Happy Birthday to Neville Longbottom!

Jul 30, 2017

Posted by: Amanda Kirk

Birthdays, Character Birthdays

Neville could quip that he’s the boy who LOL’d.  He lacked both confidence and coordination when he went to Hogwarts but advanced in both skill and self-esteem to the point of having a crucial leadership position, and playing key practical and symbolic roles in the defeat of Voldemort.

Fans of the films often note admiringly that puberty was kind to Neville.  But the character’s looks are not the focus of his development in the books.  His potential was always there; we observe it long before we know what an important part he will play in the Battle of Hogwarts.  He takes on Crabbe and Goyle single-handedly during this very first term at Hogwarts and, at the end of that same year, stands up to his friends to try and prevent them getting into trouble and losing more points for Gryffindor, not to mention venturing into the Forbidden Forest for his detention, red sparks notwithstanding, after demonstrating yet more bravery in leaving his dormitory at night to try to warn his friends.  And don’t forget, the Sorting Hat placed him in Gryffindor in the first place.

rs_1024x769-161210153824-1024-neville-longbottom-matthew-lewis-harry-potter-121016In each subsequent book, he has moments where he shows flashes of talent or bravery, such as facing the Bogart in his third year, his gift for Herbology, his valour both in the Department of Mysteries and on the Astronomy Tower. It’s in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where we see the most dramatic changes in Neville, and also begin to understand his character better.  At Christmas, we learn the reason why Neville has been raised by his “formidable” grandmother.  We realise that he has not only lived as an orphan, like Harry, but that he was raised in the large shadow of his parents’ legacy as capable, valiant, and popular Aurors.  Later, when the Death Eaters escape from Azkaban, Neville seems to take the freedom of his parents’ torturers as a personal affront.  We understand the deep significance of the seemingly small detail of breaking his wand in the battle at the Department of Mysteries and getting a replacement that chooses him.  Even more than Ron’s feeling of not measuring up to his illustrious brothers, which was compounded by the hand-me-downs of rat and wand, Neville was carrying the weight of family expectations in his father’s wand.  We know that was so heavy, it’s a wonder anyone could life the wand at all.

Today Neville turns 37.  He is married to Hannah Abbott, the proprietress of The Leaky Cauldron, and he is Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts.  Even if you can’t make it to London to stop in the pub to wish him a Happy Birthday in person, raise your glass to him today wherever you are.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.