Neville – Old French for “from the new farmland.”
Longbottom – The name itself is considered quite humorous, but “bottom” is an old word for “staying power.” This seems to accurately fit Neville’s personality and overall devotion to Harry.
Though Neville is originally shy and it is questioned why he is in Gryffindor, as the years pass, it becomes more and more obvious as to why he was placed where he was. I always believed in Neville and at first I thought of him sort of like Dudley. JK Rowling described him as blonde and chubby, just like Dudley. However, it is very clear very early that Neville is nothing like Dudley. Dudley is a coward who hides behind his fists. Neville has the courage to keep trying at everything even though he has had a difficult life. He is so like Harry in some ways, but so different in others. Once Neville gets a little more self-confidence, he becomes a true leader and helps people, just like Harry. Neville never gives up and fights for the changes he wants to see. On the other hand, Neville is awkward sometimes, and he doesn’t open up well. He won’t go out looking for adventure and tends to play by the rules a little more.
Neville had a terrible childhood, though I don’t think his was as terrible as Harry’s. Neville was born on July 30, 1980, the day before Harry, which would change their lives forever. Neville’s parents, Alice and Frank, were Aurors and members of the first Order of the Phoenix. Like Harry, Neville really knew his parents because they were tortured into insanity by four Death Eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange. More reasons to dislike Bellatrix. I know what it’s like to look at someone you love and know they don’t recognize you because my grandmother had Alzheimer’s. It’s a terrible feeling, but I couldn’t even imagine the pain of not being recognized by my own parents. Frank and Alice lived in St. Mungo’s for the remainder of their lives. This is why Neville is raised by his grandmother. Neville may not seem like a very important character but he changes so much in the course of 7 years, and always for the better. He starts off shy, but eventually, lives up to his true Gryffindor nature and becomes one of the bravest characters in my opinion.
One of my favorite Neville scenes is where he defies Lord Voldemort and tells everyone that even though Harry is dead, they can continue to fight because it’s the right thing to do. The Neville seen in years one and two would never have had the courage to do something as gutsy as that. Plus, Neville destroys the final horcrux, Nagini, without knowing why it was so important, just doing it because it was asked of him. Also, Neville tries to restart the D.A. in his seventh year to fight against the Carrow siblings.
Now more about why Neville’s parents were tortured and his fate is intertwined with Harry’s. The Prophecy. In case you don’t remember, I’ll quote it for you:
“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.”
Thank you Sybil for those wise words that you don’t even remember speaking. Well, as I said earlier, Harry and Neville were both “born as the seventh month dies.” Both of their parents were in the Order and in one way or another defied Voldemort 3 times. No details on how, but it happened which is all that really matters. After Snape overhears this and runs and tells Voldy, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange, with the help of Barty Crouch Jr., Cruciatus Frank and Alice for information, and eventually into insanity. Clearly, Voldemort found James and Lily’s son more of a threat for he tried to kill Harry, not Neville. Though his plan may have been to eliminate both of them, but he never got to Neville because of the whole Harry incident. (This could count as one of the times Lily and James defied Voldemort because Lily’s love is what kept Voldemort from hurting Harry. Just a side note.) On top of Neville losing his parents, he didn’t even exhibit magical powers until he was much older than the norm. His family was worried that he would be a Squib (non-magical person born into a magical family), and not knowing how to deal with it either tried to force him into something that would require magic or tease him. Also, while researching for more info for this article I stumbled upon something. What if Voldemort DID mark Neville, just not physically like Harry? What if Neville was placed under a spell that made him forget his magical abilities like this article suggests? My mind has just been blown. It would explain a lot…oh my goodness. Plus, Neville does have the power to vanquish the Dark Lord. He kills Nagini after all! This is why love the Harry Potter fandom.
So why is it that I love Neville so much? Well, if you ask me, that’s a pretty terrible childhood. Almost as bad as living-with-the-Dursleys-and-not-knowing-you’re-a-wizard-until-a-half-giant-breaks-down-your-door bad. But even with all of that baggage, Neville never stops fighting to prove himself. I think he does it partially for himself, and partially so everyone will back off. There’s a scene in the first book that is often forgotten about where Neville tries to prove himself worthy of Gryffindor. He overhears Malfoy taunting the Gryffindor Quidditch team and then gets into a fight with Crabbe and Goyle. Neville is knocked out, but the fact that he stood up to them just makes me love him so much (there’s a similar scene in the movie, but I don’t like it as much). I don’t understand how you couldn’t love Neville (plus, Matthew Lewis is perfect for Neville! I’m so glad they got rid of the fake teeth and fat suit for the final movie! Read Matthew’s thoughts on Neville here). Unfortunately Neville isn’t always so gutsy, even a few times refuses to report Snape or Malfoy because he doesn’t want more trouble. Anyway, the real reason that Neville is one of my favorite characters is because he’s an underdog. Who doesn’t love an underdog? Not only an underdog, but one who overcomes so much in such a short period of time and becomes a wonderful person. God, I love Neville Longbottom. I don’t think this article is going to be any good at describing why I love him so much, I just do.
More on Neville here!
Plus an entire Tumblr dedicated to Neville!
Some Neville quotes:
“Why is it always me?”
Neville: “You can’t go out, you’ll be caught again. Gryffindor will be in even more trouble… I won’t let you do it. I’ll – I’ll fight you!” Ron: “Neville, get away from that hold and don’t be an idiot –” Neville: “Don’t you call me an idiot! I don’t think you should be breaking any more rules! And you were the ones who told me to stand up to people!”
“I’m worth twelve of you Malfoy.”
Dumbledore: “And finally, it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends. I award ten points to Neville Longbottom!”
Neville: “Fourteen years ago, a Death Eater named Bellatrix Lestrange used the Cruciatus Curse on my parents. She tortured them for information, but they never gave in. I’m quite proud to be their son. But I’m not sure I’m ready for everyone to know just yet.” Harry: “We’re going to make them proud, Neville. That’s a promise.”
“You didn’t see her (Alecto). You wouldn’t have stood for it either. The thing is, it helps when people stand up to them, it gives everyone hope.”
“Yeah, you and whose army?”
Neville Longbottom: “It doesn’t matter that Harry’s gone.” Seamus Finnigan: “Stand down Neville!” Neville Longbottom: “People die every day. Friends, family. Yeah, we still lost Harry tonight. He’s still with us, in here. So’s Fred, Remus, Tonks… they didn’t die in vain. But YOU will. ‘Cause you’re wrong! Harry’s heart did beat for us! For all of us! It’s not over!”
Voldemort: “You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.” Neville: “I’ll join you when hell freezes over! Dumbledore’s Army!”