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Neville Longbottom: The Other Chosen One

by David Haber

On the night that Sirius died, after the battle at the Ministry of Magic at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore showed Harry the complete Lost Prophecy. It is then we learn that it was possible that Neville could also have been the Chosen One. Dumbledore tells us this, and then immediately insists it could only have been Harry. Why mention it then, in the first place?

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Reader Comments: (Page 17)

Neville can't be the chosen one. When Bode touched the prophecy, he went insane. If the prophecy was not reffering to Harry he couldn't have touched the crystal ball without becoming insane too.

Posted by Prongs from Athens,Greece on June 27, 2007 02:33 AM

Neville has to have an important role in the last book, maybe not large, but definitely important. I really don't think Harry has just been a big "maguffin" all along, JKR loves those, God bless her, but I think Neville being in the prophecy is more that than Harry ever would be.

I don't think Neville betray the Order or Harry either, he wouldn't, never intentionally, it's just not Neville. Someone did bring up Ron in a post, and I think that's really observant, because Ron has always had a weak spot when it comes to being poor and having his pride/ego attacked, and then would his schoolwork be without Hermione? That said, I don't think he would intentionally sabotage Harry, Hermione or any of his family (well, maybe Percy), but he could sabotage himself.

I liked it too that someone saw Neville as a sort of Sam Gamgee character. Sam is my favorite in Rings, Tolkien poured everything that's best in human nature into Sam, and I really thought he would destroy the ring. I have to say, I sort of saw Hagrid more that way, but Neville...that's a good thought. Sort of leaves us without a Gollum, which is interesting-maybe Malfoy?

I do think there's more to Neville's wand than that throwaway line on the train. Something popped into my head reading one of the posts. What about this? Ollivander disappears, shop closed up, poof, gone. Neville says his is one of the last wands Ollivander ever sold, but when did he MAKE it? There are a lot of ways you can think on Ollivander being gone of course. Harry's and Voldemort's wands are the only 2 made with Fawke's feathers in them as of the time Harry buys his, or at the latest when Ollivander checks it before the Triwizard Tournament maybe, but after Harry duels with Voldemort in the cemetary, Dumbledore is aware of something new. What if Fawkes gave another tailfeather and Ollivander made another wand? After all, who, ordinarily, checks to be sure of the core? And IF Ollivander did this for Dumbledore (he says he told Dumbledore when Harry bought his), maybe the best thing for Ollivander to do next was let Dumbledore hide him so the Eaters wouldn't find out. That extra feather of Fawkes' might come in very handy one day, sort of a less evil horcrux for Harry, or another power the DL knows not.

People have had a good discussion on history repeating itself too. Well, you know, that's in a lot of books because it's what happens in real life. A lot of people say history's boring, but really, it's stories about what people did in certain situations in the past, and that's not any more boring than the stories we all love, you could argue it's less boring for the best reasons. But history does repeat itself, for one really simple reason; human nature doesn't change. If you look at history that way, it's not only fascinating, it's a great method of divination. If you know what people did when something happened before, you have a pretty good idea what's likely to happen this time around, and you can be ready. Isn't that what Dumbledore has been doing with Harry and the pensieve?

Posted by Catherine from a forest in central Illinois on June 27, 2007 11:25 AM

Great comments, excellent points especially the one about Neville having a newly made wand with a phoenix tail feather for a core. That would even out the stakes somewhat.
From the lack of wands on the cover art though, I am coming to think that wands not be used as much as before, at least by Harry and Voldemort. Now that Voldemort is aware of the PI effect, he have made efforts to guard against it. I think Harry too have to learn to cast spells without his wand.
I can see how we could equate Hagrid with Sam Gamgee, but I think it is a comparison owing more to their occupations than anything else. I think Sam was a victim of classism in the LOTR. His strength of character measures up to any of the other nine companions, but he could never rise above his station. There are definitely many ways to compare Hagrid and Sam, but at the end I think Neville be the one by Harry's side.
As to Gollum, maybe Wormtail would fit the bill as the insidious agent of evil, who also has his own selfish motives in mind.

Posted by Patty from Quincy MA on June 27, 2007 1:32 PM

If there was a time turner or similar mechanism involved, and Harry travels back in time like some theorize, he may have delivered some of his message from the future to Dumbledore before his younger self knew him. There is a discussion between Harry and Dumbledore about the subject of the prophecy, and a question of whether Neville's mom could have or would have made the same sacrifice. If the answer to this question were no, and Harry were back in time to before his parents were ed, he might then be forced to choose between his parents, whom he never really knew, and his friend Neville and of all memories of Neville, since he could not save Neville and his parents at the same time. That's my theory. He could, however, send the Dumbledore and Hagrid of the time to rescue his infant self, knowing they were fated to get there too late to save his parents.

Posted by Anita on June 27, 2007 6:35 PM

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month s... and the Dark Lord mark him as his equal, but he have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord be born as the seventh month s..." (OotP pg 841/741)

�The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches [revealed to be either Harry or Neville]�

Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month s [further establishes the criteria for either Harry or Neville]�

and the Dark Lord mark him as his equal [here�s where the nonspecific pronoun/article ambiguity begins: �him� appears to refer simply enough to the subject of the prophecy, left up to the characters� and readers� interpretation to be either H or N; �as his equal� can refer to the marking action whereby V mark �the one� as THE (sole?) equal to himself (V), OR �as� can mean �like or in the same manner,� consider, in the same manner he (V) has (earlier?) marked �his� (this pronoun may NOT be in reference to V, but in reference to the �one� imminently being marked: trans. �And the Dark Lord mark him (H) as (has been likewise marked) his (Harry�s) equal (Neville).�) Now, this necessitates the question of how might Neville be so marked? Is it possible, as discussed in other posts, that the �scar� Neville bears is a scarred mind which prevents him from remembering? Could it be that, on the night Harry�s parents d, Voldemort went NOT to Harry, but to strike him (forgive me) dumb and powerless as Neville had been? I know this flies in the face of Dumbledore�s interpretation, but consider the possibility.],

but he have power the Dark Lord knows not [seems straightforward enough, in reference to Harry�s protection of love OR a latent power of Neville�s which has as yet remained undisplayed]�

and either must at the hand of the other [this is the section that we�ve all wondered at, for here is the most blatant example of Rowling�s deliberate failure to specify. There are three presumed possibilities for every pairing of �either� and �neither,� and whomever is not included by the �either� or �neither� references logically remains the �other� third (H, N, or V). BUT, �the other� can also mean one of the two both �either� and �neither� suggest, excluding the third for now. Consider this interpretation: �and either (H or N) must at the hand of the other" (the �other� being the one of the two (H and N) not , then either Harry must (sacrifice?) Neville or vice versa. There has been quite a logical buildup for Neville�s theorized act of impending self-sacrifice. Perhaps Neville volunteer to , or in a moment of haste commit to a course of action which leaves Harry no choice but to quicken Neville�s departure�to the ly Hallows?�or, might Harry be required to Neville in a manner similar to the way Snape must Dumbledore? Also, bear in mind before this reading suggests exclusively that Harry is a er, that �either� (H or N) must AT the hand of the other� not BY the hand of the other. Might Neville at Harry�s right hand, alongside him in the effort to V? Or might Neville fulfill a role similar to Snape�s (in relation to D) in hastening Harry�s own ?]

for neither can live while the other survives [what if this details HOW V can or be defeated? Consider this dilemma: IF, as has hitherto been the most basic reading, the �neither� references Harry and V, and �the other� is one of them or N, then how are the three all alive at the same time? That is the seemingly illogical yet apparently actual circumstance with which this implausible reading conflicts. WHAT IF �neither� here refers to N and V, meaning that following the action whereby one (N?) �must at the hand (fighting alongside?) of the other (H?)� neither Neville nor Voldemort can live? Perhaps their (N�s and V�s) lives are intertwined somehow (as appear to be V's + H's), so that the lasting of one necessitates the of the other (the other from between the two �neither� suggests)? This may alternatively suggest that �either (H or N) must at the hand of the other (V)� foreshadowing an act of sacrifice by N or H, resulting in �neither (neither H+V or N+V) can live (either V+N or V+H via the /sacrifice of N or H) while the other (NOT V, but �the other� from between H and N) survives� TRANS of this reading: �Either (H/N) must at the hand of the other (H/N/V) for neither (V+H or V+N) can live (if H or N s, it would result in of V; the action of the of H or N results in the s of both V+H/N because �neither can {both} live� consequent to the of H or N, NOT �neither can live while the other survives,� which when read in its unexamined entirety carries the meaning of they cannot all {V+H+N} or both {H+V, V+N, or H+N} be alive at the same time, or while �the other� lives{the excluded third of each of the previous equations}, which is obviously a disproven reading by right of their simultaneous state of all being alive) while (�while� can mean �at the same time� OR �whereas�) the other (H/N) survives�

SO, if you�re still with me, consider again: �Either (H/N) must at the hand (�by the hand� OR �alongside�) of the other (V/H/N), for (�because�) neither (V+H or V+N) can (both) live (subsequent to the of H or N) while (whereas) the other (H or N; the not- one) survives.�


Posted by Josh from Roswell, NM on June 29, 2007 10:58 AM

you remember in OotP harry gave neville the prophecy, which neville touched and did he not go insane, which means he was part of the prophecy. so harry, voldemort and neville are connected by the prophecy.

Posted by pamela sue from arkansas on June 30, 2007 11:13 AM

Patty from Quincy,
Thanks for your kind remarks, I think you're very right about Harry in particular needing to learn to cast non-verbal spells, his heart is too much on his sleeve and a wizard of a certain power can see him coming a mile away -certainly Snape can, that's what he's telling him at the end of Half-Blood Prince (one of the reasons I can't think Snape is all "bad" by the way). I think Snape, like Dumbledore, has been watching Harry far more closely than he knows.
I have to say I disagree in one way about Sam Gamgee though. Sam was underestimated and underappreciated by many, but I think he did indeed rise "above his station". He became Mayor and remained in that office for many years, became keeper of the Red Book of Middle Earth history, one of his daughters married into Aragorn's royal family and after his beloved Rosie d, he sailed into the West to the Un Lands, so in the best possible way, Sam, without pushing or expecting, or even asking, came to his true inheritance, by his own worth.
As for Wormtail....yes...I can see him in the Gollum role, pathetic, but beyond redemption. Yes, I think you're right. Maybe HE helps to off Voldemort.

Posted by Catherine from a forest in central Illinois on June 30, 2007 1:10 PM

Pamela Sue
Neville can touch the prophecy without getting insane because he would have gotten insane if he had taken it from the place it was before Harry had touched it

Posted by Prongs from Athens,Greece on July 1, 2007 12:32 PM

I think that Neville help Voldemort and also it was a mistake that He chose Neville. But It would have put Neville through the same troubles, right?

Posted by Dahnye from detroit on July 1, 2007 9:04 PM

I've always thought that Bellatrix Lestrange knows where Hufflepuff's cup is. What if she had to tell her husband, his brother, and Barty Crouch Jr. where it was while she was torturing Neville's parents so that they were sure Voldemort was still alive (or whatever you wanna call it) and Neville was there or was even in the other room and just in earshot really? We know Barty Crouch Sr. put a Memory Charm on Bertha Jorkins, so if anyone put one on Neville, it was probably Barty Crouch Jr., which is very bad for Neville. Bellatrix Lestrange used the Cruciatus Curse on Neville at the Ministry, compared to Harry's reaction to it on GoF, Neville is a big wimp...unless he has had a Memory Charm put on him. We learn from Barty Crouch Jr. that torture is a way to break Memory Charms, it could have unlocked a piece of the memory of just made a piece clearer, but I doubt that it was all of it. If this is true, Neville likely have to suffer the same fate as his parents at the hands of a good guy.

Posted by anonymous on July 1, 2007 10:39 PM

All of these things are just like a mystery that's amusing to solve, but you know someone give you the solution in the end!

Posted by Em M. from NY on July 2, 2007 06:56 AM

I forgot to say something. For the first 5 books, Neville had his dad's wand. Maybe that's why he was never really good in school, other than Herbology, though he gets help with DADA because he joined the DA

Posted by Anisha Hindocha from Tampa FL on July 2, 2007 11:05 AM

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