What Could Have Happened If Another Student Won Felix Felicis?
Harry Potter experiences more than his fair share of lifesaving lucky breaks. One of my favorite lucky moments for our hero happens in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Harry uses the notes scribbled in his copy of Advanced Potion-Making to brew a flawless Draught of Living Death and wins Felix Felicis, also known as liquid luck, from Professor Slughorn.
This moment reminds me that chance and coincidence are crucial to some of Harry’s most significant successes (and failures). Imagine if Harry hadn’t picked up Snape’s old textbook! Could he have beaten Hermione’s potion without the Half-Blood Prince? Without Felix Felicis, how would he have convinced Slughorn to give him that important memory about Tom Riddle’s discovery of Horcruxes? Without this lucky break, Harry may have never discovered the secret of Voldemort’s soul splitting, thus altering his destiny forever.
With this in mind and St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I wonder, what could have happened if someone else had won the liquid luck that day?
Hermione should have won the Felix Felicis. Although she is at the top of her class in Potions, her careful attention to detail in her unannotated copy of Advanced Potion-Making results in a mediocre potion. (By the way, hasn’t any faculty at Hogwarts noticed in the last 20 or so years that these instructions are subpar?) However, imagining Hermione as the victor is potentially the most boring outcome of them all.
Hermione is a stickler for the rules, so I can’t imagine her using it to help boost her performance on an exam (as if she needs the help). If Hermione were to keep the potion for herself, I don’t think she would waste it on just any day. I can see her struggling to find the perfect moment to use it. Hermione might save it for an important moment in her work petitioning for house-elf rights or maybe use it to break up Ron and Lavender, but I doubt if either situation would ever feel “good enough.”
I would expect Hermione to end up giving the Felix Felicis to Harry to help him interrogate Slughorn for the Riddle memory. She probably would have thought of this plan before Harry if the potion were in her possession! I could even believe Hermione would offer it to Dumbledore in an effort to strengthen his defense strategies against Voldemort. Hermione’s dedication to the greater good of defeating Voldemort would outweigh any selfish reasons she had to use the lucky potion.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco works tirelessly on a plan to kill Dumbledore. Felix Felicis could have blown in a perfect storm of opportunity for Draco. Obviously, my initial thought is that he would get the dirty work of killing Dumbledore done. It would solve a lot of Draco’s immediate problems and ensure a temporary safety for the Malfoy family. Lord Voldemort would probably shower Draco with praise for taking down one of the most powerful wizards of all time! However, murder is no easy feat for a 16-year-old. I am not convinced Draco was prepared to kill.
As the story unfolds, Snape ultimately carries out Draco’s assigned task and kills Dumbledore. With or without the help of Felix, Snape’s Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa Malfoy seals his fate. However, maybe lucky potion could help save Draco’s soul through different means. Could the potion spark a conversation with Dumbledore that ultimately convinces Draco to sway his loyalty to the Order of the Phoenix? Maybe Felix could help Draco chip away at the walls he builds up around himself and allow him to tap into his fear and unwillingness to actually commit murder. If Draco felt desperate enough to trust in an adult on the side of justice, maybe they could work together to unlearn his allegiance to the Death Eaters?
Oh, Ron. He never stood a chance at winning Felix Felicis. However, if he did win through some stroke of unusually good fortune (like grabbing the Half-Blood Prince’s book himself), I imagine Ron would use the potion as soon as possible. I’m not sure he could keep himself from taking it immediately after winning it. Besides, at this point in the book, he’s going through a phase of pretty strong insecurity. He could probably use a good day!
Two likely targets for Ron’s Felix-induced luck come to mind: Quidditch and girls. What better confidence boost for Keeper tryouts than lucky potion? We know Ron doesn’t care about Felix Felicis being banned from competitions, and Quidditch is definitely important enough for him to take the risk. Felix might lead him to tell Hermione how he feels about her, or vice versa. If anything, this would save hopeless Ron loads of future humiliation and unnecessarily hard feelings. Maybe Ron would take one for the team and give the potion to someone in a higher-stakes situation, like Harry. I’m not convinced he would have the self-control.
What would you do if you won the bottle of Felix Felicis?