If events in the Harry Potter series had happened even slightly differently, Neville Longbottom might have been The Boy Who Lived. The prophecy could have easily been made for him, and he, too, was a brave Gryffindor who was instrumental in winning the Battle of Hogwarts and defeating Lord Voldemort.
Neville doesn't get enough credit for everything he did throughout his Hogwarts career, a time in which he grew and showed more progress than many other young witches and wizards. In many instances, Neville proved to truly be the bravest Gryffindor of them all, and he didn't have to be flashy or brag about it, either.
10 He Stood Up To His Friends
One of the most well-known instances of Neville's bravery occurred when the trio was in the middle of sneaking out at night and Neville caught them by surprise, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Sure, they were on a mission to defeat Voldemort, which they didn't even know at the time, but Neville knew they were bound to get caught and cost Gryffindor more points.
Neville's tremulous scolding was much braver than Hermione's Petrificus Totalus curse, which was totally unnecessary. There were plenty of other ways to handle Neville that wouldn't have caused him further terror and embarrassment.
9 He Saw His Parents At St. Mungo's
Every time Neville went to visit his parents at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries with his grandmother, he proved himself one of the bravest Gryffindors alive. It takes a lot more courage to face your parents in such a pitiable state (knowing they will never improve) than to chase after some troll in a bathroom, and Neville visited regularly.
While Neville looked embarrassed when his friends saw him at the hospital, he definitely was used to his mother gifting him candy wrappers and holding onto them, demonstrating his ability to handle this tragic moment on repeat with his family.
8 He Faced His Professor As A Boggart... And A Person
Sure, everyone in Professor Lupin's class faced their boggarts in front of their peers, which is really an example of questionable teaching methods, but Neville had everyone find out that his greatest fear was Professor Snape. This seems unlikely, given all of the terrible things that have happened in Neville's life, but if it's true, that means that not only did his friends all find out that Snape was his greatest fear--but that he had to face that fear every single day of his life.
Snape was one of Neville's teachers. Even when Neville wasn't in class, he had to face him in the halls of Hogwarts, at meal times and at events like Quidditch. Imagine having to live in the same place as your tormentor every single day. It takes a lot of bravery just to walk down the halls in that sort of situation.
7 He Uses His Dad's Old Wand Against Death Eaters
Imagine being blamed for being a terrible wizard when you're using your father's old wand that certainly never chose you. Imagine going into battle with said wand, knowing that it would likely fail you, yet still facing the worst wizards alive with it.
The wand chooses the wizard, as we all know, yet Neville knowingly used a second-hand wand until it was destroyed by Death Eater Antonin Dolohov at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, which was another example of Neville's heroism. He continued to fight, despite his broken nose and clumsiness with Hermione's wand, even though Hermione herself had passed out. He even carried her to safety at this point, and bravely faced the Death Eaters alongside Harry and Luna Lovegood.
6 He Became An Auror
One of the bravest things any wizard can do is become an Auror, and the fact that Neville was able to do so despite his years of trouble at school, many of which could be attributed to his second-hand wand, proves the man's mettle. He faced great opposition along the way and proved he was one of the best of the best in the process.
Neville also got married to Hannah Abbott, went back to Hogwarts to teach Herbology and became the godfather of Harry and Ginny's son, Albus, after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This is brilliant, since Neville is the perfect godfather to have when you're an outcast like Albus.
5 He Survived A Traumatic Childhood
While Neville wasn't orphaned like Harry, he might as well have been. His parents lost their sanity at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, who tortured them with the Cruciatus Curse, and he was raised by his cranky grandmother, who was a bully to him. It didn't end there, either. Neville was assumed to be a squib as a child, even though he did magic immediately after his birth by tightening his blankets around himself to get warmer!
Neville's great-uncle Algie also routinely put the young boy in horrific situations to attempt to force the magic out of him, as the proud pure-blood was certain a little danger would help him along.
4 The Sword Of Gryffindor Presented Itself To Him
If there weren't enough parallels between Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling wrote a scene where Neville was presented with the sword of Gryffindor in a time of great need, too. Like Harry, it was when he faced Voldemort, and like Harry, it was during a time when Neville was exhibiting such profound bravery and loyalty to his house that he could have been described as the truest Gryffindor of them all in that moment.
Plus, he was on fire (courtesy of Lord Voldemort) and still stood his ground against the Dark Lord. He also faced the rest of the Death Eaters at the same time. If that isn't brave, nothing is.
3 He Was Tortured Terribly At The Hands Of Death Eaters
Neville faced Voldemort's Death Eaters more times than some members of the actual Order of the Phoenix, and when he did, it was often in great pain. The young wizard not only faced the torturer of his parents, Bellatrix Lestrange, but felt the cruelty of the very curse that she used to render them insane when she used it on him.
In his final year at Hogwarts, the school was run by the corrupt Ministry of Magic and Death Eaters, which meant that Neville was often tortured at the hands of his own teachers on a routine basis. He still remained at school and continued to fight.
2 He Led The D.A. While The Trio Were Away
While Harry, Hermione and Ron were off finding Horcruxes, Neville was leading Dumbledore's Army at Hogwarts, literally fighting for his life on a daily basis against the Death Eaters running his school. This is an incredible feat of bravery that fans are not only inspired by, but really wish they could read or watch.
During this time, the Death Eaters grew tired of Neville's constant rebellion and even attempted to go after his old grandmother. That's how formidable of an opponent he became by the final book.
1 He Took Out Nagini
When the Sword of Gryffindor presented itself to Neville, he wasted no time in decapitating Voldemort's pet snake and Horcrux, Nagini. This was a crucial step in defeating the Dark Lord, and had it not been done, Harry would have failed in his mission as well. Neville was surrounded by capable Aurors and Death Eaters, yet he was the one to carry out this brave deed.
In the book, there was no swagger, no boasting. There was simply dirty, bruised Neville Longbottom, one of the bravest Gryffindors to have ever lived.