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[Intro music plays]
Andrew: Because www.myspace.com/mugglecastfans hit over 5,000 friends this week, this is MuggleCast Episode 72 for January 14th, 2007.
[Music continues to play]
Andrew: [imitating Borat] Jak sie masz! Welcome to another episode of MuggleCast. What did you guys think of my Borat impression?
Jamie: I thought it was lame.
Ben: It was terrible. Absolutely terrible.
Andrew: I just... You think so?
Ben: You're just trying to win the fangirls over.
Andrew: No, I'm just...
Ben: That was a desperate attempt to win the fangirls over.
Andrew: Well, Borat doesn't really win fangirls, so I wasn't really trying to go for that. What do you think, Jamie?
Jamie: [in Borat voice] It was nice.
Andrew: [in Borat voice] Is nice? You like?
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Jamie: [in Borat voice] I like. I like.
Andrew: It's another week here on MuggleCast. We have more Deathly Hallows discussion, and...
Ben: I can't wait.
Andrew: We have a very big announcement. I am extremely - actually, there's two. One about some live podcasts that we're doing, but there's also a bigger one that I - we're very proud of.
Jamie: Very proud.
Jamie: And excited.
Andrew: Very proud.
Ben: It's huge.
Jamie: Proud and excited.
Laura: It's a MuggleCast exclusive.
Ben: Very exclusive. I mean, this is literally, literally way bigger than any other Harry Potter podcast.
Ben: What they've done.
Andrew: Yeah. Bigger than I expected it to be, actually.
Jamie: It's huge. Huge.
Andrew: But my name... [imitating Borat] My name-a Borat - Andrew Sims.
Jamie: [imitating Borat] I sell my wife.
Ben: My name is...
Jamie: Jamie Lawrence.
Ben: No, you're not Jamie Lawrence. You're not Jamie Lawrence until I'm Ben Schoen, okay?
Ben: I'm Ben Schoen.
Jamie: I'm Jamie Lawrence.
Laura: I'm Laura Thompson.
Micah: And I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
[Music continues to play]
Micah: Micah Tan here with the past week's top Harry Potter news stories.
Mary GrandPre, the artist who illustrated the US Harry Potter books, recently said in an interview that she has no details on Deathly Hallows, and has therefore not yet decided on a cover color. She also noted that Order of the Phoenix is her favorite cover.
Jason Isaacs, the actor who plays Lucius Malfoy, recently spoke about the closing scenes of the Order of the Phoenix movie, particularly the battle he shot alongside Gary Oldman. Furthermore, the actor caught up with Jo and appealed for her to include his character in Deathly Hallows. He said:
"I fell to my knees and begged. It didn't do any good. I'm sure she doesn't need plot ideas from me. But I made my point. We'll see. Like everybody else, I'm holding my breath to July to see what's in there. I just want to bust out of prison, that's all. I don't want to stay in Azkaban most of my life."
Just a note: even though Jason did say July, there is no confirmation yet on a release date for Deathly Hallows. Warner Brothers has integrated the Order of the Phoenix teaser trailer and poster into the existing Goblet of Fire layout on HarryPotter.com. A full refresh of the website will likely appear in the next few months when the movie's release date draws closer. The March 2007 issue of Toyfare magazine has several photos of the new Order of the Phoenix action figures, which are set to be released in March. Alongside the photos is a new interview with NECA's Head of Product Development, where he talks about the new toys and discusses what's ahead. Warner Brothers has moved forward the release date of Order of the Phoenix in Spain to July 13th. According to HarryLatino.com, this decision was made in order to help prevent piracy. The original date was a week later on July 20th. This is the first time in Spain that a Potter film will be released on the same day as in the US and UK. Wrapping up movie news, in a new interview, Order of the Phoenix director David Yates spoke about how, having produced politically charged films like The Girl In the Cafe, he was surprised when approached to direct Order of the Phoenix. Yates, who had never read the Harry Potter books, said:
"It was interesting to get the call. I wouldn't have put myself forward as an obvious candidate."
However, after reading Order of the Phoenix, he realized the novel had strong political overtones. He went on to say:
"...it is probably the most emotional of all the books. As I read the book, suddenly, I tuned into the kind of thing I have always been drawn to."
Last September, we told you that Bloomsbury, in celebration of their 21st birthday, would re-release 21 books, including Philosopher's Stone. This new version of Book 1 is now available, and includes a short introduction by JK Rowling. Finally, a recent survey indicated that 25% of independent bookstores may not stock the seventh Harry Potter book due to the fact that they cannot match the bargain prices of their larger competitors. According to one independent bookstore owner:
"Independent bookshops are being discriminated against and being offered a lower discount and are being cut out of the market."
This makes it impossible for them to compete against companies like Amazon and supermarkets. Despite having to take a loss on sales, many other small shops still plan to stock the highly anticipated novel in order to maintain customer loyalty. That's all the news for this January 14th, 2007 edition of MuggleCast. Back to the show.
Andrew: All right, thank you, Micah.
Micah: For what?
Andrew: Uh, the news.
Andrew: Just first of all, quick apology. MuggleCast 71 last week, I screwed up a bit. Some people downloaded the show, missed a...
Ben: They heard me drop the "F-Bomb."
Andrew: Big part of it.
[Ben and Jamie laugh]
Andrew: And I left a curse word in accidentally, [laughs] so far only one person noticed. Hopefully we're not going to get any more e-mails than that. But...
Ben: Here's Andrew's Listener Challenge: if you have that show, go back and find the curse word.
[Ben and Laura laugh]
Andrew: No, let's not. Let's delete it and re-download the version that is clean, thank you. So, just an apology for that. That was all my fault.
Jamie: It was.
Andrew: I don't even know what I did, but it's my fault somehow.
Jamie: You swore. That's what you did.
[Andrew and Jamie laugh]
Andrew: We have a few announcements for everyone this week. We want to remind everyone to vote for us on Podcast Alley. We're actually - let me check, I'm pretty sure we're number one right now.
Ben: What does it take to be number one?
Andrew: A lot of fans. Yeah, we're number one right now. We're doing really good on Podcast Alley; beating Keith and The Girl, Free Talk Live, The Super Secret Backstage Show - whatever that is - Common Sense with Dan Carlin. I mean, the next Harry Potter podcast on that list is number six. [laughs] I mean, let's be serious here.
Jamie: Wow, they must be terrible.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. [laughing]
Ben: That's a joke.
Ben: What a joke.
Andrew: We also want to remind everyone that Digg.com has a great new Podcasting section, and we want to get up on the rankings there too. Because Digg.com is a big social book marking website where people submit cool sites and cool podcasts now, and we want to spread the word through Digg now. Because Digg's a...
Ben: Through where?
Andrew: ...mostly nerd site, but I'm sure there's some Harry Potter fans in the mix somewhere. So, thanks for that. It's just a quick Digg.
Andrew: Yeah, and reveal some details. We have plans to do quite a few podcasts next summer actually.
Ben: Probably 10 to 20.
Andrew: 10 to 20.
Ben: Maybe 30.
Andrew: 10 to 20.
Andrew: Yeah, and by...
Ben: If the spirit moves us or not.
Andrew: Yeah, right. [laughs] And the money moves us too.
Ben: So, buy your - oh, crap can't do that.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] We've done four, five - how many? Four live podcasts now?
Andrew: We've done four live podcasts now, and we have plans to do at least another four more next summer, spanning the globe. By globe I mean England and...
Jamie: The rest of the world.
Andrew: The United States. Yeah.
Ben: And China.
Jamie: That's normally what globe means.
Andrew: The first podcast we want to announce is Enlightening 2007 which is going to be July 13, the day of the US and UK release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. That is going to be in Philadelphia, the University of Penn, that is a big Harry Potter convention, we're looking forward to that. So far it's me, Ben, Jamie, Micah, you said you're probably coming?
Micah: Yeah, the night of the podcast, I'll be there.
Andrew: Okay, cool. And The Moaning Myrtles are going to be there, and also at the convention Ben, Jamie, and I will be doing a seminar on creating your own podcast. [in goofy voice] We are the professionals. [laughs] So it's going to be a lot of fun. We're not going to make it like some boring class, like, [weird voice] "Okay, open up your GarageBand and click on 'Record.'" Well, we're going to have some of that, but it's going to be fun too. Also, a big one we're going to be doing, Prophecy 2007. We've been getting so many questions about that, "Are you guys going to be at Prophecy? Are you going to be at Prophecy?" It was...
Ben: Of course.
Andrew: It's by the same people who ran the Lumos convention where we...
Ben: Las Vegas, baby.
Andrew: ...also did a podcast. Prophecy is going to be a lot of fun; we're still working on exact details, but 90% chance we're doing a live podcast there.
Andrew: I, personally, am looking forward to the Yule Ball at Prophecy. It's going to be...
Ben: Jamie's looking forward to the...
Ben: Jamie's looking forward to the open bar...
Ben: At the Yule Ball.
Jamie: Very, very much.
Andrew: There is going to be a Yule Ball there and we're all very excited. I just want to set the record straight right now, I am going single, as I think Ben and Jamie and Micah and Laura are.
Ben: I don't know.
Jamie: No, I'm going with my mom.
Andrew: I don't know...
Ben: Well, I don't know. Dude, I...
Micah: No, I'm going with your mom.
Jamie: Put that in, that's funny.
Andrew: Wow, too much information.
[Andrew and Laura laugh]
Ben: Well, actually, believe it or not, Ben Schoen knows a few Harry Potter fangirls, some cute Harry Potter fangirls...
Andrew: See, Ben...
Ben: ...like most of them are, who would enjoy going with me because, to be honest, you know, I'm charming.
Andrew: Ben, I've already gotten...
Ben: I've got the looks, you know?
Andrew: I've already gotten several requests to be someone's date to the Yule Ball. I have turned them all down. I want to be single at the dance. Dance and date, I don't want to have a date.
Ben: So you can play the field, you know?
Andrew: Exactly. Exactly.
Ben: He wants to play the field.
Andrew: As I'm sure all the other guys will agree.
Laura: How many guys do you actually think are going to be there? [laughs]
Andrew: Well, there's a big...
Laura: Like, two?
Andrew: ...campaign on Facebook right now to get guys going there. So, we'll see.
Andrew: We also have plans to do a podcast at each of the two premieres in the United States and England. Jamie?
Andrew: There's plans in the works right now for the one in England, right?
Jamie: There are, yeah. We don't know where yet, but it's going to be...
Ben: Buckingham [emphasis on the "ham"] Palace.
Jamie: Yes, Buckingham [emphasis on the "ham"] Palace.
Ben: 7 p.m.
Jamie: Ben, it's not Bucking...
Ben: What'd I say?
Jamie: ...ham [emphasis on the "ham"] Palace. Buckingham [Buck-ing-hum] Palace. Buckingham [emphasis on the "ham"]...
Ben: Buckingham [emphasis on the "ham"] sounds cooler, what's wrong with Buckingham [emphasis on the "ham"]?
Jamie: It doesn't sound cooler. Anyway, no, it's not going to be there. It is going to be somewhere big in London, so, you know, make plans to come down for the premiere and come to the podcast.
Andrew: It'll be a lot of fun. Then, in the United States, we'll probably be doing another one in New York City at a bookstore, maybe Barnes and Noble in Union Square. We'll see.
Also, the big announcement this week. Ben, you know, I'm really proud of this. I really didn't think we'd be able to pull it off, but we did, and we had to go through a lot of different contacts and we've been working vigorously on this for the past few months now. Ben, we have an interview with a very special guest next week, right?
Ben: This person is huge, and I mean, huge. The biggest person to ever be on a Harry Potter podcast, hands down.
Andrew: Yeah, I mean...
Ben: If you miss this, if you miss this interview, you will be kicking yourself.
Andrew: The magnitude, the size, the - I mean, this guy's famous, too. You know? He - everyone knows him. Everyone knows him. Really, you know, so, we're looking forward to having him on the show next week. Don't want to give it away.
Ben: Come back next week.
Andrew: Yeah, so...
Ben: You have to.
Andrew: ...we're looking forward to that.
Ben: You'll never forgive yourself if you don't.
Andrew: Now we're going to move on to a few rebuttals. Our first one comes from Matt. Matt Isaacs, 27, of Boston, Massachusetts. We actually got similar e-mails like his, which reads:
"One thing I didn't hear about in your argument about the hallow/gallows...
...gallows connection, and the Hanged Man. Let's not forget..."
Ben: [mocks Andrew] G-g-gallows.
"Let's not forget what game we were forced to play in order to find out the name of the new book, hangman."
And Micah wasn't on the discussion last week, but he told us, once we showed him this e-mail, that that's the whole reason he came up with this theory, right, Micah? [laughs]
Laura: [laughs] Yeah.
Jamie: Whereas we just thought that he was intelligent, but no, he's going off somebody else's work.
Micah: Yeah, the author of the series.
Jamie: Yeah, well, she isn't important enough.
Andrew: To be honest, I mean, that's very interesting, and I'm kind of surprised none of us really even bothered to make that connection.
Andrew: Especially since we talked about playing hangman.
Laura: Well, here's the thing, though. I thought that everyone kind of assumed that was why we were having that discussion.
Jamie: No, I just assumed...
Laura: That's why no one brought it up.
Jamie: I just assumed that because what Micah says, you know, goes. I don't...
Jamie: ...question his judgment.
Ben: Micah's the man.
Jamie: I actually thought that was extremely clever, when they...
Jamie: ...sent that in. It didn't even occur to me, actually.
Andrew: So, that certainly adds a lot more merit. [laughs] More than we were giving it last week, so thanks to Matt and everyone else who pointed that out. But at least Micah knew what he was talking about.
Andrew: Our next one is Brooke, 29, of California. She writes a simple message:
"Fred and George have a hangman toy in their shop!"
Well, that's interesting, Brooke. Well, actually, a couple people sent that in, too, so people are taking all aspects of the Harry Potter books, no matter how [mispronounces] miniscule - miniscule, and they're adding it to our discussion. So, that's good.
Andrew: Final rebuttal this week from Leisha Wharfield, 44, of Oregon.
"Okay, laugh at the Tarot all you want, but I have been a practitioner of it for many years, and I think it is fun. It's all good to go to Wikipedia and look up some interpretation of the ancient Celtic deck, but newer, contemporary decks get newer, contemporary interpretations and the way we read the cards continues to evolve with us. The Hanged One, from my experience, indicates the need to see one's life from a very different perspective, upside down, for example. The old perspective is lost or irrevocably changed or informed by the new one. Someone or something in the Harry Potter world is not as it seems. In the Hallows, we're in for a shock as everything we anticipate, everything we've come to believe, is turned upside down and twisted by the devious JK Rowling. Put that in your pipe and smoke it," says Leisha.
I think that her take is pretty interesting. Basically, what she's saying is that from her perspective, the hanged man would just mean turning your world upside down; however, I think that might be a little too extreme for the Harry Potter books.
Jamie: Yeah, and she's being a bit mean to us.
Andrew: By saying "put that in your pipe and smoke it?"
Jamie: Yeah, and...
Andrew: Well, she was a little bit offended because we laughed at the Tarot card stuff, I think, on last week's show.
Andrew: Our main discussion this week is, once again, the Deathly Hallows; there still is lots of discussion about it, so we're still going to talk about it on the podcast.
Ben: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: If anyone starts to get sick of it, just let us know and we will...continue to talk about it. [laughs] Yes. [imitates Borat] Yes!
Jamie: [imitates Borat] Yes!
Andrew: So, this week we're going to focus on Deathly Hallows having a connection to holidays such as Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, because Laura - well, because in many cultures Halloween is known as the day when "the veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its thinnest" and "spirits may return to the world of the living." Well, Laura, to start us off, you found something interesting in the Mexican culture.
Laura: Well, yeah. In Mexican culture, Día de los Muertos is the day of celebration of dead family members and loved ones, and people - families will create shrines with their family members' favorite foods, favorite drinks, and it's sort of believed that the spirits of those people come back on Halloween night, or November 1st, I believe, is actually Día de los Muertos. But they come back and they visit the home and they visit the family in the night. It's kind of interesting because one listener actually sent in that theory about, possibly, "Hallow" being the beginning of a witch's New Year, because, you know, the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and the spirits come back. So it's interesting because it's not just a fictional thing; it's actually something that is practiced around the world.
Andrew: But do you think JK Rowling would - ah, first, let me apologize; I'm very congested this week and I'm having a hard time speaking. Anyway, do you think JK Rowling would integrate something like this into the books? Based on Mexican culture?
Laura: Well, it's not based on Mexican culture only. That was just sort of an example. There are lots of different cultures around...
Jamie: Wait a minute. Aren't you saying that it's prevalent in every culture, but it's just...
Laura: Yeah, it is.
Jamie: ...slightly different in each one.
Laura: Yeah. Well, I mean the original meaning of Halloween was that dead – was that spirits came back.
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Laura: It was meant... Yeah, it was meant to kind of revere those who had kind of once been alive, and remember them, and now it's been turned into a huge franchise.
Jamie: Yeah. [laughs]
Laura: But, never mind that.
Micah: I don't think it's so far-fetched that she would use it.
Laura: No, I don't think so either.
Jamie: No, I agree. Yeah.
Micah: Because it is her favorite holiday.
Jamie: Yeah, exactly, and so much stuff has happened on Halloween. Harry's parents being killed, can't think of anything else.
Andrew: So, what could happen? Why could the title of the book be based on one day of the school year?
Laura: It doesn't necessarily even have to be one day, though.
Jamie: Like we've...
Andrew: So, it's going to be based on the concept?
Andrew: Of celebrating the dead?
Jamie: Well, no, like we've discussed. Doesn’t it just link to death?
Jamie: Like, it's one more thing that shows the death link, you know, to deal with people coming back. But, you know, people coming back can be interpreted in different ways. It doesn't mean coming back literally. It can mean their spirits...
Jamie: And, you know?
Ben: Haunting you.
Jamie: Well, no. Not that. Like helping you. You know? Something like that. It doesn't actually have to be them coming back to a bodily form, so it's all very - it's just like the title itself. It's all very ambiguous; you can interpret it in a number of ways.
Jamie: Yeah. I don't think that it's far-fetched at all that she could take stuff from here, and it's such interesting stuff that I think it would appeal to her.
Laura: But then again, a lot of people are going to take that to mean that Dumbledore and Sirius are coming back. And while I think that we may get some sort of visit from a spirit or spirits in the book, I just don't think that they will come back. I really, really don't and I don't want this to sort of inspire people to start sending in all of the "Sirius is going to come back from beyond the veil," because we've done that ten million times.
Andrew: What would a visit from a spirit of Sirius entail? Because I really don't think we're going to be seeing Dumbledore in the spirit form other than the portrait.
Laura: No, I don't think we'll see Dumbledore at all. I don't think we'll see Sirius, either. I mean, really, what purpose would Sirius serve? Jo killed him because there was nothing else for him to do.
Jamie: [gasps] How dare you insult him, Laura. He was my favorite character.
Laura: It's true!
Jamie: Have some damn respect!
Laura: She said it herself. She said it herself! She said he had become no more than a brooding presence in the books.
Micah: Well, maybe at that point.
Jamie: He's still a person.
Laura: It doesn't matter!
Ben: If you were locked in a house 24/7, you'd become a brooding presence, too.
Andrew: [laughs] So, okay. So, with that said, what could the spirits coming back possibly do? I mean, could they give information to Harry that's [in a deep, dramatic voice] going to be vital to his quest for destroying the Horcruxes, [back to his normal voice]or is it going to be more of, like...
Micah: Yes. Because one rebuttal that we actually got that I thought was interesting was mentioning that perhaps the Deathly Hallows are, in fact, the people who Voldemort killed in order to make his Horcruxes, and...
Jamie: Ah, ah!
Micah: ...that they’re going to be extremely helpful to Harry in Book Seven.
Jamie: That’s superb.
Micah: So, I apologize for not knowing who sent that in, but somebody did send it in and I think it’s...
Andrew: It was me.
Micah: ...a great theory.
Andrew: I actually told you
Jamie: Yeah, yeah, same here.
Andrew: ... the other day.
Micah: Oh, you guys came up with that all by yourselves?
Jamie: Awesome. That’s awesome.
Andrew: That is very cool, so...
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