When J.K. Rowling was still writing the Harry Potter series, she didn’t turn to jinxes, hexes or curses to keep the books safe from leaks. In fact, the books’ publisher actually enlisted the help of “muggles.”
As the series surged in popularity around the world, there were numerous (and increasingly bold) attempts to get access to the books before they were released. There was a security guard who managed to steal a copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which he then attempted to auction off. And there were also people who were, quite literally, digging through J.K. Rowling’s trash–anything to even get a glimpse of what was to come in the Harry Potter world.
For that reason, some pretty intense security measures were employed. In an interview last week with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, publisher Nigel Newton revealed what some of them were.
Basically, he enlisted the help of James Bond. Newton spoke about a time when British security agency GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) contacted him with concerns that a version of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince had been leaked online.
“The GCHQ rang me up and said, ‘We’ve detected an early copy of this book on the Internet,'” Newton told ABC. “I got him to read a page to our editor, who said it was a fake.”
When The Sunday Times later reached out to GCHQ to confirm if the story was true, they had the best response ever: “We don’t comment on our defence against the dark arts.”
Other extreme security measures included stationing guard dogs at the Harry Potter printing facilities and maintaining strict shipping schedules, according to TIME.
Wouldn’t it have been easier to just use an invisibility cloak?