A Day of Remembrance

Saluting Trade Center Memorial

Although we at Art of Spying tend to focus on the whimsical and the entertainment value of the Potter series, there are some days where we must take a moment to be serious, and this is one of those days. However, the magic of Harry Potter is that it portrays both the light and dark in the world and, perhaps, offers a way to deal with the dark moments even as it helps us to celebrate the light ones.

The September 11th attacks happened 13 years ago today.

Many of our readers grew up not only with Harry Potter, but the specter of the twin towers falling, the Pentagon burning, and a plane burrowing in upon a flat Pennsylvania field.

There were many heroes that day.  Some lived.  Some didn’t.

Some were victims of chance, being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  But many were persons who chose to be there, chose to walk up those steps, fight those fires, take over a hijacked plane, put themselves in harm’s way.

All are worthy of our remembrance.

In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we all were touched by the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for the true greater good, a life without fear, without torture, without the specter of an evil Dark Lord who wanted to not only control the world, but torment it.

Lupin and Resurrection Stone

In one of the scenes of the final battle of Hogwarts, Harry enters the great hall to see bodies strewn on the floor:  Tonks, Remus, Fred, and even little Colin Creevey.  Many of us, as we read this abject scene, shed tears.

Death is hard.  And yet sacrifice based purely on principle, or in aid of another, is perhaps the greatest virtue that one can envision or dare to impart.

For every person who lost his or her life in the final Battle of Hogwarts, hundreds perished on 9/11.  Every one of them had a family, loved ones, children waiting for a parent to come home . . . who never did.

So on this day, when we remember sacrifice – and death – and choosing to help others – and dying for a principle – let us pause for just a moment, and think of that which is worth fighting for.

Something Worth Fighting For

Today we call most fervently upon the memory of those who have, in support of freedom and in the assistance of others, done what needed to be done, at times giving the greatest sacrifice.

To those we give thanks, and our solemn remembrance.

Respectfully,

Lynn and Peter

The Daily Prophet and Open Source Information

Gringotts Break in

In the world of espionage there are many ways to get important information. The spies in the Harry Potter series all seem to have their favorite way of information gathering. Hermione, for example, ALWAYS goes to the library when she wants to find answers:

“Harry — I think I’ve just understood something! I’ve got to go to the library!”
And she sprinted away, up the stairs.
What does she understand?” said Harry distractedly, still looking around, trying to tell where the voice had come from.
“Loads more than I do,” said Ron, shaking his head.
“But why’s she got to go to the library?”
“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This means that Hermione is an expert at collecting open source information.

Open Source (n): a collection of information that is generally open to all, such as newspapers, articles, maps, or other publications or documents

Her talents, of course, were cultivated after her first year at Hogwarts when an article in the Daily Prophet, a Chocolate Frog, and a  history textbook gave Harry, Ron, and Hermione the clues to what was hidden beneath Fluffy. Thanks to the Daily Prophet, Harry discovers—and relays to Hermione and Ron—that there had been a robbery attempt on vault number 713 after Hagrid had withdrawn whatever he obtained on Dumbledore’s behalf (SS 141). Hagrid had already told Harry that he was on a mission for Professor Dumbledore and that it was top secret. Hagrid is definitely being a secret agent for Professor Dumbledore, though we wonder how secret an agent he is when he discloses so much of what he is doing to Harry (SS 63)!

By combining the information from the Daily Prophet with Hagrid’s loose lips, Dumbledore’s bio on the back of a Chocolate Frog card, and a chapter from the history textbook that Hermione checked out for “a bit of light reading,” the Trio makes use of all-source intelligence:

all-source intelligence (n): intelligence derived from every type of intelligence available, including covert or secret intelligence

Click here for an analysis of the role the Daily Prophet played in the Chamber of Secrets!