Fact or Fiction? Spy Gadgets in Harry Potter

Sneakoscope

Some of JK Rowling’s ingenious magic objects and spells have real-life counterparts. Can you guess which of these Harry Potter spy gadgets are also available for muggle use?

1. The Invisibility Cloak

Harry would have a much harder time sneaking around if someone *ahem* Dumbledore hadn’t decided that he should have his father’s magical cloak. But how likely is it that a muggle could become invisible just by changing his or her clothes?

2. Hermione’s DA Coins

The members of the DA know when to come practice their defense against the dark arts spells thanks to Hermione’s coins, which turn warm in members’ pockets when she wants their attention.

3. Sneakoscope

If Harry had paid more attention to this gift from Ron, he may have figured out sooner that Ron’s pet was not what he seemed… Ok, who are we kidding? No one saw that one coming!

4. Veritaserum

A tool of the oh-so-evil Umbridge and respectable Dumbledore alike, this truth serum sure comes in handy when you want someone to spill their guts!

5. Owl post

Harry gets a lot of information from the outside world through his owl, Hedwig. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a winged friend to send notes to people?

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!

Spies for Adventure: The Weasley Twins!

  Weasley Fireworks W

The Weasley twins are never really recruited… they just like the adventure! Although adventure is a great incentive indeed, it should never be the primary incentive. A spy’s primary incentive should be a value or principle on which you can always rely. Adventure knows no country, nor any morals. Adventure is a rush of excitement that satisfies a specific purpose; such a flimsy or ephemeral rationale is not in and of itself a purpose worthy of action.

Without an underlying and worthy purpose, actions are just that: action without meaning or principle. 

In the Harry Potter series, we identify two individuals who are in a sense spies (or at least operatives) and do so for adventure: Fred and George Weasley. Fred and George clearly enjoy the adventure of spying on people and have even designed the Extendable Ears to do so. But they are also principled and have a moral belief about what is right.

Twins with Kreacher Quote

The Weasley Twins Analysis

Recruitment by: None needed

Incentive Used: The desire to always be up to no good!

Handler: Themselves

Method of Communication: Face-to-face (via quick-witted

banter)

Memorable Quote:

A thin piece of flesh-colored string descended in front of Harry’s eyes. Looking up he saw Fred and George on the landing above, cautiously lowering the Extendable Ear toward the dark knot of people below (76–77).

“George,” said Fred, “I think we’ve outgrown full-time education.” “Yeah, I’ve been feeling that way myself,” said George lightly (674).