Dumbledore continues his explanation. Sixteen years ago, Sybill Trelawney made a prophecy about a boy who was born at the end of July to parents who had defied Voldemort three times. This part of the prophecy could have applied to either Harry or Neville, who was also born at the end of July to parents who were members of the Order. However, the prophecy went on to say that Voldemort would mark the child as his equal, choosing the boy that he believed would be the most dangerous to him. Dumbledore believes Voldemort chose Harry because Harry was a half-blood, just like Voldemort. But Voldemort only heard the first part of the prophecy. The second part proclaimed that the child would have powers that the Dark Lord would not know, and that either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives. Dumbledore tells Harry that the distinguishing power he has is love.

Chapter 38

Harry is in the hospital wing with Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, and Luna. Dumbledore saved Umbridge from the Centaurs, and she is also in the hospital. Harry hasn’t told his friends about the prophecy. He tells his friends he is going to see Hagrid, but instead he sits at the edge of the lake and cries.

Professor McGonagall makes a full recovery and returns to Hogwarts. The day before the end of term, Umbridge leaves the school. Ron rushes off to the Great Feast, but Harry stays behind to pack. Harry finds the wrapped package Sirius gave him at Christmas. He rips the paper off and finds a mirror with an inscription on the back, instructing Harry to use it to communicate with Sirius. Harry shouts into the mirror but receives no reply. Devastated, Harry throws the mirror down, and it shatters. Harry decides to seek advice from a Hogwarts ghost and finds Nearly Headless Nick. Nick explains that not all dead wizards are turned into ghosts. Harry, upset, runs into Luna, who asks about Sirius. Remembering that Luna can see the thestrals, he asks her if anyone she has known has died. Luna says her mother died when she was nine. She tells Harry that the voices behind the curtain at the Department of Mysteries are the voices of wizards who have died. Harry is not sure whether to believe her or not.

The next day, all Hogwarts students board the Hogwarts Express. Cho walks by, and Harry does not meet her eyes. He tells Ron that nothing is going on with Cho anymore, and Hermione gently informs him that Cho is now dating Michael Conner. The news doesn’t bother Harry. When the train pulls into Kings Cross, Harry sees several members of the Order waiting for him. Lupin spots the Dursleys, and Moody, Tonks, and Mr. Weasley insist that they treat Harry fairly while he is home for the summer. Moody tells Harry that if he doesn’t hear from him for three days in a row, he will send someone to check up on him. Ron and Hermione promise to see him soon, and Harry heads back to Four Privet Drive.


After months of meeting in secret and practicing spells only on each other, the D.A. finally faces the ultimate test: the students are left alone to fight off a dozen angry Death Eaters. While wounded, frightened, and outnumbered two to one, the students’ training clearly pays off, and the group performs admirably, showing much courage and skill in the face of real and immediate danger. Given that the Ministry of Magic was steadfastly opposed to the students learning any kind of practical Defense Against the Dark Arts, it is painfully ironic that the students must use Defense skills learned in secret in order to protect the property of the Ministry. Given the contents of the prophecy, which could have applied to either Harry or Neville, it seems fitting that, at the final battle at the Ministry, Harry and Neville are the ones left to guard the prophecy.

Though the prophecy does not reveal too much new information for Harry, it does clear up a number of significant details. For the first time, Harry understands why he must spend his summers at Four Privet Drive. As Dumbledore explains, as long as Harry spends at least part of the year with his Aunt Petunia, he is shielded by her blood, which contains the power of his mother’s sacrifice. Dumbledore once told Harry that Harry’s scar was infuriating to Voldemort because it represented total and unconditional love, something Voldemort was incapable of feeling. Now, his mother’s love and blood live on, in the unlikely form of Aunt Petunia. Even though Lily Potter is gone from Harry’s life, she has left her son a priceless legacy, and it is easy to assume that this shield, like Harry’s scar, angers Voldemort tremendously.