|"There are plenty of eye-witness accounts. Just because you're so narrow-minded you need to have everything shoved under your nose before you–"
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- "Listeners, that brings us to the end of another Potterwatch. We don't know when it will be possible to broadcast again, but you can be sure we shall be back. Keep twiddling those dials: the next password will be 'Mad-Eye'. Keep each other safe. Keep faith. Good night."
- —Lee Jordan finishes a 1998 broadcast of Potterwatch[src]
Potterwatch was a pirate radio programme hosted by Lee Jordan for those who rebelled against Lord Voldemort and supported Harry Potter during the Second Wizarding War. Fred Weasley co-hosted; Remus Lupin and Kingsley Shacklebolt both appeared on Potterwatch.
Purpose and activities
- Royal (Kingsley Shacklebolt): "We continue to hear truly inspirational stories of wizards and witches risking their own safety to protect Muggle friends and neighbours, often without the Muggles’ knowledge. I’d like to appeal to all our listeners to emulate their example, perhaps by casting a protective charm over any Muggle dwellings in your street. Many lives could be saved if such simple measures are taken."
- River (Lee Jordan): "And what would you say, Royal, to those listeners who reply that in these dangerous times, it should be ‘wizards first’?"
- Royal (Kingsley Shacklebolt): "I’d say that it’s one short step from ‘wizards first’ to ‘pure-bloods first’, and then to ‘Death Eaters'. We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving."
- — A broadcast of Potterwatch.[src]
They also tried to discourage the "climate of panic" being promoted by the Ministry by spreading the truth and dispelling rumours, such as one that Voldemort could kill people with only a glance. They announced the deaths caused by Voldemort's Death Eaters and Snatchers, and encouraged wizards and witches to help defend Muggle neighbours from Death Eater attacks by casting a few simple spells.
Safety measures were taken before each broadcast, including switching locations regularly and using codenames to avoid Death Eaters. Since the end of the Second Wizarding War, Potterwatch may not be active anymore.
Each contributor to the show used a codename while on air to protect their identity, but those who knew the individuals could generally tell who was speaking. Every known codename starts with the letter 'R'.
- Lee Jordan was codenamed River, a reference to both the Jordan River bordering Israel and the River Lee in Ireland. It could also mean he is a "river" of information, since he always knows what is happening.
- Kingsley Shacklebolt was named Royal in reference to the "King" in his first name as well as being the personal assistant of the Muggle Prime Minister.
- Remus Lupin was named Romulus in reference to the mythological twin orphans Remus and Romulus who were raised by wolves and founded Rome.
- Fred Weasley was initially named Rodent because of the "weasel" in Weasley, but named himself Rapier, probably in reference to his "rapier wit" or simply because he thought it sounded better. A rapier is a type of sword, relatively light, with an extremely sharp tip and very fast and deadly if used properly.
Passwords were required to tune into every show. By tapping a wand on the wireless and saying the password, a wizard could access the broadcast. A new password was announced at the end of each broadcast. It is not entirely clear how this should prevent unauthorised access for a long time, as only one password would have to be guessed in order to gain knowledge of the next. However, all known passwords are the names of members of the Order of the Phoenix. It is possible that all passwords to access Potterwatch were related to the Order; presumably, however, only names of deceased members would be used as to not further condemn known living members.
If one missed a show, the only means to be able to hear the next would be to ask someone working closely with the broadcast crew—a feat not easily accomplished in the times of war and terror—or to guess the password. Bill Weasley was particularly good at this.
Behind the scenes
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, when Harry Potter arrived in the Room of Requirement, Nigel reported "Lightning has struck," suggesting that for the purposes of the programme, Harry had been code-named "Lightning," a reference to his lightning-bolt scar.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Possibly)