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→‎Analysis: how many prophecies there are
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(→‎Analysis: how many prophecies there are)
 
Prophecies, stored in crystal spheres, are kept in the Department of Mysteries, in a store-room associated with the areas used for the study of the mystery of Time. As the areas involved with the study of the Mysteries are interconnected in the same way that the Mysteries are, it is unsurprising that there is also apparently some interconnection between the Prophecy warehouse and the areas devoted to the mysteries of Consciousness and Death.
 
Prophecy itself seems to be surprisingly common; in the [[Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Major Events/Battle at the Department of Mysteries|Battle at the Department of Mysteries]] at the end of [[Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Books/Order of the Phoenix|''Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'']], it appears that there are many shelves full of recorded prophecies. The prophecy regarding Harry and Voldemort is in row 97 of the prophecy warehouse, and the rows are evidently quite long, and the prophecies small. We can conservatively estimate that there are 200 prophecies on a set of shelves 6 feet (2 metres) high by 3 feet (1 metre) wide. If a row is 60 feet (20 metres) long, each row holds 4,000 prophecies, and with 97 rows there must be approximately 400,000 prophecies in storage. [[Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Ollivander|Ollivander's]] wand shop has been in business since 382 BC, which argues a Wizarding presence in England since at least that time; let us assume that prophecies have been accumulating since then, a total of roughly 2,500 years, or about 160 prophecies a year. If we guess that 1% of the Wizarding population is gifted with the true ability, that would mean somewhere between 30 and 100 prophets are in business at any given time, based on our calculations as to the number of wizards in England – see the [[Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Places/Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry#School population|article on Hogwarts]] for the determination of Wizarding population. This would mean that the average prophet or prophetess would be turning out between two and six prophecies every year. The one prophetess we see, [[Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Sybill Trelawney|Professor Trelawney]], with two valid prophecies in seventeen years, does significantly worse than average.
 
[http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/faq_view.cfm?id=23 The author has stated, in an entry on her web site], that she and Sybill had been extremely careful in the wording of the prophecy. The prophecy that drives the entire series is precisely this: ''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...'' [http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/faq_view.cfm?id=84 The author notes] that it is ambiguous, in that it can refer to either Harry or Neville Longbottom, and in particular that, like the prophecy in Macbeth, if the prophecy had not been made, much of the story would not have happened.
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