This week, Vanessa and Casper read chapter nine of Prisoner of Azkaban, Grim Defeat, through the theme of frustration. The chapter itself centers around a harrowing quidditch match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. Drama (!) arrives when the dementors show up and Harry faints, falling off his broom and plummeting to the ground. That’s what the chapter’s about, but this week’s episode…well, it isn’t really. This isn’t because Vanessa and Casper have no idea what’s going on in the chapter (um, have you heard their recaps? They’re obviously experts) but because this week’s theme led us beyond the main story line. We got deep. We got esoteric. We quote Macbeth. All in a day’s work, my friends.
The first esoteric box we ticked? You guessed it, Latin grammar. Casper and Vanessa battle it out over how to properly pluralize the word Patronus. Is it Patroni? Patronuses? Or, as my autocorrect would have me believe, Patroness? Usually Vanessa is our resident Hermione, but Casper pushed up his glasses this week and informed us that it all depends on what declension the word is:
Vanessa and Casper often employ elaborate hypotheticals in their explanations. This week was no exception and they were in particularly fine form. Here are a few of the very specific hypotheticals that they trotted out this week around the theme of frustration:
- "...kind of like Sir Cadogen, or like 'I tried to open the door this way, but it's a pull door and there's a sign that says pull door, but I was still pushing.' I do that all the time." (Casper)
- "When does frustration become a signal of injustice, and when is it 'my foot is itching and they won’t let me unbuckle my seatbelt because we haven’t reached altitude'?" (Vanessa)
- "When I'm frustrated, it’s because my expectation was different from reality, and now I have a choice how to react…Maybe if I’m caught in the rain be like ‘isn’t it lovely to be caught in this warm summer rain and I could be in a country music video if only I didn’t have to try to get to the doctor’s office in five minutes time." (Casper)
Following our obsession with the esoteric this week, Casper and Vanessa spend a lot of time talking about Sir Cadogen. Before we started this season, I don’t think I could even tell you who Sir Cadogen was, let alone muse about how his ‘bravery’ and bravado farcically reflect Gryffindor’s values, all while annoying the bejeezus out of them. Why is it that Seamus Finnigen finds him so annoying? How is that he takes his job so seriously and is so bad at it? What can he teach us about injustice? We got real deep with Cadogen. Vanessa ends the episode with the revelation that maybe she could be more “Cadogen-y.”
- Our voicemail this week is from Camyrn Kessler in Austin, Texas. She sent in her message on May 3rd, after the stabbings on the University of Texas campus. The Washington Post reported the events.
- When talking about Cadogen (of course) Casper compares mental health care to imprisonment and Vanessa talks about how mental illness is socially constructed. If you want to read more about the institutionalization of mental health, may we suggest Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization? Or Erving Goffman’s Asylums? Both are classic texts in sociology.
Our spiritual practice of the week is Lectio Divina. Vanessa and Casper spend more time talking about Sir Cadogen (I promise they talk about other things…like the unsubtle stalking of Head Boy Percy Weasley, and Snape’s reprehensible pedagogy) and Vanessa quotes Macbeth. Here’s the full soliloquy that she excerpts:
This week's blessings go to esteemed professors Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall.
Next week we're reading chapter ten, The Marauder's Map, through the theme of escape. We’re only two weeks away from our live tour (pardon us while pinch ourselves repeatedly)! We released individual tour posters last week on social media. If you live in one of the cities we’re visiting, it sure would be jolly good of you to share them. And if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, what are you waiting for?! A personal invitation? Well this is it. You’re invited and we can’t wait to meet you!