A Very Potter Christmas – Part 2

We certainly don’t want the holiday season to be over, so here’s Part 2 of the #APottermoreChristmas blog from @AimeeMarieK from MuggleNet!

Harry Potter Christmas

In the final week of #APottermoreChristmas, Jo Rowling provides more Moments in Half-Blood Prince for us to explore. Let’s once more put our spy suits on to discover what Jo has in store for us!

The clue for day 7 brings us to one of the most familiar places in the books and films – The Great Hall. Take a look at the clue below:

pottermore-day-7

No new information was provided with this clue, but it does bring to the forefront one of the wizarding world’s means of travel: Apparition. As any spy will tell you, getting from one place to another undetected is key. You may recall that in the books, apparition is a great means of magical transportation, but it is accompanied by a loud cracking sound. In the films, the sound is a bit less jarring, but still not entirely on the level with what a spy would need to remain undetected.

This brings us to the clue for day 8, seen below:

Pottermore Gold and Emerald Locket

The answer to this riddle leads us to one of the Hogwarts founders and opens up a key Moment for Harry as Dumbledore takes him into the memory of a House-Elf in the employ of a witch who was trying to sell some of her heirlooms to a young Tom Riddle. Riddle was employed with Borgin and Burkes, a shop in Diagon Alley that sold many items that were imbued with dark magic or had a sinister history and purpose. In this memory, Harry watches as Riddle flatters the witch in order to gain access to an item that ultimately becomes one of the horcruxes that Harry must find and destroy.

For Dumbledore’s Army, the clue for day 9 is very important. See below:
Pottermore Day

If you guessed the answer was the Room of Requirement, you’re correct! This room provided a secret place (rather like James Bond’s MI-6) that Harry and his friends could congregate without being seen and where they could practice their Defense Against the Dark Arts. The room provided whatever the students required, including sleeping quarters, food, and all manner of training objects and materials for them to learn to defend themselves. It was here that Dumbledore’s Army prepared for the great Battle of Hogwarts seen in book 7.

The next clue brings us to one of the most frightening moments in the series – beyond Voldemort and his followers willing to kill anyone for any reason (or none at all), the employ of Inferi in the cave where Harry and Dumbledore find the hidden locket is a disturbing moment in the films. Take a look at day ten’s clue below:

pottermore-day-11_1000x1000

After a few days of no new information, Jo provides us with specific information on the Inferi, the reanimated corpses that Voldemort uses to guard the locket. Rowling tells us that the Inferi can be cursed to respond if disturbed (as they did when Harry and Dumbledore touched the lake water surrounding the locket), to kill without discrimination, and to take on jobs that the witch or wizard who cursed them did not want to do (either from the threat of danger or discovery – the possibilities are endless when it comes to the reasons for dark magic such as this!). Jo also reveals where Voldemort obtained the seemingly endless amount of Inferi that tried to kill all those who made it into the cave – they were, for the most part, Muggles killed specifically for this purpose, but others were those in the magical community who had “disappeared”, which leads me to believe that they were either killed by Voldemort or his followers. The final bit that Jo gave us about these undead creatures is that the only way to kill them is by fire, which explains why Dumbledore employed the use of flame to distract and kill them while he and Harry escaped the cave.

What I love most about Pottermore and the new information that Jo provides fans is that we often are treated to background information on characters in the series. In the clue for day eleven, see if you can guess which character Jo is about to shed some light on:

Pottermore Day 12

Perhaps one of the most hated characters of the series (besides Voldemort, Snape, and Lucias Malfoy) is the featured character in day eleven – another double agent, Draco Malfoy. Jo writes about this character in depth, both her thoughts on him as a character and also the history of the character growing up and a glimpse into his life after the Battle at Hogwarts. While he definitely is a character that we love to hate, there are things revealed in this Moment that help readers understand the reasons why Draco acted the way he did throughout the series and why and how he changed after the battle was over and Voldemort had been defeated.

Jo also addresses her thoughts on why on earth girls who read the books or watched the film series would “fall” for Draco, considering there wasn’t any redeeming quality in this character, apart from the fact that Tom Felton brought the character to life and was in fact very charming and a great actor. In my opinion, there wasn’t necessarily anything redeemable in Draco’s character, but as a writer, I can see where knowing his background and seeing the choices he made in the end made me feel for him. It can’t have been easy to work as an agent for Voldemort when he didn’t really want to – he was forced to in order to save himself and his family. I would think that to be a spy, you must have such a firm and strong belief in what you are doing. Draco, in the end, didn’t fight for Voldemort because he believed in Voldemort’s new regime 100%. He fought on the Dark Lord’s side out of fear, which doesn’t really make one the best spy on the planet.

The final clue appropriately brings us to the end of the Half-Blood Prince. See the clue below:

Pottermore Day 12

So much of the Half-Blood Prince is focused on Harry trying to determine who the Prince is and learning as much as he can about Riddle’s past, that sometimes we don’t see what is right in front of us. The clue for the final day of #APottermoreChristmas leads us to Albus Dumbledore and his Order of Merlin. We see a representation of his funeral in this Moment, which we did not get to see in the films. We also learn more about the Order of Merlin and information on Merlin himself, who it turns out, is a Slytherin! In addition we learn about the various classes of the Order of Merlin and what they are awarded for.

 

I hope that you enjoyed solving the Pottermore riddles as much as I did! Jo gave us more insider information on Harry’s world and the characters that reside there, which for fans, is a very good Christmas present indeed!

 

Don’t forget to check out Pottermore for yourself – there are many Moments to be explored through the entire book series, which is currently only up to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. You can create your own Pottermore profile, get sorted, get a wand, brew some potions, and even duel with housemates. All that and more is yours for the exploring – only at Pottermore!

 

 

The Daily Prophet and The Return of Voldemort (Book 6)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Truth (and Fear) Will Set You Free (to Sell More Papers!)

In the next book—following Voldemort’s return—the Daily Prophet spends much of its time warning the Wizarding world about the return of Voldemort (HBP 39–41). Finally! The Daily Prophet also informs the public that Fudge has been sacked, offers a description of the events at the Department of Mysteries (but not details of the prophecy), and covers almost daily stories of disappearances, odd accidents, and deaths (HBP 60, 77–78, 105). It takes an experience spy — like Hermione — to begin connecting the dots between all of these little disappearances, accidents, and deaths.

Hermione_Granger_reading_The_Daily_Prophet

As time goes on, the Daily Prophet informs the public about Dementor attacks and the arrest of Stan Shunpike (HBP 221). The Wizarding newspaper also reports an argument between Dumbledore and the new Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, which we find out later was the result of Scrimgeour’s request to meet with Harry (HBP 61, 357). Dumbledore tells Harry, “The Prophet is bound to report the truth occasionally, if only by accident” (HBP 357). (This reminds us of a saying: Even a broken clock is right two times a day!)

Spy Tip: Even if the open source is highly unreliable, be sure to look at it carefully. You never know what you might find!

Importantly, when Hermione wants to do research on the Half- Blood Prince, she goes through the old Daily Prophets and discovers an announcement of one Eileen Prince marrying a Tobias Snape (HBP 637), thus confirming that Severus Snape was the Prince all along.

Spy Tip: Open source information from the past is just as important as current open source information!

Fun Fact:

Did you know that there is an evening edition of the Daily Prophet called the Evening Prophet? We learn about the Evening Prophet when Professor Snape confronts Harry and Ron about being seen flying in Mr. Weasley’s Ford Anglia (CS 79) and also reference to an article about Arthur Weasley’s search of Malfoy Manor (HBP 234, 635).

 

The Pensieve as an Intelligence Analyst Tool

Pensieve

PensievePensieve 2The role of an intelligence analyst is to organize, review, and analyze important information and reach definitive conclusions as to what that information means.

Intelligence analysts receive information from many sources, some obtained covertly by operatives, and some through through a myriad of spy craft means, including communication intercepts, satellites, and open sources such as newspapers.

In the Potter world, Dumbledore acts as an intelligence analyst as he tries to figure out Voldemort’s family background, his history, items he acquired over the years, and his knowledge of the Dark Arts.

And one of the tools Dumbledore uses to discover Voldemort’s past is the Pensieve.  In a sense, the memories shown through the use of the Pensieve are equivalent to reports from the field.

Dumbledore explains the Pensieve to Harry when it is introduced in the Goblet of Fire:

“At these times,” said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, “I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.” (GF 597)

Just like a good intelligence agent, Dumbledore is trying “to spot patterns and links” that he believes are the key to everything.

“Sir . . . is it important to know all this about Voldemort’s past?”

“Very important, I think,” said Dumbledore.

“And it . . . it’s got something to do with the prophecy?”

“It has everything to do with the prophecy.”

“Right,” said Harry, a little confused, but reassured all the same. (H-B P 215)

But Dumbledore goes a step further by acting as an intelligence operative and actually going out and acquiring the memories from various sources.

So let us take our own trip down memory lane and reflect on the discovery and use of the Pensieve in the Harry Potter series.

In the Goblet of Fire Harry sneaks a peak into the Pensieve and discovers the dark pasts of people like Igor Karkaroff and Barty Crouch Jr. (GF 585-96).

In the Order of the Phoenix Harry uses the Pensieve twice; once to see Snape’s worst memories, and then— finally with Dumbledore’s permission—to hear the “lost” prophecy that relates to Harry.  (OP 639-49, 841.)

It is in the Half-Blood Prince that the Pensive is used as an intelligence tool by Dumbledore, the analyst.  Harry is allowed to “see” eight separate memories, all relating in some way to Voldemort’s past:

  1. Bob Ogden’s memory of the House of Gaunt, where we are introduced to Marvolo, Morfin, and Merope (Tom Riddle’s grandfather, uncle, and mother)(199-211);
  2. Mr. Burke describing the acquisition of a certain necklace that later injures Katy Bell instead of its intended target, Dumbledore (261);
  3. Dumbledore’s memory of retrieving Tom Riddle from the orphanage (263-75);
  4. Morfin’s memory of Tom Riddle “returning” to the Gaunt house to acquire the Gaunt ring (363-65);
  5. Slughorn’s altered memory of a discussion he had with Tom Riddle (369-71);
  6. Hoky the house-elf’s memory of Tom Riddle getting Hepzibah Smith to show him a certain cup and locket that she owned (433-38);
  7. Dumbledore’s memory of Tom Riddle, now known as Lord Voldemort, coming to Hogwarts ostensibly to apply for the position of Professor of the Dark Arts (440-46)
  8. Slughorn’s real memory, where we discover that Tom Riddle had learned about Horcruxes (494-99).

All of these memories provide Dumbledore and Harry essential background on Voldemort which Dumbledore uses to:

  • discover and understand Voldemort’s entire background and history
  • perform an accurate psychological assessment of Voldemort
  • predict Voldemort’s future conduct
  • perform a risk-analysis as to Harry Potter and others
  • identify and locate Horcruxes

CIA operatives and analysts perform the very same role that Dumbledore demonstrates in the Harry Potter series.  They just happen to perform this function in the Muggle world instead of in the Wizarding community!