Since the original essay ‘Harry’s Dreams’ was written by Steve VanderArk in 2006, there have been quite a few new pieces of canon writing from J K Rowling. Two of these in particular contain further dreams of Harry Potter’s to examine.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The exciting seventh book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, came out in July 2007. Harry does not return to Hogwarts School, but instead takes up the quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort’s horcruxes – in order that Voldemort himself can ultimately be destroyed. Along the way he is sidetracked by a search for the Elder Wand, one of the three Deathly Hallows, which he at one point thinks will be the key to defeating the Dark Lord.
Harry initially has a dream that he thinks is coming from Voldemort (DH7), who is searching for the wandmaker Gregorovitch. He has a further extension of this dream later on (DH14) – although it is more of a vision than a dream – where he sees the theft of a wand from Gregorovitch by a handsome laughing young man with golden hair. We later learn that this is Gellert Grindelwald, a former friend of Albus Dumbledore’s (DH24). In many ways, these are similar to the dreams and visions he had in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where Voldemort uses Legilimency to direct Harry’s dreams to the Department of Mysteries and Hall of Prophecy (OP1, OP6, OP15, OP18, OP23, OP24, OP25, OP26, OP28, OP31).
After Harry and Hermione are almost caught by Voldemort’s snake Nagini and the Death Eaters in Godric’s Hollow (DH19), Harry has dreams of Nagini moving through ring-like shapes. Circles and rings often symbolise eternity – is Harry dreaming about an infinite battle against Voldemort? However, one of the circles is a Christmas Rose wreath, which is what Hermione produced for Harry to put on his parents’ grave. Maybe there is eternal hope in Harry’s dream as well.
The final vision (or is it a dream?) is when Harry is killed by Lord Voldemort (DH35). He finds himself awake in a dreamlike place – misty and bright – between life and death. He talks with Albus Dumbledore about Lord Voldemort, the Deathly Hallows, the Horcruxes and the choices they have made. They speculate about what will happen next. Dumbledore also confirms that, although the conversation they are having “is happening inside your head….”, it is nevertheless real.
An interesting note about an older dream: back in his third year, Harry had dreamed that Neville substitutes for him in an important Quidditch match against Slytherin (PA15) and later it turns out that the Prophecy that predicted the downfall of the Dark Lord could have applied to either Harry or Neville (OP37). Harry’s dreams again prove true when Neville substitutes for him and kills Nagini, the last Horcrux, leaving Harry able to finally kill Voldemort (DH37).
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Although J K Rowling describes the story of this play being canon (JKR:Tw), there is still fan controversy about it (CC). In the play, Harry’s dreams – mostly nightmares – play a big part. All of his dreams turn into warnings – warnings that Lord Voldemort has returned.
The first dream occurs the night after Harry and his son Albus have had a terrible argument (CC1.7). He dreams of Hagrid coming to the Hut-on-the-Rock to tell him that he is a wizard. However, the chilling and “unmistakable” voice of Voldemort breaks into the dream memory – saying Harry’s name and turning the dream into a nightmare (CC1.8). He also feels pain in his scar, for the first time in twenty-two years (CC1.9).
The next nightmare occurs after Albus Potter and Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius have not turned up for their fourth year at Hogwart’s School, having jumped off the Hogwart’s Express. No one knows where they are. This time Harry dreams of his Aunt Petunia coming to his room in the Cupboard Under the Stairs at Number Four Privet Drive. The mistreatment of him as a child by his aunt is terrible. He then sees his son Albus, hears whispers that “he’s coming” and the voice of Lord Voldemort again calls out Harry’s name (CC2.1).
Harry’s final dream comes after Albus and Scorpius have returned from travelling into the past where they were trying to change the outcome of the Triwizard Tournament (CC3.10). He and Albus try to talk about their relationship. They are still unhappy (CC3.11). That night he dreams that he visits his parent’s graves in Godric’s Hollow with Aunt Petunia (CC3.12) but, as he tells his wife Ginny, this never happened in real life. Voldemort speaks to him about “guilt” and asks “do you still see with my eyes”. Harry knows that his son Albus is not safe – and evil and danger have arisen in their world again (CC3.13).
Voldemort’s presence becomes stronger with each successive nightmare. At the end of the play, following their defeat of Voldemort’s daughter Delphi, Harry tells his son that “it wasn’t enough to be physically rid of him – I had to be mentally rid of him” (CC4.15).
This is an updated version of an essay from 2006 which you can find here: http://www.hp-lexicon.org/2006/03/21/harrys-dreams/