That is, if it wasn't revealed to you in the first place. We see only a few instances of prophesying throughout the books, notably, when Trelawney prophesied to Dumbledore about Harry and Voldemort, and to Harry about Wormtail rejoining Voldemort. (Side note, is it just me or does Trelawney have a thing for Voldemort?)

We know that when the crystal sphere housing the prophecy smashes, the prophecy is retold. We also know that the prophecy can be recalled through memory, especially with the aid of a Penseive.

Short of smashing the glass orbs, how does one hear a prophecy?

Somehow I don't think smashing them is the only way, as that would destroy the thing altogether.

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    According to the Harry Potter Wiki, "Upon being smashed or broken apart, a ghostly apparition of the Seer will appear and recite the prophecy they once spoke, again. When the figure finishes its recital, it disappears forevermore. It is unknown if destroyed prophecy records can be repaired through any magical or non-magical means, nor if there are other means of hearing or watching the prophecy." We may just not have any information on how they are properly viewed (assuming smashing them isn't the proper way to hear the prophecy). EDIT: Source harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Prophecy_Record
    – Ozymandias
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 22:06
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    @Ozymandias Yeah, thanks but "Harry Potter Wiki" is a source one should never use. Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 22:11
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    @Ozymandias Everyone knows that this is the best source for Harry Potter information.
    – KSmarts
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 22:26
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    One would imagine you could just as easily store a prophesy on something you don't have to break, cause while having to rebuy your CD every time you listen to your favourite band sounds extremely profitable for the band, it is still rather unfeasible. I think that the whole smashing globes thing may be something they came up with to prevent people from listening to the prophesies without knowledge getting out. If you smash it, people know somebody listened to it. However, I have no sources to back this up so I'll leave answering to somebody else.
    – Theik
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 12:39
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    I wonder if you could smash a prophesy orb, watch it, then copy your memory of watching it into a new orb?
    – Adam V
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 17:18

4 Answers 4


All the prophecies are enchanted to only be retrievable by the individuals to whom they pertain. We can infer that it's likely you can make an appointment to view your prophecy. As the spheres don't have an opening, and the hall is still filled with prophecies, it is reasonable to assume they are returned afterwards. The only logical inference is that it's an incantation, or you can watch your prophecy in the sphere.


One of the possible explanations I could think of about listening to the prophecies are , Pensieve. The kind of which Dumbledore has, you can tip the contents of the memory in the pensieve and watch it. Because the memories in the orbs just look like the memory Dumbledore and Harry used. The major problem to encounter is opening the prophecy. I suppose anyone to whom the prophecy is made to can somehow open it to tip the contents and then refill the contents once done (Probably with the help of Department of Mysteries).


It's kind of a dumb idea, but the person who smashed the prophecy heard it and can thus use his/her memory to create another instance of the same prophecy. Though the only person supposed to hear it is the person it is referring to, and the fact that they might want to have a record of it after hearing it might be debatable.

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    Hello, welcome to the SF & Fantasy Stack. Thank you for your taking the time to try to answer this question. However, we're not looking for pure speculation, but for answers from, or at the very least based on, canon — in this case the books and the movies. Have you taken the tour yet?
    – SQB
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 8:19
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    @SQB This isn't pure speculation; it's a fact that the person who smashes the prophecy hears it and could then create another memory of the same prophecy.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 8:34
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    Of course this theory requires that you smash a prophecy in order to hear it, which is not what the question is looking for Commented Oct 2, 2015 at 17:22

The glass orbs in the Department of Mysteries are just "records of prophecies kept by the Department of Mysteries"(Dumbledore in Book 5). These prophecies are not supposed to be accessible to people they don't concern. When the prophecy was smashed, the figure that rose from it didn't say anything; it was probably something similar to Priori Incantatem. There is no evidence of Harry (or Neville) ever hearing the prophecy while holding it, but we have to assume that Harry, Neville, and Voldemort would be able to hear the prophecy with some type of spell involving the orb. This is a safe assumption because if this were not possible, Voldemort would have no need for the orb, which is what the Death Eaters are looking for.

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    What nonsense. I'd go through all the ways this is just wrong and heavy with speculations but I'll let you figure them out for yourself. Go reread the relevant books. Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 12:47
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    Could you include quotes from the books, and in-canon proof, or authors notes/interviews perhaps that back up what you say. It does make sense that VM had some way to read them otherwise why did Lucius ask for it? I recall Lucius telling Harry he could help him read the prophecy if Harry gave it to him. But the question was about the method, and you didn't really give a conclusive answer with any proofs. Including quotes to your relevant points would help your answer out. I did not downvote your answer, but I think you should give further explanation and quotes.
    – JMFB
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 3:49
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    When the prophecy was smashed in OotP, the prophecy was retold, it just was inaudible because this tiny difference of opinions between the Death Eaters and the Order was too loud.
    – 11684
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 10:33

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