8

In books four and five, several characters communicate by sticking their head into a floo fire. This makes their head appear in the other fireplace where they can talk with whoever is there.

Is there an official term for this process?

In some of Rowling's manuscript notes circa 2001 she uses the term "firehead" to refer to this, but that is probably just a shorthand for herself, not something written to be published. It also looks like the Harry Potter wiki calls this "Head-only transport" and the Lexicon "fire talking", though of course those are both just fan terms.

What I'm looking for is basically an instance of J.K. Rowling using a term to refer to this concept in either a published writing or an interview.

Is there an official term for communication through the floo network?

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  • 1
    250 point bounty to anyone who can find a good JKR quote for this or somehow prove a negative by the end of this week. – ibid Apr 28 at 19:21
  • 10
    Floo-gle Hangouts? – OrangeDog Apr 28 at 21:53
  • 3
    Floo-m meetings? – Arya Apr 28 at 22:55
  • 4
    How about "the hot line?" – DannyMcG Apr 29 at 16:28
  • 1
    Cofloonication? – Rand al'Thor May 2 at 15:55
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A specific term for it is never mentioned.

In the books, there is never a specific name given to using Floo Powder to communicate by transporting just the head through the fire over the Floo Network. Below are various quotes from the books referring to communication by Floo, where if there was a specific name for the practice, it should have been used in at least one (likely more) of these instances.

“Arthur! Urgent message from the Ministry!’ Harry flattened himself against the wall as Mr Weasley came clattering past with his robes on back-to-front, and hurtled out of sight. When Harry and the others entered the kitchen, they saw Mrs Weasley rummaging anxiously in the dresser drawers – ‘I’ve got a quill here somewhere!’ – and Mr Weasley bending over the fire, talking to –

Harry shut his eyes hard and opened them again to make sure that they were working properly.

Amos Diggory’s head was sitting in the middle of the flames like a large bearded egg. It was talking very fast, completely unperturbed by the sparks flying around it and the flames licking its ears.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 11 (Aboard the Hogwarts Express)

“I can’t say everything I would like to in a letter, it’s too risky in case the owl is intercepted – we need to talk, face to face. Can you ensure that you are alone by the fire in Gryffindor Tower at one o’clock in the morning on the 22nd November?”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 18 (The Weighing of the Wands)

“I’ve broken into a wizarding house to use the fire, but they could be back at any time.”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 19 (The Hungarian Horntail)

“It was not only the prospect of breaking into Umbridge’s office and using her fire to speak to Sirius that was making him feel nervous, though that was certainly bad enough; today also happened to be the first time Harry would be in close proximity to Snape since Snape had thrown him out of his office.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)

“He wondered why Sirius had never mentioned how very uncomfortable it was to speak out of the fire; his knees were already objecting painfully to their prolonged contact with Umbridge’s hard stone floor.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)

“It’s the Potter boy’s head in the fire,’ Kreacher informed the empty kitchen, stealing furtive, oddly triumphant glances at Harry.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)

“You had your head in my fire. With whom have you been communicating?”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)

“I have just found Potter using my fire to communicate with a person or persons unknown!”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)

“I should explain that members of the Order of the Phoenix have more reliable methods of communicating than the fire in Dolores Umbridge’s office.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)

“Kreacher injured Buckbeak the Hippogriff yesterday, and, at the moment when you made your appearance in the fire, Sirius was upstairs tending to him.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)

Additionally, there is no name given to communication over the Floo Network in any supplementary materials. The J.K. Rowling writings on the Floo Network and Floo Powder do not give a name to communicating by Floo - neither of them even mentions it.

Furthermore, it does not seem like J.K. Rowling ever has referenced communication by Floo in any interviews. Searching for “J.K. Rowling firehead” produces only results of the manuscripts where she uses the term in an unofficial manner, and searching for “J.K. Rowling Floo quote” produces no notable results - the only official J.K. Rowling materials it leads to are the Floo Powder and Floo Network writings on WizardingWorld.com. Searching for “J.K. Rowling fire quote” produces results from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and articles where J.K. Rowling is ‘under fire’ for comments she has made. Searching for “J.K. Rowling head quote” gives results about Dumbledore’s ‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?’ quote and J.K. Rowling stating that it is her favorite Harry Potter quote, as well as a few other things that are unrelated to Floo.

Since J.K. Rowling often has attempted to adjust the Harry Potter universe by tweet, I have also searched Twitter to see if she references Floo communication there. It seems fairly clear that she does not. Searching for “Floo (from:@jk_rowling)” produces no results. Searching for “fire (from:@jk_rowling)” produces several results, but nothing about using Floo, for communication or otherwise. Searching “firehead (from:@jk_rowling)” produces only one result, which uses the word ‘forehead’ instead. Searching “call (from:@jk_rowling)” gives several results, most not about Harry Potter, none about Floo calls. The same is true for searching “head (from:@jk_rowling)”.

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  • Have you found any writings or interviews outside of the books that even refer to floo communication? The two Pottermore writings are just about floo powder and floo transport. – ibid Apr 29 at 11:23

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