The CIA has recently carried out, on government orders, a covert operation to copy the as yet unfinished, handwritten manuscript of the final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as a first step towards changing its plot lines, several reliable sources have told The Madurodam Post.
Government Members "Deeply Concerned", "Shocked" by Book Thus Far
Reliable sources say the manuscript was copied this summer at JFK Airport, New York City, with the use of a specially prepared walk-through metal detector and, moreover, that the CIA and the government now possess an up-to-date version of the manuscript, tracking any changes and additions made by author J.K. Rowling. Reporters for The Post were shown some of the allegedly scanned pages by an authoritative source close to the CIA. To the untrained eye the text was difficult to decipher, but its handwriting did bear a strong resemblance to that of Potter author J.K. Rowling as shown on her website.
Although it was not immediately clear as to why the government would want to obtain advance knowledge of and even alter the adventures of a fictional boy wizard, sources for The Post's information independently said Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is not at all what the government had expected or hoped for. Several ministers were said to be "deeply concerned" or even "shocked."
Both the CIA and the government, however, vehemently deny any knowledge of the scan, deny having a scanned ’ or any other ’ copy of the manuscript and deny planning or being able to alter Book Seven's story.
Tightened Security Rules
The covert copying of the manuscript has been confirmed by several sources close to the CIA and the government, who provided almost identical, detailed accounts of the operation. These sources say the CIA succeeded in copying the manuscript when author J.K. Rowling boarded an aeroplane in New York for her journey back to the United Kingdom. This was after her Radio City Music Hall appearances at "An Evening with Harry, Carry and Garp" this August, followed by a short holiday on the U.S. East Coast.
As J.K. Rowling reported on her website, during boarding procedures at JFK Airport, she refused to be parted from her manuscript despite the recently introduced severe tightening of security rules for passengers' hand luggage. Ms Rowling was then allowed to keep the manuscript on her person. The Post's sources have confirmed this story but add that Ms Rowling was subsequently subjected, like the other passengers, to a scan by a walk-through metal detector, which had in fact been specially prepared by CIA operatives to enable it to copy the full content "¦of anything between a postcard and the Edinburgh telephone directory' according to one source.
The CIA is known to use technical devices to bolster its more traditional methods such as the use of psychics and Seers.
A Typical Leo
The Post's sources revealed that a team of the Agency's graphologists were set to analyse and decipher the copied manuscript's longhand but were having considerable difficulty with its scribbles.
The CIA is said to attribute the copy's generally poor quality at least in part on Ms Rowling clinging to the bulky manuscript as if to dear life while walking through the "metal detector." An authoritative source close to the Charmingly Inquisitive Agency, however, says the prevailing thought within the CIA leadership is that the team responsible for carrying out the covert operation blundered when they charmed the detector to scan paper rather than the parchment Ms Rowling had apparently used for the manuscript. The charm was, however, effective in that subsequent changes in and additions to the manuscript become visible as they develop, albeit equally scribbly. According to this source the covert action was headed by a J. Edgar Hover, who is a CIA veteran (mentioned later in this article).
A Madurodam intelligence source says the graphologists did, however, fairly quickly manage to deduce from the handwriting characteristics that Ms Rowling is a typical Leo, probably has a younger sister, should now be in her forties and is likely to be better with words than with numbers. They also discovered quite soon that part of the scan did indeed consist of a telephone directory (though of Chipping Sodbury rather than Edinburgh).
Philosopher vs. Sorcerer
Intelligence sources told reporters for The Post that the CIA only recently succeeded in deciphering enough of the manuscript to understand the story lines developed thus far. As mentioned, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' story is not at all what the government had been expected or hoped for. Cabinet ministers were deeply concerned or even shocked. What they had expected and why they were disappointed was not immediately clear.
These sources also said the government has firmly decided to change the manuscript in a desirable direction, although no source could provide specific information as yet as to the type of plot lines and events concerned (see end of article (˜CREEP') for breaking news).
Those within the CIA and the government who particularly defended changing the story are said to point to the fact that altering the original British version is by no means unique. All the previous books have been translated (sometimes freely) into dozens of foreign languages, such as American-English. Such translations inevitably differ in content in various places from the British original, so the covert operation's champions said, and even an irreplaceable key word in the first book's title had in fact been ruthlessly ousted and replaced by a fancy substitute that did not remotely resemble the original term and did not even make sense in its translated form.
Intelligence sources said the CIA was "absolutely positive" the recently released, official, British title will undergo a similar fate. Given what seems to develop, within just two days of the title's announcement, into hugely confusing debates on various U.S. based Potter fan sites about the exact, contextual meaning of the word "hallows' the CIA is said to expect that in the United States, to cater to the specific needs of the American market, Book Seven will be released as "Harry Potter and the Deathly Marshmallows." Sources say it was not brought into the discussion whether changing the story's plot lines is of a similar nature.
"I Am a Proper Citizen"
When called yesterday and informed that The Post was preparing an article on the alleged scanning and changing of the Potter manuscript, CIA's J. Edgar Hover, mentioned above as head of the covert scan operation, quickly interrupted a reporter for The Post to say, "I am a proper citizen. What I do is proper."
Questioned why he thinks it necessary to boast his good citizenship and whether this is in fact an attempt to cover up his doubts about the legitimacy of the CIA's operations as reported in this article, Hover hung up the phone, only to call the reporter back some five minutes later. Hover said he had hung up because he had not been sure the caller was really the reporter for The Post he said he was.
Uninvited, Hover then repeatedly and categorically denied any CIA involvement in or knowledge of any scanning let alone planning to change the manuscript, adding, "We are just as anxiously awaiting the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as everyone else."
Invited to explain this anxiety over the contents of a work of fiction about a boy wizard, seeing that the CIA is a professional, governmental, internationally operating spying establishment, Hover said, "You are putting words in my mouth' and asked if the reporter had any other questions because his Crups needed a walk (a few seconds later a distinct kicking sound and then yelping was heard in the background).
Asked to explain the CIA's denial considering that The Post's story is backed up by several independent sources and that reporters for The Post have actually seen scanned copies of what was showed to them as some of the manuscript pages Hover said, "Look, this all sounds like the figment of a conspiracy theorist's imagination. This is a collection of absurdities. In a minute you're going to tell me the CIA is also behind crop circles."
When the reporter for The Post confronted Hover that crop circles are in fact widely acknowledged to be caused by Mooncalves, Hover again hung up the phone and this time did not call back.
Halos and Hallows
"Sounds like somebody missed his nap today' said Prof. Dr Kabouter Guilderoy "the Count" Kolder of Madurodam University, when visited yesterday by a reporter for The Post to comment on the CIA's denial. Kolder is a world-renowned Arithmancy specialist who predicts anything from next year's weather, to the United States Presidential Elections up to 2032, to the exact Dollar/Euro/Maduro exchange rates on any given day in the next decade. Kolder heads the university's Team Kolder, a multidisciplinary research group that has recently taken to foretelling Potter Book Seven plotlines, because, as Kolder told a reporter for The Post, "¦we were looking for a real challenge. And as for this whole CIA scan business, I saw it coming and it is both pathetic and unnecessary. As if we need the manuscript to know what will be in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."
In the last six months Team Kolder has published four lengthy, heavily footnoted papers on Book Seven events and story lines (see the list below). In September of this year Team Kolder predicted Book Seven's title to be Harry Potter and the Deathly Halos ’ only to cause utter bewilderment, not unlike the current, almost panicky confusion about the official title's meaning.
"28 out of 30 ’ not a bad score at all' said a proud, undaunted Kolder yesterday, referring to the number of letters in the title, and continued, "Besides, there is undoubtedly a close connection between halos and hallows. As we all know a halo never fails to brighten the appearance of anyone or anything imaginable adorned with it ’ so that would necessarily include ˜deathly hallows.' "
Kolder refused to go into this further since "this will be detailed in our next paper, to be published early 2007."
Interestingly, Team Kolder's four mentioned papers provoked an official government reaction the day before yesterday that none of the papers' predictions are to be regarded as representative of what will truly happen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As a result speculation was rife as to which part of these predictions triggered the government's reaction ’ and why. The government's motive may also explain its current deep interest in Book Seven events and may provide an explanation as to the recent CIA operations. A brief summary of Team Kolder's predictions:
- The opening scene reveals that Severus Snape's hair is not naturally greasy but instead owes its slippery state to an early-morning ritual of self-indulgence "...that can only be described as a Brylcreem fest." Sources close to Team Kolder say the gruesomeness of this Chapter 1 scene is increased by the uncanny fact that Snape, while applying the grease, is shown to do a Kate Bush-style "Wuthering Heights" dance (though without the music). That scene is prognosticated to be written in such luscious detail that, according to some Team Kolder members, "It's said to be unbearable to witness. But we'll do our best."
- Hogwarts goes bankrupt because most students aren't allowed by their parents to return after Dumbledore's killing. To pay for Argus Filch's pension, Dumbledore's portrait is sold at an auction, where rich Draco Malfoy "does Voldemort's bidding." McGonagall to rescue, in "Mission Impossible" style, Dumbledore's portrait from its vulnerable position, hanging as it does on a cold wall in the Riddle House, being taunted (or worse) by Voldemort ("I see ¦ a deathly halo around you, Dumbledore, and no perspective at all.");
- Harry receives secret support and inside information from an unregistered Animagus, who is portrayed to be in close contact with Death Eaters and who is intriguingly named "Deep Goat." This man, according to Kolder, will be revealed in Chapter 26 (page 519) to be none other than Aberforth Dumbledore, the Hog's Head barman who is indeed likely to have inadvertently heard many half drunk confessions and slips of slithering and other tongues;
- According to Team Kolder's latest paper, issued earlier this week, Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank (Hagrid's two-time substitute as Care of Magical Creatures teacher) and her fiancÃ©, the mysterious wand maker Mr Ollivander, turn out to be leading a boot camp for Inanimagi, wizards able (like themselves) to Transfigure into objects (and back); trained-up Inanimagi will then be deployed by the Ministry of Magic in the Second War, under the command of armchair general Horace Slughorn.
Asked why any of these predictions, or all of them, aggravated the government and if that has any bearings on the government's current plans to change the upcoming story, Kolder said to the reporter, "Good questions, Carl, and you have come at the right time because I've just Arithmancised the very last sentence of the series. But where did I leave it¦"
While searching his cluttered desk Kolder continued, "I wish J.K. Rowling would hurry with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows though. As a scientist, I do look forward to verify my Arithmancy results. But I'm not too optimistic about The Date. Look at Ms Rowling's reaction on her website to an article claiming she'd said she'd already written 750 pages. Let me just quote her first two words:
Still rummaging through piles of books and papers, in search for the Series' last sentence, Kolder continued, "18 e's in a row in any human utterance is always a sign that tensions have risen pretty seriously. J.K. Rowling doesn't seem quite ready yet. Ah, here it is!"
Holding a small piece of paper in front of him, Kolder said, "The last sentence of the series will go like this:
"Voldemort straightened his robes, smiled his deathly, winning smile
and disappeared in Grindelwald's former vintage German sport-
Well, could mean anything, couldn't it?" Kolder said while he threw the paper back on his desk, "so now I'm going to refine the calculations, to find the exact brand, Carl."
Reminded of the question as to the authorities' deep interest in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' events, Kolder said in what turned out to be a small lecture, "Carl, this is how I see it. With the possible exception of Grubbly-Plank, the characters in the predictions are all among "the usual suspects' with Snape at the centre, as always. And remember, these characters are usual suspects for a reason, being that the story revolves around them. Now, the interesting thing is, apparently that is not what the government wants ’ hence its grumpy reaction.
So, think about it, what is the common denominator here? It is what you do not read about that bothers the government ’ but this is just a working hypothesis, of course. And whom we hardly ever read about are those who are sometimes called, "the little people." Not many theories, analyses and conjecture are devoted to Doxies, Erklings, Fairies, Prof. Flitwick, Gnomes, Goblins, Imps, Leprechauns, Pixies or Red Caps. I wouldn't exclude the possibility that the government will want to see the vertically impaired glorified just for once ’ and rightfully so. I think this merits further Arithmancical research."
"Material for a Brick-Sized Novel"
Yesterday afternoon The Post learned from a reliable source near the Home Office more details as to the logistics of the planned operation to change Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' story. Those changes will only be made in what has been internally dubbed the "Madurodam version." While the previous six books have been made available in their original version in Madurodam, the "Madurodam version" of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will have a double exclusivity, so some sources said: it will be the only version to be made available in Madurodam and will only be made available there.
The prevailing view within the government is that J.K. Rowling is quite unlikely to learn about this Madurodam version since Madurodam is Unplottable (for Muggles) and direct contact with Muggles is restricted to a select few cases.
Late yesterday afternoon a reporter for The Post asked an official reaction to its story from the government's spokeswoman, Ms Secreta Sneep, who demanded "to see any article prior to its being published." Denied the request but informed of the general content as well as certain specific points, Ms Sneep whispered, "Congratulations with your rather ingenious story. Not something found in your everyday newspaper. And that's because it is material for a brick-sized novel, Mr Woodwand."
Confronted that her response was a non-denial denial, that ample evidence is available and asked for the motive behind the government's plans to intervene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' story, Ms Sneep said, while her voice became whispery to the point of being waspish, "I don't wish to go into hypotheticals, but I understand you have asked that question already to Dr Kolder, who, so I gather, appears to have taken himself to a higher level by having mastered the useful art of counting "e's", has he? And for the rest of what is evidently your life's work: are you really planning to tell your unsuspecting readers that the Dark Lord... drives German? Please, I beg you, don't tell me this is the best The Post can do?"
Ms Sneep then hung up the phone.
In a surprise development yesterday night The Post learned through several of its sources within the Home Office of the next step by the government towards creating its own "Madurodam version" of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It is the secret establishment of CREEP, the Committee to Revise Emotional and Embarrassing Potterverse, which will consist of a working party of some 30 civil servants who will be assigned the task of deleting unwelcome scenes and replacing them by one or more of their own. In view of the bureaucratic setting of CREEP, it was immediately feared by some of The Post's sources that the government's version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows may see "Harry and Voldemort ending up exchanging lengthy memos instead of Unforgivable Curses' as a sceptic high-up civil servant voiced to a reporter for The Post what seemed to be the prevailing mood among government officials.
CREEP may shed light on the government's motives for breaking into the final book's story. If "emotional" and "embarrassing" pieces require revision in the government's view, as the acronym suggests this may well go back, according to a senior government official, to the outbreak of the infamous Shipping Shouting War in the summer of 2005, directly following the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The source is referring to the vicious ferocities in the Madurodam City Harbour District between the "Harry/Hermione" and "Harry/Ginny" factions. Among the many onlookers were experienced sailors who found themselves expanding their swearing vocabulary considerably. The Shipping abuse lasted a whole week and had to be repressed with the use of megaphones, loud classical music and water cannons.
Two years earlier the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix saw equally embarrassing scenes (by any standard), of men and women alike who, in an act of solidarity and out of protest against unfair treatment of Severus Snape as a child and adolescent, refused to wear anything remotely underpantsy-ish for weeks (this during the hot summer of 2003). In both instances tourists were shocked and the following years (2004 and 2006, respectively) saw a dramatic decrease in visitors (particularly Goblins and Red Caps) and, consequently, of the Gross Domestic Product of Madurodam.
The government may very well wish to prevent a similar mass outburst about what it thinks are emotional or embarrassing moments in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ’ if only from a financial point of view. One source close to high government circles said to a reporter for The Post he would not be at all surprised if the Madurodam government has a contingency plan to approach J.K. Rowling directly to plead for a publication date at least two months before or after the (busiest part of the) tourist season, which runs between April and mid-October. "There's a nice little Caravaggio hanging on her study wall; they'd have direct access to her."
Follow-Up Story later this week: "The First Deathly Hallows Scan Decipherments - But Are They Reliable?"
Note from Scribbulus: The above article was meant to be published in the Madurodam Post's 23 December 2006 edition. Regrettably, we have been informed that the publication was withheld on Madurodam government's orders, fitting in a sad tradition of Potter censorship throughout the world. Supporting the fight for free speech we decided to publish it here instead.