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The Harry Potter Fan Theory About Neville That Would Change Everything

"Harry Potter" burst onto the literary scene in the '90s and quickly became one of the most popular and beloved stories of all time. Author J.K. Rowling invited readers to immerse themselves in the wizarding world and follow Harry Potter and his classmates on an epic journey to defeat the Dark Lord Voldemort. In 2001, crowds gathered outside movie theaters to see "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" make its debut on the big screen, and the film made stars out of its young actors, including Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley.

Throughout the series, the strongest and most loved personalities often come out of unlikely characters. That was the case with Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), who, despite being sorted into Gryffindor, starts off his first year at Hogwarts as a shy, clumsy, and easily shaken boy before we see him grow into a strong-willed and resilient asset to Harry Potter. 

While he ends up fighting against dark wizardry with bravery and ferocity that no one expected, the backstory of Neville Longbottom (via Wizarding World) is one that those familiar with the series know all too well. Professor Trelawney prophesied that a chosen one would defeat Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), for which both Harry and Neville fit the bill. Had Voldemort attacked Neville's family rather than Harry's, Neville would have gone on to become the possible hero of the franchise. It was only after the death of Voldemort and the Potters that Neville's parents were driven to insanity by the Death Eaters, leaving Neville with the hand-me-down wand that had once belonged to his father.

Could Neville's broomstick have been tampered?

In the Wizarding World, "the wand chooses the wizard." Each wizard's wand has unique and special qualities that make it a perfect match for one specific individual. No matter his ability, Neville wouldn't have been able to perform to his full capability with his father's wand. This could be the reason mishaps and chaos seemed to plague him throughout his early years at Hogwarts, but one theory suggests there could be more to his misfortunes.

In "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the young wizards have their first flying lesson, which turns near-disastrous for Neville. When his broomstick takes on a mind of its own and thrashes about in the air, poor Neville is only able to hang on for a short time before he inevitably falls and breaks his wrist. This type of unusual broom behavior is seen once more when Professor Quirrell (Ian Hart) curses Harry's broomstick during the Quidditch match, nearly causing Harry to fall to his demise. This opens viewers up to the idea that Neville's broomstick could also have been tampered with in an attempt to eliminate the young wizard. 

This is an idea that has been explored in a number of Reddit threads, with u/samwytch0108 positing that Quirrell may have been "hedging his bet" by cursing both Harry and Neville's broomsticks. Others, however, disagree with this theory; in another thread, u/MelissaRose95 wrote that the aforementioned scene was included to show "how bad Neville was at flying and how bad luck always seem to follow him."

The torture Neville's parents endured undoubtedly left a mark on Neville's life as a wizard, but he was never short of any magical abilities. Had he been given his own wand from the beginning, Neville may have started at Hogwarts with much better luck or even been able to save himself from harm during that first flying lesson.