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Why Neville Longbottom’s story always deserved a happy ending

Neville Longbottom suffered and fought harder than a great many characters – he was solid hero material. Here’s why he deserved his happiness…

Neville defies Lord Voldemort and holds the sword of Gryffindor in the aftermath of the Battle at Hogwarts.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

At first, Neville Longbottom provided the comic relief in tricky situations, and spent the majority of his earlier years at Hogwarts getting into all sorts of mishaps.

Sometimes even Harry, Ron and Hermione didn’t take him seriously. But as the books rolled on, it became clear that Neville had endured more tragedy than any of his friends knew about for a long time.

By the end of Deathly Hallows, Neville had forged strong friendships, was leading Dumbledore’s Army and was playing an integral role in defeating Voldemort. After all, as Professor Trelawney’s prophecy about the one ‘born as the seventh month dies’ could’ve just as easily meant him as it did Harry, he could have been seen as the ‘other’ Chosen One.

We now know that Neville ended up marrying Hannah Abbott and became Herbology Professor at Hogwarts. Plus he and his wife lived above the Leaky Cauldron. Neville finally got his happy ending – and here’s why he deserved it more than anybody else.

Harry and Neville in the Room of Requirement from the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

He fought for what was right

In Philosopher’s Stone, some may have wondered (certainly Neville did himself) why he was sorted into Gryffindor. That is, until he took a stand – even if it wasn’t against Voldemort just yet.

‘Don’t you call me an idiot!’ said Neville. ‘I don’t think you should be breaking any more rules! And you were the one who told me to stand up to people!’
‘Yes, but not to us,’ said Ron in exasperation. ‘Neville, you don’t know what you’re doing.’
He took a step forward and Neville dropped Trevor the toad, who leapt out of sight.
‘Go on then, try and hit me!’ said Neville, raising his fists. ‘I’m ready!’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Neville falls victim to Hermione's Petrificus Totalus spell
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

He suffered more than any young man should

As the lead protagonist of the series, we knew that Harry was going to have some obstacles to overcome and some burdens to bear. But on the sidelines was Neville, another character with a tragic past that eerily mirrored Harry’s.

While Harry barely remembered his parents, Neville’s parents barely seemed to know him, having been tortured to insanity by Bellatrix Lestrange and a few other despicable Death Eaters in the days of the First Wizarding War. It must have been so painful to visit his mother and father at St Mungo’s.

As Harry took off his glasses and climbed into his four-poster, he imagined how it must feel to have parents still living, but unable to recognise you. He often got sympathy from strangers for being an orphan, but as he listened to Neville’s snores, he thought that Neville deserved it more than he did.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

He would rather experience pain himself than inflict it on others

When Voldemort’s Death Eaters gained control of Hogwarts, Neville stayed at the school. Not because he was afraid to run away, but because he wanted to stay and take a stand. When Harry reunited with him, Neville appeared as a bruised and battered war hero, about to go in for more action.

‘Amycus, the bloke, he teaches what used to be Defence Against the Dark Arts, except now it’s just the Dark Arts. We’re supposed to practise the Cruciatus Curse on people who’ve earned detentions –’
‘What?’
Harry, Ron and Hermione’s united voices echoed up and down the passage.
‘Yeah,’ said Neville. ‘That’s how I got this one,’ he pointed at a particularly deep gash in his cheek, ‘I refused to do it.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Neville at Hogwarts from the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

He didn’t keep silent

Neville wasn’t exactly known for his pithy one-liners. That was, until he had a reason to get sassy.

‘Alecto, Amycus’s sister, teaches Muggle Studies, which is compulsory for everyone. We’ve all got to listen to her explain how Muggles are like animals, stupid and dirty, and how they drove wizards into hiding by being vicious towards them, and how the natural order is being re-established. I got this one,’ he indicated another slash to his face, ‘for asking her how much Muggle blood she and her brother have got.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

He was always ready to help

When Neville joined Dumbledore’s Army, he took that oath seriously. For him, it wasn’t just about hanging out with his friends and learning a few new spells. It was about training to fight back. It was about knowing when to put your life on the line.

‘We were all in the DA together,’ said Neville quietly. ‘It was all supposed to be about fighting You-Know-Who, wasn’t it? And this is the first chance we’ve had to do something real – or was that all just a game or something?’
‘No – of course it wasn’t –’ said Harry impatiently.
‘Then we should come too,’ said Neville simply. ‘We want to help.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

He wouldn’t be broken

Neville with his Mimbulus Mimbletonia in a Herbology class
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Even when attacked by Bellatrix Lestrange – the woman who had already affected his family so much – Neville didn’t break. He had seen first-hand what torture with the Cruciatus curse could do to people, and he should have feared it more than most… But he didn’t let fear control him.

‘No, let’s see how long Longbottom lasts before he cracks like his parents... unless Potter wants to give us the prophecy.’
‘DON’D GIB ID DO DEM!’ roared Neville, who seemed beside himself, kicking and writhing as Bellatrix drew nearer to him and his captor, her wand raised.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

He worked hard. Really hard

Harry and Dumbledore's Army in the Room of Requirement
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

While Hermione was regarded as the most talented witch of her age, and defensive spells seemed to come naturally to Harry (couldn’t be anything to do with the constant threat of the Dark Lord approaching, could it?), Neville had to work hard for his successes – which just made his achievements even more impressive.

[He] worked relentlessly on every new jinx and counter-curse Harry taught them, his plump face screwed up in concentration, apparently indifferent to injuries or accidents, working harder than anyone else in the room.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Neville’s brand of bravery is one we want to see more of

Neville was a true Gryffindor and the best sort of human being. His brand of bravery wasn’t about running in with wands blazing – it was about picking your battles. It was about knowing what was important and being willing to fight for that. Especially against one certain adversary…

‘I’ll join you when hell freezes over,’ said Neville. ‘Dumbledore’s Army!’ he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, whom Voldemort’s silencing charms seemed unable to hold.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Script eBook