When Severus Snape told Voldemort about Sybil Trelawney's prophecy, the Dark Lord understood it to mean Harry Potter--born on that day, and whose parents James and Lily had stood against him--would one day rise to defeat him.
That's what led him to Harry's crib that fateful night, where the two became linked in ways Voldemort never truly understood. But was Harry always meant to be the one who would destroy him, or did Voldemort determine Harry's destiny by choosing him?
The prophecy, in case you don't recall:
"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..."
Because "The Prophecy" might have referred to another child who also came into the world when Harry did, a boy whose parents fought against the Dark Lord, too. Voldemort could have marked him--who like Harry, would also join House Gryffindor and bravely stand against the most dangerous wizard who ever lived--as the one fated to stop him.
If Voldemort had thought of that boy instead, would we even know Harry Potter's name? Which of them would be remembered as the Boy Who Lived? As the one who finally brought peace to the magical world? Would we write essays praising this other savior instead? Or would they both have died as children, because Harry truly was the one "The Prophecy" spoke of, and only he and he alone was capable of stopping Voldemort?
Maybe the real question is what is fate? Do the stars determine what we will do, or do they only foretell the future we will write for ourselves? We will never know, and that's why we will never be able to answer if Voldemort was the one who determined the boy who became the most famous wizard ever.
But there is one thing we can be sure of--if Voldemort had chosen that other boy, we definitely would have remembered that just like Harry Potter he also was born on July 31st and yesterday was his birthday.
So sorry Neville Longbottom. Destiny or not, you deserve to be celebrated too.
What do you think? Could Neville have just as easily have been "Harry Potter?" Tell us in the comments below.
Images: Warner Bros.