Binge Mode: Harry Potter, The Pod that Lived

December 08, 2018

Can I just say I'm just so happy the stars aligned perfectly and made me discover this awesome awesome podcast? I've mentioned on the blog that I've been rereading the Harry Potter books (latest post as of this writing is the review on book 4). I think I was already halfway on Half-Blood Prince when I stumbled upon Binge Mode  a Ringer network (what a great website!) podcast that dives deeply into discussing interesting facets of various works of fiction and pop culture (thanks to the ever rich resources of the Reddit community, specifically /r/harrypotter). They've done Game of Thrones (all 7 seasons!), Black Mirror, Star Wars, Avengers, to name a few. When I learned about them, they were already discussing the 7th HP book, so I knew I had a lot to catch up on.

What a roller coaster ride it is. The two hosts of this podcast - Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion  - are the geekiest people I've ever encountered online, and their duo is such a match made in heaven. Just listening to them for the first few minutes gave me the impression that hell yeah, these two have such brilliant (and witty!) minds. They are both sorted under the Ravenclaw house, to no one's surprise really.

From the very info-heavy discussions to their comical preambles to each section of their program, to inside jokes, and the after-credits-role-playing stints from Jason, I very much can confidently say that these two will make every Potterhead proud. I'll go ahead and rip a page from the Binge Mode book, and declare here the 7 ideas that fascinate me with the Binge Mode: Harry Potter podcast, as 7 remains the most powerfully magical number!

#1 Chapter-by-chapter theme analysis
The amount of information and in-depth analysis of each of their episodes just show how they are doing 100% of their efforts into this podcast. They group each episode to sets of chapters where they examine a common theme, and I bet JK Rowling will be proud of their thinking process. It's all team work of course, together with their producer Isaac Lee and researcher Zach Kram, they deliver such great content within each episode. This is also all because of the fact that they are such great Harry Potter fans themselves (Jason even has a tattoo of the cave chapter in Half-Blood Prince). You can feel the passion and fascination on their voices on each episode as they joyously discuss each chapter. There are parts where you'll feel (specifically Mal) how emotional and close to tears they are while reading some passages from the book.

#2 The Inside Jokes that has become part of Binge Head culture
Do you know that the proud Head of Gryffindor House has disturbing gambling habits? The podcast fondly refers her as Minerva McGalleon McGonagall because of her bold move to break the rules to allow a first-year to join the Quidditch team as a Seeker, even giving him a Nimbus 2000, a hundreds-of-galleons worth of top-class broomstick. This is all for the glory of her house's Quidditch team to win the House Cup, and by means also winning her bet 💰💰💰. Also there's our good friend Tom (that has been turned to a shirt!) and Won Won, and that huge problem on who's gonna milk Nagini. A number of characters have been given nicknames because of how Mal and Jason criticized their characters in parts of the book. For sure, loyal followers of the podcast will understand the references.

#3 Mal's Harry Potter  merch shirts
Binge Mode also publishes videos under the Ringer Youtube channel with the whole team (Mal, Jason, Ice, and Zac) discuss the Wizarding World like the Fantastic Beasts movies. On each of them, I just can't help but notice Mal's shirt! They all bear Harry Potter references! Below are some of them (one taken from Instagram). I badly want one too, especially the Horcrux shirt. But ahh it's too expensive to ship stuff to the Philippines. 😭

#4 Their blow-by-blow Fantastic Beasts reviews
As I have mentioned above, the Binge Mode team also does reaction videos and analysis on the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise. What perfect timing it was because their videos prepped me real well onto viewing Crimes of Grindelwald myself! Since I also had a lot of questions after seeing the movie, it helped a lot that they also presented their theories about the movie (after they saw it themselves) and how they think the story would progress on the next 3 movies of the franchise.

#5 Jason Concepcion is Filipino!
I'm just not sure if he's a pureblood, although seeing his name is a kind of giveaway. Mal just says his surname a bit differently, so it was not obvious to me whenever this is being mentioned at the beginning of each podcast. Well upon further stalking research, I am sure he is indeed from my country because apparently he has also been to my hometown some years back. Heh, just proud that I have something I could relate to with my tough guy Jason.

#6 Jason's promotion concidentally closely happened with mine!
I mentioned about this great thing that I (finally) achieved, and then it also happened for Jason! I can't help but swell with pride now whenever Mal introduces Jason as Ringer's Senior Creative. 😎 (in actual timeline Jason's promotion happened months before mine, but I heard it over the podcast a  week before mine. 😉)

#7 They have the quirkiest voices that kept me up at night
I usually play podcasts to lull me to sleep, because hearing human voices comforts me and gives me that feeling (although just an illusion I know) that I have company. For this particular podcast, I am mostly kept wide awake through the night because of their energetic voices (Jason's Dun dun dun!) and laughter. The after-podcast-role-playing by Jason is what always get me snickering especially when he plays as Fleur Delacour or Voldemort. 😂 But even though I ended up short of sleep, I still chose this podcast as part of my sleeping routine.

As of this writing, the Binge Mode podcast is almost half-way through Deathly Hallows. I heard they are brewing to deep dive into the Lord of the Rings universe next. I don't know if I would continue listening to them by then (cause I'm not familiar with the story, and I am sure their episodes would contain spoilers). But still I'm just so happy that I discovered this podcast. I've been really enjoying my reread of the HP series, recognizing all the foreshadowing that JK wrote in the earlier books, and  listening to their podcast made my experience more wonderful by a hundredfold.

Thanks Mal and Jason for giving me such joy. Raising my wand (and flask!) for Binge Mode, the pod that lived!

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