Not as Crazy as You’d Think
We all know Professor Trelawney by her crazy predictions, mind-numbing lectures, and outrageous frizzy hair. But is she as loony as we think? I decided to investigate each of her predictions throughout the Harry Potter series to getermine whether she is generally correct or incorrect (not counting her two prophecies).
1. Neville’s Teacup Trouble
Prediction: In 1993, Trelawney told Neville Longbottom to take a blue cup after breaking his first cup because she likes the pink ones best, implying Neville would break his first (and potentially second) teacup.
Outcome: True. Neville immediately took a cup, broke it, and then broke his second cup later as well. Though it is debatable whether or not Neville broke the cup out of anxiety from hearing Trelawney’s prediction, he did end up breaking the cups, so the cause is irrelevant.
2. Augusta’s Illness
Prediction: Trelawney asked Neville about his grandmother and said she may not be as well as he thought, implying that something bad may happen to his grandmother or might cause her to be unwell.
Outcome: Presumed False. We do not know if Augusta Longbottom (Neville’s grandmother) fell sick at some point, and we do know that she survived the Battle of Hogwarts, so we do not have canonical proof of her being ill.
3. Longbottom Running Late
Prediction: Trelawney predicted that Neville would be late for his next Divination class.
Outcome: Presumed False. Even though this prediction seems plausible given Neville’s character, once again we do not have any canonical proof and cannot count it as accurate.
4. Parvati’s Warning
Prediction: Parvati Patil was warned to beware of a red-headed man, meaning Parvati may have future troubles concerning a man with red hair.
Outcome: True. Parvati immediately suspected Ron Weasley upon hearing Trelawney’s warning. One year later, Ron took Parvati’s twin sister Padma to the Yule Ball and ultimately ignored her all night. Two years after that, Ron dated Parvati’s best friend, Lavender Brown, which caused Lavender to neglect her friendship with Parvati. Though this prediction was broad, we have enough evidence in the books to safely say that this prediction came true.
5. Trelawney’s Vanishing Voice
Prediction: Trelawney believed there would be a bout of flu in February, and she herself would lose her voice.
Outcome: Presumed False. No evidence for or against this was given, so we have to assume that it’s false unless proven true.
6. Lavender’s Dreaded Day
Prediction: The thing Lavender Brown was dreading would supposedly happen on October 16.
Outcome: True. On that day, Lavender received a letter that Binky, her pet rabbit, was killed by a fox. Hermione claimed that it was a coincidence because Lavender could not have been dreading the death of her young rabbit, and that the rabbit could not have died the day that Lavender received the news. However, it was undoubtedly true that Lavender was dreading that something bad would happen on October 16 after hearing Trelawney’s warning, and she did indeed receive bad news, so this prediction is plausibly true.
7. Disappearing Divination Students
Prediction: Near Easter, Trelawney told Harry Potter’s Divination class that one of their number will leave them forever; a member of their class would either figuratively or literally leave the class.
Outcome: True. Hermione dropped Divination around the Easter holidays and never took it again, meaning that she had left the class’s number.
8. Harry’s Winter Birthday
Prediction: While discussing star charts, Trelawney stated that given Harry’s “dark hair, mean stature, [and] tragic losses so young in life…” then Saturn must have been in a position of power when Harry was born, ultimately guessing that Harry was born around mid-winter.
Outcome: True. Harry takes this as one of her crazy bouts because he was born at the end of July, while in reality, unbeknownst to both Harry and Trelawney at the time, Harry was one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. She was most likely picking up the Horcrux inside of Harry. This is plausible because Voldemort was born on New Year’s Eve, mid-winter. Trelawney may have stronger powers than we thought.
9. Unlucky Guest Number Thirteen
Prediction: When thirteen dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die.
Outcome: True. Even though this prediction comes true in three separate situations, it’s still only one prediction, so we will count it as one.
The first case was at Christmas dinner in 1993. Trelawney initially refused to join the table of twelve. Harry and Ron were the first to rise (together), but Albus Dumbledore was the first of the group to die. However, before Trelawney was seated there were really thirteen people there already since Peter Pettigrew was disguised as Scabbers in Ron’s pocket. In this instance, Dumbledore was the first to rise out of these thirteen to greet Trelawney, and he was the first to die as well.
In 1995, thirteen members of the Order of the Phoenix dined together and the first to rise was Sirius, who was also the first to die.
Finally, in 1997 after the Battle of the Seven Potters, thirteen people gathered in the Burrow to mourn Alastor Moody. Remus Lupin volunteered to search for Moody’s body, and he was the first of the group to die at the Battle of Hogwarts.
10. Delores’s Impending Doom
Prediction: When Dolores Umbridge was appointed Hogwarts High Inquisitor, she insisted that Trelawney demonstrate her skills by prophesying something. Trelawney said that she saw dark things in Umbridge’s future.
Outcome: True. This can be taken as a fulfilled prediction because later that year, Umbridge was taken prisoner by a herd of centaurs. Though the reader (and Umbridge) assume that Trelawney had to make up this prophecy because she could not “see” one herself, it became true in any case.
11. The Troubled Young Man
Prediction: Harry overheard Trelawney in 1996-1997 talking to herself with a pack of cards and spoke of a “dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner.”
Outcome: True. Later that year, Harry sees Draco Malfoy arguing with Severus Snape about Draco’s progress on his mission for Lord Voldemort, meeting the description of Trelawney’s words.
12. The Lightning-Struck Tower
Prediction: Trelawney complained to Harry that Dumbledore was not listening to her omens of impending doom. She looked at some Tarot cards and saw, “…the lightning-struck tower… Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time…”
Outcome: True. Dumbledore was killed later that year, and a battle between Death Eaters and Hogwarts students broke out. Dumbledore fell from the Astronomy Tower, making this prediction all the more meaningful.
13. Deadly Days at Hogwarts
Prediction: According to Professor McGonagall, Trelawney had predicted one Hogwarts student’s death every year since 1980.
Outcome: False. Just in Harry’s time at school, the only years when students died were Harry’s fourth and seventh years.
14. Harry’s Future Happiness
Prediction: She predicted Harry Potter’s happy future to annoy Dolores Umbridge, claiming Harry would “live to a ripe, old age, become Minister for Magic, and have twelve children.”
Outcome: Presumed False. As of what we know canonically, this prediction has not (yet) come to pass. One could claim that Trelawney was not truly predicting this since that was not her motive, but similar cases where Trelawney seemed to be faking a prophecy have come true, so this will be counted for the sake of fairness.
If we assume that I’ve interpreted this correctly, we can say that Trelawney’s predictions are correct about 65% of the time (9/14 are true). Pretty impressive for someone who’s known as a bit of a wack.
What do you think? Do you agree with these interpretations? Would you trust Trelawney to give you a Tarot reading now? Let me know in the comments below!