Neville Longbottom is not without his share of fans. The blonde (in the book) boy whose own family thought he might be a squib turned out to be one of the bravest and most badass Gryffindors in all of Harry Potter lore. Neville was what they call a late-bloomer, which means he took some time to develop a reputation as an ineffectual nerd before finding his inner warrior and leading his classmates into battle. When Neville was sorted, even he thought he’d have an easier time in Hufflepuff. That’s probably true. But nobody becomes their best self by taking the easy way out.
While most would argue that Neville is not the hero of the piece, we think he’s plenty heroic in his own right. Maybe he didn’t fight any dragons in a tournament. He didn’t play Quidditch, or even join the Slug Club. But Neville was still a worthy Gryffindor, a courageous fighter, and a loyal friend. That’s why we decided to assemble this list of Neville Longbottom’s 15 Most Heroic Moments.
15. Went Directly to See Parents after Battle of Hogwarts
One of the rare qualities that makes someone a hero is their lack of bravado. Heroes don’t strut around, preening after they’ve done something great. Doing great things is just what these folks do. We all know about Neville’s heroics during the Battle of Hogwarts. Neville kicked all kinds of butt in that battle, risking his own life in the process. As we know, he dealt a major blow to He Who Must Not Be Named, one that helped Harry do what needed to be done afterward. In the movie, Neville appeared to be getting a little closer to Luna Lovegood. This is something many fans had been shipping.
And yet…after the Battle of Hogwarts, what did Neville do? According to JK Rowling, Neville went straight to St Mungo’s Hospital to visit his parents and tell them all about it. He did this knowing that they do not recognize him, they rarely speak, and that they’d gifted him a chewing gum wrapper for Christmas. Rowling tells us that Neville’s mother did manage to speak one word that night: Proud.
14. Joined Dumbledore’s Army Despite Risks
During Harry Potter’s 5th year at Hogwarts, he and Hermione decided to start a Defense Against the Dark Arts club. It was eventually named Dumbledore’s Army, or DA for short. Many Gryffindor (and a few kids from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw) students joined. Therefore, one might argue that Neville joining is no more or less heroic than anyone else. We disagree.
In order to determine how brave an act is, we must first recognize what someone has to lose. Harry and Hermione, for example, have almost no risk of getting in trouble with their families. Molly Weasley forbade her children from joining the DA, but what would she really do about it? Neville, on the other hand, is already afraid of most everything. He knows that he’s highly unlucky and would be more likely to be caught than the rest of them. Still, he joined. He worked hard. And he didn’t rat the group out even when he had the opportunity to do so. Augusta Longbottom probably supported his participation in the DA, though, so she can probably take some credit here as well.
13. Got a Yule Ball Date
This is another time when we judge someone’s bravery not by the standard of the average student, but on what Neville stood to lose. Most teenagers are at least a little stressed and nervous about romantic entanglements like getting a date to the big dance.
Neville asked Hermione to the Yule Ball during his 4th year. Neville wasn’t a tri-wizard champion, or a champion at anything at all. Still, he asked. More amazingly, after the first girl he asked turned him down — which must have been crushing for him — he picked himself up and asked someone else. Not just anyone, either, but the beautiful Ginny Weasley. Here’s where we point out that after Harry and Ron struck out with the girls they wanted to ask, neither of them attempted to approach any girls they actually liked. The Boy Who Lived arranging dates for he and Ron with the Patil sisters (both Gryffindor in the movies) felt more like a business luncheon than an actual date. For his part, Neville danced all night and had a wonderful time.
12. “I’m Worth Twelve of You, Malfoy”
Being bullied is a tough thing to get over. It’s bad enough when mean kids throw punches at you. But when they’re throwing curses that shrink parts of your body, make you erupt in boils, or that lock your legs together so you have to hop around campus? That’s much worse. Remember, too, that Neville didn’t have favorite professors to help him out like Harry did.
So when Ron and Harry finally convinced Neville to stand up to Malfoy, it was quite a moment. Neville took Draco Malfoy’s lame insult, and told him “I’m worth twelve of you, Malfoy.” Granted, Neville didn’t write that line himself. Surely, though, he was in imminent danger of getting stomped on by Vincent and Gregory, AKA Crabbe and Goyle (which he kinda did). Neville’s face turned red, he was shaking and stammering, but he didn’t back down. Game of Thrones fans already know that a man can only be brave when he is afraid. That’s Neville in a nutshell.
11. Encountered Fluffy
Mythology fans know that there’s a three-headed dog who guards the gates of hell (or the underworld, depending on your mythos). That dog, known as Cerberus, keeps dead sinners from leaving the underworld, so he’s got to be pretty dang scary. Cerberus is also the son (or daughter, it isn’t clear) of Typhon, easily the biggest, scariest monster in all of Greek mythology. Because seriously, how many monsters go out of their way to throw down against Zeus?
Hagrid’s three-headed dog, Fluffy, isn’t quite as scary as Cerberus. But he’s close — especially to a nervous 11-year-old. Neville first encountered Fluffy when he was already having a lousy day. He, Harry, Hermione, and Ron were evading Filch and narrowly escaping Malfoy’s plan to get them expelled. Still, Neville didn’t scream, didn’t give them up by panicking, and never told any teachers or staff what happened. We bet if any of you saw a three-headed dog, you’d tell everyone!
10. Kept DA Going During Snape’s Reign as Headmaster
Joining Dumbledore’s Army was already an act of bravery. Susan Bones joined even though her Aunt was on the Wizengamot. Arthur Weasley worked for the ministry as well, so his offspring took on a certain amount of risk by joining too. But after Albus Dumbledore was killed and Severus Snape took over Hogwarts (an active Death Eater as far as anyone knew), the stakes became dramatically higher.
Still, Neville kept the DA torch burning. Using Hermione’s protean-charm coins, Neville continued to hold meetings. We presume there was some tutoring, and a lot of commiseration. When we see Neville in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he looks like hell. But that doesn’t put a damper on his heroic spirit, nor does it stop him from remembering what’s most important. In fact, when we next see the DA at Hogwarts, there appear to be even more members than there had been under Harry’s rule. That speaks well of Neville’s leadership skills, one of many marks of a true hero.
9. Successful Defeat of a Boggart
We suspect that if you asked wizarding parents when their kids should start fighting boggarts, some would say that third year is too young. One thing we’ve heard about Dumbledore’s teaching philosophy is his progressive thinking on what his students can handle. He and Remus Lupin agreed that 3rd year is an acceptable time for Hogwarts students to tackle their worst fears. Wow. Not only are these kids battling the things that frighten them most, they’re doing it while their entire class is looking on. That’s terrifying.
Neville’s worst fear is Professor Snape, which is understandable. After all, Snape once made Neville disembowel toads (the same breed as his beloved pet, Trevor) as a task during detention. Neville was the first student in his class to tackle the boggart, which he looked utterly terrified of. We can probably all agree that putting Snape in Augusta’s green traveling suit, enormous hat, and bright red handbag was hilarious. More importantly, though, this event foreshadowed Neville’s heroic future.
8. Became Auror after Battle of Hogwarts
Fighting Death Eaters has got to be pretty scary. Fighting a hundred or so of them must be far worse. If you’ve ever seen footage of a disaster, you can’t help marveling at the people who run toward the trouble instead of away from it. Those people put the safety of others before their own. When people get a job doing that, they understand that every day, they’ll be putting their life on the line for the betterment of the society they live in. If that’s not heroic, we don’t know what is.
It’s possible that not everyone who goes into law enforcement fully appreciates how dangerous it is. When Neville Longbottom became an auror after he finished school, he definitely did. Having fought Death Eaters, and even survived an encounter with Lord Voldemort himself, Neville still made the choice to fight crime in his adult life. He doesn’t do this forever, but he does for at least a few years. Why? Because that’s what heroes do.
7. Defied Carrows
The roles of Amycus and Alecto Carrow are greatly reduced in the films. In the books, we meet this brother and sister duo at the astronomy tower moments before the death of…a major character. After the Death Eater takeover of Hogwarts, Amycus became the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, basically changing it to simply Dark Arts. Alecto, the sister, became the Muggle Studies teacher, which is basically the equivalent of putting the KKK in charge of race relations.
Neville defies Amycus and Alecto in several important ways. First, as we mentioned, he keeps the DA going. Second, he refuses to carry out their deranged orders, like using an illegal and painful curse on first year students. In the books, he’s given a slash in the face for asking Alecto how much muggle blood was in her family. Neville brought Harry, Ron, and Hermione into Hogwarts — right under their hideous noses. There’s a point at which the Carrows want to kill Neville despite his pureblood status. He’s just that much of a rabble rouser. He hides out, though, evading them successfully.
6. Department of Mysteries Battle
By age fifteen, many kids haven’t even been in a fistfight. To a kid like Neville, getting into a brawl generally means getting beaten up. Still, he was more than willing to take his DA training and go fight Death Eaters to save Sirius Black. And remember, he only believed that Sirius wasn’t a murderer because Harry said so. One could argue that such a profound display of loyalty also requires a bit of heroism.
Neville spent most of his school years being unsure, afraid, nervous, forgetful, and essentially inept in everything except herbology. Yet he worked hard in the DA for the dual purposes of fighting Voldemort and avenging his parents. It is Neville who convinces Harry to allow other DA members to come with them. Once he’s there, Neville refuses Harry’s plea that he leave. He stays to help Hermione even though his nose is broken and he can’t even say any spells. Too bad none of them were well-practiced with non-verbal spells.
5. Stood up to friends in his first year
Who doesn’t remember the beautiful moment in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when Neville brings a final ten points to his house? One heroic deed allowed Gryffindor them to win the House Cup and crush those obnoxious Slytherins. It was amazing. Dumbledore knew that Neville needed and deserved the boost that came from bringing in the winning points. Why did that happen?
Neville had only a few friends in his first year, yet he risked losing them the night the main trio snuck out to save the Sorcerer’s Stone. Standing in their path, he informed Harry, Ron, and Hermione that he wouldn’t let them go out and get Gryffindor into trouble again. That if he had to, he’d even fight them. Neville didn’t win this confrontation, falling victim to Hermione’s body bind curse. The fact remains, though, that it takes great courage to stand up to your enemies — but just as much to stand up to your friends.
4. Battle of the Lightning-Struck Tower
Potterverse fans often grouse about the book-to-movie changes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. One such change is in the final battle at Hogwarts, also referred to as the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. Movie fans know this as the confrontation that ended the headmaster’s life and branded Severus Snape as a murderer. Readers, however, remember it a little differently. The battle in the books had Neville and Luna being the only DA members still checking their coins — and thus the only ones who showed up to fight aside from Ron, Ginny, and Hermione. Keep in mind, though, that while Ginny, Ron, and Hermione had Felix Felicis potion to help them, Neville and Luna did not.
Neville patrolled the corridors, and ended up getting a serious injury. We aren’t exactly sure who did this, but we do know that Neville wasn’t hurt as badly as Bill Weasley, who ended up permanently disfigured by Fenrir Greyback. Yikes! This was a dangerous, unprecedented battle that Neville fought bravely.
3. Killed Nagini
Boiling a character’s heroism down to a single moment happens fairly often in epic stories. In the case of Neville Longbottom, easily his most memorably heroic moment happens when he kills the snake/horcrux, Nagini. While we’re talking about Nagini, let’s also dispel the rumor that the snake Harry freed from the zoo turned out to be the favorite pet of the Dark Lord. That’s not him. JK Rowling confirms.
Neville’s slashing of Nagini is significant for a few reasons. One, he’s directly defying the Dark Lord Voldemort. Two, the Sword of Gryffindor presented itself to him, confirming his bravery, loyalty, and fitness as a Gryffindor. Three, it was the final horcrux — the one that allowed Harry to finally put a killing on that evil Tom Riddle. In the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, this is a spectacular moment, especially because they tease it first before it happens. We’d love to read an updated version of Hogwarts: A History just to see how they describe Neville’s actions in the Battle of Hogwarts.
2. “Don’t Gib It To Dem, Harry!”
As we know, Neville’s parents were also brave fighters and Order of the Phoenix members. Augusta reminded him of that fact, a lot. They were tortured literally into madness by a team of Death Eaters led by Bellatrix Lestrange, her husband and brother-in-law, and Barty Crouch Jr. That’s why Neville lives with his grandmother, and why his parents live at St Mungo’s. It was Bellatrix’s escape from Azkaban that inspired Neville’s excellent performance in the DA. With all that in mind, it’s not surprising that Neville had all the feels when he saw her in the Department of Mysteries.
By the time Neville and Bella confront each other, Neville is nursing a broken nose. He can’t say any spells, and he’s helping a badly injured Hermione. Still, he stands and fights. When Harry has a chance to give up the prophecy and save his friends, it’s Neville who tells Harry not to do it. When the Death Eaters taunt Harry, saying that he’s alone, it’s Neville who tells them all that he isn’t. This is a rough fight, and it’s a wonder that all the students live…which is not to say that there was no tragedy involved.
1. Turned down Voldemort’s offer
Our number one heroic Neville moment is one that is played down a bit in the movie, and maybe even in the book, too. Neville is a pureblood wizard from a fine old wizarding family. This is prized by Voldie and his ilk. He Who Must Not Be Named (but is, often) seems to genuinely regret the loss of life of so many purebloods. He asks Neville to choose…the side of Death Eaters. Neville thinks Harry is dead and the fight is almost hopeless. Saying yes would save his life. Still, Neville stands tall.
This isn’t like defying a teacher or a parent, or even a room full of Death Eaters. Neville is defying the Dark Lord himself. We’ve seen Voldemort kill people because he doesn’t like their opinion, or for asking a question, or for no reason at all. But Neville rebuffed him in front of a whole lot of dangerous people. Neville was quickly and viciously punished for this. But in this instance, loyalty and sacrifice saved the day.
Did we cover all your favorite Neville Longbottom moments? Leave anything we missed in the comments!