Season Three: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Mercy: Owl Post (Book 3, Chapter 1)

Vanessa and Casper dive into Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with the theme of mercy. They discuss Ron's difficulty with telephones, Errol the owl, and return to the spiritual practice of Florilegia. Throughout the episode they consider the question: how much does intention matter when offering mercy? 

Family: Aunt Marge's Big Mistake (Book 3, Chapter 2)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of family in chapter two of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss why Vanessa loves her dog so much, the age old question of nature vs. nurture, and the muggle magic of alcohol. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What are we willing to suffer for our family?

Secrets: The Knight Bus (Book 3, Chapter 3)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of secrets in chapter three of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the sketchiness of Cornelius Fudge, throw some shade at Stanley Shunpike and contemplate the role of socio-economic status in the wizarding world. 

Hospitality: The Leaky Cauldron (Book 3, Chapter 4)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of hospitality in chapter four of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They consider the ways in which Hermione is diplomatic, do the Jewish practice of PaRDeS for the first time on their own, and grudgingly admit that maybe Percy has the right idea for once. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What's the relationship between capitalism and altruism? 

Foresight: The Dementor (Book 3, Chapter 5)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of foresight in chapter five of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the magical properties of chocolate, Harry and Ginny's romantic potential, and whether we should try and preserve the innocence of children. Throughout the episode they consider the question: is it worth knowing the future, if you can't change it? 

Forgiveness: Talons and Tea Leaves (Book 3, Chapter 6)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of forgiveness in chapter six of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the difference between humility and self loathing, Hagrid’s metaphorical baptism, and instances of national atonement. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is forgiveness necessarily without punishment? 

Humor: The Boggart in the Wardrobe (Book 3, Chapter 7)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of humor in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.They discuss the power of Satire, the absurdity of neck ties, and why Parvati is afraid of mummies. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is humor always rooted in truth? 

Desperation: The Flight of the Fat Lady (Book 3, Chapter 8)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of desperation in chapter eight of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the credibility of divination, the intensity of Oliver Wood's quidditch passion, and whether Harry's need to go to Hogsmeade is silly or understandable. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do you prevent desperation from going hand and hand with isolation?

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Frustration: Grim Defeat (Book 3, Chapter 9)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of frustration in chapter nine of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss latin etymology, quote Macbeth, and critique Snape's class design. They also talk about fun things like Sir Cadogan (who is rapidly becoming our favorite portrait). Throughout the episode they consider the question: When does frustration indicate injustice?

Escape: The Marauder's Map (Book 3, Chapter 10)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of escape in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss whether we can have sympathy for dementors, Casper's college crush, and the toxic ideas that haunt us. Throughout the episode they consider the question: After we escape something awful, what allows us to go back and help others do so as well?

Duty: The Firebolt - With Father Jim Martin (Book 3, Chapter 11)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of duty in chapter eleven of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Hermione's selflessness, Hagrid's traumatic experience in Azkaban, and McGonagall's harsh take-down of Trelawney at christmas dinner. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we differentiate between obedience and duty?

Optimism: The Patronus (Book 3, Chapter 12)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of optimism in chapter twelve of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, Casper tells a story about climate activism, Vanessa tries to puzzle out how boggarts work, and together they take a close look at what exactly happens during a Dementor's Kiss. Throughout the episode they consider the question: why do we need permission to be optimistic? 

Rivalry: Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw — With Hank Green (Book 3, Chapter 13)

Vanessa and Casper and special guest, Hank Green, explore the theme of Rivalry in chapter thirteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the difference between bullies and rivals, the delight of new babies, and why Cho Chang is a great model for competition. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How does power work within rivalry? 

Imagination: Snape's Grudge (Book 3, Chapter 14)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of imagination in chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, in some major reversals, Vanessa expresses concern for Snape and Casper blesses Hermione. They also discuss babies, puppies, and our criminal justice system. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How can we use imagination to do the most good in the world? 

Pain: The Quidditch Final (Book 3, Chapter 15)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of pain in chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Casper's beautiful teeth, Vanessa's dislike of Hogwarts houses, and why Professor Trelawney is a better teacher than we once thought. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When is it okay to knowingly cause someone else’s pain?

Wonder: Professor Trelawney's Prediction (Book 3, Chapter 16)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of wonder in chapter sixteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss flobberworms, how Divination class is like divinity school, and why Professor Trelawney doesn't believe in her own prediction. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Should we try to answer unanswerable questions?

Innocence: Cat, Rat and Dog (Book 3, Chapter 17)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of innocence in chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They bemoan how the criminal justice system has betrayed Sirius Black, discuss Ron's prejudice again werewolves, and try and come up with a good metaphor for the chaos of this chapter. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Who do we normally suspect of guilt?

Isolation: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs (Book 3, Chapter 18)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of isolation in chapter eighteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they pity Peter Pettigrew, wonder about The Whomping Willow and solve the problem of suffering. (Just kidding on that last one.) Throughout the episode they consider the question: What stories do the buildings and objects around us have to tell? 

Mercy: The Servant of Lord Voldemort (Book 3, Chapter 19)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of mercy in chapter nineteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Snape's dual identity, Pettigrew's shrewd manipulations, and the legacy of Lily and James Potter. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What's the differing between mercy and forgiveness? 

Forgiveness: Owl Post with Professor Stephanie Paulsell

This week, Casper's out of town so Vanessa sits down with Stephanie Paulsell, Professor of Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School, to talk forgiveness and answer some owl post. Our regular scheduled programing will be back next week with Chapter 20, The Dementors' Kiss through the theme of Justice. 

Justice: The Dementors' Kiss (Book 3, Chapter 20)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Justice in chapter twenty of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss justice in all its forms: poetic, divine, restorative and insufficient. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Can an injustice ever be rectified? 

Crisis: Hermione's Secret (Book 3, Chapter 21)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of crisis in chapter twenty-one of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Snape's existential crisis, Dumbledore's rebellious streak, and Madame Pomfrey's delicious boulder of chocolate. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we find meaning in this time-turner business? 

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Love: Owl Post Again (Book 3, Chapter 22)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of love in the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is our third time discussing love of the podcast, but we still have so many questions: Where does overwhelming love come from? Should we try to be selfless in our love? Is the tooth fairy a fraud?

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Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

In the final episode of season three, Vanessa and Casper pull out a few key insights from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They take some time to talk about Harry Potter himself, reflect on Voldemort's absence, and compare Draco to a young white supremacist. Throughout the episode they come back to ideas about purity, justice, and identity formation. 

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Special Edition: Owl Post and Sejal Patel

In our final episode of Season 3, we have a chance to sit down with lawyer and fellow divinity school graduate, Sejal Patel. She chats with us about justice, Hinduism, and the Niebuhr brothers. We also do a last round of owl posts for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, hearing your thoughts about friendship, trauma, isolation, and spiritual practices. 

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Trust: Cat, Rat and Dog (Book 3, Chapter 17) — Live from Washington, DC

Thank you so much to everyone who came out for our tour this summer and made it such a success! Here's the audio from our DC show, with special guest Scott Perlo. For our East Coast tour, we read Prisoner of Azkaban chapter 17, Cat, Rat and Dog, through the theme of trust.