Staying with my favorite book of the Harry Potter series, The Prisoner of Azkaban, a character that Harry Potter fans are introduced to in this book, and one who goes on to play kind of an unseen, yet important role in the series, is Sybill (or Sibyll) Trelawney.
Trelawney is one of the more quirky, eccentric characters that the magical world has. She is introduced as the Professor for Divination, which is an additional subject that students can opt for from the third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She is a thin woman with thick glasses, often sporting gauzy shawls, cloaks and bangles, and she has a soft, almost dreamy voice. Almost like a gypsy, I’d think, even more so because the subject of Divination involves reading the future.
She predicts that Harry is going to die, reading the tea leaves in Harry’s cup in their first Divination class. The prediction, based on the omen of The Grim, a big black dog, seems legitimate given that Harry had seen a big black dog (Sirius Black in Animagus form) on the night he’d run away from Privet Drive. We’re later told that that’s her usual way of greeting a class. And that no student, whose death Trelawney had predicted, had died. Just when the reader is led to believe that she might be a fraud, Trelawney predicts that the Dark Lord’s most loyal follower would return to his side. And toward the end of the book, that does happen. She also predicts that the Dark Lord will rise again, more terrible than ever, with the help of that loyal follower, and that prediction happens in the fourth book, when Wormtail helps Voldemort’s return at the Little Hangleton graveyard.
Later in the series, we’re also shown that during her interview for the post of Divination teacher, Trelawney had predicted that the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be arriving soon, and that Voldemort himself would mark the person. That prediction too came true, as Harry was born, and Voldemort’s attempt to kill him backfired and led him to lead a half-life for the first three books. The reason for his half-life and not complete death is revealed in the sixth and seventh books.
Trelawney’s character becomes less prominent after the fifth book, as neither Harry nor Ron pursue Divination for their N.E.W.T years. We are told that she’s sharing the classes of Divination with the teacher Dumbledore chose as her replacement when Umbridge fires her – the centaur Firenze. Reading about Trelawney after reading the books and joining Pottermore, I realized that whatever she predicted over the series did come to pass, except for the customary death predictions at the start of a new year for the subject. It does not happen immediately, but it does happen, which not only makes me admire the character, but also Rowling’s plotting.
(© 23rd April 2016)