Part 1: Trelawny

All right,
It’s been over a week now since the release of The Half-Blood Prince, and I’m overdue for expressing my views on it. So for those who haven’t read it and intend to read it, or any of the previous Harry Potter books, I suggest you don’t read this post, as they don’t have password protection for posts with Blogger.

Travis – don’t ruin this for yourself. Stop reading.

I will be doing this reflection in parts, as the Title indicates. I realised soon after I started that I have too much to ramble about with this book to fit it all into one post. Therefore, today I will be dealing with Professor Trelawny. Look forward to future posts involving Snape, Horcruxes, Rufus Scrimgeour, and Harry and Dumbledore, at the very least. Some, depending on how long-winded I am, may be shorter than others.

Stop, Travis.

Well, as we know from the last book, Dumbledore explained a great deal of information at the end of the fifth book, brought on by the troublesome events that occurred at the Ministry of Magic and Harry losing his Godfather. We all heard the Prophecy and who spoke it (fulfilling the curiosity all of us were carrying about Trelawny and her eerie 1st prediction) and that someone was caught eavesdropping Dumbledore and Trelawny halfway through the interview, though I doubt any of us realised that the person who interrupted the first Prophecy would turn out to be a pivotal character.

In fact, my first curious point in reflection on this book concerns none other than Professor Trelawny, who continues to keep a haunting, hovering presence throughout this book. We all know that she’s a fraud (nicest of terms) when it comes to divination, except for those two exceptional points in time when she makes the eerie, spine-tingling words of foreshadow. But is she? Perhaps even fate, when slapping itself against the side of her head (much like the glasses knocking themselves against the Dursleys when Dumbledore visits them) hard enough, penetrates even the thickest of frauds in such an obvious way that it keeps manifesting its warnings to those who have the tools to see the future, not necessarily the Gift. Two passages jump out like yellow against brown to me:
P. 185:

‘Two of spades: conflict,’ she murmured, as she passed the place where Harry crouched, hidden. ‘Seven of spades: an ill omen. Ten of spades: violence. Knave of spades: a dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner -‘
She stopped dead, right on the other side of Harry’s statue.
‘Well, that can’t be right,’ she said, annoyed, and Harry heard her reshuffling vigorously as she set off again, leaving nothing but a whiff of cooking sherry behind her.

and again,
p. 507

‘The Headmaster has intimated that he would prefer fewer visits from me,’ she said coldly. ‘I am not one to press my company upon those who do not value it. If Dumbledore chooses to ignore the warnings the cards show -‘
Her bony hand closed suddenly around Harry’s wrist.
‘Again and again, no matter how I lay them out -‘
And she pulled a card dramatically from underneath her shawls.
‘- the lightning-struck tower,’ she whispered. ‘Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time…’

Ah ha! So, what is this that we’re seeing here? The old fraud is even picking up the scent: ‘Again and again, no matter how I lay them out -‘. So this moves a couple of questions that are gurgling inside: how many of Trelawny’s predictions that have been thrown off as frauds are truly intimations of future events? Obviously her last line is almost a complete sumation of the chapter ‘The Lightning-Struck Tower,’ so to this I say, keep in mind: perhaps there is still more to the deep, mysteriously fraud-like Professor Trelawny.

Second question: this could be because I am just not paying enough attention to the details, but she mentions this: ‘a dark young man, possibly troubled, one who dislikes the questioner -‘ and this leaves me wondering a couple things. A dark young man: who be this? At first, I thought, ‘okay, well, who’s dark in the book?’ but I believe this is the completely wrong stance to take up with this line. Perhaps a simile to procure instead of ‘dark’ is ‘brooding’ or something else along those lines. Considering the turn of events in this book, my first choice would then be Severus Snape. Yet it specifically says ‘young man’ and Snape is no strapping young bull. Well, perhaps in age to Dumbledore, who himself attained an age over 150, but Snape is by no means young. So this, assumedly, rules him out.

Trelawny continues, ‘one who dislikes the questioner’. This is one that is rather obscure in many ways, for there is no link to a sense of time, so whether it is in fact referring to a character in this book or in the next one, we can only guess. To venture into a limited theory, it would seem that it best reflects Draco Malfoy and his situation, for he is most definitely a dark and brooding type character in this book, specifically, and the reason is that he is troubled by what his family is being threatened with and the responsibility that he is forced into because of the crowd his parents hang out with. The trouble comes when she says ‘one who dislikes the questioner’. My brother thinks flat out that it means when Draco and Dumbledore engage in conversation atop the Tower and Dumbledore questions Draco’s motives. And while I see that as a definite possibility, I suppose I am hoping out for something a bit more dramatic, a ploy that certainly wouldn’t be out of reach for Trelawny (see any reference to Harry’s classes with her, Book 3). My partiular rumination of this hovers over it being more fully explained in the next book, which would be much more fulfilling in the long run, and give exceptional cause to theorise more on this topic.

So I end with this today: Trelawny – a true fraud or a useful person to watch for times of crisis?

-Jane

About jane

Loving God through my family, friends, and interactions in my world.
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