Professor Trelawney is introduced to us in Divination class in the book Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. While she can often be overlooked due to her kooky and eccentric behavior, her contributions are not to be disregarded.
She, in fact, possesses great power as a Seer and held a significant role in the events of the Wizarding Wars. For, you see, Professor Trelawney was the one who foretold the coming of the Chosen One.
What Was Professor Trelawney’s Prophecy?
Professor Sybill Trelawney managed to tell two real prophecies as far as we know, although the second one is not as well known to the public.
Professor Trelawney’s First Prophecy
The first prophecy Sybill Trelawney told, also known as The Prophecy, spoke about the birth of the one who would have the power to defeat Lord Voldemort.
First, it spoke about a boy born in the last days of July to parents who went against Voldemort three times and were able to leave with their lives.
Second, this boy would be considered equal to Voldemort in power, but the former would possess power that the Dark Lord would not comprehend. And lastly, but most importantly, Voldemort himself would mark this child that fulfills the prophecy.
During the last days of July 1980, two boys were born that fit the requirements of the prophecy: Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter. In the end, Lord Voldemort chose to mark Harry Potter as his equal, thus fulfilling the prophecy and creating the Chosen One.
Professor Trelawney’s Second Prophecy
Professor Trelawney had her second prophecy proclaiming the return of Lord Voldemort’s servant to him – a key proponent in the return of the Dark Lord.
Professor Trelawney proclaimed the return of a servant long separated from the Dark Lord that very same night. According to this prophecy, this servant will be the one to aid in the Dark Lord’s return. This prophecy was witnessed by Harry, who reported it to Dumbledore after the fact.
The servant this prophecy referred to was none other than Peter Pettigrew, a former member of the Order of the Phoenix who was secretly working with the Dark Lord.
He went into hiding after Voldemort’s fall and assumed the position of the Weasleys’ pet rat Scabbers in his Animagus form in hopes of hearing any wizarding news.
His exposure by Sirius Black and Remus Lupin led to his escape and pushed him to return to Voldemort. Through Peter, the Dark Lord restored his body and returned greater and more terrible than he ever was.
When Did Sybill Trelawney Say the Prophecy?
Sybill Trelawney was said to reveal her first prophecy shortly before Harry’s birth in 1980. She was in her room in Hog’s Head Pub with Albus Dumbledore for an interview to be Hogwarts’ new Divination professor.
As Dumbledore was about to leave, Trelawney was overcome with the prophecy and proclaimed it to the headmaster.
Unbeknownst to the two of them, one of Voldemort’s spies, Severus Snape, was able to infiltrate the Hog’s Head Pub and hear the prophecy, which led to the Dark Lord eventually learning of its creation.
The second prophecy told by Professor Trelawney happened on June 6th, 1994, during the end-of-year examination. Just before Harry left the stifling Divination classroom after his (failed) exam, Professor Trelawney experienced a fit of sorts and proclaimed the return of Dark Lord’s servant.
Why did Voldemort Want the Prophecy?
While Snape did manage to sneak into the Hog’s Head Pub and hear the prophecy, he was caught and kicked out of the facilities before Trelawney finished proclaiming it, thus leaving Voldemort with only the first part of the prophecy.
It led Voldemort to try and kill Harry, inadvertently fulfilling the prophecy himself.
After his return and continuous failed attempts to go after Harry drove Voldemort to seek the whole prophecy as he believed that it was key to his success and the eradication of the Boy Who Lived.
What Happens When a Prophecy Breaks?
One cannot really break the actual prophecy, just the orb that contains it. Most prophecies are often kept in a Prophecy Orb by the Ministry of Magic’s Department of Mysteries.
It is possibly done to keep the prophecies and their often confusing contents intact for interpretation or simply just for record purposes. If you break an Orb, the prophecy itself remains valid. You only get rid of the official record.
What began as an interview to fill in a Professor of Divination post at Hogwarts turned into a proclamation that fueled the subsequent events of the Wizarding Wars.
One can interpret it in many ways, and without proper precaution and care, a prophecy can have the power to drive even the most cunning and powerful wizards mad. Voldemort let this particular prophecy consume him so much that he gave Harry Potter the power to destroy him. Just like the prophecy foretold.