|Sybill Patricia Trelawney|
- Sybill Trelawney: "Certainly I knew, Minerva. But one does not parade the fact that one is All-Knowing. I frequently act as though I am not possessed of the Inner Eye, so as not to make others nervous."
- Minerva McGonagall: "That explains a great deal."
- — Professor Trelawney and Minerva McGonagall.[src]
Professor Sybill Patricia Trelawney (b. 9 March before 1963) was a witch and professor of Divination, alongside Firenze, at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The great-great-granddaughter of the celebrated Cassandra Trelawney, she was also a seer.
It was Trelawney herself who made the prophecy concerning Voldemort and the one with the power to vanquish him (Voldemort took this to mean Harry Potter) during her job interview with Albus Dumbledore. At the end of the 1993–1994 school year, she accurately predicted the escape of Peter Pettigrew and return of Lord Voldemort . Two school years later, Trelawney was greatly distressed by Dolores Umbridge, who dismissed her and attempted to banish her from Hogwarts Castle, though Dumbledore allowed her to remain at the school. She was greatly offended when she later had to teach alongside the centaur Firenze, and participated in the Battle of Hogwarts, dropping crystal balls on Death Eaters' heads and tending to the wounded with Padma Patil.
- Dolores Umbridge: "And you are a great-great-granddaughter of the celebrated seer Cassandra Trelawney?"
- Trelawney: "Yes."
- Dolores Umbridge: "But I think – correct me if I am mistaken – that you are the first in your family since Cassandra to be possessed of the Second Sight?"
- Trelawney: "These things often skip – er – three generations."
- — Sybill Trelawney being questioned by Dolores Umbridge.[src]
Sybill was born into the half or pure-blood Trelawney family, with three generations between her and Cassandra Trelawney, who was a renowned seer. No one in the family, since Cassandra, had possessed the Second Sight.
Presumably purchasing or inheriting her wand at the age of eleven, it is likely that Sybill attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which she referred to as her home. Being sorted in 1975 at the latest, she may have been a member of the Slug Club because of her ancestry. In her third year, Sybill presumably took Divination as one of her elective subjects, and achieved high grades in her O.W.L and N.E.W.T.
- "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..."
- —Sybill's prophecy which secured her job.[src]
In 1980, Sybill, who, by this point, had begun making false predictions, arranged a meeting with Albus Dumbledore in the Hog's Head, where she was staying, in the hopes of acquiring the position of professor of Divination at Hogwarts School. Dumbledore agreed to give her a chance because of her ancestry.
Sybill displayed none of Cassandra's divinatory skills, which disappointed Dumbledore, who was planning on discontinuing the subject anyway. After courteously telling her she was not fit for the position, Sybill entered a trance and made a prophecy about Voldemort's defeat. It so happened that the Death Eater Severus Snape was eavesdropping at the door. Hoping to protect Sybill, Dumbledore hired her.
Career at Hogwarts
Early years (1980 - 1990)
As a professor, Trelawney taught in the Divination Classroom on the seventh floor of the North Tower. She presumably also ran the Divination Workshop. Minerva McGonagall, claimed that she predicted the death of one of her students every year.
- "My name is Professor Trelawney. You may not have seen me before. I find that descending too often into the hustle and bustle of the main school clouds my Inner Eye."
- —Trelawney introducing herself to her class.[src]
Professor Trelawney very rarely attended meals in the Great Hall with the rest of the school, preferring to remain in her tower. She appeared to be acquainted with a certain colleague of hers, but frequently clashed with Professor McGonagall.
1991-1992 school year
- "Do not disturb, crystal gazing"
- —Trelawney's notice.[src]
At some point in the 1991–1992 school year, Professor Trelawney locked her classroom door, with a notice saying "Do not disturb, crystal gazing". Harry Potter, who had just joined the school, attempted to open it without realising that it was locked.
1993-1994 school year
During the 1993–1994 school year, Professor Trelawney gained Harry Potter as a student, who had only chosen to take Divination because his friend, Ronald Weasley, had. She opened her lesson with normal fortune-teller practices and vague predictions, including that Neville Longbottom would break at least one teacup, that something Lavender Brown was dreading would happen on 16 October, and that, around Easter, one of her students would drop the subject.
During a class on tea leaves, Trelawney saw the Grim - a well-known omen of death - in Harry Potter's cup. This visibly disturbed the class, who went rather shaken to Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall.
- "My dear, you have the Grim."
- —Sybill Trelawney seeing Harry's Grim in the tea leaves.
After Neville broke two teacups, Lavender's rabbit Binky was killed, and Hermione Granger, after being greatly insulted by Professor Trelawney, stormed out of a lesson, Lavender and Parvati and Padma Patil became great supporters of Trelawney.
During Christmas, Trelawney was late for dinner. But upon noticing the small party in the Great Hall , she tried refusing, claiming that if she joins, they will become a party of the unlucky number thirteen and the first to rise will be the first to die. An impatient McGonagall states that they'll risk it. Two hours later, both Harry and Ron bolted up from their seats, causing Trelawney to shriek, asking which one of them got up first. McGonagall joked that unless there was a mad axe-man waiting in the Entrance Hall to slaughter the first person he sees, it makes little difference.
- "It will happen tonight. 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 servant's aid, greater and more terrible than ever he was. Tonight... before midnight... the servant... will set out... to rejoin... his master..."
- —Professor Trelawney's prophecy.[src]
While doing the third year exams with the Gryffindors, Professor Trelawney, while invigilating Harry Potter, entered a trance and made a prediction that the Voldemort's servant would be freed, returning to him that night. When she returned to normal seconds later, she could not remember anything happening.
Harry later told this to Professor Dumbledore, who said that he should offer her a pay raise for making a total of two real prophecies.
1994-1995 school year
- "You are preoccupied, my dear. My Inner Eye sees past your brave face to the troubled soul within. And I regret to say that your worries are not baseless. I see difficult times ahead for you, alas... most difficult... I fear the thing you dread will indeed come to pass... and perhaps sooner than you think..."
- —Professor Trelawney to Harry Potter.[src]
The following year, the Triwizard Tournament took place at Hogwarts and Harry Potter was one of the champions. Trelawney continued to annoy him with her predictions of his death. She guessed that Harry had lost his parents because he was born during the winter. However, Harry told her he was born in July.
Once, Rita Skeeter, in the form of a beetle, eavesdropped upon Harry during Trelawney's lesson, when Harry had a crisis. Trelawney believed that it had to do with Harry's scar.
1995-1996 school year
- "Professor Trelawney was standing in the middle of the entrance hall with her wand in one hand and an empty sherry bottle in the other, looking utterly mad. Her hair was sticking up on end, her glasses were lopsided so that one eye was magnified more than the other; her innumerable shawls and scarves were trailing haphazardly from her shoulders, giving the impression that she was falling apart at the seems. Two large trunks lay on the floor beside her, one of them upside-down; it looked very much as though it had been thrown down the stairs after her."
- —Sybill Trelawney while she is being sacked by Dolores Umbridge[src]
Early on in the 1995–1996 school year, Dolores Umbridge was made Hogwarts High Inquisitor by Ministry edict, and appeared in Trelawney's classroom with a clipboard, making notes. Trelawney saw this as an intrusion, and was most upset and angered by it. Umbridge asked Trelawney to justify her teaching techniques and required a prediction from her; but was unimpressed with the results.
- Parvati Patil: "Professor? Professor, is there anything – er – wrong?"
- Professor Trelawney: "Wrong! Certainly not! I have been insulted, certainly... insinuations have been made against me... unfounded accusations levelled... but no, there is nothing wrong, certainly not! I say nothing of sixteen years of devoted service... it has passed, apparently, unnoticed... but I shall not be insulted, no, I shall not!"
- — Trelawney and Parvati Patil after being put on probation.[src]
Umbridge later put Professor Trelawney on probation, which greatly distressed and insulted her. She became uncharacteristically brisk and started drinking a large amount of cooking sherry, which she hid in the Room of Requirement. Harry Potter noted that Trelawney became more harassed and bedraggled in appearance.
After Harry Potter stood up to Professor Umbridge by giving an interview to The Quibbler, edited by Xenophilius Lovegood, Trelawney broke her usual pattern of predicting horrible death for Harry, instead predicting long life, many children, and election as Minister of Magic.
- Sybill Trelawney: "No! NO! This cannot be happening...It cannot...I refuse to accept it!"
- Dolores Umbridge: "You didn't realise this was coming? Incapable though you are of predicting even tomorrow's weather, you must surely have realised that your pitiful performance during my inspections, and lack of any improvement, would make it inevitable you would be sacked?"
- — Dolores Umbrige, soundly callously amused, insulting Trelawney while she sacks her[src]
Eventually, Trelawney was dismissed by Umbridge, who, in her great dislike for Trelawney, almost threw her bodily from the castle, ignoring the fact that Trelawney was in paroxysms of grief over her dismissal. Before she could be chased off the premises, Dumbledore came to her aid and insisted that she stay at Hogwarts, as Umbridge had no authority to banish her from the school grounds; this was partially to protect her from Voldemort due to her prophetic ability. McGonagall, despite not having much respect for Trelawney, also came to her aid, and Filius Flitwick and Pomona Sprout helped her get back to her tower.
- Professor Dumbledore: "It is my wish that Professor Trelawney continue to live at Hogwarts."
- Professor Trelawney: "No – no, I'll g – go, Dumbledore! I sh – shall leave Hogwarts and s – seek my fortune elsewhere -"
- Professor Dumbledore: "No. It is my wish that you remain, Sybill."
- — Dumbledore demanding that Trelawney stays at Hogwarts.[src]
Trelawney was replaced by the centaur Firenze, appointed by Dumbledore (much to Umbridge's shock and fury, due to both Firenze being a "half-breed" which she hated but also Dumbledore appointing someone before she could) who taught in Classroom 11 rather than North Tower, where Trelawney remained living.
She was finally reinstated to her teaching position after Umbridge was suspended. This meant that, since Dumbledore could not ask him to return to the herd that tried to kill him, she would have to share classes with Professor Firenze.
1996-1997 school year
At Horace Slughorn's Christmas party, Trelawney was morosely drunk. She spent the night listening to Luna Lovegood's speeches on the "Rotfang Conspiracy" and that Rufus Scrimgeour was a vampire. She seemed rather interested.
In mid-March, Professor Trelawney demanded, quite unsuccessfully, that Professor Dumbledore fire Firenze. Their meeting was cut short when Harry Potter arrived for one of his private lessons with the headmaster.
Later, Trelawney attempted to enter the Room of Requirement, but was thrown out by Draco Malfoy, who apparently used Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder to conceal his identity. Harry Potter found her sprawled on the floor, and helped her up. He asked her to accompany him to Dumbledore's office, to tell Dumbledore what she had heard. On the way, she started talking about the day she was hired. When Trelawney mentioned that the eavesdropper had been Severus Snape, Harry left her standing in the corridor and ran off to confront Dumbledore with this information. Regarding Harry, she stated that she missed having him in her classes, as though he was never much of a Seer, he was a "wonderful Object."
1997-1998 school year
During the 1997–1998 school year, Voldemort had taken over Hogwarts and made Snape headmaster, while Alecto Carrow replaced the murdered Muggle Studies teacher, Charity Burbage, and Amycus Carrow took Snape's position as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, which became simply Dark Arts. It is possible that Professor Trelawney, like all of the other staff members, tried to protect the students from the Death Eaters. Professor Trelawney, being either half-blood or pure-blood, was permitted to remain teaching at the school. It is unknown why Voldemort did not attempt to capture her, which was presumably why Dumbledore wished her to remain at the school in 1996. It is possible that since Voldemort had since turned his attention to finding the Elder Wand to kill Harry Potter, he believed that any prophecy concerning him and Harry would be rendered irrelevant upon its retrieval.Like the rest of the school, Professor Trelawney participated in the Battle of Hogwarts. She fought by dropping crystal balls on enemies' heads, successfully knocking out Fenrir Greyback in this manner and possibly saving Lavender Brown's life. She then continued using her wand to throw crystal balls onto the heads of Death Eaters with a "tennis like serve." Eventually, the Death Eaters were all defeated, along with Voldemort.
- "Harry's immediate impression was of a large, glittering insect. Professor Trelawney moved into the firelight, and they saw that she was very thin; her large glasses magnified her eyes to several times their natural size, and she was draped in gauzy, spangled shawl. Innumerable chains and beads hung around her spindly neck, and her arms and hands were encrusted with bangles and rings"
- —Harry's impression of Trelawney[src]
Professor Trelawney is described as being a thin woman, usually draped gauzy shawls, and cloaks and bangles all covered with shining sequins and glittering strings of beads.
She had thick glasses, which hugely magnified her eyes and caused them to appear about ten times their normal size. She spoke in a soft, misty, ethereal voice, which sometimes turned into a brisk, snappy voice when she was angry or upset.
She had brown hair. She also had dark green eyes and somewhat pale skin.
Personality and traits
- "Welcome. How nice to see you in the physical world at last. Welcome to Divination. My name is Professor Trelawney. You may not have seen me before. I find that descending too often into the hustle and bustle of the main school clouds my Inner Eye"
- —Professor Trelawney greets her third-year students[src]
Trelawney was extremely eccentric; she had a theatrical presence and frequently spoke in misty, ethereal tones. She saw herself as being a great Seer, although her predictions rarely came true. Much like Gilderoy Lockhart, Trelawney was sometimes unable to understand who liked and who disliked her, as she did with Harry Potter in 1997.
According to Professor McGonagall, seeing death omens is a favourite way for Trelawney to greet her class, something that annoyed Harry for his three years with her. She could also be angered when she believed that the students were not interested in her subject, such as Ronald Weasley.
Trelawney was implied to have had a mild drinking problem; a number of times, Harry detected the smell of old sherry around her and at one point, she was seen stowing away empty alcohol bottles in the Room of Requirement. She was also very sensitive, as she cried when Dolores Umbridge sacked her and sobbed angrily when she was insulted by Umbridge putting her on probation. Trelawney was, however, loyal to Hogwarts and defended it during the Battle of Hogwarts, apparently saving the life of her student and friend Lavender Brown.
Magical abilities and skills
- Professor Trelawney: "I was saying that Saturn was surely in a position of power in the heavens at the moment of your birth...your dark hair...your mean stature...tragic losses so young in life...I think I am right in saying, my dear, that you were born in midwinter?"
- Harry Potter: "No, I was born in July"
- — Harry and Trelawney[src]
- Divination: Professor Trelawney is generally thought of as a charlatan, however, this is not true. Almost every prediction she made throughout the series (including the ones not made under the influence of Second Sight) came true. The only possible exceptions to this were the ones where she continually foreshadowed Harry's death (though he did technically die in 1998, anyway) and the ones she blatantly fabricated for the Quibbler interview simply to annoy Umbridge. Her most notable non-second sight prediction was probably her foretelling of the death of Albus Dumbledore and the Battle of the Astronomy Tower via Tarot cards. As noted prior, she did also possess the Second Sight, which was also possessed by her ancestor, Cassandra. This enabled her to go into a trance, where she would prophesise something, before returning to normal and having no memory of her prediction. Therefore, (all things considered) Professor Trelawney appeared to be a rather potent Seer in spite of her reputation.
- Non-verbal spellcasting: Trelawney was able to cast spells and charms without incantations. She showed this during the Battle of Hogwarts, when she launched crystal balls at enemies using her wand.
- Duelling: Professor Trelawney is known to have a fair amount of skill in duelling since she fought and survived the Battle of Hogwarts.
The Chosen One
The first prediction was made in the presence of Albus Dumbledore at the Hog's Head inn. Trelawney was in the middle of an interview for a teaching job at Hogwarts when it happened. Dumbledore reported that he had decided not to give Trelawney the job, but changed his mind when he heard the prophecy. Trelawney herself is not aware that she made the prophecy, merely remembering that she came over faint, which she attributed to not having eaten that day.
Sybill Trelawney's first prophecy was the following:
- "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…"
This prediction is believed to refer to Voldemort ("the Dark Lord") and Harry Potter, who was born on 31 July. At the time of its prophesying the identity of the approaching one could not be known as he had not been born. The time of year the prophecy was made is unknown, but it was described as 'dark and stormy', so it is possible that the prediction was made at the time of conception of the child foretold, at around Halloween.
It later became apparent that the prophecy could have applied either to Harry, or to Neville Longbottom, who was also born at the end of the seventh month on 30 July. Part of the prediction came to pass on the night of 31 October, 1981, when Lord Voldemort's body was destroyed after Harry survived an attack from him, reputedly using the killing curse, Avada Kedavra. The attack left Harry with an ability to speak Parseltongue, a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead, and a mental connection to Voldemort. It was Dumbledore's view that it was Voldemort's choice of Harry as his target from the two possible boys which made Harry the one foretold. Had Voldemort chosen Neville, who was also born at the end of July, then he would have had a different adversary. Both boys had parents who had defied the dark lord thrice.
The prophecy as interpreted by Dumbledore to Harry in June 1996 would read: "Someone (Harry or Neville) with the power to vanquish Voldemort is coming...born to those who have defied Voldemort three times (the Potters or the Longbottoms), born at the end of July...and Voldemort will attempt to kill Harry, but Harry will unexpectedly survive...either Harry or Voldemort must be killed by the other because one of them must die...Harry will be born at the end of July..."
- S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D.
- Dark Lord
- and (?) Harry Potter
S.P.T. stands for Sybill Patricia Trelawney and A.P.W.B.D. stands for Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. The question mark before the Harry Potter is because at the time it was unclear who the prophecy was written about, but when Voldemort sought to murder Harry the prophecy record was changed to include his name.
The Servant Rejoins His Master
- "It will happen tonight. 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 servant's aid, greater and more terrible than ever he was. Tonight... before midnight...the servant...will set out...to rejoin...his master...."
- —Sybill Trelawney[src]
Professor Trelawney prophecised this occurrence subconsciously to Harry Potter in 1994, in her classroom. This prophecy came to pass when Peter Pettigrew's true identity was revealed and he escaped to help bring Lord Voldemort back to health.
Professor Trelawney has made other predictions, too, some of which happened, though they may coincidental. It is unknown if the rest of them are true.
- She told Neville Longbottom to take a blue cup after breaking his first one, because she likes the pink ones. Neville immediately took a cup, broke it, and then later broke his second cup too.
- She also asked Neville about his grandmother, saying she may have been ill.
- And that he will be late for his next divination class.
- She told Parvati Patil to beware of a red-headed man. Parvati immediately suspected Ron. At the Yule Ball, Harry and Ron, Parvati's and her sister, Padma's dates, ignored her and her sister. Two years later, Ron started going out with Parvati's best friend Lavender Brown, who started to ignore Parvati.
- She predicted a bout of flu in February, and that she would lose her voice.
- She predicted that the thing Lavender was dreading would happen on 16 October. On that day, Lavender got a letter that her pet rabbit, Binky, had been killed by a fox. Hermione was sceptical, indicating that Lavender could hardly have dreaded her new rabbit dying, and that the death could not have happened on the day the news arrived. (Though this can be argued as Lavender was dreading something horrible on that day.)
- On the beginning of 1993–1994 school year, she told in the whole class that, near Easter, one of their number will leave them forever. It seems that her prediction was fulfilled, when Hermione quit the class in disgust near Easter holidays.
- At the Christmas lunch, Trelawney at first refused to join the table, since when thirteen dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley got up from the table first together, but Albus Dumbledore was the first among those at the table to die. Also, she did not take into account of Peter Pettigrew, who was at the time disguised as Scabbers the rat, which would in fact count as fourteen people. However, she was right: before getting seated, there were thirteen people at the table (counting Scabbers) and Albus Dumbledore rose to greet her, which confirms that he was the first person to die.
- In 1995, thirteen members of the order dined together, and the first to rise was Sirius, who later died.
- When she and McGonagall were arguing, Dumbledore raised his voice, and out of the people dining he was the first to die.
- Also, after the Battle of the Seven Potters, thirteen people (Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Fleur, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny, Harry, Hermione, Lupin, Tonks and Hagrid) gathered in The Burrow to mourn the death of Alastor Moody. Afterwards, Lupin stood up and offered to look for Moody's dead body. Later in the Battle of Hogwarts, Lupin was killed by Antonin Dolohov. Fred and Tonks were also killed, but as the time of Lupin's death is unknown, it is possible he was first.
- When Dolores Umbridge was appointed Hogwarts High Inquisitor during Harry's fifth year, she insisted that Trelawney demonstrate her abilities by prophesying something. Trelawney replied that she saw dark events ahead for Umbridge, which Umbridge immediately dismissed as nonsense. Later, Umbridge was dragged off and imprisoned by centaurs in the Forbidden Forest.
- In Harry's sixth year he saw Trelawney coming, and hid from her. As she passed, he saw that she was examining a pack of cards and muttered, "A dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner." She dismissed her own words as nonsense, unaware of Harry's presence or his dislike of her. Later in the year, Harry saw Draco arguing with Snape when he questioned Draco on the progress of his mission for Voldemort. Later Trelawney again met Harry in the corridors, and this time complains that Dumbledore had been repeatedly dismissing her warnings of impending disaster. She looked at some Tarot cards and saw, "... the lightning-struck tower... Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time...". This seems to predict the events of Dumbledore's death on the Astronomy Tower. The Lightning-Struck Tower tarot card (The Tower) is generally considered representative of disaster or life-altering change.
- According to Professor McGonagall, Trelawney had predicted the death of one student a year since her arrival at Hogwarts (which was in 1980.) As of 1993, not a single one of those had yet died. In 1996, however, she retracted her prediction regarding Harry Potter as a means of attempting to annoy Dolores Umbridge, stating that he would live to a ripe, old age, become Minister for Magic and have twelve children.
- Wand: Sybill Trelawney possessed a wand made of an unknown core and wood. She wielded it in the Battle of Hogwarts, launching crystal balls at Death Eaters in a tennis-serve motion. She presumably purchased it prior to her magical education.
- Crystal balls: As one of the Divination teachers, Professor Trelawney owned several crystal balls. She used them as weapons during the Battle of Hogwarts, and used one to knock out the werewolf and Snatcher Fenrir Greyback.
- Pet cat: Professor Trelawney owned a pet cat who lived in the Divination Classroom at the top of the North Tower. It was sat on a chair when Trelawney made her second prophecy.
Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil
Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil seemed to have an exceptionally close relationship with Sybill Trelawney; they had an unwavering faith in the reliability of Trelawney's predictions, and were often seen comforting her and seeking out her company. The two girls often spent lunch periods in the North Tower with Trelawney, returning to the other Gryffindors with smug looks as though they knew something the others did not. Both of them even became offended on the Professor's behalf when Hermione made clear her disdain for Trelawney and the subject she taught in 1993. When she was temporarily sacked by Dolores Umbridge, Lavender and Parvati brought Trelawney some daffodils to cheer her up.
On her part, Trelawney seemed to return their genuine affection for her with equal fervour. For instance, she told Parvati that she had the makings of a true Seer, and helped to save Lavender from Fenrir Greyback by dropping a crystal ball on his head during the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Dolores Umbridge: "I'd like you to make a prediction for me"
- Sybill Trelawney: "The Inner Eye does not See upon command!"
- Dolores Umbridge: "I see"
- Sybill Trelawney: "I--but--but--wait! I...I think I do see something...something that concerns you...Why, I sense something...something dark...some grave peril...I am afraid...I am afraid that you are in grave danger!"
- Dolores Umbridge: "Right. Well, if that's really the best you can do..."
- — Professor Trelawney performing poorly in Umbridge's inspection[src]
Umbridge, a sadistic woman who tortured students, interfered in Trelawney's lessons and soon put the Divination teacher on probation. After receiving this news, Trelawney sobbed and furiously proclaimed dramatically that she had been insulted by the establishment, those whose eyes were clouded by the Mundane and did not possess the Inner Eye, and that it was alas the fate of all Seers to be feared by society and persecuted. Trelawney, very distressed, then began to drink copious amounts of cooking sherry, be somewhat brisk in her lessons, looked very bedraggled and harassed much of the time, and would sob uncontrollably while teaching. It is known that Umbridge and Hermione share something- they both think she's an old fraud.
- Parvati Patil: "Professor? Professor, is there anything--er--wrong?"
- Sybill Trelawney: "Wrong? Certainly not! I have been insulted, certainly....Insinuations have been made against me....Unfounded accusations levelled...but no, there is nothing wrong, certainly not....I say nothing of sixteen years' devoted service....It has passed, apparently, unnoticed...But I shall not be insulted, no, I shall not!"
- Parvati Patil: "But Professor, who's insulting you?"
- Sybill Trelawney: "The establishment! Yes, those with eyes too clouded by the Mundane to See as I See, to Know as I Know...Of course, we Seers have always been feared, always persecuted....It is--alas--our fate...."
- Parvati Patil: "Professor, do you mean...is it something to do with Professor Umbridge...?"
- Sybill Trelawney: "Do not speak to me about that woman! Kindly continue with your work!"
- — Parvati Patil talking to Sybill Trelawney after the Divination teacher receives the results of her inspection[src]
Umbridge believed that Trelawney was a fraud and, true to her duties of High Inquisitor to weed out any unsatisfactory teachers, eventually she sacked her. When Dumbledore defended Trelawney and let her stay at Hogwarts, much to Umbridge's chagrin, and Umbridge was even more furious with Dumbledore because he had already picked out a replacement teacher, Firenze a centaur, who Umbridge was prejudiced against because of her hate of "half-breeds". Umbridge left Hogwarts in 1996 after the Skirmish in the Forbidden Forest at the end of the school year, and Trelawney resumed teaching Divination but had to share the teaching of the class with Firenze, who could not go back to his herd in the Forest as they had banished him for working with humans. Trelawney viewed this as a great insult.
- Professor Trelawney: "I dare not, Headmaster! If I join the table, we shall be thirteen! Nothing could be more unlucky! Never forget that when thirteen dine together, the first to rise will be the first to die!"
- Minerva McGonagall: "We'll risk it, Sybill. Do sit down, the turkey's getting stone cold."
- — Trelawney and McGonagall at Christmas.[src]
Professor Trelawney and Minerva McGonagall were colleagues as professors at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, though Minerva did not believe in the legitimacy of her subject. Minerva had no use for Sybill's subject, Divination, politely describing it as an 'imprecise' branch of magic, and believed that Trelawney was a fraud.
Despite her distaste for Trelawney and her teachings, however, Minerva and Sybill would grow to understand one another through their shared hatred of Dolores Umbridge during the woman's tenure as Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor. When Dolores sacked Trelawney, Minerva comforted her and spoke out against Umbridge's behaviour .
- "I cannot ask Firenze to return to the Forest, where he is now an outcast, nor can I ask Sybill Trelawney to leave. Between ourselves, she has no idea of the danger she would be in outside the castle. She does not know - and I think it would be unwise to enlighten her - that she made the prophecy about you and Voldemort, you see."
- —Professor Dumbledore to Harry Potter on Professor Trelawney.[src]
Upon their first meeting, Albus Dumbledore initially believed that she was a fraud, but when he heard her prophecy about Harry Potter and Voldemort, he hired her, as he wanted to protect her from the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters.
During 1997, Trelawney predicted Dumbledore's death at the Astronomy Tower several times without realising it. When Dolores Umbridge fired Trelawney, Dumbledore insisted that she remain in the castle, fearing that she could be endangered by Lord Voldemort.
However, in 1996, Trelawney was angry with Dumbledore, as he allowed Firenze to continue teaching Divination alongside her following her reinstation. This made Trelawney think that Dumbledore disliked her, as she asked him several times to fire her.
- Professor Trelawney: "Good evening, my dear. I haven't seen you in my classes lately..."
- Luna Lovegood: "No, I've got Firenze this year."
- Professor Trelawney: "Oh, of course. Or Dobbin, as I prefer to think of him. You would have thought, would you not, that now I am returned to the school Professor Dumbledore might have got rid of the horse? But no... we share classes... it's an insult, frankly, an insult."
- — Trelawney speaking about Firenze to Luna Lovegood.[src]
After Professor Trelawney was dismissed, Dumbledore hired the centaur Firenze to replace the vacant spot of Divination teacher. After Umbridge left Hogwarts and Trelawney was reinstated, Dumbledore refused to fire Firenze, as his herd had once tried to kill him. This greatly angered Trelawney.
Co-teaching with him, she called him names, such as "the Nag," "Dobbin", and others. She believed that the headmaster preferred Firenze to herself. However, after the Second Wizarding War, she might have changed her opinion.
Charms Master Filius Flitwick and Herbology teacher Pomona Sprout were kind enough to escort Professor Trelawney back to the North Tower after her dismissal, with Flitwick magically carrying her trunks and possessions.
Professor Trelawney appeared to be friendly with a colleague of hers, who taught either Study of Ancient Runes, Earth Magic, Ghoul Studies, Music, Muggle Music, Art, Muggle Art, Ancient Studies, Advanced Arithmancy Studies, or some other elective subject. She tended to her during the Battle of Hogwarts, but unfortunatly, she did not survive the battle. Just before Voldemort summoned his troops back to the Forbidden Forest, the Professor's body was brought to the Great Hall. There were no signs of external damage so they believed she was taken by the Killing Curse.
Both her name and her surname are related to her future telling ability. "Sibyl" was a priestess in ancient Greek mythology. A sibyl (one "l") is a woman who could look into the future. A sibyl also can be any female prophet. The name is from the Latin sibylla, seer. While "Trelawney" may come from the oculist and seer Dr. Trelawney, from Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time. Alternatively, it may be derived from a famous cry of defiance from the south-west of England, where Rowling grew up, often shouted at football matches:
"And shall Trelawney live? And shall Trelawney die? Here's ten thousand Cornishmen who ask the reason why!"
The cry is a line from The Song of the Western Men, written in 1833 by the poet and parson Robert Stephens Hawker and the unofficial Cornish national anthem. It concerns the march to London in 1688 in protest at the incarceration in the Tower of Jonathan Trelawny, Bishop of Bristol. This could be a reference to Trelawney predicting the death of one of her students every year. It is also interesting to note that Bishop Trelawny also was released and went on to live for another thirty-three years, just as Professor Trelawney's famous death predictions rarely came true.
The name "Trelawney" comes from the Cornish phrase tre-lonow, homestead of groves, or tre-launow, farm in clearing.
J. K. Rowling has stated that she does not believe in magic, and does not intend that her readers should believe in it either. She has hinted that the portrayal of Trelawney (a mystic and fortune-teller, perhaps the kind of "magic" that children are most likely to come across) as something of an ineffectual old fraud may be related to this. However, her name and the reference to a grandmother named Cassandra somewhat contradicts this. In Greek mythology, Cassandra was a Trojan seer who recieved the gift of prophecy from Apollo, but when she spurned his romantic advances, the god in his wrath cursed her that she would be ever correct but never believed. This suggests that perhaps some of Trelawney's pronouncements may be more accurate than is often believed.
Behind the scenes
- In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Trelawney's first name is misspelled as Sybil.
- Sybill could possibly be derived from the name of a group ancient Roman oracles known as the Sybilline oracles, which is appropriate considering her ability to tell the future and make accurate prophecies.
- Trelawney is portrayed by Emma Thompson in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Thompson does not appear in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because she was filming for Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, despite the fact that Harry Potter co-star Maggie Smith also appears in the film (although, as supporting cast, so they do not have as many scenes as Thompson did).
- Emma Thompson was married for several years to Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart) who directed and starred alongside her in Henry V, Dead Again, Peter's Friends, and Much Ado About Nothing. Interestingly enough, Branagh was offered the chance to direct Prisoner of Azkaban, which marks the first appearance of Professor Trelawney in the series, before Alfonso Cuaron got the job.
- Even more interesting, is that Branagh had broken up with Thompson after falling for Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), whom he had met while directing Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
- Trelawney predicting the prophecy and Snape overhearing it are not included in the films. Indeed, Trelawney plays a far smaller part in Harry's destiny in the films than in the books.
- Trelawney told Lavender Brown that the worst thing for her would come true on Friday, 16 October. However, 16 October, 1993 was a Saturday.
- Emma Thompson had originally stated that she would not return as Trelawney in the last films. However, she has since confirmed that she will reprise her role as Trelawney and has already filmed her scenes.
- Emma Thompson has appeared in several films with Imelda Staunton; Much Ado About Nothing, Peters Friends, Sense and Sensibility and Nanny McPhee. Alan Rickman, Robert Hardy, Gemma Jones and Elizabeth Spriggs also starred in Sense and Sensibility. Maggie Smith and Ralph Fiennes also appear in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang.
- Professor Trelawney was also referenced in the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by a locked door on the seventh floor that states if Harry tries to open it "Do not disturb, crystal gazing".
- Oddly enough, many of the predictions made by Trelawney and others during the third year come true. Ron does in fact go through trials and suffering during the hunt for the Horcruxes, and ends up happy from the experience since he becomes closer to Hermione. Harry does come into a great sum of unexpected gold; his prize money for winning the Triwizard Tournament (though later it was transferred to the Weasley twins), and his inheritance from Sirius after his death. Harry also ends up working for the Ministry of Magic, although it is unknown if he ever became Minister. Though Trelawney seems to have been making it up at the time, seeing a death omen in Harry's cup, Harry did face his own death in 1998, although he did not actually die. However, the fact the death omen was in the shape of a dog may have been misinterpretted and may have truly been symbolizing Sirius entering his life as an animagus.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Trelawney appears for only a fleeting moment, respectfully covering one of the fallen battle casualties. She can also be seen from behind battling Death Eaters in the courtyard; look for her curly hair and distinctive green sparkling coat right after Hermione runs between the legs of the troll on the way to the boathouse. You can also hear a Crucio said in her voice.
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sybill incorrectly states Harry Potter's date of as being during the winter. Interestingly enough, Voldemort's birthday is 31 December and Harry was later revealed to be one of Voldemort's Horcruxes. So she may have determined Voldemort's birthday using the piece of his soul within Harry.
- In book's Finnish edition Sybill's name is Sibylla Punurmio.
- In the film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, there is a deleted scene that portrays Trelawney dinning in the Great Hall at the opening feast of 1995, where she clumsily eats and makes a mess of her food.
- A collector character wand has been made for Trelawney. However, her name is mispelled as Sybil on the box.
- In the Harry Potter Glossary on the Bloomsbury Harry Potter website, her middle name is incorrectly given as "Phyllis."
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter LEGO Sets
- The Making of Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Film Wizardry
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Trelawney applied for a teaching post in 1980, implying that she was of age by then.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 As Trelawney is descended from a famous witch, she must be from a wizarding family, meaning that she is pure or half-blood.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Trelawney attended the Slug Club Christmas party, implying she may have been a member. Being descended from Cassandra Trelawney, Horace Slughorn would have presumably liked to "collect" her as well.
- ↑ 4 March, 2004 World Book Day Chat
- ↑ Pottermore Twitter
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, 30 July, 2007
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- ↑ Luna Lovegood mentioned to Trelawney that she had Firenze instead of her during the Slug Club Christmas party.
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 25 - (The Seer Overheard)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter, "The Lost Prophecy".
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 6 - (Talons and Tea Leaves)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 - (Seen and Unforeseen)
- ↑ Thompson will not return for Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Emma Thompson confirms she filmed scenes for Deathly Hallows
- ↑ A collector wand has been created for Trelawney by The Noble Collection
- ↑ Bloomsbury Harry Potter Glossary - T
|Professors: Sybill Trelawney · Firenze|
|Known Seers: Calchas · Cassandra Vablatsky · Cassandra Trelawney · Inigo Imago · Mopsus · Professor Mopsus · Unidentified female Seer · Unidentified male Seer|
|Textbooks: The Dream Oracle · Unfogging the Future|
|Methods: Astrology · Cartomancy · Tarot cards · Crystal-gazing · Crystal ball · Dream interpretation · Fire-omens · Heptomology · Palmistry · Ornithomancy · Tessomancy|
|Divination at Hogwarts: Divination (class) · Divination Classroom · Divination staircase · Sybill Trelawney's office · Classroom 11|