14 thoughts on “Episode 9: The Cleansing Fire”

  1. I would suggest that in relation to Harry not seeing the thestrals until book five, that the importance is not simply in having seen death, but also in having understood it. As an infant Harry could not possible have understood his mothers death, and so this death may not count for the thestrals. And Harry passed out before Quirrel dies in the first book, because when he wakes up in the hospital wing he still thinks that Dumbledore needs to go after Quirrel, so he is not aware of this death until he is told, thus he did not see it. Cedric is the first death that Harry not only sees, but also fully understands the consequences of, and the real impact of death.

    1. I think you might actually be onto something here — technically seeing death is really not the same as coming to terms with its reality. I still suspect there may have been a little retconning happening here, though, with him not seeing the thestrals on his way TO the Hogwarts Express.

      1. I was going to bring up the point that at the end of book 4, it is mentioned that the carriages are coming to pick them up, and I believe, it mentions the fact that they are horse-less, per usual. I can’t confirm this because I don’t own a copy of book four, but I recall it from the last time I listened to the audio book earlier this year because it stood out as a continuity error.

        1. Thank you, Justin. I was going to mention this, it specifically does say horseless carriages taking them to the Hogwarts Express at the end of book 4. Going on Emma’s point, maybe Harry hasn’t had time to process Cedric’s death until he gets back to the dursleys and that’s why? But, at any rate it bothered me he didn’t see the threstrals until order of the Phoenix.

      2. I’m *extremely* late to this podcast but I’d maybe attempt to justify this by raising the question of whether or not Cedric’s death has sunken in for Harry yet when he’s leaving Hogwarts at the end of Book 4? Or maybe he wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings whatsoever.

        Or it’s a retcon.

  2. I can’t see Umbridge’s teaching style as anything other than an extension of her evil, rather than just ineffectually benign. She works so hard to suppress all free thought and critical thinking, and to instil unquestioning obedience. If she were successful she would raise a generation of young people that would sleepwalk in to the kind of passive evil the ministry enacts in later novels. Her brand of evil is the kind that arises when powerful people close their eyes to injustice and privilege – I think her teaching reinforces and encourages that.

  3. Hi,
    I recently started listening to your brilliant podcast!
    I just had to make a comment because I had to laugh really hard at one specific point: My last name is the same as Anthony’s and though I am not, a lot of people think I am jewish.
    I am from and living in Germany, so people tend to be especially courious and excited to “see a real jew for once in their lives” (due to historic reasons, very complex and complicated topic) and sometimes I feel like an impostor and have this weird feeling of disappointing other people. It’s getting even more awkward when they move away again in obvious disappointment, a very strange feeling. So I think it is so nice of you to point out that not every person having a popular jewish name is actually jewish! Although I have to admit, that it is kind of flattering that Rowling chose to name a character in Harry Potter and the female protagonist in Fantastic Beasts like that.
    I like my name!
    Thank you for talking about that topic and for all your fantastic discussions! I am a huge fan!

  4. Though I’m years later, I did some digging about the deluminator and a popular theory seems to suggest there is a distinct progression/change in the writing style from the first books (aimed, understandably, at a younger audience) and the books as the characters get older and into their teens. Young children reading a book would identify more with a “put-outer'” where teens may better understand the meaning behind “deluminator”.

    1. Also years late, but it always seemed to me that we only learn the term “Deluminator” when it is named by Dumbledore in his will. Prior to that it is named by Harry and the narrator in book 1, chapter 1 who are ignorant of its proper name and are just describing what it does (in child-like language).

  5. Bit late to the party here, but I LOVE your podcast so much, it’s been really great company. My comment is in regards to Harry wanting to become an auror. I agree that it’s a very strange choice, but my view on it is slightly sadder than discussed. I think that Harry Does want to become a teacher, however throughout these series he has been taught from experience that the law enforcement and political figures of the wizarding world will absolutely not protect its people. Every single time, we see harry having to spearhead the fight to save the wizarding world (of the UK) and rarely do we hear anything of what aurors are doing during this. I think that although Harry probably wants to be a teacher, he may feel this obligation to protect his peers and the people because he has come to view that as his responsibility and now, after so many years of having that responsibility on his shoulders, Harry does not have the trust in the authority figures around him to do this. I think that this is a shame that although throughout the books (SPOILER) people do show concern over Harry’s clear PTSD and justified saviour complex, they still cheer on his decision to become an auror (because it benefits them) a choice clearly rooted in fear of the creation of another dark wizard. Let the boy rest 🙁

  6. Super late comment, but I wondered on hearing you talk about mental health you had heard of the theory that the wizarding world is all in Harry’s head and it’s his way of dealing with an abusive childhood? I don’t really know much about it because it’s Judy an upsetting thought (also you leave an abusive childhood by creating a world where someone really powerful wants to kill you does seem a bit odd)

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