Even 25 years since a flying motorbike first touched down outside a nondescript house on Privet Drive, Little Whinging, the world is still utterly besotted with Harry Potter.
However wobbly and is-this-still-a-good-idea the extended franchise films become, however fraught the conversation around JK Rowling, however rambling and complex the Potter lore becomes, it seems there will always be people ready to pick apart and dissect it afresh.
They’ve done it every which way – or should that be witch way? – from watchalong commentaries for the films to forensic chapter by chapter breakdowns. Here are some of the best.
Mike Schubert had seen four and a half Harry Potter films before he decided to podcast his chapter-by-chapter discovery of the original books. Each time he and his more Potter-literate friends dissect what he’s just read, as he merrily points out plot holes, inconsistencies and absurdities that you definitely just skipped past when you were racing through the Potter books as a kid. You’ll see the whole thing with fresh eyes. Listen now >>
This one bills itself as “the original” Harry Potter podcast, having been running in some form since August 2005, two months after Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince landed. In that time hosts Andrew, Micah, Eric and Laura have looked at Potter from pretty much every angle: they’ve dived deep into each chapter, recorded watchalong film commentaries, and interviewed cast and crew. These days they keep up with all the latest developments from the broader Potter-verse. Listen now >>
Don’t worry – this isn’t like one of those lame tweets that used to pop up every so often comparing Donald Trump with Voldemort. Rather, it’s a chapter-by-chapter assessment of the politics of the wizarding world, from the objectifying dynamic of fame and celebrity which Harry experiences to what we can learn about how supremacism and bigotry function and spread from the books. Listen now >>
There are a lot of fancasts out there to pick over the development of Quidditch in ancient Ireland, and they’re all well and good, but Potterversity sets its sights a little higher. Katy McDaniel and Emily Strand bring critical perspectives to the Potter stories and speak to academics to get an intellectually fresh take – Hermione’s advocacy for house elves, for instance, serves as a training ground for young readers to get into activism. Smart stuff. Listen now >>
Harry Potter Therapy
Another podcast which uses Potter as a framework for exploring very complex, weighty ideas, Harry Potter Therapy is presented by psychologist Dr Janina Scarlet, who developed a ‘superhero therapy’ as a way to treat people with depression, anxiety and PTSD. This spin-off from it uses Potter as a way of talking about and conceptualising emotions and feelings, and points to some handy ways to cope with them too. Listen now >>
Heather Price-Wright and Alex Dalenberg’s ‘book club for adults’ is the podcasting equivalent of the restricted section in the Hogwarts library. Their discussion about each and every chapter of the saga are frequently X-rated and always irreverent in the way that only a truly dedicated fan podcast can be. Listen now >>
Behind the Wand
If you’re still misty-eyed about the film reunions which came together around the 20th anniversary of The Philosopher’s Stone, Behind the Wand should scratch that itch. Flick Miles, who was Emma Watson’s double in the first three films and is now a journalist, interviews the people who weaved the movie magic, from costumers and concept artists to casting directors and cinematographers. Listen now >>