The Daily Prophet and the Deathly Hallows

dh.c22--the-deathly-hallows

Going Underground:

The Daily Prophet under Ministry control, Potterwatch Begins, and The Quibbler Quibbles

In the final book, the Daily Prophet serves many uses, depending on who is in control of the paper at the time. For example, Professor Charity Burbage successfully publishes a spirited defense of half-bloods. However, she is then captured, tortured, and murdered at Voldemort’s hands in the Malfoys’ home (DH 12).

The paper also contains a positive obituary of Dumbledore written by a longtime friend (DH 15–20) and an interview with Rita Skeeter about her forthcoming negative book on Dumbledore (DH 22–28). Both perspectives become integral aspects of Harry’s rocky journey toward making his own choices and mistakes.

We also learn from the Daily Prophet that Harry is now “sought for questioning” about Dumbledore’s death (DH 207). The Daily Prophet announces the “Muggle-born Register” (DH 208) and that Professor Snape has been selected as Hogwarts’s new Headmaster (DH 225). In addition, the Daily Prophet informs our three good friends, who are on the run, that Hermione is “on the list of Muggle-borns who didn’t present themselves for interrogation” (DH 231). A picture from the Daily Prophet of Harry, Ron, and Hermione escaping from Gringotts on the back of a dragon is later used by the Snatchers to determine that they have just captured Hermione and Harry (DH 451).Without access to other forms of information, the Daily Prophet, no matter how corrupt and biased, provides vital open source intelligence to the Trio.

Once again, Harry is personally attacked as “Undesirable Number One” (DH 252, 315, 525), complete with wanted posters bearing his picture. Once Voldemort is in control of the Ministry of Magic, nothing in the Daily Prophet can be considered credible. Once again, the alternative newspaper, The Quibbler, attempts to describe what is really going on (DH 299). But once Luna is taken by a group of Death Eaters, Mr. Lovegood is forced to attack Harry publicly in his paper (DH 419).

So another means is adopted to get the truth out— and Potterwatch, a radio program, is born (DH 437). This underground source of intelligence deserves more attention that we typically give it. Complete with code names, secret locations, and magical passwords, the makers of Potterwatch used every spy craft tool at their disposal to counteract Voldemort’s Daily Prophet propaganda.

Guess the man behind the curtain…er, I mean, code name:

Royal

Rapier

River

Romulus

What password do Ron, Harry, and Hermione use to listen to their first Potterwatch?*

Potterwatch Quotes (Courtesy of the Harry Potter Lexicon):

“. . . [we] apologize for our temporary absence from the airwaves, which was due to a number of house calls in our area by those charming Death Eaters.”

“ . . .  it’s one short step from ‘Wizards first’ to ‘Purebloods first,’ and then to ‘Death Eaters.’ . . . We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
Royal

“I suppose it helps, when escaping from Death Eaters, if you’ve got a sixteen-foot-high half brother?” . . .
“It would tend to give you an edge . . . ”
River and Romulus discussing Hagrid’s escape from arrest

 

*Answers will be revealed on tomorrow’s blog!

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. 

Rita Skeeter Interviews President Obama

President Obama Calls Hillary a Loser and John Boehner He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named

by Special Correspondent Rita Skeeter*

Rita Skeeter Pic Obama stern

June 23, 2014

Rita Skeeter:  Thank you for having me here in the White House, President Obama.

The President:  Glad to have you.  But I didn’t quite understand which organization you are with.  The Daily ProphetThe Quibbler?

Rita Skeeter:  Oh, they didn’t tell you.  Fox News, of course.  Special correspondent.  All that jazz.

The President:  [shifting uncomfortably in his chair] Well, actually, I guess that figures  . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Read any good books lately?

The President:  Well, I am just now in the middle of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying by Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest.  Peter is the head of the International Spy Museum and Michelle and my kids love going there, as Michelle has mentioned once on national TV.

Rita Skeeter:  I understand that you are a fan of Harry Potter.

The President:  Yes I am.  I loved reading those books to my daughters when they were young.  Great memories.

Rita Skeeter:  Any thoughts on how the series relates to the real world?

The President:  Well sure, it is hard not to think of Congress, and most particularly the House of Representatives, when you read about the Ministry of Magic.

Rita Skeeter:  Does that make you Cornelius Fudge?

The President:  No, I’d like to think of myself more as Dumbledore, if he were Minister of Magic.

Rita Skeeter:  But you’re married.

The President:  Well, yes, . . . but that’s allowed now, in part thanks to . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Fine, fine.  So what do you really think about John Boehner?

The President:  I consider him He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named.

Rita Skeeter:  Well, I guess we hit a soft spot there.  How about the Supreme Court?

The President:  There are four of them I like a lot, a fifth who it depends on the day, and the others . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Death Eaters?

The President:  Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want them to be part of the Wizengamot.

Rita Skeeter:  And what about Hillary Clinton.  She used to work for you, a really really big supporter . . . after losing to you, I recall . . . So, if you are the Minister of Magic, is she your  Professor Umbridge?

The President:  [bristling, a touch of anger showing] Hillary is no Umbridge!  She is, if anyone, Hermione Granger—a present day Hermione Granger . . . she is bright, hard-working, and frankly, given some of the things she was able to do as Secretary of State, I think she can do magic too!

Rita Skeeter:  So, have you read her new book?

The President:  I have.  It’s wonderful!

Rita Skeeter:  In the first chapter at page 19 she mentions that she didn’t always agree with you, but she refused to provide any juicy details because you are still President.  Would you like to share those times when the two of you were at each other’s throats?

The President:  I am happy to say we were never “at each other’s throats.”  We sometimes disagreed.  I don’t hire “yes men” – or “yes women.”

Rita Skeeter:  So when you disagreed, who won?

The President:  Well, as President, I guess I get the final say, so that would be me.

Rita Skeeter:  Lovely.  Thanks for the lead.  Now, are you finally ready to admit that we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq?

The President:  [again, bristling] I believe, if you check your facts, that it was the previous president who did that.

Rita Skeeter:  [disdainfully] Facts, facts . . . they have a habit of getting in the way of a good story, like, say, Benghazi.  Shall we talk about that?  Hillary blew that one too, right?

The President:  Hillary did exactly what anyone else would have done in that situation.   She explains everything in her book.

Rita Skeeter:  Yes, and we all noticed that she took the blame . . .

The President:  Yes, she did.

Rita Skeeter:  So the buck stops here – stops at the woman’s desk?

The President:  [anger clearly being suppressed]  I think we are about done here . . .  [starting to rise from chair]

Rita Skeeter:  Just a few more questions, if that is OK.  What are you most proud of during your term?

The President:  Well, the health care reform . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Which we noticed you named after yourself . . .

The President:  I believe its actual name is the Affordable Health Care Act, and I think the intent by others in naming it ObamaCare was kind of like putting Nifflers in Professor Umbridge’s office – but I have come to accept the nomenclature . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Get anything else done?

The President:  Well, yes.  Named several people to the Supreme Court, saved the economy that I inherited, got out of one war I inherited –

Rita Skeeter:  How’s that going so far?

The President:  That’s it.  [standing]  Nice to meet you.  [pointing to her acid green quill]  Nice pen, too.

[The President leaves.]

*Interview discovered by Lynn Boughey, co-author of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying and provided as a public service as a blog on www.artofspying.net

Answers: The Birth of Dumbledore’s Army

Dumbledore's Army Answers

1. The Daily Prophet provides what propaganda about Delores Umbridge?

That she is “an immediate success” and is providing the Ministry with “on-the-ground feedback of what’s really happening at Hogwarts”

2. What parent is quoted in the Daily Prophet article for corroboration of the value of having Umbridge at Hogwarts?

Lucius Malfoy

3. When examining the professors, which one predicts that Umbridge is in grave danger?

Sybil Trelawney

4. Who comes up with the idea of having Harry covertly teach his classmate Defense Against the Dark Arts?

Hermione

5. Hermione sets up a “secret” meeting to talk about Harry teaching the students at what location?

The Hog’s Head

6. Filch uses a pretext to try to intercept Harry’s owl before he sends his letter to Sirius?  Why?

Someone told him Harry has been ordering Dungbombs

7. Looking around at their meeting place in Hogsmeade the kids notice a person who is hidden behind a veil.  Who is that person?

Mundungus Fletcher

8. In the process of recruiting the students, the students discuss Harry’s past actions.  What do they talk about?

Harry’s prior encounters with Voldemort

9. There is another person who is heavily bandaged that ends up being the person who tells Umbridge about the meeting. Who is this person?

Willy Widdershins

10. Someone asks Harry about his ability to produce a Patronus.  Who is this student, and how did she get this information?

Susan

Quiz: The Birth of Dumbledore’s Army

Dumbledore's Army

Monday trivia is back once again! Do you know everything about Umbridge and Dumbledore’s Army? Then this quiz is for you! Check back tomorrow for the answers.

1. The Daily Prophet provides what propaganda about Delores Umbridge?

2. What parent is quoted in the Daily Prophet article for corroboration of the value of having Umbridge at Hogwarts?

3. When examining the professors, which one predicts that Umbridge is in grave danger?

4. Who comes up with the idea of having Harry covertly teach his classmate Defense Against the Dark Arts?

5. Hermione sets up a “secret” meeting to talk about Harry teaching the students at what location?

6. Filch uses a pretext to try to intercept Harry’s owl before he sends his letter to Sirius?  Why?

7. Looking around at their meeting place in Hogsmeade the kids notice a person who is hidden behind a veil.  Who is that person?

8. In the process of recruiting the students, the students discuss Harry’s past actions.  What do they talk about?

9. There is another person who is heavily bandaged that ends up being the person who tells Umbridge about the meeting. Who is this person?

10. Someone asks Harry about his ability to produce a Patronus.  Who is this student, and how did she get this information?