Communication & Media
Wizards don't really need to use the Internet but that's something that you'll find out later on in the series. They have a means of finding out what goes on in the outside world that I think is more fun than the Internet. Could anything be more fun than the Internet? Yes! -- J. K. Rowling (RC)
Communication in the Wizarding World
- Owl Post
- Fire Talking
- Patronus messenger charm
- Two-way mirrors
- Paper airplanes
- Protean Charms
- Dark Marks
- Hogwarts Quill
- Ministry Sensors
- Newspaper: The Daily Prophet
- Challenges in Charming
- The Practical Potioneer
- The Quibbler
- Transfiguration Today
- Which Broomstick
- Witch Weekly
- Comic book: The Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle
- Wizarding Wireless Network (WWN)
- Publishers & Books
Never called this by name in the books, fire talking is actually a form of travelling by Floo Powder in which the person travelling sticks only their head into the fireplace, rather than their whole body. The resulting effect is a person's head sitting in a fireplace, talking with you. We've seen three wizards do it:
Invented by Dumbledore, this is a specific use of the Patronus charm that allows people to communicate with one another without being intercepted (JKR). Most of the Order of the Phoenix know how to communicate using this method, and does so when the Floo Network and owl post are being watched by the Ministry of Magic. (more...)
These enchanted items are used for inter-departmental memos at the Ministry of Magic Headquarters, as Harry learned when he travelled there for his hearing. Owls were used for this purpose when Arthur was younger, but their droppings created a mess and so they were replaced with these (OP7).
Portraits are used to carry information on several occasions, most notably:
Since portraits seem able to think for themselves, they frequently communicate with one another by travelling to different frames as well, such as when Violet told the Fat Lady all about Harry being chosen as a school champion in the Triwizard Tournament (GF17).
This was the method used by Hermione to create fake Galleons for the D.A., which Harry used to alert members to the time and date of the next meeting. We don't know exactly how it works, but somehow Harry was able to adjust the "serial numbers" on his Galleon, and it automatically changed all of the others (OP19). Draco Malfoy copied this idea and used it to communicate with an Imperiused Madam Rosmerta the next year (HBP27).
Used exclusively by Lord Voldemort. Every one of the Death Eaters is tattooed on his arm with a dark mark, and when Voldemort presses on any one of these tattoos, the others all burn black and let the Death Eaters know to instantly Apparate to his side (GF33). This was the inspiration for the Protean Charm that Hermione later used to communicate with the D.A. (OP19).
We have no idea what these are or how they work, but for Harry they're actually a little bit scary. Dumbledore tells us that the Ministry can sense magic being done but not the person doing it (HBP17), and we know that the Ministry can also sense what spell is being performed, as Harry is specifically blamed not just for performing magic, but for performing Dobby's Hover Charm (CS2). It seems that as he ages, though, the Ministry is keeping an even closer eye on Harry, for by the summer before his fifth year they knew not only that he had performed the Patronus Charm, but that he had done so "in the presence of a Muggle." What kind of surveillance have they got going on him?
Decidedly not a normal method of communication for wizards, the telephone gets an honorable mention because we do see a wizard attempt to use it once, when Ron attempts to call Harry but yells into the phone, outraging Uncle Vernon (PA1). It's a memorable conversation: "HELLO? HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? I - WANT - TO - TALK - TO - HARRY - POTTER!"
"The Magazine that Changes Lives", according to their advertisement in the Daily Prophet (which included a coupon entitling the bearer to a free Muggle Guard with the December issue) (DP). Harry overhears wizards debating articles from this magazine in Diagon Alley (PA4). It is only one of several "trade" magazines in the wizarding world. Albus Dumbledore had at least one paper published in it when he was still quite young, a paper on Trans-Species Transformation (DH2, DH18).
We've seen this magazine in several places:
Ron Weasley quoted Which Broomstick's article about what the Comet 260's maximum acceleration was (which could only be achieved with a decent tailwind) while singing the praises of his own new broomstick (OP9).
A fairly well-known women's magazine that Mrs. Weasley subscribes to for its recipes (GF28) and that St. Mungo's Hospital keeps lying around its waiting room (OP22). The magazine gives an annual "Most Charming Smile" award, which Gilderoy Lockhart has won five times - a feat which he seems to consider his greatest accomplishment (CS6).
Witch Weekly also published an article, written by Rita Skeeter, defaming Hermione as it falsely accused her of leading Viktor Krum and Harry Potter into a love triangle (GF27). The article was read widely enough that it spawned quite a lot of hate mail for Hermione (GF28), and even caused Mrs. Weasley to look down on her for several months until Harry set the record straight (GF31).
The wizarding equivalent of a radio network, but powered by magic instead of radio waves or electric energy (JKR). It's specifically mentioned three times:
Additionally, though we don't specifically know that these programs appeared on the WWN, we've seen two other radio broadcasts that were most likely over this network: