New Review of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying

This review was posted by Indie Mine, a website dedicated to reviewing books and movies that are not typically covered by mainstream media. Read, enjoy, and check out their other reviews!

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In light of recent events regarding the release of the “Torture Report” by America’s Central Intelligence Agency, I find myself in the difficult position of having to keep an objective viewpoint on the narratives given by everyone within the political sphere. It goes without saying that the contents of this latest report provide a shocking glimpse at the lack of transparency and corruption within our own system. To put it in the simplest of terms, the trust of the people is at a rather low point. Fortunately, I am not alone in working to answer the tough questions, such as “What if Harry Potter were in the CIA?” To give you an idea, we examine the work of spy novelist Lynn Boughey, and Peter Earnest, thirty-six-year CIA veteran and executive director of the International Spy Museum, in their companion guide, Harry Potter and the Art of Spying.

Due to their extensive backgrounds in the world of spycraft, it should come as no surprise that this is a subject they hold in high regard. Harry Potter and the Art of Spying examines our hero’s growth as a young recruit to a top secret covert operative from his tenure at Hogwarts. It is apparent that the writers are experts on the subject, and the extensive contributions of Courtney Klein and Nichole Ellis certainly help make the case that Harry is a damn good secret agent. The Art of Spying begins with a chapter-by-chapter analysis of Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix, the fifth book in J.K. Rowling’s seven book saga. This essentially means that the reader is expected to know all the major plot points of the series beforehand. While it may seem odd to immediately jump right in to book five without first examining the previous four entries, the concept works rather well. It is explained that Harry’s true talents as a spy don’t really hold much weight until Dumbledore’s Army and the Ministry of Magic enter the fray. The first 38 chapters (yes, 38) are littered with footnotes and endnotes, as well as personal quips from the authors; in many ways it reads more like a fun lecture than an actual textbook.

This does not necessarily mean that everything from Sorcerer’s Stone to Goblet of Fire received the axe, however. Notes are scattered throughout the text that provide insight, direct quotes, and even sourced page numbers for reference. In the early chapters we are told that Harry’s skills at reading facial expressions are an absolute necessity in the world of spying, and his interactions with the looming shadow that is the Ministry of Magic paint a pretty clear picture of how interactions between agencies in the wizarding world accurately reflect our own. The real star of the show is Professor Snape, however. Fans of the series are well aware that our grumpy Master of Potions turned out to be one of the greatest Double Agents in the genre. Without getting into the hows and whys, I can say that Boughey and Earnest’s explanations are certainly worth considering the next time you reread… Or re-reread, or re-re-reread the series. Seriously, I can’t tell you why. That’s classified information. (Get it? Classified? That’s a CIA joke.)

The Art of Spying explores more than just the characters, too. What really makes this worth reading is the detail into the actual world of Harry Potter. The Aurors, the Dementors, the Ministry itself, etc. all have a role to play. Each agency has its own rich history, and it is certainly refreshing to see a companion book that delves deeper into the witching well. Another interesting aspect to consider is that the authors are well aware that J.K. Rowling probably didn’t intend for Harry and the gang to become spies. There is a sort of mentality that “If you search hard enough, you can find anything” prevalent from start to finish and the honesty is quite welcome. Included in the pages are expansive glossaries, annotations, and appendixes that are worth looking to for further information. The text itself is very easy to read and it is written in a clear, concise manner.

The Ethics of Reporting vs. The Ethics of Spying

 

The Tri-Wizard Tournament—Speak Slowly into My Acid Pen

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

In Goblet of Fire, we find out through Rita Skeeter what damage an unethical reporter can do. It is obvious that her main focus is gossip and certainly not the truth. Rita Skeeter repeatedly fails to accurately document what people say, twisting it instead to her own ends and adding adjectives and adverbs to describe her “personal” observations— or, more accurately, her personal slant on her observations (GF 147, 202–3, 314–15, 437–40, 611–13)!

We eventually find out how Rita Skeeter gets so much juicy information: she is “bugging” everyone’s secure areas—by being a bug (GF 727)! Obviously, she obtains her information without the permission of the person she is “interviewing”—which is in itself quite unethical. Reporters are supposed to identify themselves and request an interview. Rita Skeeter is instead using what we would consider spy craft to eavesdrop on people and gather information.

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Unfortunately the movies skipped right over this juicy tidbit. Discovering that Rita Skeeter was an unregistered animagus may have been one of Hermione’s best moments!

 

 

Although spies are able to do eavesdrop on people, it is unethical for the press to use such means—as certain members of the press in London found out in 2011 when it was revealed that reporters were illegally intercepting and taping phone calls of famous people (including royalty) to get juicy stories. Read more about the International Phone Hacking Scandal here! 

peter-earnest-head-shot-372x372 In Harry Potter and the Art of Spying, Peter Earnest shares the story of the time he had to bug the office of one of his assets while working as a clandestine officer for the CIA!

We LOVE to HATE Rita Skeeter. Read other articles written by her on our blog! Long Lost Interview of Severus Snape, Rita Skeeter Interviews the Authors of Art of Spying , and Rita Skeeter Interviews President Obama.

The Leaky Diary: Day 5

 

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Just in case you haven’t read The Leaky Diary: Day 1The Leaky Diary: Day 2, The Leaky Diary: Day 3, or The Leaky Diary: Day 4, my name is Kelsey and I got the chance of a lifetime to attend LeakyCon in Orlando Florida with Harry Potter and the Art of Spying authors Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest. This is my Leaky Diary where I explore some of my favorite parts of the experience, give some vacation advice to those interested in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and thank all of the wonderful people that made the trip a fantastic success!*

*Unlike Tom Riddle’s Diary, the goal of this blog series is not to convince you to open a secret chamber, kill a bunch of students, or do anything equally nefarious. I just want to tell my story. Still, as Arthur Weasley says, “never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”

A week ago today the Harry Potter and the Art of Spying authors gave their presentation at LeakyCon. Whew! It’s hard to believe that it all went by so fast! Since I helped run the PowerPoint, I sat up front and got to be just as nervous as the authors. Turns out, when you let smart people talk to other smart people about something everyone loves, the presentation goes pretty well.

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My Favorite Moments:

  1. Discussing the relationship between the disguises in Harry Potter and disguises used by real spies. Peter mentioned that the best disguises are ones that can be donned and removed very quickly. Turns out, the CIA actually hired John Chambers, the make up artist who worked on Planet of the Apes, to teach them make up techniques for their disguises. So now you know, it’s better to be an animagus or to have an invisibility cloak than to try to use polyjuice potion all the time!
  2. Watching the movie clip in which Harry learns all about Snape’s sacrifices through the Pensieve. The whole room fell absolutely silent for the movie and then erupted into applause. It was a fantastic way to end the presentation.

“After all this time? Always.”

3.  Giving away free stuff during our trivia challenge! We stumped some people with the question “On which floor and behind which tapestry is the Room of Requirement? Too bad they hadn’t been reading the trivia on our blog! There were some potterheads who knew almost everything though. Our tie breaker was the code from the cover of our book, which we discuss in this blog. 

Although we were sad to see the end of LeakyCon, the Esther Day Charity Ball was the perfect way to ring in the final day. I am not a huge party person, but it was wonderful to see so many happy people in one place.

This may be the last Leaky Diary, but don’t worry, you’ll hear much more from the authors and me in the coming month. The book will be released worldwide on September 8th after a fantastic launch at the International Spy Museum. Do you have questions about LeakyCon, Harry Potter World, or Harry Potter and the Art of Spying? Post them in the comments or ask the authors!

 

The Leaky Diary: Day 3

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Author Peter Earnest admiring an official Firebolt owned by an actual Quidditch player!

Just in case you haven’t read The Leaky Diary: Day 1 or The Leaky Diary: Day 2,  my name is Kelsey and I got the chance of a lifetime to attend LeakyCon in Orlando Florida with Harry Potter and the Art of Spying authors Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest. This is my Leaky Diary where I explore some of my favorite parts of the experience, give some vacation advice to those interested in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and thank all of the wonderful people that made the trip a fantastic success!*

*Unlike Tom Riddle’s Diary, the goal of this blog series is not to convince you to open a secret chamber, kill a bunch of students, or do anything equally nefarious. I just want to tell my story. Still, as Arthur Weasley says, “never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”

Yesterday, I talked a little bit about how exciting it was to share information about Harry Potter and the Art of Spying with people who had never heard of it before. However, it was also AWESOME to hear from people who had already learned a little about the book or who knew something about the International Spy Museum, which one of the authors, Peter Earnest, directs. The book is exclusively available through the Spy Museum until our launch in early September.

LeakyCon was the first time we got to hear from real people who think that the combination of spy craft and Harry Potter facts is a fascinating concept. And when you hear the words “my friend was fangirling over this book so I had to stop by” from a major Harry Potter fan, you know you’ve got something great in your hands.

Several people had already purchased the book at the International Spy Museum or received it as a gift from family members or friends who visited the museum and knew their favorite potterphile would appreciate the book. One girl had heard of the book because she has recently begun a book review blog and had tried to get an advanced reader copy. The authors were so pleased to sign her book and we look forward to hearing what she thinks of it soon!

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The blogger in question with her brand new book!

 

Other people had heard Lynn and Peter speak on Mugglenet’s Alohomora! podcast back in May. I was amazed that so many people recognized the authors after just hearing their voices on a radio show! It was also nice to finally meet the Mugglenet staff who have been SO supportive over the past few months. From reading and reviewing the book to inviting the authors to speak on Alohomora! they have demonstrated precisely the kind of teamwork and friendship that I’ve come to expect of the Harry Potter family.

Thank you MuggleNet for everything! And thank you to all of the LeakyCon attendees who shared their thoughts with us. It was magical getting to hear from all of you!

What awesome Harry Potter conversations  have you had either at LeakyCon, on social media, or with your friends?

 

The Leaky Diary: Day 2

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Just in case you haven’t read The Leaky Diary: Day 1, my name is Kelsey and I got the chance of a lifetime to attend LeakyCon in Orlando Florida with Harry Potter and the Art of Spying authors Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest. This is my Leaky Diary where I explore some of my favorite parts of the experience, give some vacation advice to those interested in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and thank all of the wonderful people that made the trip a fantastic success!*

*Unlike Tom Riddle’s Diary, the goal of this blog series is not to convince you to open a secret chamber, kill a bunch of students, or do anything equally nefarious. I just want to tell my story. Still, as Arthur Weasley says, “never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”

Today, I want to talk about our first day at LeakyCon in the marketplace, where we had our very first booth. The book is not officially released until September, so this was the first time we could show people what we’ve been working so hard to publish!

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From left to right: Authors Peter Earnest and Lynn Boughey signing books at the LeakyCon marketplace!

With such a new book, the most exciting part was just telling people about a cool new Harry Potter interpretation that many had never heard of before. One visitor who works for Warner Brothers said that our book was one of the most unique things for sale in the Marketplace. That is such a HUGE compliment because I absolutely LOVED almost everything I saw in that room. I particularly loved the coasters decorated with pages from old Harry Potter books sold by the booth right across from our own. There were also bags, bracelets, necklaces, t-shirts, wands, and posters galore. A lot of the vendors had Etsy stores, so I would look for their stuff online if you’re interested!

I also loved seeing everyone’s cosplays. Here’s one of the best Luna Lovegoods I saw all week! She actually dressed up as someone different every day and purchased a signed copy of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying.

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She’s holding a copy of the Quibbler while our very own wizard holds a copy of the Leaky Prophet. What’s the Leaky Prophet, you ask? It was a newspaper we gave to anyone who wanted one that looked a lot like a Daily Prophet, just without the moving pictures. Rita Skeeter interviewed authors Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest for us, which is definitely an entertaining read. You can find a copy here!

I got to do my own dressing up, although my costume was not nearly as elaborate as some others. Lynn and Peter got me my very own Harry Potter and the Art of Spying wizard robe! (I have no idea why I had the urge to strike the Super Woman pose. I guess the robe felt a bit like a cape in that moment)

Kelsey 573The back had a huge picture of the book. Here’s the back modeled by the another LeakyCon intern!

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Did anyone else spend time in the LeakyCon marketplace? What were some of your favorite vendors and cosplayers?

The Leaky Diary: Day 1

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After 5 Days, 2 trips to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, 1 FANTASTIC presentation, and countless cosplayers. It is almost hard to believe that I am back in the real world. My name is Kelsey and I got the chance of a lifetime to attend LeakyCon in Orlando Florida with Harry Potter and the Art of Spying authors Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest. This is my Leaky Diary where I explore some of my favorite parts of the experience, give some vacation advice to those interested in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and thank all of the wonderful people that made the trip a fantastic success!*

*Unlike Tom Riddle’s Diary, the goal of this blog series is not to convince you to open a secret chamber, kill a bunch of students, or do anything equally nefarious. I just want to tell my story. Still, as Arthur Weasley says, “never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”

Today, I want to start with our amazing time at the LeakyCon “Open at the Close” event at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. For those of you who don’t know, some of the LeakyCon attendees got the chance to stay in the park after hours to eat traditional English food, shop in all of the little stores, and ride the Hogwarts Express as often as we wanted. It. was. awesome.

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The dragon atop Gringotts periodically breathes fire. Startling at first, but awesome every time after that!

People have been talking about Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade all summer, so I’ll keep this brief. Here are my 5 favorite parts about the park:

1. It feels like you’re walking into the world of Harry Potter

The shopkeepers dress in specific uniforms and elf hats. The lines for the rides wind through Hogwarts, Gringotts, and Hagrid’s pumpkin patch. A lot of the shopkeepers will pretend they don’t know what “muggle” credit cards are like. Kudos to Universal for keeping the magic alive.

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2. The rides are totally worth the wait!

I waited in line twice for the ride through Hogwarts, partially just to see the talking portraits on the walls as you wait in line. The wait was nealry two hours for the Gringotts ride and we got there too close to the park closing to wait, but other people who rode it swore up and down they would stand in line all over again because the ride was that good.

3. Butterbeer

Now, before I went to the Wizarding World, I met a lot of people who said the Butterbeer was disappointing. I think their expectations were just a tad too high. No, it does not taste like someone found the secret to the perfect beverage. It does, however, taste cold, sweet, and gives you a nice foam mustache for pictures.

4. People go in costume.

Ever feel like other people just don’t get your passion for Harry Potter? Well, no worries at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (or at LeakyCon, for that matter). A lot of people wear their house cloaks, ties, sweaters, etc. in the park despite the broiling temperatures. You will overhear people seriously debating the benefits of a unicorn hair core versus the benefits of a phoenix feather core. Embrace it. It’s magical.

5. You’ll want to go home and read the books all over again

No, you won’t become a wizard just by walking through the cavernous hole in a brick wall and stepping into Diagon Alley. You won’t be able to fly without the benefit of some awesome roller coasters. You probably won’t spontaneously develop a British accent. However, you will remember that feeling you got the first time Harry walked into Diagon Alley with Hagrid and saw the street bustling with wizards and witches. You will look at the snow covered roofs of Hogsmeade shops and find yourself transported to Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s sense of wonder as they tasted their first Butterbeer.

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Have any of you been to Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley? What were your favorite parts? What would you like to see Universal build next?

Exclusive Rita Skeeter Interview with the Authors of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying!

HARRY POTTER & THE ART OF SPYING

AUTHORS EXPOSED AS SERIAL POTTERPHILES

Art of Spying Authors

RITA SKEETER:  Hello, dear readers!

I am sitting here with Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest, authors of the new book coming out entitled Harry Potter and the Art of Spying.

So, thank you both for agreeing to this exclusive interview.

RS: When does your new book come out?

PETER:  On September 15th.

LYNN: Available at independent bookstores everywhere, and of course on line through amazon.com—

PETER:  —also, Red Lodge Books and Tea is distributing advance signed copies—

LYNN:  —for those of your readers who simply can’t wait that long to get their hands on a copy!

RS:  You too must be SOOOOO proud.  But really, what qualifies the two of you to write such a book?

LYNN:  Well, Peter was with the CIA for thirty-six years and more than twenty years in the agency’s clandestine Service . . .

RS:  Which I suppose makes you a SPY?

LYNN:  Well, yes, actually . . .

PETER:  And Lynn used spy craft tools and techniques throughout Russia when he was researching his spy novel, Mission to Chara—

LYNN:  Now available on kindle!

RS:  Who do you guys think you are, the Weasley twins?  So I suppose you won a bunch of awards and things.

LYNN:  Well, Peter did receive the CIA’s Intelligence Medal of Merit for “superior performance” throughout his career . . .

RS:  Well, fine, but what have you done lately?

LYNN:  Peter has been the Executive Director of the International Spy Museum in Washington DC for the last ten years . . .

PETER:  And Lynn worked for years on Harry Potter and the Art of Spying. . .

LYNN:  I did the initial draft, and then Peter added loads of stuff from the spy world.

RS:  Well, well . . . so there’s something really interesting in your book?

PETER:  Yes, without a doubt.  Anyone who likes the Harry Potter series will love learning all about how Harry and his friends used traditional—

LYNN:  —and some not-so-traditional—

PETER:  —yes, some not-so-traditional tradecraft, as we like to call it at the agency—

RS:  So, did you kill anybody?  My readers are dying to know . . .

PETER: Well, I’m not allowed, really, to . . .

RS:  Or what?  You’d have to shoot me?

PETER:  (His exasperation showing) Well, not exactly . . .

RS: And you, “Mr. Spy Novelist,” what do you do for your, er, “day job”?

LYNN:  I am a lawyer, and taught college-level courses in—

RS:  Let me guess, “The Art of Spying”?

LYNN:  Well yes, in some of my classes, such as the ones in Terrorism, and of course political science, criminal law, international relations, all have something to do with spying to some extent—

RS: Well, all very nice.  So what does this book have to do with Harry Potter, “The Boy Who Supposedly Saved Us All”?

PETER:  Everything.  We go through the fifth book . . .

LYNN:  —The Order of the Phoenix

PETER: —yes, and describe all the trade craft, the spying techniques, that Harry and his friends use . . .

LYNN: —like organizing a subversive organization, learning self-defense, breaking codes—

PETER:  –developing their own codes and methods to communicate—

LYNN:  –using open sources, such as the Daily Prophet—

PETER:  –that type of thing.  Spy craft!

RS:  So you two think that Harry Potter was a good spy?

LYNN:  Well, not bad for someone in training—

PETER:  —but really quite good, all in all—

LYNN:  —though the best spy—

PETER:  —in our opinion—

LYNN:  —was no doubt Professor Snape—

PETER:  —a superb double agent!

RS:  Fine, fine.  So, I just have two more questions.  First, did you just focus on book 5, or do you look at the spying in the entire series?

LYNN:  Great question!  After going through book 5—a chapter-by-chapter review of all the spy craft used in The Order of the Phoenix—we then review all the really important topics—

PETER:  —related to spying, of course—

LYNN:  —using the entire series.  We have chapters on recruiting, types of spies—

PETER:  —intelligence gathering—

LYNN:  —codes and communications—

PETER:  —the press, diplomacy—

LYNN:  —politics, and even ethics—

PETER:  —those type of things.

RS:  Last question.  So, you’ve already admitted to reviewing the entire series in your book . . .

LYNN:  That’s right.

RS:  And you guys must really be into the Potter story, right?

PETER:  Well, yes, it’s quite fascinating . . .

RS:  So you would consider yourselves both “Potterphiles”?

LYNN:  Well, I suppose so, it really is—

PETER:  —a wonderful story, all seven books.

RS:  GREAT!  Thank you.  I have the lead.  And you two, SOOOOOOO much fun.  You should maybe take your book on the road . . .

LYNN:  Actually, we are doing—

PETER:  —just that!

LYNN:  At LeakyCon 2014 in Orlando.

RS:  Lovely, lovely.  I’m sure your moms are sooooooo proud . . . .