Episode 7A: The Tri-and-fail-to-fit-everything-into-an-hour Tournament

Here we are, witches, with the first of TWO too long episodes about Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire. Marcelle is back from her adventures in the Eastern Standard Time Zone (a mystical land whose residents think Witch, Please episodes appear on Tuesdays!) and joins Hannah for an 85-minute discussion about displacing racial violence onto “grievable subjects,” precarity, sexual violence, Game of Thrones, and more.

Spoilers ABOUND in this episode, so proceed with caution.

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12 thoughts on “Episode 7A: The Tri-and-fail-to-fit-everything-into-an-hour Tournament”

  1. I’m just listening to this now (weeks later) and know that this has likely already been dealt with, but you are in the middle (maybe you deal with it soon) of your discussion about sex ed at Hogwarts, which you have boiled down to STIs and desire, and I have to say that I think consent might be kind of a big deal in the wizarding world. And yes, consent is relatively new compared to the books, but so is HPV (in sex ed).

  2. Regarding the sex ed discussion, another indicator that sexuality is present in this world is the fact that girls can go into the boys’ dormitory, but boys are not allowed in the girls’ – I forget which book this is in now, but Ron trying to get to Hermione turns the girls’ staircase into a slide. This may not be for sexual reasons explicitly, but I think that reason is definitely implied.

  3. Very much still enjoying the podcast! I just wanted to give Harry the benefit of the doubt in terms of his fat-hate. Dudley bullies Harry for his entire childhood, the fact that Harry hates on Dudley’s body kind of makes sense (not that I condone it). To suggest that Harry is just being cruel glosses over the abuse Harry endured at the hands of the Dursley’s and Dudley. I think to say that Harry hates fat people and that’s a reflection of society’s hatred of fatness over simplifies a very complex issue. I buy into your argument that representing greed through bodies is problematic and thoroughly agree, but your discussion excludes nuanced analysis as to why Harry might treat Dudley’s weight, appearance, and diet the way that he does. I’m not suggesting that every person who is bullied turns around and bullies their bully once they have the upper-hand. I’m just saying that I believe Harry’s relationship with the Dursley’s and Dudley might be why Harry hates on Dudley any way he can. It isn’t until after Harry finds out that he is a wizard that he has any real power in that household. After 11 years of abuse he can finally stand up to the people who have treated him like absolute garbage. Don’t love the way that he does it, but what 14 year old has class when dealing with bullies? Oh, also: Harry is my second least favourite character on the “good” side. He is an absolute butt.

  4. Oh! And in terms of Harry’s privilege (I love this discussion so much) as a white, wealthy, wizard male: ya’ll mentioned that he’s like Draco in that he also comes from a pureblood family. Harry’s father was a pureblood but his mother was muggle-born, making Harry a half-blood. From many inferences made by the Malfoy’s we can ascertain that half-bloods are seen as ‘blood traitors’ or that they have a lesser status in the eyes of families like the Malfoy’s. Final thought, harry’s hatred from the Dursley’s is most definitely a lot different than Draco’s hatred of muggles.

  5. I think for the Dursleys, fatness and greediness are linked. So some cases, like the toffee and the cake in the first book, in my view are making fun of Dudley’s greediness. While the idea that fat people are greedy is terrible I do believe it is more the Dursleys are greedy and therefore fat, not all fat people are greedy.

    Love you podcast, thanks for making thing about these things.

    1. They are indeed greedy, but lots of greedy people aren’t fat, eating a lot isn’t greediness, and the use of fatness as visual short-form for greed perpetuates a culture of stigma against fat people. If the Dursleys had been just as they are — small-minded, cruel, acquisitive, vain — and their fatness or lack thereof had never been mentioned, I bet we’d still get the message about what total bummers they are.

      1. Hear, hear!

        I have a lot of unresolved feelings about this. Not just with the use of ‘fatness’ to identify characters we don’t like, but ‘ugliness’ too… This simplistic idea that inner beauty or ‘goodness’ is and can be seen on the outside. Roald Dahl did this a lot and it’s seen a lot in other children’s media…

        But then I come across examples of just the opposite, where ‘fatness’ is used to signify comfort, homeliness, warmth and jolliness, such as Mrs Weasley, Slughorn, Father Christmas (Santa) etc… And then I think to myself when skinniness is used in negative ways and positive ways, and other features too (Umbridge’s toad like face, Pettigrew’s beady eyes) and I have to ask…. is it just that I don’t think physical descriptions should be used to portray certain ideas about a characters personality OR that the issue simply comes down to over use of certain descriptors to mean negative things…

        i.e. Would the ideal be… 1) not using physical descriptors in a way to portray positive/ negative character traits OR 2) finding a balance where there isn’t a particular bias on certain physical traits being mostly seen as negative/ positive?

        1. I think the latter. If we had tons of awesome fat heroes then it wouldn’t be a problem to also have fat villains. Think about what an incredibly wide range of personalities and narrative roles thin, white, conventionally attractive, cis straight able-bodied people get to have! Like, ALL OF THEM. EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE ONE. Whereas people who are marked as other or non-normative are grouped into these stereotypes that have real, oppressive results.

  6. New listener here and I’m having just the best time listening to all of your discussions. You guys raise so many questions that I never considered even on my readings as an adult.

    Since you do bring up Game of Thrones in this episode, I was wondering if you have a recommendation for a podcast which looks at the book series or show in a similar way that you look at the Harry Potter series. Ideally I would love to for you two to have your own but I don’t know that that is even a thing you guys would consider.

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