Answers: Types of Spies

Harry Potter characters
Yesterday, we asked you to name Harry Potter characters that fit into the five Types of Spies that 4th century theorist Sun Tzu devised. Here are our answers!

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.

Mrs. Figg – She used her location near the Dursleys to keep an eye on Harry Potter for Dumbledore

Tom – The innkeeper at the Leaky Cauldron, Tom often spied on Harry and his friends for Cornelius Fudge

Mrs. Norris – Ok, so a cat is not typically a spy, but Mrs. Norris made a point of nosing around Hogwarts to report back to Fudge

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

Pius Thicknius – He’s not the most well-known character, but thanks to an Imperius Curse, he became Voldemort’s puppet as the Prime Minister.

Kingsley Shacklebolt – Once it was clear that the Ministry of Magic had lost its way, Kingsley Shacklebolt quickly affirmed his loyalty to Dumbledore.

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

Severus Snape – Snape is the most obvious example of a double agent in Harry Potter. Lily’s death was more than enough to persuade him to work as a double agent.

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

Severus Snape – Once again, Snape proves himself to be an EXCELLENT spy by deceiving Voldemort every step of the way.

Peeves – Peeves helps Fred and George Weasley wreak havoc in the Order of the Phoenix in order to combat Umbridge’s horrible regime.

5) Spies sent behind enemy lines that return with information

Remus Lupin- Although the task was distasteful, Lupin went to spy among the werewolves.

Hagrid – Similarly, Hagrid used his half-giant status to try to get information and support from the giants.

Did you come up with better answers? Tell us in the comments! 

A Spy in the Light of Day – Dolores Umbridge

Umbridge Giving Speech

One spy who does not fit into the typical definition of a spy is Professor Umbridge, who certainly spied for a cause (the Ministry can do no wrong, hem hem, giggle), but was spying openly. In other words, everybody at the school knew that Professor

Umbridge was there to spy on Hogwarts, its students, its staff, and its headmaster. We note this simple fact because normally a spy works covertly and secretly.

However, there are situations in which somebody spies openly, particularly when they have been given authority to do so by those in power! The role of such open spying is to assert the authority’s control with constant reminders that resistance will be observed, reported, and certainly not left unanswered!

Dolores Umbridge Analysis

Recruitment by: Cornelius Fudge

Incentive Used: Pure loyalty to the Ministry and the Minister

of Magic, Cornelius Fudge

Handler: Cornelius Fudge

Method of Communication: Owl, Floo Network, Educational Decrees

Memorable Quotes:

Umbridge: “Let us move forward, then, into a new era of openness, effectiveness, and accountability, intent on preserving what ought to be preserved, perfecting what needs to be perfected, and pruning wherever we find practices that ought to be prohibited” (OP 213–14).

Here’s her full speech, because it’s pretty awe-inspiring to watch:

What Cornelius doesn’t know won’t hurt him” (OP 746).

Other Spies in the Open

As an aside, we note two other “open” spies in the series, both appearing in book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The first is none other than Petunia Dursley, who, it turns out, is quite the nosy neighbor! According to Harry, Aunt Petunia would love to be the one to call in and report the spotting of Sirius Black:

Petunia Dursley

“She was the nosiest woman in the world and spent most of her life spying on the boring, law-abiding neighbors” (PA 17).

Another “open” spy is Tom, the toothless landlord of the Leaky Cauldron, who at the request of Cornelius Fudge keeps an eye on Harry while he stays at the Leaky Caldron for a few weeks after escaping from the Dursleys’ (PA 46).

Tom, Leaky Cauldron

What do all of these spies in the open have in common? Do you have any examples of other spies in Harry Potter who make sure everyone knows what they’re doing?

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).

 

The Spy for a Cause – Draco Malfoy

Draco Slide

Draco Malfoy

If you’ve been following along, you know that people often spy for personal reasons – patriotism/loyalty, fear, love, etc. There is one personal motivation we HAVE to mention, because it is SO important both in the real world and in the Harry Potter series. And that motivation is…

REVENGE!

ANALYSIS: Why would Draco Malfoy agree to try to kill Dumbledore in book 6, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince?

Remember that, by that point in the series, Draco’s father is imprisoned and derided as a known Death Eater. Voldemort personally gives Draco his assignment, which makes Draco feel powerful and important at the precise moment he has begun to be humiliated by his father. But one must wonder, just as Professor Dumbledore wonders when he is visiting with Snape, whether Draco’s heart is really in it. Draco is not evil at this point, but simply terribly misdirected. His motive is revenge, not hatred, and the difference between the two is significant. Draco seems somewhat apathetic to Lord Voldemort’s cause. In book 7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Draco observes Lord Voldemort torturing and killing people—including Hogwarts’s Muggle Studies teacher, Professor Charity Burbage, the woman twisting above the drawing room table (DH 3, 11). When he sees his father forced to give his wand to Lord Voldemort, we imagine that he begins to understand Voldemort quite well and perhaps has terrible misgivings about the Dark Lord’s presence in his family’s home (a point raised by Voldemort at the time—perhaps by use of Legilimency!).

We assert that Lucius and Narcissi Malfoy come to the same conclusion by the end of the series, as shown in the final installation of the film series: during the last battle, they grab Draco and quietly leave the scene, no doubt to go into hiding—away from Lord Voldemort, in case he is successful, and in a position to claim they did not fight for him if the tide is turned. A shrewd move indeed, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy! You will also note that, in the movie version, Draco has a hard time leaving his friends when asked to do so. He is clearly conflicted; after all, he had been saved just a little while ago by Harry Potter (to Ron’s great chagrin!) when the Room of Requirements went up in magical flames (DH 633–34).

Draco Malfoy Analysis

Recruitment by: Voldemort himself, no doubt

Incentive Used: Revenge for father’s downfall

Handler: Voldemort, perhaps through Lucius Malfoy or other Death Eaters when necessary (as when Lucius is in prison)

Method of Communication: Face-to-face

Memorable Quote:

“I haven’t got any options! I’ve got to do it! He’ll kill me! He’ll kill my whole family!” (HBP 591).

Dumbledore: “A frightened teenage boy is a danger to others as well as to himself. Offer him help and guidance, he ought to accept, he likes you—”

Snape: “—much less since his father has lost favor. Draco blames me, he thinks I have usurped Lucius’s position” (DH 682).