["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Andrew: Because all was well, this is MuggleCast Episode 269 for August 27th, 2013.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: The final episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 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: MuggleCast, MuggleCast, muggly casty MuggleCast.
Ben: Tell us something please.
Eric: Whether it be a theory or the latest news.
Micah: New ride in the Harry Potter park.
Mikey: Or fanfic or Jo's latest muse.
Andrew: Our heads can do with filling, with some interesting stuff.
Ben: Before you we turned to Muggles.
Eric: They didn't understand us and went in a huff.
Micah: So, this is just to let you know.
Mikey: That we thank you for being around.
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 269, the final episode. Unless something big happens in the Harry Potter fandom.
Andrew: This has been a long time coming. Let's first introduce everybody who's here. We have Eric, Micah, Ben, Kevin, and Mikey B. Hello, boys. It's a boys episode.
Ben: All boys here.
Andrew: But we also have messages from two ladies, Laura Thompson and Jamie Lawrence, coming up later in the show.
Andrew: So, you get to look forward to those.
Micah: Well, first though I think we should credit Anna for that poem.
Andrew: Yes, yes. We just plagiarized it.
Micah: Very well done.
Andrew: Thank you to Anna.
Ben: Yeah, from Karachi, Pakistan. If that's how you pronounce it correctly.
Andrew: So, we...
Ben: Guys, so we made it to Pakistan, guys.
Andrew: [laughs] We finally made it.
Eric: It's time to quit.
Micah: That's why we're ending the show.
Micah: Because we made it that far.
Andrew: Well, it's pretty crazy to think we have finally reached our final episode. Our first episode was in August 2005. So yeah, eight years later, we're here with 269 episodes in the can. And Ben...
Ben: I'm just glad we all made it, you know? That there weren't any major drug overdoses...
Ben: Or just the bad things that happen to groups, you know?
Eric: This is true.
Andrew: Well, a lot... yeah.
Mikey: Where are they now, you know?
Mikey: Those documentaries like, "Well, Ben Schoen..."
Andrew: In ten years from now, I want MuggleNet's Keith Hawk to do a special MuggleCast episode called, "Where are they now?" and it catches up on all ten MuggleCast co-hosts.
[Andrew and Kevin laugh]
Eric: I think he'd probably be willing to do that if we asked him.
Micah: He's just really excited that you just mentioned him on the final episode of MuggleCast.
Andrew: I saw him the other day...
Ben: If I still have hair then, I'll be down.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Ben: Or if I can afford hair plugs. Not that I'm losing my hair, it's just thinning lightly.
Eric: Is there something you want to tell us, Ben?
Kevin: You're just really self confident? [laughs]
Ben: I'm just paranoid.
Andrew: So, the first episode back in 2005 was Kevin, Ben, and I. And I remember at the time - I think we've told this story before - there was... people were interested in doing the idea of a Harry Potter podcast on MuggleNet, but it didn't really take off until we were a few episodes in, and people really liked it. And I was actually thinking earlier today, why did people like it so much? And I've always been asked that question a lot over the years. And the answer, for a lot of people, is that we've been people's Harry Potter friends, so to speak. They listen to us, they hear a friendly discussion about the latest Harry Potter news, theories, and whatnot, and they enjoy... have a couple... they have a few laughs for 90 minutes a week. It was a... it's been a great show.
Ben: Yeah, that and I think there's a certain amount of... if you're really into something like Harry Potter and you want to have a nuance discussion on such a matter, or listen to a nuance discussion, I think that we really filled that void. Because have you ever tried to talk to somebody who hasn't read the books or something and been all enthusiastic and then they've given you that, "Hey, you're a weirdo," look?
Ben: So, it's kind of like that. We help make people feel normal.
Mikey: That's never happened to me, Ben. Never ever.
Ben: You never had that happen?
Mikey: No, I'm lying completely. It happens all the time.
Ben: You're like, "Hey, I flew to Florida for a Harry Potter conference."
Andrew: [laughs] Right.
Ben: People kind of give you that...
Mikey: I met my wife at a Harry Potter conference. So...
Eric: There you go.
Ben: That's true.
Andrew: That's the biggest one of them all.
Eric: [laughs] But I think also we hit it... or you guys started the podcast at the right time. Book 6 had just come out. We didn't know how long there would be until Book 7. As it turns out there was two years, but in that two years were the first hundred episodes of MuggleCast. And now look at us, we're at 269. But I think all of that was...
Micah: We slacked.
Eric: ...speculation and the excitement that was just coming from being in that particular time and place for the Harry Potter series when we didn't know how it would end.
Andrew: And Harry Potter was really a perfect podcast discussion. I mean, I've done podcasts about Twilight and The Hunger Games since then, but Harry Potter there's so much to talk about in depth in the books. And of course, that's all thanks to JK Rowling for creating such detailed stories. I mean, thanks to her, and only her, we were able to actually create 269 episodes talking about Harry Potter, which, to any outside fan... this is the second thing I most hear about MuggleCast, is, "What do you guys talk about?"
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Ben: Yeah, that's what everyone is saying to me. "What? You're still recording?"
Andrew: Yeah. From outsiders, right? It's just...
Andrew: Yeah, it's funny. But if they read the books, [laughs] they probably would have...
Ben: They just don't get it.
Ben: They just don't get it.
Micah: I think...
Mikey: My people.
Micah: I think you guys filled a void too, right at the beginning there. People had just read Half-Blood Prince and they were wondering what's next, and the podcast was really a perfect form for that.
Andrew: Yeah, because not only do you get the analysis that you would find on forums, but you also can hear the passion coming out of our voices as we were discussing it. And it was also just more fun than reading a forum or reading comments. It's much more interactive.
Ben: Yeah, I have to say that going into that first episode, in my mind... I don't know about Andrew or Kevin, but I didn't have any idea whether this was going to be a one month project or if it was going to flop.
Ben: You know what I mean? I didn't expect us to all of a sudden be getting the download amounts that we were getting. We didn't... we started this because we wanted to talk about Harry Potter and we had the platform through MuggleNet, and to me if you would have told me back then that eight years from now we would be doing the final episode I'd be like, "Wow! Eight years. That's a long time for something like this, I think."
Andrew: Kevin, were you nervous about doing the first episode? Did you have any reservations?
Kevin: Well, I think to Ben's point I sort of felt the same way where I wasn't sure where it was going to go. I was definitely nervous. I remember distinctly being very, very apprehensive about recording my voice.
Kevin: But actually... the actual act of purposely recording yourself is a bit nerve-wracking, I guess.
Andrew: Yeah. And especially because we just didn't know what to expect, how people would react to the show. So, it got a lot easier with each passing episode.
Ben: Yeah, and for me it's not so much recording my own voice as it is listening to my own voice.
Ben: I don't think that I listened to the show past the fifteenth episode or so because I just... "Do I really sound like that?"
Kevin: I think it's normal...
Micah: You mean...
Kevin: ...for most people to hate the sound of their own voice.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.
Ben: That's not true. You've been around...
[Kevin and Micah laugh]
Ben: Most people...
Kevin: This is where you insert a saying, right?
[Ben and Kevin laugh]
Eric: I think it's fair to say, though...
Kevin: He loves hearing his own voice.
Eric: I think it is fair to say one of the things that doing a show like this helped us develop is our voice, how to speak, too. It's not just that we can speak, but to speak succinctly and effectively.
Andrew: Oh, definitely.
Eric: It's something I still work on.
Ben: Says the spielerman.
Eric: It's true. But it gave a lot of confidence, I think, to a lot of us, I think I can say too, because we were able to communicate our ideas effectively and get such good feedback from people so early on.
Andrew: Yeah. MuggleCast definitely helped me develop speaking skills, not just on podcasts but also in general with other people. I mean, sometimes I catch myself. I feel like I'm hosting a podcast sometimes when I'm in bars or something...
[Eric and Kevin laugh]
Andrew: ...and the other person I'm talking to is really boring so I have to carry the conversation.
Eric: There you go.
Andrew: I almost can't help but want to throw it over to Micah for the news because I'm just in that zone.
Kevin: Are you saying that this is a...
Mikey: Is that a hint?
Andrew: [laughs] No, I'm saying I feel like...
Eric: That was the perfect transition, Andrew.
Andrew: I was... oh, with the news. Yes. [laughs]
Eric: Hey, you have been doing this for a long time! [laughs]
Mikey: He didn't even know he was throwing that transition over to Micah.
Andrew: No. I'm just so good now.
Micah: It was so seamless, yeah.
Andrew: Micah, do you want to do the news? Normally you don't but I feel like for old time's sake, you should.
Micah: Yeah, this is... you're putting me on the spot though because there's zero preparation in this right now. [laughs] But yeah, let's start off with some news. New Harry Potter covers...
Micah: ...are going to be released tomorrow.
Andrew: August 26th.
Micah: August 26th.
Ben: We're ending the day before the covers?
Ben: Come on.
Andrew: Well, no. This episode, I think, is coming out tomorrow. So...
Mikey: But see, we can now have a whole conversation about what the covers mean.
Mikey: So, is this the last episode or are we going to have a cover episode?
Andrew: We've actually...
Eric: They've already been released. Yeah.
Ben: How about we speculate about what's going to be on them?
Andrew: Wait, the covers are already out. We've been talking about them for ten episodes.
Mikey: I know, but we don't have...
Mikey: ...them in our hands.
Ben: Yeah, that's what I meant. Mikey's right.
Eric: Yeah. Guys, I think it's really important or special that we happen to end - at least recording - the night before these new books come out.
Eric: I wanted to say this a little later on, but since we're in the realm of reminiscing and that sort of thing, the seven Harry Potter books that I'm sure we all have copies of - and copies and copies of, by this point - are being replaced, at least by Scholastic, with these new covers that are for the next generation of fans. And so, I can't help but ask the question, well, what will come out... these were our books, the ones that we know from Mary GrandPré. Now, what kind of crazy things will fans come up with, including podcasts, for the next set of books? This is going on...
Eric: ...to the next generation.
Micah: Well, it's not a different book. It's just a new cover.
Mikey: Well, no, no, no! You know it's the...
Eric: I think it is...
Mikey: ...Harry Potter special edition. George Lucas went back and added a bunch of special effects. [laughs]
Kevin: Besides, though...
Eric: You know what I mean, though. Growing up, there was no other book to choose from and...
Ben: Yeah, but I think that the difference, Eric, would be in this case... I mean, with MuggleCast, we started it off when Harry Potter was at its peak in terms of... because of the speculation that was happening. I mean, I don't think they're... I mean, I think most people, most kids today, already know that Harry won, if someone sees them reading Harry Potter or whatever. I mean, I'd be interested to know if everybody knows that Harry won.
Mikey: Snape kills Dumbledore.
Andrew: Eric's point is also that the new covers - and this is the whole purpose of Scholastic re-releasing these - it's to introduce the Harry Potter books to a new generation of readers because these books are suddenly going to be standing out because they're brand new versions of the book. They're going to be right at the front of the store and just reaching out to new generations of readers, maybe who are now 13 or 14. Of course, when the first book was published, they were just being born. They were a year old or maybe not even born yet.
Eric: Oh, wow.
Andrew: So, yeah. These will appeal to a new generation of people. Will people make new podcasts and stuff? They better not!
Andrew: Stay off my lawn, kids!
Andrew: Stay away!
Eric: Is this a challenge? Is this a hidden listener challenge here? Andrew, are you saying we'd come back and do more episodes if...
Andrew: [laughs] No.
Eric: ...we had a new rival? [laughs]
Kevin: Why don't we just re-release all the episodes with a different...
Micah: There you go.
Kevin: ...album art?
Andrew: I like that idea. Actually, Mikey is the only married one here. I understand he's going to start the next generation of MuggleCast podcasters.
Mikey: Not anytime soon.
Mikey: We'll avoid that as long as I can.
Andrew: [laughs] Okay!
Eric: Sorry to hear that, Mikey. [laughs]
Eric: You know, children can be a rewarding experience.
Andrew: [laughs] Well, actually...
Kevin: Are you speaking from experience, Eric?
Eric: No, I'm not.
[Kevin and Mikey laugh]
Eric: Yeah, my seven children across the world that...
Andrew: We're going to continue with today's final episode of MuggleCast in just a moment. We're having a lot of fun today and there's still a lot more fun to be had. But first, it is time to remind you that today's episode is brought to you by Audible.com, our longtime sponsor. Audible is the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service. I think everybody knows what I'm going to recommend. This is such an easy bet! If you were a betting man, you would bet I am going to recommend The Cuckoo's Calling by JK Rowling. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend it. This is coming from somebody who did not enjoy The Casual Vacancy, but of course, I was still going to give Rowling's other books a try because I... we all know she's a great writer. The Casual Vacancy just wasn't for me, but The Cuckoo's Calling was. Man, it was good. We're going to talk about The Cuckoo's Calling a little later on in the show, so I'll save my thoughts for then. But for now, I do recommend this: Go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. You can get The Cuckoo's Calling for absolutely free. We thank Audible for their support of the show. One last time, AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast for your free audiobook.
Speaking of these new covers, actually, I have breaking news just into the MuggleCast newsroom.
Ben: Oh, just in.
Andrew: JK Rowling will be speaking on Good Morning America tomorrow about the fifteenth anniversary of Sorcerer's Stone. So...
Andrew: I will bet 5,000 dollars she will not say absolutely anything interesting.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: No, just because... what does she... what could she say that's going to be interesting to a generic morning show host? She's going to talk about how it's crazy that it's been fifteen years and that's it.
Kevin: Or new books.
Andrew: Well, yeah. If she did that...
Kevin: That is her own...
Andrew: ...that would be significant.
Eric: The funny thing is, in addition to these covers... and there was this huge media campaign from Scholastic releasing what the images of these covers would be, throughout the past couple of months, actually, and they are all released now, but also it turns out that the spine of these books, of each of these books, also makes up an image?
Kevin: Oh, that is awesome.
Eric: And also, it's an image of Hogwarts, so that's pretty cool. If you buy the box set, which I think has extra artwork and all that stuff, it's all really cool, but also the back covers... I wanted to just mention here, I've seen the back covers, and I may actually buy these books for the back covers because I think...
Ben: He's going to have them face the cover down in his house.
Eric: I'm going to face them cover down, exactly. I think the back covers are actually some truly interesting pieces of art here that I think I like better than most of the front covers.
Andrew: They're cool because you see Harry's back, actually, in each one, or in almost all of them.
Andrew: And it's like you're seeing things from his perspective.
Andrew: Yeah, and they're also very simplistic and whatnot. Yeah, it's pretty cool. By the way, I have to mention also, the illustrator who made all these new covers is going to be in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, signing copies of the book and doing a painting demonstration. So, if anybody is going... Ben, come on over. You can learn how to paint with me and Kazu.
[Eric and Kevin laugh]
Kevin: Finger painting?
Andrew: Finger painting, yeah.
Andrew: We're going to finger paint the covers. [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's his method.
Andrew: Yeah. So, moving on from the new covers. Do you want me to get this next one, Micah? Then you can get the other two.
Micah: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.
Andrew: I feel like you are least informed about this one.
Micah: Yeah, yeah... oh, sorry.
Andrew: Wow, eff you!
Micah: [laughs] What? I didn't do anything!
Micah: But no, I was going to say that I forgot one thing, which I'm somewhat disappointed Ben didn't jump in on, but when you threw the news over, I didn't do the obligatory, "Thanks, Andrew."
Ben, Eric, and Mikey: Oh!
Eric: I thought it was gone forever!
Micah: But yeah, you can take the next story.
Andrew: Okay. [in a deep voice] Thanks, Micah.
Andrew: Steven Moffat has hinted that JK Rowling may write a Doctor Who 50th anniversary short story.
Ben: Oh, my gosh.
Andrew: Yeah, I mean talk about cross-fandom mind explosion. I don't think any of us here are MuggleCast... or Doctor Who viewers, but...
Ben: Is she just diluting her brand?
Kevin: It's funny that you mention that.
Kevin: I'm on season three now...
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Kevin: ...of the new series.
Mikey: Do you remember how many times I tried to get you to watch Doctor Who in my apartment?
Ben: It's just not my thing, Doctor Who.
Mikey: Doctor Who is amazing.
Andrew: Yeah, I'm not into science fiction.
Ben: One day I realized there are more good TV shows and movies than there are time left in my life.
Andrew: [laughs] That's true.
Ben: So you just got to pick and choose, and I just couldn't choose Doctor Who. I wish I could be excited about this.
Mikey: But you have to understand, when David Tennant was Doctor Who, he actually did an episode about the seventh book before the seventh book was out.
Andrew: Oh, cool.
Mikey: And he made jokes about what happened in the end, and he wouldn't tell anyone. It was awesome.
Mikey: So, Doctor Who and Harry Potter have crossed over before. Sorry, I am a Doctor Who fan.
Andrew: One thing to keep in mind, this is just a short story. She's not writing an episode, but she may be writing a short story. In honor of the fiftieth anniversary, they're having eleven children's authors write them, and Steven Moffat suggested that she will be writing one of these. He was asked recently if it was true and he said he couldn't confirm right now.
Mikey: He also had hinted a long time ago in an interview that he had hoped she would actually write the episode.
Andrew: Yes, they actually gave her an offer to write...
Andrew: ...but she said no. [laughs]
Micah: She said Robert will take care of that.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: Kevin, by season three, do you mean you're on Tennant now? Or did you go way...
Eric: Oh, okay. Cool.
Mikey: You're new Doctor. You're not going back to...
Kevin: New, yeah.
Mikey: ...Season 1...
Mikey: ...old, old Doctor Who.
Kevin: Yeah, I started with what Amazon suggested, which was...
Mikey: Season 1 of...
Kevin: ...the new series, I guess.
Mikey: The new series, yeah. It's good.
Eric: I've been told to start with Eccleston. I think I will rewatch, but...
Mikey: I like Eccleston, but honestly if you want to catch up now, you can probably just start after Tennant, even though Tennant was my favorite Doctor. You can start with Matt Smith.
Andrew: All right.
Eric: Oh, wow.
Mikey: Because... yeah. They basically... when Tennant moved on, they basically redid the whole thing so you can actually skip those previous four seasons if you want.
Andrew: Guys, you know Hypable...
Ben: Doctor Who death.
Andrew: ...does have a Doctor Who-Cast.
Mikey: I know.
Andrew: You can join that one if you want to talk about that. [laughs]
Mikey: I know. You want me to talk about Star Wars, too? I mean...
Andrew: [laughs] No. Micah, what else is going on?
Micah: Warner Bros. and Universal have announced their own Harry Potter con...
Micah: ...at the Wizarding World Orlando. I guess they finally caught on to this thing that's been going on for the last couple of years.
Micah: It's going to be on January 24th of next year and a lot of cool things going on. This is not too different. They did something similar to this in the past, didn't they?
Andrew: Yes, it was called Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration.
Micah: That's what Eric went to.
Eric: Yeah. That was a little different, but it wasn't that much different. But it was, because of the public's access to it. This is for the public and what's similar is that a ton of actors... have they released the list yet...
Eric: ...of who's going to be there?
Eric: Okay. A series of members of the cast and crew will be on site and accessible through different ways, on site, at the Wizarding World theme park during this convention. For the Home Entertainment Celebration, it was more of a press event. There were several, I guess, local fans who were able to kind of stand behind in a separate area of the red carpet, but they did a red carpet thing to celebrate all the films being out on home video, on DVD.
Eric: But this was very reminiscent of that, you're right, just because it's the idea of having a VIP event in the park like only Universal can really pull off and schedule because it's their park.
Andrew: Right, and... yeah, exactly. They have things here. They're going to have Q&A sessions, a Harry Potter film tribute, which I don't know what that is, a wand master class with Paul Harris, one of the wand guys from the movies who, I guess, taught the actors how to move their wands...
Ben: Are you going to that class, Andrew?
Andrew: Yeah, I love wands. Mhm. Early park admission, breakfast at the Three Broomsticks, a private evening event. And I suspect, if I...
Ben: What does that mean? Private evening event.
Andrew: It's like the ones that's been at the other Harry Potter cons. The...
Micah: Do you bring your wand to that?
Andrew: [laughs] Yes.
Ben: So, it's roped off like a VIP?
Andrew: [laughs] I don't know. In fact...
Eric: The park has its normal business hours of operation and then I'm certain that this would be after those hours. They would close the park...
Eric: ...to those outside guests and then just the ones who are going to this could attend.
Ben: How many people are they... is it as many people...
Andrew: It says... no, it's limited. There's a certain amount of tickets for the reserved areas for the Q&As and whatnot. I mean, this is a cool idea. Like we said, they already did one of these before. A lot of people are comparing this to - Mikey is going to know this - a Star Wars Celebration it's called?
Mikey: Yup. The different Star Wars Celebrations?
Eric: Oh, Mikey gets to talk about Star Wars. Tell us more.
[Andrew, Eric, and Mikey laugh]
Mikey: Who would have guessed, right?
Eric: What's the Star Wars Celebration? What is that?
Mikey: Well, the original celebrations actually came out with the release of the new films - one, two, and three.
Eric: Okay. Yeah.
Mikey: And so they've kept it ongoing with anniversaries of the films. Basically, the Star Wars Celebrations are kind of like Comic Con but all Star Wars based.
Mikey: So, there's always panels with actors and everything. You could... like at Comic Con, you can buy your signature from the actor of your choice and stuff like that.
Ben: Oh, okay. So, these are the things that have been keeping that Mark Hamill guy - is that his name - employed, right?
Mikey: Except he's the Joker in all the Batman cartoons.
Eric: He does a ton of voice-over work.
Eric: Is that Disney or Universal that does this Disney... the Star Wars things?
Andrew: Well, Disney...
Mikey: It's Lucasfilm. It was actually Lucasfilm for the longest time, and they also... what was really cool about Lucasfilm doing these celebration things, it's kind of what I think I hope Warner Bros. is going to do with Harry Potter and Universal is going to do. It's going to encourage fan productions. One of the great things about the celebrations is that they even did Star Wars fan film festivals.
Mikey: And Lucasfilm gave away awards for the different fan films and different things like that. And I hope that they'll kind of push Harry Potter to do stuff like this, too, because it's a great fandom to be in.
Andrew: The timing of this is also set for the fact that it's going to be a slow time, it's the winter months. So, they'll pull some extra traffic in during this typically slow period for the park. Not to mention, a lot of people know that the Diagon Alley expansion is going to be happening in the following summer, so a lot of people may be like, "Well, we're just going to wait for that to open before we go." I suspect that... if I were a betting man, they will probably announce...
Mikey: There it is. There it is.
Andrew: They will announce something at this Harry Potter Celebration. So when you go there, they'll preview some rides or the new rides or something like that.
Andrew: By the way...
Micah: I would be surprised... oh, I was just going to say, if you start getting invites, MuggleNet starts getting invites, I would think that that would be a tell-tale sign that they're going to reveal something...
Micah: ...about the park.
Andrew: Breaking news for this story as well. I have been signed on to attend... I will be talking about my Tower of Falling Dumbledore ride concept and petitioning for that to be created there.
Eric: Wow. Okay.
Andrew: Yeah. Mhm. It will be a half hour Q&A. You can ask me anything and everything about it. Tickets are now on sale.
Micah: How does that work? Do you ride Dumbledore as he falls down?
Andrew: Well, no. Picture the Tower of Terror at Disney World.
Andrew: Tower of Terror at Disney World, right?
Andrew: So, you get strapped on to Dumbledore's back and you kind of go up the tower...
Eric: Does this answer your question, or is it just raising more questions than it's answering?
Ben: Why did he have to fall from the tower? I don't understand that.
Ben: He didn't have to... that didn't kill him. He was already dead, right?
Mikey: "Severus. Please."
Andrew: He was going to die anyway. [laughs] To quote the previous MuggleCast episode.
Eric: I just won bingo! [laughs] We referenced all the little things from our past.
Eric: Enough for me to win the card.
Andrew: What else is going on in the news? What other big story, Micah? What could it be?
Micah: Pottermore. [laughs] The last time we'll ever talk about it on this podcast.
Andrew: [laughs] You think? Could this be the last time?
Micah: I highly doubt that. I highly doubt it. But they did some big changes. They overhauled the homepage with a brand new design, and they implemented this new Story Navigator feature, which really changes the way that users interface and use the website, and I actually like it to be honest with you. I checked it out not too long ago.
Andrew: Well, yeah, the big deal about this is that you no longer have to go through every single Moment. You can just skip around and be wherever you want to be. So, when new chapters come out... let's say you just joined Pottermore today. You can go straight in and jump straight to the Sorting Hat. You don't have to do all that crap beforehand.
Andrew: And that's what a lot of people were asking for. They didn't want to go through all this stuff to get to the Sorting Hat. Just sort me so I can leave! [laughs]
Eric: Yeah. Well, that stuff happens in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, I think, getting your wand and getting sorted and all that stuff. It was stressful to go through and not be able to get sorted right away.
Ben: But see, it was supposed to be rewarding when you finally got sorted because...
Eric: That's true.
Ben: ...you worked through all of that. You know what this reminds me of? The special features on the first DVD.
Ben: Do you remember how God awful those were?
Kevin: That was awful.
Ben: You had to... it was like freakin' reading Chinese for me. I didn't...
Eric: True story, Ben. Last month, I had to look up... and God bless Google Cache for looking at older websites. I had to look up how to break into the special features of my Sorcerer's Stone DVD because I couldn't win the tap-the-bricks mini scene there.
Eric: So, I found it...
Andrew: Yeah, that was a pain.
Eric: ...I got them, but it took a while.
Andrew: So, Pottermore is trying to change. They're doing these changes. I think that was the biggest stuff that they're revealing over the next few months. We'll see if they announce anything else.
Micah: Yeah. They wrapped...
Micah: ...Prisoner of Azkaban though, didn't they?
Micah: It's now done.
Andrew: Right. I want to talk about this theory briefly. Micah and Eric, please stop me if I've talked about this already, my theory about the Harry Potter encyclopedia not happening until Pottermore is finished.
Andrew: Have I talked about that?
Andrew: Oh, really? Well, just briefly, I think we are not going to see a Harry Potter encyclopedia by JK Rowling until Pottermore has released all of its chapters, because Sony seems to have a stronghold over JK Rowling and talking about anything with the encyclopedia. You guys may remember when she revamped her website last year, she inadvertently announced that she was working on the encyclopedia.
Eric: Oh. [laughs]
Andrew: And then we all caught wind of it, we all wrote about it on our websites, and then a couple of days later, they updated the blurb and she took out all mentions of an encyclopedia and said, "I'm just really enjoying working on Pottermore right now, ha ha ha!"
Ben: This is shady.
Andrew: It was. Here, I'll give you... these are the exact quotes. I dug these up the other day. She had said, this was what was originally on the site:
"For a long time I have been promising an encyclopedia of Harry's world, and I have started work on this now - some of it forms the new content in Pottermore. It is likely to be a time-consuming job, but when finished I shall donate all royalties to charity."
So that's a clear statement, Harry Potter encyclopedia book, because she's going to be donating the royalties to charity. There's no royalties involved with Pottermore. So, I guess... no, it's probably not. And then it changed to this a few days later:
"I have been enjoying sharing information about Harry's world on Pottermore for free, and don't have any firm plans to publish it in book form."
That was it.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: Yeah, somebody screwed up.
Micah: Fire that web producer.
Eric: Somebody said, "Take that back, Jo!"
Andrew: Well, yeah, I think Pottermore saw this and said, "Wait a second, don't take the attention off of Pottermore. It's all about us right now." So, I suspect we're not going to see it until Deathly Hallows is out on Pottermore.
Eric: I will say, too, we give a lot of... some flack sometimes for talking about Pottermore, but you know what? I haven't been able to keep up with all of the special new environments that are happening at Pottermore at PlayStation Home for PlayStation 3.
Andrew: Nobody cares about that.
Eric: No, I'm serious! I really do care about it.
Micah: Are you getting paid by PlayStation?
Andrew: [laughs] I know. You've talked about it so much.
Eric: No, no, no! It's Pottermore. I did this review for it. This was ages ago when there were only three areas. There are now like ten areas you can go to.
Eric: You can go to class, you can go to Hogwarts, you can ride the train. I'm telling you guys, Pottermore itself is updating faster than I can keep an eye on it...
Andrew: All right.
Eric: ...and also Pottermore PlayStation Home. So I just have to say, I am really excited to go try that whenever I can, and...
Andrew: And, once again, Pottermore PlayStation Home. That's Pottermore, P-O-T-T... who's read The Cuckoo's Calling?
Micah: Well, just before you go, I know we've done our fair share of analyzing Pottermore, over... really since it's been released, but there is some really cool information on Lupin towards the end of Prisoner of Azkaban.
Micah: So, I would encourage people to go and read it. It's probably the most in-depth information that we've gotten from JK Rowling in Pottermore, just in terms of how long the entry is. So we do make fun of it and have our jabs at it from time to time, but I do think it's still a great resource because, Andrew, you pointed out, this may be the only place we get this information for the next couple of years.
Andrew: Yeah, and actually that information about Lupin, there's a bunch of stuff on his relationship with Tonks as well that is all new, and I purposefully wrote up an article on Hypable just about that new info because I knew people are so... people love Lupin so much, and the article was really popular. So if you don't want to log into Pottermore, you can just go to Hypable and read it.
Eric: Well, there you go.
Ben: Oh, that's the fifth Hypable plug...
Andrew: No, it's not!
Ben: ...and we're not even past page one.
Ben: Come on.
Eric: Well, while we're plugging things and while we're on the subject...
Micah: Can you learn about The Cuckoo's Calling on Hypable, too?
Andrew: Yeah, we cover everything.
Eric: ...the Remus backstory was analyzed by another one of the Harry Potter podcasts out there called Alohomora! They did a special episode last week where they looked through the Remus stuff as well. I wasn't on that episode, so it's okay for me to plug it.
Andrew: [laughs] Okay, so...
Micah: No, if you were on it, then I would understand you plugging it.
Eric: Well, I'm on that podcast now full time, so besides that episode. So, I can plug it then.
Andrew: Let's talk about The Cuckoo's Calling. This is JK Rowling's second book after the Harry Potter books. We all know about it already. Who's finished reading it?
Andrew: Just me?
Kevin: I haven't even started it.
Ben: I've just had it saved, you know?
Andrew: Well, okay, I've actually finished reading it, and one wise alec by the way, I read somewhere, commented... was jabbing at me because they were like, oh, Andrew finally finished an adult JK Rowling Potter... or adult JK Rowling book?
Eric: Oh, gosh.
Andrew: Yeah, I did.
Ben: Implying that you only read children's books.
Andrew: Well, no, because I stopped reading Casual Vacancy because I didn't like it.
Andrew: I think that had something to do with that.
Ben: Was it too complex for you?
Andrew: No, actually, Ben, but I enjoyed The Cuckoo's Calling very much. It had pictures, which made it easy for me to get through.
Micah: Pictures? I haven't seen any pictures.
Eric: Well, they don't have a picture version.
Ben: Andrew only watches TV shows and stuff that have a little bouncing ball on the words across the bottom.
Andrew: Right. Karaoke videos.
Andrew: No, but The Cuckoo's Calling, it's much more to JK Rowling's writing abilities. Being a... her writing a mystery, much better, I thought, than The Casual Vacancy because it just plays into her strengths more as an author. I enjoyed the entire book. It was a really great twist at the end. However, it was a bit of an info dump, I guess you could say. It just... everything kind of unraveled at once, and it's just pages and pages of explanation. [laughs]
Andrew: It could have been spread out a little bit more.
Micah: It's interesting that you say that because I'm about maybe 300 pages into the book and I just feel like more needs to happen faster. It's just... they take so much time building up this detective sort of interviewing each of the people that are... not really considered suspects because the investigation is closed, but...
Ben: Well, Micah, you've got to appreciate the buildup so that you can appreciate the climax.
Ben: And then the dénouement, the resolution, et cetera.
Micah: That's a great point, Ben.
Andrew: Well, you...
Eric: Well, I'm about a hundred pages in and I...
Andrew: Oh, that's nothing.
Eric: No, he's only started...
Mikey: I'm only 40 pages in. I only started it this week.
Eric: What was that, Micah? Mikey?
Mikey: I only started it this week, but I... the first bit of it because I read it a long time ago on the free part for iBooks, but what I liked about it was that first chapter was all about...
Mikey: It reminded me of Sunset Boulevard.
Eric: Yeah. [laughs]
Mikey: Sunset Boulevard, the movie. It starts with the murder.
Ben: Hey! Whoa!
Ben: I'm still on the title page. I haven't even...
Mikey: He's looking at the picture, still.
Andrew: Oh, that girl is pretty.
Eric: I do fully intend to finish reading it, unlike Casual Vacancy.
Ben: I do, too.
Eric: I really do want to finish reading it. I'm glad you finished, that's really cool.
Andrew: Yeah, I did it all by myself.
Eric: Well, it gives me hope, is all I'm saying.
Andrew: It was just... I thought... going against what Micah said, I thought it actually moved at a great pace and I found it interesting to hear from all these different characters as Strike - that's the lead character - is interviewing them. And him and his assistant, Robin, I think they have a very fun chemistry to read. By the way, JK Rowling has said she already finished writing book number two. So...
Eric: The Cormoran Strike series.
Ben: Honestly, I can't wait to read it because... actually, I want to re-read the Harry Potter series because I feel like it's been a long time since I've re-read the books and it's kind of like there's a movie that you've watched a ton of times and then you wait a few years and watch it again, you're like, "Oh, yeah! That's why this movie was so awesome!"
Ben: I doubt when they win the Quidditch Cup in Prisoner of Azkaban I'll be jumping on my bed like I was 13...
Ben: ...but I want to recapture the magic.
Eric: Well, it's funny that we're talking about that, not just because the new books are coming out, but also regarding The Cuckoo's Calling and Harry Potter, I know this from Chris Rankin on Twitter, the actor who played Percy Weasley in the films, he says that the location, the geographical location in London, for Cormoran Strike, the detective, his office is actually David Heyman's office, Heyday Films' headquarters where a lot of those actors went to audition for their parts in Harry Potter.
Micah: Wait, so he's saying that David Heyman sleeps in his office?
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: No, no, no, no, no, no. The sleeping in their office thing is probably purely - or possibly, doubtfully - a Cormoran Strike-only thing, but that is the office location for Heyday Films. So, it's a little nod by JK Rowling back to either Harry Potter or David Heyman.
Micah: Strike reminds me a lot of Mad-Eye Moody.
Andrew: He does! Yeah, you're right, actually. And there was something about him that is very similar to Mad-Eye. Very similar. A couple of things.
Eric: His leg.
Andrew: Oh! Now, why would you spoil that?
Eric: Oh, oh, oh. You can edit it out.
Andrew: No, it's all right. It's too late. I want everybody to...
Micah: You can't edit it out of Mikey and Ben's ears.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Kevin: What about me? [laughs]
Eric: I don't think it's the big reveal.
Micah: And Kevin's.
Eric: Kevin, you're the one who read Deathly Hallows before it came out, [laughs] so I don't feel too bad.
[Andrew and Kevin laugh]
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