Tag Archive | Dumbledore’s Army

Review: Harry Potter and the Art of Spying – by Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest

 

Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

 Title: Harry Potter and the Art of Spying

Author: Lynn M. Boughey and Peter Earnest

This review is of an ARC. Purchase the book September 15th at these links:

Amazon. The International Spy Museum (Available now!). Itasca Books. Hooray for Books. Red Lodge Books.

Goodreads. Official Website.

Summary: The Harry Potter series is more than just a story about a young wizard who saves the world from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The seven-book saga is an excellent primer on spying, intelligence, and politics. Join spy novelist Lynn Boughey and thirty-six-year CIA veteran and executive director of the International Spy Museum Peter Earnest as they review the spy craft employed and celebrated in J.K. Rowling’s bestselling books. From the invisibility cloak to house passwords to Fred and George Weasley’s Extendable Ears, “Harry Potter & the Art of Spying” is full of spy lessons for the secret-agent-in-training in the Muggle realm. Learn how to break secret codes, gather intelligence, read character’s motives, and why Severus Snape is the best double agent ever.

Genre/Pages: Fantasy Analysis/Espionage non-fiction/632

Rating: ★★★★ (4.5 of 5)

A Quote: “Severus Snape was perhaps the best spy ever portrayed in literature. But we must remember that there are real spies out there, spies who take all the risks, perhaps more than Snape did. The World is full of risk. It is a very dangerous place. Only through information can our leaders make the right decisions.

And information is hard to come by.

Countries hide what they are doing. Leaders make statements that are intentionally false. And informants are often untrustworthy or just plain wrong.

It is spies — and intelligence analysts — who derive truth from a blurry world.” ~pg 541 of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying.

My Review:  When I first heard about this book I was sitting on my bed listening to Alohomora! I knew as soon as I heard authors Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest analyzing Harry Potter with the Pros (read: The Alohomora! cast), that I HAD to read this book. It was a given. I had to get my hands on a copy of this book. Weeks later, after many, MANY delays and mail mix ups I finally got to hold a copy of this wondrous book in my hands. I was overjoyed. I cannot possibly fully express my thanks to Lynn, Peter, and all of the other amazing people who helped me to get an ARC of this book for review. Y’all are the best! All of this aside, however, I do consider this an unbiased review.

The first half of this book is a play-by-play analysis of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. At first I was nervous. Was there REALLY enough information in OotP to create a full-on chapter-by-chapter, line-by-line, espionage analysis? Believe me, there is. Lynn and Peter will bring up points and theories I had never even considered.

The second half of this book is a series’ analysis from an espionage perspective. It focuses on the specifics of character motivation, different types of spies throughout the series, Wizard security, Magical (and muggle) means of tracking and spying, personal espionage experiences from the authors, and so much more. This was probably in some ways my favorite part of the book. Not only did you get HARRY POTTER, but you also will be absolutely astonished by how much you learn about how Muggle world spying works. It’s fascinating!

So, at this point I’m typically writing about my thoughts on the hero/heroine. Well… As you’ve probably deducted by now, there isn’t one. So I’m going to split these next two sections (Usually Hero/Heroine and Plot) into the two main focuses of the book: Harry Potter Analysis, and real life Espionage.

Harry Potter Analysis: A word about Harry Potter Analysis: HARRY POTTER ANALYSIS. (Oh, all right, that was three words!) << Did you see what I did there??? There are quite a few running jokes throughout the book, but it wasn’t annoying, actually. It was more like a smile and eyeroll type of running gags. They were legitimately amusing. Anyway, I digress. The blow-by-blow analyzing got a little bit slow at times, since I already know the series (and particularly OotP) so well, but I understand that it was necessary for the points they were trying to make. This book had many laugh out loud moments, some due to the genius of J.K. Rowling, and some to the genius of Lynn and Peter. This form of analysis, however, fully immersed you into the world and you were able to have many Ah-ha! moments of realization. No matter how many times I read the books, listen to the podcasts, or read books like this, I can ALWAYS learn new things about Harry Potter, and new mind-blowing JKR things. This is my OGM for the day. (Obligatory Genius Moment to JKR). Some might think that the book recap would get boring, but it honestly stayed pretty intriguing. In fact, I’m even more desperate to go back and re-read OotP AFTER reading this book. I love getting to see my favorite books from the eyes of someone else, and what better way to get a new perspective on my all-time-favorite book than through the eyes of a CIA veteran and a spy novelist?

Espionage: A word about Espionage: ESPIONAGE! This was absolutely fascinating  — I read it in no time! The depth and detail was enthralling! You learned immense amounts about the intricate functioning of the Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore’s Army, and much more. This book merely expanded upon the genius that is the world of Harry Potter, and made you understand JUST how great it REALLY is.  In addition to that, with many personal stories and real-life events, you get to learn how the muggle world of espionage works, as well! It was a very enlightening read on many levels. Peter and Lynn did a fantastic job with the formatting and layout of this spectacular novel.

Content Advisory: Ummm….Nothing. Absolutely nothing inappropriate. 

To Sum it Up: It’s not what I’d call an EASY read, but if you love Harry Potter, then you will love this book. If you’re intrigued  by spy stories, then you will love this book. If you’re interested in the political and social themes of the Harry Potter novels, you will love this book. Written in an easy to read format, with plenty of side notes, digressions, and personal stories, you will not regret reading this book. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all Die-Hard Potterheads.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

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Week of Potter: July 30th, 2014 — Bite-Sized Book Reviews

“In honor of the birthday of the boy wizard and his creator, I am throwing a Week of Potter right here on Escaping Reality — One Book at a Time. It could be anything. Whatever I’m feeling like at the moment I decide to write a post. It might be a “Dear Jo” letter, a “Dear Mr. Potter” letter, it might even be the ramblings of a member of the Fred Weasley Death Denial Support Group. Or it could be mini-reviews highlighting my favorite parts of the books.” Day One can be found HERE. Day Two can be found HERE. Day Three can be found HERE.

I’ve never really felt the need to review the potter series seeing as they’re basically my life, and there’s really not a lot you can say about them. However, in this post I’m going to attempt to highlight my very favorite parts of each of the books.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry1

“The Boy Who Lived.” I do not own this image.

By – J.K. Rowling – Published June 26th, 1997

The beginning of an era… There’s something wonderfully magical about this book. You open this book never having entered this world before, and you get to become fully immersed as the story slowly unfolds around you. You’re thrown full tilt into the end of a war, and the beginning of freedom. …But is it really all that it seems? This book is pure perfection. You feel Harry’s pain, the horror of his childhood, and you feel his absolute ecstasy when he discovers that he is special. A lot of people don’t like “Chosen One” stories starring orphans, because people think that it is just far too “convenient,” but Harry’s story isn’t like the others. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I first read it at the age of 4 or 5. It was the first real chapter book I ever read. This book changed my life. ★★★★★ 6 Stars.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 2nd, 1998

The adventure continues… This book is hilarious. It’s in this book that you begin to get to know Fred and George a bit better, which is absolutely fantabulous. In fact, this entire book stars the Weasley family — Percy, Ginny, the twins, Ron, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley,  the whole deal. You get to know all of them! The story really begins to develop here, as you (unknowingly) confront and destroy the first of Voldemort’s horcruxes, as well as discovering his identity. Chamber of Secrets is definitely a mystery. You don’t know how anything’s happening, you just know that Harry’s being blamed for all of it. Rowling lays out the clues so carefully and discreetly, that you never feel frustrated, but you never could have guessed who it really was. Rowling expertly crafts the story of Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, while further progressing the overall story arc. Because of Ginny, this was a childhood favorite of the series. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 8th, 1999

The Prisoner escapes… This book shakes things up. 3 is a big year for the Hogwarts students, but it’s much bigger for Harry than anyone possibly could have considered. This the last truly happy and bright book of the series. This is Harry’s final year as a child. The reason this is the best book ever??? SIRIUS BLACK. AND REMUS LUPIN. TOGETHER AT LAST. Victory! I still remember the first time I read this book. The excitement and suspense, and the climax!  Everything you previously believed is completely unraveled, and the action is at break-neck speed. You, and Harry, are given a burst of hope, you can see the light, the answer, pure happiness. To good to be true, right? Right. :/ And, of course, the wizard time travel! The best thing about this book is the excellent writing of J.K. Rowling. She is a master of her craft, Joanne Rowling is The Queen of fantasy literature. This book is definitely one of my favorites, of the series. Well, they all are, actually. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 8th, 2000

Darkness returns… This is the beginning of the Second World War, and the end of Harry’s childhood (if it hadn’t already been obliterated during his time in the cupboard). It begins with a bang! and doesn’t slow down for an instant. Chapter by chapter, it gets darker, and darker, as you slowly struggle to discover who’s really behind it all. The magic of J.K. Rowling is that you never suspect the true perpetrator until it is revealed, but you believe it right away. Sometimes when I’ve read books like this, when the bad guy is finally revealed, you just get mad, because the author didn’t handle it well. Fortunately, that’s now how Rowling works. Everything is absolutely perfect. Each piece revealed at just the right time. And the end of the book? It brings tears every time. Harry’s just a child – fourteen! Your world, and his, is ripped to pieces.

★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By – J.K. Rowling – Published June 21st, 2003

Dumbledore’s Army begins recruiting… This is my personal favorite of the series. Originally, I refused to read it. I even went so far as to read books 6 and 7 before I finally broke down, and opened OotP. But when I did, it instantly became my all-time favorite. As soon as I finished it, I read it again. Harry is a PTSD wracked teenager, the Dark Lord is back, and he’s lying in a garden of rose bushes, listening to the news, because, you see, “it changes everyday.” Sassy Harry has finally appeared! Even though this book is the darkest Harry’s life has ever been, you never get hopelessly deperessed. There are still those happy moments, those moments of laughter, the smiles, the complete joy. Harry’s character development within this book is incredible. Yes, we have Angst Harry, but it’s so very realistic. Harry is broken, and this book certainly doesn’t heal any wounds. This book probably makes me cry more than any other book I’ve ever read. I love it. Continually in a state of re-reading. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 16th, 2005

Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen?… Even though I still absolutely adore this book, it’s always been the most “meh,” for me. I don’t know what exactly it was, but it just isn’t my favorite of the series. It’s a new brand of darkness, and one that I just don’t like. However, Quidditch is back! Quidditch! YAY! This book sets off all the sequences of events to make book seven possible. You don’t understand everything at the time, but it’s all of the absolute essence. Even the characters! The DA has been dissolved (but we all know that won’t last for long), and Snape has finally received the coveted post of DADA teacher. It’s a strange world you have returned to. But you still love it. The ending of this book… it’s horrible. Heart breaking. But it’s a wonderful finish. I loved every second of it. This book moves the series to a new level. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry2

“All was well.” I do not own this image.

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 21st, 2007

The end of an era… The grand finale. How does one truly describe a book as superb as this one? I’ll attempt it, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be cohernet. And I can promise that it won’t come near to expressing how phenomenal this book is. This is the first book that does not spend the majority of it’s time at Hogwarts. The war is in full swing, and the Golden Trio are out trying to save wizard – and muggle – kind from an unthinkable evil: the uncontested reign of Lord Voldemort. The character development in this book is definitely at it’s high point in the series. Characters you love make horrible mistakes, say horrible things, do horrible things, and again and again you are forced to remember that these are teenagers. Hardly more than mere children. They’re ‘so young, to be fighting so many.’ Another think I love about Rowling’s writing is that even when it seems like there is no hope left in the world… well, let’s just say that “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” The big finish was done with the spectacular story telling that only Jo could have pulled off. Loose ends are tied up, and everything comes full circle. Watch out, you’ll cry, a lot. No matter how many times you’ve read the series. ★★★★★ 6 stars

To Sum it Up: Best series ever written. 

OBLIGATORY GENIUS MOMENT. 

JKR is The Queen.

Harry

And as always…

In the true spirit of Harry Potter, and the love that Potter fans share… Don’t forget toDONATE to Lumos so that we can Light Up  Jo’s Birthday 2014! Lumos is an amazing organization founded by our Queen Rowling in order to work towards stopping the institutionalization of children world wide. Light up Jo’s Birthday seeks to get extra donations for Lumos as a special birthday present to Jo. Please, please, PLEASE donate! <3 :DHP10

Week of Potter: July 28th, 2014 — Favorite Fictional Characters

“In honor of the birthday of the boy wizard and his creator, I am throwing a Week of Potter right here on Escaping Reality — One Book at a Time. It could be anything. Whatever I’m feeling like at the moment I decide to write a post. It might be a “Dear Jo” letter, a “Dear Mr. Potter” letter, it might even be the ramblings of a member of the Fred Weasley Death Denial Support Group. Or it could be mini-reviews highlighting my favorite parts of the books.” Day One can be found HERE.

My two favorite characters are by far the lovely and spunky Ginny Weasley, and the intelligent (and sometimes reckless) Sirius Black.

Ginny Weasley

Ginny Weasley (Image from ilovebonniewright.tumblr.com)

Sirius Black

Sirius Black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are these my favorite characters? Well, that’s a loaded question…

My Harry Potter story is a complicated one. So without going into the 4 or 5 paragraph explanation of the strange order with which I read these books, I’m just gonna sum it up. I read the first Harry Potter book when I was 5 or 6. I watched the first movie when I was 4. As a homeschooler, I always loved hanging out with my siblings and other older children (never did care for kids my age much), anyway, my siblings and our friend group always loved roleplaying Harry Potter. Originally, as the youngest child, I always played Harry Potter. My older brother was James, his best female friend was Lily, his best guy friend was Sirius, and my sister played Luna (or sometimes Cho). It wasn’t very canon, but we were little kids, and we had a blast. From long before I’d read any of the books, I’d acted out scenes in the world with the characters. So I was always very close to Sirius during that time, as well. However, whenever we would play Harry Potter with my cousins, my older cousin always wanted to be Harry… so I became Ginny. I still remember the conversation:

Me: “But I’m always Harry!”

Cousin: “But, Lynette, you can be Ginny.”

Me: “Who’s Ginny?”

Cousin: “She’s a super cool character. She has red hair, just like you, brown eyes, just like you, freckles, just like you, and a crush on Harry Potter.”

Me: “Really??? AWESOME! I wanna be Ginny!”

So from a very young age, these were two of the characters I knew the best, and loved unconditionally. In my eyes, they could do no wrong.

In a rational way, I will attempt to explain the specific reasons for my love of these characters:

Image from HarryPotter Wikia

Image from HarryPotter Wikia

 

Ginevra Molly Weasley, born August 11, 1981, “Ginny” was born a pureblood witch, the youngest of seven children, and the first girl in the Weasley line for many generations. 

Ginny is spunky, fierce, and brave. She’s independent and strong, but still feminine. She’s powerful, dangerous, and flirtatious. Ginny Weasley is a true Gryffindor. Ginny Weasley is a hero.

Best Moments/Quotes:

Ginny7 << This one is a favorite of mine. However, it seems to be the only one people remember. Ginny had so many great quotes, and so many fantastic, heroic, moments.

Too many people remember Ginny as nothing more than that-girl-with-the-diary-in-CoS-who-later-married-Harry. She was so much more than that! Partially, though, this is the movies’ fault. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the movies, and Bonnie Wright was flippin’ AMAZING, but the scripts just didn’t have the time to do Ginny justice.

She never backs down from anything. At the age of twelve she was posessed by the most evil dark wizard of all time, and almost killed by him. She was forced to grow up pretty fast. As a young girl, she would break into her family’s broom cabinet at night to practice her Quidditch skills, and made the Gryffindor Quidditch team as a chaser and subsitute seeker when she was 14.

Shortly after she and Harry finally got together (cuz, admit it, they’re perfect together), they break up to focus on the war, he leaves to fight Voldemort, and Ginny is left as an integral part of The Silver Trio, leading Dumbledore’s Army in the reign of the Carrow’s, despite constant physical and emotional torture. This witch kicks serious butt.

I drew a picture of her once (it’s not very good, I’ve never had any formal art training, and this was from a long time ago), but, still… it’s one of my favorite things about her, this quote. Have I raved about Ginny enough yet? Plus, it couldn’t make me happier when Rowling released the short story about the DA reuniting, and then getting to read Ginny Potter (!)’s updates of the Quidditch World Cup  in real time for the 2014 cup.

Click here to see on Deviantart!

Click here to see on Deviantart!

Image from Harry Potter Wikia

Image from Harry Potter Wikia

 

Sirius Black: A pureblood wizard who becomes and animagus, is best friends with James Potter, and becomes Harry’s godfather. Was locked in Azkaban for 12 years for crimes he did not commit.

A lot of people don’t like Sirius Black. A lot of the people who DO like Sirius Black still have a lot of qualms with his actions and decisions. Sirius Black is accused of being many things, but I’ll tell you what I KNOW he is:

Sirius is brave, strong, and courageous. Sirius is wise, kind, and a wonderful mentor. He is an adult figure, but he fosters independence. He is father and a friend. He is clever, loyal, and fierce. He understands true sacrifice. He is one heck of a fighter, quite the philosopher, and a wonderful, complex, character. Sirius Black is was a true Gryffindor. Sirius Black is was a hero.

Best Moments/Quotes:

Sirius6

 << This quote basically sums up Sirius’ life. And honestly, that’s a little bit of what I love about him? I’m a very logical, rule-abiding person. I don’t even bend the rules. I submit homework a day early. I don’t go anywhere without pepper spray (though that’s partially to do with my two near-kidnappings). Sirius is basically the complete opposite of me — and that’s why his character appeals to me so much. He is everything I’m not and wish that I was. I’m a Gryffindor — through and through — but not in the same way that Sirius is. He is rash, he is reckless, he is arrogant, and yet he’s a wonderful man.

He is also should have been a broken man. He underwent 12 years of the worst torture imaginable — torture of the very soul — the removal of all happy thoughts, in the worst prison known to wizardkind. All of this for crimes he had never committed — for the betrayal that led to the murder of his best friends. And he knew this whole time that the real murderer was still at large. And yet, miraculously,  he finally gains his freedom, finds the true murderer, reunites with his godson, and finds a way to become a free man again, and to get to know his dead best friend’s son. … and then catastrophe strikes, and everything falls apart. He’s on the run again, and a year later is confined to his childhood prison — his family home.

ALL of this, and Sirius Black should have had severe PTSD, he should have been thoroughly broken.

And yet, he was always able to be there for Harry. He was able to connect with his godson on a level that no other person could. He was a source of comfort, wisdom, guidance, and love, to his godson as Harry underwent his own personally tragic life.

Sirius Black knew full well that Harry wasn’t James, but he did know that Harry was all that Sirius had left of James. He knew that it was his job to keep Harry safe. He loved James, and he loved Harry.

Sirius5Sirius4

I drew a picture of him, as well. This one was last week, in the middle of my Harry Potter movie marathon. Keep in mind, again, it’s a horrible scan, and I have had no formal art training, and was half asleep while drawing this. But I still love it. Some of the last words Sirius said to Harry. <3 :'(

Click here to see it on Deviantart!

Click here to see it on Deviantart!

There you have it! My reasoning (AKA fangirl rambling) about my two favorite Harry Potter characters!

And as always…

In the true spirit of Harry Potter, and the love that Potter fans share… Don’t forget toDONATE to Lumos so that we can Light Up  Jo’s Birthday 2014! Lumos is an amazing organization founded by our Queen Rowling in order to work towards stopping the institutionalization of children world wide. Light up Jo’s Birthday seeks to get extra donations for Lumos as a special birthday present to Jo. Please, please, PLEASE donate! <3 :DHP10