How Harry Potter Would Have Been Different If Neville Was The Chosen One

Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images

When it comes to exploring the Harry Potter universe and all the myriad fan theories, there is always another piece of the puzzle to explore. It's why Harry Potter has been such a beloved piece of pop culture for so long. It's also because of the long-standing love affair we continue to love extensions of his universe, including Harry Potter and The Cursed Child as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. But could we still love a particular Harry Potter character if their role in the wizarding world was different? The Cursed Child has already played around with the notion of time, the role of destiny and cast beloved characters in different (sometimes troubling) lights. Which leads me to wonder what would happen if Harry's core function as The Chosen One was suddenly handed over to another character. As in: What would happen to Harry Potter if Neville Longbottom had been The Chosen One?

When you think about it, Harry and Neville have had some strong parallels in their circumstances. Both boys lost their parents in different ways and at very young ages. While Neville went to go live with his grandmother, Harry was shipped off to The Dursleys, his cold and distant relations. Both boys are outsiders in various ways. Both are Gryffindors. But when it becomes evident that Harry's fate will fundamentally affect the rest of the wizarding world, the way these two boys mature into young men differs greatly.

So, what would the world be like if Neville was raised by relatives and could speak Parseltongue instead of Harry? What would fundamentally change if the roles were reversed? Would Neville be able to defeat Voldemort? Would Harry develop a love for Herbology? Let's unpack this exciting idea.

by Allie Gemmill

Harry Would Still Live With His Parents

The most important difference if Neville was The Chosen One? Harry's parents would, without a doubt, still be alive. They would have gone on to keep fighting in the First Wizarding War, survived where Neville's parents did not and come out on the other side able to raise Harry.

The Dursleys Would Never Be Introduced

No Vernon? No Petunia? No Dudley? Yeah, I think that's one change we'd all be okay with if Neville was The Chosen One. Instead, we'd probably get to see more of Neville's amusingly batty grandmother. I'll take it.

Harry Might Not Be A Gryffindor

Without the pressure of destiny thrust upon him, Harry might have leaned into the Sorting Hat's suggestion he go into Slytherin. Harry's nerves and knowledge that he is destined to do big things greatly affect that interaction. Without being The Chosen One, this exciting exchange doesn't take place.

Neville Would Be A Horcrux, Like Harry

Neville as The Chosen One means he would definitely be a Horcrux, but how would it manifest? He would not have a lightning bolt scar but he could have another mark that lets him know when Voldemort is close by.

Harry Might Not Be Friends With Ron And Hermione

There's no guarantees Harry befriends Ron and Hermione. Raised in the wizarding world, Harry might not assimilate with Ron, a relative oddball in wizard terms, and Hermione, a Muggle. What bonds the three of them when Harry is The Chosen One (let's call it the "Endearing Outsider" factor) would not bind them if Neville was The Chosen One.

Neville Might Become BFF's With Two Other Characters

Who says Neville is going to team up with Ron and Hermione when he's The Chosen One? My money is on Neville becoming BFF's with Seamus Finnigan (another comic relief like Ron) and Dean Thomas (a battle-ready quick thinker like Hermione). That trio would be just as capable as our original Chosen trio in defeating Voldemort.

Neville Would Hate Herbology

As The Chosen One, Neville wouldn't have time for Herbology. Not in the slightest. Chances are he would gravitate towards Defense Against the Dark Arts or Transfiguration, two courses that would uniquely affect how he would defeat Voldemort. Neville is and will always be a smart kid, he just won't be using those smarts in a class as low-key as Herbology.

Cedric Diggory Would Still Be Alive

The Cursed Child centers itself around the fact that if Cedric Diggory hadn't died, many of the ensuing events around Voldemort's true resurgence may not have happened. But Cedric would definitely still be alive because Neville is simply not the sporting kind. Even if Mad-Eye Moody had snuck his name into the Triwizard Cup, Neville would have withdrawn. This would leave Cedric able to compete and Neville would have embarked on a mission to defeat Moody away from the Triwizard Tournament.

Snape Wouldn't Target Neville In Class

There's a case to be made the Snape will always and forever be a bully, regardless of his personal history with a pupil. But Neville would definitely not have been target in the same emotionally fraught way Harry was at the hands of Snape. Neville would have received a more casually tough treatment from Snape but his quest to defeat Voldemort would not have been as sharply defined by his relationship to Snape.

Sirius Black Could Still Be Alive

Sirius Black would definitely still be alive if Neville was The Chosen One. Black is, by all accounts, only linked to the Longbottoms because they were all in the Order of the Phoenix. Black, though, is much closer with James Potter and would have remained a dear family friend having not been framed by Peter Pettigrew for selling out the Potters to Voldemort and going to Azkaban as a result.

Neville Might Not Fall In Love With Luna

Hate to break it to ya, folks, but Neville and Luna probably wouldn't happen. Being The Chosen One does funny things to one's ego. Sometimes that means they put blinders on people. Chances are high that Luna would still be herself but Neville would definitely not notice her in a romantic way.

Time Turners Wouldn't Have Been Part Of Neville's Quest

There's no doubt in my mind that in any version of the Harry Potter universe Hermione is, admirably, an overachiever. As such, she would probably still be using a Time Turner to get to all of her classes. But the time-traveling hijinks of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban would exist no more because Neville would not need to go back in time to save Sirius Black, a man he shares no connection with.

Harry's Friends Would Still Be Alive

Whomever Harry befriends as the non-Chosen One, they for certain would live to see Neville conquer Voldemort. At the very least, they probably wouldn't die at the time they do when Harry is the Chosen One. That means Fred Weasley can continue to fight alongside his family, Lupin and Tonks survive the Battle of Hogwarts and even Dumbledore would make it to the very end.

Neville And Dumbledore Would Have A Different Relationship

Dumbledore would gravitate towards Neville in the protective and guiding fashion he gravitates towards Harry, that's for certain. But Neville is generally a different kind of kid: more outwardly sensitive and a touch more cerebral than Harry. The need to guide Neville as firmly as he guides Harry may not be the case where Dumbledore is concerned.

Neville Wouldn't Be On The Quidditch Team

Chosen or not, Neville isn't a sporty dude. Chances are slim he'd go out for the Quidditch team. He'd be too busy working out how to defeat Voldemort and save his fellow wizards. No, Neville's definitely more of an "editor for the school newspaper" kind of guy.

Neville Would Definitely Have An Owl

The Chosen One gets to choose whichever pet he darn well pleases. Neville would probably have the funds (thanks to his inheritance) to get whichever magical create his heart desired. No frogs for The Chosen One, no way, no how. Let's be honest: we all know the cool kinds spring for owls.

Harry Wouldn't Have Stolen A Car To Get To Hogwarts

Thanks to his parents being alive still, Harry probably wouldn't have had to steal a car during his second year to get to school on time. Lily and James Potter would have dropped their son off as is customary. This would mean that Harry could have gone through his second year at Hogwarts without being on everyone's radar as a potential troublemaker—a brand that would follow him for the rest of his time at Hogwarts when he was The Chosen One.

Harry Would Still Probably Have A Big Ego

With a father like James Potter, it's hard to imagine a world where Harry isn't just the slightest bit entitled. We know that James was a bit of a bully in his youth. Hopefully that dissipated when he became a dad but chances are strong he would have passed on the same alpha male tendency to his son.

The Professors May Not Have Helped Neville

Sure, even if Neville is The Chosen One he'd still get some assistance in his quest to defeat Voldemort. That doesn't necessarily mean Remus Lupin would have had a special inclination to care for him or that McGonagall would have been as tough as she was with Harry.

Dumbledore Wouldn't Have Given Neville Any Special Gifts

Since the invisibility cloak was a Potter family heirloom, Dumbledore would have never bequeathed it to Neville. There's a chance the Longbottoms have a special treasure or two but Dumbledore would have related much differently to Neville. There's a chance he may not have given Neville a gift at all.