The Fearful Spy: Peter Pettigrew

Peter Pettigrew Transforms

The next type of spy is motivated by fear. Our example, of course, is Peter Pettigrew.

As we all know, Peter Pettigrew was brought into James Potter’s circle despite the fact that the other three (James, Sirius, and Lupin) would not automatically or normally have included him in their group. James and Sirius were good-looking and popular, as well as egotistical. Lupin, as a werewolf, was an outsider; that at least indicates that James and Sirius were not so full of themselves that they would be unwilling to befriend and assist somebody strange or different. Peter Pettigrew was certainly in need of friends, but we wonder why the other three allowed him into their midst…

Whatever the reason, Peter Pettigrew became one of the foursome, but unfortunately not one who could be trusted in the end. For, as we all know, Peter Pettigrew was the Secret Keeper who told Voldemort where James and Lily Potter, and their toddler son, Harry, lived.

When we meet Peter Pettigrew as an adult, he seems like a weak and spineless rat (and, of course, he can turn into a rat!). He seems to fear Voldemort, but is thrilled by the prospect of receiving power through Voldemort. He is willing to give Voldemort not merely the shirt off his back, but, literally, his right hand. Now that’s really a right-hand man! (Sorry about that!)

Keep in mind, spies whose main motivation is fear are not the most reliable. All you have to do is find a stronger motivator or find someone who inspires more fear to convince them to switch sides!

For example, thanks to Harry’s refusal to allow Sirius and Lupin to kill Peter at the Shrieking Shack (after the rat returned to human form and confessed to his betrayal of James and Lily Potter), Peter Pettigrew is indebted to Harry (PA 375). This pays off in the long run because it gives Peter another motivator –the desire to repay the favor.

As Dumbledore explains to Harry, “The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed. . . . 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 . . .” (PA 426–27).

Harry understandably wants no connection to Peter Pettigrew, but Dumbledore wisely opines, “the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew’s life” (PA 427). And, to Peter Pettigrew’s great surprise, he does falter for a moment when coming to check on Harry and the others imprisoned in the dungeon of Malfoy Manor—and the new hand that Voldemort gave Pettigrew immediately turns on him and kills him (DH 470)!

Peter Pettigrew Analysis

Recruitment by: A Death Eater or Voldemort as they searched for James, Lily, and toddler Harry Potter

Incentive Used: Desire for power and fear of Voldemort

Handler: Probably Voldemort himself

Method of Communication: Face-to-face

Memorable Quotes:

Sirius: But you, Peter—I’ll never understand why I didn’t see you were the spy from the start. You always liked big friends who’d look after you, didn’t you? It used to be us . . . me and Remus . . . and James. . . .” (PA 369).

Voldemort: “You returned to me, not out of loyalty, but out of fear of your old friends” (GF 649).

Narrative: “The silver tool that Voldemort had given his most cowardly servant had turned upon its disarmed and useless owner; Pettigrew was reaping his reward for his hesitation, his moment of pity; he was being strangled before their eyes” (DH 470).

Quiz: Types of Spies

Order of the Phoenix still

Well, we’ve done it. We’ve made it through ORDER OF THE PHOENIX in its entirety using weekly quizzes. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more where they came from! For now, however, we’re going to focus more closely on the SPIES, SPYCRAFT, and SPY GADGETS in the Harry Potter series. If you’ve already purchased the book, the upcoming quizzes will align with Part II: The Art of Spying in the Wizarding and Muggle Worlds.

Sit tight, grab a broomstick, and follow us on another wild ride through Harry Potter and the Art of Spying!

Sun-Tzu Quote

According to a famous 4th century Chinese general named Sun-Tzu, there are five types of spies. Can you name a Harry Potter character for each?

1) Local Inhabitants – i.e. people who are in the right places at the right times to observe what’s happening and report back to their handlers.

2) Government Officials who can be persuaded to switch their loyalties

3) Enemy Spies who can be persuaded to become double agents

4) Spies who conduct acts of espionage to deceive the enemy

5) Spies sent behind enemy lines that return with information

Tomorrow, we’ll reveal which characters we think fit into each category. Stop back to see if you could name them all!

Quiz: The Attack on Arthur Weasley

Attack on Arthur

Now that Dumbledore’s Army is meeting regularly, nearly every character in the Order of the Phoenix has started using elements of spy craft. Some characters are in deep cover, others like Hermione are becoming skilled at psychological assessment, and Dumbledore is fighting to maintain the upper hand by keeping A LOT of secrets. Try this week’s quiz to see how much of the spy craft you’ve noticed in this action-packed section of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Answers are available here.

1. Now that Hagrid is back, in his first lesson he “shows” the kids what creature?

2. Where is Sirius laying low, in deep cover?

3. At the end of one meeting, Harry uses a pretext to hung around and visit with Cho. What is this pretext?

4. When telling Ron and Hermione about Cho’s “wet” kiss, he says she was crying. Describe Hermione’s psychological assessment of Cho.

5. Thanks to his unique connection to Voldemort, Harry is able to secretly observe something in his dream. What does he see?

6. What is the snake’s name?

7. Dumbledore acts as an intelligence analyst and interrogates Harry about what he saw and what was his perspective , and determines what?

8. What unique form of communication does Dumbledore use in his office to find the injured Mr. Weasley?

9. Once Mr. Weasley is at St. Mungo’s, he makes a decision to protect his sources and methods. What is that decision?

10. Who and what are the source and method Dumbledore is protecting?

 

Spy Terms

Deep Cover/Deep Cover Agent (n): a mission or assignment so secret that only one or two people know of its existence; a deep cover agent usually stays put for many, many years, having little to no contact with his or her handlers.

Example: Sirius is a deep cover agent out of necessity. People know he exists but very few know where he is and he must stay put indefinitely. He is clearly not very good at being a deep cover agent.

 

Psychological Assessment (n): the use of information about a person’s traits, characteristics, background, and psychological makeup to predict that person’s reactions or future actions.

Example: Hermione helps Ron and Harry understand Cho’s traits, characteristics, and background in order to explain why she has been acting strange and to predict how she will act in the future.

 

The Spies Among Us: Patriotism Gone Bad

Death Eaters

Death Eaters

Patriotism does not necessarily mean that the cause the spy holds dear is related to a nation or the security of a specific nation, as is clearly evident by Voldemort’s Death Eaters. They are against a nation, and indeed, the whole Wizarding world and the world of Muggles. Their cause is Voldemort, or perhaps the desire to obtain power through Voldemort.

Analysis:

Recruitment by: Presumably Voldemort

Incentive Used: Assertion of Wizarding superiority, the opportunity to wreak havoc and assert extraordinary power over Wizards and Muggles alike

Handler: Voldemort or a Death Eater who has a close connection to Voldemort

Method of Communication: Direct assignments from Voldemort, messages sent through another Death Eater, or use of the Dark Mark on the Death Eater’s arm

Memorable Quote:

Sirius: “Well, you don’t just hand in your resignation to Voldemort. It’s a lifetime of service or death” (OP).

Quirrell: “There is no good and evil… there is only power, and those too weak to understand it… Since then, I serve him faithfully, although I have let him down many times.” (SS)

When Voldemort returns at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, you can see exactly what kind of relationship Death Eaters have with their handler, Voldemort. The Dark Lord demands loyalty and disappointing him is dangerous to say the least.

The first blog post in the Spies Among Us series was about Mundungus Fletcher, a Spy for Hire.

Break the Code: The Cover of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying

In order to make things a bit more interesting, the authors of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying decided to put a few codes to break on the front cover and the back inside cover.

So, let’s take a peek at the front cover:

HP cover

 

Notice the different coloring lettering on the authors’ names?

What could this mean?

Hint:  The black letters create one full English sentence.

Get it yet?

Ok, we’ll help a little!

Another hint:  The sentence is created by four letters that translate easily into four words, and the remaining three letters spell the last word!

So, let’s first put the letters in order as the names Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest would normally be read:

L—U—Y—P— R— A —S.

Doesn’t sound like a word, or a full sentence!  So let’s try something else.  Read the letter left to right:

Y—P—R—U— A— S —Y?

Figure it out yet?

Next hint:  By moving one letter, you get the answer, which again is one complete English sentence.

So, say the letters out loud as words:

Y—P—R—U— A— S —Y sounded out is,

Why Pee Are You A S Why?

Now, move just one letter somewhere else:

Y—P—R—U— A— S —Y?

Got it?  If not, the another hint should finish the job!

Hint:  We would never use the word “pee” on our cover, but we might use the letter “P”!

So, remove the “P,” AND YOU GET:

Y—R—U— A— S —Y?

And you get, sounding out the letters as words:

Why are you a “S” “Y”?

Now put the “P” back in, and you get:

Y—R—U— A— S —P—Y?

Which when read out loud and as four letter-words and one three-letter word is . . . . . .

Why are you a SPY?