A Prophecy Record is a small, spun-glass ball used to record Prophecies. The orbs appear to contain a swirling mist and are kept under high security (and may even be manufactured) in the Hall of Prophecy, a room in the Department of Mysteries within the Ministry of Magic.
Prophecy Records are often referred to as simply "Prophecies", although this is an incorrect term. The Prophecy Records are merely logs of Prophecies made, i.e. the recordings of the words spoken by a Seer. Professor Sybill Trelawney is an example of a Seer known to have had a word-of-mouth prophecy converted into a glass-spun ball record. The said Prophecy Record was labelled as referring to both "the Dark Lord" and, after Voldemort decided to pursue him as an infant, "Harry Potter".
The Hall of ProphecyThe Prophecy Records are kept in the Hall of Prophecy of the Department of Mysteries. The Keeper of the Hall is a Bureaucratic witch or wizard who orders and maintains the Records placed on the numerous shelves that comprise most of the Hall's interior. Presumably, after the Records are correctly assorted, stringent anti-theft spells are placed upon each and every one of them, allowing only those to whom the Prophecies refer the authority to remove them from their places. The only mentioned magical security is a spell that induces madness, which is apparently temporary judging by the steady recovery of the Unspeakable Broderick Bode during his time in St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. The effects of this spell are enough to relieve the victim of even the strongest of curses, including the Imperius Curse; again, seen in the case of Bode.
The Hall of Prophecy previously kept hundreds upon thousands of Prophecy Records, a large number of which were destroyed during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries including the one about Harry and the Dark Lord.
Prophecy records are typically small and can be held in one's hand easily, although they can apparently vary in size seeing as the Record of the Prophecy made by Sybill Trelawney was described as being slightly smaller than the other surrounding Prophecy Records.
They are perfectly spherical in shape, and contain a swirling, blueish-grey mist within. It is never stated how the record of a Prophecy is made, as Dumbledore never elaborated on it, beyond saying that he was present at its revelation.
Records are warm to the touch, even though the atmosphere of the Hall of Prophecy is described as being cold. This may suggest that the records themselves absorb heat. Upon being smashed or broken apart, a ghostly apparition of the Seer will appear and recite the prophecy they once spoke, again. When the figure finishes its recital, it disappears forevermore. It is unknown if destroyed prophecy records can be repaired through any magical or non-magical means, nor if there are other means of hearing or watching the prophecy.
Behind the scenes
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the mist within the Record pertaining to Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort dissipates slightly upon being removed from its shelf, showing the face of the Seer who initially spoke the prediction. Trelawney's face then recites the Prophecy to Harry directly; apparently, his surrounding friends remain oblivious to the Seer's voice. This version of events does not occur in the book, which also does not elaborate on the precise method of procuring the Prophecy from the Record without destroying the latter (if that is at all possible).
- It is possible that Prophecy Records are stored memories contributed by the person whom the prophecy is made to. In this case, the prophecy predicting Peter Pettigrew's escape and Voldemort's return would not have been recorded by the Ministry, as Harry Potter never divulged the memory.