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PPP – The Tales of Beedle the Bard Discussion Show!

Friday, December 25th, 2015 | Author: potterpensieve

The Pensievers have returned (minus Thio) just in time for the holidays, to discuss J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard! Listen in as we delve into analysis on children’s tales coveted in the wizarding world, along with some talk on the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer, and the casting decisions made for Rowling’s new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Big thanks to everyone who was able to take the time to record, this holiday. And special thanks to Thio for recording some additions eventhough he was not able to make it. Happy holidays, everyone!

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The Potter Pensieve #55 – The Final Episode: “All was Well.”

Saturday, February 01st, 2014 | Author: Lord Voldemort
Well folks, we made it! After 4 years we’ve now come to the end of our journey through the Harry Potter series. We’re bringing you what we hope to be an unforgettable finale to this incredible podcast that has been so dear to us these past few years.
Thio, Adam, Heather and Sarah record together for the final time (for now?) and engage in some great analytical discussion on the final chapter and Epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Tune in as we discuss the climax of the series, as well as read out “chicken soups” from our dedicated listeners, re-play some of our favourite, strangest, and funniest moments from the past 4 years, and finally give our heartfelt good-byes.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this podcast possible! It’s been a wild ride that we wouldn’t trade for anything else. We hope Potter Pensieve has had as much of an influence on you as it has with us. Words cannot express our gratitude toward this podcast and the Harry Potter fan community, so thank you very much! NBOT.
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Ginny: The Canon Mary Sue

Wednesday, May 02nd, 2012 | Author: Heather

While the boys are away having fun in Brazil, I figured I would take this opportunity for a little girl  talk. If you recall, Hollie discussed Ginny Weasley last year in her summer series and I thought I would take a shot at her, as well.

Ginny is one of the few polarizing characters in the Harry Potter series, with Snape being the other notable example. If you ask ten different people how they feel about Neville Longbottom or Mr. Dursley, the answers you get will be along the same lines with ridiculous amounts of love for Neville and distaste at the thought of Uncle Vernon. Ginny will get a diverse response.

On the surface, Ginny seems like a perfectly fine and strong, female character. She’s tough, she’s a skilled witch, she’s vivacious, and she’s hot. All good qualities, right? So why do I sigh and roll my eyes at the thought of her?

Well for starters, she’s wonderful. I think that’s the main reason I have never gotten along with her. Now before you say anything, I’m not being catty and hating the popular girl because she has what I don’t. Hermione’s smarter than me, Fleur is more alluring, Katie Bell’s more athletic, and I love them all. But when it comes to Ginny it’s almost as if she’s too perfect. Like Jo put a Mary Sue right into the middle of canon who just happens to be the perfect woman for Harry to fall for.

I have racked my mind for a flaw in Ginny, but the only one she seems to have is that she lacks one. From a literary point of view- and I’m sure Hollie will agree with me- this is an awful harmartia that no one can relate to. When was the last time you were kvetching with your friends and one of them said “Ugh! You guys are so lucky. I wish I had a flaw!” If someone said that to you ,you’d get angry, right? Well I’m getting angry at Ginny.

This brings me to my next complaint. Ginny is not a fleshed out character. Her perfection makes her appear one-sided. We don’t really get to know her until Half-Blood Prince and even then it’s not a very thorough characterization. My theory is that Jo was really, really close to finishing HBP when someone asked her about Harry’s love life. Suddenly, Jo realized that she had forgotten to write into the books a love interest for Harry so she grabbed the closest available character and said “ENCHANT HARRY POTTER WITH YOUR FEMININE CHARMS!!!!!!!!!!!” (In my mind J.K. Rowling shouts at the pages of her manuscripts. I dare you to prove me otherwise.)

Ginny’s development seems crammed into one book and it’s not gradual or subtle at all. It’s unrealistic. Yes I understand that we’re seeing her from Harry’s point of view and he suddenly saw her as a woman and not just as Ron’s kid sister. Yes I understand that Jo was preoccupied with Voldemort. And yes I understand the difference between xylem and phloem. (Oh sorry. I probably shouldn’t write blog posts in biology class.) But doesn’t it bother anyone else how Ginny magically transforms from an awkward pre-teen with a tendency to blush to a fiery, mature woman while no one was looking? As a fiery, mature woman myself I can assure you that this is not how growing up happens. Did Ginny use a potion or something? If she did someone should have told 13-year-old Heather about it.

All in all, I just wish that we had a chance to know Ginny outside of what she was to Harry. As her own character with her own motivations and her own personality and her own reactions. The other female characters have lives beyond Harry, but Ginny seems limited. It’s really too bad because I feel if I saw less of “flawless, exceptional Ginny” and more of “vulnerable, relatable Ginny” I could really like her. But unfortunately we’re left not with a strong woman like Molly Weasley or Professoer McGonagall, but with the empty idea of one.

Category: Books, Canon  | Tags: , ,  | 7 Thoughts

The Potter Pensieve #30 – OotP Chapters 13-15

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 | Author: Adam
Hello folks! This week in the PPP studio we have Thio, Emily, Adam and our New Year’s Challenge winner Jamie! Listen in as we get into some in-depth discussion and analysis of chapters 13-15 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix! A few interesting topics discussed are:
-Why Jamie hates Percy over Voldemort!
-Harry’s scar doesn’t hurt, he just has numeral headaches!
-Does Cho get too much screen time?
-Umbridge fears what she doesn’t understand.
And loads more! Thanks once again to Jamie for appearing on the show this week, and engaging us all with her outgoing insights and brilliant sense of humour!
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Ginevra: The Betrothed

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 | Author: Hollie

Ginevra Molly Weasley was born in the dog days of summer under the sign of the Lion. A true Gryffindor, there is no doubt. On this day, the Weasley family was blessed with a baby girl; the first to be added to their family tree in a wizard’s age. Our Harry Potter canonry insists this is evidence that Ginny was destined to become a gifted witch. If her Aunt Muriel predicted such a thing, we know she would have been right. So why are we often “meh” about Ginny Weasley? I will attempt to answer that, perhaps uncovering the jewels of her true being, something I think we should all take the time to discover. Ginny may not be my absolute favourite character, although I do have a great amount of respect and admiration for her. If we just knew her a little better, I think we’d love her like the daughter, sister, friend and lover she has become right before our eyes.

Ginny’s antique name could be of great significance, and I don’t mean the curious kind; Ginevra is a Welsh (or Italian) derivative of Guinevere, and we all know who that is, don’t we? Queen Guinevere, the fair and noble wife of King Arthur, the true and fierce lover of Sir Lancelot – the exceptional lady who brought the Round Table and one-hundred knights as her dowry. Although not altogether wholesome, Guinevere is of noble character, withstanding the challenges faced by a Queen ruling in a rugged (not to mention bloody) era of Britian’s history. if decidedly mythical, she was a ‘real woman’, one that we can cast a contemporary light on: she did not lead a virtuous existence, but she certainly stayed true to her heart and her beliefs. Like Ginny, Queen Guinevere was destined to lead an exceptional life. It seems trivial, but Ginny’s father’s name is Arthur. It is worth mentioning!

Is our Ginny a Guinevere? Not precisely, no, but we can draw similarities, as I’m sure Jo has. For one, Ginny Weasley comes from a noble, pure-blood wizarding family. Despite their lack of wealth and social status, the Weasleys are courageous, kind, and of the highest moral standards. They would serve any kingdom admirably. To add, they descend from a line of brave magical talent, so it seems, and have proven themselves to be amongst the most unyielding of Voldemort’s opposition. As members of The Order, they are like knights – they fight to save their ‘world’, and while doing so, sacrifice the comfort and joy of their home, their namesake, and their lives. As wise and selfless people, they seek no alternative, pressing on through the years of the Dark Lord’s reign.

Ginny may be the precious family jewel, and like any stone, she is lovely, but has an amazingly tough exterior. And like a precious gem, she is formed from the elements of nature, having purpose and strength that the ordinary eye fails to see. Jo once told us that Ginny is “…a fairly forceful person (and always has been…)”. We know we are not dealing with a mousy little sister who tags along with her brothers. In fact, she has learned much from them: “The thing about growing up with Fred and George is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” (OP29) In turn, Fred and George come to realize the awesomeness of their youngest sibling:

“Yeah, size is no guarantee of power,” said George. “Look at Ginny.”

“What d’ you mean?” said Harry.

“You’ve never been on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Bogey Hexes, have you?” (OP6)

She’s rare – the youngest and only girl, often in the protection of her parents, brothers, or Harry himself, but perpetually proving her own power as a witch and cleverness as a young woman: “I’m three years older than you were when you fought You-Know-Who over the Philosopher’s Stone, and it’s because of me Malfoy’s stuck back in Umbridge’s office with giant flying bogeys attacking him – ” (OP33) Throughout the series, we come to know and respect Ginny Weasley for her wit, moral character, talents and strength. However, I’ve noticed a lot of us have a hard time uncovering a whole image of her; she is always in the picture, but never at the centre of it. I have an inkling that this is the cause of fans’ difficulty accepting her as Harry’s betrothed. I use the arguably outdated term because I find its concept is entangled in the tale. A prominent hint is the resemblance of Lily and Ginny in appearance, attitude and reputation. Jo comments on Lily’s school days, saying, “Like Ginny, she was a popular girl.” And like Ginny, Lily had no problem working for the underdog, voicing her opinion, and maintaining independence. Both women possessed natural magical talent, and both were brave and strong in fighting evil with love. Like Slughorn says, they are equally “lovely…”.

Aside from Hagrid, Ginny and her family were the very first to befriend Harry in the wizarding world. He quickly becomes an honourary member of the Weasley clan, connecting him to Ginny at a tender age. There is something quite sacred about this, and it is impossible to ignore the circumstances that solidify their relationship. The shared adventure and family gatherings, as well as the sharing of burdens, milestones, successes and failures naturally weave their lives together. To Molly and Arthur, Harry is “…as good as” a son to them. In my point of view, nature has betrothed the pair, and in the end, they find each other independently, and by choice.

Getting a bit tired of fairy tales? Let us look at a modern point of view: Ginny is an exceptional witch, quite worthy of both our and Harry’s adoration. She is an incredible role model to readers, and here’s why: from a young age, she has been able to keep up with her brothers – not because they are boys, but because they are basically insane. She laughs with them on many occasions, not garnering the attitude of her mother (who thoroughly disapproves of their antics). Her own sense of humour is unrivaled, even upping the ante for Fred and George – she is so clever and dry, it would probably be difficult to discern her jokes from mere commentary at times. Ginny’s humour contains the same wryness as Harry’s, making for a smart pair. We really can’t forget her unforgiving mockery of Fleur. I think it would be difficult to gain Ginny’s respect as a future sister-in-law, unless you were rugged, great at Quidditch, unnervingly brave, and downright sarcastic. Not too much to ask, right? Looking past the epilogue, it’s easy to see that Ginny puts her intelligence to much further use, becoming a sports journalist. In a rather male-dominated industry, I’m sure it would have been refreshing to see her bright face and fresh perspective dawning the pages of the Daily Prophet. Besides, she does have her credentials in check: a former member of the Holyhead Harpies. Imagine having their poster on your bedroom wall, then having the gumption and skill to become one of them. A dream come true for a young woman, indeed. In all of this, she is lucky to share her life with someone who is equally as passionate about her. Remember the unnamed beast summoned inside of Harry? Only Ginny could conjure such a thing!

My favourite thing about Ginny Weasley is, in the end, her compassionate soul. She seems to understand Harry, Luna, Hermione, Neville, and many other characters in their time of need. She does not dote on her popularity, and seems quite unabashed by it. It is quite clear that her friends are her true friends, no matter their status. She takes Neville to the Yule Ball when I’m sure she could have had her handpick of dates. She befriends Luna despite her oddities and social awkwardness. She loves Hermione as a sister, making her part of the Weasley family as much as Harry is. It is easy to picture Ginny as a wonderful mother and wife someday: creating a sanctuary with Harry, enjoying a career as a writer and role model, and continuing to ward off evil with her good spirit.


Hermione, the Heroine: Part I

Monday, July 11th, 2011 | Author: Hollie

I am not a pretty girl

that is not what i do

I ain’t no damsel in distress

and I don’t need to be rescued

so put me down punk

wouldn’t you prefer a maiden fair

isn’t there a kitten

stuck up a tree somewhere

~Ani Difranco, 1995.

For me, Hermione Granger is the witch that will give our summer series the perfect kick-start. The reason behind my choice is obvious – she is the ideal contemporary heroine. Courageous, loyal and honest, her work ethic and moral standard give any Average Josephine a run for their wand. Despite her brilliance, she possesses the attributes of a knight with true modesty, revealed early in Philosopher’s Stone: “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship, and bravery.” (16) Let’s not forget her spirit for adventure, blossoming with her thirst for knowledge. But wait – aren’t we forgetting about those envious characteristics most classic heroines come by naturally? How about incomparable beauty?  Not unless you count the bushy hair and abnormally large front teeth. Countless suitors pining for her heart? Besides Viktor Krum (with his surly uncouthness), and Cormac McGlaggen (who feels like something out of Varsity Blues), Hermione remains overlooked, until her and Ron’s love grows into its own. Is she graceful; full of poise? Regretfully, her shrill, insistent tone isn’t always pleasing to the ear, and she was never able to mount a broomstick properly let alone play a match of Quidditch. Beyond that, does she come from a long line of regal witches and wizards? Interestingly enough, no, yet Remus Lupin remarks that she’s “…the cleverest witch of [her] age [he's] ever met…” (PA17) And in the end, she does not give excuses or apologies for who she is. All wrapped up, we’ve got an incredible role model for today’s girl. Note that I didn’t say a ‘perfect’ one. Take it from the young woman who, other than J.K. Rowling herself, knows Ms. Granger better than anyone. In her recent speech at the Deathly Hallows: Part II Premiere, Emma Watson shines a light on one of the most beloved female characters of all time, claiming the on-screen Hermione is “…every bit as strong and beautiful and brave as she is in the books.” She’s ‘real’ in a ‘not-so-real’ world, and we dig that. We need to relate to her, or at least some aspect of her, and for many people that is easily done. Some readily admit this (or embrace it heartily) while others would rather attach themselves to Ginny, Luna, or even the likes of Bellatrix Lestrange (understandable – she’s a knock-out in the films…until she opens her mouth to reveal those rotting Azkaban teeth. The outside truly reflects what’s within, doesn’t it).  All that said, let’s dig deeper into Hermione’s character and decipher if we admire her for who she is, or perhaps for who she isn’t. Myself? I believe it to be a wondrous mix of characteristics that, when melded together to make our Hermione, always saves the day.

*Stay tuned for my next installment where I go into a bit more detail about the current culture of feminine standards, a real life feminist icon, and what we can learn by peering through Hermione’s perspective, even if it’s just for a moment.


Bewitched: A Summer Series

Wednesday, June 01st, 2011 | Author: Hollie

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”

– Virginia Woolf

She’s right, you know. Ever since Father Time pressed “start” (or was it Mother Time?), women’s contributions to society have been shrouded. In centuries past, female writers were either advised or reared to believe it was their holy duty to assume the pen-name “Anonymous”. Despite living in contemporary times, our brilliant JK Rowling decided it was best to take on an androgynous one – a reflection of lingering attitudes toward women, no? Amidst all this, it is difficult to imagine when literature did not celebrate the role of women in society, and for the past twenty-odd years, scholars have been uncovering women’s history, discovering the layers of our true role in the people’s histories, ancient to contemporary. The result? Boundless veins of evidence that, without women and girls, the world would have ceased spinning by the time we reached the Dark Ages. You’re thinking, “Duh, we knew that!”. Sure, and I’m glad you do, but please consider this: people have failed to acknowledge women’s roles properly, fully, and with due respect.

To remedy these wrongdoings and illuminate truth, it is important to look closer and examine the ‘who, what, where, when, why, and most interestingly, how’ of women’s roles. As a fellow woman, role model, family member, friend and colleague to many amazing ladies, I need to have that conversation, and I believe you do too. As a Harry Potter fan, I’ve studied the intriguing female characters of the series – many admirable, most eccentric, a few disappointing, and others downright horrifying. As women and witches, these characters have a duality; a remarkable element infuses their feminine nature. For me, this mirrors the powerful and gifted women of  ’the real world’. I would like you to join me in discussing how Jo Rowling’s witches shape and influence the wizarding world.

Over the summer months, we’ll philosophize over our most beloved female characters in the series. I will attempt this from a personal and informal point of view, so I will not be referencing MLA style (sorry,


I understand and value the importance of citation, but this is for fun – so let’s leave out the formalities. I want you to feel free in expressing your opinion as well, and I encourage positive and critical feedback. In the end, no witch will be left unanalyzed!

My intention in writing  this collection of essays is to inspire all of you you to converse with each other about the nature of women, the wonders of witches, and the world in which they forge and dwell. Going forth, let the world never disgrace women and girls, and let us celebrate the mystery and magic of womanhood, which burns like a restless flame in all of us.

Jo – thank you for being a voice for women and girls everywhere. This one’s for you!


The Unforgivables

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 | Author: Christine
Avada Kedavra’s a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it—you could all get your wands out and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I’d get so much as a nosebleed.
—Barty Crouch Jr, disguised as Alastor Moody. Goblet of Fire

The Unforgivable Curses are very powerful, and are introduced to us in the Goblet of Fire by Barty Crouch Jr pretending to be Alastor Moody in a Defense Against the Dark Arts class.  As Barty explains, they need powerful magic behind them in order for them to work. Bellatrix Lestrange said “You really need to mean them.”

Avada Kedavra is the opposite of the phrase “Abra Cadabra”, which means “From nothing, life”. So Avada Kadavra means “From life, nothing.” It causes instant death, with no counter curse or blocking spell available.

Crucio is Latin for “I torture”, and inflicts excruciating pain.

Imperio is Latin for “I command”, and causes the victim to do whatever the caster of the spell bids them to do. It is resistable, but extremely difficult to do so.

It came up in Episode 19 whether the DADA class should have been subjected to learning about the Unforgivable Curses so early. The Ministry of Magic rules that you should not learn about them until the age of 16. Dumbledore, however, overruled this order and thought that with the return of Voldemort upon them, it would be wise for the students have the knowledge under their belt. After all, they weren’t learning how to do the Curses, they were learning about them.

The problem with this is that Dumbledore gave Alastor Moody the okay to teach about the Curses, not Barty Crouch Jr. Dumbledore didn’t know at the time that Barty was posing as Moody, so he couldn’t have known how the Curses would be taught. If it were Moody teaching about the Curses, he probably would have done it in a more acceptable way. So I think Dumbledore had the right idea with Voldemort on his way back to power and the Triwizard Tournament happening with all of these new foreign people staying at Hogwarts, to just teach the students about what these Curses can do in case they run into them. Which was completely possible.

Category: Blog Post, Canon  | 2 Thoughts

Battle of Hogwarts :(

Monday, May 02nd, 2011 | Author: Katherine

Today is the 13th Anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts and I made a video commemorating all the people who died.

It had to be a link as the file was too big.

The music is No One But You by Queen. They sang it in 1997 after Princess Diana died and it ould be argued it is also about Freddie Mercury who died in 1991. I thought it fitted with this too.

Category: Blog Post, Books, Canon  | 5 Thoughts

Racist Dursleys!

Thursday, March 31st, 2011 | Author: Kim
Back to the Burrow is my absolute favorite chapter in Goblet of Fire, perhaps in all of Harry Potter.  For me, imagining the Weasleys and the Dursleys in the same room is too comical.  They are total opposites, not just because of their magical differences.  The Weasleys are a people of meager living.  They do not have the grandest posessions or the shiniest new toys.  The Dursleys are a people that pride themselves on having the best.  Their status in society is based on what they have, not who they are.  I often wonder where the Dursleys would stand if they were involved in the fight against Voldemort.  I don’t necessarily believe that they would be on the side of the Death Eaters.  I do, however, think they would be indifferent.  They would stand aside and let people like the Weasleys fight the good fight for them.
Another interesting thing I thought of today while listening to the newest podcast is racism, not just in Harry Potter but in all of literature.  Sometimes, it is blatant and obvious and smacks you in the face.  Other times, it is so deeply buried, you have to stretch your imagination pretty far to catch it.  In Lewis Carroll’s Alice novels, racism is a prevalent theme that doesn’t hit you over the head.  It is disguised in such a way that it doesn’t stand out as one of the major themes throughout the novels.

Racism runs through the roots of Harry Potter.  From the Death Eaters and Voldemort to house elves, it is prevalent in so many places.  One place that I often overlook is with the Dursleys.  For me, because they are not central characters that are involved much past the start of each book, I often tend to forget them.  But listening and re-reading over this chapter only sparked a reminder for me.  They are elitists.  They believe that they have the best, are the best, will always be the best.  Harry is different.  Even though he is family, he will never measure up to the Dursleys and what they have.  So while the Dursleys may not exhibit the most blatant of racism in the Harry Potter novels, they sure do have the same views.  If they were a part of the Wizarding World, you can bet that they would treat house-elves with disdain and loathing.

Category: Blog Post, Canon, Potter Humor  | Tags: ,  | 6 Thoughts