Warning: this feature is all about predicting the future, so there are spoilers for the Harry Potter series, Cursed Child, and the Fantastic Beasts films.
Possibly the most accurate predictors of the future but almost certainly the least helpful, the members of Hogwarts’ centaur herd were concerned – as Bane once angrily reminded Firenze – with what was foretold by the planets. This also meant they were concerned with nothing – as Hagrid once told Harry and Hermione – closer than the moon. It was their life’s work to study the skies and divine future events by the positioning of what they saw there. If this all sounds a bit uncertain, well, it was. As Firenze told his Divination students, not even a centaur’s knowledge was foolproof.
Still, they did correctly predict wizardkind was heading towards war because of the brightness of Mars, a planet named for, er, the Roman god of war. So that’s something.
As the great-great granddaughter of a great Seer, Professor Sybill Trelawney certainly believed she could predict the future, but she generally relied more on superstition than dedicated study. In fact, there were only two definitive examples of her making accurate predictions and she didn’t seem to recall either one, after the fact.
We know both of Trelawney’s real prophecies involved Voldemort and Harry. We also know the first one might not have involved Harry at all if Voldemort hadn’t interpreted him as “the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord,” when he could just as easily have picked Neville Longbottom. And if Snape hadn’t been interrupted in his eavesdropping, Voldemort might not have marked either boy as his equal, so things could have been different for everyone. Basically, Trelawney’s first great prediction was about as concrete as a centaur’s. Looks like she did have something in common with Firenze.
As for the prophecy itself, it may have secured Trelawney a job, but we’re not sure it did anyone who heard it much good. Snape inadvertently sent his master to kill the one person he loved; Dumbledore had to guide Harry whilst knowing he might have to die; Voldemort unknowingly transferred some of his powers to Harry; and Harry, of course, lost his parents, was sent to live with the Dursley’s, and became a Horcrux. You know what? Maybe they’d all have been better not knowing.
“When spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers: then will the Dark Lord return.”
You’d think Delphini Diggory might know not to put her faith in a prophecy, seeing how her father’s interpretation of Trelawney’s turned out. But no. The words above, apparently delivered by Bellatrix Lestrange’s husband Rodolpho, set her on a path almost as destructive as Voldemort’s own. There were indeed Time Turners and unseen children and, right at the centre of it all, there was another Potter. We don’t know much about the future, but that sounds like history repeating to us.
And was it actually worth it? Without that prophecy, perhaps Delphi might have been able to get past her own past and move on. But, you know, like father like daughter.
First revealed in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Seer Tycho Dodonus’s book of predictions included a prophecy that some took to refer to Credence Barebone. Basically they believed Credence – an Obscurial later revealed to be Aberforth Dumbledore’s son – was actually Corvus, a long-lost child from the pure-blood Lestrange line. One line in this prophecy referred to a “great avenger” and Yusuf Kama – Corvus Lestrange’s older half-brother, who’d lost his mother because of Corvus’s father – believed that meant he’d have to kill Corvus in order to avenge his family.
Complicated, right? Never mind, because none of it was true. Corvus actually drowned as a baby after his half-sister Leta swapped him for Credence, angry at his constant crying onboard a ship that later sank. So Credence was not who he (briefly) thought he was, and Yusuf had nobody to take revenge on after all.
Which leaves us with another misinterpreted prophecy that caused nothing but pain. We have to say, predicting the future often demanded a high price. So maybe the Hogwarts centaurs were right to be vague.
OK here’s something: a wizarding world prediction that involved no wars, no Time Turners, no Horcruxes, and no deaths. It did, however, involve a shady politician and a pair of jokers with their eyes on the prize. Because if predicting the future is a gamble, why not go all out and place an actual bet on it?
In fact, Fred and George’s uncanny prediction about the Quidditch World Cup – that Ireland would win, but Krum would get the Snitch – was more prophetic than anything else on this list because it actually happened as they said it would. And, not that we condone gambling or anything, but at least this prediction didn’t set anyone off on a destructive path. Unless you count Fred and George as destructive. Ahem.