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

MuggleCast EP41 Transcript (Continued)

Chapter by Chapter - "The Forbidden Forest"

Andrew: All right, so let's move on to Chapter by Chapter. This week, Chapter 15 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - or Harry Potter and the Wizarding School, if you live in France - [laughs] titled "Forbidden Forest."

Eric: Chapter Fifteen, "The Forbidden Forest," starts off with, I guess, Harry and Hermione and Neville and Draco in McGonagall's office - is that correct? Do you guys...?

Kevin: Yes, I believe so.

Laura: Mhm.

Andrew: Yeah, that's right.

Eric: And they're getting punished for the whole Norbert event. It turns out that Neville heard that Draco was going to try and see Harry off, get him in trouble. And basically, the four of them were all out of bed and they all got a lot of points lost for Gryffindor and four detentions. Now in the aftermath of Norbert's events, or those events, Harry's really disliked - like, all the Gryffindors suddenly hate him. It says something about him going from being the most liked person in Gryffindor to one of the most hated. In fact, his own Quidditch team refers to him, during conversations, in third person as "the Seeker." And this kind of reminded me of the Dursleys who used to refer to him as "the boy" right to his face. So once again, we find that he is being referred to in the third person. That's kind of interesting.

Andrew: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, it's...

Eric: Well, not interesting. It's just demeaning...

Laura: It's sad.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It just kind of sucks. So, because of all this stuff, Harry's resigned himself not to poking around. He's like, "I'm just simply not going to do any poking around because it doesn't do us any good." Now, that isn't really how things happen in the future when he gets in trouble. He's never like, "Oh, I'm never going to do this again." It kind of just empowers him. So do you guys think that maybe something changed that? Because he vows to himself never to poke around again, but that doesn't really ever happen.

Laura: Well, I think he comes to realize that there's something very different and special about him in the fact that he has Voldemort constantly after him, and he knows that he has to defeat him. So I think it's more of a responsibility that he feels. Kind of an obligation.

Kevin: Yeah, definitely.

Andrew: Yeah, I was going to say I don't think he can hold back.

Eric: Yeah - can hardly help himself. Here's something you all should enjoy talking about, at least. Hagrid says, "Nothing in this forest will hurt yeh if you're with me and Fang." [Laughs] And...

[Kevin coughs]

Andrew: But Fang's a wimp.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Yeah, as long as - yeah sure, just mention Hagrid's name and you're not going to get eaten by giant spiders or anything.

Kevin: Or, you know, get attacked by Voldemort himself.

Eric: Or, it's a hundred children - yeah.

Why Did Dumbledore Let the Detention Happen?

Andrew: One question I wanted to bring up here was what goes on with choosing a detention. Did Dumbledore know about this? Like, he insists in the beginning that the Forbidden Forest is strictly off limits, so why? Why, why, why can Hagrid just take them out there for a detention?

Eric: It's a brilliant question, considering what happens.

Kevin: Yeah, and a lot of people wondered that. I know that before Book 4 and 5, a lot of people were wondering exactly why they would bring the kids into this incredibly dangerous place.

Andrew: Yeah, and not to mention that Dumbledore doesn't give Hagrid any flack about it. At least, we don't see any.

Eric: No. Well, the thing is also, considering the outcome and considering what it does for the plot, Firenze later on in the forest - you know, at the end of the detention, goes and pretty much tells Harry that it's Voldemort trying to seek the stone, and this whole final puzzle piece comes right into play. And it's interesting to wonder if Dumbledore knew or could prevent their detention, because if he did know about it, he certainly chose not to, and it seems like that was a smart idea. Like if he knew what was going to happen - and then because that allowed everything to fall into place and Harry was able to then worry for Quirrell and pay closer attention, and the trio were able to do the things they did.

Micah: That's a pretty big risk to take.

Kevin: I know, it's like...

Laura: Yeah.

Kevin: ..."Hey, let's..."

Eric: But, is it?

Kevin: Yeah, but at the - it is a big risk because at the time, Dumbledore did know about the prophecy, so he did know that if he's giving Voldemort the opportunity to get to Harry, then of course it's a risk. I mean, knowing that Voldemort is the only person who can kill Harry, and Harry - so you're basically saying...

Eric: Yeah.

Kevin: "Hey Harry, your first year, you have no skills to defend yourself and yet, hey, go into the forest and hope Voldemort doesn't attack."

Eric: Well, that's right. And I don't quite agree with that kind of logic. That makes sense that he wouldn't do that. But at the same time, at the end of the year, Dumbledore admitted to thinking that Harry should have a right to face Voldemort himself. And that kind of thing - I don't like the idea of Dumbledore necessarily just leaving Harry alone, but he was protected by Firenze, we saw. It's not to say that Dumbledore said, "Yo, Firenze, go disobey your own culture and go save this boy for me while I let him out there to die." I don't think that happened, but at the same time, what did happen is he was protected, and I'm not against the idea that Dumbledore may have known what was going to happen or may have let the detention take place.

Kevin: Well, I don't only think it's - I don't only think it's that. I think it's - we've seen throughout the books that Dumbledore has tried not to shelter Harry too much.

Laura: Mhm.

Kevin: And I think that Dumbledore is sort of going on faith that he'll - you know what I mean? Like, what happens, happens kind of thing? I don't know. Because he...

Eric: Kind of.

Kevin: ...he hasn't really tried to shelter Harry all that much, if you noticed. He let Harry get into some pretty sticky situations.

Laura: Yeah, he has. [Laughs]

Could Voldemort Have Killed Harry?

Eric: Well the question is also, too, could Voldemort have even killed Harry in that kind of state?

Kevin: I believe so, absolutely.

Eric: I mean, if you think about it - well, I don't know. The centaur - what was it, Ronan or Bane or somebody, just jumped over Harry and kind of charged at it and it flew away.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Like, Voldy-Quirrell thing just flew away...

Kevin: Yeah. I mean...

Eric: ...and I mean, a centaur is obviously more powerful than a child, but Voldemort in his weakened state probably could have attacked Harry. But I don't know if it could have killed him before help couldn't have arrived.

Kevin: Oh, I think he could have killed him, though. I...

Laura: Well, I don't know. Voldemort in his weakened state killed plenty of other people. He killed Frank Bryce.

Eric: But that was years later.

Kevin: I think the question is is that...

Eric: That makes sense.

Kevin: I think the question...

Laura: But still - he was still weakened.

Kevin: I think the question we should be asking ourselves is, could Harry have defended himself?

Andrew: No.

Kevin: Because although Harry seemed weak, he has been known to cast magic without actually meaning to in def - you know.

Eric: Hmm. Like ending up on the school roofs.

Kevin: Exactly - in defense of himself.

Laura: Mhm.

Kevin: So you wonder if a fluke would have happened, just - you know what I mean?

Eric: Maybe he would've...

Laura: Yeah, possibly.

Eric: Maybe he would've caught another updraft. [laughs]

Kevin: Exactly. [laughs]

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Eric: Just found himself on top of a tree.

Kevin: Yeah.

Andrew: In this situation when he was caught - he was caught so off-guard, and he was nervous this time around, and in situations like - what was your example you just said, Eric? When he went to chase - chase after Draco?

Kevin: The school, yeah.

Harry's Scar

Eric: Well, since we did go a little bit ahead in the notes here, it's important to point out the other aspect of what we're talking about, at least with Voldemort and Harry, is that this first time - or rather, this meeting between Harry and Voldy-Quirrell has triggered Harry's scar hurting. For the very first time, his scar itself, as a single entity - just his scar - burns like fire.

Kevin: Oh, I didn't really notice that.

Eric: Yeah.

Kevin: You're right.

Eric: It's from then on - it serves - and we know throughout the series that it later serves as a warning beacon and that kind of thing; but before their first meeting, it was like an un-active entity. So do you guys think that this proves or disproves the Horcrux theory? Since - like, his scar being a Horcrux? Because it only started like, taking effect or doing something in the presence of Voldemort - or maybe that reinforces it. But the question is, would he have had weird, strange dreams or that kind of thing earlier in his life? Would his scar have done things separately?

Kevin: I think the actual pain he feels in his scar was explained by the Occ - how do you pronounce it? [mispronounces] Occlumency?

Eric: [mispronounces] Occlumency.

Laura: Occlumency?

Eric: Occlumency.

Kevin: Yeah. I mean, I think that's - that essentially has been explained. I don't think it proves or disproves the Harry being a Horcrux theory.

Eric: So wait, what about Occlumency triggers the scar?

Kevin: Well, because didn't they mention in the fifth or sixth book it's due to the link between Voldemort and Harry - like, the physical, mental link between them?

Eric: I think it is a link.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Well, it allows for a link. It at least allows for like, a - I think it's called an axis or something like that.

Kevin: Exactly. And I think that - that's as simple as it gets. I mean, I think...

Eric: Okay.

Kevin:'s just because of the fact of them being mentally connected somehow.

Eric: So, they hadn't - and physically they hadn't been closer since the first night.

Kevin: Well, it's not only that. It's that Voldemort wasn't in any state to - I think they described him as being sort of like a spirit just wandering, trying to - you know what I mean? He wasn't all that powerful.

Eric: Oh wait. Oh wait, nevermind. This is all ruined. A listener rebuttal is - a thousand listener rebuttal-ers were going to send in their rebuttals. I - the first time Harry's scar hurts is at the opening banquet with Snape.

Kevin: Right! Yup. That's what - okay.

Eric: I'm sorry. Okay. Then this is a little tainted...

Andrew: [laughs] A little?

Eric: ...the way I presented it.

Andrew: "The first time ever!" [laughs]

Eric: But was there anything - okay! So it wasn't "the first time ever!" okay? It was the second time ever, maybe. But, you know...

Kevin: You tricked us! You tricked us!

[Laura laughs]

Eric: Okay, okay. I'm sorry. But basically speaking, it's still a good conversation that we're having about this whole scar entity thing because at least then he knows - like, it was a direct thing that we saw that really triggered his scar...

Kevin: Exactly. Yeah.

Eric: I don't know. I don't know. Screw it.

Laura: Well, I thought - whenever you said that, I thought that maybe it said something the first time about his head just hurting. I couldn't remember if it was specifically referencing his scar or not. So...

Eric: In the movie, it's definitely his scar. But then again, in the movie...

Laura: So I was like, "Okay. Yeah." [laughs]

Eric: Yeah. Okay. Forget it. But in the summarizing - I fail, I'm sorry. I fail at summarizing. We forgot to mention...

[Laura laughs]

Eric: ...okay, yeah, they get the detention, it's in the Forbidden Forest, and they - Filch leads them out one night and talks about all the old punishments and crap, and how they were so much better, blah blah. And then they go into the forest with Hagrid and they split up. Now, what happens is, Hagrid establishes that they split up into two groups: Hagrid and - I guess it's... no, Fang and Neville, and then Hagrid, Hermione, and Harry?

Andrew: I think that's it.

Eric: Are those the two groups?

Andrew: They reorganize a little bit later.

Eric: Okay. And he says...

Laura: Well, Draco went with - Draco went with Neville originally.

Eric: At first. Yeah, right.

Laura: Yeah.

Sparks From Wands

Eric: And so he said, "Okay, we're in search of this unicorn that's been injured," and he says, "Well, if you find it, use - shoot up green sparks and we will see it and come find you. But if something happens and you should either be attacked or in danger, send up red sparks." Now, this whole sparks with the wands thing, how do you guys think this works? I mean, when Harry first got his wand, it shot out red and gold sparks, which probably just means Gryffindor. But later in the series, like in Goblet of Fire and things, they were supposed to send out, like, red sparks to be found then too. So is there like, a spell or - because there's a difference between red and green sparks, is there a different spell for - for sending out different sparks?

Kevin: I don't think it's...

Eric: Like, how is that even done?

Kevin: Sparks leads me to believe that it's sort of like a backfire - like a sort of like a mistake, and it - it just - I think it's one of those just natural things. I don't think they were taught that. I don't think there's like a specific spell.

Andrew: Well...

Kevin: I think that when you first start playing with your - you know, with the wand, you start causing sparks as a result of misfiring a spell or something.

Eric: Do you think - so it's something like you just have to think red, and then...

Kevin: Yeah, something like that. Or perhaps - I mean, or perhaps it could be a spell, but I don't think it's all that.

Andrew: In Goblet of Fire - I was just watching Goblet of Fire and he says a spell but I can't - I can't...

Kevin: Oh, that's true. Yeah.

Laura: Yeah, he says Periculum. But I don't think that was ever mentioned in the books, ever. Any time they talk about sending up sparks, it just says "Harry sent up red sparks." Either it's just something as natural as walking - you don't really have to command your leg to walk...

[Eric laughs]

Laura: ...or there's just a spell and JKR didn't really deem it all that important of mentioning.

Kevin: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. It'd be interesting to look up Periculum, if that means anything - but I don't think it...

Laura: I think it's supposed to mean danger.

Eric: Oh. Peril.

Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Peril. Like coming from pera - the latin something meaning something. I'm in Latin 2. Don't bother me.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: So - well, this whole - lumos...

Andrew: Ooh.

Eric: ...lumos - to lu - I mean don't bother me 'cause it's only Latin 2, it's not like Latin - nevermind, I'm a bad student.

[Kevin laughs]

Eric: So - but lumos, lumos - to light up your wand, you need a spell, but sparks seems like it would be different and less - less spell-needing.

Micah: So let me ask you guys - the centaur comes after the sparks go up?

Eric: Yeah. The first time sparks are sent up, it's just a warning because - it's a false warning because Draco scares Neville and stuff. And then they change their groups and Draco's with Harry and Fang, and Hermione is with Neville and Hagrid, and I...

Micah: Which is completely different from the movie.

Eric: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah.

Micah: Like, they don't do the whole first part.

Laura: Yeah... Well, Neville's not even in the woods with them in the movie.

Micah: Right.

Eric: Isn't it - It's not even - is it Ron? Like where - does Ron...

Laura: Yeah, it's Ron that they throw in.

Micah: It's Ron.

Eric: And that's completely different, like, I was reading the book and I was like "Wait - why is Ron not here, and why is he staying behind?" But Harry finds Voldemort and gets scared off - and this whole centaur comes and scares him off, and he asks, eventually he asks - I don't know how soon it is, but all the centaurs, except for Firenze, seem to keep asking Hagrid, "Do they teach up at the school?" Like, they do. They ask that at least two or three times. They're like, "Do they teach up at the school," and that's a funny question. Like, what else would they do at the school? Or the centaurs - the centaurs seemed like accomplished people who were belittling human efforts, but I relate it to Professor Quir - I'm sorry, Professor Kirk from Narnia series, saying, "What do they teach in schools these days?"

Laura: I don't know. I kind of took it as them mocking humans, just because they think that they're more superior in every way, and I'm sure that that comes from centuries upon centuries of mistreatment and discrimination.

Eric: Oh!

Laura: So I just took it as Bane and the other centaurs being obnoxious, really.

Why Does McGonagall Hate Divination?

Andrew: Now let's move on to "something about Divination."

Eric: Right. In Book 1, Hermione says, "McGonagall hates Divination," and she uses that to say Divination is crap. But this is curious, because even before we meet Professor Trelawney and even before all the books about McGonagall trying to discredit Trelawney and thinking she's a fraud, and she is - but why does McGonagall hate Divination? This is mentioned - sorry, in Book 1 that McGonagall hates Divination. I just think that - but McGonagall doesn't know about the prophecy.

Kevin: Well, you want to know the impression I got?

Eric: Sure.

Kevin: I got the impression that Divination should be left to the centaurs - like, the magical creatures. It gave me the sense that very few wizards are actually capable of doing it correctly, and therefore, there are a lot of wizards that...

Eric: Well, that's true.

Kevin: I mean, it's one of those unsure things that allow people to exploit it, you know? If I don't know what I'm doing as a wizard - hey, why not pick up Divination? I can completely lie about what's going to happen.

Eric: Oh, yeah. Well, that's true. I mean, we found out that Trelawney can't do anything useful with Divination, except when she's in that trance. Apparently her great Seer ancestor could. But instead of McGonagall saying she hates when humans do it, or instead of just saying that McGonagall doesn't believe in Trelawney - you know, McGonagall does that thing in Book 3 where she goes out and says how Divination itself is just interpretation and kind of crap. So do you think that she doesn't like Divination because it's imprecise, and just for that reason? Or do you think - I mean, we know she doesn't know anything about the prophecy or anything like that.

Kevin: Well, no. I think that she doesn't like it because of the...

Eric: Of its misuse. Of its potential.

Kevin: Exactly!

Andrew: Good point, Kev.

Eric: I don't know. I just felt like she had some kind of personal connection with Divination because she scorns it like crazy. So... But I think it makes sense that it's just something very able to abuse.

Micah: I think she's very education-minded and she questions what this could possibly add to the value of these children's education.

Eric: I think that's accurate, because, Micah, if you realize it, in Julius Caesar - and in fact, pretty much everything that involves a prophecy, the person - the fate - the prophesied event comes true, even if they try not to make it true.

Micah: Well, that goes back to the whole part of - because you know what it said...

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: try to do everything possible to prevent it, and it ends up happening as a result of the events you took.

Eric: Which sucks.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

"Just in Case"

Eric: So finally, in closing - I think, unless you guys have notes, in which case that'd be great to bring them up - Dumbledore returns Harry's cloak to him. He says, "Just in case." It's attached to a note. So, if Dumbledore didn't know about detention, and assuming all that stuff - assuming he didn't put Harry out in the forest on purpose... Personally, I feel Dumbledore actually arranged for that detention to be in the forest or something like that, but that's just my own idea. He returns his cloak to him. So, why would he - you know, that's just like saying, "Go get into mischief."

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: It really, truly is. He's saying it in such a way - "Just in case" - that it seems like he understands Harry's need to poke a little bit.

Andrew: No, I think it's because it was his dad's, so it's sort of like a close posession...

Kevin: Yeah, it's...

Andrew: ...of his.

Laura: Yeah, but why "Just in case," then?

Kevin: Well, I mean, it's a very powerful defense you're giving him. You have to realize that being invisible is one of the greatest defenses you can give someone. If someone's breaking into your house and you know that they're not capable of detecting the cloak, you just put it over yourself, and hey! The house is empty. You know what I'm saying?

Laura: Yeah. That's true.

Kevin: So, I mean, with "just in case," I believe that Dumbledore was referring to the fact that "Just in case..."

Laura: Voldemort pops up in your dormitory?

Kevin:'re enter into a situation that - exactly.

Eric: It would have been nice to have that before the detention, but...

Kevin: Yeah. Exactly.

Eric: But that's okay. It's cool, because Dumbledore found the cloak to begin with. Like, I'm not surprised.

Kevin: I think it was - wasn't it passed to him by the Potters?

Andrew: Well, we were discussing that a couple of episodes ago, weren't we? Who...

Eric: Yeah, because - yeah, it's ironic that you should mention the fact [laughs] that if you were in your house with an Invisibility Cloak, somebody could say the house is empty, because that's exactly what happened with the Fidelius Charm, or what would've - what was supposed to happen, and then Pettigrew snitched and Voldemort went to their house. But if they still had the Invisibility Cloak [laughs], he could still find the house open...

Andrew: Right.

Eric: ...or empty, and they didn't, because they passed it to Dumbledore for some reason before they - before they went into hiding.

Micah: Yeah, but we also argued how Voldemort could probably see through it, and...

Laura: See through it - yeah.

Eric: But - well, if Dumbledore can, then it seems appropriate that another powerful wizard - it might as well be Voldemort, considering.

"Mars is Bright Tonight"

Eric: But, the final thing is that I want to mention with this chapter is the centaurs, and [laughs] - they're really men-slash-horses of few words. Their choice words, I believe, in this chapter are, "Mars is bright tonight," and, "The forest hides many secrets." So, I think when we're at Lumos, we should totally play Whose Line Is It Anyway, and play that one game...

[Micah laughs]

Eric: ...where they have...

[Andrew, Kevin, and Laura laugh]

Eric: ...several characters who only say one line, and two of us should only be able to say, "Mars is bright tonight," and "The forest hides many secrets..."

[Micah laughs]

Eric: ...and act out a whole scene.

Andrew: That does it for Chapter By Chapter. Good work, Eric! [laughs] You saved us! No. Well, yes.

Give me a Butterbeer - Discrimination

Andrew: Anyway [laughs], moving along to this week's Give Me a Butterbeer. Ben is not with us this week; however, he has taken the liberty - this is how much he loves the listeners - he has taken the liberty to record it for us. He's actually in Nebraska this week visiting his grandparents. Take it away, Benjamin Schoen!

Ben: I received an overwhelming response to last week's topic. I would like to take the time now to clear something up: In last week's episode when I weighed in on the debate over Harry Potter and Christianity, many people were upset because I stereotyped Christians. This is my mistake. I truly was not intending to convey that stereotype. I apologize to anyone that I offended or alienated.

Last week's topic actually helped to spawn this week's: Discrimination and Harry Potter. Throughout the entire Harry Potter series, Jo's work has displayed many underlying moral lessons and conflicts that are in society. Early on, Harry learns that the conflicts with racism in the Muggle world actually spread over to the wizarding world. Rather than the bigotry spawning from someone's race, it comes from their magical denomination. In the HP world, whether someone is half-blood, Muggle-born, or full-blood often times determines their social status in the eyes of certain people. Many stereotypes exist throughout the series. All giants are baby-eating human bulldozers. All Slytherins are evil and aspire to join Lord Voldemort. And all Hufflepuffs are lacking in brains and are worthless.

Stereotypes similar to these are quite prevalent in society. On September 11, 2001, the United States was sucker-punched by the terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda. Following 9/11, the US banded together like never before. There was an outcry of support for the Americans who lost loved ones on that day and for the US government. Unfortunately, the attacks on the World Trade Center that fateful day in September led to a negative stigma towards the Muslim population in the United States. All of a sudden, anyone with a dark complexion was automatically stereotyped as a terrorist.

There are also many stereotypes in politics. If you are a Democrat, you automatically hate Bush, support abortion, and are against the death penalty. If you are Republican, you're evil, have low ethical standards, and support the death penalty. Not all Democrats or Republicans really believe this way.

Stereotypes never really encompass the whole of the population. In Harry's world, all of the Slytherins who joined the Death Eaters get all the attention, while those who may have performed good deeds get ignored. On 09/11, a few radical anti-Americans that represent an extremely small percentage of the Islamic population made a poor decision. The rest of the people of Arabian descent should not be forced to pay the price.

So, in short, we're all equals here. Whether you are African-American, Caucasian, Arabian, Slytherin, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff, it's important to remember that it's not the group that makes you who you are - it's you. So I'm Ben Schoen, and I say, "Give me a Butterbeer!"

Eric: I'm Eric Scull, and I say, "Bravo, Ben Schoen!"

Laura: Yeah!

Andrew: That was excellent, yeah.

Laura: I love this segment.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: Has anyone else noticed how Ben is becoming more and more professional with the way he does these?

Kevin: He is, yeah.

Laura: Yeah...

Prejudice in the Series

Eric: He really is. One of the things - well, the thing that Ben is talking about is racism and prejudice in the series. But I think I'm probably a little bit correct in saying that racism in the whole series in general kind of really took place in the first two books, or definitely in the second book as a prominent theme, and then, with the exception of house-elves, even...

Kevin: Racism?

Eric: Well, prejudice. Prejudice.

Kevin: Okay.

Eric: Did prejudice even...

Kevin: Well, there's a difference.

Eric: Okay, good point. But it only seems that prejudice really happened earlier in the series when the whole series as a whole felt more childish, so it kind of makes prejudice in general seem like - almost like it said that there's prejudice, but it's not really a real occurrence. We're - in Book 6, we're getting all these real world events happening, but none of them - that I know of at least - really have to do with prejudice. With the exception of the house-elves, which it seems like only Hermione is defending them, it doesn't seem like they're being - not many people are saying house-elves belong in the kitchen, but there just aren't any people saying they don't. Prejudice - in other words, I'm saying prejudice, while it may encompass the series, it doesn't seem to be realistic, like realistically existant in Harry's world as of Book 6. It's not - it's got to be still there. There have still got to be wizards who believe that they are better for being pureblood, but we just don't see any of that, so it makes it seem like it was just Lucius Malfoy in Book 2.

Laura: Wouldn't you agree, though, that the - a huge basis for the war and for Voldemort's beliefs is prejudice? I mean, in Goblet of Fire, we had that Muggle family being tortured at the Quidditch World Cup, and there were attacks on Muggle towns in Half-Blood Prince. I think that a big part of this war is the fact that Voldemort is trying to prove that pureblooded wizards have superiority over everyone else, which is...

Eric: But that's the same...

Laura: ...ironic, because he's half-blood, but...

Eric: Well yeah, but that's also the thing about Voldemort. Why the Black family didn't like Voldemort was they thought he was too fanatical. They supported the idea of purebloods being higher, but Voldemort goes after Muggles. He would target Muggles and half-bloods, and things like that. I think that Voldemort would kill everybody who's not him. Voldemort just goes all out, and really - he's out to destroy everybody, you know? And...

Kevin: Yeah, but at the same time, you have to remember his comments about his filthy Muggle father.

Eric: Yeah.

Kevin: The whole reason why his father was filthy was because he was Muggle...

Eric: Yeah.

Kevin: ...not because he - but although, yes he's indiscriminate on - or who he kills, he is in the fact that he hates Muggles.

Eric: So Voldemort is clearly worried - well not just Muggles, too, we have to somehow talk about how half-bloods and people less, like - people like...

Kevin: Yeah, but that's what I'm saying. He, in his killing - although he seems very, "Hey who cares who I'm killing, I'm just killing someone." He has specific hates against each of the people he kills because of a prejudice. He kills Muggles because they're Muggles, not because - you know, he kills half-bloods because they're half-blood. You know what I'm saying?

Eric: I'm wondering if his followers do. I mean, his followers are looking for some fun, a lot of them. Do they - people like Lucius Malfoy will use the word Mudblood, and they'll use it freely just to do it, just to make people feel bad, just to belittle people and make themselves higher. But is it really used to kill people? Is it really - I mean, we've seen throughout the Hogwarts history. Slytherin - Salazar felt that only purebloods, and there it was a big deal, but I'm questioning whether all this prejudice - the house-elves thing is probably the closest example of prejudice that we can use that's current in the Harry Potter series. But even then, like I said, it's only really Hermione who feels any way in particular about that.

Laura: Well that's because Hermione experience the prejudice first hand. I think that a lot of the time when you see that yourself, it sort of makes you kind of encompass it more, I suppose.

Kevin: Not to mention, just because no one else notices it doesn't mean there's no prejudice.

Eric: I agree. In fact, that's the truth.

Micah: Eric, I agree with you. Book 2 was probably the biggest book in terms of the theme being all about prejudice, but I think it's kind of something that kind of pervades the entire series, just because of what Laura was saying before. Hermione - every single book almost, any chance that Draco gets to point out that she's a Mudblood he does, and it's something that never goes away, and I think Jo tries to remind us of that. That it's always going to be there, no matter what.

Eric: Okay. So even...

Laura: You know something...

Eric: Yeah.

Can Death Eaters Tell Purebloods from Mudbloods?

Laura: Something interesting that I noticed in Goblet of Fire - whenever they were running from the Death Eaters and they run into Draco in the woods, Draco said something like, "You might want to keep running. You don't want them to see her," and Harry said, "What are you talking about? She's a witch, too," and Draco said, "What? You think they can't tell a Mudblood out from the rest of us?" What exactly is the distinguishing factor that makes someone able to look at someone of Muggle parentage?

Eric: I think it's got to be common knowledge. It's got to be something like common knowledge, because - pureblood, that's the thing, too. Mudblood, I don't know how they tell, but pureblood I think they could tell the difference between pureblood and half-blood and them...

Kevin: Well...

Eric: ...because of the names of families or something.

Kevin: Exactly. That's what I was going to say. It's sort of like Bush or Kennedy. Everyone knows who Kennedy is. You know what I mean?

Laura: Mhm.

Kevin: And most people know who his family is, so it is probably very similar in the sense that...

Eric: So, if you don't have a name like Kennedy....

Kevin: Or - no, it's not that. It's a common knowledge family name, and whenever any of the Kennedys has a child, everyone knows about it.

Laura: Mhm.

Andrew: Yeah, but hold up. It's not like the Death Eaters are going to be like, "Excuse me, what's your name?" if they don't know who they are.

Eric: Yeah. I mean, when they're - Andrew has a valid point. When they're running through the forest, I think Draco is just talk...

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Right, exactly.

Eric: ...because when they're running through the forest, they're not going to see this light above Hermione's head and say, "Ooh, Mudblood. Let's kill her!" So I think it's a case of just Draco talking. But is Stan Shunpike - isn't the point of Stan Shunpike getting throw into jail - wasn't he a pureblood? Or wasn't it something like that, where the government doesn't even care who's pureblood and who's not because they just needed someone to lock up and throw better? But I thought it was pointed out somewhere that he was even a pureblood. He was getting treated like crap.

Laura: I'm not sure it ever...

Eric: I would be entirely wrong.

Laura: I'm not sure it ever pointed out what type of blood he was.

Eric: Okay.

Laura: I just though it was kind of an interesting point, because when you think about sort of mindless killings that happen all over the world - when you think about the genocide that happened in Rwanda in the 90s, you had the Hutus and the Tutsis, and you really couldn't tell all that much of a difference between them, because they had gotten married over the years and they had children; but for some reason, they were able to see the differences that no one else could see, and they were killing each other. And it just seems like there are certain times, especially when Death Eaters get together in large groups, where they're just going out, and they're killing anyone who they think remotely looks Muggle-born, or is half-blood, or is just someone they don't even recognize as being part of a pureblooded family.

Andrew: All right, so that concludes this week's Give Me a Butterbeer. Thank you Ben. Ben will be back next week with another exciting edition, and if you have any ideas for something he should get a Butterbeer about, e-mail them to ben at staff dot mugglenet dot com. Thank you.

The Dueling Club - Umbridge vs. Mrs. Weasley

Andrew: Now let's do a quick Dueling Club, and then we will hit up the voicemails. This week's dueling club comes from Anthony from West Virginia. From Kaiser, West Virginia, to be exact. He asks: "Who would win in a duel of Mrs. Weasley versus Umbridge?" Now you've got two women here, and Mrs. Weasley, from what we've seen, she knows her housekeeping spells, - but Umbridge, we haven't seen much magic out of her. Did we use her in a dueling club once before?

Micah: Yup. Against McGonagall.

Andrew: I can't remember, Micah. What did we say...

Eric: Who won?

Andrew: ...about Umbridge? She had - we haven't seen enough - a lot of magic out of her.

Laura: Surely based on the fact that we haven't seen much magic out of Umbridge, we can assume that she's incompetent, which I think is a characteristic that she clearly exhibited in Order of the Phoenix, and based on that, I would have to say that Mrs. Weasley would totally own her.

Andrew: And Mrs. Weasley is pretty tough.

Eric: But the thing is, too...

Kevin: Yeah. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, she is.

Eric: Mrs. Weasley is tough, and especially defensive of her kids and her young, but could Umbridge just sanction this government SWAT team to take out Mrs. Weasley? Is that probable? She has the power of the government.

Laura: Well, politically, yes, but I think we're just talking about just a duel.

Andrew: This isn't a political debate, this is...

Eric: But could she not sanction...

Andrew: Spells. Mrs. Weasley, everyone?

Kevin: Definitely Mrs. Weasley, especially if her kids were involved.

Laura: Oh yeah.

[Andrew laughs]

Andrew: Well, Umbridge has a little following too, now.

Laura: [laughs] Yeah, that's true.

Kevin: Don't get in between a mother and her kids. You're asking for trouble.

Andrew: Oh, wait a second. Umbridge has a following, too. If you're allowed to bring your kids in, Umbridge has a following with Draco and a few other Slytherins.

Kevin: No, I mean if the fight was over the kids.

Andrew: Oh! Oh yes.

Kevin: If the kids were involved somehow in the fight.

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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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