I think what draws so many people to quality fantasy stories isn’t just the fantastical elements — dragons, wizards, magic, etc. — but instead the humanizing nature of the characters and the incredibly detailed world-building the authors meticulously craft. The Ringer’s Jason Concepcion elegantly articulated the beauty that fantasy stories bring as he highlights what Harry Potter is, at its heart, even without magic:
Think of Harry Potter’s story without magic: A child—a baby, really—loses his parents to a car accident. Scarred, physically and psychologically, he goes to live with distant relatives. Resentful of the burden his care puts on them, they bully and ignore him. He sleeps in a storage space filled with spiders under the stairs. Every day, he watches the mail carrier bring in the mail, and he imagines that one of those letters would be for him, calling him away to someplace better, and none of them ever do.
Part of this excellent storytelling and world-building is crafting the foundations that are grounded in reality. This is also why people love endlessly analyzing these stories, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter alike. One of these foundational aspects is the politics that govern their respective worlds. Accio Politics!, a podcast by two friends Erin and Adriana, examines the politics in the wider Harry Potter realm.
I got a chance to chat with Adriana about how they started their podcast, the challenges they face, and how to educate a Potter n00b like me. Take a look at our Q&A.
Discover Pods: What’s your podcast about?
Adriana: We discuss politics in the world of Harry Potter.
DP: What’s unique about your podcast?
Adriana: We discuss a different politics in each chapter of the series in a fun and accessible way. We want to engage our audience in our discussions and make them think about the Harry Potter series through the lens of politics and structures.
DP: Why did you choose to podcast?
Adriana: It allows people to listen to our discussions on their commutes rather than having to read blog posts.
DP: How did you get into podcasting?
Adriana: So we got into podcasting because we’re big fans of different podcasts. Adriana was listening to the audiobook for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on a long road trip and wondered if there was value in discussing the politics of the wizarding world of Harry Potter and that idea kept nagging at her for a few days until she approached Erin about it. After that, things just clicked.
DP: As someone who’s relatively unfamiliar with the actual politics of Harry Potter, is there a good primer I should start with? Do the politics closely resemble (or are modeled after) a real life instance?
Adriana: Well, we examine the politics we see operating in each chapter of each book in the Harry Potter series – so I’d probably suggest diving right into the first book in the series. We sometimes reference an outside theorist or philosopher, but we try it keep it to the primary text and the inner workings of the wizarding world as presented on the text.
DP: The word of Harry Potter, similar to Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, seems so rich in detail to make endless analysis, theorizing, and discussion possible. Besides politics, is there another facet of the extended world you’re interested in?
Adriana: We chose ‘politics’ as the primary approach to our analysis of each chapter and the books as a whole because it allows us to examine a lot of different angles, such as identity, magical purity among Wizards and other magical creatures, power paradigms, punishment, testing, teaching methods, and many other angles to dissect. Like you said, there’s a lot of unpack in the series!
DP: What’s the biggest challenge you face as an indie podcaster?
Adriana: Our biggest challenge is managing the planning, recording, and production of a weekly show while fielding our daily life responsibilities. We love to create the content, but it is work. We want to connect with our listeners and what we strive for in every episode is discussing things that will connect with our audience. We get really great audience feedback, but we push ourselves to be better each episode that we create and publish.
DP: How do you work to continue growing your audience?
Adriana: We try and engage with other pods to cross promote, do guest features and mentions – we love connecting to other indie podcasters.
DP: What are your five favorite podcasts?
The Black Tapes
Swish & Flick
The Screen Sirens
Buffering the Vampire Slayer
Your Fave is Problematic
DP: Where can listeners find you?