Arts & Entertainment

South Plainfield Resident Guest Hosts Harry Potter Podcast

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Shauna actually doing the podcast Credits: Jonathan Evans
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SOUTH PLAINFIELD,NJ – It has been eight years since July 7, 2007, the day that the final book of the Harry Potter series,  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, was published. Devoted fans, such as South Plainfield resident, Shauna Evans, have continued to enjoy re-reading the novels and participating in serious literary discussions on the seven books in the J.K. Rowlings series. One of the outlets available for serious contemplation of Rowlings' plots, themes, characters, and literary devices is the podcast Alohomora.        

Evans, an avid listener to the podcast produced through mugglenet.com, decided that she had some unique perspectives on the novels and applied to be a guest speaker on one of the Alohomora shows. The process of being selected is to log onto mugglenet.com and choose the podcast option to “be on the show.”        

The application page states, “This podcast is entirely produced for fans by fans . . . therefore, we'd love and expect to have each and every one of you as a guest on this show . . .Fans who share the most unique insights in discussions and produce the biggest variety of contributions will be noticed, and they will be the likeliest candidates to be chosen as hosts.”        

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Evans applied to be on the podcast and was delighted when she was notified in early June that she had be selected to guest host on a discussion of Chapter 25 of the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. She immediately began to study the chapter and plan out what were the cogent points worthy of discussion on the podcast, which was aired on June 27.         

Hosts Alison Siggard, Kristin Keys, and Caleb Graves began the podcast by welcoming Evans to the show.  Evans explained that several days before the taping of the show a google doc is made available to the participants in the podcast with the basic outline of what is going to be discussed on the show. At that time the guests, as well as the hosts, have an opportunity to post their comments and add specific points that they wish to contribute during the broadcast. In this manner, the actual script is created.  Since the guest is recorded via an audio-skype, he/she never has to leave home to participate.         

There were several points of discussion in podcast Episode 143: HBP 25 – Peeping Through the Hole. Evan's favorite had to do with the “wild theory that Snape's mother, Eileen Prince, was actually the librarian at Hogwarts, Irma Pince.” Evans first encountered this theory in an article entitled “Madame Pince: Is She Really Eileen Prince?” This intriguing article appeared on the website leakycauldron.org, and when Evans proposed this theory on the podcasts, the other hosts were captivated by the idea. Ultimately the hosts dismissed the idea as unlikely, but . . .  

“Chapter 25 is largely about the relationship between Snape and Dumbledore,” Evans states. “Readers have debated why Dumbledore believed so strongly in Snape. Did Dumbledore's trust start when Snape was a poor, little boy in his transfigurations class?” Most of the hosts of the podcast are not fans of either Snape or Dumbledore, but Evans argues that these two characters are among the most complex and important in the beloved series.         

When questioned as to why she remains so passionate about the Harry Potter canon, Evans rhapsodizes, “It is the ultimate comfort blanket for kids. You can read it at nine and get something out of it. You can reread it at 16 and get something new out of the books. You can read it again in your 20s and still see something that you didn't realize before. The series never disappoints.”

Evans also points out that J.K. Rowlings stays true to two main themes in the book; love and death. “She doesn't write about typical teenage love,” Evans explains. “These books are about the love of family, the love of friends, not typical, predictable teenage love stories. Rowlings writes about characters who give all they can for what they believe, and then say, 'that's it. I have given all that I can give,' and they are able to face Death with grace.”

 At the beginning of the July 3rd podcast, when the hosts of the show greeted the guest for a discussion on Chapter 28 of The Half Blood Prince, they told him that Evans was going to be “a tough act to follow,” as she had made so many cogent arguments during her time on the Alohomora podcast.

Evans concluded, “I would love to be a guest again on the show because the people on the podcast continue to expand the discussion on the Harry Potter.”

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