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The Prophecy Wasn’t Real (But Did Defeat Voldemort)

The prophecy in Harry Potter defined much of Harry and Voldemort’s battle, and there’s a theory that the prophecy potentially wasn’t real but still managed to defeat Voldemort. The prophecy told by Sybill Trelawney tied Harry and Voldemort together and predicted that one must die at the other’s hand for “neither can live while the other survives.” Once acted upon by Voldemort, the prophecy doomed Harry and Voldemort to a life of battling each other which concluded in the Battle of Hogwarts.


The prophecy was the reason for Voldemort’s downfall, and his decision between Harry and Neville being the Chosen One only emphasized this, but there is a third option that the prophecy was not real at all. Trelawney made the prophecy while interviewing for the Professor of Divination position with Dumbledore. Snape overheard the prophecy and relayed it to Voldemort who then decided it was James and Lily Potter’s child. However, the prophecy could have just been a ploy, conveniently relayed by Snape who became a double agent for Dumbledore shortly after, which meant Voldemort was distracted from his main agenda.

Related: Harry Potter Theory: Trelawney Knew Voldemort’s Soul Was Inside Harry

Why Harry Potter’s Chosen One Prophecy Might Not Have Been Real

Trelawney’s prophecy never specified who the Chosen One was, so there is debate over whether it was really Harry or if Neville Longbottom was Harry Potter‘s Chosen One, as both boys fit the bill. There is a third option: that there simply was not a Chosen One. This would explain why both Harry and Neville seemed to fit the bill; if the prophecy had been referring to a specific boy then Voldemort was lucky to guess the right one. But most importantly, it was Voldemort’s own decision to act upon the prophecy that made it come to fruition. If Voldemort had not acted upon it, it would not have come true, which only enforces that it wasn’t real in the first place.

Sybill Trelawney has made plenty of predictions that failed to come to fruition using skills similar to a muggle psychic to make people believe her. It would not be surprising if Trelawney’s Chosen One prophecy was among the other fake predictions, especially as Dumbledore is the only person to verify it was a real prophecy. No one else saw Trelawney make the prophecy, nor can verify she went into the trance she does when making a real prediction, as she does in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Since Trelawney was interviewing for Divination Professor, it is likely Dumbledore asked her to make a prediction or something to test her skills. Upon hearing Trelawney’s prophecy, Dumbledore would have recognized the Chosen One idea would be useful in the coming conflict and decided to pretend it was real, especially since Dumbledore already has a morally questionable character.

Why The Chosen One Prophecy Was Useful Against Voldemort

The Chosen One prophecy was extremely useful against Voldemort and makes sense to have been supported as real by Dumbledore, as a preventative measure. The prophecy completely switched Voldemort’s focus to a much smaller issue, rather than taking over. With the Potters originally protected by a Fidelius Charm, the prophecy distracted Voldemort from his main goal. He then became focused on hunting them down to save himself and gave the forces of good more time to counter Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Even when Voldemort returned, his main goal was to eradicate Harry to properly be able to take over. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort pretty much had full reign of the Wizarding World again but still was focused on beating Harry before being able to fully rule.

Similarly, it helped to ensure Voldemort’s downfall by creating an equally powerful opponent. Either it fulfilled the prophecy and created a champion to kill him, or it riled up enough wizards when they found out Voldemort had killed a defenseless child. Although a brutal plan, Dumbledore was always more than a few steps ahead of everyone and willing to use people to ensure Voldemort’s downfall, just as he knew Harry would have to die at Voldemort’s hand to kill the Horcrux in him. Dumbledore could have easily used the prophecy for the advantage of the forces of good, and, knowing Harry would need to be trained and protected for Voldemort’s return, treated him as the Chosen One to enforce everyone’s belief.

Related: Harry Potter Theory: Dumbledore Could Have Proved Sirius’ Innocence

How A Fake Chosen One Prophecy Changes Harry Potter

The prophecy being fake makes Harry’s arc a little sadder, as well as much more triumphant. Harry’s personal suffering would be the creation of a myth, and fully in Dumbledore’s control. Everything from losing his parents, to having to accept his own death and sacrifice would have ultimately been unnecessary. It would have all been just pure bad luck that he was the one Voldemort chose. However, the fake prophecy makes Harry’s arc much more triumphant because everything he achieved was because of his own merit. Harry did not overcome Voldemort due to being the Chosen One or having any particular set of powers to match the Dark Lord’s, but because of his own skill, determination, and the love of his family and friends.

Harry Potter being the Chosen One may have been a ruse to vanquish Voldemort, but Harry was able to save the Wizarding World thanks to his strong sense of morality and determination. The prophecy being fake only emphasizes Harry’s strength and will; while he may not have been the Chosen One, he is one of the few who could have achieved what he did. The prophecy potentially being fake changes Harry Potter. If the theory is correct, however, it would not have changed Harry and Voldemort’s journey and battle. Ultimately, they would have ended up in the same places.

Next: 1 Chamber Of Secrets Scene Subtly Foreshadowed Peter Pettigrew’s Return

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