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:
What password do Ron, Harry, and Hermione use to listen to their first Potterwatch?*
“. . . [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.”
“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!