Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
" 'Voldemort tried to kill you when you were a child because of a prophecy made shortly before your birth. He knew the prophecy had been made, though he did not know its full contents. He set out to kill you when you were still a baby, believing he was fulfilling the terms of the prophecy. He discovered, to his cost, that he was mistaken, when the curse intended to kill you backfired. 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 has been seeking so assiduously since his return: the knowledge of how to destroy you.'
The sun had risen fully now: Dumbledore's office was bathed in it. The glass case in which the sword of Godric Gryffindor resided gleamed white and opaque, the fragments of the instruments Harry had thrown to the floor glistened like raindrops, and behind him, the baby Fawkes made soft chirruping noises in his nest of ashes.
'The prophecy's smashed,' Harry said blankly. 'I was pulling Neville up those benches in the- the room where the archway was, and I ripped his robes and it fell ...'
'The thing that smashed was merely the record of the prophecy kept by the Department of Mysteries. But the prophecy was made to somebody, and that person has the means of recalling it perfectly.'
'Who heard it?' asked Harry, though he thought he knew the answer already.
'I did,' said Dumbledore. 'On a cold, wet night sixteen years ago, in a room above the bar at the Hog's Head inn. I had gone there to see an applicant for the post of Divination teacher, though it was against my inclination to allow the subject of Divination to continue at all. The applicant, however, was the great-great-granddaughter of a very famous, very gifted Seer and I thought it common politeness to meet her. I was disappointed. It seemed to me that she had not a trace of the gift herself. I told her, courteously I hope, that I did not think she would be suitable for the post. I turned to leave.'
Dumbledore got to his feet and walked past Harry to the black cabinet that stood beside Fawkes's perch. He bent down, slid back a catch and took from inside it the shallow stone basin, carved with runes around the edges, in which Harry had seen his father tormenting Snape. Dumbledore walked back to the desk, placed the Pensieve upon it, and raised his wand to his own temple. From it, he withdrew silvery, gossamer-fine strands of thought clinging to the wand and deposited them into the basin. He sat back down behind his desk and watched his thoughts swirl and drift inside the Pensieve for a moment. Then, with a sigh, he raised his wand and prodded the silvery substance with its tip.
A figure rose out of it, draped in shawls, her eyes magnified to enormous size behind her glasses, and she revolved slowly, her feet in the basin. But when Sybill Trelawney spoke, it was not in her usual ethereal, mystic voice, but in the harsh, hoarse tones Harry had heard her use once before:
"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..."
Harry stared at the Headmaster, completely flabbergasted. He took a few minutes to sort out his thoughts and then a few more minutes to decipher the prophecy, idly repeating it to himself quietly. The Headmaster stared at him gravely.
Harry ducked his head for a second, taking a deep breath and looking around at the other portraits. He stood up slowly and walked towards the window behind Dumbledore's desk and he stared outside at the risen sun quietly before asking, "Professor, you are a fucking idiot."
The Headmaster was prepared for Harry to ask what the prophecy meant, to cry even, maybe smash a few more things, maybe even just sit there catonically for a few minutes or hours. He was not prepared for an accusation of idiocy and crude language. "Mr. Potter?"
"I repeat: Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore you are the either the biggest fucking idiot I had the displeasure to meet or you are one sick, senile old man because anyone with half your brain would sit down and decipher every single word of that prophecy like a Master Poet's sonnet. They would define every word, pick apart every single meaning, track down thousands of people who fit the prophecy..."
The boy shook his head slowly, a mean chuckle gracing the air, "Sir, who said that the child had to be born that year? How do you know that approaches didn't mean a year from them, two even, a decade. That's still approaching. And a legend can be born at any time. And what about physically approaching - he could have been walking by right then. And "parents" - are they foster parents? Birth parents? Why is the child a boy, Dumbledore? Is that 1800s prejudice I see?
"They are thousands of children born everyday, and at least a fourth of them have some sort of magic - Hermione calculated it for me. Who said the child was born in Britain? The child could have been born in Africa or America or in another universe for all we know. And don't look at me like that, I am currently in an untraceable thousand-year-old school with a 150 year old man with magic wands and unicorns! Whose to say some random person off the street couldn't fall through universe or time or something? And why does the one have to be magic at all? Muggles have plenty destructive things at their disposal, like machine guns - they're like steel wands that Muggles use to kill each other quickly and efficiently, at hundreds of shots a minute and with almost no chance of recovery if shot i the right place. Muggles also have poisons, and biochemical warfare, and nuclear bombs and knives! This Dark Lord would be screwed if an intelligent trigger-happy Muggle shot him quickly and efficiently!
"And which Dark Lord are we talking about? There were thousands of Dark Lords, Voldemort is just the most recent. And if the child was just being born it could have been a Dark Lord coming in about seventy years for all we know. "Thrice defied him" - who him? The Dark Lord would have probably been male, but whose to say the supposed Dark Lord wasn't female? Frankly Dark Lady Whatever just doesn't sound as cool as Dark Lord Whatever! And what if "thrice-defied" referred to the supposed "one"? Say the parent were abusive or uneducated or heck were Muggles who thought magic was evil!
"And the prophecy just stated the the supposed one would ave to power to vanquish him not that he or she would!" Harry took a long breath, summoning Dobby wandlessly and wordlessly, asking for a can of Coke from a Muggle store. A second later a soda appeared while Dumbledore was trying to desperately think of something to say to his wayward pawn.
Harry turned around, opening his soda quickly with a loud pop and then sizzle of carbonated sugar. He swigged it before continuing, "And the seventh month part really gets me, because which calender do we go to? Mayan? Druid? Greek? Ours? Hindu? Chinese? Indian? That random kids' made up one? You see where I'm going with this?"
Dumbledore nodded, knowing his charge was completely correct.
Harry sipped his soda once more, " 'Mark him as his equal' once again, who him? Are we talking about the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord or someone else? And how would the child be marked as an equal? Would the Dark Lord take the one as a lover, a spouse? A magical heir? An ally in warfare? A rival in politics - like political party? A tattoo? A scar? Jewelry? A brand? A bite? A bruise? How? "Power the Dark Lord knows not" - is that supposed to mean the Dark Lord doesn't know the one has it, or that he can't have it as well, or that he doesn't understand or that he doesn't care about it? Then there is "either must die at the hand of the other" so... who is this other? The one and the Dark Lord or someone else who got involved?
"Then there's "neither can live while the other survives." Why two different words, Headmaster? Do not be mistaken, they do not mean the same thing. Living is having thoughts, and feelings, and independence, and friends and families. Surviving is breathing, eating, ecetera. And what if the other can possess the Dark Lord and the One? Is that why they they can't live?"
Albus went to congratulate the boy on prophecy deciphering and then explain to him the "true" meaning of the prophecy. But the boy wasn't finished.
He sipped more Coke and continued, "But if we were to put it into your interpretation of it, Professor - the barest minimum of interpretation, the barest, most visible meaning to the simple-minded - then the prophecy is already completed."
Dumbledore blinked in surprise, "What do you mean?"
The boy smiled slyly, "Sir, this is a bit off topic but what month were you born in?"
"July, why?" (Seriously, check this out!)
"Late in the month I take it, maybe near August?"
"Yes." Dumbledore nodded, suddenly feeling a sense of foreboding.
"Your parents - your father was a murderer leaving you and your family. Your mother never cared for you really, letting yourself become immersed in your boyfriend, your Gellert Grindlewald. And then your mother died, ruining your dreams and budding careers, being left with a useless sister and an unwanted pervert of a brother."
"Don't say things like that!"
"I'll say what I damn well want, Dumbledore! Now where was I? Oh yes, Grindlewald. You two became friends, maybe more - I know you wanted more at least. The two of you were allies, true equals weren't you? Equals in knowledge, power and greatness. He even gave you that pretty little scar of the London Underground in preparations for your plans for a supposedly "better society. But then he turned out to be a Dark Wizard, and later a Lord. The two of you with your Greater Good bullshit... it makes me sick!"
Harry Potter ran a hand through his hair tiredly and continued, draining the last of his soda, "Vut you were hung up on your little mottos of doing what is right instead of what is easy. Grindlewald must have taken the easy route, and you must have done what was right. But the two of you - so totally wrapped up in your love for one another. Grindlewald locked away, never able to see you again. And you, tying your hands so you don't get power-hungry again. Never truly living, because the other is the cause of their predicament, and will always survive. And even when the other man dies, the last man standing will still not be able to live."
Dumbledore's eyes welled up with tears before he asked how his charge knew that.
Harry raised an eyebrow, "I'm an heir of Gryffindor, Headmaster, and the next-in-line for heir of Slytherin, so the castle tells me things sometimes. The prophecy has been fulfilled now stop pinning all of your hopes on a fifteen year old and fight your own goddamned war."
Propecy Powers Percieved by the Prophecized.