Chapter 27 in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood-Prince" is called "The Lightning Struck Tower". In this chapter a certain character dies on top of a tower. The tower has the Dark Mark conjured above it. There is no mention in the chapter of the word "lightning", and the chapter has nothing to do with it. Why is this chapter called this way?


1 Answer 1


It's a callback to chapter 25, where Trelawney pulls out a card - the lightning-struck tower - and proclaims that calamity is coming:

“The headmaster has intimated that he would prefer fewer visits from me,” she said coldly. “I am not one to press my company upon those who do not value it. If Dumbledore chooses to ignore the warnings the cards show —” Her bony hand closed suddenly around Harry’s wrist. “Again and again, no matter how I lay them out —” And she pulled a card dramatically from underneath her shawls. “— the lightning-struck tower,” she whispered. “Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time...”
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, chapter 25: "The Seer Overheard"

Trelawney has apparently been predicting disaster, after pulling out her cards and this one showing up again and again. And, as it turns out, she was correct.

  • 15
    @MBEllis - It's a tarot card, used to predict the future. I'd say lightning striking is pretty disastrous, and that's Trelawney's prediction based on that card.
    – Mithical
    Sep 12, 2020 at 17:52
  • 29
    The Tarot card "The Tower" generally does depicted a tower struck by lightning, and the Tower is notoriously one of the most disastrous Tarot cards -- easily worse than Death, for instance.
    – Mary
    Sep 12, 2020 at 17:55
  • 6
  • 9
    Incidentally, it may be worth noting that Dumbledore may in fact not have been ignoring her warnings. After all, he employed her precisely because he knew she had real prophetic visions. In fact, we see later that he orchestrated large parts of that 'disaster', even if he didn't plan for it to happen within Hogwarts.
    – user21820
    Sep 13, 2020 at 12:52
  • 1
    @Kevin: She misreads the signs; for example she apparently saw a big black dog but misread it as a portent of doom. So Dumbledore presumably would listen to her and attempt to figure out what she actually saw and whether it was relevant. When she tells him that calamity is coming, it is already long after Dumbledore knew it was coming so of course he dismisses her, in the same way he dismissed Harry's suspicion of Snape.
    – user21820
    Sep 14, 2020 at 17:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.