Is this a prophetic dream? Given what happen at the end of the book.

He was wearing Professor Quirrell’s turban, which kept talking to him, telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once, because it was his destiny. Harry told the turban he didn’t want to be in Slytherin; it got heavier and heavier; he tried to pull it off but it tightened painfully — and there was Malfoy, laughing at him as he struggled with it — then Malfoy turned into the hook-nosed teacher, Snape, whose laugh became high and cold — there was a burst of green light and Harry woke, sweating and shaking.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 7, The Sorting Hat

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    ...er.I don't see how that's connected at all to the events at the end of the book. Care to explain why you think this?
    – Mithical
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 14:44
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    Quirrell turns out to have Voldemort in his head. Voldemort makes an offer to Harry, “Better save your own life and join me…or you’ll meet the same end as your parents…They died begging me for mercy…”
    – Vishvesh
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 15:44
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    You see I tend to think that the answer is "Probably" but I doubt it can be proved.
    – ThruGog
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 15:50
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    You could argue that its because of his connection to ol' Voldy, but honestly I think it's just one of those "Bad first day at a new school" dreams that kids can have. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 16:26

2 Answers 2



Harry's dalliances with Divination show that he was never much of a Seer. He has a number of prophetic dreams in the series but these solely consist of visions of Voldemort as a result of his scar. Harry doesn't have prophetic dreams which are unrelated to Voldemort. Any prophetic dreams he does have are generally from Voldemort's point-of-view, unlike this one.

So the dream isn't prophetic. Instead, it seems to dwell on Harry's fears and neuroses about starting Hogwarts. He sees Malfoy and Snape mocking him. These elements stem from the fact that both characters are already Harry's enemies. He begins his feud with Malfoy by rejecting him on the train and he gets a strong impression of loathing from Snape during the sorting dinner. It's natural that Harry would feel slightly wary of both people, especially since they are established wizards and he is a newcomer to the magical world.

The part with the turban is coincidental. Yes, it did end up playing a very significant role in the story. From an out-of-universe, literary point-of-view this is simple foreshadowing. In-universe, it's likely that Harry simply noted how distinctive Quirrell's turban was at their first meeting. In his dream, the turban plays the role of the Sorting Hat. As Bellatrix says, the fear of being put in Slytherin likely stems from the same fear that Harry felt when he went through the sorting process earlier that same day.

The final element is the cold laugh and the flash of light. This is not a prophecy but a memory - one which has been growing stronger and move prevalent in Harry's mind ever since he learned the truth about how his parents died.

Something very painful was going on in Harry’s mind. As Hagrid’s story came to a close, he saw again the blinding flash of green light, more clearly than he had ever remembered it before — and he remembered something else, for the first time in his life: a high, cold, cruel laugh.
(Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4, The Keeper of the Keys).

The fact that Harry relives this experience every time he gets near a Dementor shows that he doesn't need a prophetic dream to trigger that particular memory.

In conclusion, JKR was foreshadowing but the dream wasn't actually prophetic.

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    I feel that Dalliances with Divination should be a Lockhart title. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 18:17
  • I love your explanation for how Quirrell's turban ended up in Harry's dream. Although I thought the rest of the dream was strongly based in Harry's fears, I couldn't figure out how the turban got there. I was guessing it might be Horcrux related because I couldn't think of another reason for it being there. Harry's dream not meaning anything and being simply a reflection of his fears makes the most sense. Harry has no talent for Divination. The Horcrux in him wasn't particularly active, and the dream was nothing like his other Horcrux dreams. Also, thanks for mentioning me in your answer!
    – Obsidia
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 3:36
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    @Bellatrix You're welcome. Us Dark wizards have to stick together. ;) I think that the turban was generally a distinctive item that everyone at Hogwarts was aware of. It wasn't a clothing choice that anyone else at Hogwarts went with. Fred and George thought it was a noteworthy thing to bounce snowballs off. I think it was just a distinctive object that vividly took on a life of its own in the dream. Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 21:51
  • Definitely! Yay for fellowship among Dark wizards! ;) It's really nice to have another one around. Agreed about the turban, probably everyone at Hogwarts noticed it. There are certain things that just stand out, and dreams can bring them up in weird ways.
    – Obsidia
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 22:01
  • I've edited my answer to include the turban being a coincidence because it and the Sorting Hat are both distinctive hats, and the reasons it's not caused by Voldemort either. Don't worry though, I made sure I said it was your idea! My answer makes a lot more sense now. Thanks for everything! ;)
    – Obsidia
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 16:58

No, it's just Harry's own nervous thoughts.

The only part that could be prophetic is the part about Quirrell's turban. The presence of Draco and Snape doesn't seem to connect with the events later in the year. Neither Draco nor Snape were working with Quirrell or Voldemort. Snape was a double agent and Draco, although he hated Harry, didn't have any real loyalty to Voldemort during his first year.

My guess as to why they were in the dream is because to Harry, they were the defining faces of Slytherin. He was terrified of being in Slytherin, and hated that the Sorting Hat considered putting him there, since he didn't want to be anything like the Slytherins he knew.

The Quirrell part is the only one that could possibly mean something. Harry wasn't afraid of Quirrell or anything he represents (Quirrell wasn't said to be in Slytherin and Harry had no reason to think he was any danger - he certainly didn't know Voldemort was attached to him) so had no reason to be dreaming about him or his turban. However, Harry is not a Seer, is never said to be capable of predicting the future, and has no history of having prophetic dreams.

But Harry does have a history of significant dreams - all having to do with the Horcrux inside him. The Horcrux could have been trying to convince him to join Voldemort. It wasn't particularly active until Voldemort regained his physical form, but it was present since Voldemort's first downfall when it attached itself to Harry.

Voldemort was hidden under Quirrell's turban, which could be why he took the form of Quirrell's turban in Harry's dream. Joining Slytherin could have been being used as an analogy for joining Voldemort, and Quirrell's turban saying that it's Harry's destiny could be the Horcrux trying to convince him that he was meant to join Slytherin and later Voldemort.

However, like the Dark Lord said in his answer, this particular dream doesn't really have any of the qualities of Harry's other Horcrux dreams, and it seems odd for a dream that has clear roots in Harry's own anxieties to be anything but a simple manifestation of Harry's fear.

The Dark Lord mentioned something that makes much more sense - it was his idea, I'm just adding it here so my answer follows better logic. The turban is a memorable type of headwear, just like the Sorting Hat, and the Sorting Hat was the origin of Harry's anxiety. He was nervous about the possibility of being in Slytherin and after the Hat told him he would be a good fit there, was nervous about what that meant about him.

The turban simply took the place of the Sorting Hat in Harry's dream, since it was another example of an odd hat that Harry saw during the day.

Out-of-universe, it's foreshadowing - meant to show Harry's fear and disgust with Slytherin, but also taking the opportunity to give a small hint to where the real danger lies and a nod to later events.

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