Sybil is a highly sensitive and arrogant woman, who believes she can interpret the cosmos and who feels deep resentment when Dumbledore brings in a Centaur to co-teach her class (especially since he dismisses her preferred methods, and informs the students that Divination is mostly guesswork). She is often so wrapped up in herself that she fails to understand the larger picture of what is happening, or have genuine insight into things – she fails to recognize the reason Dumbledore keeps her at Hogwarts or that the Centaur’s presence is necessary, because it saved her position and also is saving his life. Her teaching method is semi-efficient, although Hermione doesn’t think so, but Sybil shows her true colors under stress, when she becomes caustic and insulting. She infers that Hermione lacks the True Sight, that her soul is shriveled up, and that she ought to cling to her books less—which makes Hermione storm out of her class. She does read between the lines at times, but assigns symbols to things – believing she can interpret the future through tea leaves, and often falling back on grim tidings of foreboding and woe, repeating the same patterns again and again through her life. (The professor sighs when a bunch of glum students comes to her class and asks which one Trelawney predicted might die this year.) Sybil believes in portents, omens, grim figures in the clouds, and only ever gave one true prophecy—the one that included Harry Potter and Voldemort, although she cannot now remember it. She is at a loss when Umbridge tries to kick her out of Hogwarts, since she has no other home, knows not the outside world, and has nowhere to go.

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Sybil is an eccentric woman but also bound by fear, emotional, and reactive. She is negative and always draws the attention of her class to the darker, bleaker side of humanity and what’s to come. She scares them all with constant prophesying of doom (McGonagall snidely asks which of them is “going to die before the end of term,” implying that every year, Trelawney makes the same stupid prediction). When Hermione scoffs at her “craft,” Sybil becomes haughty and arrogant, insulting her and her love of books. Umbridge “reduces her to tears” during their session together, and she becomes hysterical at the thought of leaving Hogwarts (forcing even Professor McGonagall, who hates her guts, to come to her defense), since she is petrified of what might “become of her” if she’s forced to leave the only home she has ever had. She is fearful of the outside world, and avoidant, choosing most of the time to stay in her Astronomy tower and not eat with the other professors. She specializes in Divination alone.