Back to the Prophecy
by Esther Kleinig with Bob Sindeldecker
Let’s go back to the prophecy for a moment. This may seem a far-fetched theory, but it would make a great story for JKR to work with and it is possible, so bear with me…
Let’s roughly translate “the seventh month” as “the upcoming (or current) July”. Therefore, the prophecy was made at the least, the July of Harry’s birth (July 1980), and at the most, eleven months before Harry’s birth (August 1979).
If it was indeed before Harry and Neville were conceived, I imagine Dumbledore would not use his knowledge to try to interfere with who the One actually turned out to be, such as by encouraging the Longbottoms or Potters to conceive, because he wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but at the same time, he’d want it to be someone on his side. So he might have kept it quiet.
However, even if DUMBLEDORE didn’t try to control the birth, we cannot be sure that VOLDEMORT didn’t. Perhaps Voldemort would want such a child to be in his control. So he might encourage a trusted Death Eater to have a child around the appropriate time. That way, he could pretend that this would ensure the child would be brought up non-threatening.
Of course, that wouldn’t really be the plan. Voldemort would be secretly thinking that he could kill the child. And knowing Death Eaters, the parents would be secretly thinking that they’d bring the child up to overthrow Voldemort.
So just imagine this: some Death Eaters decide to conceive “The One”. Then, at some point they find out that the child isn’t The One. They probably didn’t want this child in its own right. But – for appearances, I would assume – they keep the child. Throughout this child’s life, however, s/he learns that s/he was not really wanted, either directly (the parents telling the child) or indirectly (sensing from the parents’ behavior).
Now, who fits this profile?
For me, this explains much about the psychology of Draco and the Malfoys. As far as keeping up appearances goes – and to protect their image for the Ministry – of COURSE they wanted the child. Let’s shower him with presents and sweets to show this. But I have reread all the books, and have not found one instance where it appears that the Malfoys actually WANT Draco. Draco speaks about being “wanted”, but this is in contrast to Harry with the Dursleys. The Malfoys have him home for appearances’ sake. They don’t really WANT him.
To put it short, Draco was meant to be Harry, and seeing as he is not, the Malfoys despise both Draco and Harry. And Draco learning this – he may already know or may never know – translates into a passionate hatred of Harry. He already hates Harry because Harry’s famous, because Harry’s good at Quidditch, and because Harry’s initial defeat of Voldemort translated into massive loss of wealth and power for his family. Add to this the discovery that HE, DRACO was meant to be the one with the power,and we might even have cause for Draco to try to murder Harry.
This may also be why Draco tried to make friends with Harry right away: not to suck up to the famous hero (a hero he despises) but to salvage his own worth as a human being. If he brought Harry into the Malfoy (hence Voldemort) fold, he might be forgiven for not being The One and redeem himself in the eyes of his parents. Or at the least, his father.
He may also have been instructed to do this by Lucius.
Okay, I’m not going to pretend this theory is perfect. There is one small problem. The prophecy states that “The One with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches” – that’s “approaches” in the present tense, which sounds more like the kid’s already been conceived. But not necessarily.
And one much bigger problem. When Trelawney gave the prophecy, she said that the One would be “born to those who have thrice defied him”. It seems unlikely that trusted Death Eaters would have defied Voldemort three times before that year. Voldemort had been in power ten years at the time, so slip-ups are likely over that time, but as Slytherins wanting to save their own skins, they probably wouldn’t be so stupid as to deliberately defy Voldemort three times.
However, it is possible. Here are some ideas how:
- Voldemort may have specifically chosen a couple who *had* thrice defied him. Dumbledore wouldn’t necessarily know about any defying that happened outside the Order.
- The Death Eaters in question weren’t told about that part of the prophecy, and so decide the One would be their child, without realizing it wouldn’t work. This ties very neatly into a statement from JKR’s website – the Lestranges weren’t after Neville because they didn’t know the prophecy (latter part implied). Therefore, it’s likely that the Malfoys weren’t told (they ended up being less trustworthy than the Lestranges and Voldemort might have had cause to suspect this), but knowing Lucius, he may have heard snippets anyway somehow. Lucius and Narcissa conceive Draco around October 31, 1979, and then sometime before Voldemort’s downfall (that’s two years), they find out that the parents had to thrice defy Voldemort before the prophecy was made. They think: *CRUD* (or, insert more offensive, more likely word in the asterisks).
- Voldemort encouraged as many couples in his power as possible to try to conceive in the hope that one of the kids would be the One, on the off chance that he wasn’t aware of all the defying that had occurred (although to my understanding defiance is a deliberate act that would be known by Voldemort). Unlikely, as the Death Eaters would want to know why, and JKR has given me the sense that very few DEs knew about the prophecy. However, it does seem a bit coincidental that Crabbe, Goyle and Malfoy were born to Death Eater parents in the same year as Harry. Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy – all Death Eater fathers, all with kids born in the right year to be the One. We don’t know if Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle have older siblings, but it seems quite weird for Draco’s parents to plump for that particular year for a kid – the height of a ten-year reign of their Dark Lord. Yes, I’m aware of accidental conception – maybe their Anti-Conception Jinx, like the pill, is only 97% effective – but surely Death Eaters wouldn’t squirm to abort an inconvenient child. This is JKR’s world, though, and she seems to keep it fairly clean from those controversial issues so as not to create a fuss.In Statistics we learn that one occurrence can mean anything, two may be a coincidence but three is a definite trend. For three children to be born to Death Eaters in the same year then – and notice they are all in Harry’s year, and all boys – is almost definitely intentional. It is also likely that Voldemort did not share any information with his followers they did not need to know. He could have encouraged them to breed simply to expand the numbers of the faithful, just as Adolf Hitler encouraged his SS men to have large families. It is another Nazi parallel which fits perfectly.
- The spy who heard the prophecy *forgot* about the thrice-defying thing, and didn’t realize it until much later, when the woman was already pregnant, or even when the kid was already born. This is unlikely as Voldemort would probably use Legilimency to ensure that the prophecy was reported accurately.
- But, if our spy was Snape, perhaps he withheld sections of the prophecy in order to have the advantage, or to have evidence for proving himself to Dumbledore. He is a sufficiently accomplished Occlumens and Legilimens. This makes the issue of Snape’s loyalties a little messy and I’m not sure if it works, not being much of a Snape analyst myself.
The fact that Draco did not turn out to be the One would then make Lucius (and Narcissa, I’ll assume) detest this son he did not even want. Draco’s inadequacies would appear heightened when Lucius thought of what the kid *might* have been. Draco may have even heard of what he *could* have been. He could even share Harry’s birthday, too, not unlike Neville – JKR hasn’t wished him a happy birthday on her site, but why would she want to? He’s such a little snot.
I don’t think Draco is the One. Not a chance. But I think it’s possible that Draco was created to be the One, causing only inconvenience when he turned out to just be an ordinary kid – and a snotty, whining one at that! I even might verge on a little sympathy for him if this pans out…