Neville Longbottom: The Boy Who Could Have Been

Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter as portrayed by Matthew Lewis and Daniel Radcliffe in the Warner Bros. Harry Potter films.

Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter as portrayed by Matthew Lewis and Daniel Radcliffe in the Warner Bros. Harry Potter films.

Neville Longbottom is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. He is my favorite character in the Harry Potter series, next to Hermione Granger. I chose to write about Neville because his character had so many possibilities. He was the boy who could have been. When the prophecy of the “chosen one” was revealed to Lord Voldemort, he chose Harry Potter which in turn made him the chosen one. The prophecy was that only a child born in July of 1980 would be the one with the power to overthrow Voldemort. Both Harry and Neville were born in July of 1980 and were both therefore eligible to be the chosen one. Harry was only the chosen one because Voldemort actively sought him out. Neville was born before Harry and therefore had more cause to be the chosen one.

Read on for more analysis (with spoilers)!

Neville’s character had so much potential and I wish that J.K. Rowling would have given us a more developed story line for him. In The Order of The Phoenix it is revealed why Neville was raised by his grandmother and not by his parents. We learned that Neville’s parents, Frank and Alice, were apart of the order and that they were tortured with the cruciatus curse issued by Bellatrix Black. We also learn that they both reside at St. Mungo’s and that Neville goes to visit them often. We get to see a softer side of Neville, where he opens up about his personal past and we see more parallels between Harry and him. A lot of the time, Neville is written off as a comic relief. He is always the butt of the joke and is victimized and bullied for no good reason. He is often portrayed as weak and insecure and while he may his moments of such, he is the most human of all the characters.

What I love most about Neville as a character is that he is easily relatable. He is not restricted to the characteristics of any one house. He was sorted in Gryffindor as a first year but has many Hufflepuff characteristics. He is quite timid yet he can be brave when he needs to be. He was a member of Dumbledore’s Army and was just as loyal as Ron and Hermoine were to Harry. At the end of the series, we see Neville’s true colors as he kills Nagini, one of Voldemort’s last horcruxes. In the film, we also see him give a speech to the crowd of students at Hogwarts, rallying them to fight against Voldemort and to support Harry. Neville is the most relatable character of the series even though he is a minor character because he is so complex. Through him, we see the spectrum of human emotion and know that we are not alone in our feelings. We seem him weak, sad, scared, insecure, hopeless, embarrassed, and most importantly of all we see him persevere despite everything that is holding him back.

-Sarah B., 12th grade

6 thoughts on “Neville Longbottom: The Boy Who Could Have Been

  1. Sarah,
    I really liked your analysis. It was very accurate. You wrote this review as if you were J.K. Rowling speaking in third person. 🙂
    Maya S.

  2. Awesome review! Fans of Neville must read this review! I admit, Neville was cut out too much in the book, even though in between the lines, he is actually very important, as you have demonstrated.

  3. This was an amazing analysis!!! I agree, Neville was made a sort of a laughingstock in the books, but he did rise to the occasion and save the day many times. Great job!!!

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