In Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban, what did Dumbledore mean with these words? Are there any references for future events in the same movie?

But you know happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

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    Although you can point at what he says and scream "It's foreshadowing. Look everyone, it's foreshadowing!!!" the simplest explanation is that Dumbledore is simply reminding the children not to spend their time panicking. – Valorum May 21 '16 at 12:57
  • For the record, this speech doesn't appear in the novel. "‘Welcome! Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! I have a few things to say to you all, and as one of them is very serious, I think it best to get it out of the way before you become befuddled by our excellent feast. As you will all be aware after their search of the Hogwarts Express, our school is presently playing host to some of the Dementors of Azkaban, who are here on Ministry of Magic business. They are stationed at every entrance to the grounds, and while they are with us, – Valorum May 21 '16 at 13:02
  • I must make it plain that nobody is to leave school without permission. Dementors are not to be fooled by tricks or disguises – or even Invisibility Cloaks, it is not in the nature of a Dementor to understand pleading or excuses. I therefore warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. I look to the Prefects, and our new Head Boy and Girl, to make sure that no student runs foul of the Dementors. On a happier note, I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our ranks this year. – Valorum May 21 '16 at 13:02
  • Firstly, Professor Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. As to our second new appointment, well, I am sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs. However, I am delighted to say that his place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on this teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties. Well, I think that’s everything of importance, Let the feast begin! – Valorum May 21 '16 at 13:02
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    Although @Jonah makes a spirited defence, I have no problem in writing off this line as a piece of mindless fluff. Something of dubious worth which isn't in the books but which is inserted into the screenplay for no particular reason. The Prisoner of Azkaban film excelled in this regard. – The Dark Lord May 22 '16 at 13:59

What does it mean?

This means that there is always something to appreciate in life, but one needs to have hope, and try to look for it.

Does this foreshadow anything?

This is broadly applicable of course, but has particular relevance to two later moments in the series:

  • Most immediately, of course, the Dementors, representing depression, can literally be driven off by happiness in the form of a bright light.

  • Later, Ron is able to find Harry and Hermione by using the Deluminator.

    As it says in Dumbledore's will (film version only):

    First, to Ronald Billius Weasley, I leave my Deluminator, a device, of my own making, on hope when things seem most dark It will show you the light.

    This is a callback to the line from PoA.

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