Episode 13A: Hedwig’s Last Flight

Hedwig Soars
Photo credit: Peter Trimming, Flickr

Tonight, witches, we bid farewell to a friend and confidante. As the Harry Potter series draws to an end Hannah and Marcelle get selectively weepy because compassion fatigue is real and, like, everybody dies in this book. So pour yourself a stiff drink and, while you’re at it, pour one out for Hedwig that she may soar again in our dreams.

{TW: episode contains use of the song “Taps” and references to death}

Download this reminder that life is fleeting—er, this episode

15 thoughts on “Episode 13A: Hedwig’s Last Flight”

  1. Hello! I think Mugglenets reread had decided that the source must be Mundungus, because Mundungus suggested the plan or suchlike. Perhaps snape projected a time into Mundungus’s head, because occlumency? My personal cannon is that Snape didn’t tell V the whole plan to give the Order a chance to not be totally destroyed, but hey, that’s me.
    Also, way back in Philosopher, Harry did ask Dums what he saw in the mirror of erised, so he isns’t totally not curious about Dums. Of course, Dums made up something about socks because they totally didn’t know each other or actually have a relationship, but still.
    I also think that Harry wanted the whole truth in Hollows because Dums had done the unspeakable disappointment of a father figure dying.

    You don’t need to mention me in your giant list of names, I figure you can take a glug of wine instead.

  2. Aloha, ladies! I am only just beginning into the world of your wonderful podcast and am currently in episode 5B. It may have been mentioned in the podcast already, but I was wondering if the topic Harry Potter having been banned and vilified at points could be explored. I had to sneak all of the books under the gaze from my very conservative Catholic mother. I think the books actually helped attribute to my aversion to religious extremes and aided in spending my teenage years in a heavy-state of questioning the philosophy of spirituality.

    So incredibly enthralled with this podcast, thank ya thank ya so much.

  3. In the last six days I have listened every single episode of your podcast until this point. I am l-o-v-i-n-g it. But I really wanted to add a couple of things to your interpretation of why the three of them left Hogwarts.
    1) They are leaving Hogwarts out of necessity rather than choice. None of them *want* to leave school in the same way the Weasley twins do. In fact all three of them are pretty bummed on September 1 when they talk about how they’re not going back. I think this is the biggest way (asides from death, obvs) Rowling shows that the war is disruptive to people across the board. It is stopping them from completing their education and ultimately stopping them from getting their NEWTS and therefore qualifications to work after the war is over. I think Rowling said that after the war they all go back and do year 7 properly to get their NEWTS before going and getting their jobs.
    2) You said that in all of the books Hogwarts is this safe space. Which it was. But in this book it is NOT safe. It is under Voldemort’s rule (although tempered by Snape in some ways) and there is torture and tyranny happening in what was previously a totally sacred space of learning. Which again the three protagonists (and the reader) are really shocked and appalled by when they go back at the end of the book. So the fact the three of them are not returning there again is highlighting the shift of Hogwarts changing from a safe, secure space of learning to an unreliable place.

    Thanks for the HP love, ladies!

  4. I love your discussion of Hermione’s badassedness in this book, but I’m sad that you missed the JK’s slip-up in the beginning of this book. Hermione does this incredible spell to modify her parents memory and make them believe that they don’t have a daughter, and then a few pages later the boys ask whether she knows how to do the obliviate spell, and she replies that she only knows the theory. What?! She obviously already did this magic to protect her parents!

  5. Discovered this magical podcast three weeks ago and have spent a horrifying number of hours catching up on the brilliance and hilarity of yourselves and Neal. Question for you – this episode seems to start partway through Book 7, but I can’t find Epsiode 13 (not A) or 12.9 or 13.0 or 13.-1. Halp a confused sister out!

  6. Hi!

    Just wanted to share a thought that popped into my head about Petunia Dursley while listening.

    Have you thought about the significance of the role that Petunia played in Harry’s life? More so than Dudley (who was a child) and Vernon, who started his treatment of Harry on his wife’s requests, Petunia’s treatment of her nephew was vile. He was quite seriously an abused child.

    We all know Harry to be an unreliable narrator, so imagine the impact on the reader’s understanding of the start of the book if her character had been redeemed in some way by having her say something nice to Harry at the end. Would this have cast little eleven year old Harry’s testament to the way he was treated into doubt? “Our unreliable narrator must have been exaggerating because he was a child and that’s what they do….”
    I think it’s important that JKR had her not say anything – it’s not only more realistic but reinforces that his carer was 100% in the wrong for treating him that was and that is in no way, the child’s fault. The moment where [Harry thinks] it seemed like she might say something, reveals the small glimmer of hope that maybe Harry still had in him, but the fact that she didn’t was good.

    Also I’d like to draw comparison between the characters of Petunia and Snape: both have long and emotionally charged histories with Harry’s mother, and in both cases that’s directly affected the way they have treated Harry. Moreover both of their story lines are characterised largely by jealousy – Petunia’s jealousy of sister’s talent and acceptance into this wonderful, magical world (and then perhaps Harry’s) and Snape’s jealousy of Harry’s father and the ‘perfect’ family unit he never had. It’s reasonable to assume they both loved Lily at some point.

    Snape was cruel (through Harry’s perspective) but ultimately worked in Harry’s best interest and was redeemed. Petunia abused the child and denied him a childhood. It seems to me like JKR denied Petunia that redemption. The key difference between Pet and Snape is that Pet held no more love in her heart.

    blah blah blah… more stuff about the significance of Lily…. how she represents love….. how little Harry knows about her and how that’s appropriate for the story because the lack of humanising her character keeps her untarnished… love in it’s purest form… Dumbledore clearly had some chats with Pet before (“remember my last, Petunia!”) which is another factor to compare Pet to Snape, her embarrassment indicates that she didn’t do as asked by Dumby whereas Snape sacrificed everything…. etc etc etc

    I am sorry this was so long…

    I can’t help myself…

    This podcast is life…


  7. As a bisexual woman I have ALWAYS thought lupin was queer when I read the books. I once was in a relationship with a man who realized he may be gay and I “made him” stick around for awhile. He was so miserable. Oh Tonks! If you really loved him you would have set him free. ❤️❤️❤️

  8. Hey, still enjoying the podcast, and wanted to comment on the subject of Remus and Tonks.

    I have often thought that Fenrir Greyback is definitely coded as being a pedophile. I believe canon is that Remus’s father caught Fenrir or is the reason he was caught so he sought revenge by attacking Remus.

    I know we don’t see him returning Tonks’ feelings, but I always thought it might be a result of how he became a werewolf. I don’t know personally, but I think when children are victims of sexual assault by the same gender, it can confuse them.

    With the lycanthropy being a metaphor for HIV, I often figure he did have feelings for Tonks but was afraid to lead her on because he didn’t feel worthy and didn’t want to risk hurting her. And felt like he didn’t deserve anyone because society made him feel unworthy of love.

    Just my two cents, admittedly biased because I love Tonks and Remus together and that she loves him so fiercely and totally.

    I also love Tonks because I relate to her and love that she is sort of a playful big sister who protects them as an auror but unlike Molly, Ginny and Hermione, she doesn’t act like a mom and is not terribly domestic.

    I love having this character who is a woman (and a Hufflepuff!) who is not necessarily good with cooking or housekeeping charms, saying you don’t have to be good at such skills, or even enjoy them to be feminine.

    That’s all!

    1. Oh and also because Harry isn’t a reliable narrator, I do think he possibly just never sees any indication of affection from Remus towards her.


      1. I found one tiny and indirect “textual evidence” for their relationship being real: I totally agree that the books don’t show the slightest bit of affection from lupins part. But I just noticed, that there are two phases of Lupin’s hesitancy. First he vaguely avoids Tonks because he doesn’t think he is good enough for her. That is the part where it is hard for us to believe that he really loves her.
        But then after she is pregnant he panics and really thinks about the implications of passing on the werewolfness. That is so sudden, strong and stupid, that I think: The only reason Lupin did not consider this in its entirety before, could be the crazy haze from falling in love. This condition could be an explanation for Lupin suddenly being irresponsible.

        I still agree with you guys reading him queer. But there is no reason he couldn’t be bisexual. Bisexuals would be happy about some representation 😉

        And I love the space the story leaves for deeper stories. For example the theme of overcoming your own insecurities in order to be able to play an active part in a relationship is really important, I think.

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