13 thoughts on “Episode 2: The Sophomore’s Stone”

  1. LADIES. I love you! This podcast is brilliant. I’ve been listening on my commute and then during cooking, then knitting time nodding and nodding and saying “YES!” to everything you say.

    One thing I was interested in was your love of the brick movement in the first film on entering Diagon Alley. I remember as a kid feeling very much like I could not get on board with the film interpretation of magic because of what you mentioned with the zoo snake glass thing and also the wand waving violent thing at the wand shop. But ALSO because everything felt mechanical instead of magical. Like things were still following physics and behaving according to their nature instead of just being magical. The two most important places that express this is the Diagon Alley wall, which in the movie had the bricks moving and shifting according to how bricks move and shift– as very specific nand well behaved manner of magical. Whereas in the book, there is a much less articulate appearance of the walkway. And then in Gringotts, the door to the vault has a series of magical mechanisms that move when touched by the finger of the guide. In the book, the vault door melts away at the touch. These things, along with the missteps in future movies and also what you mention about Harry’s required agency in using the love magic in his skin, etc, all added up to me being put off the films’ magic concept from day one. It felt very adult to me and not as magical as the books.

    I cannot wait to catch up to current episodes. I am in love with this podcast that is clearly being made just for ladies like we– those academic who find serious amounts of fun in thinking really hard.

    You girls are the best, thanks for existing.

    1. Hello Joanna! Thank you for this thoughtful and lovely message! We continue to talk about the mechanical style of HP movie magic throughout the film episodes, especially when we get to The Order of the Phoenix! We’re so thrilled you’re enjoying the podcast and we hope very much you’ll drop us a line if you ever disagree with us as well (apparently we’re wrong sometimes?!).
      Happy listening!

  2. Hey ladies–just started listening as Christmas season I often revisit Harry Potter. Just a couple comments on casting. McGonagall is actually listed as born in 1925 (where Harry is there in the 1990s) so approaching 70. I can’t remember if it was fan fiction or canon, but I have in my head she is widowed and lost a son during the Grindelwald war. Maybe we will learn if this is true with the Fantastic Beasts series. You guys are right on that the child actors are not all that great as kids, but they are kids and they get a lot better. My only casting grumble is that ALL the Marauder era actors (including Snape) are too old. Harry’s parents died at 21, so the Mirror of Erised should show very young adults, and Sirus, Lupin and Snape should all be in their 30s.

    1. Yes, also on McGonagall, she mentions remembering teaching James and Sirius. Also at one stage Ron’s mum talks about her being her teacher and she was there before Harry’s parents – so there are at the very least suggestions that she is an older character. 🙂

  3. Fun fact: Ian was asked to play Dumbledore after the original died, but he turned it down because he was already Gandalf. He didn’t want to confuse people. I too think he’d have been excellent.

  4. re Devil’s snare scene/ lack of potions scene:
    “…Oh so they all accomplish the same number of tasks, but the remarkable thing about Hermione is that she accomplishes two tasks”

    They may have cut out one scene for Hermione, but in general a great deal of effort has been spent accentuating her positive traits, often at the expense of the other characters (read: Ron). In the devil’s snare scene in the book for instance, Hermione does remember the lesson about the plant liking the dark, but it’s Harry’s suggestion to light a fire (ever the one to leap to action) but Hermione (being muggle-born) starts to panic over the lack of wood. It is Ron (their wizard friend, their anchor in this new strange world) who reminds her that she is a witch and can use magic! This is very different from how it’s portrayed in the movie – Hermione accomplishes the tasks, Harry does as he’s told, and Ron whimpers and panics.

  5. I think there is a different way to look at the comments you made about prof. McGonagall’s age in the movies.

    1. Firstly McGonogall is older (56 in 1991) childless and unmarried – and there is nothing wrong that. It could have been gone about it two ways… either deny that truth in an attempt to put her on an ‘equal playing field’ with her male counter parts or leave the character as she is, in the knowledge that there is nothing wrong with that… She is still what we know her to be, an unwaveringly fair, stern, talented and well respected member of the staff at Hogwarts… and a spinster.
    I personally don’t see how casting a drastically younger actress would have helped any – If anything I think it would be more wrong to do so. Prof McG is one of the only ‘older’ females in the book (with the exception of Sprout – who we don’t get to know as well).

    2. “…young women are never powerful…” – Erm… Lily? Alice Longbottom? Ginny? Hermione? Bellatrix? Mrs. Weasley (in her 40’s)? Tonks? I don’t think the books failed on providing us with young and powerful witches.

    3. Tilda Swinton is as far away in age from McGonagal as Maggie Smith was. By choosing her in an attempt to avoid the ‘trope’ you would have been feeding into a whole different thing: only young women belong in cinema. I think its refreshing to see Maggie Smith in the role – and she’s excellent at it.

    1. Good points! It would be terrible take such a wonderful role away from an older actress like Maggie Smith (who is, of course, a perfect McGonogall). And trust us, we have NOTHING against spinsters.

  6. Hello Marcelle and Hannah, I want to say thank you for this podcast. I just finished Episode 2 and it’s great the new perspective they give me about the Harry Potter universe. A hug from Uruguay

  7. Thanks so much for this podcast, I loved it to bits (that is, the two episodes that I listened to) because it fits right into my alley 🙂 A feminist close reading of HP oh YES! Anyway, re: Neville, the actor that played him was given fake teeth and a fat suit in the first few films. So the actor was never really the same as Neville. Also as maybe something to look for if you end up watching the films again, Sean Finnegan (The Irish boy, whose wand keeps burning his eyebrows off) and Dean Thomas (the quidditch announcer) hold hands in a few places. And a head canon of mine (and many people) is that Harry is a very flawed narrator and observer. I mean, he misses so much, and I love that many people just run with it, Dean and Sean are a couple, it isn’t in the books? Well, Harry is about as observant as a brick wall, so he didn’t see shit. Head canon accepted. 😛

  8. Hi, I have recently been very lacking in podcasts, and all the ones I could find, which had a good balance between nerdy and funny, were all made by men! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful podcast, it’s so perfect I feel like it has been made just for me! Thanks again!

  9. Just started listening, enjoying these!

    Nice thing about having lived in both Oxford and London: I have been to Platform 9 3/4; the building the car takes off from; the place where Diagon Alley should be (I did a genuine double take when I spotted the wall); and have eaten in the Hogwarts dining hall (minus enchantments).

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