Answers: Undercover in Harry Potter

Barty Crouch JR. Peter Pettigrew Transforms Arabella_FiggLucius and Cornelisu

Could you name all of these undercover agents in the Harry Potter series? If so, you just might be observant enough to be a spy yourself!

1. She might be considered a sleeper agent because she is introduced in book 1 and not revealed as a spy until book 5.

Mrs. Figg

She broke her leg in book 1, which meant that 11 year old Harry Potter got to go to the zoo for Dudley’s birthday. In book 5, she appeared out of nowhere when Dementors descended on Privet Drive. There was much more than met the idea with this batty old woman!

2. He’s assigned to track down Sirius Black, but he seems to be pretty bad at his job.

Kingsley Shacklebolt

He always seems to be Cornelius’ Fudge’s right hand man. That is, until he sits down to dinner across from a known fugitive and greets him like an old friend. Shacklebolt balanced his job at the Ministry with his support of the Order quite well, don’t you think?

3. He uses his family’s wealth to insert himself in the Ministry of Magic

Lucius Malfoy

Hard to be entirely undercover when your bratty kid brags about your political bribes at school. Nevertheless, Lucius Malfoy just bides his time throughout the series, waiting until the Dark Lord returns and gives him even more power in the Ministry.

4. He is more of a diplomat than a spy when he attempts to win over a whole magical species.

Rubeus Hagrid

Although Hagrid and his stunning girlfriend, Madame Olympe Maxime, tower over most of their colleagues, they were pretty tiny compared to the giants they tried to recruit on behalf of the Order. Despite their gifts and common heritage, Hagrid and Maxime were unsuccessful in their diplomatic mission.

5. This creature changes sides more than once in response to the treatment he receives at the hand of his various masters.

Kreacher

Yes, he’s spiteful and hateful and bitter. But look who he’s had to serve his whole life! He is almost entirely responsible for Sirius’ death, but Hermione is quick to realize that the old house elf just needs a little kindness to change allegiances and help the Order rather than the Dark Lord.

6. This man spent thirteen years undercover with the Weasleys.

Peter Pettigrew

13 years as a rat is not nearly long enough for a man whose cowardice resulted in the deaths of James and Lily Potter. However, he’s the only undercover agent to maintain such an elaborate disguise and cover story for so long! So, kudos for cowardice?

7. He may win the award for most elaborate disguise used by a spy in the Harry Potter series — he may also qualify for the insanity plea!

Barty Crouch Jr.

He’s a nut job, no two ways about it. He was willing to drink Polyjuice Potion constantly for nearly 9 months just to get Harry Potter to touch a portkey in the middle of an elaborate labyrinth.

8. She kept her special talent hidden so she could get the best scoop on a scandalous piece of gossip!

Rita Skeeter

This journalist took the whole “I wish I could be a fly on the wall for THAT conversation” a little too seriously. As an unregistered insect animagus, Skeeter could get any of the information she wanted just by waiting patiently to eavesdrop on the right conversation.

“We Fudge the Truth” – The Daily Prophet and the Order of the Phoenix

 

TheBoyWhoLies

The Ministry Becomes the Ministry of Lies—Its Slogan, “We Fudge the Truth”

In the book that we have already spent so much time discussing and dissecting, we find out that the Daily Prophet has spent the entire summer (following the murder of Cedric Diggory and Harry’s escape from Voldemort) denouncing Harry’s story and publishing articles denigrating and attacking Harry Potter (OP 73). When the ten Death Eaters escape from Azkaban, the Ministry of Magic uses the Daily Prophet to present its conclusion—based solely on the fact that Black had previously escaped from Azkaban— that the Death Eaters were assisted in their escape by Sirius Black (OP 544–45).

Dumbledore repeatedly tells Fudge and the others the truth, but they refuse to have any part of it. Only at the end, when Fudge sees Voldemort with his own eyes (and in the presence of other witnesses!) does the paper finally print the truth about Voldemort’s return—as well as Harry Potter’s redemption as the lone voice of truth in the wilderness of lies (OP 817).

Umbridge Daily Prophet

Notice how the Daily Prophet is also used to extol Professor Umbridge’s values as a Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts and as Hogwarts’s first High Inquisitor (OP 306–8). In the process of describing what a wonderful headmistress Dolores Umbridge is, the Daily Prophet obtains a single countervailing view from one Professor Marchbanks—and then immediately attacks her credibility via a separate article providing “a full account of Madam Marchbanks’s alleged links to subversive goblin groups” (OP 308). Talk about argument ad hominem!

Near the end book 5, an alternative newspaper, The Quibbler, prints an exclusive interview with Harry conducted by none other than Rita Skeeter. This game-changing piece is eventually reprinted in its entirety by the Daily Profit—er, we mean Prophet—once the return of Voldemort is finally acknowledged.

Spy Term

argument ad hominem (n): a fallacy in logic in which the position or viewpoint of a particular person is rejected based solely on a negative view of that person.

Example: The Daily Prophet repeatedly rejected Harry’s statements that Voldemort had returned by attacking him personally. It damaged his credibility rather than addressing his claims head on with evidence that Voldemort had not returned.

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.

Books_chapterart_gof_37

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.

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

Long Lost Interview with Severus Snape Found by the Art of Spying Authors!

Snape

The authors of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying have uncovered a long-lost interview of none other than Severus Snape. Written by Rita Skeeter, who has since retired to a bungalow in Little Whinging, the articles about the interview were discovered as the authors took a tour of Hogwarts castle. No sooner had we wished we knew more about Snape’s life as a double agent than a door appeared at the end of the hall. Inside, there was a small writing desk and a stack of papers that we soon learned had the answers to all of our questions!

We have reproduced the series of articles published after the installation of Severus Snape’s portrait in the headmaster’s office at Hogwarts and will be publishing them in order over the next few weeks.

Here is the article, originally written in green ink in Rita Skeeter’s hand:

Snape Admits to Killing Dumbledore, But Says Dumbledore “Asked” Him to Do It

Just yesterday, Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived Twice, presided over the installation ceremony of Severus Snape’s portrait in the headmaster’s office at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, writes Rita Skeeter, Special Correspondent and Author of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. Nearly five years after the Battle at Hogwarts and Snape’s death, the ceremony was attended by just a handful of witches and wizards who seemed to be inordinately distraught over the controversial headmaster’s death.

The delay in installing the portrait and the small ceremony speaks to the wizarding community’s continued confusion over the role Snape played in Voldemort’s demise. Yet, in a rare interview, Harry Potter described the foreboding professor as “the bravest man he ever knew.”

Although it seems as though the poor boy may have simply latched onto an unlikely father figure after the deaths of Sirius Black (who went to Azkaban for thirteen years on account of a mass Muggle killing, only to be acquitted by the courts; many conspiracy theorists believe he is still guilty), Remus Lupin (a known werewolf), and Albus Dumbledore himself (who is rumored to have gone a bit senile in his later years). Yet Harry Potter is not the only person to have a strange kind of reverence for Severus Snape. “It is time everyone knew what he has done to help defeat Voldemort,” Hogwarts Headmaster Minerva McGonagall said as she led me up the winding staircase to her office. Her tightly pursed lips gave no indication as to whether she believed her own words.

In an interview with Snape’s portrait, the man himself was reluctant to admit his own part in the rise and fall of the Dark Lord. When asked why he was willing to speak with the Daily Prophet, he sneered, saying, “My reasons don’t concern you. It is enough that I deign to submit to this interview.” Quite the imperious attitude from a man that most people still blame for the death of Dumbledore and the near death of Harry Potter.

Snape’s involvement with former headmaster Albus Dumbledore and his tenure at Hogwarts began back in 1981 at the height of Voldemort’s first reign of terror. It is remarkable that Dumbledore was even willing to speak with him, let alone hire him to teach our children when he was a well-known “former” Death Eater. What makes the situation even more ludicrous is that he approached Dumbledore only after he had already sold Lily and James Potter out to Voldemort by telling the Dark Lord about the first part of a Prophesy that he had overheard.

“It was I that relayed that Prophecy to the Dark Lord, setting in motion all that was to come,” he said with a certain amount of pride. “At the time I overheard the Prophesy I was a loyal servant to the Dark Lord. I was glad to do his bidding.  Honored. I was a true follower—not due to fear or a desire for power, like the others. I was a believer, in what he believed.”

The Prophecy Snape refers to predicted Voldemort’s demise at the hands of a boy to be born in July to parents who had already defied the Dark Lord three times. This, of course, led to the deaths of Lily and James Potter on October 31, 1981, Harry Potter’s miraculous survival, and Voldemort’s temporary loss of power. When asked if he felt responsible, Snape glowered over a sharply hooked nose before turning to face the back of his portrait. “Her death changed everything,” he said.

To be continued….