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Neville Longbottom, Hero Extraordinaire and Heart of GOLD

 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:10 am    Post subject: Neville Longbottom, Hero Extraordinaire and Heart of GOLD Reply with quote

Neville Longbottom, a character who's life so closely mirrors that of Harry Potter and yet gets the crappy side of life at every turn. He is the unsung hero of this series. Let us start from the beginning, shall we?

Neville, like Harry, has lost his parents from infancy. Harry's parents are dead which allows Harry some closure. Neville's parents are permanently mentally disabled. Neville gets to visit his parents in the permanent mental ward at St. Mungo's. Neville's parents are essentially dead to him mentally and emotionally and yet he gets to see them and see their helplessness. His secret heart prays for healing that will never happen. He never gets closure for his heart is ripped open by praying for a miracle of cognizance each time he visits and then is forced to grieve over and over again. This is such a raw and personal pain that he is unable to share it with his only friends. Harry is given support, respect, sympathy and closure over the issue of his parents. Neville lives it every day and has to hide it inside.

Neville, like Harry, is raised by oppressive relatives. Harry is raised by his muggle Aunt and Uncle. Neville is raised by his witch Grandmother. Harry is oppressed by Vernon and Petunia but he has the knowledge that he has powers they can never possess. Neville is oppressed by his witch Grandmother who has powers that surpass his and he has it drilled into him from day one that he is little better than a squib. How can he not come to believe that? She never gave him a chance. On that note, Harry, never knowing about his history is given a miraculous reprieve when he finds out he is a wizard and is going to a wizarding school. This is great news and leaves Harry entering Hogwarts with great anticipation and joy albeit a tiny bit of angst. Neville enters Hogwarts knowing in his heart he is a horrible wizard and therefore lives up to the image his Grandmother has built in his mind. At least in the beginning anyway.

The first time Neville experiences anyone telling him he is actually good at something in particular is when Barty Crouch Jr in the guise of Mad Eye Moody tells him that Professor Sprout says he's good at herbology, this is in their third year. Harry has people telling him he's special from the moment he learns he's a wizard. Neville is told this not because he really earned it but rather because BCJr needed a way to plant a book in Harry's dorm. Does it matter? What does Neville do with this sudden praise? He believes it and becomes really good at Herbology. Is there some irony that this new found confidence comes from a man who was convicted of screwing up Neville's parents? I dunno. Very poignant though...

Neville is the class dweeb and yet he manages to secure a date to the Yule Ball well before our stories "Heroes." That had to take a lot of balls. You go Neville. You ROCK!

Harry has the close friendship of Hermione and Ron to sustain him. Neville has no best friend. He perserveres anyway. His love of his friends that keep him at arms length keep him strong anyway. It motivates him to go to the Ministry for that battle and keeps him fighting even when wounded.

Neville has no recognition for his suffering. Harry has the wizarding world keeping him in celebrity status. Granted it is sometimes a curse, it still gives Harry confidence from a source that Neville will never have.

Neville's bravery at the Ministry of Magic showdown is amazing and yet he gets no recognition from the public. He does finally get his first positive affirmation from his Grandmother albeit tempered by the fact that Neville feels his Grandmother wishes that Harry was her grandson rather than him. Neville's selflessness in protecting Hermione was amazing.

Neville IS a great wizard. When finally given the right teacher, in Harry during the DA meetings, he shows the promise of the wizard he can truly be. He becomes the second fastest to master spells/curses/hexes, second only to Hermione. Neville is no dummy or lousy wizard, he just lacks confidence and that is not a fault of his but an obstacle instilled upon him. He overcomes this with flying colors. Harry has had people telling him he is great all along and he believes it to some degree. Neville has never had that support in his entire life. Neville earns every tiny victory he manages and I think his victories are vast.

Neville finally comes into his own and starts a movement of his OWN against Voldemort and his followers. He singlehandedly starts a rebellion within Hogwarts. Further, he brings in all the people who will be essential to Voldemort's downfall. He finally faces Voldemort in person and in spite of hideous torture he finds a reserve of strength he never knew he had and faces Voldemort directly and kills the snake. He was willing to give his life just as much as Harry. His unwavering passion on the path of truth and right gives him an unparalleled bravery and nobility that no one else in this series accomplishes.

Harry was brave and great but he had a lot of luck and and help from people on his side. Neville drew almost all of his amazing courage from somewhere deep inside himself, from a place that was hidden under the oppressed fumbling persona that his environment had made of him. Neville NEVER had luck or gimmees or the advantages that Harry had and yet he still acted the hero when he needed to. Neville is amazing. I lurves the Neville. OH! and he's a great dancer. Razz
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Jenn, I was disappointed with Neville.
I don't know why.
I agree with all that you praised him with.
But as I read the all the books I kept thinking.......this kid is special, this kid is the *surprise*, this kid is not only going to heal his parents or something else magnificent but is also going to kick some serious, well placed, well deserved ass.....and......and....he just was just a punching bag right up to the end.

There were times as I was reading about him in the last book that I said to myself "I just wish he'd shut up."

But he's still good.
Like I said I thought he was going to be the "rabbit that was pulled out of the hat" character so that's where my disappointment is.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, we have such different views. I see him as the child left out, the child left to fend for himself and I think he did so well with the crap he was dealt. I want to cheer him every moment. I can see how you would think. But it still makes me say wow.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am with you, Jenn. Neville did come through with flying colors.

Yet, HLT has a point.
Neville is built up a little by Dumbledore saying until Voldemort's attack on Harry's parents, he was unsure which infant born on the prophesied day would be the one to threaten Voldemort. That always planted a seed of possibility in my head that both of them would bring about Voldemort's downfall.

And I think that did happen, which is why I agree with you. Just not as grandios as it could have been, on Neville's part. But...that's another thing I love about Neville. He does it because it's right, and doesn't expect any recognition for it.

You do ROCK, Neville.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, Neville stood out from the very first book and I liked him. Not only because he was the underdog, but also because he never whined and simply seemed so...nice. In our culture and era, we tend to immediately start looking for couples. In Harry Potter one couple I instantly saw was Ron and Hermione, but by book three I was quietly rooting for Neville and Ginny to hook up. Because by that time it appeared to me he had already begun showing the promise that emerged later on. What was unmistakable, of course, was his fierce determination during OOTP.

There is a quality in Neville that is rarely discussed, eclipsed as it were by his quiet and increasingly obvious (and extreme) courage. Namely, his good judgment. He is far-sighted enough even in book one to look out for Gryffindore House as a whole. Thinking about it, wouldn't it have been easy--even expected--for him to have deeply resented Harry as well as others? Imagine for a moment other characters in the same situation--Draco, for instance, or Henry Dean. Even in little things, like simply making sure he could indeed dance well for the Yule Ball, he shows foresight and good sense. This culminates, IMHO, with his leadership of Dumbledore's Army during Year Seven. Who would have imagined back when he lost his toad Trevor back in PS/SS that this boy would be lauded as a hero by the entire school, and that his grandmother would feel nothing but pride in him?

What also interests me is Neville's future. Like many, I rather hoped he'd end up with Luna, although I do understand why that would be problematical. That he wed Hannah Abbott seems very right to me, and I must state my own belief that sooner or later Neville Longbottom will be Head of Gryffindore House. Another detail I loved was that (according to Rowling, who would know) Neville joined Harry and Ron as Aurors in the new Ministry, helping erase the last Death Eater vestiges.

Neville's parents were heroes, no doubt about it. But if anything--and despite his grandmother's (benevolent but overwhelming) feelings--Neville exceeded them.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even in the first book you can see Neville's courage and convictions in doing what he feels is right. Even when the poor kid is scared half to death (like in his first flying lesson) he goes ahead and does what needs to be done anyway - and think how brave he was to have the second lesson (which we never see) after having been hurt in the first. And then trying to stop the Big Three when they are sneaking out at night to go after the Stone - he knew that he could not stop them physically or magically - but he tried anyway, because he thought it was simply the right thing to do. Cool

Yes, the seeds of a true born hero are there from the very start. Very Happy Cool
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm kinda with Jenn on Neville.
In the last movie he takes a blast from Voldemort who weilding the Eldar wand.
That should have fried him right then and there. Maybe the sword protected him.
But like Jenn said. He was at the bottom of the list when it came to confidence and he achieved the top after the battle.
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh guys, he destroyed the last Horcrux right? And nobody else could have done it, and if he hadn't, Voldemort would have won. Dontcha see that the prophecy was about him the whole time?

Well, actually Menolly was right, it was about both of them. By going after Harry, V made it mainly him. If he had gone after Neville at the beginning, then Neville would have been Harry and vice versa.

(Except "Neville Longbottom and the..." doesn't have quite the same sound to it... Laughing )

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