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Thread: Prophecy timeline

  1. #1
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    Aug 2009
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    Prophecy timeline

    So, this was touched upon in my questions in Dumbledore's thread, but I thought it belonged here instead. Basically, I'm writing about the propecy Trelawney made to Dumbledore, and I'm having a bit of bother with the timeline (dates etc aren't my strong point). Basically, when do people think it was made? What month and year? Were Alice and Lily already pregnant? What about when Snape relayed the information about Voldemort selecting Harry? When did that happen? Had Harry been born, or was Lily still pregnant? Did it occur days after the event, or weeks? Or even months or a year?

    Any opinions would be great to help my head get round it!

    Sarah x

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  2. #2
    Fourth Year Ravenclaw
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    Let me look this up. It says in Order 'a prophecy made shortly before your [Harry's] birth', so that doesn't give a date or anything (839, AE), but that depends on your definition of shortly. It was given on a cold and rainy night. It still rains in summer. I think that this would mean a period when Lily and Alice were pregnant, yes, at the very least. You're better bet would be a month. A year just seems too long, don't you think?

    What about when Snape relayed the information about Voldemort selecting Harry? When did that happen?
    I think Snape rould have given this information to Voldemort immediately. He really wouldn't have had time to process it. I mean, he might have let it slip before he realised it was about Lily. He feels that immediate regret when he meets Dimbledore in the meadow. I don't think he would have thought about it. He was given orders and he complied. That shows a better weakness on Snape's part. People do stuff on the fly all of the time before they step back and go, 'oh, crap, did I just do that? Why?' I'd say that very night. Of course, he only heard half of it, so there you are. It would have been that very night.

    *Neil's thing works too. That's thoughtful. Consider that.

    Does that help?

  3. #3
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    According to Dumbledore in OOTP - the prophecy was made 'On a cold, wet night sixteen years ago' (The Lost Prophecy p 740)

    This is said to Harry in May/June 1996 - so the prophecy was made sometime in 1980 or possibly the back end of 1979.

    Dumbledore also talks of a child who 'would be born' and at the end of the Prophecy Trelawney says 'will be born'. That suggests the baby hasn't been born and could mean before either Alice or Lily are pregant. End of July babies will have been conceived beginning of November. So your Prophecy timeline should range from October 1979 - June/July 1980 (although that's pushing it to the boundaries)

    Stating it was a wet cold night, isn't a huge issue because Scotland is cold and wet for a lot of the time , but I don't think JKR would have mentioned those specific weather conditions if she meant the Prophecy to have been in in summer, so I'd stick to 1979 - to early 1980.

    I'm going for an earlier timeframe because it is Snape who over heard the Prophecy and I think he'd have hesitated if he knew Lily had been pregnant at the time. Of course he could be extremely manipulative and thought this was a perfect way of getting rid of James and his brat, but we know he didn't trust Voldemort not to kill Lily, because that's why he switches sides.

    My guess is that Snape relayed the information without realising that Lily and Alice were pregnant. It still meant certan death for one family and baby - but he wasn't bothered about that. Snape only switched sides when he knew it was Lily who was targetted.


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  4. #4
    Just because Snape doesn't realize it refers to Lily doesn't really restrict it all that much: Lily and Snape haven't spoken to each other since they were sixteen, so she's hardly likely to send him a letter saying she and James are expecting a baby. But I agree it probably wasn't summer - early 1980 seems a good time.

    I don't think Snape and Dumbledore have their conversation about Voldemort pursuing Harry immediately afterwards. For one thing, how could Voldemort know that baby Potter was going to be a boy before he was born? Dumbledore does know about the prophecy, and knows when both Neville and Harry were born, so he's probably going to try to keep that sort of information secret.

    In PoA, Fudge, Mcgonagall and Flitwick have a conversation about how James and Lily were betrayed. Fudge says
    Dumbledore... had a number of useful spies. One of them tipped him off, and he alerted James and Lily at once.
    PoA, "The Marauders' map" (emphasis mine)

    and then later
    "And then, barely a week after the Fidelius Charm had been performed - "
    "Black betrayed them."
    Of course Fudge gets the identity of the traitor wrong, but he and McGonagall would know the timings: it might not have been exactly a week, but it can't have been a year and a half. It must have taken Voldemort a while to discover who the prophecy might have applied to, and decide to hunt down Harry. Snape visits Dumbledore on a very windy night, I can't remember if it's cold or not, but that suggests September/October weather (and it's dark early enough for them to have this conversation - Scotland is light in the middle of summer )

    The only contradicting point is Lily's letter to Sirius talking about Harry's birthday at the end of July. Of course even though Dumbledore didn't know for sure the prophecy applied to Harry, he must have told James and Lily to be careful, so maybe that explains it.... although the timing with that letter is generally strange as Harry sort of assumes it's the last letter she wrote, only she dies three months after his birthday...

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