THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD APPROACHES. . . . BORN TO THOSE WHO HAVE THRICE DEFIED HIM, BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES . . . AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL, BUT HE WILL HAVE POWER THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT . . . AND EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHER FOR NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES. . . . THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD WILL BE BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES. . . .” – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
Yes, today I will be discussing the topic that changed the game in the Potterverse – the prophesy.
When I first read the thing, I was too young to do anything but to interpret it as Dumbledore did. Much like Harry himself, I hadn’t grown out of the “Albus Dumbledore can do no wrong” stage of my life. As I grew older and read The Deathly Hallows, I began questioning everything I knew about the Potterverse and that includes the prophesy.
My only conclusion is that Lord Voldemort is an absolute idiot. I know that I might get Avada’d for my conclusion, but facts are facts.
Here’s how I think the prophesy could be interpreted if we examine it line by line.
The first line says: The one with the power to vanquish the dark lord approaches. Straightforward, right?
We’re only told that someone who has the power to defeat ‘the dark lord’ approaches. That doesn’t mean that the ‘vanquisher’ is willing or even able to kill the dark lord. If Voldemort had spared Lily Potter like he promised Snape or even disregarded the prophesy in its entirety, he would’ve prevented the whole vanquishing thing. I highly doubt that Lily is such a careless mother that she’d allow her son on the front lines against a tyrannical dark lord who had decades more experience than her son. Also, it is said ‘to vanquish the dark lord‘. Not ‘Voldemort’, ‘You Know Who’ or other title said psychopath had been bestowed with. When you consider that the prophesy indicates no year when the so called ‘vanquisher’ is to appear, then the prophesy can easily apply to any Dark Lord in Voldemort’s generation or onward.
Let’s examine the next line: Born to those that have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. This is another line that seems clear at first, but hear me out on this. I have no doubts that as Aurors, Frank Longbottom and his wife Alice could’ve easily defied Voldemort three times.
The same cannot be said for the Potters.
I can suspend my disbelief that James Potter could’ve defied Voldemort three times. Even though he was unemployed (or so Pottermore claims), he was heavily involved with the Order of the Phoenix and since he was a Gryffindor, had no doubt been on the front lines of the battle.
She was a housewife. A pregnant one to boot. I highly doubt that James would allow his pregnant wife to battle anyone in her condition. I strongly suspect that she was only a researcher in the Order which means there was no way she could possibly defy Voldemort three times.
I can already hear people shouting: But she defied the Dark Lord when she married James and when she refused to step aside at Voldemort’s demand!
These are the two real instances of defiance we can infer from the books. Here’s the thing. When she married James Potter, she defied more than just Voldemort. She defied every single pureblood that no doubt protested the marriage and the prophesy clearly states ‘defied HIM’, so such instances shouldn’t be counted. As for the not standing aside bit, well, that happened post prophesy and once again it says ‘DEFIED’ not ‘WILL DEFY’. With this, we only have just Dumbledore’s word and Voldemort’s choice that the Potters were eligible for the position. Every single fact points towards the Longbottoms.
Also ‘born as the seventh month dies’? Seventh month? I admit it’s a really cute reference to the whole seven is the most magical number theme, but seriously? The saying ‘the seventh month’ is about as clear as mud. Sure, if you take the Gregorian calendar, that’s obviously July, but there are more calendars than the one we use today to consider. So, who’s to say the seventh month of what calendar it is being referred to?
The next line is the clearest one of the lot: And the dark lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have the power the dark lord knows not. The mark is obviously the scar that Voldemort gave Harry, but ‘mark him as his equal’? Really? Since when was Harry equal to Voldemort? Sure, they had brother wands, but other than that? Voldemort was a genius wizard, one with enough power and experience to flatten Harry who as we see was a frankly sub par student in any subject but DADA. Also, what power could Harry possibly have that Voldemort doesn’t know about? Dumbledore and Rowling clearly sold us ‘love’ as the so called power and I can only roll my eyes at the cliche.
Seriously, the power of love and friendship defeating the enemy should be left to the cheesy anime that don’t know how to end better.
I would’ve picked the power of wands. Sure, Voldemort finds out about the phenomenon of brother wands and does the sensible thing – he exchanges wands with Lucius and the wand breaks. Later, Harry states that his wand shot the golden fire. So, it’s obvious that it’s not anything that Harry did. So, the only theory I can think of that the power he knows not is in fact the sentience that wands seem to have. I think that Harry was able to overpower Voldemort with Lucius’s wand is due to the fact that Voldemort wasn’t the owner of said wand, just like he was able to overpower Voldemort with The Elder Wand, because once again, Voldemort wasn’t the owner of the wand. A simple and clean explanation. Completely nothing to do with Harry.
Finally, there is the penultimate line: And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.
We know how that was interpreted. Harry allows Voldie to kill him. Voldie dies via Death Stick. All is well.
Here’s the thing.
Either must die at the HAND of the other. The key word in this is: HAND. In the Potterverse, this meant that either Harry or Voldemort must kill the other, but there is a simpler way. After all, giving the Death Eaters the order to kill Harry and Harry dying via one of them could easily be considered dying at the hand of Voldemort even if the act itself is not done by him in person. In other words, Voldemort could’ve easily gotten rid of Harry by ordering one of his minions to do it.
So, to recap, I will give the solutions on how Voldemort could’ve won within the limits of the prophesy and therefore the reasons why he’s an idiot:
- The simplest way is to disregard the prophesy. After all, even though Sybill Trelawney is Casandra Wablatsky’s descendant, she didn’t inherit her gift.
- To pick Neville as the would be BWL. Remember, Neville’s parents were the ones that most definitely defied Voldemort and the Pre-OotP!Neville was weak as s**t. I have no doubts that he’d be even worse with the whole fame thing to deal with.
- To stun Lily Potter instead of killing her. Reason 1: Harry wouldn’t be protected by Lily Potter’s ‘love’. Reason 2: In my eyes, Lily is a mama bear and even if Harry survived the Killing Curse, there would be NO way she’d allow her baby to fight Voldemort.
- To order any of his Death Eaters to kill Harry. Seriously, Voldemort was too possessive and single minded for his own good.
So, there you have it. My interpretation of the prophesy that ruined Harry’s life.