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A partial list of possible Points of Divergence. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
A partial list of possible Points of Divergence.

This is a list, in rough chronological order, of possible Points of Divergence throughout the Potterverse timeline, for the construction of AH (Alternat[iv]e History) stories.  I have tried to avoid the more commonly used ones. Where a subsection appears, it suggests possible consequences or second-order consequences of, or background to, the PoD proposed.

Have fun, you lot.




  1. The Weasleys and Prewetts prosper.
    1. The Wizarding World does not impose fines upon RC recusants (you do realise Percy’s full name is Percival Ignatius Weasley?).
  2. Ariana Dumbledore is not attacked by Muggle yobs; Percival Dumbledore is not sent to Azkaban for hexing said yobs.
  3. Soured by his father’s imprisonment, Albus Dumbledore irrevocably joins forces with Gellert Grindelwald.
    1. Aberforth Dumbledore becomes the enemy of Albus and Gellert, and the leader of the Light.
  4. Gellert Grindelwald is shocked into better behaviour, along with Albus, by Ariana Dumbledore’s death.
  5. Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald are sent to Azkaban as being responsible for Ariana’s death.
  6. Bob Ogden and the Ministry take Merope Gaunt into care after the incarcerations of Marvolo and Morfin.  She never has the opportunity to interact with Tom Riddle Snr.
  7. Tom Riddle Snr does the right thing by Merope.
  8. Merope Riddle gives birth to a stillborn child, whom she had planned to name ‘Tom Marvolo Riddle.’
    1. She dies.
  9. Merope lives on after Tom Riddle Snr’s desertion and raises her son.
  10. Tom Riddle Snr does the right thing by Tom Marvolo Riddle and the child is not farmed out to an orphanage.
  11. Tom Marvolo Riddle is a Squib.
  12. Despite Tilly Toke’s valiant efforts, the Ilfracombe Incident cannot be hushed up, and the Wizarding World is exposed to the Muggle World in 1932.
  13. Minerva McGonagall is sorted other than into Gryffindor.
  14. Tom Marvolo Riddle is sorted other than into Slytherin.
  15. Tom Marvolo Riddle is killed by the basilisk.
  16. Morfin Gaunt overcomes Tom Marvolo Riddle in a struggle for possession of the Gaunt ring.
    1. Tom Marvolo Riddle is remembered as a martyr, killed by a Dark, Pureblood fanatic.
    2. Morfin Gaunt, executed in Azkaban, becomes an underground martyr-hero to the Dark, Pureblood fanatics.
  17. Horace Slughorn intervenes when he finds Tom Marvolo Riddle displaying an unhealthy interest in horcrux-making.
    1. Tom Marvolo Riddle flees to the Continent, hotly pursued by Aurors, and joins Grindelwald and the Knights of Walpurgis.
  18. Grindelwald defeats Albus Dumbledore.
    1. Grindelwald is defeated by another Light Wizard after his defeat of Dumbledore.
  19. Headmaster Dippet takes Tom Marvolo Riddle on as DADA professor.
  20. Headmaster Dumbledore takes Tom Marvolo Riddle on as DADA professor.
    1. … to keep an eye on the tricksy wee bugger.
  21. Tom Marvolo Riddle, upon being denied the DADA post, kills Dumbledore.
    1. … and takes over Hogwarts.
  22. Tom Marvolo Riddle, upon being denied the DADA post, tries to kill Dumbledore.
    1. … and Albus blasts him to flinders.

                                                               i.      … and is lauded for it.

                                                             ii.      … and is prosecuted for it.

  1. Remus Lupin is never bitten by Greyback (or any other werewolf).
    1. Severus Snape, James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, or Lily Evans is.
    2. Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Black, either Lestrange, Barty Crouch Junr, Narcissa Black, or another future Death Eater of that generation is bitten by Greyback (or any other werewolf).

                                                               i.      The bitten person is not accepted into Hogwarts.

                                                             ii.      The bitten person is accepted into Hogwarts by Headmaster Dumbledore.

  1. Lucius Malfoy is sorted other than into Slytherin.
  2. Arthur and Molly do not marry one another. 
  3. Andromeda Black does not marry Ted Tonks.
  4. Andromeda Black becomes a Death Eater or Pureblood fanatic.
  5. Severus Snape, James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, or Lily Evans is a Squib.
  6. Lily Evans is a Muggle.
  7. Petunia Evans is a Witch.
  8. Severus Snape and Petunia Evans, sniping all the way, bond over their common concern for Lily.
  9. Remus Lupin is not accepted into Hogwarts.
  10. Severus Snape is sorted other than into Slytherin.
  11. James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, or Lily Evans is sorted other than into Gryffindor.
  12. Petunia Evans is allowed to attend Hogwarts as part of a new Dumbledorean initiative for Squibs and Muggles who are family members of Witches and Wizards.
  13. Petunia, also a Witch, attends Hogwarts.
    1. She is sorted other than into Gryffindor.
  14. Lucius Malfoy marries Bellatrix rather than Narcissa.
  15. Lucius Malfoy marries Andromeda rather than Narcissa.
  16. James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and, for that matter, Lily Evans, never twig to Remus Lupin’s lycanthropy.
  17. Only one or two of James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and Lily Evans, twig to Remus Lupin’s lycanthropy.
  18. Severus Snape twigs to Remus Lupin’s lycanthropy.
  19. Sirius Black does not run away from home.
  20. Regulus Black rejects his family’s traditions and runs away from home.
  21. James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew fail to become Animagi.
  22. The Prank is never attempted.
  23. The Prank is not foiled at the last minute by James Potter.
    1. Severus Snape is killed.
    2. Sirius Black is sent to Azkaban, or Kissed.
    3. Remus Lupin is executed as a dangerous Dark Creature.
  24. The Marauder’s Map is never created.
  25. The Weasleys are childless.
  26. Lily Evans does not marry James Potter.
  27. Severus Snape (see 31, supra) marries Petunia Evans.
    1. He has not joined the Death Eaters.
    2. He has repented of joining the Death Eaters.
    3. He flees the Death Eaters after taking a Muggle bride, and joins the Order.
  28. Regulus remains a loyal Death Eater and never switches the lockets.
    1. Bellatrix, Lucius, or another of that generation defects and switches the lockets.
  29. There is no Prophecy.
    1. There is a Prophecy, but Neville is the Chosen One.
    2. There is a Prophecy, but someone else – Ron, say, or Draco – is the Chosen One.
  30. Walburga Black, aghast that the base Tom Marvolo Riddle has dared raise his unworthy hand against the House of Black, defects to the Order, bringing all the Blacks with her.
  31. Tom Marvolo Riddle’s blood status is made public.
    1. His support evaporates.
    2. His supporters dismiss the claims as propaganda.
    3. Some supporters defect, others remain.
  32. James and Lily Potter choose another Secretkeeper.
    1. Remus.
    2. Petunia.
    3. Sirius.

                                                               i.      Who stays at Godric’s with them for better security

    1. Severus.
    2. Petunia.
    3. Albus.
    4. Andromeda.
    5. Themselves.
    6. Kreacher.
    7. A Potter elf.
    8. Ragnok.
    9. Minerva.
    10. Flitwick.
    11. Hagrid.

                                                               i.      I shouldn’t ha’ said that.

    1. Moody.
    2. Ted Tonks.
    3. Frank or Alice Longbottom.
    4. Augusta Longbottom.
    5. Ollivander.
    6. Florean Fortescue.
    7. The Weasleys.
    8. Aberforth.
  1. Peter Pettigrew does not betray the Potters.
  2. The Potters’s Secretkeeper inadvertently betrays them.
    1. Under torture.
    2. Under Veritaserum.
    3. Due to Voldemort’s Legilimency.
    4. By trickery (such as a Death Eater Polyjuiced as an Order member).
  3. The Wand Order Problem was never a ‘flint’: James died after Lily did, casting a paternal blood-ward spell as he died.  Harry is placed with someone nearly related to James rather than with Petunia.
  4. Dean’s father joins the Death Eaters.
  5. Dean’s father escapes the Death Eaters and survives.
  6. Harry is placed with Mr and Mrs Severus Snape (Aunt Petunia and Uncle Sev: see 50).
  7. Hagrid or Remus or Albus or, really, anyone, keeps Sirius from charging off after Peter. 
    1. Sirius is cleared.
    2. Peter is captured.
    3. Peter is not captured.
  8. Fudge does not become Minister.
    1. Someone reliable does.
    2. Someone worse does.
  9. The Longbottoms are not attacked.
  10. The Longbottoms are saved in the nick of time.
  11. Frank and Alice are killed.
    1. Neville is killed.
  12. Dudley is a Wizard.
  13. Barty Crouch Junr is never caught.
  14. Barty Crouch Junr never escapes.
  15. Lucius Malfoy is Kissed.
  16. Lucius Malfoy rejects the Death Eaters.
    1. … Less from conviction than from self-interest.
  17. Bellatrix is Kissed.
  18. Slughorn remains as Potions master and Head of House for Slytherin.
  19. Peter as a rat never makes it to the Burrow.
  20. Hermione is a Muggle.
  21. Ron is a Squib.
  22. Neville is a Squib.
  23. Harry is a Squib.
  24. Quirrell never goes to Albania.
  25. Quirrell resists Voldemort in Albania and reports to Albus.
  26. Harry doesn’t learn that he is a Parselmouth.
  27. Draco isn’t a complete and utter shit.
  28. The HP Generation are sorted differently to canon.
  29. Ginny dies in the Chamber.
  30. Sirius does not escape Azkaban.
  31. Peter as Wormtail finds Voldemort as snake in Albania.  The snake eats the rat. 
  32. The resurrection ritual in the Little Hangleton churchyard goes pear-shaped.
    1. Voldemort is permanently vanquished.
    2. Harry outduels Voldemort and vanquishes him before Vapormort can attach to any Horcrux.
    3. Cedric lives.
  33. Fudge accepts the truth.
  34. Fudge is deposed when he rejects the truth.
  35. At the hearing to address Harry’s driving off the Dementors, Umbridge is exposed, and Madam Bones arrests Fudge and Umbridge both.
  36. The DA is never formed.
  37. The DA is betrayed early on.
  38. Madam Bones lives, and succeeds Fudge.
  39. Slughorn refuses to return to Hogwarts.
    1. Albus never confirms the horcrux situation.
    2. Albus confirms Voldemort’s use of horcruces by other means.
  40. Albus dies in the sea-cave.
    1. Harry is forced to go on the run.
    2. Harry is posthumously cleared by Albus.
  41. Draco kills Albus.
  42. Neither Draco nor Severus kill Albus.
  43. Albus fakes his death.
  44. Rufus Scrimgeour cooperates with Harry.
  45. Hedwig lives.
  46. Moody lives.
  47. The Ministry does not fall.
  48. Harry does not marry Ginny.


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13 comments or Leave a comment
penhaligonblue From: penhaligonblue Date: August 27th, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
All very intriguing possibilities. As it happens, omniocular is currently seeking prompts for its AU challenge. Would you mind if I provided them with a link to this list?
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 27th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Not at all. I'd be delighted.

Do feel free. This is for everyone's use as they wish.
eagles_rock From: eagles_rock Date: August 27th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is rather a mind-boggling list, 'Petunia marries Severus' is horrific, hilarious and yet somehow rather a fine idea.

Then I considered 'Eileen Prince falls for a kind, happy bloke', but while to me that's no guarantee that her child would turn out one whit different, I did wonder if canon contains one character who had a happy childhood who turned bad.

On the importance of names, not only 'noms de loup' as sgt_majorette put it, but in relation to Narcissa choosing a husband (and not the other way around) she was doomed to choose a male reflection of herself, and see it through to the bitter end. Had she had black hair and a bit of a beak, or fancied Tom Riddle...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 27th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Now, THAT's mind-buggering. Er, boggling.

'Yes' to all points.
From: seneska Date: August 27th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
While some of these do bring up excellent "what ifs", some or far more likely than others. For example number 27 is far less likely than number 73. A lifetime of experiences would cause you to make a decision as important as fanaticism, whereas one wrong turn for a rat could mean death.

I'm pondering now the "what if" of if Dumbledore had managed to reach Grindelwald, as a friend, and return him to the light. Can you imagine how the wizarding world would have changed with two incredibly potent light mages, at least one with ambition? Such a possibilty as Voldemort would never come about, nor the society that created him. Perhaps worse, perhaps better would have come of it. that's the brilliances of "what ifs".

sam_storyteller has a great collection of an authors alternate universe stories. The best, and longest, being what if Lucius Malfoy had reached Godric's Hollow before Sirius, and consequently Sirius was free during Harry's childhood. The story is called Stealing Harry. If you have a few days free maybe you should try reading all of it.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 28th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

An excellent suggestion of your own, there, I must say.

And I don't at all suggest these are all equally plausible (although one wonders to what extent Ted Tonks was responsible for Andromeda's rejection of her family's traditional darkness, and what would happen were he to have been removed from the equation). I do suggest that a writer such as, well, you, or copperbadge/sam, of whom I am fan of long standing, could very easily take any of these and make them plausible and worthwhile.
tekalynn From: tekalynn Date: August 28th, 2007 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
These are fantastic. Thank you.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 28th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

Have at 'em.
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 28th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're too kind.

And I might have been clearer on what I meant in 70a.

I am gleefully noting all the 86c material referenced below.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: August 29th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)

I was just about to ask...

...which way the Gates are going to reopen.

1a. What, is there someone out there that didn't get the RC connection from the jump? We were talking HP at my spinner's club, and one lady said she couldn't read the Books for the Catholic school flashbacks! Redheads with dozens of kids named after saints, scary people in long black garments teaching Latin phrases to little kids, Jesuits...

10. I've written that one, as part of my AU America. We know that JKR had a grandmother who was farmed out to an orphanage and supported quite comfortably; as far as we know, she never became a megalomaniacal cartoon villain.

30./66. Petunia obviously does have some magic, if she was able to contact Hogwarts. I find that intriguing. I figured that Dudley was the person who was going to show magic later in life.

My theory is that the Evanses are pureblood squibs like the Riddles, and as such are just as proud and obnoxious as non-squib purebloods.

49. See my latest journal entry.

81. Ah, give the kid a break! He's not, even in canon!

102. Sorry, lads, but that had to happen; although I must say that as prim and spinsterish as I have become in my old age, I still don't buy it. Like when Ellen had her sitcom and they kept trying to give her a boyfriend: my elderly mother, who practices obliviousness the way some practice religion, kept saying "But I don't understand! Isn't she gay?"

There is a story there, though.

This is fun!
ladyaelfwynn From: ladyaelfwynn Date: August 29th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful list! (Here through Hogwarts Today/Daily snitch.)

One that occurred to me under #62 Fudge doesn't become MoM was that Dumbledore became MoM. Don't know if he would've been better or worse than Fudge. After DH, I have very mixed feelings about Dumbledore.

We find out Dumbledore isn't comfortable with power but what if he had succumbed? Dumbledore tells us he was offered the posiition of Minister of Magic but turned it down. What if he hadn't?

Just thought I'd toss it out there!
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: August 30th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)

After DH, I have very mixed feelings about Dumbledore.

Oh, but I love him more than ever! Sinister!Dumbledore is ever so cool; all that twinkling was beginning to make one wish to slap a bitch...
(Deleted comment)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: July 24th, 2010 07:10 am (UTC) (Link)

La Rowling said it on Paxman back in '03.

You're quite right in recalling their not being in the books as such.
13 comments or Leave a comment