Prophecies rarely provide clear-cut messages and are essentially always open to interpretation, whether delivered by the renowned Pythia, the youthful Rachel Dare, or the eccentric Professor Trelawney. Harry Potter’s entire childhood has been greatly impacted by Sybill’s forewarning, which is provided below (according to the novel’s wording.) While most fans agree that Harry is the unrefuted Chosen One, the final Deathly Hallows film (in particular) sways heavily toward highlighting a heroic Neville, revitalizing the debate regarding which boy is better suited for the iconic title. “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…”
Frank and Alice “Have Thrice Defied Him”
Frank and Alice Longbottom were both active members of the Order of The Phoenix and skilled Aurors, who went out of their way to overthrow the Dark Lord. Although the specifics have never been revealed, they assuredly defied Voldemort on more than one occasion (at least three times, to be exact), which boosts Neville’s position as a candidate for the prophecy. Considering how thorough the Harry Potterworld-building is, it is a shame that J.K. Rowling has not provided insights into the Longbottoms’ heroic deeds; however, a fan-made film (by Kali Bailey) titled Neville Longbottom and The Black Witch provides theories into the family’s tragic past.
“Born As The Seventh Month Dies”
Another requirement of Trelawney’s prophecy has to do with birthdates, as Voldemort’s ultimate enemy was expected to make his grand entrance towards the end of July, for which both Harry and Neville qualify. The boys were born mere hours apart, with Neville arriving first on 30 July 1980, and Harry joining the fray the following day. It’s quite sad that Harry only discovers when Neville’s birthday is after five years of friendship; he should be ashamed! True, the pair weren’t exactly best friends, but considering there are only five Gryffindor boys in Harry’s year, a bit more effort could have been made.
The Longbottom’s Power of Love
Considering that Alice and Frank bared the burden of the Cruciatus Curse to the point where their minds were turned to mush is a testament to how far Neville’s family would go to protect him. The pair were only tortured for information (which they didn’t have) and yet their determination never once wavered. If their child’s life was on the line, there is no question that either Alice or Frank would have responded in a similar fashion to the Potters, and willingly sacrificed their lives to protect their precious boy. In doing so, Avada Kedavra’s effects would have become a suicidal spell at this point, arguably providing the same Sacrificial Protection results as Harry Potter’s origin story.
Neville Has “Never Been Seduced by the Dark Arts”
According to Dumbledore, one of Harry’s most admirable features is the fact that he was never once tempted to practice Dark Magic; good job Harry, thanks for not being evil! However, this point can be argued when considering Harry’s actions in the Half-Blood Prince, where he happened upon an all-too-alluring spell (Sectumsempra) that flirted quite intensely with the borders of the Dark Side. Harry nearly tested this unknown charm on poor young Cormac McLaggen before unleashing all its glory onto Draco instead, and even tries to use Sectumsempra again against Snape later on. This potentially deadly spell could easily assimilate amongst the other three Forbidden Curses, so Harry should have dropped it from his arsenal the moment its malicious nature came to light; Neville would have!
Neville Isn’t a People-Pleaser
It’s one thing to risk everything to stand up against an enemy; however, confronting a friend takes things to a whole other level, which Neville won’t avoid for the sake of comfort. On more than one occasion, Neville has been privy to the Golden Trio’s defiant schemes, and, knowing full well how dangerous the outcome could be, he tries to deter them as often as possible. Neville has risked a further drop in his non-existent popularity status by “ratting out” his friends to the Professors as a means of intervention and even takes matters into his own hands by attempting to block their path. Furthermore, considering how fearful the poor Neville is, he bravely declares that “I’m worth twelve of you, Malfoy,” refuses to comply with the menacing Carrows after they gained some authority in Hogwarts, and even gives Voldemort a good talking-too. What a legend!
Harry and Neville: The Heirs of Gryffindor
Both Harry and Neville have had the privilege of wielding the Sword of Gryffindor, which can only be pulled from the Sorting Hat by a true Gryffindor heir. This factoid does not directly relate to the prophecy in any way; however, one would need a great deal of courage, bravery, nerve, and chivalry to fight against the Dark Lord, a quality this House holds dear to their hearts. One might argue that Neville is a more fitting candidate for this title when considering the Sorting Ceremony. Neville believed himself to be Hufflepuff worthy, which resulted in a lengthy, internal debate with the Sorting Hat, who strongly disagreed. When Harry’s turn arrived, the Sorting Hat was in two minds about his House, seemingly leaning towards the Slytherin side of things.
Augusta Is A better Ally Than The Dursleys
Technically speaking, both these boys are orphans who rely on other family members for support and, although Augusta is not the most compassionate person around, she is certainly a more reliable ally than the Dursleys! Dumbledore tried to justify the horrendous act of sending Harry to live with the Dursleys by basically insinuating that the hardship will help build character. Similarly, Augusta never coddles her grandson nor does she use Frank and Alice’s popularity to gain sympathy or favors, but focuses on teaching Neville how to become independent. She is also surprisingly feisty on the battlefield and personally sends the acclaimed Auror, John Dawlish, to tend to his wounds at St. Mungo’s.
Neville and Nagini: The Coup de Grâce
The whole True Heir of Gryffindor debate becomes more pressing during the Battle of Hogwarts, whereby the Sword of Gryffindor essentially delivers the final blow. By beheading the last Horcrux (Nagini), Neville invokes Voldemort’s mortality, arguably allowing anyone to strike the Dark Lord down thereafter. The Deathly Hallows Part 2 perfectly depicts the impact that Nagini’s death has on Voldemort, and how Harry only succeeded because of Neville’s intervention. “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord” still potentially fits Neville, who eliminates Voldemort’s invincibility factor.
No Traitorous Influences
It could be argued that the only reason Voldemort chose to target the Potters is because of the influences of Peter Pettigrew and Professor Snape and, in doing so, Harry subsequently became the Chosen One. Peter essentially sold his soul to the devil and divulged the Potters’ location, whereas Snape insisted that Dumbledore prioritizes Lily’s protection (suggestively over and above the Longbottoms), which in turn gave Voldemort the signal that there was certainly something precious at The Potter Manor. It is widely believed that Voldemort’s self-fulfilling prophecy was his ultimate demise, which couldn’t have been accomplished without both boys’ contributions. Voldemort only chose to target the Potters over the Longbottoms because of outside influences.
Neville Isn’t A Troublemaker
One of Harry’s worst traits is his enthusiasm to go looking for trouble; and if he doesn’t find it, rest assured, trouble will find him! Bear in mind that Harry is supposed to save the world one day and that people have died trying to keep him alive, while others continue to make sacrifices for the sake of Harry’s safety. However, The Boy Who Lived incessantly partakes in death-defying adventures, which is frankly just a slap in the face. Neville’s more timid, law-abiding personae would certainly not take such great risks (which Harry arguably makes for the sake of glory). Neville would likely seek advice beforehand and ensure to get the grown-ups involved; only taking matters into his own hands when absolutely necessary.