PotterCast 148: The Trial


Apr 20, 2008

Posted by EdwardTLC

The 148th episode of PotterCast, our Harry Potter podcast, is online this evening with an extended discussion of the JKR/WB vs. RDR Books trial which took place in New York City this past week. First, we bring you a few Harry Potter news updates including Jim Broadbent’s comments on his character of Horace Slughorn in the sixth film, the clothing styles of Narcissa Malfoy in HBP, and the 18th birthday of Emma Watson. The remainder of this episode features a recap of the three day trial as well as discussion of the testimony, witnesses, events in the courtroom, and the possible effects these events could have on the fandom. To listen, just hit the “Play” button on the right side of the page (->), or use iTunes, or direct download.

“The Trial”

- JKR/RDR Books Trial coverage from Manhattan, Melissa and John are there.
- Effects on the fandom.
- It all hits close to home.
- Movie news and Emma is 18.
- 24 hours of testimony.

RT: 74:22

Editors: Stede Bonnett

LeakyCon 2009: A Harry Potter Conference in Boston
Podcast Alley
Terminus 2008

Direct download (34 MB).
Direct download low-bandwidth (9 MB).

Remember you don’t need an iPod to listen. Listen easily on iTunes, which you can download and install here, by clicking here to listen, or you can just use the streaming Flash player at PotterCast.com or just on the right side of this page. Discussion of the PotterCast is right here. Enjoy!

46 Responses to PotterCast 148: The Trial

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POTTERCAST ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Number 1!!!!! 1st comment!!!!!!!

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It’s in early, I somewhat doubt though its going to be the most fun podcast we ever had.

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2nd.. :)

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Well, I want to thank John, Melissa and Sam for their candid recounting of the court proceedings. And thank you for being there to support Jo. I, for one, appreciate hearing that you were able to put a smile on her face from time to time during a very difficult 3 days. And that you were there to represent both Leaky and the segment of the fans who support Jo and her rights in this case.

I’d also like to say the I fully support and applaud Sue for not reporting on this particular case. I can’t imagine how hard this is for all of you, having had a close working and personal relationship with someone whom you thought shared your values and thoughts on this particular topic, and so many others. It really is too bad that things have had to come down to this. So megahugs to all!

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Woooooooohhhh!!! Pottercast xD!!!! Woooooooooooooooohh!!!

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I was suprised at how early it was released.Is this the coming weeks episode or do you think they will release another episode later this week?

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@10thWeasley I’m sure this is this week’s episode. I think it was released early because it’s of pressing interest to a lot of people…not just those of us in the HP “community”.

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A show is a show, so I assume this is theirs for the week, could be wrong though.

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“And come to trials about Harry Potter together….”

This is just such a sad business… I want to extend my sincere thanks to Melissa, John & Sam for going to the trial, for Melissa’s detailed notes, and for this informative Pottercast.

Jo has my full support!

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Kudos for the info. I appreciate all of your coverage, it had to have been difficult. The right way is never the easy way…

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early? what the—?

Mr. Hammer! ahahaha that made me snort water up my nose

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its really early and that is so awesome, haven’t gotten a chance to listen to it yet, but I know it will be awesome, as always!!!!

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This was such a nice surprise to have a new episode today. OMG the mr. hammer thing was so funny! I can’t believe you guys got to talk to Jo AGAIN. lol jk you deserve it. “Oh you make it so seductive!” oh, jo your so funny!

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Melissa, John and Sue..

Great show as always ! Wonderful detailed reporting of the case and you did a fantastic job of keeping it professional ! Melissa, I hope your wrist recovers ! :-)

I was wondering though, what you and others may think of this theory I have percolating in my head. Is it possible…just possible that SVA became SO ( won’t use the word ” obsesses’ becasue it is such a strong word – although probably more accurate ) enamoured of Jo’s Wizarding World that he began to wish and dream of actually living it?

By this I mean, he is not a ’ stalker ’ of JKR herself, but more of her wizarding world. It seems he almost wants this world to be real, and to be a part of it. If he asked Jo for a job in helping to create her Scottish Book and was politely turned down. ( and I could see why she would not need his help, her story and facts are on HER bits of paper scattered about and mostly in her head ) then the fantasy he had created in HIS head, of making a living off this world was then kabashed.

I think he wantred mroe than anything to become a part of this world, to make a living off of being involved with Harry Potter, The Wizarding World in general, to spend his days involved with Jo and co-create. Remember that word that sent poeple into a spin? The ” D ” word? coughdelusionalcough

I think SVA deluded himself into thinking that he could somehow become a part of Jo’s world, he loved it that much, and keep it alive. He was quite proud of the fact that he HAD questioned what the core of Dumbledore’s wand may be and was not answered ( rightly so ) back in 2005. He then took it as a personal affront when Jo made a remark saying that no one had ever questioned her about Dumbledore’s wand. I think that somehow, in his head, he was beginning to believe that JO’s world was real, wanted it to be real and was beginning to convince himself of it, or, failing that, he was going to make it as real as possible by relocating to London, to the ” heart” of it all. For all we know his home may resemble the Gryffindor Common Room ! I know myself, ( and I am 53 ) that if I had the money to decorate my living room with oversized squashy chairs and a huge fireplace ( I’m thinking of the films version of course ) I would love to ! Or maybe Bag End still…. I still love Hobbit homes ! Anyway, point being, is that SVA wanted this world to be his. He wanted to live it, breathe it, become a part of it. The website was dear to him, but he wanted to quit whatever job he was doing and make a living by being involved, in whatever way he could, with Harry Potter.

I am NOT defending SVA ! Please do not misunderstand ! What he is doing is dead wrong. Just flat out dead wrong. But a part of me wonders, when you become this infatuated, this intense, about a fantasy; you WANT it to be real, or as real as possible. What better way than to work with the creator of that world herself? When that was denied he sought other means.

Oh I know I am being terribly unclear about what I am trying to say…I apologize. I just wonder how much of his HP obsession led to this sad turn of events. I wonder if he had asked if he could be a consultant tot he Universal Harry Potter Theme Park, to make sure the details were correct, or oversee the ’ Graveyard Scene’ that they are planning to show, if Jo would have consented to that..in some small way. He could have made sure their facts were correct or something to that effect… Then he could actually walked the streets of Hogsmeade and visited Hogwarts every day to his hearts content. But that would mean living in Florida ( where I live ) and not England. He wanted to be in England, where the Wizardig World of HP ” actually existed ”.

OH…what I am trying to say is…did he let himself get out of control and lose a bit of touch with reality? If so, this lawsuit has slammed him back into it.

Ok, I am about as clear as mud here, forgive me… and this had nothing to do much with the case as a whole nor of Pottercast, but I have been turning this over in my mind and had to get it out.

Guys, you did a great job of impartial reporting of the facts and I am very very glad to see you brought moments of laughter for JO during an emotionally draining trial. She is an amazing woman to keep her composure the way she did is she not?

I know this has been emotionally draining for you three as well. Props to you all for seeing it through and keeping us up to date with the accuracy of these proceedings as they unfolded.

These are sad times when the wonderful world of Harry Potter and his creator begin to get draggged through the mud like this. I feel for Jo and her family. They will be bothered more than ever now and that is just not right.

Oh and John, the British accent on the ’ Mr. Hammer” bit was excellent. ! Just what I needed for a great laugh ! Thanks !!

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Hats off to you guys! applauds

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It NEVER works for me the first day.. :(

I ALWAYS have to wait till monday or tuesday for it to download via iTunes. .

is it a canadian thing or something?

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Ya know, I really didn’t think there’d be a podcast devoted to this topic. I mean, I did kind of hope there would be, then thought “Well, they probably wouldn’t want to put themselves through it a second time around by discussing it for an hour”, then I thought “Well, there won’t be a cast at all this week. I’m sure they should take a well-deserved week off from this.” Just goes to show, time and time again, that even through the most stressful times, leaky always comes through for the fans, even in a very tough situation such as this. Rock on Guys.

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It’s not a Canadian thing, Tara. It works for me!

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Is It good? Does It cost money? Im not sure!!

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A very early PotterCast this week, Ill listen to it in a little bit.

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I was right all along. This case was not as clear cut as JKR and the Leaky staff claimed it to be. I never once thought what SVA was trying to do was wrong. He has always given JKR credit and not stolen anything. JKR is a control freak. I also want to know why WB was involved? Don’t they make movies?

What has happened here is a tragedy. JKR has trashed one of her most ardent supporters and for what?

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Thank you Pottercast for your continued support of JKRowling. You have your priorities right!

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What I keep thinking listening to this podcast is “Hardy Har Books” – it’s good that they can laugh at themselves.

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Wow… THAT is why I love Jo.

/Mr. Hammer/

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Very interesting podcast – I couldn’t stop listening! I feel this case is very sad and unfortunate all around. I feel for Sue, who seems to still be really struggling with all of this because of her longtime close friendship with Steve. Despite it all, it is hard to just throw away a friendship with someone and forget about all the good.

Up until now, I have found the legal aspects of the case to be quite interesting. I’ve felt (and still think) that both sides have very legitimate points from a legal standpoint. That said, I was really struck by John’s comments about the fandom, what it meant to him, and how it has affected his life in a positive way. I thought John was very eloquent in communicating his thoughts on this, and after hearing his commentary, I began to think about the fact that legally right or not, it seems Steve had more of a moral/ethical choice to make. When it really comes down to it (legalities aside), Jo asked Steve not to write the book in this fashion, and he’s doing it anyway. And no one can deny that without Jo and her story, Steve would not have a book to write at all – or a fandom to be ostracized from.

I do think Steve (and Melissa and Emerson, etc.) have a right to see some legitimate monetary profit from the HP phenomenon since all of them have put extraordinary amounts of effort into enriching the fandom over the years. In Steve’s case however, this is apparently not the only book he is writing. So it’s not like if he loses the right to publish this one, all his hope of making some kind of living off of this will go out the window. Legally, he has a right to fight. Morally/ethically, he should have backed away.

Again, it’s all very sad. I imagine that everyone who has a stake in this case will move ahead after it’s over. Certainly the WB, Jo, and even RDR books have many other business ventures to attend to. Members of the Leaky staff and the fandom in general also will forge ahead. But for Steve, it seems there will be no “win” in this case – even if he wins. For Steve, his biggest pleasure in life was being a respected and leading member of the fandom. I think being kicked out of it forever and villified all over the net is the biggest punishment and pain he could ever feel. I guess he should have been prepared for such a consequence, but it doesn’t make it any less of a shame.

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good job guys! i love hearing what went on in the court room. I’m just sorry it’s on such a personal level for some of you, but way to stay true!! To J.K.R., Harry, and all us fans!! You are greatly appreciated.

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Well, this is probably the most emotionally charged episode I’ve ever listened to. I was riveted and touched. John really really seemed to sum up most people’s feelings eloquently, indeed. But it was still wonderful to listen to our hosts gel so sweetly together as usual and especially here as they share their heartaches and feelings of the most difficult recent events with humour, sincerity, honesty and sometimes downright silliness (The John Thoughts with Jo is hilarious). You guys honestly rock and are great podcast entertainers in every way, during happy, sad or difficult times. Sometimes I wonder if I am more a fan of Leaky than the Harry books! Now thats a little disturbing, I mean a fan of a team of fans? That’s not right…

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I’ve been listening since episode 1 and this is the first time I’ve listened to an episode the moment it came out. I usually listen at some point during the week on my iPod. But this trial is so important and I wanted to hear everything you guys had to say about it right away.

John, thank you for not tip toeing around the issues and saying what you really believe. I just do not understand at all what Steve is doing. How can you love this series so much, but then go to court against its creator? If it was me who wanted to write this book, and then Jo said no, that would be it! End of story! There is no way I would ever want to do anything against her wishes.

And Melissa, I totally understand how you’re feeling about what this is doing to the fandom. As you know, I just saw the We Are Wizards documentary, which was fantastic, but I couldn’t help but think about how this fandom is now saddened and divided over this Lexicon book and this trial as I watched the images of happier times. But, while this is certainly going to change things, I know that we are strong. I’m uncertain about the future, but I hope we will come through this and end up even stronger.

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This whole thing is upsetting and taking the fun out of pottercast:(

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Just wanted to thank you for this pottercast, which was very helpful in enlightning some of the murkier parts of the case, which I have been following through the internet (esp. TLC) for the last week. Even though you voiced your own opinion, it was done with delicacy and care for both sides of the story. I really appreciate that. And being able to cheer up Jo in such a difficult time…. I salute you!

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Its not working for me!!!!!!!! mine is only six minutes long!!!!!!!1

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In the end, I’m a make lemonade from the lemons sort of gal. When you put it all together, I’m noticing something very interesting take place. This fandom is maturing – not in an age specific way, but in generating its own wisdom. Yes, we all fall prey to the prejudices of our own particular perspectives and beliefs, but it is also very heartening to see honest, thoughtful debate in this venue.

The thing I love most about what Jo has created with Harry Potter is the nobility of spirit – the compassion – the “do what’s right, not what’s easy” – and put yourself at risk for what you believe in order to help others. All delivered in a fascinating story with characters we love like best friends.

So when put to the test in the way this trial has done to our fandom, it brings out the best and the worst in us all. Listening to this podcast, it was definitely the Best. We all benefit from your efforts, Melissa, John, Sue, Frack, Sam & everyone else at Leaky – Kudos & Thanks!

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I can’t wait to listen to the podcast! I’ve been carefully following the trial’s developments. Do you guys know how long it usually takes for the podcast to be available on iTunes? Thanks!

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“Mr. Hammer!” hahahahahaha! JOHN IS HILARIOUS!!!

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“I do think Steve (and Melissa and Emerson, etc.) have a right to see some legitimate monetary profit from the HP phenomenon since all of them have put extraordinary amounts of effort into enriching the fandom over the years.”

That is a great point, Cathie. But Emerson has already admitted to profiting from MuggleNet. These websites that are overloaded with advertising, though “free,” generate enormous profits for those in charge:

“As of 2005, the MuggleNet network started generating a six-figure income through advertising revenue.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MuggleNet#_note-5

Because the Lexicon has had minimal advertising compared to TLC and MuggleNet, I was not surprised to learn that the Lexicon had generated around $7000 in seven years, probably about enough for operating costs. However, with TLC’s ads being more on scale with MuggleNet, one does have to wonder how much Melissa, Sue and John are raking in from TLC each year – not to say that they don’t deserve it, necessarily, but you can bet they won’t disclose it. This trio has done an excellent job of sweeping their profitable information under the rug, which is probably where I will find my post tomorrow. At least several other posts of mine are already there to keep this one company.

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That rocked.

Mr. Hammer!!!

I think John telling Jo about his yelling “troll in the dungeon!” idea and her agreeing to bail him out if he did was the highlight of my day. I don’t know what that says about my day.

John Noe: Bringing the LOLs since…whenever he first appeared on PC. lol

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Oh, I forgot to comment on the actual substance in the episode (of which there is a lot). I’m watching Charm City Cakes, sue me. lol That was unintentional.

John surprised me with his statements about Steve. Not because I wasn’t expecting him to have those sentiments, but he expressed them so eloquently. And I agree with everything he said.

I wish Melissa had felt comfortable to say more, but her statement that she and Steve are no longer friends summed it up, I think.

Sue. Poor Sue. The kindhearted Hufflepuff who hates to think ill of anyone, let alone a friend. (gives Sue a hug)

Frack seemed confused at times (so did I…legal jargon makes my brain kerplunk). Gah…I think I may have to listen to the episode again.

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Sorry for the triple post.


There’s a difference between “income” and “profit.” They are not one in the same. Profit is what is left over before costs; income is what one has before costs. So, keeping up the website probably ate most of the income, if not all of it.

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Like most posters here, I want to thank the quartet (quintet today) for their coverage of this subject. I can get “impartial” reports of the trial anywhere, but prefer to hear from those who are part of the fandom like myself and especially from people I respect like TLC who were personally touched by these events. I myself wanted to reserve judgment of SVA because I enjoyed his participation in canon conundrums, but I think JKR has every right to try and protect her creation just as SVA protects his website. If indeed he was forced into this lawsuit, how sad.

I understand Sue and Melissa’s reluctance to comment but appreciate John’s outspoken tone – I think he says what everyone is feeling. I also like knowing that celebrity encounters don’t hinder John’s natural exuberance and utter goofiness… its shows just what a genuine person he is.

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Excellent podcast to help get us up to speed on what happened at the trial, and you guys did a great job of lightening the grim proceedings with your humor (“Mr. Hammer” and “Troll in the dungeon!” and playing with Jo’s charm bracelet + Harry Potter Monopoly). Thanks so much for conveying so eloquently the magic of the fandom and the poignancy of betraying that fan trust.

You mentioned that the judge’s comment about a settlement on Day 2 surprised you, and also that the case would probably be appealed no matter who won. I have been (unfortunately) involved in several complicated legal cases, so I’ve seen motions and judge’s comments firsthand, and my guess is that the judge urged the parties to reach a settlement before the case ever came to trial, and the lawyers and parties were either unable or unwilling to. Judges get peeved when the parties do not take judicial recommendations to heart. Yet it is the parties’ right to go to trial, so the judge cannot force them to reach a settlement before the trial – but the judge can certainly reiterate that recommendation during the trial.

This is an important point for two reasons – first, a settlement cannot be appealed, because both parties agree to it. Second (and a behind the scenes thing we don’t know and may never know), if the judge recommends the parties reach a settlement, and one side tries hard but the other side balks, the judge will be predisposed to lean on the side of the party that was willing to reach a reasonable settlement if the case does come to court. That could affect the verdict.

All that is just legal background. My heart definitely leans on the side of Jo’s (and Dumbledore’s) urging to “make a choice between what is right and what is easy” (Goblet, Am. ed., p.724). It is right to credit your sources, and it is right to only make money off of your own thoughts and your own words. I am a writer who has published 30 books, some of them nonfiction for young readers, and I always cite my sources and craft my books to reflect my feelings about my research, not just other people’s words. Steve could have done this, but chose not to. He chose to do what was easy, not what was right, under fair use copyright restrictions, and I believe that RDR will and should lose unless they make a settlement that allows them to revise the book to include much more of Steve’s own words and thoughts, and rigorous citation of all quotes from Jo’s books. Jo’s charges protect the work of every writer, and she deserves to win.

And I hope the fandom can go back to enjoying Harry Potter once the case is settled. Thanks so much for leading us in that direction, Sue, Melissa, John, and Frack.

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No Hinkypumnkmum, I really don’t believe SVA was that deluded, your almost painting him like Kathy Bates in Misery

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John totally summarized the way I feel. I’ve never seen anything like the HP fandom. It is such a good thing, and could be the template for more good things to come. And the leniency that JKR and WB have shown in letting the fans play with the goodies could also be a template for other artists and entities to show similar leniency. And for one person to put his or her self-interest above everyone else and endanger everything purely for either selfish or just bafflingly shortsighted reasons, that person should not expect such actions to go unnoticed. I mean, I don’t WANT anyone to cry, I don’t wish unhappiness on anyone, I don’t enjoy his suffering, but it is hard to feel any sympathy for a plight that is so completely earned. Never tickle a sleeping dragon.

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Here’s a question I have…maybe it’s dumb. But does RDA even need Steve to keep pursuing this case? He’s not named in the suit and he’s protected against any legal action. Does that also mean RDA doesn’t need his permission to go on with this suit and the publishing of the book?

Great podcast guys…I was riveted. All of you are so articulate.

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Professor, I completely relate with what you’re saying! I guess I became a fan of this fandom,LOL, a long time back, but listening to this episode really made me feel proud to be part of such a wonderful group of people. Melissa,John,Sue, Frak and Sam, you guys summed everything up really well. I understand how hard this has been for all of you, and the fact that you guys were ale to talk about it openly on the podcast really means a lot to all the fandom. Melissa, thank you for the wonderful reporting you did for the case, and my respect for you has only increased after you decided to back out from reporting the case when your e-mail appeared in court. John, thank you for putting everything across so eloquently. I think your words pretty much summed up my feelings on this whole thing as well, and I guess a majority of the fandom. Sue,again, I know how tough all this has been for you, especially since you personally knew Steve, and I respect your decision to not really come out and report on this case.

Also, I’m glad all of you were able to put a smile onto Jo’s face through such a stressful period. “Mr. Hammer”, gosh, I never thought I could laugh so hard at such a time! And “Troll in the dungeons!” Now that’s something I’d like to have seen, LOL! John Noe, what would we do without you?!

I fully support Jo on this, and I hope this all ends soon. I’d hate it if the trial prolonged.

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hah hah hah Dacomalfula

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Just FYI, I totally would have listened to a longer PotterCast that had all the usual stuff on top of the trial coverage. I used to listen in little chunks, but lately I’ve been listening in one go, completely unintentionally, and am shocked when it’s over and that I’ve been listening for over an hour. Maybe I just have too much time on my hands or am overly obsessed with PotterCast but even the hour feels short (time flies when you’re having fun?), so as far as this fan is concerned, don’t worry about them being too long.

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