We like to pride ourselves on knowing the Harry Potter series fairly well. Like, on the scale from J.K. Rowling herself to your grandfather who thinks Harry Potter is "poisonous pagan tomfoolery," we'd probably rank in around an 8.5. But, if there is one chapter we know better than any other, it is chapter 13 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Patronus.
What you hear in this episode is our first deep-dive into the chapter. We sound pretty knowledgeable, right? But that was just the beginning — then we took the chapter on tour to Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. We re-read this chapter almost every day for a week, excavating new questions, finding new characters to bless, and somehow consistently being bad at the 30 second recap! Even your prejudiced grandfather would be impressed.
But in all seriousness, thank you so much to everyone who came out and read this chapter with us. It was such a pleasure to gaze out on your beautiful faces and meet you after the show. Words can't do justice to the massive amounts of fun we had, so here are a few photos:
In just a few short weeks, we'll be heading out on the East Coast leg of our tour. We'll be in New York at the Fourth Universalist Church on July 16th, in Philadelphia at PhilaMOCA on July 17th, and in Washington D.C. at 6th and I Synagogue on July 18th. Together we'll be getting to know Chapter 17, Cat, Rat, and Dog, through the theme of trust. Come join us!
Did you know that Casper co-founded an activist organization, the UK Youth Climate Coalition? In 2009, he led a delegation to the UN Climate Talks in Poland, and again to Bonn and Copenhagen. He opens our episode with a story from that time.
This week in our 30 second recap, Vanessa isn't up to her usual standard. But it's not her fault — she gets a a bit of a frog in her throat, which impedes her usual speed and precision. In the episode, Casper says that she sounds like she has a rat in her throat, which makes no sense and is disgusting. Sure, he's making reference to the book. Scabbers is a key character in this week's chapter. But, have we forgotten Trevor? Trevor is a toad and is always getting lost... perhaps he was lost in Vanesssa's throat?
Casper, who doesn’t have any animals in his throat during his recap, is free to make detailed observations like “Lupin is nice.”
And is Lupin nice in this chapter? In their theme conversation, Vanessa seems to disagree. She wonders why Lupin starts his Patronus lesson with a Boggart. She thinks that Lupin should let Harry master the spell first before confronting him with a Dementor (real or otherwise). This leads to a whole conversation about how Boggarts work exactly, and Casper makes an analogy between Boggarts and trauma:
Bringing the conversation back to our theme for the week, optimism, the two wonder how optimism can help us confront big issues like trauma:
For their penultimate Sacred Imagination practice of the season, Casper selected a juicy passage about the Dementor's Kiss:
Vanessa and Casper wonder if Lupin is projecting his own fears on this image, and discuss real-world equivalents of the Dementor's Kiss, such as Alzheimer's disease.
They end the episode, as always, with blessings. Vanessa blesses Hermione for not telling Lupin's secret to Ron and Harry. Casper blesses Harry for his tenacity with the Patronus charm, and getting up after being knocked down so many times. (Because earlier in the episode, Casper compared Hermione's role in this story to that of Cassandra Agamemnon, I thought these allegorical representations might be appropriate for this week.)
Next week we're reading chapter thirteen, Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw, through the theme of rivalry. Tune in for a special guest story by Hank Green! Our voicemail this week is thanks to Dave Lawson. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show