PROFESSOR TRELAWNEY'S PREDICTION
Harry's euphoria at finally winning the Quidditch Cup lasted at least a week.
Even the weather seemed to be celebrating; as June approached, the days became
cloudless and sultry, and all anybody felt like doing was strolling onto the
grounds and flopping down on the grass with several pints of iced pumpkin juice,
perhaps playing a casual game of Gobstones or watching the giant squid propel
itself dreamily across the surface of the lake.
But they couldn't. Exams were nearly upon them, and instead of lazing around
outside, the students were forced to remain inside the castle, trying to bully
their brains into concentrating while enticing wafts of summer air drifted in
through the windows. Even Fred and George Weasley had been spotted working;
they were about to take their O. W. L. s (Ordinary Wizarding Levels). Percy
was getting ready to take his N. E. W. T. s (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests),
the highest qualification Hogwarts offered. As Percy hoped to enter the Ministry
of Magic, he needed top grades. He was becoming increasingly edgy, and gave
very severe punishments to anybody who disturbed the quiet of the common room
in the evenings. In fact, the only person who seemed more anxious than Percy
Harry and Ron had given up asking her how she was managing to attend several
classes at once, but they couldn't restrain themselves when they saw the exam
schedule she had drawn up for herself. The first column read:
9 o'clock, Arithmancy
9 o'clock, Transfiguration
1 o'clock, Charms
1 o'clock, Ancient Runes
“Hermione?” Ron said cautiously, because she was liable to explode when interrupted
these days. “Er—are you sure you've copied down these times right?”
“What?” snapped Hermione, picking up the exam schedule and examining it.
“Yes, of course I have.”
“Is there any point asking how you're going to sit for two exams at once?”
“No,” said Hermione shortly. “Have either of you seen my copy of Numerology
“Oh, yeah, I borrowed it for a bit of bedtime reading,” said Ron, but very
quietly. Hermione started shifting heaps of parchment Harry, Ron, and Hermione
plenty of opportunity to speak to Hagrid.
“Beaky's gettin' a bit depressed,” Hagrid told them, bending low on the pretense
of checking that Harry's flobberworm was still alive. “Bin cooped up too long.
But still... we'll know day after tomorrow—one way or the other —”
They had Potions that afternoon, which was an unqualified disaster. Try as
Harry might, he couldn't get his Confusing Concoction to thicken, and Snape,
standing watch with an air of vindictive pleasure, scribbled something that
looked suspiciously like a zero onto his notes before moving away.
Then came Astronomy at midnight, up on the tallest tower; History of Magic
on Wednesday morning, in which Harry scribbled everything Florean Fortescue
had ever told him about medieval witch-hunts, while wishing he could have had
one of Fortescue's choco-nut sundaes with him in the stifling classroom. Wednesday
afternoon meant Herbology, in the greenhouses under a baking-hot sun; then back
to the common room once more, with sunburnt necks, thinking longingly of this
time next day, when it would all be over.
Their second to last exam, on Thursday morning, was Defense Against the Dark
Arts. Professor Lupin had compiled the most unusual exam any of them had ever
taken; a sort of obstacle course outside in the sun, where they had to wade
across a deep paddling pool containing a grindylow, cross a series of potholes
full of Red Caps, squish their way across a patch of marsh while ignoring misleading
directions from a hinkypunk, then climb into an old trunk and battle with a
“Excellent, Harry,” Lupin muttered as Harry climbed out of the trunk, grinning.
Flushed with his success, Harry hung around to watch Ron and Hermione. Ron
did very well until he reached the hinkypunk, which successfully confused him
into sinking waist-high into the quagmire. Hermione did everything perfectly
until she reached the trunk with the boggart in it. After about a minute inside
it, she burst out again, screaming.
“Hermione!” said Lupin, startled. “What's the matter?”
“P—P—Professor McGonagall!” Hermione gasped, pointing into the trunk. “Sh—she
said I'd failed everything!”
It took a little while to calm Hermione down. When at last she had regained
a grip on herself, she, Harry, and Ron went back to the castle. Ron was still
slightly inclined to laugh at Hermione's boggart, but an argument was averted
by the sight that met them on the top of the steps.
Cornelius Fudge, sweating slightly in his pinstriped cloak, was standing
there staring out at the grounds. He started at the sight of Harry.
“Hello there, Harry!” he said. “Just had an exam, I expect? Nearly finished?”
“Yes,” said Harry. Hermione and Ron, not being on speaking terms with the
Minister of Magic, hovered awkwardly in the background.
“Lovely day,” said Fudge, casting an eye over the lake.
He sighed deeply and looked down at Harry.
“I'm here on an unpleasant mission, Harry. The Committee for the Disposal
of Dangerous Creatures required a witness to the execution of a mad hippogriff.
As I needed to visit Hogwarts to check on the Black situation, I was asked to
“Does that mean the appeal's already happened?” Ron interrupted, stepping
“No, no, it's scheduled for this afternoon,” said Fudge, looking curiously
“Then you might not have to witness an execution at A!” said Eon stoutly.
“The hippogriff might get off!”
Before Fudge could answer, two wizards came through the castle doors behind
him. One was so ancient he appeared to be withering before their very eyes;
the other was tall and strapping, with a thin back mustache. Harry gathered
that they were representatives of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous
Creatures, because tie very old wizard squinted toward Hagrid's cabin and said
in a feeble voice, “Dear, dear, I'm getting too old for this... Two o'clock,
isn't it, Fudge?”
The black-mustached man was fingering something in his belt; Harry looked
and saw that he was running one broad thumb along the blade of a shining axe.
Ron opened his mouth to say something, but Hermione nudged him hard in the ribs
and jerked her head toward the entrance hall.
“Why'd you stop me?” said Ron angrily as they entered the Great Hall for
lunch. “Did you see them? They've even got the axe ready! This isn't justice!”
“Ron, your dad works for the Ministry, you can't go saying things like that
to his boss!” said Hermione, but she too looked very upset. “As long as Hagrid
keeps his head this time, and argue, hi case properly, they can't possibly execute
But Harry could tell Hermione didn't really believe what she was saying.
All around them, people were talking excitedly as they ate their lunch, happily
anticipating the end of the exams that afternoon, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione,
lost in worry about Hagrid and Buckbeak, didn't join in.
Harry's and Ron's last exam was Divination; Hermione's, Muggle Studies. They
walked up the marble staircase together; Hermione left them on the first floor
and Harry and Ron proceeded all the way up to the seventh, where many of their
class were sitting on the spiral staircase to Professor Trelawney's classroom,
trying to cram in a bit of last-minute studying.
“She's seeing us all separately,” Neville informed them as they went to sit
down next to him. He had his copy of Unfogging the Future open on his lap at
the pages devoted to crystal gazing. “Have either of you ever seen anything
in a crystal ball?” he asked them unhappily.
“Nope,” said Ron in an offhand voice. He kept checking his watch; Harry.
knew that he was counting down the time until Buckbeak's appeal started.
The line of people outside the classroom shortened very slowly. As each person
climbed back down the silver ladder, the rest of the class hissed, “What did
she ask? Was it okay?”
But they all refused to say.
“She says the crystal ball's told her that if I tell you, I'll have a horrible
accident!” squeaked Neville as he clambered back down the ladder toward Harry
and Ron, who had now reached the landing.
“That's convenient,” snorted Ron. “You know, I'm starting to think Hermione
was right about her”—he jabbed his thumb toward the trapdoor overhead—”she's
a right old fraud.”
“Yeah,” said Harry, looking at his own watch. It-was now two o'clock. “Wish
she'd hurry up...”
Parvati came back down the ladder glowing with pride.
“She says I've got all the makings of a true Seer,” she informed Harry and
Ron. “I saw loads of stuff... Well, good luck!”
She hurried off down the spiral staircase toward Lavender.
“Ronald Weasley,” said the familiar, misty voice from over their heads. Ron
grimaced at Harry and climbed the silver ladder out of sight. Harry was now
the only person left to be tested. He settled himself on the floor with his
back against the wall, listening to a fly buzzing in the sunny window, his mind
across the grounds with Hagrid.
Finally, after about twenty minutes, Ron's large feet reappeared on the ladder.
“How'd it go?” Harry asked him, standing up.
“Rubbish,” said Ron. “Couldn't see a thing, so I made some stuff up. Don't
think she was convinced, though...”
“Meet you in the common room,” Harry muttered as Professor Trelawney's voice
called, “Harry Potter!”
The tower room was hotter than ever before; the curtains were closed, the
fire was alight, and the usual sickly scent made Harry cough as he stumbled
through the clutter of chairs and table to where Professor Trelawney sat waiting
for him before a large crystal ball.
“Good day, my dear,” she said softly. “If you would kindly gaze into the
Orb... Take your time, now... then tell me what you see within it...”
Harry bent over the crystal ball and stared, stared as hard as he could,
willing it to show him something other than swirling white fog, but nothing
“Well?” Professor Trelawney prompted delicately. “What do you see?”
The heat was overpowering and his nostrils were stinging with the perfumed
smoke wafting from the fire beside them. He thought of what Ron had just said,
and decided to pretend.
“Er —” said Harry, “a dark shape... um...”
“What does it resemble?” whispered Professor Trelawney. “Think, now...”
Harry cast his mind around and it landed on Buckbeak.
“A hippogriff,” he said firmly.
“Indeed!” whispered Professor Trelawney, scribbling keenly on the parchment
perched upon her knees. “My boy, you may well be seeing the outcome of poor
Hagrid's trouble with the Ministry of Magic! Look closer... Does the hippogriff
appear to... have its head?”
“Yes,” said Harry firmly.
“Are you sure?” Professor Trelawney urged him. “Are you quite sure, dear?
You don't see it writhing on the ground, perhaps, and a shadowy figure raising
an axe behind it?”
“No!” said Harry, starting to feel slightly sick.
“No blood? No weeping Hagrid?”
“No!” said Harry again, wanting more than ever to leave the room and the
heat. “It looks fine, it's— flying away...”
Professor Trelawney sighed.
“Well, dear, I think we'll leave it there... A little disappointing... but
I'm sure you did your best.”
Relieved, Harry got up, picked up his bag and turned to go, but then a loud,
harsh voice spoke behind him.
“IT WILL HAPPEN TONIGHT.”
Harry wheeled around. Professor Trelawney had gone rigid in her armchair;
her eyes were unfocused and her mouth sagging.
“S—sorry?” said Harry.
But Professor Trelawney didn't seem to hear him. Her eyes started to roll.
Harry sat there in a panic. She looked as though she was about to have some
sort of seizure. He hesitated, thinking of running to the hospital wing—and
then Professor Trelawney spoke again, in the same harsh voice, quite unlike
“THE DARK LORD LIES ALONE AND FRIENDLESS, ABANDONED BY HIS FOLLOWERS. HIS
SERVANT HAS BEEN CHAINED THESE TWELVE YEARS. TONIGHT, BEFORE MIDNIGHT... THE
SERVANT WILL BREAK FREE AND SET OUT TO REJOIN HIS MASTER. THE DARK LORD WILL
RISE AGAIN WITH HIS SERVANTS AID, GREATER AND MORE TERRIBLE THAN EVER HE WAS.
TONIGHT... BEFORE MIDNIGHT... THE SERVANT... WILL SET OU... TO REJOIN... HIS
Professor Trelawney's head fell forward onto her chest. She made a grunting
sort of noise. Harry sat there, staring at her. Then, quite suddenly, Professor
Trelawney's head snapped up again.
“I'm so sorry, dear boy,” she said dreamily, “the heat of the day, you know...
I drifted off for a moment...”
Harry sat there, staring at her.
“Is there anything wrong, my dear?”
“You—you just told me that the—the Dark Lord's going to rise again... that
his servant's going to go back to him.
Professor Trelawney looked thoroughly startled.
“The Dark Lord? He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? My dear boy, that's hardly something
to joke about... Rise again, indeed —”
,'But you just said it! You. said the Dark Lord —”
“I think you must have dozed off too, dear!” said Professor Trelawney. “I
would certainly not presume to predict anything quite as far-fetched as that!”
Harry climbed back down the ladder and the spiral staircase, wondering...
had he just heard Professor Trelawney make a real prediction? Or had that been
her idea of an impressive end to the test?
Five minutes later he was dashing past the security trolls outside the entrance
to Gryffindor Tower, Professor Trelawney's words still resounding in his head.
People were striding past him in the opposite direction, laughing and joking,
heading for the grounds and a bit of long-awaited freedom; by the time he had
reached the portrait hole and entered the common room, it was almost deserted.
Over in the corner, however, sat Ron and Hermione.