Quiz: Counterintelligence in the Harry Potter Series

Mad Eye Moody

We’re back with a special quiz about the spy craft in the Harry Potter series! If you’re a longtime fan,  you know we started our quizzes at the very beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the book in which Harry Potter and his friends really start to practice spy craft. Now, we’re quizzing you on spy craft more generally so you can see how JK Rowling laid the foundation for the Golden Trio to be excellent covert operatives!

This week, we’re talking counterintelligence. What is that?

Counterintelligence is the art of determining whether others are spying on you or your organization and preventing them from doing so.

So, can you name these examples of counterintelligence in the Harry Potter series?

1. What magical object, introduced in Prisoner of Azkaban, does Harry Potter consistently use to track people’s movements – enemies and friends alike?

The Marauder’s Map

2. How do members of the D.A. know who tattled on them?

Hermione jinxed the D.A. signup sheet so that if anyone revealed their secret the word SNEAK would appear across his or her face.

3. What device does Dumbledore have in his office that allows him to research Voldemort’s past and future plans?

The Pensieve

4. What magical device will reveal if someone nearby is being dishonest?

Sneakoscope

5. How does Voldemort ensure that Wormtail can never switch sides again?

The hand he gives Wormtail in reward for the sacrificing his own to bring Voldemort back to life is bewitched to turn on its owner at the first sign of disloyalty. 

6.  What does Mad Eye Moody use to keep an eye on enemies?

His Foe Glass!

Do you have any other examples of counterintelligence in the Harry Potter series? Tell us below!

The Daily Prophet and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Sirius Black

The Hunt for Sirius Black—Supposed Death Eater and Escape Artist

As in the matter of Gilderoy Lockhart, the Daily Prophet seems unable to properly investigate the story of Sirius Black. Why was there no thorough and substantial investigation of how Sirius was able to escape Azkaban? His escape would have been a good opportunity to review the facts surrounding the murder of thirteen Muggles and determine whether there was any real proof that Sirius Black had committed the murders of which he had been found guilty. Of course, no investigation happens and the Daily Prophet relies instead in providing a “social benefit” to the Wizarding world by extolling the dangers of one Sirius Black, killer of Muggles, follower of Voldemort, and master escape artist. We also observe in this book that the Ministry of Magic is more than happy to use the Daily Prophet as a propaganda tool and purveyor of disinformation about Sirius Black— quite often as a cover-up for its own inadequacies, mistakes, and plain stupidity (PA 37).

Consider how small details like Sirius Black’s presence at the scene of the crime, the disappearance of Peter Pettigrew, and Sirius’ supposed role as the Potter’s secret keeper led the Ministry and the rest  of the wizarding world to believe that Sirius had to be guilty of murder. However, the lie was given extra weight because the Daily Prophet, an established source, supported it. The media has a lot more power than you might think, and it’s important to pay attention to how they interpret the details!

 

Spy Terms:

Disinformation (n): intentionally incorrect information, often provided to an enemy for the purpose of influencing the enemy’s reactions. For examples of real-world espionage that relied on disinformation, check out the Wikipedia article! 

Propoganda (n): False information, usually disseminated by the government

Established Source (n): Any source that has been used regularly and found to be reliable.

For more information about the role of the Daily Prophet in Harry Potter spy craft, try these posts: Check your Sources and The Daily Prophet and Open Source Information.