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This question asserts (at least as I'm typing this) that Petunia Dursley knew about the prophecy.

Did she indeed?

She knew that her sister and her brother in law, Lily and James Potter, had died, leaving her nephew Harry in her care, to be protected. But the prophecy was a closely guarded secret, wasn't it? Did Petunia really know? How much did she know about the murder of James and Lily, and Voldemort's (apparent) death?

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  • I think we only get reference to the fact that Dumbledore told the Dursely's something about the death of Harry's parents and the importance of Harry staying w/ the Dursely's, but we aren't told if the prophecy was included in any of the communication. Additionally, it does not appear that Harry ever told them about it specifically, though he did tell them that Voldemort and the Death Eaters would be after them as well soon
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 8, 2021 at 19:19
  • (also - I'd delete the reference to the other question and just ask if Petenuia knew about the prophecy)
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 8, 2021 at 19:19
  • 1
    @NKCampbell thank you for your suggestion, but I want to leave the reference to that question in, unless it gets deleted.
    – SQB
    Jun 8, 2021 at 19:29

2 Answers 2

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It is nigh impossible to prove that something didn’t happen, short of an explicit statement to that effect. However, there are various indications that suggest that Dumbledore did not share the prophecy with Petunia.

In Chapter Four of Half-Blood Prince Dumbledore tells Harry the following:

“There are only two people in the whole world who know the full contents of the prophecy made about you and Lord Voldemort, and they are both standing in this smelly, spidery broom shed.

Assuming that Dumbledore was not lying or mistaken (though see here) this would mean that Petunia was certainly unaware of the full contents of the prophecy.

In Chapter One of Philosopher’s Stone Dumbledore tells McGonagall the following:

“His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he’s older. I’ve written them a letter.”

While “everything” could conceivably include the prophecy, it would seem unlikely. It would not be particularly necessary for Petunia to know about it to fulfill her role as blood protector. Moreover, Dumbledore didn’t want to tell Harry about the prophecy at all, so it would be all the more unlikely that he would want Petunia to tell him about it.

In Chapter Thirty-Seven of Order of the Phoenix Dumbledore actually tells Harry what he wrote in the letter:

“While you can still call home the place where your mother’s blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort. He shed her blood, but it lives on in you and her sister. Her blood became your refuge. You need return there only once a year, but as long as you can still call it home, there he cannot hurt you. Your aunt knows this. I explained what I had done in the letter I left, with you, on her doorstep. She knows that allowing you houseroom may well have kept you alive for the past fifteen years.”

He says here that he explained what he had done. Nothing about the prophecy is necessary to explain what he had done, so presumably he did not include it.

In general, Dumbledore tends to operate highly secretively, revealing as little information to as few people as possible. It would seem highly out of character for him to confide something of such significance to a muggle (who might spread the information intentionally or unintentionally) when he hadn’t entrusted this information to even his closest wizard colleagues.

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She almost certainly doesn’t know the prophecy.

When the Dursleys leave Number 4 Privet Drive because the protection on it was nearly expired, one of the members of the Order asks Harry if the Dursleys realize, among other things, the unique position he holds in the hearts of the anti-Voldemort movement, and Harry says no, they do not.

“Hestia looked outraged. Harry had met this attitude before: witches and wizards seemed stunned that his closest living relatives took so little interest in the famous Harry Potter.

‘It’s fine,’ Harry assured her. ‘It doesn’t matter, honestly.’

‘Doesn’t matter?’ repeated Hestia, her voice rising ominously. ‘Don’t these people realise what you’ve been through? What danger you are in? The unique position you hold in the hearts of the anti-Voldemort movement?’

‘Er – no, they don’t,’ said Harry. ‘They think I’m a waste of space, actually, but I’m used to –”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 3 (The Dursleys Departing)

She does know who Voldemort is, and how dangerous he is, but she does not seem to think that Harry is in any particularly special position to be able to stop him. When she heard that Voldemort was back, her reaction was pure panic. She did not look to Harry in any way that implies she thinks he would be particularly useful in stopping him.

“Back?’ whispered Aunt Petunia.

She was looking at Harry as she had never looked at him before. And all of a sudden, for the very first time in his life, Harry fully appreciated that Aunt Petunia was his mother’s sister. He could not have said why this hit him so very powerfully at this moment. All he knew was that he was not the only person in the room who had an inkling of what Lord Voldemort being back might mean. Aunt Petunia had never in her life looked at him like that before. Her large, pale eyes (so unlike her sister’s) were not narrowed in dislike or anger, they were wide and fearful. The furious pretence that Aunt Petunia had maintained all Harry’s life – that there was no magic and no world other than the world she inhabited with Uncle Vernon – seemed to have fallen away.

‘Yes,’ Harry said, talking directly to Aunt Petunia now. ‘He came back a month ago. I saw him.’

Her hands found Dudley’s massive leather-clad shoulders and clutched them.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 3 (A Peck of Owls)

Therefore, it seems unlikely that Petunia was ever told anything about the prophecy claiming Harry is the one who can defeat Voldemort.

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  • good references but I don't think they necessarily prove it one way or another. THe first quote is from Harry's point of view, and he's not really a reliable narrator in terms of the Duresley's (rightly so given his trauma, but still, he doesn't have actual insight into what they know or not). The second one doesn't prove it either way because if she knows Voldemort, the appropriate reaction in that moment is indeed fear, regardless of any other details she may be aware of.
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 9, 2021 at 19:45
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    @NKCampbell I am still researching this answer, hopefully I will find more supporting evidence.
    – Obsidia
    Jun 9, 2021 at 19:48

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