Answers: The Department of Mysteries

Department of Mysteries

How did you do on the quiz yesterday? Would you have successfully navigated the Department of Mysteries? Check your answers below!

1. What form of stealth technology do Harry and his friends use to travel to London?


2. Why is the code 6-2-4-4-2 an appropriate code for entering the Ministry of Magic through a telephone booth?

It spells M-A-G-I-C on the keypad of a telephone!

3. Why does Harry want to leave a lookout in the corridor outside the door to the Department of Mysteries?

He was trying to leave some of his friends behind to keep them out of danger. 

4. What is behind the first door Harry and his friends try?

A large tank full of free-floating brains.

5. Who notices the sphere with Harry’s name on it?

Ron Weasley

6. What does S.P.T. to A.P.W.D. mean?

Sybill Patricia Trelawney to Albus Percival Wulfric Dumbledore

For more code-breaking, try going here or even here! There’s even a code on the cover of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying!

7. Why has Dumbledore been ignoring Harry?

He was worried Voldemort would use Harry to spy on him!

8. Who ends up in Azkaban after the events at the Ministry of Magic?

Lucius Malfoy – which of course sets the stage for his son’s action sin the Half Blood Prince!

9. What does the Daily Prophet call Harry Potter once it is revealed that he had been telling the truth the whole time?

the “lone voice of truth”

10. Who meets Harry at the train station to escort him to the Dursleys?

Mad-Eye Moody, Tonks, Lupin, and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley!

Quiz: Department of Mysteries

Daily Prophet Voldemort Returns

This is it. It’s the quiz on the final chapters of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. If you’ve been following along the whole time, this is quite the accomplishment. Congratulations! If you’re just joining us, then good luck – you may need it!

1. What form of stealth technology do Harry and his friends use to travel to London?

2. Why is the code 6-2-4-4-2 an appropriate code for entering the Ministry of Magic through a telephone booth?

3. Why does Harry want to leave a lookout in the corridor outside the door to the Department of Mysteries?

4. What is behind the first door Harry and his friends try?

5. Who notices the sphere with Harry’s name on it?

6. What does S.P.T. to A.P.W.D. mean?

7. Why has Dumbledore been ignoring Harry?

8. Who ends up in Azkaban after the events at the Ministry of Magic?

9. What does the Daily Prophet call Harry Potter once it is revealed that he had been telling the truth the whole time?

10. Who meets Harry at the train station to escort him to the Dursleys?

Spy Term

Stealth Technology (n): Outside the world of Harry Potter, there is technology that allows a large aircraft (as well as some ships) to travel virtually unseen. Or, to be more accurate, it makes ships and planes seem much smaller than they are by enemy radar. Because this technology doesn’t hid the vehicles to the naked eye, stealth technology is only really useful at night.


Break the Code: Decipher the Prophecy!

Prophecy Label

Last time we figured what the number 6—2—4—4—2 means.  These are the numbers Mr. Weasley enters when they go to Harry’s trial in the Order of the Phoenix—and the number Harry later uses to get in to the Ministry of Magic with his friends to rescue Sirius.

In the Order of the Phoenix when Harry reaches the Department of Mysteries, Harry comes over and reviews the card (780) right beneath a prophecy, which states

S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D.

Dark Lord

and (?) Harry Potter

Remember the Mirror of Erised, where the letters carved into the mirror needed only to be read backwards to reveal its message? Here we have a code based on abbreviations, though Harry does not know it yet.

Does anybody remember what SPT stands for, or ABWBD?

Let’s think about it for a bit. We are dealing with a prophecy, a prophecy about Harry. First of all, who delivered (that is, spoke out loud) the prophecy?

And who heard the prophecy being given?

Perhaps a certain Divinations teacher and a certain Headmaster?

Quite correct you are!

SPTstands for Sibyl P. Trelawney!

And APWBD stands for Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore!

Thus, the abbreviations stand for “Sibyl P. Trelawney to Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore”!   OP 780, 840, 841

But there is more to figure out.

Why is there a question mark? Because the prophecy could apply to Harry Potter, but it could also apply to some other boy born at the end of July whose parents thrice defied Lord Voldemort. And we all know who that boy is, don’t we?


Neville Longbottom!

Final Rita Skeeter Exclusive: All for Lily

Snape and Lily

It is finally here! The authors of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying have reached the end of the Rita Skeeter’s long lost articles in which she interviews Severus Snape’s portrait about his life as a double agent. And it looks like he left the biggest shocker of all until the very end!

All for Lily – Snape Finally Reveals Why He Became a Double Agent

The big question on everyone’s minds for the last few weeks has been why. Why did Severus Snape become a spy to Dumbledore at the height of Voldemort’s power? Why did he die to protect Harry Potter? Why did he submit to these interviews? The truth is that Severus Snape was in love, writes Rita Skeeter, special correspondent.

“I had known, and had been, at one time, a friend of Lily Potter, then known as Lily Evans,” Snape began slowly, “we were neighbors and classmates. For a time she, unlike the others, was kind to me.”

Reports of Lily Potter’s kindness have lived on long after her death. Her husband’s bravado was also well known among those who admired it, but it was Lily who won the hearts of all she had met. “Ah always loved the way she treated my pets,” reported half-giant and former Care of Magical Creatures professor Rubeus Hagrid, “Harry’s got ‘er eyes and ‘er soft touch with ‘em.”

It seems, however, that Snape was more than an admirer of the fiery haired witch. When she fell in love with James Potter, his disappointment took over his better judgment.

“I wanted people like James Potter to realize they could not control the world with a smile and a flick of a wand forever,” said Snape bitterly, “everything came so easily to him, including her. He never knew how lucky he was.”

By throwing his lot in with Voldemort, Snape had aspirations of overturning the stranglehold that certain wizarding families had on the community as a whole. Unfortunately, his loyalty to the Dark Lord proved fatal to the one he loved.

“The Dark Lord, choosing between two possible enemies, selected Potter as the one who provided the most risk to him, and decided to hunt him down and kill him.”

The way the Prophecy is worded, either Potter or his classmate, Neville Longbottom, could have been the Chosen One. When asked whether Snape would have turned against the Dark Lord had Neville been chosen as a target, Snape shook his head.

“I would not have come to the boy’s rescue,” he said with a scowl. “I would not have come to Potter’s rescue if it had not been for Lily.”

Realizing that Lily and her husband would stand and fight for the life of their child, Snape raced to save them by alerting Dumbledore. Unfortunately, their precautions failed and the Potter parents died at Voldemort’s hand.

When asked what he did the night Lily died, Snape shook his head and turned away for a moment. He then turned to face the front of his portrait, his shoulders stiff and square and his dark hair pushed back from his face.

“I thought my world ended that night,” he said. “I wish I had died by the same curse. But the next day her son was still alive and Dumbledore asked me to help keep an eye on him. I hated that boy for who his father was but I had made a promise to Dumbledore to protect him, as much as I did loathe him.  But there was more to it than just a promise made to an old man . . .”

Tears shone in the stoic professor’s eyes. Special correspondent Rita Skeeter was speechless for a moment before she asked her final question.

“So you did it for love?”

“Yes,” he said, “I will always love his mother. That was the only thing that mattered.  It is why I did what I did for all those years.”

The Pensieve as an Intelligence Analyst Tool


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!





Death, Dreams, and Prophecies: How J.K. Rowling paid Homage to the Bard

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!

Yes, on April 23, 2014, Shakespeare turns 450 years old!

Celebrations are occurring all over the world, particularly in England, which makes it a great time to discuss some of the many Shakespeare references in the Harry Potter series.

First, let’s discuss Harry’s nightmares about Cedric’s death in Order of the Phoenix:

Harry Potter: Hey Big D. Beat up another 10 year old?

Dudley Dursley: This one deserved it.

Harry Potter: Five against one. That’s very brave.

Dudley Dursley: Well you’re one to talk, moaning in your sleep every night. At least I’m not afraid of my pillow. “Don’t kill Cedric!” Who’s Cedric, your boyfriend?

Dudley’s taunting is immediately followed by a dementor attack which makes Harry’s fears and nightmares come alive even as he seems to approach a kind of death at the hands of the dementors. This brings to mind that famous Hamlet quote that conflates death and dreams:

To sleep – perchance to dream.  Ay, there’s the rub,

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause.

Hamlet, Act III, Sc. 1, line 73-76.

And then there’s the passage in Macbeth where Banquo cannot sleep for fear of what he may dream:

A heavy summons lies like lead upon me,

And yet I would not sleep, Merciful powers,

Restrain in me the cursèd thoughts that nature

Gives way to in repose.

Macbeth, Act II, sc. I, ll. 6-9.

At this point in Macbeth, Banquo cannot sleep because he is afraid of the prophecy given to Macbeth in the form of a riddle by three witches known as the weird sisters.

Witches, prophesies, riddles?  Sound familiar? Keep in mind that the Order of the Phoenix is the book in which Harry finally learns about the prophecy that led to his parents’ deaths.

Lest you think we are reading too much into all of this, do you remember the name of the band that plays at the Yule Ball?

You guessed it! The Weird Sisters (GF 419, OP 286, 867, H-BP 316)

Need even more proof? Check out this excerpt from HARRY POTTER AND THE ART OF SPYING:

The Background of J. K. Rowling

As you may already know, Joanne Kathleen Rowling—who was born on July 31, 1966 (which would be Harry’s birthday, fourteen years later!)—attended Wyedean Comprehensive School, a middle school. She did quite well there; she was popular and outgoing and got good grades. In what we would call her eleventh year, at Stratford-upon-Avon, Rowling saw her very first play, Shakespeare’s King Lear, and was “absolutely electrified by it”—her words. She also saw The Winter’s Tale, featuring a character named Hermione!

Excerpt from Harry Potter and the Art of Spying by Lynn M. Boughey and Peter Earnest (forthcoming September 2014).

This information is derived from Marc Shapiro’s J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter 17, 34, 38–39, 48, 64 (2007), and Lindsey Fraser’s Conversations with J. K. Rowling, 31–32 (2000).

So tip your hat, cloak, or wand not only to the Bard, but to J. K. Rowling’s wonderful use of Shakespeare throughout the series!

Want to know more?

Shakespearegirl has a lot to say about the similarities between Rowling’s tale and Shakespeare’s plays.




Dumbledore’s Earliest Debriefs with Harry: Revelations from Harry Potter Books 2 & 3

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 6.29.19 PM

The last post we discussed what Dumbledore knew, when he knew it, and whether he should have told Harry sooner—and what Dumbledore disclosed at the end of the first book after Harry rescues the Philosopher’s Stone from Voldemort/Quirrell.


Today I want to continue that theme slightly and talk about what Dumbledore disclosed to Harry at the end of the next two books, and how he begins to unfold the realities of Harry’s his connection to Voldemort.


At the end of the second book after Harry defeats the basilisk.

1)     According to Dumbledore’s sources, Voldemort was hiding in the forests of Albania

2)     Voldemort was probably the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen

3)     Voldemort disappeared after leaving the school  .  .  . traveled far and wide  .  .  . sank so deeply into the Dark Arts, consorted with the very worst of our kind, underwent so many dangerous, magical transformations

4)     When he resurfaced as Lord Voldemort, he was barely recognizable.

5)      Nothing but loyalty toward Dumbledore could have called Fawkes to Harry

6)     “You can speak Parseltongue, Harry,” said Dumbledore calmly, “because Lord Voldemort—who is the last remaining descendant of Salazar Slytherin—can speak Parseltongue. Unless I’m much mistaken, he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I’m sure.  .  .  .”   “Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?” Harry said, thunderstruck.   “It certainly seems so.”

7)     Harry is different from Tom Riddle because he chose Gryffindor and asked the sorting hat not to go in Slytherin.  .  .  . “Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”


So by book two, Dumbledore knows that it seems that “Voldemort put a bit of himself” in Harry, and on the night Voldemort tried to kill Harry when he was a toddler, he unintentionally transferred some of his powers to Harry.


And of course Dumbledore knows what the prophesy says:


Harry is destined to fight to the death the Dark Lord—heavy stuff for a twelve-year-old, I guess.  So Dumbledore tells Harry—basically—to go off and play—and the story continues, Harry none the wiser.


In book 3, Harry saves Sirius and Buckbeak, once again has an end-of-the-book discussion with Dumbledore.  Harry is concerned that he didn’t make any difference because Pettigrew got away.

Dumbledore tells Harry that his actions made all the difference in the world: “You helped uncover the truth. You saved an innocent man from a terrible fate.”

Harry then tells Dumbledore about Professor Trelawney’s prediction, where she said “Voldemort’s servant was going to set out to return to him before midnight.  .  .  . She said the servant would help him come back to power.”

Dumbledore concludes that was Professor Trelawney making a real prediction and calmly took the news that Pettigrew is going to help Voldemort return to power.  Harry feels guilty that he has done something that will help Voldemort return to power.  But Dumbledore looks at his action in a positive light:

“You did a very noble thing, in saving Pettigrew’s life.”

“But if he helps Voldemort back to power—!”

“Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt. When one wizard saves another wizard’s life, it creates a certain bond between them  .  .  . trust me  .  .  . the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’s life.”

Finally, Harry had hoped that he had seen his father James across the lake the night before and realizes that his father is indeed dead and cannot return.  Dumbledore helps Harry through this realization as well, telling him, “Your father is alive in you, Harry . . .  How else could you produce that particular Patronus? . . .  So you did see your father last night, Harry.  .  .  . You found him inside yourself.”

So in book 3, Dumbledore doesn’t tell Harry much (except that saving a wizard’s life might help you later) and focuses more on “cheering” Harry up.

Harry remains in the dark, and off once more to the Dursley’s for his summer break!