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

MuggleCast 43 Transcript

Show Intro

Ben: Because Andrew Sims is finally gone this week, this is MuggleCast - Episode 43 for June 11th, 2006.

This week's show is sponsored in part by Get your own piece of the Internet today and save money along the way. For a limited time is offering a new domain name, transfer or renewal for just $1.99 with every new non-domain product you buy. Choose from hosting, website builders, e-mail accounts and much more. Plus, take an addition 10% off any order simply by entering the word "Muggle" in your cart at checkout. So visit and save big.

[Show intro with music in background] Hello, everyone. Welcome back to MuggleCast, the show where we bring you everything from Harry Potter news, discussion, theories and a little bit of Spy on Spartz. I am Ben Schoen.

Laura: I'm Laura Thompson.

Rachel: I'm Rachel Godoy.

Ben: And joining us this week is John Noe from The Leaky Cauldron, PotterCast Executive Producer.

John: Hello, hello.

Ben: And the Harry Potter Automatic News Aggregator (HPANA), joining us is Jeff Guillaume.

Jeff: Hi!

Ben: Say hi, Jeff!

[Ben and Laura laugh]

Jeff: Hi Jeff!

John: It's an acronym.

[Laura and Jeff laugh]

Ben: Without further ado let's go to Micah Schoen for this past week's news.


Ben [impersonating Micah]: Thanks, Ben.

Now is your chance to get your hands on a rare signed photograph of Daniel Radcliffe. Students from Cambridge are putting it up on eBay for auction with the money going to various charities. If you would like to bid for this item, please visit

Earlier this week the British Broadcasting Coporation top-gear show conducted an interview with Michael Gambon, who portrays Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter Movies Three, Four, and Five. You can catch a snippet of the interview over at

Later on this week, JK Rowling was voted the greatest living British writer. In March, she was nominated by the Book Magazine's Greatest Living Writer Poll. And she won first place.

Turning to film news now, we saw some Order of the Phoenix set pictures this week, things from the River of Thames and the never-ending pictures of Hagrid's Hut.

At the Queen's 80th Birthday Party, Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint will be participating in a Kids' Playground Play to be performed at the Queen's 80th Birthday Party. According to CBBC Newsround, other famous stars who will be part of the play include Kelly Osbourne, Jonathan Ross, Winnie The Pooh, Mary Poppins, and Postman Pat. The Queen's Birthday Party is on June 25th.

In other film news, we recently learned that Warner Bros. was looking to film scenes in Italy. You can catch a picture of that at

Finally this week signalled the release of MuggleNet's Harry Potter Image Galleries. The galleries consist of over 39,000 images. You can check those out over at

So, that's all for the June 11th, 2006 edition of MuggleCast. Back to the show.

Jeff and HPANA

Ben: Thanks for that, Micah. So Jeff, tell us a little bit about HPANA. What did you do over there?

Jeff: [coughs] What do I do? I aggregate - we aggregate Harry Potter news automatically. It's about as simple as that. No, that's how it started. I actually, years and years ago, got online and started visiting Harry Potter sites like The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet. And I wanted to have all the news come to me, so I didn't have to go visit these sites. And, I'm not saying I didn't want to visit the sites, but I wanted to be alerted when news happened and I didn't want to go search for it.

Ben: So, you're saying you're lazy, right?

Jeff: Oh, pretty - definitely! That was the primary reason, really.

[Ben laughs]

Jeff: And it's just evolved to what it is now with posting news from all around the Web.

Ben: Awesome! We all know John Noe. He's been on the show again. Welcome back, John!

John: Hey, it's been some time, hasn't it? When was the last time I was on?

Ben: Episode 25! Geez!

John: Oh my god!

Ben: It feels good to have you back. Well, before we go to our Listener Rebuttals, let's go to some announcements that we had this week.


Ben: Last Friday was National Wear Your MuggleCast T-Shirt Day. Some of the pictures are on the site. You can see those by visiting However, keep in mind that even though National Wear Your MuggleCast T-Shirt Day is over, you can still support the show by purchasing your MuggleCast t-shirt today. There are two different logos and they are avialbel in five different sizes. So everyone, go out and buy a MuggleCast t-shirt. Sounds good to me.

John: Sounds like a good idea. I'm going to go ahead and buy one.

Ben: [laughs] John, do you have a MuggleCast t-shirt?

John: I think I got an honorary one last time we were in New York.

Ben: Oh really?

John: But they were not the new, cool "rainbow squares" t-shirts.

Ben: Okay, and the final announcement - send something, anything, anything you want to the MuggleCast PO Box. That's:

PO Box 223
Moundridge, Kansas 67107

I am still waiting on those Subway giftcards people.

[John laughs]

Laura: Yeah Ben, and I am still waiting on my packages.

Ben: Right, and so if you guys send me Subway giftcards, I might send Laura her stuff. So...

[Jeff laughs]

John: Have you been withholding Laura's packages?

Laura: Yes, he has!

Ben: Oh okay.

John: What?

Ben: They are in the back - they're in the trunk of my car and I'm just too lazy to...

Jeff: So, what you're saying is they melted?

John: [laughs] That's funny.

Ben: Yeah, they've melted pretty much.

[Rachel laughs]

John: That is exactly where Melissa keeps all of my packages that come to the PO Box - in the trunk of her car.

[Rachel laughs]


Ben: So, you all may notice something different this week. After 42 long and grueling weeks of MuggleCast, Andrew Sims is finally taking a break.

John: Oh my god!

Ben: So, this is the first Andrew-free show ever!

John: That's crazy!

Ben: I know.

Laura: I don't know how we're going to make it.

Ben: I know. I'm surprised we made it this far already.

[Laura laughs]

Jeff: Andrew-less.

John: I'm kind of nervous.

Ben: Me too, dude. Yeah, I'm worried he's going to listen to this with a watchful ear, you know what I'm saying? He's going to be critiquing our every move.

John: He will.

[Laura laughs]

Ben: Well, he deserves it. He's off editing some video and getting ready for finals week.

Jeff: Oh boo!

John: Awww!

Ben: So, best of luck Andrew! [impersonating Andrew] Yeah! Yeah! All right! [laughs]

John: Don't fail everything, Andrew.

Listener Rebuttal - Secret-Keepers

Ben: Okay, it's time for this weeks Listener Rebuttals. The first one comes from Susannah and she's from Texas.

"Hi, everyone. I noticed on Episode 41 that you all seemed to think that Aberforth, assuming he is the barman at the Hog's Head, and Dumbledore were not friendly. I feel that this is incorrect. However, for Chapter 27 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on pg. 613, Dumbledore mentions that he is "merely friendly with the local barman." Dumbledore obviously is in touch and I think you'll remember that he seems to know all that went on that night, not only from what Mundungus informed him. I also think that since Aberforth is obviously a member of the Order, it implies that he is friendly with his brother. Thanks! I love the show!

Ben: Well, since Laura and I were the only ones on Episode 41, I think it is appropriate that we field this.

[Jeff laughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Ben: What do you think, Laura?

Laura: Well, I don't think that because Dumbledore said he was friendly with a local barman that necessarily indicates a friendship or any kind of rivalry either way because we know Dumbledore can be very delicate with his descriptions of people and his relationships with them. Just because Aberforth is a member of the Order does not mean that they have to get along.

Ben: Right.

Laura: But, on the same hand they could. So, I mean we don't know.

Ben: Thank you, Laura.

Laura: You're welcome, Ben.

Ben: And thanks to Susannah for sending that listener rebuttal in. Now, let's move on to our next listener rebuttal. This comes form Jessie, age 14, and she's from New Jersey - Andrew's home state.

Hey, guys! I love the show! I just wanted to make a comment about the last episode when you were talking about the Fidelius Charm and who it was broke it when the Potters died. I was just wondering why you would believe it was broken when they died, seeing as they were not their Secret-Keeper? Do you think it may have something to do with the destruction of the house? I'd love to hear your opinions. Much love, Jessie!

Ben: What I think she's trying to say here is that how were - we talked about how people were able to find their bodies. And I think it was the charm was broken once Lily and James were actually dead. Does that make sense?

[Some noises are made]

Ben: Laura, help me out here. You were on the show.

Laura: I can't specifically remember what Jo said regarding Secret-Keepers. Didn't she say something along the lines of "the secret would only be revealed to the people the Secret-Keeper exposed to it"?

Ben: Right, but...

Laura: Because I don't think she said anything...

Ben: Don't your remember in Half... But don't you remember in Half Blood Prince, when Dumbledore freezes Harry?

Laura: Mhm.

Ben: Okay, and then once Dumbledore dies, Harry's unfrozen. Okay, so I'm wondering...

Laura: Yeah, that's true.

Ben: ...does the charm still apply once the people have died? Jeff? What do you think?

Jeff: I don't know, if the person that casts the charm dies, is that the issue?

Ben: Or, do you think - okay. Do you think that since Lily and James had the spell put on them - since they died - does that mean that anybody can see them? Because, you know, they were underneath the Fidelius Charm. So, Peter Pettigrew was the only one that could disclose their location. Do you think that since they died, that's why Hagrid, I mean, and anybody - Sirius, could come and see their bodies?

Jeff: Yeah...

Ben: Find their bodies?

Jeff: ...I think that's probably valid.

John: Ooo...

Jeff: Looking at the Lexicon here, when a Secret-Keeper dies, their secret dies with them. So, you could apply that to or you could infer that the Fidelius Charm is the same way.

Laura: Yeah.

Ben: Good point, Jeff, good point.

Well, that wraps up this week's listener rebuttals. We don't have any voice rebuttals for you this week, because Mister Kevin Steck is off at a wedding and is unable...

[John laughs]

Ben: gather the voice clips. He's the only one with access to the account. Don't worry, it's not his wedding. Ladies, he's still single.

[John and Laura laugh]

John: Aw, I thought Kev finally got her break.

Ben: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, so we'll make sure to have those voice rebuttals back for you next week, and if you have a listener rebuttal, a comment about something that went on in the show, something you want to argue with us about, anything like that, feel free to send it to mugglecast at staff dot mugglenet dot com, subject line, "Listener Rebuttal," and it could be put into the show.

Main Discussion - Horace Slughorn

Ben: Now, it's time to move on to our first part of our main discussion this week. As we mentioned in the past, we're going to start rotating the character discussions, and this week is indeed a character discussion week, with Mister Horace Slughorn.

John: Oh.

Ben: A little bit of information about Slughorn. This comes from the MuggleNet Encyclopedia. His age is unknown, but we know that he is younger than Dumbledore, but old enough to consider himself a "broken-down old buffer." His distinguishing characteristics are that he is very short, and enormously fat; he has a shiny bald head, prominent eyes, and a huge, silver, walrus-like moustache. He has a preference for wearing waistcoats, and maroon, velvet smoking jackets. The first mention of Slughorn comes in Chapter 4 of Half Blood Prince. So, when we are first introduced to Slughorn, what are your guys' initial impressions of him?

Jeff: Yeah, we're introduced to him in Book 6, which actually I just started rereading, and I just finished the chapter on him, so I should be more authoritative on this, but I think later in the book we learn more about him. But, I don't know. My first impression is that he's a power-hungry politico type. I mean, the Slug Club and all that. He's interested in being popular.

Ben: Right.

Jeff: And being associated with people who are popular, and that's sort of how he keeps his foot in the door, so to speak.

Ben: Well, what I like about Slughorn is that - I don't know - he seems like more of a light-hearted guy, because especially since he was the former Head of House of Slytherin, and he's nothing like Snape whatsoever.

John: Yeah.

Ben: And so, it goes to show that there are indeed good Slytherins. I just think that, you know, he's enormously fat - that's how he's described - and it sort of makes sense that he's more of a jolly guy, as opposed to, you know, [growls].

John: What makes you think he's a good Slytherin? He may have a different kind of personality from Snape...

Ben: Okay, I'm talking about his outward appearance, is what I am saying.

John: Oh.

Ben: And I know that can be deceiving.

Laura: Well, I kind of - touching on what you just said, John - I don't think that he's necessarily a good or a bad person, because he'd been in hiding for a year, I believe it was. Hiding from various other Slytherins he knew might come looking for him, to try to get him to join Voldemort's cause. And I just think that he's more of a person who doesn't want to side with anyone either way, and he would just rather live his life on his own, and not have to be involved in any of it.

Jeff: And a lot of the first impression we get from him is that he's very self-interested, and he's motivated to do things that are going to help himself. So, in that respect it sort of gives you, sort of, "Oh, he's sly, Slytherin" - stuff like that. So, yeah.

Ben: A little bit arrogant, too.

John: Well...

Laura: Yeah, but I think where the Slytherin attributes come from, is strictly from the fact that he likes nice things. He's very eccentric. He likes the finer side of life. I don't think it's anything to do with a lot of the characteristics we see in Slytherins like Draco or Lucius, for instance.

Ben: And he seems to be very selective. For example, Jeff brought up the Slug Club. It seems that he's very discriminatory about who he wants to be in that group and who he doesn't want to be in that group.

Laura: Mhm.

Ben: Which leads you to believe that it's sort of like at school. If you're on a teacher's good side, they can be your best friend in the world, and can basically let you get away with anything. But if you're on their bad side, it's probably not someone you want to mess with, and that's the impression that I get from Slughorn, that it's awesome if he likes you, but if...

Jeff: You're shut out.

Ben: ...he doesn't then it's not so good.

Laura: Then you're just not even a blip on his radar.

Jeff: Exactly.

John: Yeah.

Ben: So, I assume in things like classroom - the classroom setting - he'd probably focus more on the people that he likes. For example, since the book is written mostly - is written from Harry's perspective - since he's the Boy-Who-Lived, Slughorn automatically takes a liking to him, and it is for this reason that Harry views him in such a positive light for the early parts of Book Six.

Laura: Mhm.

John: Mhm.

The Horcri

Ben: And then, something that Slughorn did is what basically lead to the whole Horcri thing, right, John?

John: Oh, of course.

Ben: Yeah, the Horcruxes.

John: Yeah.

Ben: What year was it, Voldemort's fifth year or sixth year?

Jeff: Oh, gosh.

John: Ummm...

Laura: Oh, I want to say fifth, but I'm not sure.

Ben: I think it was fifth.

John: Yeah.

Ben: Someone correct us. Slughorn has been struggling with the guilt of having explained what a Horcrux was to Tom Riddle for many years, due to the fact that Harry's mother, one of Slughorn's favorite students, was murdered by Lord Voldemort some years later. His Hogwarts house is Slytherin. Despite this fact, he does not wish to have anything to do with Voldemort's cause, and had in fact spent a year in hiding to avoid involvement. This just goes to show that Slughorn, when there's conflict going on like that, he just sort of wants to get away. And, in a way he feels really guilty, because he sort of gave Voldemort the keys to the kingdom. He's the reason that Voldemort didn't die the night that he tried to attack - that he tried to kill Harry.

Laura: Mhm.

Memory Alteration

Ben: And we all know that in Tom Riddle's fifth year, he approached Slughorn, and he asked him about Horcruxes, and Slughorn reluctantly explains this to him. And, what do you think that - when Harry has to try to get the memory from Slughorn, the memory of that event actually happening, the fact that Slughorn modifies the memory shows a lot about his personality in the way that he feels really guilty about it, and that he's going to try to cover it up.

Laura: Yeah, and at the same time he doesn't want to be incriminated.

Ben: He's a man who basically...

Laura: Well, it just all goes back to the fact that he doesn't want to have any involvement with this. The reason he didn't want to tell Harry anything was because he didn't want to be involved with the good side and take the risk of known Death Eaters or even Voldemort realizing this and coming after him. And on the same hand, he doesn't want any involvement with Voldemort because he doesn't want the exact opposite happening.

Ben: Right.

John: Mhm.

Why Tell Tom?

Ben: Why do you guys think that he would go ahead and tell young Tom Riddle about the Horcruxes?

John: Why do you think he knows about them to begin with, I think, is an interesting question, too.

Ben: So, do you think that he basically told Tom Riddle what a Horcrux is, and then he used that information to his advantage to create the Horcruxes? Or was it that he explained some of it to him? What do you guys think?

Jeff: Could have been that he wanted to either impress Tom with his knowledge. Or - it's very evident that he's self-important, and likes to think of himself highly, and so that's one aspect. Or, he was hoping that Tom could use it to his advantage and then thank Slughorn later - hold him in high esteem for showing him this or teaching him that. So...

John: Yeah, and why do you think - I mean let's not forget Tom Riddle, Voldemort - they're still pretty much the same person. What happened in between Slughorn being this guy that helped Riddle figure out about the Horcruxes, to turning into a person that Slughorn is afraid to even - afraid of Voldemort, afraid of his followers, afraid of being involved in anybody's cause? Why... I don't understand how, why he feels the need to distance himself.

Ben: Because I think that it's that he feels partially responsible for what happened because... Okay, I think that Voldemort probably would've found out about the Horcruxes some other way...

Jeff: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah. I agree.

Jeff: Mhm.

Ben: ...but Slughorn is the one that, like I said, sort of gave him the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. And Jeff brought up an interesting point saying that he was probably trying to impress him with his knowledge or whatever because, as we mentioned, he has this club of the elite - the Slug Club - and Tom Riddle was given an award for the school. He was a Slytherin, and all this stuff. And so it makes sense for Slughorn to say, "Well, Tom, I guess I can tell you because you're all high and mighty, Slug Club President" or whatever.

[Jeff and Laura laugh]

Jeff: Yeah.

Slughorn's Future Role

Ben: What future role do you think Slughorn is going to play? Do you think the end of Book Six sort of closed up his fate?

Jeff: I don't know.

Laura: I'm not sure. I don't think that Jo would've made him Head of Slytherin for no reason.

Jeff: Yeah.

John: Yeah. I don't think - why would he have to leave? He wasn't, he wasn't the defense teacher, so there's no jinx on him.

Ben: Right, but what role do you think that he is going to play in Book Seven? Do you think that he is going to distance himself again like he did in the First War? Or is he going to become more involved with the Order of the Phoenix? Or - or is he just going to remain neutral?

Jeff: Well...

John: It depends on where the war goes. Because if the war gets so big that people have to decide what side they're on or they're just going to get killed in the whole - in the whole mess of things, you have to figure out what side you're going to be on. And these books are a lot about choices and maybe he'll come around and make a choice for the better, or even - maybe he'll go and fight the Death Eaters. Who knows? But, I think it'd be interesting either way to see which side he picks. I don't think he'll stay neutral throughout the whole book.

Laura: Yeah.

Ben: Well, I'm pretty sure that he's - if he's going to choose any side, it would probably... Well, then again, as we mentioned before, he's kind of self-concerned and he's a very selfish "pershon" - selfish person. And in a way, he's sort of like a strong version of Peter Pettigrew. You understand what I'm saying?

[John coughs]

Laura: Yeah.

Ben: You see the parallel there?

Jeff: Mhm.

Ben: You think that it would make sense for him to choose the side that's offering more and choose the side that's more powerful to join?

Jeff: Mhm.

Laura: Not necessarily, because you remember what we saw come out of him when Harry said, "Don't you want to stop the person who killed Lily Evans?" And you saw just how much he really cared about her and how awful he felt about her death, and I really think that Jo had him become Head of Slytherin for a reason. I think that Micah had a very valid point in stating a few weeks ago that the Sorting Hat did point out that for Hogwarts to not crumble from within, the Houses would have to unite, and I think that Slughorn could have some kind of large role in helping that happen.

John: Yeah.

Ben: Right.

John: Mhm.

Ben: And because before, when Snape was the head of house, you know, since you sort of have the Death Eaters' kids within that house - not all of them, like I said - but some of them are within there. If Snape begins to show allegiance towards the good side - well, I guess it's supposed to be part of his gig - but he never really has treated everyone fairly, and hasn't really been about the unity of the school. And I think Slughorn is more - he's more charismatic. And even though he may be a little bit arrogant and conceited, it makes sense for him to be a lot better at bringing them together.

Jeff: Yeah. And I don't...

Laura: Yeah.

Ben: And "united we stand."

Laura: I agree.

Ben: That concept.

Jeff: I don't know if it was part of the narrative, or if he told Harry this, but apparently he was an old friend and colleague of Dumbledore and he was pretty upset when Dumbledore was killed. And he - I'm quoting again from - I'm looking at the Lexicon entry on Slughorn, and it says he's one of the first Slytherins that Harry met who has no prejudices against Muggle-born or half-blood wizards. So, something to consider.

Laura: I think that, going back to what Ben said about having students of Death Eaters in Slytherin. I think something that's really important to remember about that is that it's actually a very small group of students in there that are children of Death Eaters. I want to say maybe five or six of them. And really the rest of the Slytherins are kind of faceless. We haven't seen all that much out of them. I don't think that the Slytherins - apart from Draco and his crowd - are any more evil, snotty, obnoxious than any other teenager.

[Jeff laughs]

Laura: And I think that we're definitely going to get to see more of their role brought out in Book Seven in uniting with the rest of the school.

Ben: In a way, Horace Slughorn sort of reminds me of Professor Moody - or I guess Imposter Moody. In just that, you know, it feels like when he's going to say he's going to do something, he's going to lay down the law and that there won't be any messing around. And I think that we can probably expect that from him in Book Seven.

Will Hogwarts Be Open?

Ben: That's assuming that Hogwarts is going to be open. I think it will be. I mean, that's - that just makes sense.

Jeff: Yeah.

John: At least for a little while.

Laura: Yeah. I think it will be, too.

Ben: Yeah, at least for a little while.

Rachel: I don't think so.

Jeff: You don't think so? Whoa.

John: What? What?

Laura: Why not, Rachel?

Ben: Whoa. Why not, Rachel?

[Laura laughs]

Rachel: I don't, because there's so much going on that I doubt that it's going to get focused upon. Maybe it will, but I doubt that everything's going to be taking place there. Or it'll be partly mentioned, but I really doubt that the school's going to be open.

Ben: Okay, well, what I'm saying is that Hogwarts will be open, but Harry probably won't...

Jeff: Right. Or...

Ben: there the entire time.

Laura: Yeah, that's what I think.

Rachel: Oh.

John: Mmm.

Ben: Yeah.

Rachel: Well, that could be a possibility but, yeah. But, the chances of Hogwarts being open - for me, they're probably slim to nothing, I think, because there's just so much going on. [laughs]

John: I don't know where - where a safer, larger place to keep people would be other than Hogwarts.

Ben: That's true, Jeff. Not Jeff, John.

John: There's chaos happening outside.

Jeff: Yeah. Didn't Dumbledore say that they...

[Laura laughs]

Ben: Sorry, James.

Jeff: You know, again, I just started rereading Book Six, but I swear that Dumbledore told Harry at the beginning that they had enhanced the protection of Hogwarts a little bit that year. So, I don't know if that, you know?

Ben: Mhm.

Laura: Well, I think regardless of whether or not it'll be open, I'm not sure that we're going to see much of it.

Jeff: Yeah. I would agree with that.

Rachel: Yeah. We're probably not going to see that much of it. Yeah.

Jeff: Although, it would be the first time, though.

[Rachel laughs]

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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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