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"Tiny, yellowing labels had been stuck beneath each glass orb on the shelf. Some of them had a weird, liquid glow; others were as dull and dark within as blown lightbulbs."
— Description[src]

A Prophecy Record was a small, spun-glass ball used to record Prophecies. The orbs appeared to contain a swirling mist and were 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.[1]

Name misconception

Prophecy Records were often referred to as simply "prophecies", although this is an incorrect term. The Prophecy Records were merely logs of Prophecies made, i.e. the recordings of the words spoken by a Seer. This was done as a means of keeping track of the prophecies made.[2]

Professor Sybill Trelawney was an example of a Seer known to have had a word-of-mouth prophecy converted into a glass-spun ball record.[1] 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".[2]

The Hall of Prophecy

Main article: Hall of Prophecy

Prophecy record of Sybill Trelawney's first prophecy in the Hall of Prophecy

The Prophecy Records were kept in the Hall of Prophecy of the Department of Mysteries. The Keeper of the Hall was a Bureaucratic witch or wizard who ordered and maintained the Records placed on the numerous shelves that comprised most of the Hall's interior.[2] Presumably, after the Records were correctly assorted, stringent anti-theft spells would be placed upon each and every one of them, allowing only those to whom the Prophecies referred the authority to remove them from their places.[3]

The only mentioned magical security was a spell that induced madness, which was 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 were enough to relieve the victim of even the strongest of curses, including the Imperius Curse, as was also seen in the case of Bode.[4]

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.[3]

Physical details

A Prophecy Record

Prophecy records were typically small and could be held in one's hand easily, although they could 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.[1]

They were perfectly spherical in shape, and contained a swirling, blueish-grey mist within. It was never stated how the record of a Prophecy was made, as Dumbledore never elaborated on it, beyond saying that he was present at its revelation.[1]

Records were warm to the touch, even though the atmosphere of the Hall of Prophecy was described as being cold. This may suggest that the records themselves absorbed heat. Upon being smashed or broken apart, a ghostly apparition of the Seer would appear and recite the prophecy they once spoke, again. When the figure finished its recital, it would disappear forevermore.[3] It is unknown if destroyed prophecy records could be repaired through any magical or non-magical means, nor if there were other means of hearing or watching the prophecy.

Behind the scenes

Harry Potter holding a Prophecy Record as a POP! Vinyl

  • 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 were stored memories contributed by the person whom the prophecy was 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.

Appearances

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Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34 (The Department of Mysteries)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
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