Fate (the Prophecy) or Choices

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Fate (the Prophecy) or Choices Empty Fate (the Prophecy) or Choices

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:00 am

Fate (the Prophecy) or Choices

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. At that time, this thread was still set in the "Archived Thread to be Worked" folder of the WC forum. Elanor

Madame Librarian - Sep 10, 2003 3:23 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Jan 12, 2006 12:11 pm
Oh, boy, here's a can of worms. Philosophers and great thinkers have been arguing this for eons:

If the Prophecy has to play out as written (and everyone is acting like it does), I would call that a form of pre-determination or Fate (Karma, Kismet, etc.).

Then we have JKR's major theme of .."it's our choices, Harry..." which is a strong statement of self determination, our future is in our hands, etc. etc.

Is this a big contradiction?

Thoughts. Solutions. New problems I can't even see yet?

Ciao. Barb
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Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:01 am

Marye Lupin - Sep 10, 2003 5:17 pm (#1 of 60)
"I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind! The answer is twelve? I think I'm in the wrong building." Peanuts
I've always disliked the idea of fate, so I'm kind of hoping JKR doesn't use it. In fact that's what bothered me the most about the time travel in PoA.

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J-D - Sep 10, 2003 5:31 pm (#2 of 60)

Well, the prophcey made about Harry wasn't really predicting the future. It said that he will be the one with the "Powers to vanquish the dark lord" That doesn't even mean he will kill Voldy it just means he can. It's his choices that he will make that will affect wehter or not he can use that power to defeat Voldymort in the end.

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Professor Kosh - Sep 11, 2003 1:15 am (#3 of 60)

Instructor, Defense Against the Dark Arts
I'm glad someone finally addressed this. As I've stated in other threads, I personally find making prophecies central to a story often detract from the story itself. I'm glad that Mme. Librarian (*Ma.....rian.....* Oops, got into a Music Man state-of-mind) pointed out that this can conflict with JKR's theme of choices.

JD has a great point of view here, that the prophecy is vague, and doesn't truly determine Harry's future. It doesn't mean he will kill Volde. I take it a step further by saying that it also doensn't mean that *only* Harry can kill Volde. I think Harry will be key to his defeat, but Volde may die for any number of reasons. The same is true of Harry. Harry may die for any number of reasons, but Volde will likely be involved with it somehow, even if he doesn't do it himself.

There has been a lot of arguement that Harry can't die (or Volde) because 'the prophecy says...'. I don't buy into this, because it implies predetermination, and seems contrary to JKR's theme of choices.

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Joost! - Sep 11, 2003 2:28 am (#4 of 60)

Second line of information
I'm not sure if there is a "theme of choices". I know what Dumbledore said, but he has been wrong before...

Look at it this way: Harry never chose to be a wizard. Harry never chose to be the boy who lived Harry never chose to be connected to LV Etc.

I think so much just happened to Harry, or happened to him at Dumbledores or Voldemorts will, that you can hardly say he's chosen to live his life the way he does.

I also think it's your destiny to end up in a certain House. The sorting hat knows what House you ought to be in and put's you there.

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Madame Librarian - Sep 11, 2003 4:37 am (#5 of 60)

Gosh, Kosh, I'm glad you've put in your 2 knuts. I'd read your previous comments about the Prophecy, so I figured you'd have input.

As with many enigmatic pronouncements from religious writings to legal documents to our very own Constitution (U.S.), the wording of the Prophecy seems to be clear at first but then also provides what I call "weasel words," syntax and such that allow for various interpretations. It is our job to thrash everything around till all is revealed. Nevertheless, I don't think this Forum, good as we are, will solve the universal question this issue deals with. (Sigh)

Joost, I gently disagree. At key moments in Harry's life, he does make some very critical decisions. On his first train ride to H-warts, he rejects Draco's offer of friendship, if that's the right word, and sticks with Ron and Hermione. Then he begs the sorting hat to switch him to Gryfindor (sp?). Later, he chooses many times to take action rather than sit and let things happen. Granted, not all his choices are wise, but the act of choosing is often a carefully planned scene in which we are let into Harry's thinking.

O my gosh, look at the time! Work awaits--too many books, too little time (the librarian's lament). Later, guys...

Ciao. Barb

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Joost! - Sep 11, 2003 6:28 am (#6 of 60)

Second line of information
I'm not sure if the Sorting wouldn't have put Harry in Gryffindor if he hadn't begged... Look at Harry, Ron or Draco, their whole family was in one House, and they all ended up in that House.

- In PS Harry seems to do exactly what DD wants him to do (get the stone).

- In CS he does what Lucius Malfoy/Tom Riddle wants him to do (open the Chamber of Secrets).

- In GoF he does what Crouch/Voldemort wants him to do (touch the Portkey).

- In OoP he does what Voldemorts wants him to do (go to the MoM).

Yes, he choses to act a certain way, but it always seems part of a masterplan, either of Dumbledore or Voldemort. When you say Harry's choises aren't wise, Barb, he seems to follow LV's plan, and when they are wise, he follows DD. Harry thinks he can choose but actually he is "controlled" by strong external forces. This theme is used often in literature.

I have to say, though, he did chose to go to Hogwarts and live like a wizard. However, I wonder if he knew what he was doing at the time.

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schoff - Sep 11, 2003 9:59 am (#7 of 60)

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
Not really a choice there, Joost. Hmm, Hogwarts or the Dursleys? Dursleys or Hogwarts? Although I would agree that he probably didn't know what he was getting into.

BTW--Is it really a choice if one of the options is abhorrent?

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fidelio - Sep 11, 2003 10:23 am (#8 of 60)

You know, I've been thinking about prophecies in the classical world, since the prophecies that came from the sacred oracles at places like Delphi have tended to establish our expectations for what a prophecy is.

The shrine of Apollo at Delphi was one of the most famous oracles in the ancient world, and the prophecies from the seers there were notorious for having a twist that allowed for differing interpretations. One of the most famous was the one given to King Croesus of Lydia, who was about to have a war with the king of Persia. He was told by the Delphic Oracle that if he crossed a certain river with his army, a great empire would be destroyed. Figuring that the empire was the Persians, he crossed the river, got into a battle that he lost, and had his kingdom overrun by the Persians as a result. A great empire was destroyed all right--his own. (The same king had also been told, either by the Delphic Oracle or some other seer, that the day he heard one of his sons, who was mute, speak, it would be the worst day of his life. Croesus found this unbelievable--what father, hearing a mute child finally speak, could consider it a bad day? The son spoke--when the capital ws being sacked by the Persians, Croesus was about to be killed by a Persian soldier. The son said "Don't kill Croesus!". Except for finally hearing his son speak, it had been a pretty bad day, though, what with having the city captured and all!) ANother famous prophecy from Delphi was made during Xerxes' invasion of Greece--the Athenians were told their surest safety was in their wooden walls. Some thought this referred to the old wooden walls around the temple enclosure on the Acropolis--others felt it referred to the fleet--the ships being the wooden walls. When Xerxes' army reached Athens, a few took refuge behind the old wooden walls in the sacred enclosure, and were attacked, overrun and killed. Most people had evacuated the city [by ship], and the fleet then went and met the Persian navy at Salamis, where the Persians were destroyed. So the prophecy was open to interpretation, and gave you choices, just not very clear information to base the choices on. My point in this little excursion into Really Old History is that prophecies may tell what's going to happen, but not very clearly, and not always how. We don't after all, know whether Harry or Voldilocks will come out on top, just as Croesus only thought he knew which empire would be destroyed if he crossed the river. If he had interpreted the prophecy in another way, he might not have crossed the river, and avoided the losing battle. If the Athenians hadn't considered the possibility that the wooden walls were the ships, Salamis wouldn't have been fought, and the Persians could have added Greece to their empire. These prophecies have implied that something would happen if a certain choice was made--but gave no clear instructions about making the choice. Since Voldy had only part of the prophecy, he didn't know what the results of his choices might be--he was working with even less information than the Athenians and Croesus had.

I will now let you all return to the 21st century!

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Detail Seeker - Sep 11, 2003 1:02 pm (#9 of 60)

Quod tempus non sanat, sanat ferrum,... so prepare
Very well put, fidelio ! In our case, the prophecy tells us about a relationship between two people and predicts one action:

Relationship: One Person (Harry or Neville or ?) is able to bring the downfall of LV, the public enemy of that time.

Action: LV will mark him as equal.

Relationship: One can not live, while the other survives and on will therefor kill the other.

It does not say who kills whom. And it does not say, when and why. So each of both has a clear set of choices in life, but whatever they do, they will fulfil this prophecy: We can, I think rule out the chance, that Voldemort will commit suicide because of this prophecy - and we can rule out Harry doing the same thing - at least in a book, in real life I would not be so sure of Harry. So, if Harry decided not to look vor LV, he would live at the mercy of LV, who knows, that Harry could be dangerous for him. Harry´s fate is clear. Harry might chose to try to avoid the fight, but still the fight would search for him - how wouild he act, if there is no way out. Harry may chose to actively search the fight - so it will come. The key point is, that, if one person, mnetiond n this prophecy has a vital interest in reaching the climax , the encounter cannot be avoided and with the given apparatus of magic, it is impossible, that both will survive.

It will be interesting to know, what power there really is in Harry or Neville, that is the danger to LV. Lily´s sacrifice and blood protection allows Harry to survive - but there must be the power to overcome LV - and I think this is a different one, existing before the sacrifice. But this belongs to a different thread. I am sorry

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AlbusRiddle - Sep 11, 2003 4:41 pm (#10 of 60)

I will agree with Joost here in that even after Dumbledore's statement about choices, all of the books have the constant theme of Harry following a path that someone else has predetermined FOR him. Sure, we see him make choices along the way, but if his choices always lead him along that predetermined path (like his choice to go straight to the Ministry of Magic), you can say that his choices really do not matter at all.

That's the trick with that branch of philosophy. Its supporters acknowledge that we make choices, but argue that even our choices are predetermined, meaning that nothing really matters at all.

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J-D - Sep 11, 2003 4:57 pm (#11 of 60)

Ok, take this example: If you put a 20 dollar bill on the ground and someone came along they would always pick the bill up. You couldn't call this predicting the future because you knew they were going to pick up the money. You can't say that their choices don't matter because they were going to pick up the bill anyway. The same thing happened with Voldy and Harry. He gave him bait (and Voldy being possibly the strongest wizard in the world knew what kind of bait to give him) and Harry took it, this isn't pre-determined fate this is Voldy using his powers (Which go to a much greater extent than Harry's) to put an image into Harry's head.

To answer the question even more, Yes our choices do matter, Harry makes choices throughout the books and will continue too. Harry was born with a special gift(we don't know what it is yet), but it makes him special. He may always go down a certain path because he is a hero, he will always come to the rescue, he went after the Sorcerers stone because he WANTED to save it, not because he had to, but because that's who he is.

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Joost! - Sep 12, 2003 12:49 am (#12 of 60)

Second line of information
>> but because that's who he is.

Harry was born a hero, he was destined to be a Gryffindor (and be brave).

And I would like to give this example: If you want someone to come to your house, and you know he will always pick up money, all you have to do is put a trail of twenty dollar bills to your house and wait for your target to arrive.

I don't think Harry has absolutely no choice, he can choose what he eats for breakfast. But the major events in the books always just happen to him, or are part of a plan made by someone else.

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MoaningMyrtle101 - Oct 6, 2003 10:42 pm (#13 of 60)

Do we now have two weapons to worry about?

What was the Weapon that Sirius said Voldie was trying to obtain? It wasn't the Prophecy; Sirius doesn't know about that. Unless Sirius knew that there was a weapon but Dumbledore hadn't told him what it was, there's another weapon and we don't know what it is. Not that you could call the Prophecy a WEAPON, exactly, but it is what I assumed Sirius had been referring to until my fourth reading. Any ideas about what Sirius was referring to?

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Carina - Oct 4, 2003 9:04 pm (#14 of 60)

and her killer bunny rabbit
I believe that when Harry asked about Voldy being after a weapon, Sirius was very vauge and gave a "something like that" type of answer. I think the "weapon" was the knowledge of the full prophecy and how it affected Voldy.

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schoff - Oct 4, 2003 10:18 pm (#15 of 60)

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
Edited by Oct 4, 2003 10:20 pm
OoP, US, Ch5, 96
"What's he after apart from followers?" Harry asked swiftly.
He thought he saw Sirius and Lupin exchange the most fleeting looks before Sirius said, "Stuff he can only get by stealth."
When Harry continued to look puzzled, Sirius said, "Like a weapon. Something he didn't have the last time."

OoP, US, Ch37, 840-841
Dumbledore: "...And so, since his return to his body, and particularly since your extraordinary escape from him last year, he has been determined to hear that prophecy in its entirety. This is the weapon he [Voldemort] has been seeking so assiduously since his return: the knowledge of how to destroy you [Harry]."

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Lumos* - Oct 4, 2003 10:21 pm (#16 of 60)

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet?
Thanks Schoff for clearing that up!

But what sort of knowledge was that? I didn't see any 'knowledge' of how to destroy Harry within the prophecy.

If anyone knows can you please tell?

<|Surprised)

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W J - Oct 4, 2003 10:33 pm (#17 of 60)

You are correct, Lumos, that there is no obvious instructions in the Prophecy that will tell Voldemort how to destroy Harry. I must be missing something too.

Voldemort thought that by hearing the full transcript of the Prophecy, he would gain the knowledge necessary to destroy Harry, and the Order did not want to take any chances, so they tried to keep the Prophecy away from Voldemort whether they thought it would help him or not. Maybe Dumbledore knows an interpretation of the Prophecy that we have not figured out yet.

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Lumos* - Oct 4, 2003 10:36 pm (#18 of 60)

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet?
Thanks W.J!

<|Surprised)

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schoff - Oct 4, 2003 11:26 pm (#19 of 60)

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
I think part of the knowledge Voldemort needs in order to destroy Harry is the "Mark him as an equal...and he will have powers the Dark Lord knows not." This at least tells Voldy what he's up against when dealing with Harry. Harry's not some average kid with average powers. He's got Voldy's powers, even if he doesn't yet know how to use them.

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Umbridgeitis - Oct 5, 2003 3:39 am (#20 of 60)

From my reading of the prophecy, Harry was to grow up to be a normal wizard with normal wizarding powers. It was Voldemort's choice to attack him as a baby that changed all that. He gave Harry powers equal to his own - which made Harry a much more powerful wizard than he would have naturally been. But Harry has some other power that Voldemort does not have and this is what Voldemort is afraid of.

Voldemort's search for a 'weapon' was the knowledge of how to overcome the power in Harry and defeat him. He wanted to hear the whole prophecy, in the hope that it would reveal the means to destroy Harry.

But the prophecy does not contain any information on how to defeat either Harry or Voldemort. As it is, Voldemort still does not know what the prophecy contains other than the little bit he heard from the eavesdropper at the Hogs Head Inn.

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Neville Longbottom - Oct 5, 2003 7:19 am (#21 of 60)

But the prophecy does not contain any information on how to defeat either Harry or Voldemort.

I disagree. It says "and he will have powers the Dark Lord knows not. And Dumbledore later explains, that this power is love. That is a hint how to defeat Voldemort. If Voldemort knew that part of the prophecy, he would try everything to get prepared.

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shepherdess - Oct 5, 2003 7:59 am (#22 of 60)

55 year old mother of 3, step-mother of 2, grandmom to 3, living in Oklahoma
Shouldn't this be moved over to "The Prophecy" thread?

And Lumos*-south rhymes with mouth.

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MoaningMyrtle101 - Oct 5, 2003 8:30 am (#23 of 60)

But Sirius didn't know about the Prophecy. Did he talk about the Weapon without actually knowing what it was, or is there another weapon that Sirius was referring to?

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schoff - Oct 5, 2003 2:03 pm (#24 of 60)

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
Did he talk about the Weapon without actually knowing what it was,

Well, he did know they were guarding the Dept. of Mysteries. He may not have known exactly what it was they were guarding, but the DOM has a lot of things that might be considered "weapons." He probably thought it was something the DOM was working on.

Example: I don't know what they do at the CIA, but if I were assigned to guard it (secretly, like the Order), I'd probably think there was some kind of weapon in it that my enemy wanted. In the Order's case, though, the "weapon" they were guarding wasn't an actual object that would destroy, but possible knowledge of how to destroy [Harry].

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MoaningMyrtle101 - Oct 5, 2003 4:34 pm (#25 of 60)

Maybe. The phrase "like a weapon" was sort of vague. Sirius probably DIDN'T know what was being guarded anymore than HRH did.

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Detail Seeker - Oct 5, 2003 11:49 pm (#26 of 60)

Quod tempus non sanat, sanat ferrum,... so prepare
Information is often enough a very important, if not the most important weapon. Not only for Rita Skeeters....

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Lumos* - Oct 6, 2003 12:05 am (#27 of 60)

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet?
Detail Seeker - I like your thinking and it is very true - information can be a very important weapon and could have proven invaluable for Voldemort. Knowledge can be directed and utilised in terrible ways, something Voldemort would be only too keen to do. The knowledge of how to destroy Harry - can you think of any more important weapon?

<|Surprised)

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Jim the Potty - Oct 6, 2003 11:53 am (#28 of 60)

President of the Potties, forum member since the beginning, never online
The knowledge of how to control all of the socks in the world? :^p

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Wendelin the Weird - Oct 6, 2003 9:50 pm (#29 of 60)

burned at the stake 47 times and counting...
Mmm... I got the impression that since all of the members of the Order were taking turns guarding the door at the DoM that they all knew what they were guarding...

And if anyone would know what the prophesy contained other than DD and the Potters, it would be Lupin, Sirius (James best friends) or Wormtail... all were used for the Fidelius charm that protected Harry as a baby and must have at least heard about there being a reason why... Well, and the Longbottoms of course. Perhaps thats why they were torured? For information about the prophesy??

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Ricky Warner - Oct 6, 2003 10:42 pm (#30 of 60)

Yeah Wendelin, thats a good theory. Or maybe they were tortured about Neville. Seeing as he was also born on that day, and they were trying to find out which of the two was the more threatening.

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D.W. - Oct 7, 2003 12:52 pm (#31 of 60)

Neville's parents were tortured after Voldi vanished, by Death Eaters that thought they (the Longbottoms)might have information as to where he was.

We don't know why (corect me if I've missed something)Voldi decided to go after Harry rather than Neville, but it was not as a result of this tourturing.

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Ricky Warner - Oct 8, 2003 3:59 am (#32 of 60)

Maybe because their son was a possible reason that Voldemort disappeared, they assumed they may know something. On other hand, they might have wanted the 'joy' of torturing someone.

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Amanda Potter - Oct 16, 2003 10:49 pm (#33 of 60)

Joost I agree with you that is what we call manipulation VD and DD are constantly manipulating the situation. Although Harry has the freedom to choose he will make bad choices and he will make good choises. I just hope that harry as he enters his Six Year at Hogwarts will be opened minded and not be so angry and bitter but have the determination to learn all he can to defeat VD with the help of his friends and the O o P. JKR is saying we have our free agency to choose.

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LevTRox - Oct 19, 2003 9:47 am (#34 of 60)

"Remember three commands: distrust the bourgeoisie; control your own leaders; and rely on your revolutionary strength!" ...*sigh*...wit, guts, brains...my hero.
As well as being a devout S*c**l*st (we're not allowed to discuss our politics right?) I am also a student of philosophy in London.

The whole idea of prophesies within the books, as well as other things such as the sorting, represent a case for determinism (or the existence of fate).

But the idea that we have free-will and are not subject to fate is also addressed (CoS).

The Delphic oracle is a fascinating example of this (as mentioned in previous posts). The myths surrounding her prophecies are fascinating. The Oracle's prophecies were both totally accurate and, in their way, totally useless as well. But they represent a case for determinism. Her prophesies always came true, especially is mere mortals attempted to stop the from doing so!

The myth of Oedipus for example:

When a king (I don't remember which one) heard from the Oracle that his son would kill his father and marry his mother he sent a Shepard to take the boy away and leave him somewhere to starve/be eaten by wolves/something nasty resulting in death; so the prophecy couldn't come true. The shepherd didn't have the heart to do it and, by chance he met another shepherd from another kingdom where the king and queen couldn't have children and were desperate for a son. The second shepherd took the child back with him. Oedipus grows up not knowing he's adopted but heard about the prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother and leaves the king and queen whom he believes to be his parents to avoid this prophecy ever coming true. Out on the road he kills a nobleman in an argument (his dad). When he arrives at the city of his birth he saves it from a Sphinx and marries the queen (his mum). He claws his eyes out when he finds out the truth...

This illustrates a totally pre-determined future. In fact ancient myths are rife with the idea that there is no way you can escape your fate.

But if determinism is true then a lot of ideas spring forth:

For example: if everything is pre-ordained no one deserves to be punished. Serial killers couldn't possibly have *not* murdered their victims because their future was already set out. It was just fate.

I couldn't possibly *not* be typing this post because it was my "destiny" to be writing it

You couldn't not be reading this because it was your destiny to read this thread

But any sensible person would think this was clearly stupid, you don't *have* to do anything (in fact you could log off right now, you'd don't *have* to read this post...but please don't because this has taken me a LOT OF TIME AND EFFORT THAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER USED ON OTHER ENTERPRISES...good got that out of my system! :0) )

The whole matter of prophecy seems a bit daft too. Look at the ideas in the subject of Divination:

Balls of burning hydrogen millions of light-years away from each other with no real relation to one another (apart from the odd idea that they make pretty pictures) determine our day-to-day lives

The ways cells are arranged on the palm of your hand determine the events of your life.

The soggy residue left over after you have downed a nice cuppa predicts your future

It’s all madness!! Think of "muggle" "prophets". They have successively failed to predict the end of the universe and their writings are a load of ambiguous rubbish that could mean anything and could be interpreted in any way. (Ever heard the idea that the "four horsemen of the apocalypse" are the four biggest/most powerful nations in the UN? What rubbish!!)

Or is this just a cunning disguise? (If so is it’s very cunning)

Although determinism seems rubbish to me is there some way his idea and the idea that we are free to choose interact somehow?

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Detail Seeker - Oct 19, 2003 11:11 am (#35 of 60)

Quod tempus non sanat, sanat ferrum,... so prepare
LevTRox, the question of determination of people may easily be overinterpreted. Some religions and ideologies live on that.

My personal idea about this is, that some people´s fate is to a certain extent predetermined by them being who they are. Genetic basis and the position of one´s family make it extremely likely, that everybody´s life will run according a special pattern, even a posible rebellion against this will follow this pattern.Just like positive and negative of a photograph show the same picture.So you inherit some sort of fate, that is just "political logic", not at all divine, but as inevitable, as you could imagine divine fate.

The problem of divination is, as you address it, very problematic. There seem to be few real predictions, that go above the levels of lucky guessing, among a large noise of rubbish. Take for example, astrology. There seem to be some combinations of characteristics common to many in children being born in a special interval of time in the year. This was noted by scientific minded people and, habving no better idea to correlate this to, they correlated this with star signs because these would allow this to reflect religious connections. The real reasons may be very different, but the correlation exists. By filling more and more things, that make "horoscopes" more interesting to the ones wanting them, this kernel got overgrown by a lot of rubbish, the rubbish,you complain about, so that only the rubbish is visible nowadays.

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LevTRox - Oct 19, 2003 12:08 pm (#36 of 60)

"Remember three commands: distrust the bourgeoisie; control your own leaders; and rely on your revolutionary strength!" ...*sigh*...wit, guts, brains...my hero.
I just found something about predictions. Its quite funny.

Astrologers say *personal* horoscopes are more accurate then star signs in magazines etc. right?

Well, in 1974 a researcher into astrology put an advert in a newspaper offering people who replied a free personal horoscope based on their bith day, month and year drawn up by a reputable astrologer.

The people who responded were also asked how accurate they found their personal horoscope.

94% of the first 150 people said they found their horoscope accurate, and 90% had friends and family who agreed on this.

Doesn't this show that horoscopes are accurate?

Everyone involved recieved a real astrological chart but...

It was the SAME ONE each time! Every single chart was based on the birth date of an infamous serial killer, Dr Petoit, who was executed in 1947 after admitting to killing 63 people and dissolving the bodies of his victims in quicklime!

And 94% of people were convinced this chart described THEM!

hehehehe

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Joost! - Oct 20, 2003 7:15 am (#37 of 60)

Second line of information
LevTRox: "

Balls of burning hydrogen millions of light-years away from each other with no real relation to one another (apart from the odd idea that they make pretty pictures) determine our day-to-day lives

The ways cells are arranged on the palm of your hand determine the events of your life.

The soggy residue left over after you have downed a nice cuppa predicts your future"

Actually stars do have a relation to one another, they have mass and attract each other. This way they change the universe in ways we (non-seers) can't imagine. If you follow the way the universe moves there might be some way to predict certain events, since it moves in circles. For instance, one can predict the tides of the sea by looking at the motion of the moon, and the seasons by looking at the sun and stars. Predicting the changes in every day events, because of the motion of stars, is of course a lot harder, but for centaurs it seems possible.

The ways cells are arranged on the palm of your hand do not determine the exact events of your life, but your genes do determine in some way how your life will develop, if you're likely to get certain diseases etc, as Detail Seeker pointed out.

I have no explanation for the tea residue...

But all this doesn't really matter, because we're talking about a fictional world. JKR can determine what will happen and she controls the stars and the cells in Harry's hand and the tea residue and the ability of the seers in the Potter verse. If she wants a determined

And then there's the plan she made for the series, one can argue that the characters follow that plan and therefore have no real choice but do the things that lead to the plot JKR has in mind.

One last thing: LevTRox: if everything is pre-ordained no one deserves to be punished. Serial killers couldn't possibly have *not* murdered their victims because their future was already set out. It was just fate.

You’re right that no one “deserves” punishment in a pre-determined world, but we puny humans think like this: “if it is fate that you killed someone then it is also fate that you receive the punishment.” We can’t know what Fate really wants, but we know what we want and act accordingly.

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Killian - Oct 25, 2003 6:26 pm (#38 of 60)

Hey, did you ever happen to think that in the example involving Oedipus, none of that ever would have happened if they hadn't seen the oracle in the first place? People who read their horoscopes have a tendency to watch for one thing that could possibly fit what it says, and then they say that it came true. Another example: In the movie Minority Report, the main character wouldn't have killed that man if it hadn't been for the fact that he learned of the prediction in the first place. In most cases, it's hearing the prediction that causes the prophecy to be true, and not the words alone. Or, for a more popular example, in the Matrix Neo only ruins the vase because the Oracle tells him not to apologize for breaking it. She then tells him "Now what's really going to bake your noodle later is would you still have broken it if I hadn't of said anything?" Not to mention in the book how Voldemort only acted because he had heard a part of the prophecy.

And another thing, I might add, is that sometimes prophecies can be misinterpreted. An example is in the second book in a series known as the Sword of Truth. In it, there is this prophecy which says that one of the people's leaders will bring great joy to her people. Everyone thinks it's going to be her getting married or bringing peace to the land or something like that: instead she's beheaded. Point is, it still fit the prophecy in that it brought joy to the people.

If you actually think about the first prophecy, it's a kind of complex thing to understand. Though Dumbledore does break the entire thing down for Harry's sake, one still can't be entirely certain that he interpreted it correctly. There is a chance that this prophecy will only now be fulfilled because Harry heard about it; if he hadn't, then would he now be wondering about a future in which he might have take the life of another, even one as evil as Voldemort? If Harry does end up killing Voldemort, then it may have only been because he heard it in the prophecy. Perhaps, in the end, he will instead stay true to Rowling's idea that people are free to make their own choices, and if he happens to fulfill the prophecy in the meantime than so be it.

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T. Riddle - Nov 6, 2003 12:24 pm (#39 of 60)

There has to be either a flaw in the prophecy or a twist in it because under no circumstances would J.K Rowling spell it all out about what is going to happen 2 books before it occurs. That's not in her style. But the choice thing is very interesting. It could be highly possible that Harry will refuse to kill Voldemort. He'll let him off the hook like he did with Wormtail. It doesn't seem as if he is regretting letting Pettigrew off the hook, so he could very well make the same decision again.

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Morsmorde - Dec 18, 2003 7:04 pm (#40 of 60)

My beliefs on Fate and Prophesy in the real worlds aside, I do feel that a prophecy does take away from the story somewhat. Sure the prophecy is vague in some places but not all of them...I mean we do know that one must kill the other and all that, so we do sort of know what will happen. This why I much prefer "IF" prophecies, as opposed to "THIS WILL HAPPEN" prophecies.

However, I think the twist may be that the prophecy is old news, out of date, in other words it's already happened.

Bear with me here, Nevile and Harry are born of parents who have thrice faced Voldemort and walked away. Voldemort creates his own nemesis by judging Harry as the one who can defeat him. He goes to kill baby Harry. He forget's that Lily's sacrifice now shields Harry from Voldemort's attack, so he has power's that the Dark Lord knows not and Voldemort is killed. End of Prophecy!

Sure there's that one can't survive without the other, but that's the least reliable part of the prophecy. So I think the outcome of the story will all come down to choices.

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Weeny Owl - Dec 18, 2003 9:15 pm (#41 of 60)

Voldemort didn't die, though.

He said that on the night he tried to kill Harry he lost his powers and his body, that he became less than spirit, less than the meanest ghost, but still, he was alive.

He then went on to say that Harry's death would be quick and might even be painless, but "I would not know... I have never died..."

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Morsmorde - Dec 19, 2003 7:36 am (#42 of 60)

Did I say 'Die' sorry I meant 'Vanquish'...silly me, I'm not so good with this tricky prophecy dialouge :-) Actually I said 'killed,' which is also wrong. So amend it to vanquished, if having your body blasted into non-existance isn't being vanquished then I don't know what is.

But thanks for the spot there Weeny, it's good to know someone out there is reading my inane posts.

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Choices - Dec 20, 2003 10:52 am (#43 of 60)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Fate may determine what happens to us, but it is our choice how we deal with the event or what we make of it. Something bad may happen to us, but we have the power to turn it around and make something positive out of it. Harry may know he has to face Voldemort, that is his fate, but how he choses to handle it is up to him.....his choice.

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SJ Rand - Dec 20, 2003 11:08 am (#44 of 60)

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Rowling doesn't strike me as being big on destiny. The first prophesy had a loophole in that Voldemort essentially had to pick who he marked. If he'd gone for Neville first, Harry might have been hidden away before Voldemort got to him, and nobody would have been marked as an equal and the prophesy would have fallen apart.

In PS/SS it was implied by the Centaurs that Harry was supposed to die (or at least be very badly injured) that night in the forbidden forest, but Frienze stepped in to help him. The one human seer we know is an outright fraud, even with her two good predictions.

I'm sure we'll see another loophole appear in that prophesy, something right under our noses.

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Madame Librarian - Dec 20, 2003 1:38 pm (#45 of 60)

Rand, the "loopholes" to which you refer might have something to do with the language of the prophecy itself. It contains what I call "weasel words"--words and phrases that have multiple interpetations (I first heard this when I was a copywriter on an advertising staff; there were do's and don't's in how we wrote things so that the store or manufacturer could "weasel" out of an obligation or guarantee).

And, as we have experienced on this very Forum, some readers make an assumption with the word "vanquish." They automatically jump to a sense that may not be there--Voldemort ending up dead. Finally, that last phrase "...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives," is way confusing to parse, plus, again, that word "survives" can mean a number of things. Oi, as they say.

I say the thing is chock full of loopholes!

Ciao. Barb

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Choices - Dec 20, 2003 6:57 pm (#46 of 60)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
It definitely looks like swiss cheese to me, too! LOL JKR can take it and run any way she wants to go with it.

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almightykneazle33 - Dec 20, 2003 9:59 pm (#47 of 60)

I am the Almighty Kneazle. Do not ask questions.
Maybe that's the point though, Choices. She's supposed to be running with it however way she wants. ^.^ (However we want the story to turn out). I don't know about the prophecy. It is worded very skeptically, and there are many ways of looking at the word: 'survive'. Just to rejog everyone's memory (and mine too, as it were) here's the prophecy:

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches...Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..." (pg 841 OOP)

Hmm, I know that this is the Fate board, and not the prophecy one. But these two topics tie very closely together. The prophecy, I believe, can be a matter of fate. Is there destiny? Is everything that we do or say or act we make already supposed to happen, and we are just playing out the prewritten script? Who wrote it then? For it is obvious that in Harry Potter there is not any sort of religion. There isn't a higher being in the WW, just magic. To survive something doesn't neccisarily mean that it will die... Musings that have already been made on the Prophecy board a number of times. Are Seers really just people who put things in motion? Are their purpose not to 'see' the future, but to put it in action? For, in above posts, people have been talking about how people acted because they heard the prophecy. Maybe that is the point of a prophecy. It is not really 'seeing' the future, it is a state of being in which you know what has to happen and you push over the first domino. That's what it seems like to me... Not really predicting anything, just putting things in motion. The Seer is only subconciously (sp?) aware of what he/she is doing. Somehow, they just know.

Okay, I just let my mind and fingers run wild... Any additions?

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Morsmorde - Dec 21, 2003 5:54 am (#48 of 60)

Some interesting thoughts are coming through here, the fate/choice philosophy is obviously something people feel very strongly about.

I must agree with our very own Ms Librarian that the prophecy is deliberately vague. With words like 'vanquish' 'survive' and 'ham 'sandwich.' Instead of definite words like 'Die' 'Live' and 'processed meat.'

Thanks for the posting of the prophecy Kneazle, I myself went through the book and found it interesting that the prophecy ends with an elipse (the "..."). As you may or may not know the elipse is a classic literary device that can mean a few things:

1) In dialouge it can mean that the person speaking has trailed off. 2) Also in dialouge it can mean that the person speaking has been interupted. 3) The elipse can signal a dramatic pause before more dialouge is said.

In general an elipse is used to convey the fact that the thought is not finished. So does this mean that there was more to this prophecy than is revealed? Perhaps this is where choices can come into play? Just a thought that occured to me.

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Esra - Dec 21, 2003 9:37 am (#49 of 60)

I don't think we can assume that the things put in action by hearing a prophecy wouldn't have happened if the one hadn't heard the prophecy. (is this a sentence?) Take Oedipus for example: We don't know what would have happened if he had not heard the prophecy because he did. Perhaps the prophecy would still have been fulfilled but of course in a different way. We just don't know!

But I agree: in the case of the first prophecy I don't see any reason for Voldemort to go after Harry of not for the prophecy. I personally tend to think of prophecies this way: some of them are there to prepare people for the things to come (just like with Oedipus: Look out, this will happen! You can't change it!), some are made to prevent things from happening (I saw you dying in the zoo today so don't go anywhere near it!) and some are there to make things happen (I saw you having children with him so go and ask him out!).

I know my examples are ridiculous, but hey, that's why I am no fanfic writer *g*!

What do you think about that?

Greetings, Esra

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SJ Rand - Dec 21, 2003 10:31 am (#50 of 60)

.
almightykneazle33: >>Are Seers really just people who put things in motion? Are their purpose not to 'see' the future, but to put it in action? For, in above posts, people have been talking about how people acted because they heard the prophecy. Maybe that is the point of a prophecy.

That was certainly how Trelawney worked it on Neville. She doubtlessly knew he was accident prone, then made the "prediction" that he would break his first teacup, making him even more nervous than usual and more likely to break it.

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FCBarca - Jan 1, 2004 1:36 pm (#51 of 60)

Replying to Morsmorde, I too don't think it is the end of the prophecy, because do you remember what Dumbledore said to Harry about the reason Voldemort wanted to hear the prophecy. He said "This is the weapon he has been seeking so assiduously since his return: the knowledge of how to destroy you".

I believe that the prophecy continued and said how Voldemort will be able to kill Harry.

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freshwater - Jan 1, 2004 2:04 pm (#52 of 60)

Connections, speculation, discussion: the best part of HP reading! Check out the on-going HP Lex Forum series re-read! Currently reading GoF...
Maybe it's already hinted at how LV can destroy Harry....having to do with "the power that the Dark Lord" does not have: love. What if LV can do something to Harry to cause his feelings of hatred to overwhelm his feelings of compassion and love? Would that lead to Harry's destruction? Sounds a bit too Star Warsish: destroying evil with hatred is still evil and so not a victory...hmmmm.

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SJ Rand - Jan 1, 2004 3:57 pm (#53 of 60)

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freshwater: >> Sounds a bit too Star Warsish

Yes, it really does. Besides, the Dark Side doesn't deserve to get all the bad press. Have you ever had to deal with someone who was always positive and optimistic? It can be enough to make Mother Theresa commit murder.

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freshwater - Jan 1, 2004 5:31 pm (#54 of 60)

Connections, speculation, discussion: the best part of HP reading! Check out the on-going HP Lex Forum series re-read! Currently reading GoF...
I wouldn't say that about Mother Theresa myself, but I do know what you mean SJRand. There is a woman where I work who is so mindlessly cheerful that when I meet her in the hallway I often have a barely resistable urge to just slap her! That is soooo unlike me! I think it's the mindlessness if her demeanor that gets to me.

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boop - Jan 1, 2004 6:50 pm (#55 of 60)

Lexicon Forum Mom
Freshwater-- I can relate to that, it happens to be a lady that I work with 3 days a week just like that.

Question: Does anyone think that Dumbledore knows more information about the prophecy that just has not give it yet? He does keep Harry in the dark about things. Maybe he does know more, and just not the right time to make it know. Why I think this is, because Dumbledore is still with holding information from Harry. Maybe it is the rest of the prophecy that gives the information on how to defeat Lord Voldemont. He just needs to perpare Harry before he is given this information. I know I am way out there in left field.

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Madame Librarian - Jan 1, 2004 8:17 pm (#56 of 60)

boop, I don't think it's too big a stretch to imagine that we (and Harry) still don't have all the information that Dumbledore and maybe others know. For some mysterious reason, or a real flaw in judgment (or even dread), Dumbledore cannot perhaps bring himself to tell all. I can see him holding back because he doesn't want to push Harry into rash action, he doesn't yet trust Harry's ability to face Lord V., he's hoping something about the dire future will change (an alliance is formed with others?), it pains him so to ruin the rest of Harry's childhood, etc., etc.

And, another piece of the puzzle just might be the very thing that we regularly complain about--the maddening and frustrating fact that Harry doesn't ask the right people the right questions! Dumbledore knows somehow that until Harry seeks (he's a seeker, right?) the truth in the right way, it would be useless to give it to him. Hmmm...just occurred to me, does this mean that there are some really awful truths about Harry' past that will have to be revealed?

Does this make any sense? I went on and on and may have lost the point of it somewhere.

Ciao. Barb

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Susurro Notities - Jan 1, 2004 8:34 pm (#57 of 60)

Edited by Jan 1, 2004 7:36 pm
"Dumbledore cannot perhaps bring himself to tell all. I can see him holding back because he doesn't want to push Harry too early rash action, he doesn't yet trust Harry's ability to face Lord V., he's hoping something about the dire future will change... it pains him so to ruin the rest of Harry's childhood..." (Madam Librarian post #56)
I don't think this is the case as this error in judgment is what Dumbledore goes to great lengths to explain and apologize for in OotP

Your thoughts about Harry seeking truth lead me to hypothesize that Dumbledore doesn't tell Harry everything because age knows what youth must find for itself in order to develop meaningful understanding. That would be a plausible reason for Dumbledore to say he is telling Harry everything yet still hold back information.

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Madame Librarian - Jan 1, 2004 8:58 pm (#58 of 60)

Susurro, yes, I think I have to agree that it is much more likely that Dumbledore knows that there are certain things Harry has to "seek" on his own, find out for himself. Simply telling him everything would not do because to hear certain hard truths from someone else is an invitation to disbelief and denial.

What I meant, though, about a flaw in judgment on Dumbledore's part is that it's the one thing that a person, no matter how good, no matter how powerful, no matter how brilliant, cannot overcome--a sort of 'hubris,' as the Greeks called it. A blind spot, if you will, that keeps that person from being 100% perfect (or correct, or powerful, or whatever). Yes, Dumbledore bares his soul to Harry in that heart wrenching scene where he takes the blame for everything because he left Harry in the dark about so much. But despite that confession and sincerity, Dumbledore continues to withhold information because he is unsure of the response and unwilling to create a disaster by saying too much. JKR has created a character caught in a classic dilemma--to act or not; to tell or withhold.

It really makes for a better, deeper character. It prevents Dumbledore from just being a cardboard cutout of the wise, old, powerful, fatherly good guy so typical of these coming-of-age epics. There's a much more going on with him if he, too, must deal with doubts and flaws. He's more like us that way.

Ciao. Barb

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SJ Rand - Jan 2, 2004 9:42 am (#59 of 60)

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Yes, Dumbledore is likely to still be still holding some things back, and he probably thinks he's doing the right thing. Maybe this time he is, but only time, and two more books, will tell. He was certainly way off with the Voldemort/Harry connection, and he really should have known better.

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freckleface - Feb 8, 2004 2:37 am (#60 of 60)

I don't see it so much as fate (as in cosmic predistination--though fate can also be used the same way as "future") as a true Seer's ability to see, to KNOW what will happen to you as a result of a series of choices you make.

The problem with prophacy is and always has been that once you are told what will happen in the future, that becomes part of the series of choices/actions that will carve your fate.

Take the Oedipus example: his birth parents hear the prophecy and take actions so that it won't come true--however, by taking that action, making those choices they create the future which was prophacized. Oedipus does the same thing--he hears about the prophecy, makes choices to avoid it and by doing so meets the future that was foretold.

Basically, the Seer is seeing NOT a predetermined fate but the result of choices and actions that make you who you are and once you are told that future, the action/choice of hearing the prophacy is the first step toward that future.

(Confusing and thought provoking--always makes for a good literary device Smile )
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