The main character in the Harry Potter series was touted as an example of a tragic character who grew into the role of a hero, but an unsung protagonist came in the form of Neville Longbottom. None of J.K. Rowling’s numerous changes to the story can alter this character’s sad tale.
Unlike Harry, Neville never found acceptance even at Hogwarts, and was belittled on a daily basis; this contributed to the number of issues he had with his place in the world. While he eventually became a hero in his own right, you need to understand these ten saddest things about Neville Longbottom to truly appreciate how he overcame adversity.
10 He Wanted To Be In Hufflepuff Because Of His Extreme Inferiority Complex
As it turned out, Neville also wondered how he was in Gryffindor like the rest of the people, as it was revealed that he’d requested the Sorting Hat to put him in Hufflepuff. Feeling as if he would never measure up to the standard set by his Auror parents, Neville hoped he’d go to the House that would accept kids with open arms rather than put pressure on him.
It goes to show how small of an opinion he had of himself, as Neville didn’t see the bravery he possessed innately, and it was up to the Sorting Hat to see the best in him. Once he was in Gryffindor, Neville was overcome with feelings of inadequacy.
9 Nobody Cared To Ask Him About His Parents
We saw that after all the children had been sorted into their Houses how they discussed their backgrounds, but Neville was never inquired over this. A big deal was made out of Harry being an orphan, but Neville's situation was almost just as bad.
And yet, it was over five years after he’d started at Hogwarts that anyone found out about Neville’s harrowing past, and that too was a fluke, as Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny happened to walk in on Neville at St. Mungo’s Hospital. To think that for so many years, this boy had so many children around his age nearby, and nobody thought to ask him about his parents.
8 He Didn't Have Any Real Friends
Harry used to be stuck at the Dursleys' over summer, but at least he received letters from Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid, and eventually went to the Weasleys' for the holidays. On the other hand, Neville had nobody to talk to both in and outside of Hogwarts.
It was clear he wasn’t in contact with any of his classmates since we saw him ask what everyone did over the summer when the new school year began. Neville was also never shown hanging out with anyone, from the Golden Trio, to Seamus and Dean, to any other person. These people were mainly friendly acquaintances rather than actual friends.
7 He Was Bullied And Nobody Helped
Being an awful student for the first four years in school, Neville played the role of comic relief for readers and viewers, as one seemingly funny thing happened to him after another. However, this wasn’t really funny at all, as Neville was bullied by Malfoy on a regular basis.
He was seen in the Leg-Locker Curse in the first-year, having to hop around the entire school with nobody helping him out of the predicament. Neville was also physically bullied by Crabbe and Goyle, but Ron and Harry only offered meaningless advice rather than listen to Neville’s dilemmas.
6 He Lost More Points Than He Won
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’s film version had you believe Ron went into the Forbidden Forest, but it was actually Neville in the book. Due to being found that night, he, Harry, and Hermione cost Gryffindor 50 points each.
This meant that the 10 points he earned from Dumbledore at the end of the year were good for nothing, as Neville had really received negative 40 points. Had he not lost the earlier points, then there wouldn’t be any need for a tiebreaker in the first place. There’s also the fact that Dumbledore handed Neville the points just to mess with Slytherin and make Gryffindor the winners.
5 He Saw Thestrals From The Beginning But Told Nobody
Harry was as old as 15 when he was traumatized by the Thestrals and we were made to believe this was an awful thing to live with. However, Neville had carried this knowledge right from the star,t as he’d seen his grandfather die before his eyes.
Can you imagine the horror on the 11-year-old Neville’s face when he first saw these creatures at Hogwarts that nobody else could? To top it off, the poor lad kept the information to himself for years before Harry could see them too and everybody had to pay attention these creatures.
4 The Torment Snape Put Him Through
We’ve covered this point in other places, but it’s definitely more striking here as you realize Snape made Neville’s time at Hogwarts infinitely worse. By all accounts, the torment seemed to begin right from the first lesson itself, as Snape bullied Neville mercilessly.
The fact that Snape was Neville’s Boggart shouldn’t be a laughing matter at all, once you comprehend that Neville feared his teacher more than Voldemort or death itself. In Potions class, Neville was always seen as hapless, yet Ron, Hermione, and Harry never sat with him and let Neville make repeated blunders that brought down further wrath from his bully of a teacher.
3 He Knew Who Bellatrix Was The Whole Time
Harry was shown a lot of sympathy for having the knowledge that the man who killed his parents was walking free, but the same was the case for Neville. Bellatrix Lestrange and her pals waltzed right out of Azkaban and Neville was fully aware of what they had done to his parents.
It was made worse when he confronted Bellatrix in the Department of Mysteries, only for Bellatrix to make fun of Neville for the upbringing he had. Not only that, but Neville came scarily close to being subjected to the same fate as his parents when Bellatrix took him captive.
2 His Uncle Basically Killed Him
Yes, we know Neville wasn’t killed, but it was magic that saved him; the laws of physics should brand Neville as deceased. This is because Neville’s buffoon of an uncle took to dangling his nephew out the window in order to kickstart the magic in him, and even dropped the little boy! Had his magical powers not manifested, then young Neville would've gone splat on the ground.
This wasn’t an isolated incident either, as Neville claimed he’d been pushed off a pier at a prior point and almost drowned before it became clear magic wasn’t going to save him. It’s a mystery how Child Protective Services didn’t take him away, considering his family really didn’t care about his well-being.
1 His Grandmother Only Started Respecting Him After He Nearly Died
How awful is it that nearly losing one’s life is the factor that brings in respect? For Neville, this was how his grandmother finally showed him some love. After almost being killed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Neville’s grandmother raved about how he nearly died at the hands of Voldemort.
Rather than advise him against being so foolhardy, she instead encouraged his death-defying antics more and was happy to hear Neville was fighting Death Eaters in Deathly Hallows than being concerned about his safety. Had Neville remained the timid boy he’d once been, then he’d never have gained his grandmother’s love.