MuggleCast | The #1 Most-Listened to Harry Potter Podcast 3
                   
MuggleCast | The #1 Most-Listened to Harry Potter Podcast

MuggleCast 271 Transcript



Show Intro


[Show music begins]

Andrew: Because we just wanted to surprise the listeners, this is MuggleCast Episode 271 for December 24th, 2013.

[Show music continues]

Andrew: This week's episode 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: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 271. Yes, can you believe it? We are back.

Eric: We're back!

Andrew: For a limited time only.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: Wait...

Andrew: Eric, Micah, and I are here. What?

Micah: So, does that... if we're only back for a limited time, is this the gold edition? The silver edition? The platinum edition? What is it?

Andrew: Uhhh, gold.

Micah: Gold, okay.

Andrew: So, this is a special end-of-year episode. Eric and Micah thought, "You know, we just want to MuggleCast again," and I said, "You know, okay."

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And then... [laughs] and here we are. And...

Micah: Andrew is just being modest.

Andrew: ...we've obviously kept it a surprise. We didn't want to... well, I suggested we keep it a surprise. That way, it's a little more fun that way.

Micah: Well, it was a surprise. I don't think people really got the tweet.

Andrew: Yeah, nobody...

Micah: That you put out over the weekend.

Andrew: ...understood your tweet.

Eric: Oh, you guys...

Micah: It was such a great quote.

Andrew: What was the tweet that you wrote?

Micah: I will have to look it up.

Andrew: It is: "The things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end..."

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And then this weird hashtag: #Twelve23Thirteen. What does that mean?

Eric: I thought the hashtag is part of something bigger. What... I clicked on it and I didn't understand.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It wasn't just a Harry Potter hashtag, right?

Andrew: Micah, what does it mean? I'm lost.

Micah: Well, it may not just be a Harry Potter hashtag, but I just kind of made that up on my own and I didn't realize...

Andrew: Well, it's the worst thing I've ever read on Twitter.

[Micah laughs]

Andrew: It's the worst hashtag ever.

Micah: Why? But you can't just put all numbers.

Andrew: Yeah, but what are the... anyway, it doesn't matter.

Eric: Other people have used it, though. Can't you click on it and see the other tweets? [laughs]

Micah: I'm sure you could.

Andrew: Yeah, one person has used it in the history of Twitter.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: It's the worst hashtag.

Micah: Well, it's today's date, right?

Andrew: I guess. I guess.

Micah: Well, the quote was creative, wasn't it? I mean, come on.

Andrew: Yeah, the quote was creative.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, Micah, you couldn't resist doing that, teasing people. Being able to then point out on the show, such as this, "Hey, I told you this was coming." But on a personal level, I think that many of our listeners who have stuck with us for quite some time - and we still get emails and we still get comments - will enjoy waking up on Christmas morning and finding this, a new MuggleCast episode under their iTunes...

Micah: I like that.

Eric: ...tree.

Micah: You've already determined the release date. I thought Andrew was going to release this...

Andrew: Today?

Micah: ...sometime this evening.

Eric: Really, it's up to...

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Okay, then a little early. This is the... guys, we're the present that you can open the night before Christmas.

Andrew: That is so sweet. That is great.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So, our last episode was September 12th. Obviously, a lot has happened since then. And that September 12th episode was actually our Fantastic Beasts episode. It was the one after J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. announced the spin-off movie franchise. There hasn't really been any news about that since then, but there's been plenty of news and we're going to talk about several topics today. And we're also going to look ahead to what Harry Potter fans have to look forward to in 2014 because there's actually a lot.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: As you'll see in the news here.

We're going to continue with the show in just a moment, but first, today's episode is brought to you by Audible.com. 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. Today, I am going to recommend Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Now, you may be a fangirl, you may be a fanboy, you may even be a casual one of those two titles, but Fangirl is the perfect book for a Harry Potter fan. In fact, while you're reading it you're going to see some similarities to your fandom life. That's why I love it so much. It is about a girl who writes fan fiction and meets a boy who doesn't understand her fandom interests at first, but he comes around. And quite honestly, he's an amazing boyfriend. Any one of us would be lucky to have him. Again, it's Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. You can get it for absolutely free by visiting AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast to get an audiobook of your choice for absolutely free. We thank Audible for their support of the show.

So, Micah, do you still want me to do the news? [laughs] Or do you... are you prepared?

Micah: It is a bit difficult, coming back to this news studio here, because it's a mess. There's a lot of cobwebs, the lights barely work, and there's some garbage strewn all over the floor, so I guess some rowdy kids must have gotten in here at some point over the last several months and just had a pretty wild party. But I think I might be able to handle this.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: It's been a while...

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: ...but I can start out.

Andrew: Go ahead.

Micah: And if I screw up, you can feel free to jump in at any time.

Andrew: Sure. Go ahead.

Micah: How's that?

Andrew and Eric: Sounds good.

[Eric laughs]



News: J.K. Rowling to Co-Produce New Harry Potter Stage Play


Micah: So, probably the biggest piece of news that has been announced - and it happened quite recently - is that J.K. Rowling is going to be co-producing a Harry Potter play following Harry's pre-Hogwarts years. And this was a rumor, or it started as a rumor and then it was confirmed, and I didn't even know she had an official Facebook page...

Andrew: You didn't?

[Eric laughs]

Micah: ...but it has been confirmed on J.K. Rowling's official Facebook page.

Eric: Micah...

Micah: Hopefully she updates that more than she updates her Twitter.

Andrew: She does.

Eric: ...I was going to say, you stopped following her on Twitter. She talks about her Facebook page on Twitter all the time.

Micah: Oh. Well, that must be it, and I guess that makes me a bad fan at the end of the day.

Andrew: Yeah, it kind of does.

Micah: Does this really excite people? I mean, are people looking forward to this?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Is it just going to be on the West End?

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: Is it going to migrate its way to Broadway at some point?

Andrew: Well, there's a lot to talk about here. Like you said, it was a rumor. It was something reported by the Daily Mail and they're not always very reliable, so it was hard to believe, but they did have a quote from J.K. Rowling in it about this, so that told me that this was legitimate because they were quoting her. And then she did confirm it the next morning. So, people are excited but there is... people are nervous about this because the first thing that comes to mind when you hear "Harry's pre-Hogwarts years," that this play is going to follow his pre-Hogwarts years, is, isn't the whole point that he wasn't doing anything before Hogwarts?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: So, what is this?

Eric: Yeah. It's the part of Harry Potter, the boy wizard, when he's not a wizard yet.

Andrew: Exactly.

Eric: And it's like, well, okay.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: You imagine... just on the surface, you're like, "Well, okay, he was being abused by the Dursleys."

Andrew: And you can't really turn that into a whole play. And then there's also the worrying part... well, another worrying part is that she's not writing it, so then you wonder... she is co-producing, which is good. She is involved. But she's not writing it, so then you're wondering, so how much of this, what we see in the play, is actually from J.K. Rowling's mind? Is it canon, or is this just another fan-made thing? So, it's worrying. Eric, what was your reaction?

Eric: Yeah, my reaction was... I'm sure it will be heartwarming. My reaction was to hope that there would be little bits of magic because I guess I'm not one for just the straight drama, just bawl your eyes out, this child is being mistreated. I want some of those elements. What I remember, the very few things that exist before Harry is carted away by Hagrid to Hogwarts is like the moment he ends up on the school's kitchens because Dudley's friends are chasing him and all of a sudden... he basically Apparates, although it's not described that way. He just all of a sudden appears on a rooftop, and I'm thinking, that would be a great cliffhanger or moment in the play if they were to dramatize any of the stories. You'd want to include those moments where, yes, he showed magic but he still doesn't know why or how or something like that. I think that would be kind of more interesting than just the fact that the Dursleys abuse him. But then if the Dursleys are abusing him, you also want to include the reason for it, which is that they fear him, they fear where his parents came from that kind. So, in a way, it isn't just sort of a Muggle play no matter what. It has to do with Harry's identity as a wizard, but I think they should include magic wherever possible because that's kind of the selling point.

Andrew: Yeah. The official description of this play so far says:

"What was it like to be the boy in the cupboard under the stairs? This brand new play, which will be developed for the UK theater, will explore the previously untold story of Harry's early years as an orphan and outcast. Featuring some of our favorite characters from the 'Harry Potter' books..."

Eric: Our favorite? [laughs] Don't they mean least favorite?

Andrew: Well, hold on...

Micah: Well, no... all right, go ahead.

Andrew: Yeah, I think what's going to happen... let me finish this first. It says...

Micah: No.

Andrew: [continues]

"...this new work will offer a unique insight into the heart and mind of the now legendary young wizard. A seemingly ordinary boy, but one for whom Destiny has plans..."

I think what they're going to do, in response to this little "featuring some of our favorite characters from the Harry Potter books" line, is they're going to include the Weasley family. I think that's a must. I think they'll include Ron and Hermione. I think they'll be big parts of the story. You see them getting ready for Hogwarts. And the Weasley family would actually add a lot of magic to this play because, like Eric is saying, you're going to see a lot of the Dursleys and there's no magic there, and that's not Harry Potter. It's not... nothing is Harry Potter without magic. You need the magic. So, I think the Weasleys will be in this to a great extent.

Micah: Yeah, I don't think that you can focus a whole lot on Harry himself.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: I think you can focus on Harry's story, and that doesn't necessarily directly involve him. And so when you talk about favorite characters, I like the idea of what's going on with the Weasleys, what's going on with the Grangers. But even with Hermione, you're somewhat limited there as well because she's sort of coming into her own and possibly her parents aren't quite sure what's happening to her as well. So, I think... when I first read this, and then you shared the description, I thought Harry's story pre-Harry doesn't necessarily have to be him growing up. But that does seem like what it's going to be, but I think that they can incorporate other characters, other things that are going on at that time, with... and kind of interspersing Harry's story among that. So...

Eric: Maybe...

Micah: Go ahead.

Eric: Yeah, maybe they will... instead of doing Ron and Hermione, what they were up to, because that's kind of just like a regular Harry Potter book, what if they did Dumbledore and Hagrid and McGonagall? Dumbledore is the reason Harry went to Privet Drive, so I think at some point he would check in on him or...

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: ...kind of figure out from afar somehow that... kind of just reaffirming his own decision to leave Harry with his family members.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: I don't think he'd drop him on the doorstep, "Okay, I washed my hands on this. See you in eleven years!" I think Dumbledore would care, I guess, how... he never intervened, I'm not suggesting that happened because we know that Harry was horribly mistreated and it lended to his modesty, which is very important in later years. But at the same time, I think it would be interesting in this play if there is a conversation, much like the one McGonagall and Dumbledore had before they left him at the Dursleys, saying, "Was this the right decision?" And have somebody like a caregiver that we know of looking kind of in on Harry.

Micah: Yeah. And I'm sure it's going to open at Godric's Hollow, and Harry is really young obviously at that time, and you'll see the whole Voldemort incident, and then it goes on from there. And to me it would end with Hagrid telling Harry that he's a wizard.

Andrew: Yes. That was my idea, too.

Micah: So, it's everything that takes place in between those pivotal moments that were so crucial to the series. And how they choose to go about that... you mentioned J.K. Rowling is a co-producer and not necessarily a writer, but I'm sure anything that happens has to have her blessing. I will say this though, kind of in closing. When I first read about this, and just knowing J.K. Rowling and knowing that she's oftentimes stayed away from this sort of thing, I couldn't help but think of... she's really kind of squeezing this for all it's worth at this point.

Andrew: It feels like that to you now?

Micah: A little bit. Because I don't necessarily know that this is something that needs to happen.

Andrew: Yeah.

Micah: She could write about this. There's other ways of telling the story. But I feel like this is milking it a little bit.

Andrew: I...

Eric: I don't... oh, go ahead.

Andrew: I agree with you, actually. I was just about to bring this up. You just have to wonder why. Why does this have to become a thing? She said in a statement with this announcement that many ideas had been presented to her, but this is the only one that she finds can work. And it makes me think, is she just sick and tired of people coming after her for the stage rights, and she's just throwing her hands up and she's just like, "Okay, fine. This is the one we're going to go with. Everybody stop bothering me now."? I just don't understand the point of this happening. Why does it need to happen?

Eric: Yeah. I don't think it's J.K. Rowling milking it, though. I think it is the demand from the audience for what is still a hot property, to produce more things. It's really like this huge demand, and J.K. Rowling...

Andrew: Is there a huge demand?

Micah: Is there? Is there, though?

Eric: Yes, I think there is demand.

Andrew: I mean, not for a play. Not for a play.

Eric: Because ultimately these people came to J.K. Rowling, these writers, and said, "We want to make a play about Harry Potter. Here are some ideas. What's the most likely? Can we do this?" Somebody else approached Jo. Jo is not saying, "How else can I... what part of Harry's story didn't I tell?" She said from the beginning she was very content leaving it as it was in seven books. But now that we've seen this play is happening and the Fantastic Beasts movie, which she's actually writing which is like, "Hey, okay, so she is returning to Harry." But really it's all about these little moments that are side stories for her, and I think she is losing a little resistance that she had. I think she is giving in, in a way, but not selling out.

Micah: No, I don't think she's selling out.

Eric: I think there's a big difference between milking it, just like...

Micah: But you know what? It's her story. If she wants to put it on the West End, then go for it. It's just... it seems like it's a bit of overkill to me.

Andrew: Yeah. But then I've also wondered, so why does Fantastic Beasts not feel the same way? Why am I feeling this way about the play but not Fantastic Beasts? And I think the reason is that Fantastic Beasts...

Micah: It's a different story.

Andrew: Yeah, it's just completely new. Exactly. It's like there is all this potential here, whereas you look at this play and you can see... you can imagine it and it just doesn't look that great. Whereas Fantastic Beasts, it's so exciting because you can't even imagine what they're going to come up with and what J.K. Rowling is so excited about with this. So...

Eric: Yeah, this play to me seems more like a character story. I don't think they'll actually be as literal with time passaging as we're thinking, like opening with Voldemort killing Lily and James and ending with Hagrid at the rock. I think it may take place... it may begin and end in the middle somewhere and just be about how a boy deals with his relatives, his only family hating him. It could be very cerebral, it could be very young, and maybe it doesn't have anything to do with magic but it's still Harry.

Andrew: It's also interesting that this is... that there is not even a play about what takes place in the Harry Potter books. That instead, J.K. Rowling wanted to do something that we've never even seen before.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: I mean, when has that happened before? If you look at other books that have been adapted for the stage, I don't even know if that's happened. I'm sure it has a couple of times, but nobody... Harry Potter just breaks all the rules when it comes to development in different areas of entertainment. So, I wanted to mention though that on Hypable I did an article, "What was Harry up to pre-Hogwarts?" because that's obviously the big question here. Did J.K. Rowling ever mention anything that Harry was up to before Hogwarts? And it turns out that the Harry Potter Lexicon... we all know the good old Harry Potter Lexicon by Steve Vander Ark. There's a section in Harry Potter's area on the HP Lexicon with all the info we know about what Harry was up to pre-Hogwarts. And the short answer is: Not much, but J.K. Rowling in the books did make a couple of references, including one incident where Petunia cut all of Harry's hair and then overnight it grew back. And then another incident, Dudley and his friends were chasing Harry at school when Harry magically transported himself up onto the rooftop. These are little things, though. They're not things that could drive an entire play. So, in other words, whatever is going to be in this play is going to be entirely new, and hopefully canon.

Eric: Yeah, I think J.K. Rowling producing it means that it will be canon or at least canon in so far as an interpretation of Harry's character can be canon.

Andrew: If this turns out to be really good, I think what the problem is right now is... from a marketing perspective, it just got off to a bad start.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: J.K. Rowling could be saying right now... maybe she should be saying right now, "Guess what, guys? I'm dropping a ton of new info in this Harry Potter play."

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: "You're going to learn some crazy stuff that you never knew before. This is going to be exclusive to the play." I think she should say something like that, if that's actually what's going to be happening here.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Otherwise it's like, "Eh."

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: Glad you agree with me, Micah.

Eric: Now, another comment about this that I had was that all of the actors are pretty good stage actors.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: We know Fiona Shaw is currently in a play. Richard Griffiths, however, he passed away, but he and Dan Radcliffe were on Broadway. Harry Melling is on the West End. I think...

Andrew: Rupert Grint is right now, too.

Eric: Currently, Rupert Grint is. Everybody is doing stage now and I just wonder who they might cast for the Dursleys. I don't think they'll cast Fiona Shaw and Harry Melling, just like Dan is too old to play young Harry, but...

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: I'm really... I'm going to be looking most forward to seeing casting about this play.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Which I'm sure the info...

Micah: When is this slated to open?

Eric: 2015?

Micah: Do we know?

Andrew: 2015. Yeah, they're going to be working on it this year. So yeah, I'm just very meh about it personally.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: We'll see.

Micah: Well, I know what you're not meh about.

Andrew: What?

Micah: The expansion of the Wizarding World in Orlando, Florida.

Andrew: Oh, you're right. You're right.



News: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Orlando Expansion


Micah: So, I was actually in Orlando not that long ago. Last week, actually.

Eric: Oh.

Micah: I didn't get a chance to go over, unfortunately, to the Wizarding World to see all the construction that's being done, but it looks like little bits of buildings and other structures are starting to be revealed.

Andrew: Yeah. So, we got to look at Grimmauld Place because the scaffolding came down. But Universal has kept very quiet over the past few months. Probably since our last episode, I don't think much has been revealed. We know that the Leaky Cauldron restaurant is going to be there. We also found out that... this is actually pretty interesting: Beedle the Bard's Fountain of Fair Fortune is going to be in this park, even though it has no connection to Diagon Alley. It looks like it's going to be outside of the ice cream shop, Florean Fortescue's, which is in the Harry Potter books, referenced it is in Diagon Alley. So... but the bigger news is that they are finally getting ready to unveil a ton of new information. They are actually doing it a month from today, January 23. They are doing a half-hour webcast and they haven't said what they are unveiling exactly, but that is part of the fun. So considering it's half-hour, they're probably going to have a lot to share. And hopefully some new concept art. I mean, we have only seen one piece of concept art so far and it was just that overview of the park.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: So, we are definitely due for some new looks. And yeah, I'm excited.

Eric: Yeah, I'm just watching this video that we have...

Micah: The commercial sucks.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: The commercial? Oh, I haven't seen the commercial yet.

Andrew: Yeah, they've done two teaser commercials so far and one of them promises, "In 2014, Universal Orlando will bring you the end of vacationing as you know it."

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: They are basically...

Micah: There is no tie to Potter there whatsoever, though.

Andrew: No.

Micah: That's what makes it terrible.

Andrew: The commercial just has very bland shots of... on purpose, bland shots of a watermark and a beach. Universal is basically saying that what we have to offer in Diagon Alley is going to be like nothing ever before. Which maybe true. It just seems pretty ballsy.

Micah: Well, here's the thing though, is that if you're not familiar with the music or you're not familiar with that lightning bolt that takes the place of the one...

Eric: The one?

Micah: ...you have no idea what they are referring to.

Andrew: Yeah, but I don't know if... I mean, if it airs during the Super Bowl, which apparently they are airing a commercial during the Super Bowl, if it does air then, then yeah, that's probably a mistake. But for right now, just online, I think it's fine.

Micah: I'm sure they'll be able to reveal a little bit more by the time the Super Bowl rolls around. But it's cool to see that this is coming together, and I mean, I definitely will plan to head back there at some time to check out all the new stuff that they are putting in place.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Yeah, you know what? In just the couple of... in just the minute that it took you guys to talk, I did watch that first trailer and I completely agree with you. That is really strange and empty and not Harry Potter-ish at all except for the music.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, it's just one giant tease. A tease of a tease. It's... yeah, it's interesting. It's interesting.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So I mean, if you look at this expansion though, it's gigantic. Particularly the Gringotts thrill ride. The building is almost as big as the rest of the land, the outdoor land where the Diagon Alley walkways are going to be. I mean, it's huge. There's a new flyover video. It was posted today on MuggleNet and you can see a couple of glimpses of the Hogwarts Express. You just get a good feel of the size of this project. It's huge.

Eric: Yeah, Grimmauld Place can be seen in the flyover video and we've got a few photos of Grimmauld Place already. But it looks like that's actually going to be a big place to hangout, not necessarily inside of, but there's a lot of land to just stand on in front of Grimmauld Place. It opens up into the waterfront and stuff. So... I'm still a little confused on how the layout is going to look. And I don't know enough about how Universal looks from above to be able to really point out too many things in the video, but it shows the track of the Hogwarts Express from the regular Universal park to Islands of Adventure and Hogsmeade and stuff. And I guess we're not getting many reports over how Hogsmeade is dealing with... where the train is going to end up. You know what I'm saying?

Andrew: It goes... they're building a train station next to the Dueling Dragons coaster.

Eric: Okay. Huh.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Okay.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: That's all we really know about it. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. [laughs] Okay, okay. Yeah. But actually though, while we were talking, there is a second commercial for the park that actually uses clips from the movies.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: And that one is much better. It's much more clear what it is exactly that you're watching.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: In fact, they show Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, a clip, which makes me very excited for that shop in the theme park.

Andrew: Yeah. It looks good. I just wonder... it's going to be so crowded I have to think this summer, come June when it opens up.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: It's going to be crazy. And the lines for the Hogwarts Express. I mean, I can't imagine... [laughs]

Eric: No.

Andrew: ...how long it's going to take to get on that train.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: Yeah, it's interesting to go to it over the last couple of years that we've been there. And really the last time I was there, I remember it was pretty manageable, and I think sort of the initial excitement...

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: ...wore off for a lot of people. But knowing that this is going to be brand new - really cool from the sound of it - it's going to attract a ton of people. Especially when it first opens, like you said.

Eric: Well, yeah. Just remembering back a couple of years when the theme park first opened, even on a regular summer day there was a line four hours long stretching all the way around... legitimately, a circle of... around the park of Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park, just to get into the area. To get into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. It was like a four-hour line.

Micah: Yeah.

Eric: And that was just to get into the park. Forget about Forbidden Journey or any of the...

Micah: But that was its grand opening, though. That was the first...

Eric: But it was for months! It was for months it was like that.

Andrew: Hmmm.

Micah: People were standing in line for months?

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: No...

Micah: I'm just joking.

Eric: ...every day it got in and cleared out. They obviously capped the line at some point.

Micah: Of course.

Eric: But it took forever to die down. I'm not...

Andrew: Yeah, Eric is right. There was a line to get into the lands. It wasn't as big as that grand opening day, of course.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: But yeah, there was a wait time just to get into the Wizarding World, which...

Eric: And so I foresee the same thing happening. I foresee lines around the park for the Harry Potter section of the park. Because it's the newest and the hottest. But I... certainly that's the last thing I'm looking forward to though, is the crowd.

Micah: Is the line.

Eric: Yeah, is the line.

Micah: Just cut the line. You work for MuggleNet.

Eric: [laughs] Just...

Andrew: Yeah, just flash your MuggleNet ID.

Eric: I'm going to have to get mine printed out. I'll go to...

Micah: Or your MuggleCast tattoo.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah, I'll show them the tattoo.

Micah: All right.

Eric: I'll show them the tattoo.



News: Bloomsbury to Publish Fully-Illustrated Harry Potter Series


Micah: Well, some other news that surfaced during our time off... that's a good way to put it, right? Time off?

Eric: Time off, yeah.

Micah: Is that Bloomsbury is planning to republish a fully-illustrated set of the Harry Potter books. And the first is set to be released in September of 2015. And again, this is something I'm not so sure how I feel about.

Andrew: Really?

Eric: This shocks me.

Andrew: Really?

Eric: This...

Micah: Fully illustrated? I mean, you're supposed to be using your imagination.

Andrew: The purpose of these books is to appeal to younger readers, and they're going to purposely release each book a year apart from one another so you can kind of grow up with the series and look forward to each new book. I like this idea. I think it's cool. My question about it - we were talking about this on Hype the other day - is how big are these books going to be, now that they have pictures in them?

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I mean, they're big enough with just text. It's going to be crazy. The size of Order of the Phoenix...

Eric: Especially when you get to the later books. Book 5 is like...

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: ...a three tome novel, or a three tome encyclopedia set, if there are pictures on every page.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: What shocks me is that it's Bloomsbury doing this and not Scholastic because Bloomsbury's books, the UK books, are boring, and as they exist currently they... it's plain text. All of it is in... I think it's Garamond font. They don't even make... okay, I know I'm sounding confused here, but in the American books... growing up reading them - you know this - every time Harry gets a letter from Hogwarts or the Ministry or Hagrid, it's in a different font. It's got the little handwriting. It is that one point in Book 3 where Buckbeak is scheduled to be executed and Hagrid has tears on the letter. It's all very well done by the graphics department at Scholastic years and years and years ago when these books first came out. The UK books aren't like that. Everything is in the same font and there's none of that extra little magic. There's no chapter images that we are used to, from Mary GrandPrÈ, and there's no different font for different people writing. There's no handwriting. It doesn't look anything different than... it's so prim. It's so straight. And so to think that Bloomsbury is the one doing a picture book?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And looking at these images...

Micah: Oh, that doesn't mean that Scholastic won't follow suit.

Eric: Yeah, but looking at these images... and these images look great. Just this one of young Harry that's really...

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: It's like a watercolor, of Harry. It looks gorgeous and I'm shocked that... and look, I've always seen these... okay, the letter font thing in the UK books is maybe like training wheels for us, to make it a little bit more magical, a little bit more childish. The British kids don't need that, apparently. But I just think it is backwards for them to now do a picture book. I think it's going to look great.

Micah: I'm not saying that it's not going to look great. I think part of it, though, is that even for younger kids, a lot of what Harry Potter was about was being able to expand the mind and use your imagination, and you look at that picture of Hogwarts that is depicted there, that's one person's interpretation of it and I think that if you have a generation of kids who are growing up with these picture books in England or wherever else they're sold, they're going to have this preconceived notion of what all of this is supposed to look like and...

Eric: Well...

Micah: You can make the argument about that with the films as well.

Eric: Right.

Micah: But I just find that doing this is... excessive? I don't really see the point, but that's just me.

Andrew: Well, I mean, we've seen the books re-released numerous times since the last one came out. Even before the final book came out, they were still... [laughs] they were re-publishing them.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: This doesn't surprise me. I'm looking forward to them. Am I going to buy them? Probably not. Am I going to look through them? Definitely. I mean, there could be a new image on every page. And that's kind of cool, to see them illustrate it to this level of detail. I mean, Bloomsbury is calling them "fully illustrated," which would suggest there's going to be a ton of illustrations in here, so... I don't know. It's cool. I like it. I think the Dan... I think Harry Potter looks just like Dan Radcliffe. Don't you guys agree?

Eric: Ehhh. Yeah, it kind of is.

Micah: That's another question though, too, is how much of this artist's... this illustrator's drawing is going to be influenced by his knowledge of the series from a film standpoint.

Eric: I don't think so.

Andrew: Apparently not much. There was an article about their choice for Ron, and he went to this school to look for kids and he found a Ron there, or somebody... a little redhead kid.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And they picked him, and J.K. Rowling approved of the Ron choice. So, him and J.K. Rowling are looking at people in schools around the kids' age in the first book, so this way, while they're actually growing up in real life, they'll continue to use them as guides for them to grow up. [laughs] Does that make sense? Like so...

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: ...Ron is growing up at the same time as this real life kid is growing up.

Eric: So, they're casting their own characters in a way.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: They're casting their own trio again.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, essentially. And it was, like I said, approved by J.K. Rowling. At least Ron was. I imagine all of them are. But then it's like...

Eric: She's lowering her defenses. [laughs]

Andrew: I know, it's like now J.K. Rowling is handling... involved with this? Is this... her head is still in Harry Potter every day, isn't it? This play, Fantastic Beasts, Pottermore...

Eric: Well, there were five years where it wasn't. Weren't there five years where she didn't do anything about Harry Potter at all?

Andrew: Maybe. Yeah, well, I mean, Pottermore was probably in the works, right? Because that came out in 2011 or '12.

Eric: Oh, right.

Andrew: So...

Eric: Yeah, you're right.

Andrew: But yeah, she is still deeply involved with Harry Potter.

Micah: Yeah. And I know that we talked about Scholastic, but in the article you mentioned that... are they going to be interested after having just re-released the books with new covers this past August, in doing something similar and... I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Andrew: I bet they will.

Micah: It could depend on how successful they are.

Andrew: Well, they'll re-release these. The original announcement said that Bloomsbury is going to shop this series around to other publishers around the world, so... and I think Scholastic would be somebody who's interested.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: And the first one comes out in 2015. I don't know if we mentioned that yet. So there's something to look forward to, I guess.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: We're going to be... I mean, if they're releasing these a year apart it's going to be a while before the seventh one comes out, sort of just like how Pottermore is releasing bits at a time.

Eric: Mhm.

Micah: Right.



Alfonso Cuaron Interested in Directing Fantastic Beasts


Micah: Well, another piece of news, and I'll try and be positive on this story but I don't think it's going to happen.

Andrew: In the spirit of the holidays, stay positive.

Eric: Woo-hoo!

Micah: [laughs] No, I have a feeling I'm going to get some tweets or a couple of emails about just how I've responded to certain pieces of news so far, and I can't really say that this one is going to be any different. Alfonso Cuaron is interested in directing the Harry Potter spin-off that we spent a good portion of our last episode talking about. It's the new series with Newt Scamander. And I'll just leave it up to you guys to...

Andrew: Well, we should add that he's ...Vulture, a New York Magazine...

Micah: He's a vulture, yes.

Andrew: No, no, no.

Micah: He's a vulture. He ripped apart Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban...

Andrew: Wow.

Micah: ...with his beak.

Eric: What?

Andrew: [laughs] No, New York Magazine's Vulture went up to Alfonso at a party and said, "Hey..."

Micah: He was probably wasted.

Andrew: "...what do you think of Fantastic Beasts?" So, I don't want to give anybody the impression that he's been offered the directing gig. He was just asked. But he said:

"'Azkaban' was fun to make, and when I did it, I was invited to do the next one, but I didn't want to overstay the welcome because it was such an experience. But now? Why not? I do have stuff that I want to do [next], but a J.K. [Rowling] thing..."

Then he stopped himself and he said:

"They haven't called me yet! They haven't decided to invite me! [I'm just] looking forward! At least to see it, because nobody's invited me."

So...

Eric: Look, people know I've been a little vocal before about how I feel about the third movie. Unfortunately, ever since I saw it in 2004 it hasn't really gotten any better since. I don't like it. I don't like it at all. But with this news... and I've seen Gravity, which is his most recent film, and I really liked that. I thought it was very good cinematography, very good directing. Now all I can say is, well, with Fantastic Beasts the movie, there is no book for him to ruin.

Andrew: Right.

Eric: There's no book for him to set fire to, so why the heck wouldn't you want him making your film?

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Because he's actually a good filmmaker.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And with no source material that you can fall in love with prior to the movie coming out, unless you fall in love with the textbook - which if you are Hermione Granger, that's your thing - I think it could be a really interesting film. And looking at Cuaron's strengths creating a world in a visual array, he's the kind of director I think they need for this film. Making creatures and characters...

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: ...work together with people, that sort of thing. I think that he would be actually a strong choice for director for this film.

Andrew: Yeah, I agree. I mean, he'd essentially have a clean slate here to be working with. Like Eric said, you're not going to be comparing it to the book. And it's not like he's a bad director...

Eric: No.

Andrew: ...by any stretch of the imagination. So, I think he would be a good choice for this. And you also have to keep in mind that... Eric just mentioned Gravity. That was produced by David Heyman, who produced all the Harry Potter movies. So, Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman obviously have a good working relationship here between Harry Potter and now Gravity. And I got to speak to Heyman during... when he was doing press for Gravity and he was raving about Alfonso. And I didn't ask him if... when I talked to him, he still hadn't been confirmed as the producer of this new movie. Now we do know he is producing Fantastic Beasts, which is certainly a good sign because he had his hand in all eight Harry Potter movies. So, I think Alfonso is actually a pretty realistic choice that would not surprise me, given the background.

Micah: Yeah. And I know I was a little bit...

Andrew: Mean? You were mean.

Micah: No, I wasn't mean.

Andrew: You just called Alfonso Cuaron a vulture.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: No, those were your words. I was just repeating them.

Andrew: Oh, I see.

Eric: Vulture is the name of the publication.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Micah: I know. But here's the thing, listening to you guys talk, I actually agree.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: I think that the problem for Potter fans going into this is that they're going to compare him to what he did for Prisoner of Azkaban. And there's a lot of people who liked the movie, and...

Eric: That's true.

Micah: I'm not trying to get into that whole debate again. I personally didn't. It was probably my least favorite of all of the movies because it was my favorite book of the series...

Eric: Same.

Micah: ...and I felt that it was not well adapted, but we can leave it at that. What I thought immediately about, when we were talking about other things that he's worked on, he was a producer on Pan's Labyrinth and that kind of reminds me a bit... or made me think a bit as it relates to Fantastic Beasts. Because there's a lot of sort of weird creatures in that movie, and Cuaron's got a little crazy mind about him, so...

Eric: Well, I think... it's Cuaron...

Micah: ...I think he could be a good fit for this.

Eric: It's Cuaron, it's Guillermo del Toro, it's... those guys are the types of guys who you'd think would be doing this series. And that's not to say that it couldn't be light because I do want a sort of light element to Newt Scamander where it's adventurous. And I'm not necessarily talking swashbuckling. They're not going to get Gore Verbinski to do it like he did Pirates, but I think that it could be fun. But visually, the film has to sell us on these creatures, whatever... whoever they may be.

Andrew: And no matter who directs, we're all going to be very nervous as we sit down in the theater watching this for our first time because we all want it to be really good. But there's just a lot of risk here, J.K. Rowling writing her first screenplay, a Harry Potter spin-off. It's going to be nerve-racking. It doesn't matter who directs. I don't care if your favorite director on the planet directs this movie, it could still fall apart. So...

Eric: Yeah. It's true.

Andrew: I think all this Alfonso Cuaron hate has been overblown. For years!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: This aside.

Eric: Well, I....

Micah: You're the one who called him "vulture," so...

Andrew: You're right. You're right.

Eric: I went to... I dragged myself to Gravity and liked it, so I felt like that was me getting over a very important bump in my non-biased life road.

Micah: It's not that he's a bad director, it's that...

Eric: No. It was fine.

Micah: ...we didn't like the movie that he directed. [laughs]

Eric: People say it's the best film of them all because it works as a film and not just an adaptation. I say it was too dark too soon, but that's just where we stand.

Micah: I say it omitted a pretty big storyline. Anyway...

Andrew: Let's move on.



News: Robert Galbraith Ranked #28 on AskMen.com's Top 49 Men of 2013


Andrew: Speaking of omitting things.

Eric: Speaking of guys.

Andrew: [laughs] Right. Speaking of human beings...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: ...here's a story about a fictional one. So Robert Galbraith, the star of The Cuckoo's Calling - oh sorry, the author of The Cuckoo's Calling - was named number 28 on AskMen.com's Top 49 Men of 2013. Eric, how did you come across this?

Eric: This was a story... well, the story that we grabbed was that he was nominated. This was early... I think it was the middle of October that he was nominated for... actually, the most influential man. It was... AskMen UK did this thing where they compiled the Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2013. We knew that Robert Galbraith was nominated and it caused a little bit of stir because we were like, "Well, wait a minute. Not only is Robert Galbraith not real but the person who writes as him is a woman, so what's he doing on this list?" But it turns out that Robert and I believe the vote of the public - people who vote on this - did make number 28 out of 49 for most influential. And I'm just going to read the summary here from the website. Their results poll still exists on uk.askmen.com. They say:

"Yep, it's a lady. The inner sanctum has been penetrated! Rest assured chaps just outside the 49, it's all above board; 'Mr.' Galbraith had one of the most talked about books of the year with crime novel 'The Cuckoo's Calling,' especially once 'his' true identity was outed by a loose-lipped lawyer. All the while managing to negotiate deals for new 'Harry Potter' films in 'his' true form of J.K. Rowling. A pretty magical year all around, then."

So, this is just kind of some... really, recognition for the mystique of Robert Galbraith. The whole situation that happened - still quite recently, September or so - made this year-end list of most influential.

Andrew: Yeah, that's pretty cool.

Eric: J.K. Rowling writes as a man and has a hit book. So, that was just kind of really cool to get this outside...

Micah: Were there any other sort of fictional characters that made this list or was Robert the only one?

Eric: No, I really don't think so. I'll read down from #28: Boris Johnson, Louis Tomlinson, Peter Tatchell... I'll read the top ten. Who's the top ten men? Oh, actually Peter Capaldi is on this list and so is Russell Brand. They're higher than ten.

Andrew: They're all real, though.

Eric: Yeah. Peter Dinklage makes eleven, Robbie Rogers, Elon Musk, Bryan Cranston is number eight, Chris Bailey, Benedict Cumberbatch is number six, George R.R. Martin is number five, Sam and Dan Houser of Grand Theft Auto producing fame made number four, Sir Jonathan Ive is three, Andy Murray is two, and Stephen Fry - wow - actually makes the most influential, the Top 49 Man of 2013. Stephen Fry, we know, narrated the UK audiobooks of Harry Potter, and he's also just a cool guy who's been around forever.



News: Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic Now Open


Andrew: So, the final story that we have for today, Micah.

Micah: Yes. It's good news, right?

Andrew: Well, yeah.

Micah: So, the ribbon was cut at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at Edinburgh University earlier... this year, I should say. It was actually a couple of months ago going back to October. And we know that this is something that was really a passion of J.K. Rowling's. We've talked about it on the show before, that she was looking to open this clinic, obviously in name of her mother, and I'm sure it will do a lot of good for a lot of people. It was initially established with a ten million pound donation from J.K. Rowling, and the work that's going to take place at the clinic is going to focus on finding treatments to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases, with the ultimate aim of repairing damage to patients' bodies. So...

Andrew: Cool.

Micah: ...a lot of good work. And I think at times we don't talk a lot about the charitable work that J.K. Rowling has done.

Andrew: Mhm.

Micah: But it's just... it's so widespread and a lot of times you don't even know about it, and I guess a lot of people would argue that that's the best kind.

Andrew: Yeah. I remember her attending the groundbreaking of that. I think it was only last year, in 2012.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: So, they opened that up pretty quick.



Plugs for Other Podcasts


Andrew: We are going to talk about what Harry Potter fans have to look forward to in 2014, because there is actually a lot, and we'll get to that in a second. But first, we wanted to talk about a couple of the other podcasts that we do. First of all, I wanted to mention that I'm still doing podcasts on the weekly over on Hypable, first with Hype - that's our bi-monthly, also known as twice monthly, entertainment podcast, talking about Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Doctor Who, all the latest movies coming out. So, we do that every other week, and Micah and Eric aren't on the show but a couple of Hypable's brighter stars are on there. They're aspiring to become Micahs and Erics one day.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Wait, who's aspiring?

Andrew: The co-hosts of Hype.

Micah: Oh, okay.

Andrew: Yeah. So, I just wanted to do a plug for that. And then also my weekly podcast, which is Hype After Dark. It's an extension of Hype of sorts. It's less entertainment, more real news, but a very fair mix of entertainment news as well, and that can be listened to via a subscription. We do four episodes a month, $3.99 a month. You can go to HypePodcast.com for a couple of samples and more information about that. And, Eric?

Eric: Yes, Micah and I are on a show called Game of Owns, and it's all about the Game of Thrones series of books and television. Right now, the TV series is heading into its fourth season in March, and so we are currently re-reading the second book and providing commentary, much like we did on this podcast years ago with Chapter-by-Chapter - sort of a favorite segment going through the Harry Potter books - coming up with anything we really thought of that stands out, as well as clues that the author leaves before for later. George R.R. Martin is very good at foreshadowing and all that good stuff that literary buffs really enjoy in books. And so we do that with Game of Thrones, and you should check us out. We are thrice weekly, actually, and our podcast is released Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on a normal week. You can find us on iTunes at Game of Owns.

Micah: You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and probably other places as well.

Eric: Yes. Just search "Game of Owns." And also, I'm on another Harry Potter podcast called Alohomora!, which is a global re-read of the series. So again, it's reading books and commenting. Right now we're on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, kind of going back through the Harry Potter series with the knowledge of what we know happens and commenting on that. And that's a MuggleNet podcast you can find over at MuggleNet.com. Just search for Alohomora!



Looking Ahead to 2014


Andrew: So looking ahead at 2014, we wanted to mention the things that are coming up. First of all, as we mentioned earlier today, Diagon Alley - that is going to open in June of this upcoming year, so very close. And like we said, this January people are going to learn a lot more about what is actually going to be inside it and hopefully get some concept art.

Eric: Yeah, I hope so.

Andrew: Something we really haven't talked about much other than the Robert Galbraith story was the fact that there should be a new Cuckoo's Calling book out this year. J.K. Rowling said the second one is as good as finished and it will be published next year, referring to 2014. So, there's no release date but since the first one came out secretly in March of 2013, I would assume... it was either March or April. I don't know if I'm being too presumptuous here, but I would assume it comes out around the same time, especially since when the official website went live back in September or August. It said that the second book was already finished, so it's got to be soon.

Eric: Yeah, I think it's very likely that we'll see it in 2014 and probably if not in April, then by June or so I think it would probably come out.

Andrew: So it's not an encyclopedia, but it is a new J.K. Rowling book.

Eric: There you go.

Andrew: And over the next year, we're going to get news about that Harry Potter play and also Fantastic Beasts. There's still no release date for Fantastic Beasts, but my guess is if it's arriving in 2016 - if it's actually going to hit theaters in 2016 - we're going to get a release date sometime in 2014, because they usually like to plan these out about two years in advance.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: In other words, once we get a release date, we can finally start counting down and looking forward to the studio having to reach deadlines. Maybe J.K. Rowling will turn the script in in the next year and then the casting process will begin, and before that there will be the director...

Micah: You could just call up David Heyman.

Andrew: And ask him.

Micah: You seem like you have a good relationship with him now, Andrew, so...

Andrew: Yeah, we're buddies. Yeah. We hang out in LA.

Micah: So, you probably know more actually than you're saying right now.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: If I did, I would spoil it all right now.

Eric: Aww.

Micah: You would.

Andrew: And then finally, we also have to look forward to - we can never forget because it's always lingering there in the background, waiting for us to enter and login with our weird usernames - it's Pottermore.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Pottermore actually... they released one section of it. J.K. Rowling...

Micah: Their CEO.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, that did happen.

Eric: Oh, gosh.

Andrew: Their CEO left. No, I was going to say J.K. Rowling released new information on Tonks and Lupin - their relationship, their whole backstory. And I remember I did a whole article about it on Hypable earlier this year, and people were really interested because that's a popular relationship in the books. And J.K. Rowling finally released some really cool background information, so maybe we'll get big new stuff like that this year.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, I think she... Pottermore is still kind of on Goblet of Fire.

Andrew: [laughs] Kind of on? Yeah, it's on.

Micah: It is.

Eric: Yeah, because you don't know how often they're going to release, so they are. But there's a lot of books ahead and a lot of content still to be released, so whatever that pacing is, I think it's safe to say we will see more in 2014.

Andrew: For a little while, it seemed like it was every few months - like every three, four months - but then that seemed to stop.

Micah: They're on a holiday break.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: I got an email from them, actually - last week, I would say - saying, "Oh, head on over to Pottermore and check out how it's all set up for the holidays."

Andrew: Ah, yeah. Ugh!

Micah: They are trying to engage people.

Andrew: But they made a big announcement... I'm sorry, just one Pottermore critique.

Micah: Go ahead.

Andrew: They made a big announcement about the fact that they put snow on Pottermore.com? Come on, come on!

Eric: [laughs] It's snow!

Andrew: No, no! This isn't news.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Ugh, man. I want Pottermore to be good. I really do. I'm rooting for it.

Eric: And of course, if that ever happens, we will be here to report on it.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: There will be a couple of more episodes, I think we can say, next year. We're still very irregular. When the news happens we'll cover it, but I think it's safe to say this still isn't the very last of MuggleCast, in case any listeners were worried.

Andrew: Probably not. I'm looking back in the Pottermore blog and it looks like they released Goblet of Fire chapters in October, and I think that was the last time. Because I don't remember anything in November and definitely not in December, so...

Eric: Oh, Hufflepuffs won the House Cup, by the way. The fourth House Cup. I was very happy.

Andrew: Yeah. So, they got early access to...

Eric: Yeah, they do...

Andrew: ...to the first Goblet of Fire chapters.

Eric: I think they do that every time a chapter is about to open, or a book is about to open or something.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, they do. That's one of the rewards. And they're revealing new Pottermore stuff at A Celebration of Harry Potter in January at the Wizarding World park in Orlando, so I assume...

Micah: Are you going, Andrew?

Andrew: ...more chapters... I don't know yet. I don't know. I heard Keith is going or hoping to go.

Eric: I'm not sure, I think Kat is going. I don't know which one of them is going in January.

Andrew: Yeah, so that happens at the end of January. Yeah, so that's what's happening in 2014 and who knows what other surprises J.K. Rowling will drop on us.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: I'm sure there'll be some.

Eric: How many more of these expanded Harry Potter canon universe things she will allow to happen.

Andrew: You just never know with her. She dropped three surprises on us this year: the new book The Cuckoo's Calling, then Fantastic Beasts, [laughs] and now this Harry Potter play, even though it seems like they didn't want it to be announced this early. The Daily Mail ruined that. But hey, whatever.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: That's what they do.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, right. They ruined...

Micah: Whether it's true or not.



Listener Feedback: Casting Newt Scamander


Eric: Well, we've talked about Fantastic Beasts, and last episode was all devoted to the news because it was still hot. We did ask, I believe, for some of your thoughts on who should play the lead role of Newt Scamander. And just before we wrap up this episode and the year, I wanted to include some of this feedback we got. First suggestion, Micah, do you want to read this?

Micah: Yeah, the first suggestion comes from Katie Mancuso and she says:

"First of all, it was like a blast from the past listening to you guys..."

Eric: [laughs] We weren't gone that long.

Micah: [continues]

"...like my childhood revisited. I haven't listened in so long (honestly thought you guys had ended your run a while back). Anyways, this might be typecasting, but I would love to see Matt Smith play this role. I think he'd do wonderfully at it. I've seen many other people thinking the same thoughts. He does say he's unemployed for the time. I'm sold, though. Matt Smith all the way."

I don't know who Matt Smith is.

Andrew: Oh, really? He's the Doctor!

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: He's Doctor 11! The eleventh...

Micah: Doctor 11. From Doctor Who, I'm assuming.

Eric: I don't know how that's typecasting, though, because Newt isn't really a doctor. He's a writer.

Micah: There needs to be pictures in here, Eric. You can't just list these people's responses.

Andrew: Or maybe we just need to fire you and find somebody who's a little more up on their pop culture.

Eric: Yeah, absolutely. Well, he's a traveler. I guess that's where the two are alike in their roles. The next one comes from Roshni Bhambhwani and they say...

Micah: Damn! I wanted Andrew to read that one.

Eric: Oh, Andrew, why don't you butcher this for us.

Andrew: [laughs sarcastically] Roshni B., she writes...

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Micah: See, you're smart, you've learned!

Andrew: She's at work listening to our quick fan casting. By the way, on the last episode we asked people to send these emails in, so that's why we got these. Roshni suggests:

"ùJoseph Gordon-Levitt! The first thing I did after hearing the news was look for a MuggleCast episode. Thanks for coming through! Midnight premieres, costumes, conventions, and insanity, here we come!"

So, she's pumped for the Harry Potter spin-off.

Eric: [laughs] Dressing up in...

Andrew: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I'll... it can actually work, maybe. Because Fantastic Beasts is going to be set in New York, so it could be an American wizard. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is American, Matt Smith is British.

Eric: Hmm.

Andrew: So, actually... I'm going to look really quick. I don't know if we know if the character of Newt Scamander is American or British.

Eric: I think he is British.

Andrew: And he moves to New York?

Eric: He eventually becomes the headmaster of Hogwarts, but only according to the movies.

Andrew: Yeah. So, if he moved to New York, then I think they would want to keep it as a British cast. So, as much as people love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, he probably can't get it. That's my thought.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: But that's a good choice. If only he were British. [laughs]

Eric: Well, definitely for a supporting role, I'd love to see him in the movie. Because I like that guy, you know?

Andrew: Mhm. Like a brother.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Newt's brother, Cornwall.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: I just made that up. Some other lame name that isn't suited for Hollywood. [laughs]

Eric: [laughs] Megan Utterback wrote in and said:

"I think Ben Barnes would make a great Newt Scamander. He's the right age, he's good-looking, and he's not too famous. I really want to see them do the sphinx, since it is one of my favorite creatures. I also want to see Blast-Ended Skrewts because I can never properly imagine them."

Okay, so Ben Barnes - for those who don't know - was cast as Prince Caspian in two of the Narnia films. I believe he's Australian.

Micah: Are you suggesting that I didn't know who that was?

Eric: I was suggesting that there may be people out there who don't know.

Andrew: I didn't know.

Eric: Because, like Megan said...

Micah: I didn't know who that was.

Eric: ...for some people, he doesn't really jump out. But he was Prince Caspian in two of the Narnia movies that they did - the second two - and I like him. I think he's Australian. He seems like he would be as good a choice as any for Newt.

Andrew: But the Chronicles of Narnia now has the new movie in the works, so could he be tied up with that?

Eric: Which is it? The Silver Chair?

Andrew: The Silver Chair, yeah.

Eric: He's... Caspian isn't a character in that book.

Andrew: Oh, okay. So, he's open. He is open.

Micah: All right. The...

Andrew: Yeah, go ahead.

Micah: ...final email is from Carlos Rodriguez, and he says:

"Thank you for that podcast. First ever I have heard, so I'm glad to hear it. As for an actor to play the twenty-year-old protagonist, even though he isn't super young, maybe Benedict Cumberbatch, the guy who played Sherlock Holmes in PBS. Just an idea. He's really awesome-looking, too, in my opinion. Take care."

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, Benedict. Also not a bad choice. These are... I see our listeners went with well-known people for their choices.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: And that's okay. They may pick an unknown though, or somebody who isn't as well-known, and that's completely possible. I think that would be a good idea. I mean, look how Dan Radcliffe turned out.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: They just need to pick somebody good-looking, and I mean that seriously because if they want to have another big franchise for young adults, they've got to pick an attractive male lead.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: So, we'll see who they go with. I'm excited. That'll be a very exciting day when that's announced.

Eric: Agreed. Maybe they'll do casting calls, and we can all go and apply.

Andrew: [laughs] Maybe. But we're not British, so...

Eric: Oh, darn! We'll have to do the sidekick character, the goofy American nerd friend.

Andrew: Yeah. We'll be the Ron Weasley of Fantastic Beasts.

Eric: [laughs] Hey, it's possible.



Listener Feedback: Creatures in Fantastic Beasts


Andrew: Do you want to read the last email, Eric?

Eric: Yeah. This is also about Fantastic Beasts, but it's not casting info. Or casting suggestions. It comes from Celea Cleaveland. Lots of extra A's in that name, now that I'm looking at it. Celea says:

"Hey guys,

Long-time listener, a-few-times emailer [here]. Great to hear you guys again so soon just when I was lamenting about not hearing your familiar voices."ù

Aha, we did it again.

"I'm super excited about this news, but sadly I cannot find my copy of 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'. It was my favorite of the two extra books (with 'Quidditch Through the Ages') back in the day since I love animals.

The beats I remember the most..."

Oh, sorry, I believe that's supposed to be...

"...the beasts I remember the most (since it's been a while) were the ones you mentioned on the show (Lethifold), the Kneazle (which apparently had limited speech and Crookshanks was, in part), and a Krup (the Jack Russell with a forked tail that barked at Muggles). Wouldn't it be cute for Newt [Scamander] to have a little pet Krup?

Also, I seem to remember that Veela were included in the book and finding that odd because I figured they counted more like 'beings'.

Have a good one!

Sincerely,
Ckatmyla"

Andrew: Luckily for you, your... sorry, how do you pronounce her name again?

Eric: I think this is just...

Andrew: Celea?

Eric: Celea, yeah.

Andrew: Celea. Or Ce-Ce. They... on bookstore shelves now is the Hogwarts Library, which comes with Fantastic Beasts, Quidditch Through the Ages, and Beedle the Bard. I saw that at Barnes and Noble the other day.

Eric: Yeah, Beedle the Bard is a good book. I recently re-read it.

Andrew: It is.

Eric: I held out reading it, I think for a year or so.

Andrew: I remember that, yeah. That was weird.

Eric: Yeah, I don't know why... who knows what I was thinking. I was young.

Andrew: You were going through a phase.

Eric: [laughs] I was going through a phase. But I finally read it and I like it, and so the fact that they are packaged together... and it's all for charity.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: And yeah, definitely, if you... Celea, if you haven't found your book by now, it's time to get a new one.

Andrew: Definitely.



Show Close


Andrew: Well, that concludes this surprise episode of MuggleCast, Episode 271. We wish everybody a Happy Holiday, a Happy New Year, a 2014 filled with magic and Harry Potter. In years past, we would be playing that New Year's music. What is that music, Micah? You were always hell-bent on us including that.

Eric: "Auld Lang Syne"?

Micah: What are you talking about?

Andrew: Yes, that one.

Micah: Yeah, well, it's "Auld Lang Syne", performed by Andrew's favorite musician.

Andrew: Oh, Bruce Springsteen? Oh, that's right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I forgot about that.

Eric: [laughs] Now we will play it.

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, now it's definitely going in.

Eric: [laughs] Now it's going in.

Andrew: No, no, no. But, yeah, so we're glad...

Micah: And yeah, you should play that at the end of the show.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: See, always hell-bent on that being included.

Micah: Keep with tradition.

Andrew: For legal reasons, we can't.

Eric: Mhm.

Andrew: Just kidding.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: That was just my excuse. Yeah, so we're glad we could put out this surprise episode for everybody, now that everybody has got a little downtime over the holiday season. Hopefully can curl up next to the fireplace with Micah's voice. What could be better?

Eric: Not a whole lot.

Andrew: A Micah Fireside Chat. That's what could make it better. Maybe next year. [laughs]

Micah: [laughs] I'll happily record one if you want me to.

Andrew: Really?

Micah: Yeah.

Andrew: You seemed against it. We tried to bring you back into that and you were like, "No, I don't want to do it."

Micah: No, I'll record something.

Andrew: Oh.

Micah: Sure. Give me a passage from the Potter series and I'll record it.

Andrew: No, but wasn't the fun that you're reading fan fiction? Like dirty fan fiction?

Micah: Oh yeah, you're right. You're right. Give me a fan fiction, I'll record it, and you can play it at the end of the episode.

Eric: I'm finding the one with McGonagall and the turkey leg at Grimmauld Place at Thanksgiving dinner.

Andrew: Find that one. We'll include it.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: Or whatever Micah does, we'll include it. [laughs]

Micah: I'll be sure to...

[Prolonged silence]

Andrew: What?

Micah: To record it.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: Record it!

Andrew: [laughs] Okay. There was a pause in there.

Eric: Something about...

Micah: I have no problem doing that.

Eric: Okay, okay, okay.

Andrew: Great. All right. Don't forget, everybody, to feel free to visit the MuggleCast website, now with a complete set of transcripts. Thank you to the transcribers for doing that for us, for helping us complete that monumental project.

Eric: Yes, and in order to thank you, we gave you another episode to transcribe.

Andrew: Right. That's why we have another episode, because we're like, "We need the transcribers to do something else."

Micah: It's funny, I emailed Tracey who is in charge of the transcripts to tell her that everything had been posted to the site and I said, "Just so you're aware, there's a good chance we might be doing an episode [laughs] in the not-too-distant future."

[Eric laughs]

Micah: But she was very excited about it, though. She was very happy. She's a listener as well as a transcriber. So, thank you to Tracey and all your team. You guys have done an amazing job putting over eight years of the nonsense that we do into written word.

[Show music begins]

Eric: Yeah. And thank you to all the listeners who are still subscribed to us and saw this podcast pop up into your feed. Thank you for not clicking "Unsubscribe" once we said we ended.

Andrew: [laughs] All right, then. We'll see everybody next time whenever that may be, for Episode 272. Goodbye.

Micah: Happy New Year!

Eric: Goodbye!

[Show music continues]



Fireside Chats with Micah Tannenbaum


Micah: "'Twas the Night Before Christmas with Snape" by DADA_Mistress.

'Twas the night before Christmas and throughout Hogwarts School
Not a creature was stirring, except Filch (that old fool).
The stockings were charmed by the chimney with care
And would enlarge when St. Nicholas came over there.

Hermione, the Head Girl, was snug in her bed
While visions of the Potions Master danced in her head.
With her hair pulled back toward her neck (at the nape),
She settled her head to dream about Snape.

When out on the lawn there arose such a noise.
"Must be Harry and Ron," she thought. "Oh, those boys."
She went to the window and listened for sounds,
Then she heard this from out on the grounds.

"Unhand me, you oaf!" she heard a man hiss,
"You'd better stop now because I'm getting pissed!"
She was utterly shocked to hear such a fuss,
And later she blushed when she heard the man cuss.

Suddenly her wandering eyes did appear
A miniature sleigh with eight tiny reindeer.
With a fat merry driver and a bag full of toys,
She knew in a moment it wasn't the boys.

However there was something strange with the elf;
It seemed that he wasn't completely by himself.
There was another passenger as St. Nick came,
And this guy called Santa all kinds of rude names.

"Take me back to my dungeons!" the man said in a sneer,
"I guarantee you that I'm your worst fear!
Get me back on the ground and out of this sleigh,
And if you don't do it quickly then you shall pay!"

Santa merely laughed out loud without care
As his reindeer continued to fly toward her room in the air.
Hermione watched wide-eyed in surprise
As the man mumbled something about Santa's demise.

And then, in a twinkling, she heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
"I'm NOT going in there!" she heard, turning around,
And down the chimney St. Nicholas and friend came with a bound.

Hermione stood there with her mouth all agape
When she saw Santa's friend was Professor Snape.
Oh, did Santa hear her secret Christmas wish?
"Close you mouth!" Snape snapped, "You look like a fish!"

"St. Nicholas!" Hermione finally cried.
"What are you doing with HIM at your side?"
"Hermione Granger," St. Nick said, stepping from the floo,
"I have some great news just for you!

"You've been a good girl and studied all day,
Despite that the NEWTS are so far away.
You helped Harry defeat Voldemort and his men,
Making sure they don't return ever again.

"You have all this knowledge, yet you never boast,
But instead you tutor those who need it most.
You've done a great job as Head Girl this year..."
"Stop rhyming!" Snape demanded with a twisted sneer.

Santa ignored him and continued to speak,
While Snape mumbled something about being a freak.
"St. Nick," Hermione said without further delay,
"What is it exactly you're trying to say?"

With a twinkle he smiled, "Dear Hermione,
Your heart is as big as Flitwick is tiny.
With that in mind, how could I just ignore
The one wish for Christmas you so long for?"

"Santa," Hermione gasped, "could it really be
That you are giving Severus Snape to me?"
"This is absurd," Snape spat, "And will simply not do!"
"Don't worry," Santa grinned, "I didn't forget you.

"Severus Snape, you have been a good man.
You fought against Evil and foiled its plans.
You've endured all these years without any thanks
And many children who pull nothing but pranks.

"You have changed your old ways and all for the best.
You deserve happiness and even some rest.
This is why, Severus, I say unto you
That your secret wish will also come true!"

Hermione and Snape stared on in their PJ's,
Their eyes locking onto each other's deep gaze.
Did the other know what Santa was talking about?
They supposed that night the truth would finally come out.

"You see," Santa said, "this Christmas you both chose
To give up the gifts, the stockings, and the bows
If you could have the love from one another,
So this Christmas my gift to you is each other."

"WHAT?!" both student and teacher asked in surprise.
Santa laughed as he saw the shock in their eyes.
"I must be off," he said. "Merry Christmas, you two!"
Then Santa went out of the room through the floo.

Leaving Hermione and Snape alone in the room
Wondering if this would be their bliss or their doom.
"Miss Granger," Snape began with a heavy sigh.
"Please, sir, Hermione," is all she could reply.

"Hermione, I'm sorry you heard what he said.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'll go make him dead!"
"No, please!" Hermione cried, "What he said was all true!
Professor Snape, I deeply love you."

Snape stared back at her with a poisonous glare,
But she saw in his eyes there was no hatred there.
"I am not a fool!" he hiss in her face.
"You're trying to make me look like a disgrace!"

"Not in the least!" she said, grabbing his hands.
"Not even for all the gold in the land.
I love you, Severus, and my words are true,
But I must know now, do you love me too?"

Snape looked in her eyes and saw what she did feel.
He didn't need Legillimens to see it was real.
Could he trust his heart with this smartypants?
He took in a breath and then took a chance.

"Yes," he said softly, "Hermione, I do.
With all of myself, I love you too."
Hermione smiled and threw her arms around him.
He hugged her back, his face without grim.

Suddenly over their heads came a loud "pop."
They look up to see what was hanging on top.
Hermione blushed while Snape gave an, "Oh!"
Right above them hung some mistletoe.

They looked at each other and showed a grin.
At last they began to slowly move in.
Finally as their lips met and gave a long kiss,
They both thought to themselves, "This is the best Christmas."

Santa gave a laugh, as happy as can be,
That they were together, Snape and Hermione.
And they heard him exclaim after all of the fun,
"Happy Christmas to all, and Albus, you owe me one!"

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#274
Solve for Synopsis
October 8, 2014

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#244 (November 20th, 2011): For the first time ever, MuggleCast has a DVD commentary! Watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 on DVD with us. We'll comment on each and every scene - it's as if we're in your living room watching alongside you!

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