19 thoughts on “Episode 5B: Escape From Time Constraints”

  1. I wanted to ask a question about your segment ‘Jew Watch’. Why is it notable that there are no Jews in the books when there are absolutely no (muggle) religions mentioned in the books at all.

    1. Other muggle religions might not be mentioned explicitly, but they’re there implicitly in the annual Christmas celebration! More importantly, Jew Watch is in place to help us prove or disprove our theory that the goblins are the Jews of the wizarding world. If there are actual real Jewish people, our theory doesn’t hold up.

      1. The goblin archetype dates back to the Middle Ages and is problematic in it’s own right. I think that Rowling went with teh Goblin as an archetype in the same way that she used the troll and the Centaur. It is problematic also though to assume that if there are Jews at Hogwarts that Rowling would describe them through ethnicity. I know Jews from around the world of varying races. Who is to say that Angelina isn’t Jewish? The assumption that you would be able to read the religious orientation of a person through their facial features or stature is outmoded and dangerous.

        1. I absolutely agree that we can’t go sifting through the books for easily identifiable ethnic or religious tropes — that kind of tokenism is, as you say, dangerous. No, we’re just looking for a character who is identified in any clear way as Jewish — or really as anything but the seeming default Christianity that Hogwarts embraces, if the Christmas and Halloween celebrations are any indication.

      2. I’m glad you brought this up, I was wondering the exact same thing. I do understand that it can be viewed that they follow the Christian religions of Christmas, but they don’t discuss any of the religious background of the holiday, nor do they have a spring break when Easter would fall. I’m not convinced that the goblins are the Jews of the wizarding world either.

        1. Maybe we can think of witches and wizards as secular Christians — that is, they follow the cultural norms of a predominantly Christian culture without the religious backing. There’s *certainly* no reference to actual Christian theology.

          But against that background the tropes of Jewishness really stand out as a dominant characteristic of the goblins, what marks them as “other” to the wizards. I’m interested in how the new movies are going to complicate all of this! Actual for-sure Jewish characters!

  2. I’m going to have to respectfully disagree about how fatness is portrayed in HP. I think that we have to remember that we are viewing these people from Harry’s perspective and that it’s him who thinks that Dudley and Vernon are fat, but says that Mrs. Wesley is pump. I’m pretty sure that Malfoy calls Mrs. Wesley fat at one point or another. Also, there are plenty of counterexamples of evil people who aren’t necessarily described as fat. I’m thinking of Voldemort and Umbridge.

    I really enjoyed listening to your discussion of the wizarding justice system. First time listener, but I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of your episodes!!

    1. That’s a really good point, Jordin. It’s really Harry’s cruelty we’re seeing here, and there are lots of examples of that kind of childish cruelty when he’s a younger narrator. We’ll have to keep an eye on how that portrayal of fatness changes as he matures.

  3. Ahh I really loved this episode! So much more happening here than simply talking about Harry Potter. That’s been my previous dissatisfaction with media surrounding the books and movies. I really appreciate the time and effort that is put in to these discussions. They remain fun without losing their critical nature. XOXO – Kat

  4. I’m really enjoying the podcasts and I see that I have many fun and thought-provoking eps to come! Totally intrigued by Discipline and Punish. Off to get some light reading, too! Thanks!

  5. So, on the subject of sentiece, I can’t remember right now if it’s canon or a fan trope, but lots of hp fannon at least has sentiment furniture/cabinets/houses/etc. In the books we at least have the monster book of monsters.

    1. Oh, also wants are described as having personalities. Like being around wizards and magic gives inanimate objects personality.

  6. Hi! Just started listening to your podcast and absolutely LOVE it! I have a question that came to mind in this podcast though I’d really like your thoughts on.

    You were saying how Hermione is driven by learning and this makes her a hero, while Percy is also an excellent student but he is priggish and abhorrent. Why is it female characters can be intelligent and successful and likable, while male characters can only be intelligent if they are very old or absolute dicks about it?


    1. Do you mean specifically in Rowling’s world? Because literature is amply stocked with male characters who are intelligent and successful and likable. In Hermione’s case, her bookishness originally makes her seem as priggish and unpleasant as Percy — it’s really her politics that distinguish her. So then we could ask: why are Hermione’s politics better than Percy’s? Well, in part, that’s likely because she’s muggle-born, but surely (surely) there’s a feminist reading available here, too…

  7. I just found this podcast a few days ago thanks to a knitting friend of mine, and it’s now my favorite thing to listen to while I knit, thank you so much for doing this! As a scholar myself, I find it so satisfactory to listen to a literature discussion with well-grounded theory based arguments about these modern, popular books. Thank you!

    My favorite segment is Granger Danger and I love how you pinpoint the exact same thing that always troubles me when it comes to the Hermione from a feminist perspective. I have always thought it problematic that Harry and Ron can be slackers and still get through everything whereas Hermione works really hard. It’s the male genius who doesn’t have to make an effort against the good, ambitious girl who works her butt off. As you point out, that she has to be brilliant in order to, so to speak, earn her place. This is something that has troubled me a lot in the books. Therefore I am very happy that you mention that the professors allow Hermione to take on double or triple the amount of classes and work and that they let her control time because they wouldn’t just do that to any one. This tells me that she is a kind of genius even without studying since the professors wouldn’t let her do this if they didn’t think she could manage (it doesn’t seem like this is something that happens often at Hogwarts, that a student gets to control time and have extra classes like this, which means that she really is an exceptionally talented student), but working hard makes her maybe go from an average genius to a brilliant one (if one can distinguish levels of genius in this way). She must also have an excellent study technique since she can remember everything, or that her memory is just exceptional. I really like this thouht and I’m so happy that you mention it.

    Also (and maybe you mention this in later episodes), I think it’s book three that mention that Hermione isn’t as good as Defence Against the Dark Arts, not as Harry anyway, which doesn’t make sense to me. Why wouldn’t she be? She is good at everything that is part of DAoDA so why not this? I understand it when they say that riding a broomstick isn’t her thing (speaking of fallos symbols, does this imply that Hermione might not be straight?) because that’s more of the wizarding world equivalent to PE, or if they had said Potions (Home Economics?) since they both use different types of skills, but DAoDA? Nope, I don’t believe it. I think this too might come from Harry as an unreliable narrator, maybe he doesn’t want her to be as good as him?

    Again, thank you for an amazing podcast and all the interesting discussions! I’m looking forward to the rest of the episodes!

  8. I’ve just started listening to your podcast and I’m truly obsessed with it. I do have one thing to note related to the fatness. I think the excessive descriptions of the Dursleys is to show how truly abused and neglected Harry is. They quite literally starve him by limiting his food, to the point that when Dudley goes on a diet and gets half a grapefruit, Harry is forced to only have a quarter or whatever the measurements are. Harry is forcibly thin due to his neglect. In later books when he gets to stay with the Weasleys, there is a scene where Harry has to loosen his belt buckle at the dinner table because he is finally getting the appropriate food amount. So I’m not sure if it’s true fat shaming or more of foiling characters. Now arguably, Neville is also described as chubby and is always the pathetic tagalong. And Umbridge is a fat toady bitch… hmmm

    1. It’s worth thinking about that this is the point on which listeners push back the most. Why are people so resistant to the idea that equating fatness and villainy is a problem? Why do fat villains make so much sense to readers?

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