Spies have unique motivations, loyalties, and behaviors just like all of us. A famous Chinese general named Sun-Tzu described 5 types of spies as far back as the 4th century B.C.! We’ve already discussed one of the biggest undercover agents in the Harry Potter series, Severus Snape, the double agent. But what about the other spies in Harry Potter? In this blog series, we’ll analyze some of the most important Harry Potter spies using content from Chapter 39 of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying!
The Spy for Hire (or Money): Mundungus Fletcher
In a system where you get what you want through material gain, money can be a significant incentive. We are not just talking about the incentive of holding a job and getting a paycheck here. We are talking about individuals who spy for financial compensation, usually a fairly large amount of money. (Aldrich Ames was promised over $2 million to provide classified information to the Soviets; yet, amazingly, some of the spies caught in the United States have spied for a ridiculously low amount of money.)
In the Harry Potter series, at least, most of those who spy are not doing it for money alone. The one possible exception is our less-than-ethical friend Mundungus Fletcher. Interestingly, Mundungus is first mentioned by Mr. Weasley in book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when he mentions having had a tough night and the fact that Mundungus Fletcher tried to put a hex on him (CS 38). In book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Mundungus is described as putting in a false claim for an expensive tent supposedly ruined at the World Cup (GF 151). And yet, by the end of the same book, Dumbledore refers to Mundungus (and Mrs. Figg and Remis Lupin) as part of the old crowd that needs to be brought back due to Fudge’s unwillingness to believe Harry or that Voldemort is back (GF 713). We cannot help but wonder, since Mundungus is always trying to make a buck, whether there is some way that his connection with the Order allows him to sell—or, as we find out after Sirius’s death, steal—more items and panhandle them on the street (HBP 247).
Mundungus Fletcher Analysis
Recruitment by: Probably Dumbledore
Incentive Used: A strong sense of what is right combined with a touch of personal gain or an opportunity for larceny—and
perhaps a slight fear of Dumbledore. Dumbledore refers to him as part of the “old crowd.”
Handler: Order of the Phoenix leadership, but ultimately Dumbledore
Method of Communication: Group meetings at number twelve, Grimmauld Place
“It . . . it was a very good business opportunity, see . . .” (OP 23).