Many Potterheads found their favorite J.K. Rowling book in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and those 700-or-so pages are still giving up their secrets, more than 15 years later. The question on r/HarryPotter's mind this week: Did Harry Potter predict the Triwizard Tournament tasks? And if he did, does that make him clairvoyant?
Re-reading Goblet of Fire, Redditor elxavi82 noticed Harry's possible ~psychic powers~ in Chapter Fourteen: "The Unforgivable Curses." In the novel, Trelawney has tasked her class with predicting their futures for the coming month. When Harry and Ron sit down to do their homework, however, they make very little headway. Finally, Ron says, "I think it's back to the old Divination standby," and he and Harry make up predictions they think Trelawney will love. Harry's predictions are:
- "On Monday, I will be in danger of — er — burns."
- "On Tuesday, I will lose a treasured possession."
- "And on Wednesday, I think I'll come off worst in a fight."
At this point in the novel, Harry does not yet know that he will be competing in the Triwizard Tournament. He's just making stuff up as he goes along, trying to complete homework for a class he really doesn't enjoy. But Harry's spitballing appears to be spot-on. He faces the Hungarian Horntail on Monday, loses Ron in the second task on Tuesday, and comes off worst in the fight against Voldemort on Wednesday.
Another Redditor, Primesghost, pointed out that Harry's BS clairvoyance was a common occurrence in the series: "Every time Harry actually tries to 'divine' something he fails but any time he just starts making stuff up, it's on the money [sic]." Primesghost brings up Prisoner of Azkaban, in which Trelawney asks Harry about Buckbeak's fate, expecting him to predict the hippogriff's death, as she has. Instead, Harry tells her that he sees the creature flying off safely. Interestingly enough, both predictions come to pass, but — due to Hermione's use of the time-turner — only Harry's counts.
So, did Harry Potter predict the Triwizard Tournament tasks in Goblet of Fire? The Potterhead community appears to be split on the matter. Most don't believe that Harry has the sight, as anything that he actively tries to divine comes out wrong. Instead, we can chalk Harry's predictions up to Rowling's excellent foreshadowing. But I believe Rowling had a different goal in making Harry's made-up predictions come true.
Throughout the Harry Potter books, it's clear that a lot of witches and wizards believe that Divination is more lucky guesses than actual magic. Even Dumbledore himself says that Trelawney's second sight has rarely been accurate. If Harry's off-the-cuff predictions are just as likely as Trelawney's educated ones are to come true, then Divination must be a lot of hokum.
But what do you think? Does Divination work? Did Harry predict the Triwizard Tournament tasks without trying? Let's talk about it on Twitter!