Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

United States

What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? What would we learn? How might they change us? Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a new podcast reading Harry Potter, the best-selling series of all time, as if it was a sacred text. Just as Christians read the Bible, Jews the Torah and Muslims read the Quran, we will embark on a 199-episode journey (one chapter an episode, to be released weekly) to glean what wisdom and meaning J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels have for us today. We will read Harry Potter, not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives.

Episodes

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?

This week's story was told by Kathy Tu, the brilliant host of the Nancy Podcast from WNYC Studios. This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron. Next week we're reading chapter eighteen, Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, through the theme of isolation.

A Note from the Road  

Sorry folks, the episode's coming out on Thursday. Here's a quick voicemail from Vanessa and Casper. You can check out our new video on youtube and facebook! Much love. 

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?

Next week we're reading chapter seventeen, Cat, Rat and Dog, through the theme of innocence. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Laurie Benson. Don't forget to buy tickets for the east coast leg of live tour (which starts this weekend!): harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show

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?

Next week we're reading chapter sixteen, Professor Trelawney's Prediction, through the theme of wonder. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Lauren Lo Bue. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show

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? 

Next week we're reading chapter fifteen, The Quidditch Final, through the theme of pain. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Tyler Reeves. Don't forget to buy tickets for the east coast leg of our live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show

Rivalry: Gryffindor Versus 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?

If you want to see and hear more of Hank, you can watch him on his many youtube channels, listen to him on his podcast Dear Hank and John, and catch him at PodCon, which is on December 9th and 10th in Seattle.

Next week we're reading chapter fourteen, Snape's Grudge, through the theme of imagination. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Kathy Kavanaugh. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show






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? 

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

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?

We are delighted to be joined this week by Father Jim Martin to discuss Jesuit spirituality and sacred imagination. He's the editor-at-large of America Magazine and author of such books as Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and Seven Last Words?

This episode is sponsored by Verizon go90. Next week we're reading chapter twelve, The Patronus, through the theme of optimism. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Sophia Charan. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show




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?

This episode is sponsored by Spotify Showstopper and Warby Parker. Next week we're reading chapter eleven, The Firebolt, through the theme of transformation. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Katie Stickles-Wynen. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show

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?

This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and Spotify Showstopper. Next week we're reading chapter ten, The Marauder's Map, through the theme of escape. Our donor of the week is Crookshanks and our voicemail this week is thanks to Camryn Kessler.

[Explicit] Extra! Extra!: Blooper Reel  

This is not a real episode! It's a reel episode. (Groan.) 

Ariana made this little blooper reel for some of the Crowdfunder backers, but we thought it would be nice to share it with everyone.  It's Ariana's mom's birthday today, and it's a beautiful Friday here in Boston, so it's a good day for something a little special. Thanks go, of course, to those who ordered it from the Crowdfunder - without you, it wouldn't exist! 

Today we're also releasing posters for our live tour. Go check them out on social media and share them with your friends. We can't wait to see ya'll in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. If you haven't yet bought your tickets, you can do so at: http://www.harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show/

P.S. Despite how it might sound in these bloopers, we love all of our sponsors and are very grateful for their support. The explicit warning is for swearing. See you on Tuesday!

Desperation: 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? 

This episode is sponsored by Spotify Showstopper and Verizon Go 90. Next week we're reading chapter nine, Grim Defeat, through the theme of frustration. Our donor of the week is Mikhela Ungerleider and our voicemail this week is thanks to Sara Cochennet. 

Special Edition: Extended Conversation with Chloe Angyal  

We could only include a few minutes of Vanessa's conversation with Chloe into the main episode this week, but we wanted to share an extended cut of their interview. Hear Chloe talk more about humorous responses to internet trolls and the toll they can take. Hear Vanessa and Chloe awkwardly adore each other. You'll want to be their best friends. 

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? 

This week's story was told by the brilliant journalist Chloe Angyal. This episode is sponsored by Bombas and Spotify Showstopper. Next week we're reading chapter eight, The Flight of the Fat Lady, through the theme of desperation. Our donor of the week is Andrew Stairs and our voicemail this week is thanks to Duke Lambert. 

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? 

This episode is sponsored by Bombas and Spotify Showstopper. Next week we're reading chapter seven, The Boggart in the Wardrobe, through the theme of humor. Our donor of the week is Hannah McGinty and our voicemail this week is thanks to Selina Mahmood. 

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? 

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Bombas. Next week we're reading chapter six, Talons and Tea Leaves, through the theme of forgiveness. Our donor of the week is Ashleigh Gilbertson and our voicemail this week is thanks to Catherine Gilbert. 

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?

This episode is sponsored by Spotify Showstopper and Blue Apron. Next week we're reading chapter five, The Dementor, through the theme of foresight. Our donor of the week is Marilyn Pukkila and our voicemail this week is thanks to Abigail Smith. If you want to take the audience survey, you can go to panoply.fm/survey.

Special Edition: Extended Conversation with Jackson Bird from the Harry Potter Alliance  

We could only include a few minutes of Casper's conversation with Jackson Bird into the main episode this week, but it was so lovely that we thought it was important to share it all. So here's an extended cut! Hear Jackson talk more about the Harry Potter Alliance and his experience with publicly coming out as trans. 

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.

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Spotify Showstopper. Next week we're reading chapter four, The Leaky Cauldron, through the theme of hospitality. Our story this week was told by our wonderful friend Jack Bird of the Harry Potter Alliance and this week's voicemail is thanks to Lyla Quinn. If you want to take the audience survey, you can go to panoply.fm/survey.

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

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?

This episode is sponsored by Spotify Showstopper and Audible and this week's voicemail is thanks to Liza Mann. Next week we’ll be reading chapter three, The Knight Bus, through the theme of secrets. If you want to take the audience survey, you can go to panoply.fm/survey.

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