Yilise Lin’s Answer:
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first thing Snape asks Harry in Potions class is, “Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”
According to the Victorian Language of Flowers , asphodel is a type of lily meaning ‘my regrets follow you to the grave’ and wormwood means ‘absence’and symbolizes bitter sorrow. The entire question has a hidden meaning of “I bitterly regret Lily’s death”.
Alexander Irpan’s Answer:
At the end of the first book, Harry, Ron, and Hermione try to retrieve the Sorcerer’s Stone. On the way, they encounter seven obstacles. Each obstacle foreshadows/symbolizes something about the corresponding book in the series.(Continue reading the rest of his answer to see how the seven traps in the 1st book foreshadowed the entire series…)
As a refresher, the seven traps in order are:
- The trapdoor guarded by Fluffy
- The Devil’s Snare
- The flying key room
- The chess game
- The troll
- The potion logic puzzle
- The Mirror of Erised
Joseph Chastain’s Answer:
In Prisoner of Azkaban Trelawny refuses to sit at a table with 12 other characters because she would be the 13th and the first one to get up after that would die. In Order of the Phoenix, 13 members of the order are sitting and Sirius is the first to stand.
Part of Vijay Sarathy’s Answer:
As Professor Trelawney tells us in Book 3, whenever 13 people gather, the first to leave the group will be the first to die. In chapter 5, 13 of the survivors of Voldemort’s attack (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Fred, George, Bill, Fleur, Ginny, Hagrid, Tonks, and Lupin) all drink firewhiskey together. Lupin is both the first to finish his glass (he had “drained his glass in one”) and the first to leave the gathering (to look for Mad-Eye’s body). He dies first.
Steve Jones’s Answer:
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, on his first trip into the Forbidden Forest, Harry comes face to face with Voldemort. This was the first time they meet in the series (as Harry does not remember their meeting as a baby). Harry is rescued by Firenze, who is chastised by the other centaurs (especially Bane). They ask Firenze how much he has told Harry, and warn him that centaurs do not set themselves against what is written in the stars.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Firenze is banished from the herd for agreeing to help Dumbledore. The other centaurs however show their respect for Dumbledore during his funeral in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry enters the Forbidden Forest for the last time, and comes face to face with Voldemort again. Here the Prophecy comes full circle, and ”either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.” Voldemort casts the Killing Curse at Harry and both fall briefly unconscious. The centaurs do nothing to prevent this, only joining the battle with the second wave (when everyone believe Harry Potter is dead)
So in conclusion, that final key scene in Deathly Hallows is foreshadowed in the first book, as it seems that (known to the centaurs) it had always been written in the stars that Harry and Voldemort would meet in the forest with deathly consequences.
My other favourite bit of foreshadowing in Philosopher’s Stone is when Harry is learning about his past and asks Hagrid what happened to Voldemort. Hagrid replies ”Some say he died. Codswallop in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die” which of course foreshadows the creation of Horcruxes
And there’s still so many more mind-blowing details woven throughout the series that are pointed out in the rest of these answers. JK Rowling accomplished an impressive feat with the Harry Potter series.