The Divination Homework
“I can’t think of any other ideas.”
With his feet still propped up on one of the
tables in the Gryffindor common room, Harry Potter looked up from Unfogging
the Future at his best friend, Ron Weasley, who sat across from him. “At
least you’ve written something down,” he told him, pointing at Ron’s
parchment. “Look at me. I’m just amusing myself with the really silly
predictions in here.”
“Sshh. Don’t let them hear you.” Ron
jabbed a thumb at the girls who sat at the far end of the table. Lavender Brown
and Parvati Patil, their fellow Gryffindors, looked very engrossed in the cards
laid down in front of them.
“So what’ll Hermione be?” Harry asked.
Ron’s eyes lit up, as Harry expected.
“Hermione? She’s going to marry this nutter—who, for the record, isn’t
Krum,” he added, smiling. “And he’s going to let her do stupid things like
build a house out of books, and she’s going to hex him whenever they fight.
But then again, they’ll live happily ever after.”
“Hmm. The nutter sounds like someone I
Ron’s head snapped up. “Who?”
Why you, you incredibly silly prat,
Harry thought. “Nah, I was kidding.”
“If you say so.” Ron looked relieved. “I
don’t know what you’re gonna be yet, Harry.”
“Don’t even try. I never had much trust in
these.” Harry sat up straight and picked up his own stack of Tarot cards.
“Let’s say we trade these for Exploding Snap, would you agree?”
“Yeah!” Ron said without hesitation,
slamming his battered copy of Unfogging the Future shut.
The sound made Lavender and Parvati look up
from their cards and, seeing Harry shove aside his Tarot cards, the girls
scowled at the two boys.
“You two are never going to take Divination
seriously, huh?” Parvati said loudly.
“No,” Ron said matter-of-factly without
even taking a glance at them.
“With good reason,” someone said behind
Ron whirled around in his seat and found
Hermione Granger, with a look on her face that was half-supportive, half-frustrated.
“Fine, hate Divination . We all do—” Hermione said,
eliciting a more unpleasant frown from Parvati and Lavender“—but at least,
do your work decently.”
“How exactly do you do decent work in Divination, may I
ask?” said Ron.
At this point, Hermione faltered. “Uh…well, at least
learn the theory, or….” She looked up at Harry’s and Ron’s
self-satisfied smiles. “Oh, never mind.” She grinned back, sitting beside
Ron. Parvati and Lavender, rolling their eyes, went back to work.
It was cold outside on that February evening, but as it had
been in the past four years of Harry’s stay in the Hogwarts School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry, the Gryffindor common room was as warm as any
comfortable home could be. Despite all of the assignments he had to do (such as
predicting at least 20 close friends’ futures using Tarot cards for
Divination), annoying teachers to dodge, and Slytherin ambushes to watch out
for, he felt quite happy, for on that evening he was with his friends. It was
quite silly, he knew, to feel that way, for evenings in the Gryffindor common
room were like that…always. Well, okay, almost. But that evening, staring into
the fireplace with its flames crackling merrily, Harry let out a contented sigh.
“What?” Ron asked.
“What was that sigh for?”
Harry picked up Unfogging the Future again.
Ron and Hermione looked at each other, and shook their heads.
“Hey, guys.” Another female voice was heard from behind
them. This time it was Ginny Weasley, Ron’s sister, who was in her fourth
“Hi, Ginny,” said Hermione, motioning for her to sit down
beside her. “What’s up?”
“Muggle Studies,” said Ginny, sitting down and giving
Harry a grin. “Can you help me a bit with this…electricity thing?”
It was another one of those times when Ginny’s new
attitude—at least towards him—amazed Harry. It was only last summer when, as
Harry visited The Burrow, Ginny grinned at him—rather coolly, not in the shy
way that she used to smile at him in their previous years. From then on, she
always gave him that smile. He couldn’t seem to shake it off his mind,
even until now.
Not that her whole appearance hadn’t changed. She grew her
hair longer, so that straight, fiery red hair cascaded down her back. And she
looked more…confident. She seemed to have outgrown her shyness, too. Her new
smile /(at least the one she saved for him.
It was apparent that little Ginny had grown up. And her silly
crush over Harry had…well, diminished—been sucked into oblivion. Harry had
felt quite relieved when he noticed.
But then again…why was he noticing? Harry inwardly groaned,
looking down at his book again, though not really reading.
“What about electricity?” Hermione was asking.
“How does it work?”
“Well, you know Muggles use it to power things like lamps,
“Appliances,” Ginny prompted. “But how do they get the
electricity there exactly?”
“Uh, well…there are these…um, long cables that send
electricity to houses and offices.” Looking up, Harry noticed that Hermione
looked rather uneasy. “From these power sources….”
“Yeah, I think I understood that part,” Ginny said softly, leafing through Sciences
of the Muggle World. “I just don’t get how small things get electricity
without having to…what, plug them?”
Hermione shrugged. “Batteries?”
Ginny looked at her blankly. “What?”
“Batteries,” Hermione repeated. “They’re these small
cylinder-shaped things that have some sort of electricity in them.”
“Not all are cylinders,” said Harry, butting in. “There
are types that look like rectangles. Watches have these small batteries, just
this size.” Harry curled his forefinger towards his thumb to illustrate.
“And, you know, cars run on batteries this size.” Harry gestured once more.
Ron and Ginny were staring at Harry, apparently dumbfounded
by the wealth of information he was giving them.
“Your watches run on electricity?” said
Ron. “With…what? Batteries?”
“Yeah…well, some don’t run on batteries,” Harry went
on, glancing at Hermione (who had begun to scowl). “Some are solar-powered.”
When Ginny still looked confused, Harry went on to explain. “You know, they
get power from the sun’s rays and convert it to electricity.”
“You seem to know a lot about electricity,” Hermione
Harry looked at her. “You make it sound as if I don’t
know anything else.”
“That’s a lot of information I haven’t found in the
books in the library,” Ginny said, scribbling notes on a piece of parchment.
“Thanks a lot, Harry.” Again, there was that cool voice.
Harry couldn’t help but feel pleased, though. “Hey, ask
anyone here who grew up with Muggles—they’ll tell you the same thing.”
“Hermione didn’t say the same,” Ron reminded him.
Hermione rolled her eyes.
“I was…um, correcting her,” Harry said, trying to stop
the two from bickering. “Doesn’t mean she doesn’t know.”
“How do you know a lot about them, anyway?” Ginny
Harry looked at her for a while. “You really wanna know?”
Ginny grinned. “Try me.”
There was something about that grin that Harry wanted
to know…if there was anything to know about it. Somehow, it seemed to be
rather mysterious. Meanwhile, he wondered if he should go on and tell them why
he knew a bit about electricity and electronics. He didn’t want their sympathy
for his horrible home life at the Dursleys. Not on a nice evening like this.
“Well,” Harry began, his mind trying to hold on to a
credible fib, “I…tinker with the old toys Dudley throws out the window. You
know, out of curiosity.”
That wasn’t a complete lie. The thing is, Dudley’s old
and broken toys went either in his bedroom or in his old bedroom—the
cupboard under the stairs. And that gave him a lot of chances to investigate
electronic parts and a faint idea of how they really worked.
“Wow, brilliant,” Ron said admiringly. “I never knew
you were that curious about things.”
“Yeah. So if I ever get thrown out of the wizarding world,
at least I’ll have a Muggle sideline.”
Ginny gave him a dirty look. “Don’t even think about
that,” she said seriously. “How can you ever get thrown out of
“I was kidding,” said Harry, smiling. “But, you know, I
might even become something like your Dad.”
“Great,” Ron said. “Another nutter.”
“Ron,” Hermione said warningly.
“Yeah, yeah.” Ron picked up his quill, dipped it into his
ink bottle, and wrote on his parchment. “‘A very close friend, who
supposedly will die sometime soon, at least according to a very dear professor
who oh-so-accurately predicts everybody’s death’—”
Ginny looked aghast, while Hermione looked happy again. She peered into Ron’s
parchment. “You may want to remove that line if you don’t want her swooping
down on you like the bat you always say she is.”
“That was Snape,” Ron told her. “Okay. Let me try again. ‘A very close
friend will be unfortunate enough to hold the job of Head of Misuse of Muggle
Artifacts Office of the Ministry of Magic, will help defeat the most evil wizard
of all time, marry and live happily ever after.’ It isn’t as terrible as she
might like, but….”
“Nah. That life would be cool.” Harry looked into the fire and smiled,
thinking of himself surrounded by a bunch of rowdy kids trying to pry an old
PlayStation joystick out of his grip. Not a bad life, really….
“‘A close friend will become very successful in his chosen career. He will
live in a beautiful house and have seven kids.’”
Professor Trelawney glanced up at the class, then at Harry,
who had his chin propped up his fist. He half expected her to say, “What
rubbish is this, Mr. Potter? All of your predictions are positive! Don’t you
see that this world is made up of nothing but negative aura?”
“Seven kids?” Ron muttered to Harry in an amused
tone. “Who’s that unlucky friend of yours?”
“Can’t tell you, mate,” Harry whispered back. “Best
not to flaunt my Inner Eye.”
Professor Trelawney continued reading Harry’s assignment
aloud. “‘His wife, another close friend, will also be successful. Both will
be respected in the wizarding world, for they will help ensure security among
“Then again,” Ron was whispering, “it isn’t so bad.
Wish it were me.”
Me too, thought Harry. Wish it were you.
“Without the seven kids,” said Ron.
Professor Trelawney was looking straight at Harry. “How do
I know you did not make these up, Mr. Potter?”
Harry had rehearsed what to say in case anything like this
came up. “Well, Professor, I can’t really prove it,” he said confidently.
“I could only say what the cards have revealed.”
“Hmm. I say you are better in predicting the future with
the stars and planets. I was more impressed with your performance last year,”
said Professor Trelawney, her usual eerie tone becoming a bit stronger. “Your
predictions then were more accurate. Not as broad as this. What do you mean by
‘successful in his chosen career’?”
“Well…he has to choose, right?”
“Yes, but what career will he choose?”
“It won’t matter, really, Professor,” Harry went on.
“What matters is that he and his wife will be successful.”
“Loads of tosh,” said Ron out of the corner of his mouth.
Professor Trelawney held his parchment up, looking quite
angry. “Why does it seem like you’re wishing for these things to happen
rather than predicting them to happen? These don’t look so…realistic! They
seem to say that everybody will live to have families of their own! Understand,
Mr. Potter, that we have to accept our destiny, whether it may be bad or not!”
Harry felt the heat rising in him. What was wrong with
wishing that his friends would have a happy life and have families of their own?
“You can’t really alter a wonderful destiny,
Professor,” said Harry, trying to stop his voice from shaking. “Understand
that we have to accept our destiny, whether it may turn out to be good or
Professor Trelawney’s nose flared. She fixed Harry in a
steely gaze that he hadn’t seen before. Harry, however, wasn’t worried. He
thought he knew enough of rough times to put more misery in his
Professor Trelawney took out another parchment. It was
Lavender’s. She scanned it for a while, but for once, she didn’t seem
impressed with her work.
“Miss Brown, I’m surprised at you. True, your predictions
aren’t so broad, but you failed to look further into the future. What’s
listed here are predictions for the future indeed—in the next six months!
‘Two classmates will admit they love each other and become a couple before the
term ends’”—Ron, Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan broke into uncontrollable
laughter—“‘Another classmate will develop feelings for a younger girl and
have his heart broken by June, but will be perfectly happy again over the
summer.’ Not too many details here, either, Miss Brown. Very vague,
Harry was glad to get away from the fumes in the Divination
classroom after half an hour. Professor Trelawney had gone on and on,
criticizing everyone’s predictions. Apparently, no one did their homework
“What does she expect us to do? Write a History of Magic-sized
biography for the future for each of our close friends?” Ron complained.
“Maybe just the size of Hogwarts, a History,”
Harry said gloomily. “Ah, who cares. Let’s go to dinner.”
As Harry and Ron entered the Great Hall for dinner, Harry
couldn’t help but hear Professor Trelawney’s words: “These don’t look
so realistic! They seem to say that everybody will live to have families of
Why doesn’t having a family seem realistic to her?
he wondered. Is having one really that impossible?
But… Harry stared at his plate. For him, Harry
Potter, it was impossible. At least for now, it was. Until he married…or
rather, if he ever married and had children of his own—he would never
have a family where he felt he truly belonged.
His mind flashed back to his first year, to what he saw in
the Mirror of Erised, where he looked into the faces of his family…his
beautiful mother, his handsome father, his grandparents…all of them. For
perhaps the thousandth time in his life, he reminded himself that although he
knew that he and his parents used to be a wonderful threesome fifteen years ago,
they were never going to be completely his again.
“What’s eating you, Harry?” asked Ron, who had filled
his plate with potatoes and chicken legs.
Harry shook his head. “It’s Trelawney. Let’s just
“Ah, come on,” said Ron. “You did your best.”
“Yeah right, my best. I’m a good guesser, then.”
“I think I’m better than you, though.”
Hermione joined them a while later, raving about her new
lesson in Arithmancy (the correlation of the Muggles’ principles of Physics to
the principles of Arithmancy in relation to the science of the universe). After
Ron had argued that he’d rather endure the boredom in the Divination classroom
than take in all the Arithmancy principles that might weigh his brain down, the
two had begun to bicker (for the nth time).
Harry kept to himself, watching the two. They’d make a
lovely couple, he thought, if maybe they’d just stop fighting a bit. Although
that could be their own version of being playful….
Harry, Ron and Hermione went back to the Gryffindor Tower
after dinner, with Ron and Hermione still fighting.
“If Trelawney’s talking realistic, then she should study
a precise branch of magic. Arithmancy, for one,” Hermione was saying.
“But it doesn’t tell you what to expect for the
That was, Harry knew, the complete contradiction of what Ron
really thought. Ron always seemed to look for a reason to keep fighting with
“If you’ll excuse me,” said Harry. They didn’t even
Harry went up to their dormitory to drop off his things. But
as he reached his bed, he found a fine-looking tawny owl waiting for him on his
“Hello,” said Harry, taking a closer look at the owl. It
seemed to have a small package tied to one of its feet. “For me?”
As if answering, the owl flew to him and perched on his
outstretched arm. He used his other hand to untie the package, with difficulty.
It was a small box with a note tied to it.
He gave the owl a grateful pat and it flew out of the window
that Harry opened. Harry turned to sit on his bed and read the note, which he
immediately recognized as—he had to shake his head to fully believe
it—coming from Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster.
Your parents are celebrating their seventeenth wedding
anniversary today in heaven.
They would have wanted me to give this to their only son.
It was found in Godric’s Hollow on the second of November fourteen years ago.
I just thought this would be the right time for you to finally receive this.
My parents were married on February twenty-third?
Harry asked himself, bewildered. Dumbledore, he knew, was away at the moment,
but perhaps decided to send the package on this exact date to coincide with his
It was as if he already knew what was inside the box. And he
was right—it was a ring. Or rather, two rings clasped together. He tried to
disengage the two, but he couldn’t. They seemed to be clasped together
permanently, no matter how hard he tried to pull them apart. But how come? If it
had been his parents, the two rings would have not been clasped together unless
they walked hand-in-hand even when they had to go to the bathroom…Harry smiled
grimly at the thought.
He looked at the rings more closely. Both were made of
silver—or perhaps white gold. One had an emerald stone on it—this was
probably his mother’s. The other was quite plain, except for the engraving of
a stag on its band. Looking inside both bands, he found the words “I love
you” engraved in identical flowing script on each.
He stared at the rings. They were his parents’. They wore
them when they died. Harry reasoned that the rings clasped themselves together
when his parents....
The reason why the rings were at that state was beyond his
comprehension, but he didn’t need to know why. All he knew was that here in
his hand was his whole family, the family that he can never have, who loved each
other until the ends of their lives, and the simple thought started a prickling
feeling in his eyes.
Removing his glasses and wiping his eyes on his sleeve, he
put the rings back in the little box, changed into his pajamas, and lay on his
bed with his face buried in his pillow. He held the box close to his heart as he
wept silently—the first time he ever cried himself to sleep.