Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Ch. 10: Monologuing or it didn’t happen

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This week, we discuss: whether or not God has a penis and why he’s into circumcision; Jesus the perfect party guest; let’s all seduce Oliver Wood; teen embarrassment and legit reasons to be depressed; please boss us around, Emma Watson; flavorful souls and tasty Muggles; dementors are functioning alcoholics; the Ministry is made of stupid; Sirius’s muscles are made of no freaking way; without luck, Hogwarts would fall; that map totally should have gotten Harry killed; Fred, George and the Marauder’s Map; how did anyone ever figure out how to work this thing ; the trope of the bad and brilliant male student; Hogwarts Sims; debating the best magical sweets; wizards need an FDA; is butterbeer intoxicating?; convenient eavesdropping with the most inept Minister of Magic ever; why the Fidelius Charm could have prevented Craft Services Voldemort; we are all really lucky Sirius Black was just misunderstood; headcanon casting; what Sirius knew and when he knew it; why a trial wouldn’t have helped Sirius; and thank goodness the filmmakers at least considered plotholes.

S: Welcome back to Advanced Muggle Studies! I am Professor Seraphine. Professor Creed is here somewhere.

C: I am Professor Creed.

S: See, there she is. I had faith.

C: I just wanted to make everyone anticipate my entrance.

S: I always do. Even if I go back and listen to our old episodes, I wonder, ‘When is Professor Creed going to enter with her smartass remarks?’

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And it’s always great.

C: I do what I can.

S: Today we are on Ch. 10 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban, “The Marauder’s Map.” Which is where some fun stuff starts, so I am really happy to be doing this. Also, full disclosure, I may or may not have had a number of shots of –

C: 92 PROOF RUM.

S: Yes! Before starting. Which I should have saved for a Drunkwatch, but what the hell. We’ll see how this goes. I may be more insightful, I may be less insightful, I may just be downright stupid.

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C: It’s going to go swimmingly, I can tell.

S: I hope so! We went delightfully off the rails last time. I don’t see why we can’t do the same again.

C: It is sort of a hallmark of our show.

S: If anyone still listens to this, that’s why they listen.

C: We listen!

S: Yeah, that’s our core audience. It’s us.

C: You have to love yourself before others can love you.

S: We are the best NC-17 Harry Potter podcast on the internet!

C: We are the ONLY NC-17 Harry Potter podcast and that’s why we’re the best.

S: When we left off, poor Harry had fallen off his broom, the Whomping WIllow turned it to mulch, Oliver Wood was trying to drown himself in the showers, Professor Creed was trying to go console him posthaste. Harry has been in the hospital for the weekend, and he’s seriously having separation anxiety. He won’t let Madam Pomfrey throw away the pieces of his Nimbus. It’s so sad. I just picture him clinging to the twigs – “Not yet! Don’t take them yet!”

He knew he was being stupid, knew the Nimbus was beyond repair, but Harry couldn’t help it; he felt as though he’d lost one of his best friends.

The Nimbus was – other than his wand, it’s among the first links to being a wizard, someone else bought it for him which makes it special, and really any time you lose your newly phallic magic accoutrements – I say newly phallic… I was going to say they haven’t always been phallic, and then I thought about their original application and no, they have always been extremely phallic.

C: Speaking of phallic, do you remember me texting you and telling you I had a question about penises?

S: Refresh my memory?

C: This is already going to take us so far off the rails.

S: Listeners, I’m sorry, we haven’t even gotten past the first paragraph.

C: You started talking about phallic things!

S: It’s my fault.

C: So, in the Biblical story, Adam is created in the image of God, right?

S: Yeah.

C: So why then – God is perfect, Adam is created in God’s image – then why all of a sudden do all men need to be circumcised?

S: This is an excellent question. It depends on how you interpret that ‘made in God’s image’ thing. To my mind, the most logical way to go with this is that yes, God made Adam and Eve in his image. But I think we can (it might be a point of contention, but I think we can) agree that if there is a God, he is not a bipedal humanoid living somewhere in magic space.

C: Magic space?

S: I should drink rum more often before diving into theology. So, it’s generally understood to be more of a reference to describing the human exceptionalism. Humans are consciously above and beyond the rest of the natural world. We are mentally and emotionally more developed, and the idea of being made in god’s image is generally interpreted as our sense of morality, our innate sense of the divine, our capacity to love. We reflect the qualities of God that makes us made in his image. It’s possible, but I’m not really sure that God has ten toes and ten fingers and is a physical being in the way we are.

C: I object to that. If you’re going to say, “Here’s this thing where it literally says made in God’s image,” we don’t take that literally, but there are other things we take literally? Who decides what we do or do not take literally? Because it sure seems like we can cherry pick.

S: You’ll probably not like my answer, but. At least for me, the things you can and can’t take literally rely on context and the message of the Bible overall, and you have to ask yourself if the interpretation fits and mirrors other prophecies and themes in the Bible. There are certain things that are blatantly not meant to be literal because they’re described as dreams and visions. A vision of a four-headed wild beast coming out the sea, while interesting, is not super significant unless you understand that it’s not to be taken literally. Now in the case of creation, that’s probably wildly debatable. There are still people who believe the Earth was made in 6 literal days and everything in the story should be taken literally. Personally, not so much – I think the science is clear on that.

C: But that’s just Satan trying to fool you!

S: I think there are definitely some things you can understand as from a human perspective. If you believe that God is a human who looks exactly like us, then that’s what you think that means. I find that hard to believe, particularly given that later on in the Bible it talks about there being no male or female, no gender or race in heaven.

C: Oh! But we gotta make sure people go to their own separate bathrooms down here.

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Aye, all hail the mighty penis! And the thing he’s wanking, too!

S: And you know, the Mormon church might have an issue with that, as for a long time they believed that black people wouldn’t make it to heaven. They could be Mormon, but they wouldn’t make it to the end! People like to put their own spins on that. Going off of just what the Bible says, I think it’s clear that God is a spirit creature and there is no real gender or sex in heaven, so – God probably doesn’t have a penis. I haven’t met him personally, but I’m going to say that’s a no go.

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Okay, God might beg to differ

Now, as to whether or not that answers the circumcision question? I don’t think it does. But it at least addresses the question about God’s genitalia. Why am I having this discussion with you? We haven’t done one paragraph of Harry Potter and we’re already talking about God’s junk.

C: Because I think of things, okay? I have questions. God gave me a curious mind.

S: But he didn’t give you a penis!

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C: Thank god. So human beings are perfect, and then a few years down the line God is like, mm, you know, little too much skin on the end of those penises, chop it off.

S: I think the circumcision thing was more supposed to be –

C: Well, obviously it’s a human invention that has to do with people being weird, and cleanliness, and blah blah blah, and not actually anything to do with divinity, but the Bible presents it that way.

S: Okay, but if you’re looking through the lens of the Bible, it’s less about cleanliness and sanitation, or at least equally about making the chosen people clearly distinct from the people around them. Now, why penises? I don’t know. Wasn’t there an easier way? Sure, there was. There’s stuff in the Mosaic Law about wearing different fabrics and clothing styles. That seems easier to me. But what do I know?

C: Especially because one of the things that happened after the Garden was “Oh my god, we’re naked!” But now prove you’re one of us – whip out your dick. That makes sense!

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S: Hey, just so you know, immediately after the Garden they put on clothes.

C: They were probably cold!

S: Probably, I would be! Hanging around the perfect Garden of Eden with your junk out.

C: I’m cold right now! I’m sitting inside an insulated, heated house with a jacket on, and I’m still cold. Listeners, I turned off my space heater for you!

S: I think the morals of the story are, one: clothes are good, don’t underestimate them. Two, still not entirely sure about the circumcision thing, but that’s another topic.

C: Listeners, you are welcome to share a theory.

S: There are people who get really, really emotional about male circumcision. I can understand. It’s one of those things that is weirdly normalized in our culture, so I don’t know if we’re just used to it and it therefore doesn’t seem that crazy? Because if you talk about female circumcision, which is blatant mutilation, that’s a whole other thing? I’m a little too drunk for you to make me think about this. I know I’m only supposed to be drunk for the Drunkwatches, but you caught me on an off day.

C: You only live once. Drink it while you got it. Were you just taking another drink when I said that?

S: No, but I should have been! I was drinking a lot of rum and Coke, and I ran out of Coke. I could just drink straight rum, but I probably won’t.

C: You should at least take a sip.

S: I’m making some iced tea, so maybe I’ll make a sort of Long Island.

C: You should! So, for the record, the person who has these deep Biblical questions is drinking water. So, which one of us is holier tonight, hmm?

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S: I will quote Scripture right back at you, ma’am, because the Apostle Paul advised Timothy to have wine for his health. Also, Jesus’ first miracle? Water into wine! Thank you! He was a good party guest. After that, a lot of invites.

C: BYOB? Oh, don’t worry about that. Just bring Jesus.

S: We’re going to hell.

C: My fate was sealed lo these many years ago.

S: When you started asking questions about circumcision.

C: It’s a good question!

S: We are so far away from Harry right now, I’m kind of reluctant to transition back from circumcision to Harry Potter.

C: We could just have a side episode – Random Questions You Had No Answer To. Not necessarily deep religious questions, but. Do you have one of those?

S: I do. Why are testicles on the outside? I know why science says it’s beneficial, because temperature regulation, etc., but it just seems like a bad idea on the whole. Nobody consulted me, but I’m throwing it out there.

C: I would like you to know that I just got a text from someone who I told about your drinking this evening, and this person said, “Oh shit, well done!” I think you can guess who I would have texted that to, so you have approval!

S: We’re doing well. Now, Gryffindor! We are going back to Gryffindor! Seems like Harry is getting lots of attention, including from Ginny who has sent him a get-well-card that sings. And Hagrid sent him cabbages, so overall good. Although I feel bad about Oliver Wood, who tells Harry in a hollow, dead sort of voice that he forgives Harry for losing. What happened to Oliver Wood in the interim? Maybe he needs rum.

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C: He needs rum and me to console him.

S: Oh, come over here, Oliver Wood. It’s the Room of Requirement. No one will know.

But no one is making Harry feel better. It’s not just because of the dementors, not just the broom, but — The Grim. That dog hanging out in the stands that conveniently no one noticed. He still thinks it might be an omen, like he’s haunted – thanks, Ron, for telling him stories about Grim hauntings, now he believes it’s a thing. It’s not a thing.

C: Be less dumb, Harry.

S: Over in legitimate reasons to be upset, he is still feeling humiliated about how the dementors affect him. Now he’s figured out who the screaming woman is – he has realized he was listening to his mother being murdered. That’s a lot to handle, not going to lie. You lost a lot in one afternoon. I can see where Harry’s head might be elsewhere.

C: I think it’s an incredibly 13-year-old boy thing to be embarrassed about your reaction to the dementors.

S: Possible. Did you ever read the Baby-Sitters Club books?

C: I read so many of those. My favorite ones were the super specials.

S: Did you ever read Stacy’s Emergency? Stacy is diabetic and gets fed up with it, so she starts sneaking candy and junk food, eating sugar when she’s not supposed to. She ends up having to go the hospital.

C: I don’t think I read it.

S: After the hospital she has this moment what she’s been keeping secret this time – she’s diabetic. It was a big thing she was embarrassed to tell them and didn’t want anyone to know. Even as a kid I remember reading that and thinking, “Okay, what’s the big deal? Diabetes happens.” Now even today’s kids would probably wonder why it’s an issue. But maybe it is a 13-year-old thing to not want anyone to know if something is wrong with you.

C: Yeah, I was probably – actually, I will rescind that statement and say I was definitely an idiot at that age.

S: We all were. And we established that last book Harry should have told someone that he was hearing schizophrenic murder voices in the wall, and he didn’t do that, so is he going to tell anyone about his mother’s dead voice? Probably not. This is sending the wrong message. But it’s part of the growing process. It’s pretty bad when it’s a relief to go back to Draco Malfoy and his patently awful insults.

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C: They really are bad.

S: His bandages are off, and now he’s doing these mimed imitations of Harry falling off his broom, which I’m sure are just as amusing as his terrible insults, which is to say, not at all, because MALFOY SUCKS. Malfoy is that kid who secretly dreamed of being and actor or comedian, but can’t act or tell a joke.

C: No, what he secretly dreamed was of being part of the trio, because They shone.

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S: And of being bossed around by Hermione Granger, and beginning to enjoy it…. ya know?

C: I might let Emma Watson boss me around a little, I’m just saying.

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….. Yes, anything you wish, ma’am.

S: Can’t blame RON for cracking at a certain point and throwing a crocodile heart at Draco Malfoy. Bravo, Ron. If you’re going to throw something that’s a good choice. And it hits him in the face, which is better! I mean, yeah, 50 points from Gryffindor, but I HIT MALFOY IN THE FACE WITH A CROCODILE HEART, WHAT ARE YOU NOT GETTING ABOUT THIS.

C: Worth it!

S: Ron should be riding high on this for a week at least.

C: Weasley is our king!

S: Lupin is back! That’s nice. He seems to have had a minor brush with death, but he’s back. He doesn’t look well, but he’s smiling. And of course, like all kids do, the minute the sub is gone, and the teacher is back everyone chimes in with “OH MY GOD THE HORRORS THE SUB INFLICTED ON US.” He made us do a werewolf essay! To Lupin’s credit, he slightly frowns and asks if they told Snape that they hadn’t studied that yet. “Yeah, we did!” “Don’t worry, you don’t have to turn it in.” Gotta hand it to Lupin, he’s got a great poker face. He doesn’t appear surprised or bothered by this at all.

C: He probably developed that poker face thanks to running around with James and Sirius all those years.

S: Hey, we get to see a hinkypunk! They’re not drag queens, they’re will o’the wisp things! On the way out, Lupin calls Harry out to say hey, I’m sorry about your broomstick. FYI, I have some interesting background info about the Whomping Willow that totally won’t come in handy later – they planted it the year I came to Hogwarts! And some idiots would try to get close, Davey Gudgeon almost lost an eye, and with a name like that are you really going to miss it?

They talk about the dementors, and Lupin does this nice thing where he reassures Harry that it’s not because he’s weak, it’s because shit has happened to him. When we talked about dementors, we mentioned that they are a stand in for depression, and it’s nice that they have this discussion – it’s not about weakness or strength, it’s about all the stuff that has happened to you before and how you struggle to deal with it. I appreciate that. And if anyone understands depression, it’s Lupin, about whom we get lines like:

A ray of wintry sunlight fell across the classroom, illuminating Lupin’s gray hairs and the lines on his face.

I think he might know a thing or two about not having the best time in life. But they do give you some interesting things about dementors. Even Muggles feel they’re present, although they can’t see them. So, when it’s a rainy, gray day and I’m craving chocolate, I know why.

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C: That made me wonder – Muggles can feel them, do dementors ever feed on Muggles?

S: That’s a really good question. I guess not? I guess it depends on how desperate they are. You could have an instance of a person who dies alone – but they wouldn’t be dead, they’d be alive. So, coma victims? Could that be the dementors?

C: Except sometimes they wake up.

S: Maybe they mostly stick to wizards, but Muggles are affected by them. Although I take issue with that. Are they suggesting wizards have more tasty souls than the rest of us? My soul is very flavorful.

C: Tastes like spiced rum?

S: RIGHT NOW, IT DOES. Also, Lupin is the first person to say that

“If it can, the dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soulless and evil.”

Again, this makes me question the wisdom of locking your worst prisoners up with these things. I get that you’re counting on them never escaping, but spoiler alert! A whole SHIT TON of them escape eventually, ones who have been in there with dementors for years, and you have to wonder – were they as bad before or are they worse now, because of the dementors?

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C: Are they even sane at all?

S: I don’t even know. If they can feed on you long enough – Bellatrix Lestrange was already horrible, and you have to wonder, did she get worse? Or was she fine, because she’s already on par with a dementor and they just had a chatty few years?

C: The other thing is that it seems like in this book they just want to suck out Harry’s soul, but on the island, they control them enough somehow to not perform the kiss, just make everyone super bummed out.

S: I guess instead of a full-on feast, they get a long-term buffet at Azkaban. You get so much from so many people that it keeps you going, rather than feasting on one person and having nothing less?

C: That makes sense.

S: Dementors are functioning alcoholics. You can either go on an all-night bender or you can keep getting your allotment of drink for the day and stay delightfully buzzed, which I would not know what that feels like. And of course, Harry tells Lupin what he’s hearing, and it’s interesting that Lupin’s instinct is to console him with a hand on his shoulder, and then decides against it.

It’s a super creepy line: “Why do they have to come to the match?” Lupin: “EH, they’re getting hungry.” He’s so calm! YES, THE EVIL HELLSPAWN OUTSIDE OF OUR SCHOOL GOT HUNGRY SO THEY DECIDED TO COME SNACK ON YOUR SOUL.

“Dumbledore won’t let them into the school, so their supply of human prey has dried up…I don’t think they could resist the large crowd around the Quidditch field. All that excitement…emotions running high…it was their idea of a feast.”

C: So, what do the Ministry people think is going to happen?? Their food source has dried up, you won’t let them in where the kids are – this is not going to end well.

S: What exactly does the Ministry think that they have that controls these things? I know they think they control them, and clearly Dementors communicate on some level, so what makes them think that they are in control of these things?

C: Hubris.

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S: That’s all it can be! You literally have nothing over them, except a Patronus Charm, which only makes them go away temporarily. That is ALL YOU HAVE. We’ve never seen anyone destroy a Dementor. It may not even be possible. Where do you get the idea that, “It’s okay, they promised they’d be good so I’m sure they will be!” I’m sure they won’t give in to their instinct to suck on the lifeblood of our children!

C: It’s not good.

S: You know, the government we currently live under is pretty fucking stupid but I’m starting to wonder about the Ministry of Magic. They’re pretty stupid too.

C: I feel like ours is worse.

S: To his credit, Cornelius Fudge never bragged about being a stable genius.

C: Oh, god. I just.

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S: I know. This description of Azkaban:

“The fortress is set on a tiny island, way out to sea, but they don’t need walls and water to keep the prisoners in, not when they’re all trapped inside their own heads, incapable of a single cheerful thought. Most of them go mad within weeks.”

C: I have a question.

S: Okay.

C: Maybe we learn this later on, but how did Sirius get off the island in the middle of the ocean?

S: Oh, we totally learn that. I don’t know if you want me to spoil it. It may not be entirely plausible, but we learn it.

C: He Transfigured himself into a dog and doggy-paddled all the way home.

S: That is exactly what he did.

C: Yeah, no.

S: He’s a very determined doggy-paddler.

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Image by LimLight on DeviantArt

C: I’d be real surprised if he’d been doing calisthenics in Azkaban. He probably did not have the stamina or cardiovascular strength for that.

S: He wasn’t! Because I do remember this, and I’ll tell you – he says that he would transfigure into a dog to cope, because as an animal the dementors affected him less, but that eventually he was thin enough as a dog to slip through the bars of the cell. So, I’m not so sure about the stamina and muscle tone.

C: SO, he’s transfiguring into a dog for long periods of time. In this chapter when Fudge has his big infodump, doesn’t he say that the last time he saw him, etc.? So occasionally people go to Azkaban, and he just was lucky and happened to be in human form when he was there, and no one found out that he was an Animagus?

S: Oh, bah to you, this entire series hinges on luck. There are so many things that happen because someone was lucky enough to be standing by someone else. Maybe they knew Fudge was coming, it’s a prison, there’s gossip? The prisoners are catatonic, so maybe not? Sirius just decided to be human that day? That’s what happened because that’s what JK said happened.

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C: That’s fine.

S: Yeah, not going to complain. There are worse things. So, there are little things Harry points out – Sirius escaped. This observation makes Lupin fumble his briefcase. Starting to feel like Lupin is under stress on this topic. Even he can’t really understand how Sirius did it.

“Black must have found a way to fight them. I wouldn’t have believed it possible….Dementors are supposed to drain a wizard of his powers if he is left with them too long….”

Lupin must really wonder about his friend who he’d decided he was evil. How? But there are dementor defenses, and Harry is like, “Teach me all the things, I would like to stop having my soul sucked, thank you.”

Lupin promises to try, but it has to be later because he needs to rest and get stuff done.

“It’ll have to wait until next term, I’m afraid. I have a lot to do before the holidays. I chose a very inconvenient time to fall ill.”

Full moon is always inconvenient. But it really is a beautiful scene in the film, how they handle these conversations.

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C: It’s because it was Cuaron, and not Chris Columbus.

S: So true. If anything signals to you that we’re getting into a darker book, it’s this sentence:

What with the promise of anti-dementor lessons from Lupin, the thought that he might never have to hear his mother’s death again, and the fact that Ravenclaw flattened Hufflepuff in their Quidditch match at the end of November, Harry’s mood took a definite upturn.

Yes, not having to hear my mother die again, that would be a nice thing.

C: When you really think about it, that’s hard core.

S: There’s stuff in here that, unless you stop to think, you don’t grasp how seriously messed up some of it is. The fact that he’s cheered that he might not have to hear his mother be murdered! Again!

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C: Ah, but he’s so lucky. Just a few scant years later, his dumbass son will drag them all back in time, so not only does he get to hear it again, he gets to watch.

S: And not stop it! Even though he’s convinced that there’s something he could have done, which is baloney! But no, fanwank scene were we all stand and watch, because that’s normal!

C: You could not. No one could stand and watch.

S: Oliver Wood is back! He seems to have gotten over his depression and is back to being manic.

C: You’re welcome.

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S: Your charms clearly worked wonders. And it’s Christmas, and everyone is cheery, and Ron and Hermione have decided to stay. Harry is pretty sure they’re doing it to keep him company, which is a nice thing for friends to do.

C: I sure hope Harry and Ron don’t forget about this in a chapter or two – that Hermione’s a great friend.

S: How could you suggest such a thing?

C: Bleah.

S: Another Hogsmeade trip! Harry is not happy. Ron and Hermione take off, and then help comes in the form of two ginger-haired devils named Fred and George, who display once again questionable judgment by being pleased to offer Harry a way to go anywhere he wants and see where everyone is at once, and escape all the oversight of anyone trying to keep him alive right now. Because that’s a good idea.

C: Wouldn’t it have been kind of hilarious if Sirius had been a bad guy, and Voldemort couldn’t kill Harry, but Sirius did because the twins gave Harry the map and Harry was wandering around like a dumbass?

S: And Sirius knows how to work this thing, so not only does he have Harry murdered, he can take the map back to Voldemort, who can now take over the entire fucking place. It’s a really good thing he was just misunderstood.

It’s a great scene, and when you’re 13 this is brilliant! Your friend’s older brothers bring you a magic map of the entire castle!

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All the secret passages – the Map is a thing of beauty. It’s incredibly brilliant. Even the way they got it is great. In their first year they get hauled to Filch’s office for setting off a dungbomb, and they found it in a filing cabinet marked “Confiscated and Highly Dangerous,” and only because they grabbed the first thing they could out of the drawer.

C: What’s the story of how the Marauders got it confiscated?

S: That’s a great question. We don’t get to find out who was the idiot out of everyone who got it confiscated.

C: It had to be Pettigrew, right? Although whoever it was was smart enough to wipe it before Filch took it.

S: This brings me to my next question, which I may have asked before. Fred and George tell Harry how to work this thing, and it becomes immediately one of the most iconic sentences in this entire series:

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

That is what you have to say to get the map to work. Now. In what circumstances to Fred and George come up with that exact string of words? At what point are they experimenting with what must look like a blank piece of parchment, trying to figure out how to make it work, and how do they come up organically with this phrase?

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C: If you try to turn it on and you don’t have the right phrase, it insults you, right?

S: Yeah.

C: Maybe they were trying things and the Marauders were insulting them and somehow a dialogue developed, like between Harry and the diary, and the Marauders realized these are some dumbfucks like we are, why don’t we give them some hints, and if they’re smart enough they’ll figure it out.

S: Maybe like “they’ve tried so hard, bless them, we should take pity on them.”

I’m sure there are a lot of other podcasts that spend endless minutes parsing this map out, so I’m not doing that. But the fact that the map knows and remembers who Snape is is interesting. You have to wonder how much of them is in that Map, and just the fact of inventing it is an incredible achievement.

C: It has to be on the same plane as the Sorting Hat because it has its own mind.

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S: It’s impressive. They may have barely passed, and they probably should have been expelled (even though no one gets expelled from this school), and you see this pattern of male “bad students” who do incredible things because they think outside the box. We see the same thing with Newt Scamander.

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I’m going to break down and do it now.

C: Have another shot of rum?

S: That should be what I’m doing, but it’s not what I’m going to do. I’m going to see what Pottermore has to say about this map, because I’m sure there’s a whole backstory that never got touched on in the books.

Oh! This is interesting. Well, not really.

The map they created during their time at Hogwarts appears to be a blank piece of parchment unless activated by the phrase: ‘I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,’ a phrase that, in the case of three of the four makers, should be understood as a joke. The ‘no good’ of which they wrote never denoted Dark magic, but school rule-breaking; similar bravado is evinced by their use of their own nicknames on the map (‘Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs’).

The magic used in the map’s creation is advanced and impressive; it includes the Homonculous Charm, enabling the possessor of the map to track the movements of every person in the castle, and it was also enchanted to forever repel (as insultingly as possible) the curiosity of their nemesis, Severus Snape.

That raises more questions than it answers! They specifically encoded the map to insult Snape – but it doesn’t do that to everyone? What happens if someone else tries? I feel like this got more complicated just by doing that.

Although the precise circumstances surrounding the makers’ loss of their map are not given in the Harry Potter novels, it is easy to conclude that they eventually over-reached themselves and were cornered by Argus Filch, probably on a tip-off from Snape, whose obsession it had become to expose his arch-rival, James Potter, in wrongdoing. The masterpiece of a map was confiscated in Sirius, James, Remus and Peter’s final year and none of them were able to steal it back from a well-prepared and suspicious Filch. In any case, their priorities changed in their final months at school, becoming far more serious and focused on the world beyond Hogwarts, where Lord Voldemort was successfully rising to power. All four of the map’s creators would shortly be inducted into the renegade organisation headed by Albus Dumbledore, the Order of the Phoenix, and a map of their old school – no matter how ingenious – would no longer be of use to them except as a piece of nostalgia.

The Marauder’s Map was, however, of immense use to the young Weasley twins. The story of Fred and George’s acquisition of the map is told in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was a mark of their high esteem for Harry Potter, and their belief that he stood in need of assistance with a destiny none of them yet fully understood, that they later gifted the map to him, unwittingly passing it on to the child of one of the creators.

C: And also, that they gave it to him, and didn’t just let him borrow it, because no way would I give that away.

S: They must like him an awful lot.

C: His eyes are as green as a pickled toad.

S: FRESH pickled toad, ma’am! Maybe they’re in the ‘We Heart Harry’ camp a little. It’s impressive. He is the chosen one, you know.

Once you solemnly swear, the map comes to life and you see

Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs

Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers

are proud to present

The Marauder’s Map

And the dots showing you who is where. And the passages – 7 – because of course there are.

“And we don’t reckon anyone’s ever used this one, because the Whomping Willow’s planted right over the entrance.”

Right?

C: RIiiiight.

S: And one led to the cellar of Honeydukes.

C: Why does it lead to the cellar of Honeydukes?

S: That’s what I want to know.

C: That passage that they apparently don’t know about it?

S: Has candy been going missing?

C: I don’t really see Fred and George as thieves in that sense, though.

S: I hope not. I hope it was more to get around and not to be sticky-fingered.

C: I don’t know. I’d probably steal candy if I were them.

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S: The one-eyed crone’s hump that you have to go through –

“Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs,” sighed George, patting the heading of the map. “We owe them so much.” 

“Noble men, working tirelessly to help a new generation of lawbreakers,” said Fred solemnly.

You have to make sure you wipe the map afterward, by saying “Mischief managed.” I feel like the map-encoded consciousnesses of the Marauders had to have just told Fred and George how to use it, because at a certain point they recognized kindred spirits.

Harry is thinking this will be amazing, but wait! My common sense is chiming in to remind me that Mr. Weasley said only last year to “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”

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That was important advice, particularly given what happened last year with an evil book that tried to kill you, Harry. But hey, I only want to use it to get to Hogsmeade, not for bad things, so even if it’s bad it’s okay, right?

C: No. No, it’s not.

S: But Fred and George have used it for years and nothing terrible ever happened to them so it’s fine. I think this is another example of the map telling you things – he doesn’t understand how to open the statue until he looks and sees his ink self on the map tapping the statue and saying “Dissendium.” The map is helpful, and very friendly.

C: That’s interesting. There’s a tiny drawn figure of Harry, and I don’t know if I’m getting it just from the movie, but my mental image is dots with name labels.

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But apparently there are tiny sketches of everyone.

S: Yeah, full-on figures of people, which is impressive. I mean, dots – like a Google maps version for the wizarding world – makes sense. But this is a full miniaturized version of you. It’s like living inside the Sims.

C: Yeah!

S: He figures it out, and apparently it takes a long time – like an hour. Hogsmeade is a good distance away, and these are long.

C: How do they get there normally? When the kids leave school, if they’re not sneaking through hidden chambers?

S: Do they ever say? In the movies they show them walking, but do they not take brooms? Carriages? It’s an all-wizarding village, take a broom.

C: Not everyone has a broom.

S: Upperclassman privilege?

C: They’re in third year!

S: None of this makes sense. I’m just going to go with walking. Carriages seem like a lot of work to take people to Hogsmeade, especially since not everyone will go every time. Let’s assume they walk because walking is good exercise, and there is no PE in Hogwarts aside from Quidditch. Walk to Hogsmeade so you can eat all the candy.

He makes it to Hogsmeade, and I want Jelly Slugs.

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C: Ugh! No.

S: They’re like bigger gummy worms!

C: Pass. I want magical Junior Mints.

S: What would they do? Or are they just really good mints?

C: You would literally catch the York sensation like in the old commercials. All of a sudden, whoosh, there’s a burst of wintry air over you because it’s so refreshing.

S: If you’ve got a magic universe, have a magic candy shop. I love these descriptions:

Honeydukespottermore

Creamy chunks of nougat, shimmering pink squares of coconut ice, fat, honey-colored toffees; hundreds of different kinds of cholocate in neat rows; there was a large barrel of Every Flavor Beans, and another of FIzzing Whizbees, the levitating sherbet balls that Ron had mentioned

Why can’t I have hundreds of types of chocolate?

C: It’s called Walmart or Target.

S: No, I mean a candy store with trays of chocolates and caramels. I don’t want rows of Hershey’s.

C: Are you dissing Hershey’s? I will fight you.

S: I am pro-Hershey’s, but if I want Hershey’s I don’t want six different types of it. I just want Hershey’s. Side note, my students seem to like those Cookies and Cream bars? The white chocolate ones?

C: Augh no.

S: Why would anyone eat those? I don’t understand.

C: White chocolate is an abomination.

S: It’s just wax pretending to be chocolate.

C: Boo!

S: It’s masquerading as chocolate and should be fined. It’s like stolen valor, but with chocolate.

C: I don’t approve.

S: But Fizzing Whizbees sound fun!

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And special effects sweets –

Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum (which filled a room with bluebell-colored bubbles that refused to pop for days)

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I could see why teachers would hate that.

C: What parent would ever buy that?

S: Chase your child through a room of bubbles! Toothflossing String Mints – I guess that’s useful?

C: I would love to have something floss my teeth for me. My wisdom teeth are so far back there.

S: Pepper Imps let you breathe fire! Ice Mice – hear your teeth chatter and squeak! Peppermint creams shaped like toads which hop realistically in your stomach! I think that’s the closest you’ll get to your peppermint patties.

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C: I don’t need to feel that. Pass.

S: Fragile sugar spun quills, yes please. Exploding bonbons – do I want candy that explodes? No. That is messy and sticky.

Then this unusual tastes corner – blood flavored lollipops and cockroach clusters?

C: No!

S: The wizarding world can’t sort out contraception and communication, but they have blood flavored lollipops for specific candy tastes. Harry finds Hermione and Ron and just appears! Ron is seriously pissed, because wouldn’t you be? Your brothers had this the whole time and gave it to your friend?

C: Yeah. I feel like if I was Ron I’d be more pissed at Harry right now than at Hermione in a chapter or two.

S: Why? Explain yourself.

C: He gets pissed at her for tattling about the broom, but like you said, they never told him they had it and gave it to his best friend. I’d be annoyed, and I think Ron would be, but he is not for some reason.

S: Because bros before hos. That’s why. Hermione is the only one with common sense. “You’re not keeping that, because Sirius Black! Are we all losing sight of the psychopathic murderer trying to kill you?”

Harry is like, no, there’s no way he could find me! There’s lots of ways. There’s totally ways. Multitude of ways!

Harry hesitated. What if Black did know the passage was there?

I do declare, Harry, what if? Oh, hey, there are Ministry patrols and Hogsmeade has a curfew. That sucks, because if it’s patrols it’s dementors. I can see why Madam Rosmerta would be unhappy.

C: Bad for business.

S: Hermione: “Harry still shouldn’t! Signed form!” Hermione won’t report him because she’s nice, and Ron is like, let’s get candy.

“And the Acid Pops? Fred gave me one of those when I was seven — it burnt a hole right through my tongue. I remember Mum walloping him with her broomstick.”

Who is manufacturing these? Why is there no food and drug administration in the Ministry? We have all this accident reversal squad, we have St. Mungo’s for magical accidents – do they not have anyone monitoring what kind of dangerous products are going on the market? Freaking Acid Pops?

C: It’s got to be charmed in a way where it doesn’t actually hurt that much.

S: Maybe.

C: I know you could fix it, but who’s going to buy that product if it really feels like acid melting your flesh? I know there are people who like pain but that seems a bit much.

S: The wizarding world is illogical. That’s the understatement of this podcast, but it’s true. They check out Hogsmeade, but it’s cold so they go to the Three Broomsticks for Butterbeer. Can we discuss whether or not it is actually intoxicating?

C: The Butterbeer at Harry world is not, but it is fucking delicious.

S: It’s like a cream soda, right?

C: But way better than any cream soda. I can’t describe it except to say that it is excellent, and I really wish they would bottle it and let me buy it, because I would buy the shit out of it.

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S: I know there are some Butterscotch Beers, but I don’t think that would taste as described here:

It was the most delicious thing he’d ever tasted and seemed to heat every bit of him from the inside.

It’s marvelous! In Book 4 the house-elves get drunk off it, and I don’t know if you remember this – you probably don’t; we’ll have to discuss with Movie 6 – there’s a scene of the trio drinking butterbeer, and Hermione chugs hers because she’s stressing over Ron, and later when they leave the pub she seems buzzed. She’s throwing her head back and has her arms around the boys.

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I always wondered, is she supposed to be a little drunk there? I know that European attitudes toward alcohol are different than American, so maybe it’s supposed to be beer-ish?

C: It’s the wizarding world version of a Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

S: Zima! Or wine coolers.

C: As far as the house-elves, they are very tiny and have a much smaller body mass index as opposed to humans, even children. I can see where it could be slightly intoxicating, but to them it’s like 92 proof rum, let’s say.

S: Ha! Hey, don’t knock 92 proof rum. It’s good stuff.

C: I don’t know how you drink that stuff. It’s so strong!

S: It’s also astonishingly inexpensive for the quality of rum it is; it’s really good. I remember when I first tried it, it wowed me, and occasionally in a restaurant I’d get a drink with rum and think, huh, that’s disappointing, because it doesn’t pack a punch. I don’t know if my tolerance is high or what. It’s good. That’s all. It’s great, and there’s a dancing hula lady on the bottle.

Oh look, people! Conveniently plot-important people in the Three Broomsticks! McGonagall, Flitwick, Hagrid and Fudge. Gotta be honest, never imagined these hanging out together.

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C: I think McGonagall would find Fudge pointless.

S: Kind of surprised Fudge is okay with Hagrid. I can see Flitwick and McGonagall hanging, but who knows. This is awkward, though. They literally have to shove Harry under the table. He gets butterbeer spilled on him, and Hermione has to levitate the Christmas table in front of their table, so they can’t be seen. As opposed to Harry following people and conveniently eavesdropping in the film.

If this is all privileged, private information – to come to a pub and chat about it with the barkeeper — is that wise?

C: And doesn’t Fudge divulge something not widely known?

S: I think so. McGonagall Has gillywater, Hagrid has 4 pints of mead, Flitwick doesn’t drink, and Fudge has rum. Rosmerta comes to join. So, let’s all talk about Sirius!

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Harry saw the lower part of Fudge’s thick body twist in his chair as though he were checking for eavesdroppers. Then he said in a quiet voice, “What else, m’dear, but Sirius Black? I daresay you heard what happened up at the school at Halloween?”

No, but we’re about to!

C: They’re terrible.

S: How did Fudge ever get elected? He just sits down with rando people to talk about serious issues of national security!

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An early campaign ad for Cornelius Fudge. It would shortly prove to be complete and utter horseshit.

C: He literally says:

“You don’t know the half of it, Rosmerta. The worst he did isn’t widely known”

S: OH, BUT LET ME TELL YOU!!

“Worse than murdering all those poor people, you mean?”

“I certainly do,” said Fudge.

C: Well, let me tell you!

S: I remember the first time I read this, of all the things I was expecting, I did not expect Sirius Black and James Potter. Obviously, Harry didn’t either because he drops his tankard and Ron kicks him. So, this should be privileged information backstory, but because the adults in this story are incompetent we get to learn it.

C: Oh, here we go!

“Because Sirius turned out to be in league with You-Know-Who?” whispered Madam Rosmerta.

“Worse than even that, m’dear…” Fudge dropped his voice and proceeded in a sort of low rumble. “Not may people are aware that the Potters knew You-Know-Who was after them.”

S: So, Dumbledore had some spies, one tipped him off, and he alerted James and Lily that You-Know-Who was after them. He advised them to go into hiding, which of course they did.

C: Was that Snape?

S: Yes. Which it seems like Fudge does not know who it was.

C: Or he would have told them!

S: Along with everything else! So, they use a Fidelius Charm, which is unfortunate to me. I honestly wish in the films they had been able to explain this somewhat. To my mind it makes a big difference in how all of this plays out, because in the movie it’s like, “Oh, they went into hiding!” They weren’t in hiding, they were hanging out in their house, because literally in the film you see a flashback of Craft Services Voldemort just walking up casually to their house in the middle of the neighborhood. It’s in the first movie!

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Craft Services Voldemort arrives to take his well-arranged vengeance

C: Yes, it’s the greatest part of any of these movies.

S: It’s the hand at the gate, it opens the door.

C: Please put 10 gifs of this in the post of this.

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CRAFT SERVICES VOLDEMORT SHOWS NO MERCY

S: So, they say they’re in hiding, but nothing in the films indicates that they’re in hiding. They really seem to be just hanging out at home. Voldemort finds them, and everyone seems terribly surprised when this happened!

But you never explain in the film that there might be a way they could be hanging out at home and Voldemort COULDN’T find them. But you know, too much time and effort to explain. Instead we need a 30-minute dragon fight scene.

Are you sensing that I might have some issues with these films?

C: Well, yes, because these films are not very good. As charming as the actors are, as movies, they’re not great.

S: The actors are amazing, the movies needed work. But it is unfortunate to me that Prisoner of Azkaban is such a good movie, but left out a lot of important information that would have been useful to include. So the Fidelius Charm conceals a secret inside a person. So, because that information is hidden in that person, the Secret-Keeper, no one else can find the secret unless the Secret Keeper tells. As long as they keep the secret, Voldemort could have walked past their home a million times and never have known that they were there. It’s a brilliant invention! It also means that going into hiding in the Wizarding World isn’t that complicated – you just get a good friend and put a Fidelius Charm on your place, so you don’t have to run away, and camp for six years like in Deathly Hallows.

Apparently, Dumbledore offered to be the Secret-Keeper himself, which, had that happened, things could have gone so differently. But apparently the Potters – James, particularly – wanted to use Sirius. So, they did. A bout a week later, Voldemort found them, killed the Potters, attacked Harry, got reduced to Craft Services Voldemort. So, the idea then is that Sirius was serving Voldemort, and that he had to run for it, and we get this amazing description of what happened that night.

Hagrid was the last person to see him. He’d gone to get Harry, and Sirius turns up on his flying motorcycle. He was a wreck, apparently – incredibly upset – and he wanted to take Harry with him, because he was his godfather. Hagrid said no. Apparently Sirius argued with him over this, and Hagrid won that, so instead Sirius gives him his motorcycle, saying, “I’m not going to need it anymore.” All of this is REALLY interesting information for later. When you change the lens through which you look at this, you see there are so many ways this could have gone differently. If this, if that.

That explains the flying motorcycle Hagrid is riding when we first see him – he’d literally just gotten it from Sirius – and the flying motorcycle that Harry dreamed about. And Hagrid is like, Oh, if only I’d known!

“But what if I’d given Harry to him, eh? I bet he would have pitched him off the bike halfway out ter sea. His bes’ friends’ son! But when a wizard goes over ter the Dark Side, there’s nothin’ and no one that matters to ’em anymore…”

Really? Although to be fair, if anyone actually wanted to kill Harry, that’s what they should have done. But it seems inadequately dramatic for these people. No one would do that because there’s no glory in it. You don’t get to monologue or anything.

C: You have to reveal your dastardly plan first!

S: It’s so anticlimactic to take him into the air and throw him out when he can’t do anything about it. But Sirius did not disappear. Apparently Pettigrew,

“Maddened by grief, no doubt, and knowing that Black had been the Potters’ Secret-Keeper, went after Black himself.” 

“Pettigrew… that fat little boy who was always tagging around after them at Hogwarts?” said Madam Rosmerta. 

“Hero-worshipped Black and Potter,” said Professor McGonagall. “Never quite in their league, talent-wise.” 

That’s kind of harsh, McGonagall, but also pretty true. Of course, everyone thinks Pettigrew is a great hero. He cornered Sirius, they say he was sobbing, went for his wand, and Sirius blew him to smithereens. I am just curious – given the inconsistency of spells in this series, what spell could you use to blow Pettigrew to smithereens so that only his finger is left? Is that a Reducto? What is that? Inquiring minds want to know.

C: Brachiobendo.

S: Avada Kedavra seems perfectly serviceable. Why do you need to blow the street apart? You don’t need to do that. Just use Avada Kedavra and kill him!

C: But we’re talking about Sirius! He drove a flying motorbike. He has a flair for the dramatic.

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Professor Seraphine would like to say that, while she is normally not a fan of – er – fanfic, she is 1000% in support of Tumblr’s dream casting of Ben Barnes for young Sirius Black. ALL DAY EVERY DAMN DAY.

S: He’s got a tattoo somewhere too. Also, did you know that the Magical Law Enforcement Squad has Hit Wizards?

C: I noticed that!

S: Trained Hit Wizards.

C: I feel like that’s what I would be if I worked for the Ministry.

S: You would! You’d go around dispensing rough justice with your wand!

C: I don’t know if I mentioned this in the podcast or not before, but my mother is convinced that my true calling was to be a CIA agent who tortured people. She thinks I would be great at that.

S: You probably would! That’s scary! It’s scarier that many times when I’ve thought something similar about myself – I’d be a good CIA agent. I would be good at killing people and whatnot.

C: I think it’s because I’m good at compartmentalizing.

S: Yeah, that’s it. I don’t know if I’d actually be good at killing people, and whether or not I’ve tried is privileged information.

C: Think about the Stanford experiment, how easy it is to dehumanize people. It would not take much, even for relatively decent people like we are. Under the right circumstances it wouldn’t take much.

S: In the end, they’d say, “The signs were all there. They did have the only NC-17 Harry Potter podcast on the internet. We should have known then!”

It is interesting, though, Fudge’s reaction, because it seems like it did have a lot to do with who he has become. He was Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Catastrophes at the time, and he was the first one on the scene. That’s legit – a lot of people got killed. As ludicrous as it seems to blow up a street to kill one person, a lot of Muggles died, there was a crater cracking into the sewer, people are screaming, Black is laughing, there are bodies everywhere – you could see how Fudge could be traumatized by that.

C: It’s like being first on the scene after a bombing.

S: Sirius was taken away by 20 members of the squad, Pettigrew received Order of Merlin, First Class, and we know how useful the Ministry’s awards are, and then we get this scene you mentioned, where Fudge says he met Black on his last inspection.

“You know, most of the prisoners in there sit muttering to themselves in the dark; there’s no sense in them…but I was shocked at how normal Black seemed. He spoke quite rationally to me. It was unnerving. You’d have thought he was merely bored — asked if I’d finished with my newspaper, cool as you please, said he missed doing the crossword. Yes, I was astounded at how little effect the dementors seemed to be having on him — and he was one of the most heavily guarded in the place, you know. Dementors outside his door day and night.”

Interesting little detail, fascinating in that you’re trying to build a picture of who Sirius is and you’re getting these details that don’t quite jive, and then she’s also slipped in a detail that is vitally important to later – Fudge gave Sirius his newspaper which is the thing that sets Sirius on his course to escape.

C: Because he sees Wormtail in that picture of the Weasleys.

S: Huge coincidences, all of them, I know. It’s really coincidental that he was there that day with that issue, etc. etc. etc.

C: So, I have a question, and I guess we won’t get into what actually happened with the Fidelius Charm just yet, but when Pettigrew and Sirius are having their confrontation in the street and Pettigrew apparently gets blown up. Does Sirius think – Because Sirius knows Pettigrew betrayed them, and Lupin doesn’t know they switched secret keepers, but Sirius knows, so he knows Pettigrew is the one who gave it up, and if Pettigrew is there walking around fine and dandy, that means Pettigrew voluntarily gave it up, otherwise Voldemort would have murdered him. He knows Pettigrew is acting. I’m sure he doesn’t know exactly what Pettigrew’s deal is there, but then all of a sudden BOOM there’s an explosion, all that’s left of him is bloody robes and a finger – what does Sirius think happened? Pettigrew did a spell incorrectly and accidentally blew himself up?

S: No, I think he actually understood exactly what happened. I think that’s why he is standing there laughing. Judging from what I get of Sirius, I think he understood. I don’t think he grasped why, or what Pettigrew was up to, but in that moment – he went to confront Pettigrew. But Fudge says:

“Eyewitnesses — Muggles, of course, we wiped their memories later — told us how Pettigrew cornered Black. They say he was sobbing, ‘Lily and James, Sirius! How could you?’ And then he went for his wand. Well, of course, Black was quicker. Blew Pettigrew to smithereens…”

But Sirius went after Pettigrew to confront him. But if you’re Sirius, trying to confront Pettigrew, and Pettigrew is standing there with these crocodile tears sobbing about Lily and James, then pulls out his wand, there’s suddenly an explosion you know you didn’t do, there’s a bunch of people dead you know you didn’t kill, and Pettigrew is gone – you have a pretty good idea how he vanished – I think Sirius understood what happened. He knew at that moment that he’d been had. Pettigrew knew perfectly well that Sirius knew he was guilty, and he’d just set him up. That makes Sirius laugh, because in a perverse sort of way Sirius must have appreciated the terrible humor of the situation he was in.

C: It was very artistically done.

S: And how fast it happened. The tables turned so quickly, and especially from someone like Pettigrew, who I imagine Sirius, James, and Lupin all underestimated – everyone did. The thought of someone like Pettigrew who seemed so harmless, and is suddenly so quick on his feet…You’ve put two and two together, you know he’s the traitor, you’ve gone to stop him, thinking – how did Sirius think that would go? That they would duel? He’d beat Pettigrew? Take him into custody somehow? That he’d kill Pettigrew? And yet he’s the one standing in a street surrounded by eyewitnesses and bodies, and Pettigrew has managed to escape in a matter of seconds? What else can you do in that moment but laugh at the sheer insanity and ludicrousness of it all?

I think that’s why when he sees the picture years later, a fire is lit under him to go find him. He knows he escaped way back when, he couldn’t prove it or explain it, no one would believe him, but seeing he’s alive is like – Yeah, I knew it then, he’s still out there, I’m going to kill him.

C: You said no one would believe him. I guess it would have been a thing that no one bothered with too much, because suddenly Voldemort was gone/dead? It was terribly tragic everything that happened, but Voldemort was gone, and that’s what people cared about. I feel like, if Sirius had tried to explain it to Dumbledore and if Lupin had been able to verify parts of it, I feel like knowing James and Sirius and their friendship, Dumbledore at least would have wanted to believe Sirius.

S: I think that’s probably true, and I think it lies in the fact that the ministry gets to Sirius first. The Magical Enforcement Squad arrives on the scene, they take him into custody, and I think in a situation where you just had a shocking double murder, the evil dark lord is suddenly gone, and you think you have the murderer with the right family background – the perfect suspect, and he’s in custody – at what point do you decide you have your man and stop asking questions? It feels like the same situation as we’ve seen before. Even if Dumbledore has his doubts, I don’t think anyone is going to listen or want to listen because that makes it so much more complicated. It’s so much easier to say we caught the evil betrayer, it’s all okay now, Voldemort is gone and we got his right-hand man, he’ll rot in Azkaban, let’s mourn the Potters now.

The thing that stuck with me was that in Book 4 we see them use Veritaserum on Barty Crouch Jr. If you really wanted to know the truth, couldn’t you Veritaserum Sirius?

C: They could have, but I’m sure they would have convinced themselves that he’d found a workaround.

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S: I’m sure. Well, he’s a Dark Wizard. I’m sure you’re right. Even if Dumbledore had doubts, even if Lupin was inclined…but as we get to the end of the story, we learn that Lupin had already begun suspecting Sirius before this happened with the potters. And Sirius tells Lupin, “I suspected you too.” The other thing that is not explicitly said is that there is this inherent air of suspicion blanketing everyone during the Voldemort era. No one trusts anyone, so when something like this happens, you think it seems impossible, but do you ever really know someone? Factor in the Imperius Curse and there’s a lot of way it could have happened. Maybe I didn’t know him as well as I thought.

And for Lupin, explaining their history – who’s going to take his word? Pettigrew isn’t around to back them up, and JP is dead. It would be the word of a werewolf and Dumbledore to try to acquit Sirius, Lupin’s friend and member of the Order. It’s all too convenient.

C: Probably wouldn’t go over well.

S: And who knows if Sirius had anything resembling a trial.

C: Kangaroo court.

S: Complete shitshow all around. Now they’re convinced that Sirius’s plan, eventually, is to rejoin You-Know-Who eventually, after killing Harry. Guys, Sirius was the only Black to be sorted into Gryffindor. He’s the only non-Slytherin in his family. I know that’s not a blanket acquittal, but there are so many things wrong here.

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Am I going to use my headcanon as an excuse to post many a sexy Ben Barnes – as – Sirius gif? Yes. Yes I am.

It’s okay, though. We wrap this up and leave with no thought about who might possibly have heard us, in this very crowded tavern with very little soundproofing. Because at Hogwarts, we care!

C: They didn’t even do Muffliato!

S: At least in the movie they had the decency to go into a private upstairs room. But no! In the book, let’s just sit in the middle of the bar and have a great big chat.

C: So, I have a question.

S: I love your questions!

C: Hagrid is a member of the Order Of The Phoenix, correct?

S: Obviously.

C: And McGonagall is too, don’t you think?

S: Yeah.

C: OMG FUCKING USE A MUFFLIATO CHARM YOU BITCHES SHOULD KNOW BETTER.

S: Especially if you’re talking to Fudge, who pretty obviously is not a member. I don’t know about Flitwick, but it seems obvious. Take some kind of precaution. This is bad judgment all around.

C: It’s just weird. Sometimes I don’t know how much McGonagall would care, but in the book, she doesn’t tell them about the Chamber.

S: In the book it’s Binns.

C: McGonagall would not want shit like this getting out to the students. And, where are they? In the pub surrounded by students.

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S: It has flaws in the movie too, like Fudge going like, “Oh, the door opened by itself? Think nothing of it!” “I hear someone breathing over there. Oh, it stopped. Think nothing of it, I’ll move on! I don’t live in a world with magic!”

C: That is one thing you can give Draco Malfoy credit for – when Harry puts on the cloak and goes into the Slytherin compartment, Draco Malfoy fires a Stupefy at him and breaks his nose. Draco Malfoy knows – that’s a smart thing to do.

S: He IMMEDIATELY figured it out! The blackout, the door doesn’t shut right, and a flicker of motion above him. Solution? Harry in his Cloak. Done. Freakin Minister of Magic is all, no big.

But at least in the film it’s a private room, it’s more informal, they feel like friends. Whereas this feels like a formal situation structured just so that Harry can hear this conversation.

C: One of the stranger things about it – I could see if it was just the 4 of them, although it would still be a stupid idea to have this conversation. The wizarding world in England, as small as it is, I’m sure they all know Rosmerta very well. Still though, to just invite her over and have a top-secret conversation in the bar? I don’t know.

S: I just remembered, too, the movie solved a potential problem with this. Someone must have looked at this chapter and noted that none of this makes sense. When they’re in Hogsmeade and Harry sees them go in the pub, he’s wearing the Cloak and can follow. Ron and Hermione go to follow, but they’re told that no underage wizards are allowed in the pub that day. Which makes a lot more sense than for the adults to feel comfortable enough to have this conversation. Even though they’re in a separate room with a closed door, their guards are down because there are no children around. It’s a minor detail to put in the film, but it makes more sense than this really random situation where everyone forgets that they have magic, everyone forgets there is such a thing as eavesdropping, that here are not walls between booths – everyone has forgotten everything and we are bordering on Cursed Child insanity where people know stuff they shouldn’t know.

It is terribly out of character but it’s useful to get us information, and then we still get to continue in what is arguably one of the better books of the series. So that’s the end of that chapter, and we don’t get shouty Harry like in the movie. It is awful, everyone heard it, and now what do we do with this info?

So that’s Ch. 10! Next time, Ch. 11, “The Firebolt.” More complications, and I’m sure you will have more soapboxing to do about bros before hos in the wizarding world.

C: I’m already angry.

S: Also, please don’t let’s forget – I’m going to mention it now, putting it on the record so we don’t forget – you pointed me to someone else’s observation on Twitter about similarities and differences between Sirius Black and Luke Skywalker, and how they handle good and bad, and I want to talk about that as we get to know Sirius better. So, don’t let me forget that I brought this up now.

C: I will absolutely forget, so write yourself a note.

S: that’s why I’m putting it in the recording!

C: You’re so wise.

S: It’s literally on the record! If we do forget we have no excuse.

C: I hope you bookmarked that thing because I can never find it again.

S: It was pretty awesome and very insightful, so thank you for that.

C: You’re welcome, for me doing at thing I can’t remember and will never find again. Good job me.

S: Indeed, Professor Creed. You are the soul of wisdom. And I’m the drunk one! You can’t remember and I can.

C: What did I say last time? I carry a pen and pad in my back pocket because I can’t remember shit. And I did not make a note of doing this, therefore I can’t remember.

S: Convenient. Well, that’s it for the chapter. You know where to reach us: mugglestudiesblog@gmail.com and @admugglestudies on Twitter and for the two people listening to this, be thinking about this for next time! I’d be interested to hear thoughts on this whole dynamic that’s about to unfold with Hermione, Ron, and Harry. I’m curious if others think differently about it.

C: There are times to keep your friends’ secret, and times when you go to an adult. This is one of those times.

S: There’s a lot of that in this book. Yet another reason why I’m glad 13 is way in my rearview mirror.

C: You ain’t just whistling Dixie.

S: That’s it for us. We’ll be back hopefully soon! Until next time, I am Professor Seraphine –

C: I am Professor Creed –

S: And we’ll see you next time on Advanced Muggle Studies!

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. strivingforequilibrium says:

    I’m curious if you’ve seen the new fan film about Voldemort? See link: https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/14/16889008/harry-potter-voldemort-origins-of-the-heir-fan-film-watch

    As a former academic, I’ve enjoyed all the background and history you add to the books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t! Okay, going to watch this, and we will probably comment on it in our next episode. Thanks so much for sharing it! And thank you for your feedback — it’s awesome to know someone out there enjoys all this as much as we do!

      Liked by 1 person

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