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The Untold Truth Of Neville Longbottom From Harry Potter

The "Harry Potter" franchise boasts many characters that have effortlessly become a part of popular culture. Chances are, people are familiar with the main antagonist of the series, Lord Voldemort, as well as the Golden Trio of Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger. They probably even remember Draco Malfoy, who's definitely going to complain to his father that he's mentioned in this article. But while audiences are thinking of them, they should also remember one of the other prominent Gryffindor boys: Neville Longbottom.

From Neville learning to defend himself, banishing a Boggart of his Potions professor, and having his own heroic moment in the final moments of the last book, the character has been right alongside Harry through it all. Matthew Lewis played the character in the eight-film series, translating Neville's transformation perfectly to the big screen.

While people may brush the character off, there is much more to Neville than meets the eye. Interviews with the author J.K. Rowling, along with supplemental information from her website, provide additional insight into the plant-loving Gryffindor. Grab your wand as we take you into the Forbidden Forest (what the headmaster doesn't know won't hurt him) and tell you the untold truth of Neville Longbottom that you can't find in the books alone.

His parents suffered a tragic fate

Even casual "Harry Potter" fans know what happened to Harry's parents. What they may not know is that he isn't the only one with a tragic parental backstory: Neville's parents faced a similar fate, thanks to an Unforgiveable Curse cast by a Dark wizard. 

Alice and Frank Longbottom were members of the Order of the Phoenix, the organization founded by Albus Dumbledore to help fight Voldemort, just like the Potters. The two were also Aurors, meaning they worked to bring down Dark witches and wizards. After the initial fall of Voldemort when he killed the Potters, his followers began trying to find the Dark Lord. Bellatrix Lestrange, her husband Rodolphus, and his brother Rabastan captured Frank and Alice. They used the Cruciatus Curse on Frank, determined to torture the location of Voldemort out of him. When he didn't give them the information they wanted, they turned their wands on Alice. 

The Cruciatus Curse causes horrible, intolerable pain, and prolonged use of the curse can cause the victim to be driven to madness. This was the fate of Frank and Alice. As we see in a heartbreaking scene in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," they both live in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies, the wizarding hospital, unable to recognize their family members, including their son, though Alice does give Neville candy wrappers.

His family thought he was a Squib

Neville is not initially known for his magical abilities. He loses his frog on the train to Hogwarts, struggles in Potions, and has trouble learning to fly, among other things that hint he may not be the best at magic. What some may not know is that his guardians once speculated he wasn't magical at all. 

The Gryffindor admits in a conversation with his peers in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" that his family thought he was "all-Muggle" for quite some time. In "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Rita Skeeter, famed gossip and journalist, explains that "experts" say that if a child has magic, it will show itself by the time they are seven years old. But this wasn't the case for Neville. As he tells his new friends the story, he says he didn't show any signs of magic until he was eight. Before then, his family tried to force the magic out of him; his great uncle Algie would regularly try to "catch [him] off guard" for a glimpse of magic. 

His great uncle's effort paid off, even if it almost resulted in Neville's death a time or two. While dangling his great nephew from a window, he let go when offered some meringue. Rather than crumple on the ground, Neville bounced, his magical abilities finally making an appearance to save his life.

His wand was a hand-me-down

Unlike other witches and wizards, Neville did not go to Mr. Ollivander, the well-known wandmaker, on his trip to Diagon Alley before starting at Hogwarts. Instead of a wand choosing him, his family chose his wand for him. He used his father's wand for the first five years of his education. Some fans even believe this wand is why he struggled with magic, because the wand must choose the person it will work best with. While this may not be entirely fair, since Neville soared under Harry's instruction in Dumbledore's Army, it still could have been a part of the problem. 

After his father's wand is destroyed in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries at the end of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," he's taken to Mr. Ollivander for a wand that would officially choose him. His new wand was made with cherry wood and had unicorn hair as its core. Wands made of cherry are described as having "truly lethal power" in Mr. Ollivander's notes. This could explain why the Gryffindor's abilities improve so much with the new wand (via Wizarding World).

He was almost sorted into a different Hogwarts house

While his bravery wasn't always obvious to the reader, Neville was a Gryffindor through and through. However, the Sorting Hat wasn't necessarily convinced when he was 11 years old, and almost placed him in the house not exactly known for its courage.

In a retelling of an interview with Rowling by The Leaky Cauldron on the podcast PotterCast, they discussed the Hufflepuff house, sharing information about the founder Helga Hufflepuff, and giving more details on Harry becoming a Horcrux with the author backstage at Carnegie Hall. One of the most interesting details revealed was that Neville was almost sorted into Hufflepuff. The Sorting Hat wanted to put him there, but decided Gryffindor was a better place for him. 

Though we don't know what tipped the scales in Gryffindor's favor, it didn't take long. Neville was not a "Hatstall," or someone that took more than five minutes to sort. Transfiguration professor Minerva McGonagall was one, as the Sorting Hat spent over five minutes trying to decide between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor for the powerful witch (via Wizarding World). Another almost-Hatstall in his year was Hermione Granger, who was almost sorted into Ravenclaw instead. 

He could've been The Chosen One

If things had gone differently, Neville could've been the one who survived the Killing Curse instead of Harry. When the prophecy that caused the death of Harry's parents is revealed in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," it makes it clear there were two children, not just one, that it could've applied to. 

"Born to those who have thrice defied [Voldemort]... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies," the prophecy describes. As Harry hears this, dumbstruck, Dumbledore explains what it could mean. But while Harry was born at the end of July, and his parents James and Lily had defied Voldemort three times, he wasn't the only one that fit the bill. 

Born just a day before Harry, Neville's parents also defied the Dark Lord three times. Voldemort could've just as easily selected the Longbottoms as the target instead of the Potters. Since a line of the prophecy says "the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal," it was only Voldemort's decision to pursue Harry that sealed his fate as the fated one.

In an interview with PotterCast from 2007, Rowling calls him "the boy it could've been." "The great thing about Neville's story," she says, "is that he proves himself to be a boy that could've done it too." 

His best Hogwarts subject was Herbology

Despite melting cauldrons and struggling to fly on a broom, there was one magical subject where Neville thrived. Herbology, or the study of magical plants, was where the Gryffindor did particularly well. He regularly showed an interest in magical plants, so much so that people gifted him related items: Professor Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody gave him a book called "Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean" during their fourth year, and his great uncle brought him a Mimbulus mimbletonia, a magical cactus, from Assyria. In the film adaptation of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Neville is even the one who provides Harry with the idea to use Gillyweed in his underwater task in the Triwizard Tournament.

As the students start their sixth year, they are given schedules based on the grades they achieved on the Ordinary Wizarding Level exams the previous year. The highest score they can achieve on them is an "Outstanding." Neville achieved this grade on his Herbology exam, meaning he is well-versed in the subject and could continue studying it for his remaining two years at Hogwarts, which he happily does. 

He helped lead Dumbledore's Army

Neville joined Dumbledore's Army in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Like other students, he wanted to be able to protect himself from Voldemort and his Death Eaters, despite the Ministry of Magic's assurance that they were well-defended. Their Defense Against the Dark Arts professor that year, Dolores Umbridge, was not keen on teaching them actual spells, so the students took matters into their own hands. 

While Dumbledore's Army wasn't necessary during their sixth year, as they had a competent professor, it was needed again during what would've been the Golden Trio's seventh and final year at Hogwarts. However, they were on the run in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," trying to destroy Horcruxes so they could take down Voldemort. This meant that though the group was more vital than ever, there was no one to lead it. Neville, along with Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood, stepped into the leadership role, using the group as an act of defiance against the Carrows, a pair of Death Eaters, that were instated as professors. 

As times grew difficult, especially after Luna was kidnapped and Ginny did not return to school after Easter, the group lost steam. However, Neville kept the spirit alive, housing members in the Room of Requirement to protect them from punishment from the Carrows and their supporters while they waited for Harry, Ron, and Hermione to arrive.

He destroyed a Horcrux

In the final showdown between Voldemort and the wizarding world, the Battle of Hogwarts, everyone took on a role. While most ran around, fighting off Death Eaters they came across, Neville took it a step further in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." 

As the masses believe Harry to be dead, they try to continue the fight against Voldemort. Neville is used as an example, placed under the Body-Bind Curse, on fire, with the Sorting Hat covering his face. The centaurs and Grawp, Hagrid's half-brother, appear from the Forbidden Forest, causing a distraction that allowed him to break free from the curse. As he moves, the Sorting Hat falls off his head and produces one of the most important iconic artifacts from the series: the sword of Gryffindor. Once owned by Godric Gryffindor, founder of the house, it is said any worthy Gryffindor will be able to pull it out of the Hat. 

This is exactly what Neville does. He pulls the sword out, and in a single bound kills Nagini, Voldemort's pet snake. She was the final Horcrux to destroy, meaning Harry could finally use lethal force against Voldemort and end the war for good.

He almost suffered the same fate as his parents

Bellatrix used the Cruciatus Curse to destroy his parents' minds, and she took the chance to do the same to their son when the opportunity arose. In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Neville goes with the Golden Trio, Ginny, and Luna to the Ministry of Magic, and is a part of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. During the fight, several different Death Eaters, including Bellatrix, show up after Voldemort lures Harry there with fake memories.

As the teens try to hold their own against the Dark wizards, Bellatrix and Neville run into each other. When she learns he's a Longbottom, she doesn't hesitate in using the Unforgivable Curse on him, the same as she did his parents. "Let's see how long Longbottom lasts before he cracks like his parents," she says, making it a game for herself. 

After what she calls a "taster" of the curse, she tells Harry to hand over the prophecy he's holding and she'll stop. As he goes to hand it over, not wanting to see his friend continue to suffer, several members of the Order of the Phoenix arrive, distracting everyone so Neville and Harry can get away, saving Neville from a grisly fate.

He has a long career as a teacher

While many may know about Neville's life at Hogwarts, they may not be familiar with what he chose to do after he graduated. By the time the Golden Trio's children were attending the school in the epilogue at the end of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Neville had become the Herbology professor. 

This is revealed when Ginny tells her children to "give Neville our love" as they get on the train. Their oldest child, James Sirius Potter, laments this request, stating, "At school he's Professor Longbottom, isn't he? I can't walk into Herbology and give him love..." This statement confirms his profession two decades after he left Hogwarts. 

However, before he was Professor Longbottom, he actually worked with the Ministry of Magic. In an interview on PotterCast, Rowling shared that Neville went on to become an Auror with Ron and Harry after the final battle. "Kingsley would've wanted Ron, Neville, Harry [to become Aurors] and they would've all gone," she details in the interview, confirming that Neville was offered a spot and went ... before eventually turning back to his passion for plants. 

Neville finds love with a Hufflepuff

No, not Ginny — although he does take her to the Yule Ball in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." But he did end up marrying one of his Hogwarts classmates. During her book tour after "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was published, Rowling revealed key information about the series during a talk at Carnegie Hall. One of the most well-known details from this stop on the tour was that Dumbledore is gay, but his wasn't the only love life she talked about that night. 

In a transcript from the evening provided by the Harry Potter Lexicon, one of the questions from the audience was if Neville ever found love after Hogwarts. "Neville does find love. To make him extra cool, he marries the woman who becomes ... the new landlady of The Leaky Cauldron," the author stated. "He marries Hannah Abbott."

Hannah was a Hufflepuff at Hogwarts, in the same year as Neville. She was a member of Dumbledore's Army and helped fight during the Battle of Hogwarts. Fans of the series may remember that she was one of the students that thought Harry was the heir of Slytherin in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," and that she was a prefect for her house in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

Neville has a godson

Harry and Ginny had three children: James Sirius, Albus Severus, and Lily Luna. While they named them after important figures in their lives, their friends also became crucial members of their extended family. As a long-time friend of the couple, Neville was named Albus Severus' godfather, while Hermione and Ron were named the godparents of their first son.

This information was revealed in an article about the 2014 Quidditch World Cup on Pottermore, as archived by the Harry Potter Wikia. In the final match between Bulgaria and Brazil, the Weasleys, Potters, Scamanders, and Neville are in a box watching on as Ginny and Rita Skeeter give commentary. As the game moves along, Skeeter states that the now Herbology professor is "spiritedly describing the precise manner in which [Viktor] Krum sustained his nosebleed for the benefit of his godson, Albus Potter." The journalist is sure to note that the event is an "oddly callous display" from Neville.