[Audio]: This podcast is brought to you by Buena Vista Home Entertainment's release of Step Up. Incredible dancing and awesome music fuel this exhilarating and inspiring movie, on DVD December 19th. Domain names from GoDaddy.com are up to 70% less than the competition. Plus, each domain includes free hosting with a website builder, a free blog, complete e-mail, and much more. Plus, as a listener of MuggleCast, enter code "Muggle," that's M-U-G-G-L-E, when you check out, and save an additional 10% on any order. Some restrictions apply, see site for details. Get your piece of the internet at GoDaddy.com.
[Intro music plays]
Andrew: Because Laura Mallory lost her appeal, thank you, Ryan, 14, of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, this is MuggleCast Episode 68 for December 17th, 2006.
[Music continues to play]
Andrew: Everyone, I am in a festive mood this week.
Micah: So am I, Andrew.
Laura: Yeah, absolutely.
Laura: I'm right there with you.
Andrew: I am - I'm dressed up in my finest holiday clothing, I am drinking eggnog with pickles.
Micah: You have a Santa hat on?
Andrew: Yes, I do. And I have Christmas music on in the background, can you hear it?
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Andrew: The Hogwarts theme. It's very Christmassy, isn't it?
Laura: Yup. [laughs]
Andrew: We're here with Dylan this week. Dylan, thanks for joining us.
Dylan: My pleasure, Andrew.
Andrew: You haven't been on in a while.
Dylan: Yep, but maybe next time, I can be on when I don't have a sore throat. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, I heard you had a craaazy night last night. [goofy laugh]
Dylan: It was a festive party.
Andrew: Well, that's good. Well, we'll talk about that a little later on. We have a good show for everyone this week. In case you were wondering, Jamie and Ben are god knows where, and Eric's... [laughs] Eric's out, too, but they should all be back next week along with Kevin.
Micah: Don't forget about Kevin.
Andrew: No, I didn't forget. [laughs] Along with Kevin. So, I'm Andrew Sims.
Laura: I'm Laura Thompson.
Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Dylan: And I'm Dylan Spartz.
[Music continues to play]
Micah: Laura, Laura, Laura, Laura, Laura.
Micah: No, not you. Laura Mallory! Her case for removing the Harry Potter books from Georgia's libraries was dealt another blow on Thursday, as the Georgia Board of Education made a unanimous decision to keep the books.
The Gwinnett County school board also voted previously for the books to remain, but Mallory appealed the decision to the state school board. Mallory, who has been working for over a year to ban the books, has shown no signs of giving up, as there is talk of yet another appeal. We have footage covering the story from Fox 5 in Atlanta including an interview with Mallory herself, who claims the HP series is "mainstreaming witchcraft to our children and presenting it in a child-friendly format that's dangerous and deceptive."
Thank you, Professor Umbridge.
A new photo depicting Dan Radcliffe and Order of the Phoenix director David Yates was officially released by Warner Brothers this week. It was originally printed in the December 18th issue of Newsweek with an accompanying article. Additionally, French magazine Cinelive has a new photo with Dan with his wand at the ready on their cover and the January/February 2007 edition of Premiere magazine has a preview of the upcoming fifth film.
Order of the Phoenix merchandise isn't expected to hit shops until next year, but the first Phoenix t-shirt is now available for pre-sale. It features Voldemort from the promotional poster released earlier this year and costs just $15. However, the t-shirt is in limited stock, only available online and must be purchased by this Monday, December 18th.
Cards Incorporated, the company that recently received the European license for Harry Potter merchandise, has released some new details pertaining to their Order of the Phoenix line. The firm understands the Potter audience is maturing, and will therefore be aiming its Order of the Phoenix products at both young and old customers. Some major retailers have already been given previews of the upcoming line of toys, and have been hugely impressed by both their range and quality. The first wave of this exciting new Harry Potter merchandise will hit stores this June, in conjunction with the July release of Order of the Phoenix.
Lycos has released their list of the top 50 search terms for 2006. Despite having no new book or movie this year, Harry Potter remained on the list at number 40, which is a drop from its rank of 27 in 2005.
At the Eragon premiere in London, Katie Leung, Bonnie Wright, and the Phelps twins were present at the film's first showing, and they attended the after-party. You can see a few photos over at Shurtugal.com.
Finally, Jo put up some Christmas decorations on her site the day after I asked her to do something on last week's edition of MuggleCast. Perhaps I'll have to ask for something big for Christmas.
That's all the news for this December 17th, 2006 edition of MuggleCast. Back to the show.
Andrew: All right, thank you Micah.
Micah: Oh, you're welcome.
Andrew: Well, we have a few announcements this week, and then we will move on with our regular show. MuggleCast t-shirts are going out of sale very soon. There's only two or three weeks left. We can't guarantee them for Christmas, however, if you purchase a MuggleCast t-shirt I will guarantee - personally guarantee - that you will, um, be happy for the rest of you life.
Dylan: Eternal happiness! [laughs] That's priceless!
Laura: What happens if they're not? What's the...
Laura: What's the consequence for you if that doesn't happen?
Andrew: I don't know, because we don't do exchanges.
Laura: Oh, I see
Andrew: But seriously, we do have to stop selling MuggleCast t-shirts. Everyone is well aware, so purchase yours today, and you also help support the show.
Micah: The squares.
Micah: The squares.
Laura: Oh yeah, no more squares tees. They're gone.
Andrew: Oh right. Thank you, thank you. Yes, we cannot sell the - well, it's not that we can't - we have sold out of squares t-shirts. We've been sold out for awhile. They're probably our most popular t-shirt, but we can't get them reprinted because we have to stop in a couple of weeks, however there's still three other designs left. MuggleCast at Lumos, the new MuggleCast Crest t-shirt, and the Micbolt, which we've had for awhile. So, purchase any of those, or purchase two, or purchase three, or purchase as many as you want, because they're all fantastic.
And also, don't forget to vote for us on Podcast Alley. Vote once a month and help us beat Keith and the Girl. Let me check right now. We're being beat by Keith and the Girl right now, again. I still don't understand what is so great about this Keith and the Girl podcast. It's just these two people. They just sit there and talk about anything, and it makes me sad that their fans are more loyal than us - than ours.
Laura: Oh no, don't say that. That's not true.
Dylan: I think the MuggleCast fans are very loyal.
Laura: Yeah, I think it's just because they...
Andrew: [Fake crying] Well, then why aren't we number one on Podcast Alley?
Laura: Because they have a Keith; we only have a Kevin.
Andrew: Oh. [laughs] Good point, Laura. All right, so as a lot of people might have heard over the past week, Laura Mallory has once again lost her court case.
Andrew: Laura, you want to give us a quick update on this? We'll cut over to a news article.
Laura: Yeah, well I mean basically she went up - she appealed to the state and she lost again, and I believe one of her excuses now was that the reason she lost was because she didn't have a lawyer, and I really don't see how that even applies at all, because it's not a case where you even need a lawyer, it's just a matter of you can't sit there and dictate what other people can and can't have access to.
Andrew: Right. We actually have a news clip now that we wanted to play. It's - we wanted to talk about it because it's kind of funny. A couple of things she has to say. This was an interview with Laura Mallory that was held on...
Laura: Fox 5 News.
Andrew: On a local Fox News station in Atlanta. Laura, is this a good station down there?
[Andrew, Micah and Laura laugh]
Andrew: Well we have a news report from it. Let's listen to this.
Reporter: After a year and a half of controversy over Harry Potter and his place in the library, the state school board, today voted to allow the book to remain on the shelves of Gwinnett County.
School Board: Thank you. It is unanimous for those present."
Reporter: The simple a reaction to the ruling by the board?"
Andrew: This is Laura talking.
Laura Mallory: "Not surprised. Expected."
Andrew: Nor surprised. Expected. She's been at this for how long, and that's all she has to say about it? A few words?
Micah: Over a year.
Laura: Well, I believe...
Andrew: Not surprised.
Laura: Well, I believe she continued to add at one point, that if all she was able to do was kind of help out any families who have had children convert to witchcraft, then that's fine with her, but...
Dylan: Please, think of the children.
Laura: Yeah, really. It's like, if we want to go on banning things that promote certain things to children, why don't we just go down the list here? I mean, I personally think we should ban Winnie the Pooh, because Pooh Bear doesn't wear pants.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Laura: We wouldn't want our children to think they can't wear pants.
Andrew: It just amazes me that this is her response on it. After all this, and that's what she has to say.
Dylan: It is quite shocking.
Andrew: Well, let's keep listening.
Reporter: "The fight began here in JC Magill Elementary School in Loganville, where a mother of four, Laura Mallory, believed the Harry Potter series was inappropriate for..."
Andrew: You know, she looks like your normal mother. There's nothing - you know, she looks like a nice lady. I don't...
Laura: Oh, I don't doubt for a moment that she's, you know...
Andrew: She seems like a nice person.
Laura: Yeah. She seems very polite, but I...
Andrew: Yeah, all right, keep going.
Dylan: Itís just like why donít you just do something more useful, and maybe...
Laura: Exactly! Thatís what I donít get about her.
Dylan: Instead of banning, instead of trying to ban Harry Potter, which is Ė anyone whoís read the stories knows that theyíre not teaching any kids witchcraft. I donít know of any kids converting to witchcraft because they read Harry Potter.
Dylan: Itís not the devilís words. Itís a wonderful story.
Dylan: And everybody loves it.
Laura: Well, you know what gets me about her? Is there are a number of charitable organizations that would bend over backwards to have someone so determined on their side.
Laura: So, why is she wasting her time trying to get a book banned from a library?
Andrew: [sighs] Well.
Laura: There are people dying in the world. Iím sorry thatís all I have to say.
Andrew: Maybe the rest of the article has the answer.
Reporter: "...kids, in that she said it promoted witchcraft.
Laura Mallory: "The Harry Potter books are mainstreaming witchcraft to our children. Theyíre presenting it in a child-friendly format thatís dangerous and deceptive."
Andrew: Dangerous and deceptive. It can hurt you guys.
Laura: Child-friendly format of witchcraft?
Laura: What? [laughs]
Andrew: Thatís what she says, look out.
Reporter: "The issue was challenged at several levels, all the way up to the state board of education."
School Board Attorney: "The reason it probably has had such..."
Andrew: You know it just Ė they have a shot of all the people on the board here, like 20 people have to sit there and have there time wasted with this. Especially a unanimous decision, doesnít that just scream, "Hey we donít want to be bothered to do this." [laughs]
Dylan: I mean she kind of said it herself that it was expected so...
Andrew: Right. [laughs]
Dylan: Why are you going to pursue this anymore if you donít think youíre going to win?
Andrew: [laughs] So why are you trying if you expected it. Okay yeah.
Dylan: Are you just trying to get like press time, or trying to raise more awareness for the cause? What cause? That wonít win.
Laura: No one wanted to deal with it this time, because I was actually looking in to going down there and speaking on behalf of the books and I read that they werenít even allowing anyone from the public to come in and speak. It was just between herself and the Board of Education.
Andrew: They just wanted to get it over with.
Laura: Yeah. So, they just wanted to get it done.
Micah: Yeah. Well, itís a First Amendment issue too and...
Micah: ...when you try and mess with peopleís first amendment rights, itís always a touchy subject.
School Board Attorney: "...the scrutiny is because in America we get very, very nervous if there ever is any type of censorship of educational materials or First Amendment materials."
Reporter: "Many Gwinnett educators claim the Potter series promoted reading."
Micah: See, this guy is on the same page.
Reporter: "And were a hot commodity at the checkout lines."
Reporter: "Still the book wasnít for everybody."
Librarian: "And they were children here who would never read this book because itís not the kind of book they would like simply because of the genre of the book."
Reporter: "But kids do like it. Why do they like it?"
Librarian: "I think they just like fantasy."
Andrew: Thatís the librarian talking. I mean thatís what it comes down to.
Laura: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: If you donít want to read it, donít read it. But you know, you have a freedom of choice, but donít ban the books for nobody to read them, just because you donít want Ė you donít think theyíre right.
Reporter: "Some parents saw the fight as much ado about nothing."
Parent: "I think itís an overreaction. You know Iím a very, I was telling him, Iím a very, very Christian person, but I think itís more of a parental responsibility.
Reporter: "Will Laura Mallory appeal the decision to the superior court? Sheís not sure yet but still proud that she fought the issue. In your mind worth the toil, the hassle, the abuse, the anything else youíve taken?"
Laura Mallory: "Abuse, yeah." [laughs]
Andrew: Abuse from us calling her. [laughs]
Laura: Well, no. Iím sure she got a number of...
Micah: Well, abuse she's brought on herself.
Dylan: She brought it on herself.
Laura: ...a number of people who have harassed her.
Andrew: No, it cuts to a picture of our album art so I think thatís what they were talking about.
Laura: [laughs] Well, you know what I find interesting about this whole thing is, I donít know if itís the same in Gwinnett County, but when I was in the Forsyth County public schools, parents were actually allowed to have input on what their kids could and could not check out. Like, if you tried to checkout a book that your parents had said you could not, the system wouldnít let you.
Laura: So why doesnít she just say, "My kids canít check out Harry Potter."
Andrew: Yeah, right
Dylan: I think itís dangerous whenever you suppress anything. Like, thatís why abortion such a touchy subject because some people think that it should still be allowed in some cases whether it at no point should be illegal, but then again thereís other people that say itís morally bad. But Harry Potter is at a completely different level because it doesnít really promote witchcraft in any way. I mean, it uses witchcraft in the books, but it doesnít promote it, it doesnít tell them, "Hey, go try these things, kids."
Laura: I think Harry Potter is just a very popular scapegoat, basically.
Laura Mallory: "I think itís worth it only if people will listen to do their own research. If even one family or one child has been saved from the heartache that other families have gone through with their children actually getting into witchcraft, then itís worth it."
Andrew: A heartache? And what children have been getting into witchcraft? Is there any evidence of that? I mean, Iím not trying to rip her apart I just want to know, is there, is - does anyone know if thereís been evidence of witchcraft destroying children and causing heartache?
Laura: I have never heard of that.
Micah: I donít think so.
Dylan: I donít know of anyone.
Micah: I donít remember a story.
Dylan: Not one of my friends, at least.
Laura: Unless she thinks of little kids running around with fake plastic wands and yelling Expelliarmus is witchcraft, then no. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, that must be what she means because... [laughs]
Dylan: That ruins families, you know?
Andrew: Yeah, it really does.
Dylan: Eight year-olds waving wooden wands around, you know?
Dylan: Terrible sight.
Andrew: So, that's that. [sighs] Well, it's interesting and, of course, she's going to go appeal it again. Laura, do you know anything else about that?
Laura: I don't think we've actually heard anything, have we?
Andrew: She's planning on it, isn't she?
Laura: I don't think there's been any confirmation of that.
Dylan: There have been talks of it, but we don't know if it's for sure.
Laura: Yeah, we don't know if it's for sure yet.
Andrew: Okay. We have an e-mail now from Catie, 19, of Minneapolis. She writes:
"Hi MuggleCast, rock and roll. Just a comment: You guys were talking in the last Episode 67 about Ginny, and whether she would be a major character or just a supporting role. Personally, I think she will play a major role in the defeat of Voldemort. There are plenty of reasons, but I think the most telling one, brought to my attention by Galadriel Waters, is that she blew up Pluto in the planet room at the end of Book Five. If you know anything about Roman or Greek mythology, Pluto is the Roman name for the Greek god of the underworld, [mispronounces] Hades..."
Andrew: "...Hades, (i.e. Satan). No way would JK Rowling include something so small if it wasn't important. Anyways, take it into consideration. Have a party."
Laura: What, you don't think she foretold that Pluto was going to be exiled as a planet?
Andrew: I know.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Laura: No, I think that's definitely important. I think Ginny will absolutely play a major role in the seventh book, there's no question.
Andrew: Before we get to our main discussion this week, I have an update on my wizard rock band. It's basically, you've heard of wizard rock, right?
Dylan: Of course, it's sweeping the nation.
Andrew: I'm starting my own Wizard Rock band. I'm really excited about it. I think it's going to be a big hit.
Andrew: And I actually have a preview of my song now because, I decided that I wanted to get the hype up a little bit more and the only way to do that would be to give people a sneak peek. Now, Laura, I gave you a preview awhile back, but it's changed a little bit.
Andrew: The song.
Laura: Oh, okay.
Andrew: So, don't act surprised if you don't recognize it.
Laura: Okay. Well, I'll definitely curb my enthusiasm.
Andrew: Are you guys ready?
Andrew: Okay. Well, here we go.
[Music begins playing]
"We've got to save Ginny Weasley from the Basilisk
We've got to save the school from that unseen horror."
Andrew: What do you guys think? Laura, do you like that?
Laura: Yeah. It sounds like you had a bit of an influence, but yeah.
Andrew: No. What are you talking about?
Laura: I don't know. It just sounded kind of familiar.
Andrew: No. No, I made that up myself.
Laura: Okay. I just can't really place it.
Dylan: [coughs] Rip-off.
Andrew: That was the chorus of the song. The whole song, of course, is going to be released on Episode 70. So, hopefully that's going to get the hype up a little bit because I'm really excited about it and I hope everyone else is too. So, e-mail me your feedback and what you thought of that. Thanks. [laughs]
Andrew: Our main discussion this week now is the four founders of Hogwarts. We've talked about them in bits and pieces through out these past 67 shows, but now we're going to talk about them in a little more detail. Right, Laura?
Laura: Yeah, absolutely. After a very long night of Micah and I being extremely grumpy and trying to come up with something, we actually came up with a discussion on the four founders.
Laura: I think just to kind of jump right into it, my first question would be: why would someone like Gryffindor be friends with someone like Slytherin, who clearly valued pure bloods above others? Because we know that in the sorting song in Order of the Phoenix, it stated that Gryffindor and Slytherin were very close friends, as were Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. So why would someone like Gryffindor want to put up with someone like Slytherin, who had such skewed values?
Andrew: Maybe you could relate it to in the beginning of Sorcerer's Stone, when Draco offered Harry his friendship, and you can almost think what would have happened if Draco hadn't made fun of Ron and wasn't taunting Ron? What would happen if they became friends? I mean, because the only thing...
Laura: I don't think that would have happened though because Harry kind of, from his point of view in that chapter, I always got the impression he thought he was kind of snotty and that he didn't really want that much to do with him, especially when he asked, like, his surname and stuff. I kind of got the impression that Harry felt like, why does that matter, you know? So...
Micah: Well, I think if you're presuming it on the basis that you were talking about, I think people of different views, whether it's politics or other things, can be friends. Just because they have different viewpoints doesn't mean that they can't get along with each other.
Laura: Well, they can, I think, to an extent, but when it gets to a point where you're actually actively alienating people because of their heritage, their bloodlines. I don't know many people that can be friends with someone who does that. So, was Slytherin...
Micah: Well, maybe they were friends up to that point.
Laura: Yeah, that was kind of going to be my next point. Was Slytherin always - did he always discriminate against Muggle-borns and purebloods? Or half-bloods, excuse me. Or if he didn't, what would've happened to make him be that way?
Andrew: Well, this sort of goes back to our discussion that we had on evil. Like, had Salazar always had a hate for purebloods? And I don't - it might be like - I don't even know if we should be bringing this example up on the show, but it's almost like someone, someone being racist. In the sense that...
Laura: Well, yeah, it is in a sense.
Andrew: ... you're not...are you... You're not born with that. You gather that over time, whether there's and influence...
Andrew: ...from your family and friends or...
Andrew: ...what not.
Laura: Well, see, we know that Slytherin was at least prejudiced towards those who didn't come from pureblood families from the point when the school started, because in the sorting song, it said that Slytherin stated that he would accept those whose blood was purest. So, we know that from at least that point on, he held a prejudice towards people who were not pureblooded.
Micah: But can you also see that as a traditionalist view, as opposed to being a racist view?
Laura: Well, yeah. That - I mean, you always kind of have to consider people as products of their time. But then again, you look at someone like Helga Hufflepuff, who said, "I'll take the lot and treat them all the same."
Andrew: Mhm. Well, that's sort of, in a way, a mindset, too, because you're a caring person who wants to welcome everyone or anyone.
Laura: Mhm. Hmmm. Well, do you think Slytherin had any sort of intention going into the school? Because we know he build the Chamber of Secrets. Do you think that his first thought, whenever the four proposed the idea of starting a school, was to kind of use this as a platform to gain some sort of power and a way to kind of alienate others of - you know, who weren't pureblooded or in a sense to essentially build the Chamber of Secrets? That way he could rid the school of Muggle-borns. Maybe that was his first intention?
Andrew: Well, yeah, maybe when Salazar was going into this idea of creating Hogwarts, maybe he - originally he did not want to? Well, I mean, originally he was going in and acting like he would treat everyone fairly, but then his ultimate goal was going to be to try to kick everyone out who wasn't a pureblood. So, it...
Laura: Do you think that was...
Andrew: So, it was just a pureblood school.
Dylan: [clears his throat] I don't think he went in with that goal, but I think that maybe he - his views have changed. His views changed. After a while he saw the direction the school was going in and it was allowing Mudbloods into the school and he didn't like it, so he changed his views.
Andrew: Well, why wouldn't you like that? I mean, what do you not like about Mudbloods, other than that they weren't born with wizarding parents? I just don't see...
Laura: Well, that's - that's like asking a...
Andrew: You know?
Dylan: I guess you'll have to ask Salazar Slytherin. I guess...
Laura: Yeah, that's like asking a racist person, what do you not like about a person of a specific race? Aside from the fact that...
Andrew: And what would that person say? You're just...
Laura: Yeah, because...
Andrew: You're just trying to think...
Laura: Yeah, it's just a prejudice that you're kind of conditioned into having.
Laura: And it's - it must be terribly, terribly hard to overcome something like that.
Dylan: Well, it's probably put into him since birth, you know? His father did the same thing and he just didn't think those people were fit to be in his school.
Andrew: All right.
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