ByHeather Snowden, writer at
Lover of bad puns, nostalgic feels and all things Winona. Email: [email protected] Tweet: @heathbetweetin
Heather Snowden

Cast your minds back to 2005 — we were but sprogs among muggles, eagerly awaiting the return of Harry Potter and his sixth year at Hogwarts. Little did we know, in our youthful state, of the devastation lying but a short distance ahead.


Nor, it has been revealed, were we aware of a certain UK-based surveillance company whose champion work defending us against the dark arts ensured that plot details weren't preemptively ruined for fans. The company is a secret intelligence agency called GCHQ and, alongside fighting terrorism and organized crime, it seems they were also doing Potterheads a real solid.

In an interview with Australia's ABC Radio, Bloomsbury's Nigel Newton said that back in 2005, assumedly months before "Harry Potter and The Half Blood-Prince's" print release, he was contacted by GCHQ regarding a uncovered leak of the book online.

"GCHQ rang me up and said: 'We've detected an early copy of this book on the internet'. I got them to read a page to our editor and she said: 'No, that's a fake'. We also had judges and the police on our side."

Thankfully one page in, an editor determined the copy was a fake, and that was that. However it's reassuring to know that there's some sort of IRL (non-Death Eater run) Ministry of Magic looking out for our best interests.

Newton went on to say that the publishing company did everything within its power, too, to ensure Harry Potter secrets were watertight, avoiding nightmare situations such as 'Dumbledore dies,' being scrawled in large red ink across the cover of every tabloid.

"It was completely mad and we were at the eye of the storm — I remember Jo Rowling phoning me once after she had delivered a new book saying: 'Please will you release the name of the title because I have people outside searching my trash can looking for bits of paper.'
"We had to go into a complete security lockdown because people were trying to steal the manuscript."

Can you imagine? There was so much excitement in the build up to the release of sixth book — if anything got out, the devastation of Dumbledore's death would have packed nowhere near as strong a punch. One paper even sent a reporter to the printing press with £5,000 (approx $7K) in cash as a bribe to steal a copy!


How old were you when you first discovered Harry Potter?

Source: BBC


Latest from our Creators