Sat. Feb 4th, 2023
GCHQ wizards helped prevent the Harry Potter book from leaking online

In 2005, the fate of Harry Potter was significant enough that GCHQ reportedly stepped in to stop a possible leak of the sixth book in the series. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

In a radio interview last week, Nigel Newton of Bloomsbury Publishing spoke about how the publisher had taken strict security measures to prevent potential leaks, including watchdogs and a constant presence of security at the printing press. Apparently, the company also had the backing of GCHQ, the UK’s main intelligence and surveillance agency.

“Fortunately, we had a lot of allies,” Newton said. “GCHQ called me up and said, ‘We’ve discovered an early copy of this book on the Internet.'”

But as luck would have it, the copy GCHQ had discovered was a fake: “I had them read a page to our editor,” Newton continued, “and she said, ‘No, that’s fake.'”

When asked about Newton’s story, a GCHQ spokesperson responded with a rare flash of humanity: “We don’t comment on our defense against the Dark Arts.”

We’ll probably never know what GCHQ would have done if it turned out to be a real leak. Harry Potter, as the UK’s only major artistic project since the Rolling Stones and William Turner, is certainly important enough to be kept as a state secret. It’s fun to imagine a great team of spooks jumping into unmarked cars and shutting down some key distribution points in the London Docklands to prevent the spread of a leaked book.

The next Harry Potter episode comes in July, in the form of a West End play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Due to the ‘epic nature of the story’ the play will be quite unusual: you buy a ticket for one night and then you have to go a second time to see the conclusion. The piece will also be published as a book on July 31.

By akfire1

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