S2E2: Witch, Please and the Phenomenal Foggos

Well hello again, witches! Thanks for tuning in for this week’s mega super long but mega super lovely episode featuring the Foggo Family. An under-slept Marcelle joins the Foggos as they discuss what the Harry Potter series and the podcast Witch, Please mean to them as a family and as fans.


In keeping with our seasonal format, Hannah and Marcelle play catchup before the main event of the episode, and then at the end we get into our new seasonally-appropriate features. We hope you enjoy!

Download this familial episode

In this episode we plug Cheryl Foggo’s books; if you’d like to learn more about her work check out her Facebook page here.

We also play the song Cheryl discusses from her daughters’ DADA playlist, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” (performed by The Roots). You can listen to the whole track here or buy it here.


One thought on “S2E2: Witch, Please and the Phenomenal Foggos”

  1. In answer to your question, I find that the idea of fandom resonates very well with my religious experience as a Christian in a Protestant tradition that is wary of ritual, where religious activity is almost entirely organized around practices of reading, interpreting and inhabiting a text.

    Maybe this is a good place to express something that’s been on my mind since I listened to your podcast on Deathly Hallows, which addressed the theological dimensions of Harry’s struggle with doubt in that novel. As you pointed out in this episode, Christianity as a religious of orthodoxy (rather than orthopraxy) faces a potential pitfall: in a religion of orthodoxy, experiences of doubt can be profoundly frightening and socially stigmatized. For that reason, I am really interested in Rowling’s handling of Harry’s doubts in Deathly Hallows. In the podcast, Hannah (I think?) suggested that Harry had essentially resolved his doubts during the scene where he is digging Dobby’s grave – at this point, he chooses faith in Dumbledore and later when he’s challenged by Aberforth he says that he has no wish to doubt again.

    What I found compelling in these scenes as a person of faith is the extent to which Harry’s doubts remain unresolved. He has been struggling with the question of whether Dumbledore really cared about him or simply regarded him as a tool to be used; he has been coping with feelings of abandonment and betrayal, wondering why Dumbledore has left him with so little information. And he has been strongly resistant to suggestions from Hermione and Elphias Doge that he should simply choose to set such questions aside, possibly because he detects in Doge, at least, a sense of wilful blindness – Doge doesn’t care about who Dumbledore was but chooses whatever fiction he finds most comforting.

    So when Harry sets aside the Hallows quest and rededicates himself to the Horcrux hunt, I find it striking that he leaves almost all of those questions open. He does not feel in any way certain that Dumbledore cared about him (Hermione tells Aberforth that Dumbledore loved Harry, but Harry himself is silent on that issue). After viewing Snape’s memories, Harry feels fairly certain that Dumbledore did not care about him, that he was never anything to him but a pig raised for the slaughter – it is in that spirit that he carries out the difficult task that Dumbledore left him to do. The transition in Harry that takes place as he buries Dobby does not involve silencing his doubts or cultivating a false sense of certainty – instead, he commits himself to a course of action with all his doubts still unresolved – he decides to walk in the path Dumbledore has laid out for him, knowing that doing so is an act of faith.

    What this describes, I think, is a way out of the dilemma you’ve articulated in this episode about religions of orthodoxy, where there is no set of rituals or practices that one can perform even in the midst of feelings of doubt, anger, or betrayal. What Harry has instead is a calling, which I think can work too: you can respond to a sense that you are called to serve God, and you can dedicate yourself to that service even when that relationship is marked by doubt (and you don’t have to pretend that such doubts don’t exist or cling to a false sense of certainty in order to continue walking in that path).

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