailed for 500 dollars, Amazon has it discounted to 350, but what should it actually be after a discount? 150?
Selina: I would say a hundred. Because we don't get...
Eric: A hundred dollars.
Selina: Do we get any new material besides the box?
Andrew: Well, if you think about...
Eric: The little books, right?
Andrew: But if you think about most box sets, they are pretty pricey, usually around the 100 dollar range.
Selina: Maybe 150 then. I don't know.
Selina: Because you do get seven films.
Eric: How much do you really think it costs to make this, is the other thing.
Andrew: I'm sure they're making bank off of it.
Selina: I don't know.
Eric: I'm just like - there's like a stamp collection or a tattoo collection that comes with it, right? In addition to the movies.
Selina: I feel like you get - because what you get with it that's supposedly so special is that you get that it's one out of like 35,000 or something, and you get, like, "This is number 753."
Andrew: Yeah, something like that.
Selina: I feel like that's so ridiculous. Like, if they were going to give anything to warrant this huge price, it should be, like, an autograph from J.K. Rowling or something, you know?
Andrew: Yeah. And you should get - the general consensus, as I wrote in the article, is that people want extended editions...
Andrew: ...and content that isn't on the DVDs that they already have.
Selina: Blooper reels. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, blooper reels, for example. And in fairness, WB has said in the past they are going to keep announcing new features, so we'll see what may come next. We know, as we talked about on the last episode, there's going to be more from the Dan Radcliffe/J.K. Rowling one-on-one interview. It's like ten minutes of additional footage.
Eric: [laughs] Extended features of their extended features.
Micah: So basically what they're doing is they're integrating a lot of what was on the Ultimate Editions into this set, right? So one of the things I did was I sent an e-mail to WB and I wanted to know, "Hey, are you guys planning on releasing Deathly Hallows - Part 1 and Part 2 Ultimate Editions?" They haven't responded yet, I don't know that they ever will. But I think that's one of the main issues that's out there for a lot of people who have bought these Ultimate Editions: They want a complete set.
Micah: And are they going to be able to do that?
Andrew: Right, because all the Ultimate Edition boxes are specially designed to kind of sit next to each other.
Andrew: And they all look similar.
Selina: And we all want our shelves to look neat and organized in that way, you know? [laughs]
Eric: You just don't do anything half-assed.
Eric: You don't do six Ultimate Edition collections, and not do "7" and "8".
Eric: You just don't do that.
Eric: Like, the reason I don't own the Ultimate Editions is because even them - even they looked like repackaged features from the get-go. It was cool that they had the unique documentary, but even then it was split across eight parts, right? So you'd think they'd complete the whole set. But besides that special documentary - which was almost a selling point. I very nearly purchased the Ultimate Editions for it - the other big thing, I guess, was the opportunity to watch the film ABC Family version with...
Eric: ...deleted scenes put back into the film. Instead of what we did previously - which was you had the deleted scenes but on a separate disc, or you view them separately - you could view them as an extended version of the normal film.
Selina: Yeah. That was cool.
Andrew: As some people brought up though in this post, there weren't that many deleted scenes. So if you add these deleted scenes into the film, and you make them "Extended Editions," you're not really getting that much more out of it.
Eric: Even if they did that...
Selina: The deleted scenes have just always been such a disappointment. Like, you'd go into it and you're like - it's five minutes of the same scene and then at the end they add, like, a long look from Snape, or something.
Eric: Yeah. You're right, but I think the other reason for that is that these films - they really did make the films they set out to make. You're not going to find extra scenes, really, because very early on, they would have been nixed before they ever filmed them.
Eric: It's not like - Dumbledore's funeral, for instance. It's not like they filmed it and just didn't put it in.
Eric: That was a huge decision that they made very early on. "It was never going to be in the film," I think David Yates is quoted as saying.
Eric: So there are never going to be that many special features, like bonus deleted scenes, to warrant a special edition. I'm thinking that the Ultimate Editions were just a mistake to make, to begin with. Maybe they feel the same. But I think they should make "7" and "8".
Selina: I agree with you.
Andrew: I bet they will. I think they're just going to come after...
Micah: Well, it's more money, too.
Andrew: ...the Wizard's Collection.
Micah: I mean, that's the other thing to look at, right? And there's a huge opportunity there, for people who have the set already, to make money off of them by putting theses two discs out. So I just don't understand, though, with the speed with which they put out I think Movie 3, Movie 4, Movie 5, and Movie 6 in Ultimate Edition format. It was very, very quick. And I don't know exactly how many months were in between, but that's kind of how they did the release. And I guess they tied it to the movie coming out - Deathly Hallows - Part 1 and Part 2, they had that opportunity to market it, but it just kind of dropped off completely once the last film came out. So I don't know - and I guess they were waiting for it to do Part 1 in Ultimate Edition until Movie 2 was in theaters and - or I guess out of theaters. But it just seems like a slight to fans, a little bit of a slap in the face that they're doing it this way.
Eric: Because essentially it's like, "Oh, just keep buying, just keep re-buying the same stuff. We know you'll like it. We're going to throw in a sticker book, and it's going to be awesome."
Micah: Well - because the point is it's not like the content doesn't exist, so it's just a matter of packaging it together and putting it out there like they did...
Micah: ...when they were putting the other movies out in such rapid fashion. So - yeah. But the only other thing I would add to that is, for fans who were complaining about it, the solution: don't buy it.
Micah: You don't have to buy it.
Eric: You really want to say that, though? Because - I guess that's...
Andrew: Because you're not - you don't get much extra. So what else is going on in the news, Micah? Please.
Micah: Yeah, the final bit of news: the MTV Movie Award nominations were released back at the end of April, and as expected, Deathly Hallows - Part 2 picked up several nominations. And the awards show is set for June 3rd, voting is open now. This is one of those shows - what's interesting to me is we always talk about when we have no control over it, we're always so upset that Deathly Hallows doesn't get nominated - or sorry, Harry Potter doesn't get nominated. Whether it's the Golden Globes or the Oscars, those are things we have no control over. Well, here's an awards show we have plenty of control over, and can easily have impact on the outcome of who wins these awards. So what ends up happening, though, is that people don't vote enough and they get upset when...
Micah: ...Harry Potter doesn't win against movies like Twilight, and this year The Hunger Games is going to be a part of it. So a lot of interesting categories there. What do you guys think? What does Harry Potter have the best chance of winning?
Andrew: Well, I love this year's awards because all three big film, book-to-film franchises are going up against each other...
Andrew: ...as you had mentioned. So it's going to be really interesting, and there's going to be a lot of feedback [laughs] once all the awards have been announced by the different fandoms.
Eric: I think 'Best Cast', right?
Selina: I hope they win 'Best Cast'.
Andrew: Okay, but here's the thing you have to keep in mind: it's all about the people voting, and if Harry Potter fans aren't reminded enough to vote, it's pointless.
Andrew: So Harry Potter fans have to get out and vote.
Selina: I pretty much - I'm predicting right now - I pretty much think that Hunger Games is going to sweep these awards, because their fandom is most active at the moment because we're still in the middle of the series, and the fandom is still so fresh, and the fans are still - I mean, I'm not saying Harry Potter fans and Twilight fans are less enthusiastic, I'm just saying I think that The Hunger Games - because things like 'Best Kiss' - I'm particularly fighting for Harry Potter to win 'Best Kiss', not necessarily because of anything besides the fact that it's the only category that would put Rupert Grint up there. [laughs] And it's - I always feel so bad for him in these awards, because it's always Daniel Radcliffe for 'Male' and obviously Emma Watson for 'Female', and he never gets anything. So I'm just like, "Just give him that, at least." But anyway - so I don't see how Hunger Games couldn't win that one or 'Best Fight' or 'Best Female Performance', 'Movie of the Year', you know?
Eric: Yeah, I think I'm going to just repeat what I just said. I think 'Best Cast' is a - that Harry Potter has a great opportunity to win that just because there's so much - so many people that people like, whereas I think with The Hunger Games there are still fans...
Eric: ...who feel adverse about - even something like Gale's casting, you know? People say Gale and Peeta should have been switched, their casting, and feel that way, which is odd to me, but whatever. And again with Twilight, it's really only about two people, Bella and Edward. And Jacob, obviously. But even though I like the Cullens...
Eric: ...you really don't see a whole lot of them, they're not - it's not really about them, etc. The cast of Harry Potter, nothing is ever going to come close to it.
Eric: So I feel like it has a good chance.
Micah: Well, it's interesting because in the 'Best Male' and 'Best Female' categories it's - in my opinion, it's Harry Potter versus The Hunger Games, because there is no Twilight nomination in either of those categories. So...
Andrew: Yeah, and the Bridesmaids fandom isn't going to be coming out...
Micah: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: ...to vote.
Eric: Are you kidding? They have been out...
Eric: ...since - in all the other awards.
Andrew: Yeah, that's true.
Eric: They won the Comedy Awards, for crying out loud.
Eric: Last week they swept...
Andrew: At what?
Eric: They got three...
Andrew: But were these fan-voted awards?
Eric: Oh. Yeah, probably not.
Micah: And I just think you can't compare though, Eric, to your point with the 'Best Cast'. You look through these movies, I haven't seen most of them, but Bridesmaids, The Hunger Games, 21 Jump Street, and The Help are all up against Deathly Hallows - Part 2. It's not a contest.
Eric: Yeah, it's really not.
Micah: And - but that's the thing, are people going to go out and vote? Are you going to have that more-active fandom like Selina was talking about with The Hunger Games that's going to go crazy and vote every single day, as many times as possible, versus Harry Potter which has kind of become a little bit complacent.
Eric: We need to take out ad space on our site.
Eric: We need to retweet, and retweet, and retweet...
Eric: ...saying, "Harry can still make a difference. Vote 'Best Cast' for the MTV Movie Awards."
Selina: See - but I think that's a pretty good sort of test, really, is how excited are we for Harry Potter to win these awards? Do we - I mean, I'm not saying, "Do we care?" but do we think it's so important that we're going to go in and vote every day and campaign for it and stuff, or are we just sort of become a bit complacent like we're saying the fandom has?
Eric: I don't know, I'm kind of motivated by Micah's call to action here.
Selina: [laughs] Yeah!
Eric: I think I do want to vote, because that's what it was. And I like the MTV Movie Awards. Thinking back, they're the shows - that's the award show that I watched first, before the Oscars, before the Grammys. MTV Movie Awards, primarily because of the skits, but also because they have the movies that I like. It's more fan-oriented, and so I think I will vote now, thank you very much for the reminder.
Selina: Good! We should all vote.
Andrew: If you ask me, it comes down to which studio's Twitter account is promoting it enough.
[Eric and Selina laugh]
Andrew: And I think the best thing Harry Potter does have going for it, that said, is the fact that it is the last chance it has at the Movie Awards. There's not another film, whereas there will be for Twilight and Hunger Games. So that's it for news!
Micah: That's about it, as far as the news goes.
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