Season Two: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Disappointment: The Worst Birthday (Book 2, Chapter 1)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of disappointment in the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss homesickness and why returning home sometimes brings out the worst in us, acknowledge Petunia's domestic labor, and return to the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina. Throughout the episode they consider the question: how do we maintain optimistic and integrity when confronted with disappointment? 

Control: Dobby's Warning (Book 2, Chapter 2)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of control in the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss the bureaucratic power of the Ministry of Magic, the benefit of Harry's deep curiosity, and the endless frustrations of IKEA furniture. Throughout the episode they consider the question: when is control a noble intention and when is it oppressive? 

Curiosity: The Burrow (Book 2, Chapter 3)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of curiosity in chapter three of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Arthur Weasley's enthusiasm for muggles, the moral implications of de-gnoming, and the alluring appeal of RuPaul's Drag Race. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is love an important component of curiosity?

Shame: At Flourish and Blotts (Book 2, Chapter 4)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of shame in chapter four of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Harry's generosity, the difference between teasing and criticism, and whether there's anything to admire about Gilderoy Lockhart. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Do we inherit the shame of our fathers?

Responsibility: The Whomping Willow (Book 2, Chapter 5)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of responsibility in chapter five of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Dobby's constant meddling, Snape's connection with the Whomping Willow, and whether it's okay to bless the Dursleys. Throughout the episode they consider the question: is discipline best executed from a position of objectivity or compassion?

Attraction: Gilderoy Lockhart (Book 2, Chapter 6)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of attraction in chapter six of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss their schoolyard crushes, Ron's malfunctioning wand, and a metaphorical interpretation of the mandrake plant. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Where do we draw the distinction between healthy and unhealthy attraction? 

Confusion: Mudbloods and Murmurs (Book 2, Chapter 7)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of confusion in chapter seven of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Hagrid's magical umbrella, the usefulness of mantras, and what the 'mudblood' incident can help us understand about systemic racism. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When faced with pernicious confusion, what's our best course of action? 

Rumors: The Deathday Party (Book 2, Chapter 8)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of rumors in chapter eight of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss the difference between rumors and propaganda, whether Nearly Headless Nick should be allowed in the headless hunt, and how they would feel if their friends started hearing voices. Throughout the episode they consider the question: At what point do rumors become dangerous? 

Innocence: The Writing on the Wall (Book 2, Chapter 9)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of complaining in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Madame Hooch's negligence during the quidditch match, Lockhart's toxic masculinity, and Colin Creevey's surprising thoughtfulness. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When are the times that we should be complaining?

Complaining: The Rogue Bludger (Book 2, Chapter 10)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of complaining in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Madam Hooch's negligence during the quidditch match, Lockhart's toxic masculinity, and Colin Creevey's surprising thoughtfulness. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When do we have the right to complain?

Excellence: The Dueling Club (Book 2, Chapter 11)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of excellence in chapter eleven of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Harry's proficiency with Parseltongue, Ernie McMillan's authority within the Hufflepuffs, and Vanessa's esteem of Lebron James. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we make sure that we pursue excellence in way that's in line with our values?

Belonging: The Polyjuice Potion (Book 2, Chapter 12)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of belonging in chapter twelve of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss magical portraits, the metaphor of the phoenix, and Vanessa’s distrust of optometry. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Is a shared history necessary for feeling belonging? 

Cowardice: The Very Secret Diary (Book 2, Chapter 13)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of cowardice in chapter thirteen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss hate crimes, the psychology of murderers, and secret admirers. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What is the primary emotion associated with cowardice? Is it fear, shame, confusion, or something else?

Loyalty: Cornelius Fudge (Book 2, Chapter 14)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of loyalty in chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss Hagrid and Dumbledore's mutual admiration, how to navigate multiple responsibilities, and why Cornelius Fudge is a poor politician. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When does loyalty become cultish and when is it the highest form of respect? 

Sanctuary: Aragog (Book 2, Chapter 15)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of sanctuary in chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss the power of silence, how Hagrid is a priest-like figure, and why spiders are so afraid of the Basilisk. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Are the most ordinary among us best suited to face life's greatest horrors?

Grace: The Chamber of Secrets (Book 2, Chapter 16)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of grace in chapter sixteen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss the power of gratitude, the difference between the desolation of Moaning Myrtle and Ginny Weasley, and Vanessa's admiration of Johnny Cash. Throughout the episode they consider the question: why does the idea of grace make some of us uncomfortable?

Heartbreak: The Heir of Slytherin (Book 2, Chapter 17)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of heartbreak in chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They discuss practical jokes, juvenile delinquency, and the symbolism of Fawkes' tears. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What's the difference between heartbreak and soul-break?

Love: Dobby's Reward (Book 2, Chapter 18)

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of love in the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Together they discuss the connection between love, memory, suffering, and why parents take their babies to the zoo. They are joined by special guest, Professor Stephanie Paulsell, to discuss and introduce a new spiritual practice — Florilegia

Special Edition: Owl Post and Rabbi Scott Perlo

In our penultimate episode of season two, we hear from listeners Christina Richardson, Margaret, Meaghan Crowley, and Abigail Morris. Vanessa and Casper also have the opportunity to learn a new spiritual practice, PaRDeS, from the charming and wise Rabbi Scott Perlo. 

Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

In the final episode of season two, Vanessa and Casper pull out a few key insights from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They evaluate the evolution of Harry's character, compare Lockhart to a Shakespearean protagonist, and talk about the importance of paying attention to ghosts. Throughout the episode they come back to ideas about liberation, marginalization, and belonging. 

Special Edition: The Live Show

For those who couldn't make it to our live show back in January, here' s a little taste of all the fun we had! The audio quality is not ideal, but you still can get a sense for what it was like to be in the room. If all goes well, we'll be coming to a city near you soon.