In their first divination class Ron, helped by Professor Trelawney, reads some interesting things about Harry via tea leaves. Was this a real prophecy of the future or simply some plot foreshadowing set up by JKR? Did all the events Ron/Trelawney state come true?

"My turn..." Ron peered into Harry's teacup, his forehead wrinkled with effort. "There's a blob a bit like a bowler hat," he said. "Maybe you're going to work for the Ministry of Magic... "But this way it looks more like an acorn.... (which means)"'A windfall, unexpected gold.' he turned the cup again, "that looks like an animal... yeah, if that was its head... it looks like a hippo... no, a sheep..."Professor Trelawney whirled around "Let me see that, my dear," she said reprovingly to Ron, sweeping over and snatching Harry's cup from him.Professor Trelawney was staring into the teacup, rotating it counterclockwise."The falcon... my dear, you have a deadly enemy." "The club... an attack. I thought that was a bowler hat," said Ron sheepishly."The skull... danger in your path, gave the cup a final turn, gasped, and then screamed.There was another tinkle of breaking china; Neville had smashed his second cup"My dear," Professor Trelawney's huge eyes opened dramatically,"You have the Grim."

  1. Bowler hat
  2. Acorn
  3. hippo/sheep
  4. falcon
  5. club
  6. skull
  7. grim
  • 1
    if possible provide some quotes as to why you think these are real, and what event fullfills them, or if this prophecy is to vague, then make your case that way with quotes.
    – Himarm
    Dec 17, 2015 at 22:27
  • 1
    You are misinterpreting Ron's assessment with what was actually there. Notice - there isn't actually a bowler hat - Ron misread the club - Trelawny sees four things: falcon, club, skull, grim - these four things directly foreshadow events in that particular book as well as the rest of the series.
    – NKCampbell
    Dec 17, 2015 at 22:38
  • @NathanK.Campbell trelawny is a known to be essentially a fraud, whose to say Rons interpretations where actually better then hers. Obviously if you can ague this in an answer its a good point.
    – Himarm
    Dec 17, 2015 at 22:40
  • was actually doing that already :) thanks!
    – NKCampbell
    Dec 17, 2015 at 22:41

2 Answers 2


You are misinterpreting Ron's assessment with what was actually there.

Notice - there isn't actually a bowler hat - Ron misread the club as being a bowler hat.

Trelawney sees four things: falcon, club, skull, grim

These four things directly foreshadow events in that particular book as well as the rest of the series.

Book 3 / Overall

Falcon: Petigrew / Voldemort

Club: Lupin-wolf / Death-eaters / Voldemort

Skull: Petigrew & Lupin-wolf / every situation ever, etc...

Grim: book 3 plot armor / death. Harry avoids death in this story but as is pointed out by @ibid, he does in fact meet this fate (in a way) eventually

And yes, Trelawney is not generally shown to be reliable, but this is due more to her characterization and less about the subject itself. "Fraud" may not be an appropriate term for her (especially if one considers someone like Lockhart). There were certainly teachers prior to Trelawney who were probably less....unique. Even if she is daft, the practice itself is generally accepted and we should accept her as an authority (even considering Dumbledore's generosity towards her).

Despite Hermione's feelings, it is not likely that Hogwarts would teach a subject that was entirely rubbish. Sybill is indeed shown to have had an ability to receive prophetic visions so, at least in her capabilities as a teacher and expert practitioner of interpreting what one can assume is a generally approved of form of witchcraft and wizardry (again, if not, it wouldn't be taught at all at a legitimate school), we should trust her interpretation over that of Ron.

  • IIRC, Dumbledore kept her around partly because she was a decent seer in important moments, even if it wasn't normally obvious. Dec 18, 2015 at 8:28
  • Trelawney did predict tragedy on the Astronomy Tower in Half-Blood Prince - 'calamity on the lightning struck tower'. But she was drunk on sherry, though.
    – Brindha
    Dec 18, 2015 at 11:38
  • 1
    i think its important to note, grim != dog. Trelawny is SEEING a grim, but in reality it literally could just be a dog, aka sirius.
    – Himarm
    Dec 18, 2015 at 14:07

I doubt that all of it was really intended as a real prophecy of the future or as any major plot foreshadowing.

That said, we can try to find various things in Harry's life that matches these predictions:

1 Harry ended up becoming the Head of the Department of Aurors.

2 Maybe the Triwizard Tournament winnings?

3 It's never said what a hippo or a sheep represents. (We can't just refer to real-life Tasseography as then the other things won't match up.)

4 Voldemort

5 & 6 These are about as vague as it gets. Harry was attacked and faced danger numerous times. You can really choose literally anything.

7 Harry technically dies towards the end of book 7

  • 4-6 you don't think any apply to the events that follow this scene? Dec 17, 2015 at 22:14
  • @CandiedMango The falcon wasn't Sirius and I doubt that Pettigrew was "a deadly enemy". The club and Skull can really refer to anything.
    – ibid
    Dec 17, 2015 at 22:19
  • Dementors were consistently present Dec 17, 2015 at 22:21
  • 3
    What this answer really shows is that anything sufficiently vague can always be interpreted to be true if you're clever enough.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 17, 2015 at 22:25
  • 2
    @randal'thor and if you're an Author writing vague prophecies about your own series. :) Dec 17, 2015 at 22:37

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