Neville Longbottom began his years of education as something of a running joke, but over the course of seven Harry Potter books, as well as eight films, he grows into a Hogwarts legend. Never wavering in his allegiance to Harry and Dumbledore’s Army, Neville would eventually lead the Hogwarts resistance against Voldemort, continually standing up to Snape and the Carrows in his final year.
But things could have been so different. As featured heavily in the book saga (and therefore not an entry on this list on its own), Trelawney’s “chosen one” prophecy refers to Neville as much as it does Harry, only for Voldemort to interpret it in his own way. Neville may not be The Boy Who Lived, but he proves numerous times that he has all the credentials, and that he would have lived up to the mantle had Voldemort chosen the pure-blood wizard to wear the lightning scar.
Despite being a leading character and fan favorite, little is known about Neville’s childhood, his life after Hogwarts, and the goingson behind the scenes of the movie franchise. It’s time to uncover 15 Things You Never Knew About Neville Longbottom.
15 He's a Day Older Than Harry
Harry is one of the youngest students in his year at Hogwarts, born on the 31st July (the same birthday as JK Rowling). Hermione is one of the eldest, born in September of 1979, while Ron’s birthday is in March and Malfoy is a June baby. Neville, though, is only a day older than Harry, born on July 30th 1980.
Earlier the same year, Sybill Trelawney makes her first (of two) accurate prediction. During a job interview with Dumbledore at the Hog’s Head Inn, Trelawney prophesies that “the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies.”
For a whole day, Neville (born to Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members Frank and Alice Longbottom) was the only one to whom the prophecy could have referred. In fact, had Harry been born just a few hours later, it would undoubtedly have been Neville who faced off against Voldemort in The Deathly Hallows.
14 His Parents Never Recovered
Voldemort’s disappearance following his encounter with baby Harry was widely celebrated in the wizarding world, but the event had dire consequences on Neville and his family. Four Death Eaters attacked Frank and Alice Longbottom in an attempt to discover Voldemort’s whereabouts; among them were Bellatrix Lestrange, her husband Rodolphus, his brother Rabastan, and Mad-Eye Moody-wannabe Barty Crouch Jr.
The Longbottoms were tortured into insanity when their son was just a year old. They were sent to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, where they would sadly spend the rest of their lives.
“I know some people really wanted some hope for [his parents’ recovery], and I can see why,” said Rowling. “In a way, what happens to Neville’s parents is even worse than what happened to Harry’s.” But, she went on to explain, “The damage that is done, is some cases with very dark magic, is done permanently.”
13 Matthew Lewis and Neville’s Parents
For those who haven’t read the books, Frank and Alice Longbottom actually appear in The Order of the Phoenix. When Arthur Weasley is attacked by Nagini and hospitalized, Harry, Ron, and Hermione wander past the Janus Thickey Ward, which houses whose whose minds have been damaged by magic.
There, they find Neville visiting his parents, and even the return of the now-insane Gilderoy Lockhart does little to lighten the mood. Alice gives Neville a chewing gum wrapper, something she is said to have done every time he has visited, so while she is able to recognize him to some degree, it is not as her son.
Actor Matthew Lewis has publicly expressed his disappointment that he never got to shoot the scene. “His mother gave him a sweet wrapper and it means absolutely nothing to anyone else in the room but Neville believes that his mum recognises him,” Lewis recalled. “I thought it really conveyed who Neville was and why also in the final film, he becomes this hero. He’s doing it all for his parents. I thought that was a real important part of his journey and [director] David [Yates] agreed, and we never got the chance to do it. We were both a bit gutted.”
12 He Could Actually Use Magic From Birth
Given what happened to his parents, Neville is hardly forthcoming about the events of his childhood. Having just been sorted into Gryffindor however, Neville does provide his housemates with a rare moment of insight, explaining that his family thought he was a squib (a non-wizard born to magical parents) until he was eight. It was then that his great-uncle Algie was hanging him from an upstairs window and accidentally let go when he was distracted by a meringue (priorities!). Neville bounced all the way down to the garden, and displayed his first conscious use of magic.
But he actually had his name down on the Hogwarts register just moments after his birth. As explained by Rowling on Pottermore, there is a magical Quill that writes down the names of magical witches and wizards who display proficient underage magic. It stirred when Neville was merely seconds old, when the young wizard tucked himself in more tightly to his blankets. His family continued to miss the indistinct hints at his magical powers until the famous meringue incident.
11 He Married Hannah Abbott
While the books left Neville’s love life up in the air, the films went a different route. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Neville confesses to Harry that he’s “mad” for Luna Lovegood. The couple are seen cozying up in the Great Hall after Voldemort is defeated, but that’s pretty much as far as it went for Neville and Luna.
JK Rowling did actually warm to the idea of their relationship, purposely leaving it open at the end of The Deathly Hallows, but she has since insisted that both found love elsewhere. In fact, Matthew Lewis has suggested that Neville and Luna enjoyed a “summer fling” before the pair moved on.
Luna married Rolf Scamander, grandson of Fantastic Beasts’ Newt Scamander, and together they traveled the world looking for unlikely magical creatures. Neville eventually settled down with Hufflepuff Hannah Abbott. The newlyweds live alone above the Leaky Cauldron, where Hannah is the landlady, although she has applied for the role of Hogwarts matron to be closer to her husband.
10 He Served Briefly as an Auror
As we know, Neville ended up as the Herbology Professor at Hogwarts, but immediately after the war, Neville worked alongside Harry and Ron in the Auror office of the Ministry. Recruited by Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt, they were charged with rounding up the remaining Death Eaters and, in Rowling’s words, “the corrupt people who were doing a Lucius Malfoy and trying to pretend that they weren’t really involved.”
With the trio’s help, Kingsley reformed the Ministry of Magic over the next two years, by which point everyone began to go their separate ways. Neville went into teaching, while Ron joined George as co-manager of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Harry stayed with the Auror office for a long time, eventually rising to Head of Department, but he was later offered a position as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Harry took the job, and he also made several guest appearances as Defence Against the Dark Arts lecturer at Hogwarts, where he would once more work with Neville.
9 He Has a Noble Name
While Rowling often has a soft spot for giving her characters meaningful names, “Longbottom” gives away nothing of Neville’s personality, besides sounding a bit goofy. A real English surname of Yorkshire origin, rather than simply a gag name, “Longbottom” is a topographical surname, generally referring to someone who lives in a valley or dell. Interestingly, Rowling toyed with two other surnames – Pupp and Sidebottom – before she settled on Longbottom. The latter means more or less the same as Longbottom, simply denoting a slightly wider valley, while the former seems to have little significance as to Neville’s characteristics.
“Neville,” meanwhile, is traditionally a French surname derived from “new town,” although it was the first name of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, as well as the surname used by a noble warrior family in medieval England. This could perhaps suggest Neville’s underlying power and leadership qualities, though Rowling has yet to confirm the origins of Neville’s forename.
8 Matthew Lewis Spent a Lot of Filming in a Fat Suit
Neville is first described in The Sorcerer’s Stone as a “round-faced boy,” the inference being that the character would grow out of his baby-face. Unfortunately for Alfonso Cuaron, who directed The Prisoner of Azakaban, Matthew Lewis had slimmed out far too early, and so drastic measures were taken to ensure Neville maintained his geekiness.
“They put me in a fat suit and false teeth,” recalled Lewis, who was placed under contact not to get his teeth straightened until filming was over. “Which meant I had to go for 10 f**king years without having anything done.” When David Yates came aboard the franchise for the fifth film, he did away with the suit and teeth, though Lewis did still remain under contract.
“At the time, when you’re going through puberty and you’re on a film set with lots of attractive girls, and then back at school as well, and you have to wear this fat suit, and have this long greasy hair… It was really rubbish.” Thankfully, it all worked out for Lewis, who was unrecognizable as the chubby-cheeked Neville seen in The Sorcerer’s Stone by film eight.
7 Hermione Was His First Crush
Neville and Hermione are hardly one of the most obvious Harry Potter duos, but Hermione was the first to help Neville when he lost his toad on the Hogwarts Express, and she would continue to do so throughout their school years. She frequently takes pity on him when he breaks down in class, often whispering instructions in his ear in Potions, and she notices how the fake Moody’s demonstration of the Cruciatus curse is affecting him.
Neville plucks up the courage to ask Hermione to the Yule Ball in their fourth year, telling Ron that “she’s always been really nice, helping [me] out with work and stuff.” Hermione politely declines, having already been asked by Viktor Krum, while Neville ends up going with Ginny. Neville would of course get over his crush, but Matthew Lewis actually had a similar thing for Emma Watson at around the same age.
“From 11 to 14, absolutely. I was a looker, so she missed out, clearly,” joked Lewis. “She’s a very, very good-looking girl, she was even back then. But I think everyone had a crush on someone!"
6 Neville and Snape
Part of the reason Neville needed Hermione’s help in Potions was down to his relationship with Snape. Neville was terrified of the professor (demonstrated in The Prisoner of Azkaban, when Neville’s boggart turns into Snape), often making routine mistakes in class due to Snape’s regular taunting. Snape even goes so far as to test one of Neville’s potions on Trevor, but the toad remains unharmed, thanks to Hermione’s interference.
There is actually evidence to suggest that Neville was reasonably talented at Potions. His parents, being Aurors, would have to have achieved top grades in the subject, and Neville came into his own during his Potions O.W.L. exam, when Snape was absent. So what does Snape have against Neville that could potentially ruin his career?
For the answer, you need look no further than the prophecy. Snape loved Lily, and had Voldemort chosen Neville as his equal instead of Harry, she would have lived. The fact that Snape takes his anger out on Neville is somewhat understandable (although still utterly unforgivable) when looked at this way, especially given that Snape told Voldemort of the prophecy in the first place.
5 He is Albus Potter’s Godfather
Neville stayed in touch with his classmates and taught all of their children, including his godson: Albus, Harry and Ginny’s second son. This was revealed in a 2014 Pottermore article, which saw the reunion of Dumbledore’s Army at the Quidditch World Cup final between Brazil and Bulgaria. The article is written as a news report by Rita Skeeter, who of course spends no time at all reporting on the match, choosing instead to comment on the various reactions of the DA, while Ginny supervises her write-up.
After Viktor Krum (recently returned to the Bulgaria line-up) sustains a bloody nose from a Bludger, Neville describes the incident to his “godson,” which Rita describes as “an oddly callous display from the popular Herbology teacher.” Neville is also seen laughing at one of Harry’s jokes, to which the reporter asks, “Is it not rather elitist to enjoy private jokes with fellow celebrities when people in the cheap seats cannot hear them?” Unsurprisingly, the report ends mid-sentence when Ginny jinxes Rita to the solar plexus. For those wondering, Bulgaria won the final.
4 Harry Saved His Life
Harry saved just about everyone when he destroyed Voldemort, but after his showdown with the Dark Lord in the Forbidden Forest, his sacrifice immediately saved Neville’s life. When a triumphant Voldemort has Hagrid present Harry’s “dead” body to the remaining resistance, Neville stands up to Voldemort, reaffirming his allegiance to Dumbledore’s Army (although the film version of this scene has Neville give a Hollywood speech that no human person would ever give, while Voldemort just sort of watches).
As punishment for refusing to join the Death Eaters, Voldemort petrifies Neville, places the Sorting Hat on his head, and sets it on fire. Granted, it’s not an ideal position to be in, but Neville was never actually in danger. By allowing himself to die for those he loved, Harry’s sacrifice had the same effect on his friends that Lily’s death had on baby Harry. The body-bind curse quickly wears off, while the flames have no effect on Neville or the Hat, from which Neville draws the Sword of Gryffindor soon after.
3 He Asked to be Sorted Into Hufflepuff
From the end of book one, when he stands up to Harry, Ron and Hermione, winning them the House Cup, all the way to the final moments of The Deathly Hallows (for only a Gryffindor can pull the Sword from the Sorting Hat), Neville has shown all the courage required of a true Gryffindor. We knew it all along, but Neville himself wasn’t so sure.
Having been raised by his grandmother, who had reminded him constantly of his parents’ bravery, Neville was intimidated at the idea of the Sorting Hat placing him in Gryffindor. In fact, he was so nervous that he ran to the Gryffindor table with it still on his head, after a near four-minute argument with the Hat.
Neville was adamant that he should be sorted into Hufflepuff, while the Sorting Hat insisted on Gryffindor. The debate went on so long that Neville was close to becoming a Hatstall, a rare term for first-year students whose sorting takes longer than five minutes. Minerva McGonagall and Peter Pettigrew remain the only known Hatstalls; McGonagall was almost named a Ravenclaw, while Pettigrew could (and arguably should) have been placed into Slytherin.
2 Neville’s Wand
Neville initially inherited his father’s wand, but it was snapped by Dolohov during the battle at the Department of Mysteries. Neville bought a new wand from Ollivander before his sixth year; the cherry wood wand with a unicorn hair core is widely believed to be the last ever sold by the wandmaker. Ollivander’s famous catchphrase, “the wand chooses the wizard,” is actually at the heart of a prominent theory as to Neville’s magical powers.
In his early years at school, Neville had struggled with magic, and though he certainly improved under Harry’s DA tutelage, he was still unable to produce a Patronus, and was quickly incapacitated by the Death Eaters at the Ministry. Neville only reveals in book five that he uses his father’s old wand, and everything starts to make sense.
His original wand wouldn’t work properly for him because it was never his (the same goes for Ron, who becomes far more capable when he replaces the wand he inherited from Charlie). From The Half-Blood Prince onwards, the meek, clumsy Neville we came to know is completely gone, and he becomes an instant war hero. The idea is that Neville was never a shoddy wizard, but that his wand never chose him.
1 He Helped Out Queen Elizabeth II
Yep, you read that right. Neville, alongside Harry, Ron and Hermione, once helped the Queen of England find her missing handbag. Right; context.
For Queen Elizabeth II’s 80th birthday, Buckingham Palace put together a production they called Children’s Party at the Palace, which would be a celebration of children’s literature. The main attraction was a play entitled The Queen’s Handbag, in which Her Majesty’s handbag would be stolen by an unknown thief. During the play, pre-taped skits of several figures in literature were projected onto a big screen.
In one particular sketch, an owl flies into the Gryffindor common room (where else?) at Hogwarts, to warn our heroes of the missing handbag. Harry and Ron try to summon the handbag, but several appear before them. One is Neville’s grandmother’s; Ron attempts to look inside the bag but gets his fingers caught in a mousetrap. Neville explains that it was put there as a practical joke on his grandfather.
The fact that it’s is entirely for children aside, the skit is riddled with inconsistencies. Ron speaks Voldemort’s name, Peeves is mentioned (despite never appearing in the films), and Hermione grants those at the Palace temporary magical powers. Also, it’s set in 2006, while Harry was born in 1980, and therefore should have been 26. All joking aside, the Queen’s handbag was eventually found. Presumably because of all the magical powers Hermione gave those muggles. Where was the Ministry hearing for that one, then?
What else might people not know about Neville? Let us know in the comments!