What if Harry, Ron and Hermione had never made friends in Philosopher’s Stone?
What wouldhave happened if Harry had never made friends with Ron and Hermione? Or he’d beensorted into Slytherin? We explore the alternative realities of Harry’s life in thefirst book.
Stories, much like life, are determined by decisions. Lord Voldemort decided to murder Harry Potter’s parents. Albus Dumbledore decided to place him, as a baby, in the safety of theDursleys; the Dursleys decided to treat Harry like dirt. And so on. Decisions are the paths we choose from all the other paths.
Hence ourfascination with paths untravelled – the decisions we didn’t make, and what wouldhave happened if we had chosen differently. In quantum mechanics, this is knownas the many-worlds interpretation：the theory that every decisionis in fact a branch point, and all alternative decisions are being played out ondifferent branches, in other realities.
The majorbranching point for the Harry Potter series, of course, is its first book, HarryPotter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But what of the magical paths untravelled? Whatdecisions would have altered the series as we know it? Let’s find out…
What ifHarry Potter hadn’t grown up in the Muggle world?
Right fromthe very first chapter of Philosopher’s Stone, a major decision was made：AlbusDumbledore decided to leave Harry Potter with his Muggle relatives, the Dursleys,in the hope that he would have a normal upbringing.
But what ifDumbledore had decided otherwise? What if Harry didn’t need to be where his mother’sblood was, and had been raised in the magical world instead? Well, for one thing,it’s safe to assume that the humble, modest and bewildered Harry Potter we knowfrom the books wouldn’t exist. He would arrive at Hogwarts with a fully-formed knowledgeof magic and his own fame. Would he have been a Gilderoy Lockhart in the making?Or maybe, after having been asked for the thousandth time for a magical selfie (‘Canyou lift your hair up so we can see the scar?’), he would have grown tired of fame.Either way, it’s doubtful that upbringing would have forged the fortitude neededto fight Lord Voldemort. His childhood with the Dursleys wasn’t a happy one, butit did at least make him who he was.
·What ifHarry had not met Ron on platform nine and three-quarters?
Not everythingis decided directly, of course. Some things are decided by chance. Take Harry bumpinginto Ron Weasley on platform nine and three-quarters, which is how he was able toget through the magical barrier. What would have happened if chance had other ideas?
Well, forone, Harry probably would have struggled to catch the Hogwarts Express. But let’sjust assume that he was smart enough to figure that one out for himself. For thereare bigger ramifications at play here. If Harry had not met Ron at King’s CrossStation then they would not have sat together on the Hogwarts Express, they wouldnever have bonded over sweets, and Ron would never have taken out his wand and caughtthe attention of Hermione Granger, one of the most important figures in the HarryPotter series.
Would theevents of the Harry Potter series have unfolded without the friendship of Ron? Whatif, for example, he had found Neville Longbottom, or Draco Malfoy? Would any ofthem have aided in the search for the Philosopher’s Stone, or been able to win agigantic game of wizard chess?
·What ifHarry was sorted into Slytherin?
This is abig one：the moment the Harry Potter series could have branched out in eitherone of two ways. If Harry had been placed in Slytherin, it would have altered hispath drastically. It’s doubtful, for example, that he would have developed sucha strong friendship with Ron and Hermione. Although that’s not to say that he wouldhave got on with Draco Malfoy, either. He was, after all, the worst.
Not havingthe support of Ron and Hermione also casts doubts on Harry’s ability to solve theseries’ big mysteries. Maybe there would have been a super-smart, heroic Slytherinfriend to help him? Or maybe he would have just failed to find the Philosopher’sStone and thus, inadvertently, returned the wizarding world to darkness four yearsearly? Even if that did happen, would Harry have been able to pull Gryffindor’ssword out of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?
·What if Ron had not been mean to Hermione?
This is oneof those things that may seem insignificant but is actually very important. Earlyon in the book Harry and Ron are already friends, but were yet to bond with thesuper-smart but pompous Hermione. In fact, after showing off in Charms, Ron wasparticularly nasty to her：‘It’s no wonder no one can standher,’ he said. ‘She’s a nightmare, honestly.’ Hermione, having overheard this, fledin tears.
Now, of course,there’s a chance that Harry, Ron and Hermione would have bonded in a different way,but as it stands, it was Ron’s mean jibe that sent Hermione running to the girls’toilets, which sent her on a collision course with a troll, which sent Harry andRon on a mission to rescue Hermione from said troll. You can’t get a stronger bondingexercise than that.
现在当然有机会使哈利、罗恩和赫敏以不同的方式成为朋友，但是目前, 罗恩的刻薄嘲弄使赫敏跑到女厕所，使她与山怪在战斗, 这让哈利和罗恩去执行一项任务，把赫敏从那个巨怪手里救出来。你再也找不到比这更能增进感情的方式了。
So why are these chain of events so important? Because as we mentioned earlier, Hermione isone of the most important figures of the series：a genius vital to the mysteriesthe trio must solve year after year. Just take Philosopher’s Stone, where Hermionefinds the book that unlocks the mystery of Nicolas Flamel. Or beyond that, whereshe solves the mystery of Chamber of Secrets while unconscious, or saves the daywith a Time-Turner in Prisoner of Azkaban. The list is long.
If the trio hadn’t bonded over that troll, and Harry and Ron hadn’t become close friends withHermione, it’s safe to bet that the Harry Potter series would have consisted ofHarry and Ron just bumbling about, never solving anything. Voldemort’s victory wouldhave been swift, and easy.
To celebratethe 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Pottermore willexplore themes, moments, characters and much more from the very first Harry Potterstory. Come back on Tuesday when we look at all the despicable things the Dursleysdo in the first book.