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All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 4th, 2006, 11:09 am
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All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

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Since the gremlins took several of the threads on the prophecy, it is time for a new thread discussing the prophecy, its meaning and significance as well as its wording.

Previous threads on the prophecy: The prophecy and how JK worded it CAREFULLY.. | The prophecy and how JK worded it CAREFULLY v2.0 | The Prophecy: Its Impact, Meaning and Importance

The prophecy is worded in a way that leaves room for a lot of discussion and different interpretations. What exactly does it mean? Does Harry have to kill Voldemort or are there other options? How much of a choice does Harry really have? These are only a few points that are open to discussion. The prophecy has not only influenced our hero's life, it is also a major theme throughout the entire series: Fate vs. choices; predestination vs. free will.

For reference:

"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...the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."

Have fun with the discussion.



Last edited by gertiekeddle; July 23rd, 2007 at 8:39 pm.
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  #2  
Old December 4th, 2006, 2:26 pm
mr_potter  Male.gif mr_potter is offline
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

I don't really think Harry has very much of a choice. Voldemort will continue to plot his murder, and whille he does this, some sort of battle between the two is enevitable. I always thought that the prophecy meant that when one died, the other would die as well. I'm starting to think it may be a reference to Harry's lack of choice. If Voldemort stopped looking for him, then both would live. That's not going to happen though, so Harry has no choice, and combat is enevitable.


  #3  
Old December 4th, 2006, 2:45 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Well, part of the prophecy has been explained by Dumbledore already (and I believe him to be right on it)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trelawney
"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...
That one is quite clear. It could have been Harry or Neville, both born end of July, and both the Potters and the Longbottoms had defied the Dark Lord 3 times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sybill
and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal,
That's the part where Voldemort makes the mistake and goes and tries to kill him, marking Harry there, and chosing Harry as the Chosen One. The Scar is the mark and the equal part refeers IMO to 1) equal in power and 2) with similar powers he transferred to Harry (such as parseltongue)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Divination teacher
but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...
and there I believe Dumbledore: it's about love. The 'not knowing' refeers to two things IMO: to the fact that Voldemort doesn't have this power and that he doesn't know about the power.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassandras great great daughter
...and either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives...the
Clear again: Harry or Voldemort will die. My bet is on Voldemort. And it will be always the other doing the decisive thing to kill the other.

Allthough and highly speculative: I am not convinced that Harry will kill Voldemort in the act of murder. Because the last part says: 'vanquish' which can be different. Soooo in GoF Peter takes blood from Harrys Arm and uses it for the Voldysoup. So now part of Harrys blood floods in Voldemorts veins, BUT we know that he is allergic to love (OotP, ministry scene). Unfortunately Harrys blood is 'infected' with love, so I wonder if the vanquishing will come from there.

Well, just speculating a bit


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  #4  
Old December 4th, 2006, 2:46 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_potter View Post
I'm starting to think it may be a reference to Harry's lack of choice. If Voldemort stopped looking for him, then both would live. That's not going to happen though, so Harry has no choice, and combat is enevitable.
If we all go by the prophecy, yeah, Harry has no choice but to kill Voldie or die himself, " murder or death" but as Dumbledore already made Harry understand that he must not be (what's the word??) prophecy-specific. So as u said "If Voldie stopped looking for Harry" but he may carry out his evil deeds, and abt the potters murder, haunting Harry every day n night, wouldn't he like to make Voldie pay for it???

Sunny


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  #5  
Old December 4th, 2006, 3:57 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Whilst re-reading OOtP last night, I was struck by the question of who stored it there and who was responsible for the "spidery writing" that said who it was from/to and about.
I know I've seen the term spidery writing in the books before, but I can't remember who it was said to belong to...I'll look back, but maybe someone knows and can help me out.

The reason I'm wondering is that I've just realised it says "Dark Lord" and ?Harry Potter. I've always assumed Dumbledore wrote that...but he would never refer to Voldemort as Dark Lord, would he?

And if he didn't write that....who did...and was there any way that the prophecy could have been tampered with before storage?

Maybe someone did hear it as it broke, but they heard the wrong thing?


  #6  
Old December 6th, 2006, 9:57 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Bellatrix believed Voldemort would come back after his down fall. She was so insanely sure that he would return one day. Everyone else in the wizarding world believed that Voldemort was gone for good. I think DD believed this at first himelf but he knew Voldemort was taking certain steps towards immortality and I think Bellatrix's vehement stance that Voldemort woudl return prompted DD to begin his search to find out if there was any truth to her statement and to find out how he managed to escape death. DD could have believed along with everyone else that Voldemort was dead but something lead him to believe DD wasn't gone forever. I think DD's search for the keys to Voldemort's immortality began with Bellarix.

Bellatric later went after the Longbottoms. Why go after the Longbottoms? They were Voldemort's second choice for who the prohecy could refer to. Bellatrix had to have known this or else she wouldn't have just gone to their house for information on Voldemort. It seemed ludicrous when we first heard the Longbottoms were tortured for information abotu Voldemort. Well Bellatrix must not have known who Voldemort chose and figured that voldemort would have chosen the Longbottoms and that Neville managed to defeat her master.

DD heard Trelawney's prophecy. He is one of the few people who heard it and knew about it at the time. The prophecy states that the one with the power to VANQUISH the dark lord would be born at the end of July. The prophecy doesn't really pertain to the end of the series it pertains more to that night at Godric's Hollow. DD along with everyone else thought Voldemort was gone for good but I think Bellatrix's statement made him think twice so he went searching for proof that Voldemort managed to find a way for immortality. Harry defeated Voldemort once. The prophecy could also have pertained to Nevile had Voldemort chosen him. I also think that the reason "neither can live while the other survives" has more to do with the fact that Voldemort will not rest until he hunts Harry down and Harry can't live in peace until Voldemort is gone. Not necessarily because Harry is a horcrux (if you want to believe that) or that have some magical emblicial cord that prevents them from coexsisitng in peace. I think it has more to do with the fact that Voldemort would continue to hunt Harry down until one of them was dead.


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  #7  
Old December 6th, 2006, 11:50 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

i sort of do think that harry could be a horcrux but if he is then cant someone remove voldies soul with harry still living?or does harry have to die?:'(
but if harry is not a horcurx(which i hope hes not)voldie could have beed smart enough to make him one but he was blindly trying to kill harry at the time.
hes already destroyed basically harrys entire life and voldie had harry at the palms of his hand every year which gave him the opertunity to make harry a horcrux
but its lik dd said...
1)voldies horcurxs are his prised possesions and well hidden in the world
2)all his horcurxs were in non-living things except for the snake(maybe a horcurx)
but if voldie did put part of his soul in harry...wouldnt harry think and act like voldie?
(one voldie is bad enoughj)


  #8  
Old December 7th, 2006, 2:32 am
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Not only has Voldemort marked Harry as his equal by attacking him in Godric's Hollow, but he has designated Harry as The Chosen One in the eyes of the Wizarding World when he sent his Death Eaters to the Hall of Prophecy. That validated the growing belief that Harry was somehow special. People did not know how Harry lived when Voldemort attacked him. He was called The Boy Who Lived and considered to be "special". Dumbledore told McGonagel that he thought it would be better if Harry grew up away from the Wizard World, so he wouldn't have to grow up "famous". Voldemort marked Harry as special the moment he chose to attack him. The prophecy has not only influenced Voldemort's movements and actions, but Harry's, too.

Because of the prophecy, and Voldemort's interpretation of it, Harry has to leave Ginny and go out to find and destroy horcruxes. He wished his life could be normal. He wished he could just watch the Triward Tournament, just like the other 4th years. Instead, he knows that someone entered his name in an attempt to ultimately kill him. Voldemort could have used any wizard's blood to regain his body, but chose Harry. He wanted Harry's blood because he thought it would give him something special. All these events flow from the decision Voldemort made, the decision to believe in the prophecy.

Trelawney's life changed because of the prophecy. She is living and teaching at Hogwarts solely because of the prophecy. Dumbledore needed to protect her.

Snape life probably changed because of the prophecy. He heard the first part and acted to tell Voldemort what he heard. Would he still be a Death Eater if he had never heard the prophecy?

And finally there is Dumbledore. He has acted to protect and teach The Chosen One, not because he believes in prophecies, but because he knows that Voldemort believes in it.



Last edited by SusanBones; December 7th, 2006 at 2:46 am.
  #9  
Old December 7th, 2006, 2:44 am
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Quote:
Originally Posted by Discordia View Post
The prophecy states that the one with the power to VANQUISH the dark lord would be born at the end of July. The prophecy doesn't really pertain to the end of the series it pertains more to that night at Godric's Hollow.

I also think that the reason "neither can live while the other survives" has more to do with the fact that Voldemort will not rest until he hunts Harry down and Harry can't live in peace until Voldemort is gone. Not necessarily because Harry is a horcrux (if you want to believe that) or that have some magical emblicial cord that prevents them from coexsisitng in peace. I think it has more to do with the fact that Voldemort would continue to hunt Harry down until one of them was dead.
I completely agree with this. Why would DD have used the same word earlier in the conversation when he is explaining events on the night Harry was given the scar.

It is DD who agrees when Harry asks if one of them had to kill the other in the end. DD has told us he can make mistakes and if he does, they are likely to be huge. It wouldn't get bigger than this-the whole point of the books.

And if Harry does have to kill Voldemort, there is nothing in the prophecy which states that he must do it alone, is there?


  #10  
Old December 7th, 2006, 3:57 am
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

The numbers 1,3,and 7, stand out to me here. These numbers come up again and again. What does it mean?


  #11  
Old December 7th, 2006, 11:50 am
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Beclyn made a great catch in the Things That Took Several Readings to Catch thread, and I think here is the right place for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beclyn View Post
After viewing the prophecy thread, I noticed the numbers 1,3,7.
The one with the power...born to those who thrice defied him....born as the seventh month dies...
Those numbers do keep coming up, don't they?
We all know these are the numbers of Jo`s birthday and we also know that she said Trelawney and she had chosen the words of the prophecy carefully. We also know that Voldemort is only aware of a part of the prophecy. This is the reason why he was at Godric`s Hollow. His spy can`t have heard the part of marking him as his equal and later. This leaves only the first sentence for Voldemort and these is the sentence with the hints. We also know that Tom Riddles was described as a clever boy. It wasn`t difficult to decide which of the two little boys is more dangerous. Than there is more in the prophecy, especially in the first sentence, that meets the eyes. Those line specifies the date: not only a boy born at the end of July, but rather the boy born at the 31, and that`s Harry.


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  #12  
Old December 7th, 2006, 4:00 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Thank you for this thread. It forced me to really look at the prophecy and I find a very interesting point to the questions of "Will Harry die in book 7?" and "Will Harry become a murderer?"

The answer to both is: NO.

Question one:
I find this answer in the first line of the prophecy..."The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches". I assumed that the word "vanquish" meant kill; however, Webster's Dictionary defines "vanquish" as 1.) to overcome in battle: subdue completely, 2.) to defeat in a conflict, 3.) to gain mastery over.

In my opinion the first line of the prophecy insures that Harry will be successful in getting the upper hand in a battle with Voldemort. However, I don't think Harry will kill Voldemort.

Question two:
I find this answer is the second to last line of the prophecy..."either must die at the hand of the other...". JKR chose her words very carefully and here she chose to use the word "at" instead of "by". Again I looked up the word "at". It can be used to indicate a location... "at the store", "at his hand". If she had said "by the hand of the other" it would have been clear. One has to kill the other. But...

What if Harry just has to gain control over Voldemort and someone else kills him? The prophecy would still be fullfilled.
I could see Harry gaining control of Voldemort and when it came time to kill him someone like Lupin stepping in to deal the final blow to save Harry from becoming a murderer.

Thanks again for the thread. I now feel a lot better about book 7.


  #13  
Old December 7th, 2006, 4:25 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

I'm not sure that the difference between "at" and "by" is all that significant--and if Harry gets Voldemort under control and then someone else kills him, Harry's still implicated in that (if he's somehow rendered Voldemort unable to defend himself). In Order, when Harry says to Dumbledore, "Does that mean , , , that one of us has got to kill the other one . . . in the end?" Dumbledore says "Yes" ("The Lost Prophecy").


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  #14  
Old December 7th, 2006, 4:33 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

If Harry is successful at destroying all of Voldemort's horcruxes, then Voldemort will no longer be immortal. Would this qualify as Harry being responsible for Voldemort's death if someone else does the actual killing? Right now, anyone who tries to kill Voldemort will not be successful because of the horcruxes. Harry's action will lead to Voldemort's eventual death.


  #15  
Old December 7th, 2006, 4:57 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

I think Dumbledore was the one who chose the vault at Gringotts. Why did he chose exactly those vault (number 713). We know he knew the prophecy and thanks to Beclyn we know the same numbers are hidden in the prophecy. What does this mean?


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Old December 7th, 2006, 5:30 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

maybe the numbers have significance to power, as the prophecy held them, and they were the vault numbers of the philosophers stone, which was powerful!


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Old December 7th, 2006, 9:24 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

NEW THEORY: here's the set up...

HBP PG. 195
"...Professor Trelawney appeared around a corner, muttering to herself as she suffled a pack of dirty looking playing cards, reading them as she walked.
'Two of spades: conflict, ' she murmured, as she passed the place where Harry crouched, hidden. 'Seven of spades: an ill omen. Ten of spades: violence. Knave of spades: a dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner-'
She stopped dead right on the other side of Harry's statue. 'Well that can't be right, ' she said, annoyed, and Harry heard her reshuffling vigorously as she set off again, leaving nothing but a whiff of cooking sherry behind her."

HBP PG. 197- Dumbledore
"... I make mistakes like the next man. In fact, being- foregive me- rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger."

HBP PG. 510- Dumbledore
" Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!"



"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...the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."

I think this supports a theory that the prophecy is actually referring to Severus Snape

Snape was outside the door for the beginning of the prophecy.
"the one with the power...approaches"

Many people have suspected that Madam Pince, or IRMA PINCE (I'M A PRINCE) is really Snapes mother, Eileen Prince, being hidden at Hogwarts from voldemort and the death eaters. If this is true, it's possible that she and her husband (filch? ) allude to the second line.
"born to those who have thrice defied him"

Anyone know when Snapes birthday is? Or is there any evidence of when he joined the DE or the Order? This line could referr to a re-birth of some sort.
"born as the seventh month dies"

Snape has been branded with the dark mark and chosen to become a Death Eater. He is also an exceptionally powerful wizard as we have seen in HBP.
"and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not"

All sorts of things come from this interpretation. Did Snape realize after relaying the message to LV that the prophecy really applied to him and not Harry, and regret the consequences? Is Snape hiding this conclusion from DD, or does DD know and want Harry to believe otherwise? Did DD sacrifice himself to save Snape from the unbreakable vow to give him the same type of protection Harry has from his Mother? It's getting very interesting....
P.S. Rons birthday is March first, 3/1 for the 7 1 3 enthusiasts.


  #18  
Old December 7th, 2006, 9:52 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Quote:
Originally Posted by pottersmom View Post
Anyone know when Snapes birthday is?
He was born on January 9, 1958 or 1959. I do not think that the prophecy refers to him because Harry is the hero of the series. He is the orphaned boy who struggled against all odds to remain a decent person. Apart from that, his name is in the title of each book.


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Old December 7th, 2006, 9:59 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Snape has lived quite well while Voldermort survives


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Old December 7th, 2006, 11:13 pm
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Re: All about the prophecy: meaning, significance and wording

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathrine View Post
Snape has lived quite well while Voldermort survives
Has He? He's been working as a double agent since Voldemorts return, despite "great personal risk". He lives under a cloud of suspicion no matter what side he is on.

Before making a sweeping judgement, take time to consider my argument:

The point and problem with the prophecy is that it is vague. It doesn't name anyone specifically, and the way it is interpreted can dramatically alter the course of events.
"the one with the power to vanquish the dark lord APPROACHES"
Approaches how? Approaches whom? Harry is born by the time the prophecy is made, so that doesn't explicitly apply to him, but if you take that sentance literally...
Snape is lurking right outside the door. This is simillar in style to the quote from HBP when Trelawney is reading her cards as she walks by Harry- being in his vicinity affected the cards, she doesn't understand the meaning because she doesn't know Harry is there. Her cards here aslo make a reference to an "ill omen". Could that mean an omen that is misunderstood?
I'm not trying to argue that this makes Harry an unimportant character- I'm just saying that it's possible JK led everyone to believe one conclusion while hiding the truth under our noses. I think if I'm right, then it will actually take BOTH Harry and Snape to defeat LV. Harry is going on a quest to destroy the horcruxes- Dumbledore has prepared him, (as best as possible) for this mission. We know Voldemort can not be destroyed while the horcruxes remain. I think ultimately it will be Snape that deals the final blow in the end, however. Rowling has spent time and care developing the unique dynamic between Harry and Snape. I think it only fits that they will have to work together in the end toward a common goal to begin to see one another as equals.


 
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