Sybill Trelawney’s Prophecy About Harry Potter Explained, Leaves Fans Stunned
In the later books of the series, we realized that everything that happened before was prophesized by the Divination Professor, Sybill Trelawney, during her job interview with Albus Dumbledore, and that was the only reason she was hired. We mostly knew her as Harry’s crazy professor, whom Hermione couldn’t stand, but was she actually psychic?
If you never the read the books, then this article is for you because the movies never fully explained much about this prediction, but for some people who read the novels, it was a little confusing, and that is why we are going to clear things out once and for all. The following piece explores said prophecy and how it changed the lives of our favorite characters, so let’s dive in.
Hearing the prophecy for the first time
Dumbledore was in need of a new Divination professor at Hogwarts, so he went to the Hog’s Head Inn at Hogsmeade to meet her, which we know is an establishment owned by Albus’ brother, Aberforth. They met in a room on the upper floor only because she was related to Cassandra Trelawney, a famous seer in the wizarding world.
Of course, Professor Dumbledore knew straight away that Sybill did not possess the same gifts as her great-great-grandmother, so he told her that it was nice meeting her but did not offer her the job. He stood up to leave when Sybill started talking in an odd voice, revealing the famous prophecy which was the focus of Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix.
“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...”
This was probably the first time that Trelawney actually proved that she had a bit of Seer inside her, though, we speculate that maybe the soul of Cassandra took over her body to send important predictions because Sybill never remembered her real prophecies. Anyway, when she was telling Dumbledore those words, Severus Snape was listening.
Back then, Snape was still one of Voldemort’s Death Eater, but he only heard a bit of the tale because he was thrown out of the Inn, so he never listened to the end. Of course, he went to his master to tell him about it, which led to the first fall of You-Know-Who, who ultimately made Harry become the chosen one because someone else also fit the bill: Neville Longbottom.
Let’s talk about the prediction in depth to understand it truly. You can probably understand the beginning of it entirely, “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches.” This is pretty clear-cut: someone was meant to be Voldemort’s opponent. “Born to those who had thrice defied him,” this means that that person’s parents had faced the Dark Lord before.
Now, author J.K. Rowling had to explain because we do not know much about the lives of James and Lily Potter or Frank and Alice Longbottom. We know they were on the Order of the Phoenix, but the part about “thrice defied him” was a bit confusing to most Potterheads at the time. So, the author took the time to explain it, telling fans that we have to broaden our idea of “defied”.
“I mean, if you're counting, which I do, anytime you arrested one of his henchmen, anytime you escaped him, anytime you thwarted him, that's what he's looking for. And both couples qualified because they were both fighting. Also, James and Lily turned him down, that was established in 'Philosopher's Stone'. He wanted them, and they wouldn't come over, so that's one strike against them before they were even out of their teens."
It’s also safe to assume that Voldemort thought of James and Lily’s son when he heard this prophecy because he had tried to get them to become Death Eaters. “Born as the seven month dies,” this is also pretty clear, the person was born at the end of July. Harry’s birthday was on the 31st while Neville was born a day earlier on the 30th.
“And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal,” this part of the prediction is the one that defined history for these three characters because Voldemort was the one who chose his biggest enemy, Harry or Neville. Dumbledore once said, “He chose, not the pureblood (which, according to his creed, is the only kind of wizard worth being or knowing), but the half-blood, like himself.”
Furthermore, the Dark Lord marks him noticeably with the lightning scar on his forehead, but he also made him his equal because Harry housed a part of Voldemort’s soul, and that is why he could speak Parseltongue without realizing it, get into the villain’s mind, and sense when he was near.
“But he will have power the Dark Lord knows not,” now this part is the reason Voldemort lost everything the night he tried to kill Harry, and he did not know about it because Snape only heard half of the prophecy. This “power” is actually love, something that even the young Tom Riddle never understood, much less his older self.
If you remember correctly, Voldemort told Lily to step aside, but when she refused and sacrificed his life to save her son, she actually performed an ancient spell, giving protection. In the movie The Order of the Phoenix, we saw that the Dark Lord was not physically able to withstand the power of love when he tried possessing Harry, and so he was expelled from his body.
“And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives,” this part became clear once Voldemort chose Harry as his enemy. Voldemort is the only person capable of killing Harry and vice versa. According to a fan theory by HPWombat, when Harry killed the Dark Lord, he eliminated the only person who could kill him, making him immortal.
However, we probably can infer that Harry will only ever die of disease or old age. There’s also the idea that maybe once Sybill’s prophecy was carried out – as it was when Harry killed him – then, it was done. We don’t think that Harry is actually immortal because part of the point is that he was just a regular human, who used love to kill the darkest wizard in the history of magic.
The Chosen One
The prediction was safeguarded at the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic, at first it only had the name of the Dark Lord, but when he chose his enemy, Harry, it housed both names. As you might know, only the people involved in a prophecy can actually take it from the shelves of the department.
The foretelling was destroyed during the battle between the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters, so Voldemort never got to hear the last part, but it lived on in the memories of Dumbledore. After the fight in the department, the wizarding community was finally told that the Dark Lord was back and that Harry was “the Chosen One”.
What did you think of this explanation of the Trelawney’s prophecy? Why do you think she only predicted sporadic things but was crazy the rest of the time? Could Neville have defeated the Dark Lord if he had been chosen? We will never know these things, and that is part of the magic of this world. If you liked this article, share it with your friends while reading some tea leaves. See you next time!