Harry Potter was named as The Boy Who Lived after he survived the Killing Curse by Voldemort.
However, why did he want to kill Harry in the first place?
Here’s what you need to know.
‘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….”
Harry is given no mention in this prophecy, nor does Trelawney identify him as the child with the power to defeat Lord Voldemort.
So, how did Lord Voldemort ever find out about the prophecy? And why did he assume it meant Harry?
Severus Snape, the Potions master, happened to overhear this ill-fated message between Sybil Trelawney and Albus Dumbledore.
At this time, Snape was still a devoted Death Eater and follower of The Dark Lord, and so he delivered this message fearing the death of Voldemort.
Snape was entirely unaware of the identity of this ‘equal’ to the Dark Lord, and he will live to regret ever relaying the prophecy…
Lord Voldemort had been tirelessly working to ensure his immortality, creating Horcruxes as a fail-safe plan to make it near impossible for him to die. This prophecy, predicting his death at the hands of a newborn baby, was both troubling and laughable to Voldemort.
Voldemort feared death above all else, and he has never been able to accept mortality.
Needless to say – he was unwilling to let his hard work go to waste. He will stop at nothing to become immortal, and this bump in the road should be easy to solve, right?
It’s not a difficult task for Lord Voldemort – only two boys were born at the end of July to parents who have defied him three times:
- Harry Potter, child of Lily and James Potter, born on July 31st
- Neville Longbottom, born to Frank and Alice Longbottom on July 30th
Lord Voldemort chooses Harry, but based on what difference?
Let me give you a theory…
Harry or Neville
If there is one thing we know about Lord Voldemort, it’s his blatant disregard for Muggles, Squibs and Half-Bloods. The series provided evidence that Voldemort prizes pure-blood wizards over all others, the main example being his introduction of the “Muggle-Born Registration Commision” following his takeover of the Ministry of Magic in 1997.
This act saw many Muggle-Born wizards and witches being sent to criminal trials to divulge how they ‘stole’ their magical abilities from ‘real’ magical families.
Neville Longbottom, as you may know, is a Pure-blood. His parents, the Aurors, Frank and Alice, were both from magically inclined heritage – making the Longbottom’s one of the few remaining pure-blood wizarding families.
Voldemort considers any magical death to be “a terrible waste’ (The Deathly Hallows). In the reasoning for his torture of the Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts, Voldemort tells his Death-Eaters that she “considers the mixture of magical and Muggle blood is not an abomination’.
Harry, on the other hand, is a Half-Blood. His father, James, was a wizard, and his mother, Lily, was Muggle-born. Now, we learnt a lot about Voldemort’s past in The Half-Blood Prince, and an essential thing to note is that Voldemort himself is a half-blood.
So, does Voldemort see much of himself in Harry Potter? And, therefore, “mark him as his equal”? Just a theory…
It could just as easily be found that Voldemort was starting with Harry and always planned to kill both boys to avoid either of them becoming ‘The Chosen One’.
I’m not sure Voldemort could consider this; his ego may have diminished this thought.
In short, Lord Voldemort is succeeding on his road to immortality, and the prophecy predicting his downfall is too risky to let go of. So, he set out to find and kill the child meant to defeat him.
The stock he placed into the prophecy is why it came to pass; without killing Harry’s parents, he would never have set alight a hatred in Harry and a determination to have Voldemort finished once and for all.
Moreover, it was because of the protective charm that Lily had placed which meant that Harry had to keep going back to live with the Dursleys.
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