Poor, little, unsuspecting Neville sure does facilitate a lot in the first book.  He’s virtually a non-
entity in terms of page time, but when you look at it there’s much more to him.  He’s the
harbinger of fate in a way.  

Trevor the toad causes Hermione to meet Harry and Ron, forging a lifelong friendship.  What
would have happened if Trevor hadn’t gotten away from Neville?

He doesn’t have a good memory, thus he receives a Remembrall from his Gran.  His stolen
Remembrall lands Harry a seat on the House Quidditch team.    

Exhibit C, your honor: The last minute points.  Throughout the first book, Neville gets bullied
and picked on, primarily by Malfoy.  The Trio comes to his defense most of the time.  Ron tells
Neville he should learn to stand up for himself.

We get to see that there is more to Neville when he does finally make a stand at the end of the
book.

He stands up to the Trio, against his friends...two of whom Neville nearly hero-worships (Harry,
for being Harry Freakin’ Potter and Hermione, for being...well, Hermione...she saves his arse in
class when no one else will take a risk on him).

Some, including Dumbledore, think that it is a much harder thing to do to stand up against
friends then against someone you don’t care about.  

Because of his strength of character in the eleventh hour, Neville earns the house points that
were hanging in the balance for Gryffindor to swing a victory over Slytherin breaking a long
winning streak for the snakes.

And then not much of him for another two novels. In Book 2, we have more of the same. Neville
thinks the Heir of Slytherin will target him because he’s “almost a squib”.

In Prisoner of Azkaban, more Mr. Shy and Bumbling. He’s used as a device when he loses the
slip with all the password’s written on it allowing Sirius to get into the Tower.
Even the imposter Moody takes special attention to Neville after his reaction to the Cruciatus
Curse during the Defense lesson.

I’m not sure what Barty Crouch Jr. was after taking a special interest in Neville - because he felt
bad about his fellow Death Eaters attacking the wrong pureblooded family...I somehow doubt it
was remorse.

It is with this revelation of backstory that we finally begin to understand a few things about
Neville.  
It’s like the door was opened on him and we were able to steal our first peek.

    This revelation explains a whole lot about Neville.  Let’s talk about the lack of
    confidence that plagues our poor Neville.  

    Neville was raised by his grandmother who constantly compared him to his
    father and he was never good enough.  The entire family was afraid he might
    be a squib.  He still uses Frank’s wand until the end of 5th year after it breaks in
    the Department of Mysteries.

    I believe all of these things contribute to Neville truly believing himself
    unworthy, inferior.

    His lack of confidence stems from his childhood. He never had parents he
    could turn to for a pep talk.  I expect seeing his parents like that and knowing
    they ended up like that trying to protect him didn’t help.

    Nor did his overbearing Gran who always found Neville lacking and unworthy
    of the sacrifice her son made.
He spoke up for himself in front of his friends yet again, and effectively ended a heated
argument before it came to blows.

Tensions run high in fifth year, and it’s not just Harry.  The start of the second war is fast
approaching and those who would continue to live in denial fear the truth so much they push it
and those who speak it away.  Neville, timid though he is, stands his ground even if it’s not the
popular opinion.

Not only has Neville learned to stand up for himself, but he’s also standing up for other people.  
Here, he stands up for Harry against harsh criticism.  

Later, when Malfoy makes a joke about St. Mungo’s, Neville takes offense and jumps to action.
A far cry from the boy who had his Remembrall stolen.

At the end of the year, Neville again stands up for someone else.  After Harry’s dream of Sirius
held hostage, when they’ve hatched up their scheme to get Umbridge away from her office,
Neville, not knowing anything of the plot defends Ginny from a member of the Inquisitorial
Squad.
To see someone die, even if it’s peaceful (as opposed to Cedric’s violent death), is still not a fun
thing.  There’s more pain in Neville’s backstory then we realize.

During her review of the class, Umbridge callously asks Neville outright in front of the whole
class.
In Book 5, we see Neville start to gain some confidence or at the very least become so dedicated
to the cause that he forgets to second guess himself.

Give me Neville’s heart.  I’ll take him over either Weasley any day.  The Weasley’s are loud and
obnoxious but have little to zero follow through.  Neville always comes through in the end.

In Book 1, he stands up to Harry, Hermione and Ron and gets hexed for his trouble.  But the
whole book he’d been getting bullied by everyone, now we see his growth – standing up to his
friends.

Also, in Book 5, he goes to the Department of Mysteries.  He transcends expectations in the DA.  
And, in the heat of battle, with a broken wand and nose, he retains his head enough to find
Hermione’s pulse and carry her, when Harry can’t think straight.

He has heart. Heart gives you an unstoppable warrior.  Neville has something personal to fight
for and he does so with valor and perseverance.
Neville throws himself into this fight and it transforms him.  No longer is he the accident-prone
little boy who feared he had less than average magical abilities.

We all know Hermione is right up there with Harry in terms of magical prowess and we know
without a doubt how intelligent she is, so to liken Neville’s comprehension and capability with
hers is a gigantic compliment.  It also gives a very clear picture of how formidable this new and
improved Neville is.

In the face of pure evil, he doesn’t back down.  In fact, he fights so hard to get at Bellatrix that the
Death Eater holding him yells out for someone to stun him.
    “Gran’s always telling Professor Marchbanks I’m not as good as
my dad...”
Longbottom, Neville Longbottom
Stage 2:          Revelation             Book 4
Stage 3        Coming into his Own        Book 5
Yule Ball, Neville and Ginny
Neville, the Lionhearted
The Prophesy Boys
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Neville’s character development can be sifted into three categories:

    1) Mr. Shy Boy
    2) The Revelation
    3) Coming into his own

The possible fourth would be the subsequent abandonment of his character in Book 6, after the
build up and growth in
Order of the Phoenix.
Here we see Neville as a shy, timid boy who keeps mostly
to himself.  He’s somewhat hapless, though likeable and
prone to accidents.  

Magic doesn’t come easily to him; he has to work at it.
This is mostly attributed to a lack of confidence.  (We’ll hit
on that more later on.)

His first and most steadfast friend appears to be
Hermione Granger.  They apparently met on the train ride
to Hogwarts.  

Neville lost his toad and Hermione was the only person
willing to help him look for it.  

She is still the only one who continuously helps him in
potions when Snape rears his greasy head.
    “I made him tell me what passwords he was going to use this
week, because he keeps changing them, and now I don’t know what
I’ve done with them.”
Philosopher’s Stone
Chapter 12
He’s used as a tool, a contrivance to carry out some necessary function, nothing more.  We don’t
really get to see further into the depths of Neville until Book 4. . .
Neville’s been a steady but quiet presence, flying just under the radar.  We, with Harry,
discover the truth of his parents in the fourth book.  
    “As Harry took off his glasses and climbed into his four-poster, he
imagined how it must feel to have parents still living but unable to recognize
you.  He often got sympathy from strangers for being an orphan, but as he
listened to Neville’s snores, he thought that Neville deserved it more than he
did.”
Goblet of Fire
Chapter 31
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 31
No matter what Neville said or did, he was no where near as great him lacking and never held
back in her criticisms of young Neville.

It’s not even just her.  The entire family thought he was a squib and tried to force magic out of
him.
    “Great-uncle Algie came round for tea and he was hanging me
out of an upstairs window by the ankles when my great-auntie Enid offered
him a meringue and he accidentally let go. But I bounced... Gran was crying,
she was so happy.”
Philosopher’s Stone
Chapter 7
This fear from his family that he wouldn’t live up and the “proof” his grandmother sees and
comments on at every opportunity has convinced Neville that they’re right and he’s worthless.
    “They went for Filch first,” Neville said, his round face fearful,
“and everyone knows I’m almost a Squib.”
Chamber of Secrets
Chapter 11
This low self-esteem persists even into the beginning of 5th year.  Luna asks him who he is; he
quickly states that he is “no one.”

Add the constant bullying of not only the other kids, but the intimidation and outright verbal
abuse of Professor Snape.
    “Tell me, boy, does anything penetrate that thick skull of yours?...
What do I have to do to make you understand, Longbottom?”

    Neville was pink and trembling.  It looked as though he were on
the verge of tears...Snape moved away, leaving Neville breathless with fear.

    “Help me!” he moaned to Hermione.
Prisoner of Azkaban
Chapter 7
He uses Frank Longbottom’s wand throughout the books.  This can actually be detrimental to
his performance.  It was stated that the always use one’s own.

Professor McGonagall knows, and even points out to the class, that it isn’t lack of knowledge or
ability that hurts Neville, it’s his lack of confidence.
    “Yes, you too, Longbottom,” said Professor McGonagall.  
"There's nothing wrong with your work except lack of confidence.”
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 13
The discovery of his parents’ fate is just part one of the revelation...we don’t get the other half
until Book 5, after Neville has started to come into his own.

The Revelation Part II of course is when Dumbledore drops the bombshell of the prophesy.  Not
only does Harry assume it meant him, we all did.  Then to have it revealed that it could have
also meant Neville shocks you when you think you can’t be shocked anymore.
    “The odd thing is, Harry,” he said softly, “that it may not have
meant you at all.  Sybill’s prophesy could have applied to two wizard boys,
born at the end of July that year, both of whom had parents in the Order of
the Phoenix, both sets of parents having narrowly escaped Voldemort three
times.  One, of course was you.  The other was Neville Longbottom.”
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 37
This zinger comes at the end of Book 5, and I thought surely there will be more to it in the next
book.  Clearly, I was out of my mind.  Why drop a bombshell and make use of it? Obviously,
you throw out huge honking ideas and then drop them entirely along with the characters they
involve.  But let’s not talk about the book from hell...I mean, book six, just yet.

I think it’s significant that all of this could have been Neville.  This story could have been
Neville Longbottom and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The prophesy could mean either of two families and at
that point the only way to tell them apart was through
Voldemort’s own choice.

And we see he chose the fellow half-blood, like himself,
but even his followers thought it would be the
Longbottoms.  Bellatrix personally tortured the
Longbottoms to insanity to discover what they did with
Voldemort.

Though the question arises of just how the Lestrange’s
found the Longbottoms.  The Potter’s were hidden
under a Fidelius Charm and it took a major betrayal to
reveal their location to allow Voldemort to find them.

Were the Longbottom’s not in hiding?

Surely, Dumbledore would have warned both families
he thought were in danger.  So how could Death Eaters get at them and not at the Potters?

Anyway, back on topic...

We realize with part two of the revelation that is Neville Longbottom that there is much more to
the bumbling, shy, toad-loving little boy we’ve all but ignored up until now.

We realize that his role is much more important or at least will be of much more importance in
the coming war.
The Fateful Frog, Neville and Trevor BFF
The revelation marks a giant step in Neville’s development as a character.  Then again we see a
great leap in Book 5 when he joins the mass break out at Azkaban.

When Harry first arrives at school, the other kids think he’s crazy because they’ve been reading
the Daily Prophet over the summer break.

Lavender questions Harry’s story, which prompts Hermione to tell her to “shut her fat mouth.”  
Meanwhile, Seamus starts an argument with Harry in the boys’ dorm.

Ron comes in and threatens to use his new position as Prefect against Seamus.  But it is Neville
who brings an end to the debate.
    “My gran says that’s rubbish,” piped up Neville.  “She says it’s the
Daily Prophet that’s going downhill, not Dumbledore.  She’s cancelled  our
subscription.  We believe Harry,” he said simply.
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 11
    A spilt second later (Harry) realized that Neville had just charged
past him, heading straight for Malfoy.
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 17
    “That one,” he poked a finger at Neville, “tried to stop me taking
her,” he pointed at Ginny, who was trying to kick the shins of the large girl
holding her, “so I brought him along too.”
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 32
Neville, though seen as meek and pathetic, defends others.

This is the girl he went with to the Yule Ball, because let’s not
forget he had more guts then both Harry and Ron and asked
Hermione, the smartest girl in school and then Ginny, who’s older
brothers could tear him apart.

There is definitely more to Neville than meets the eye.  More to
him than anyone gives him credit for.

Further proof of there being deeper layers to Neville is that he can
see Thestrals.  Only a handful of the class can actually see them.  
Luna’s seen them all along, now Harry can as well. And we learn
that Neville has this gift/curse as well.
    “Who did you see die?” she asked, her tone indifferent.

    “My...my granddad,” said Neville.

    “And what do you think of them?” she asked, waving her stubby
hand at the horses, who by now had stripped a great deal of carcass down to
the bone.

    “Erm,” said Neville nervously.
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 12
And perhaps in the most heart-wrenching moment in the entire book series, we see the first and
only interaction with Neville’s parents.

Harry and the gang inadvertently run into Neville on the ward at St. Mungo’s.  Neville looks
embarrassed, which Gran harasses him about.

Alice Longbottom, sanity gone as it may be, does deeply care for her son.  Even in the depths of
her hell, she gives him a Christmas present.
    But Neville had already stretched out his hand, into which his
mother dropped an empty Droobles Blowing Gum wrapper.

    “Very nice, dear,” said Neville’s grandmother in a falsely cheery
voice, patting his mother on the shoulder.

    But Neville said quietly, “Thanks, Mum.”
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 23
He pockets the wrapper.  And you know he definitely has a collection of these scraps of paper,
but he takes it and thanks his mum for it.  I don’t care who you are...you fall a little bit in love
with Neville there.

I think it’s here you might begin to realize that Neville might just have had it worse than Harry
growing up.  At least, Harry could glorify the memory of his parents and never knew what he
was missing.  Neville knew his parents were great, that he’d never measure up (according to
Gran).  And they were so close yet still untouchable.
    Harry was pleased to see that all of them, even Zacharias
Smith, had been spurred to work harder than ever by the news that ten more
Death Eaters were now on the loose, but in nobody was this improvement
more pronounced than in Neville.
    ...
    He was improving so fast it was unnerving and when Harry
taught them the Shield Charm, a means of deflecting minor jinxes so that they
rebounded upon the attacker, only Hermione mastered the charm faster than
Neville.
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 25
    “Longbottom?” repeated Bellatrix, and a truly evil smile lit
her gaunt face. “Why, I have had the pleasure of meeting your parents, boy.”

    “I DOE YOU HAB!” roared Neville, and he fought so hard
against his captor’s encircling grip that the Death Eater shouted, “Someone
stun him!”
Order of the Phoenix
Chapter 35
Neville has come into his own.  He has grown into a powerful wizard unafraid to fight for
himself, what he believes in and to defend others.
Neville for the most part is used as
a device prior to this late evolution
of his character.

This is not baby Neville, we are
looking at Neville, the young man.

It is fitting that when it came down
to it, the two left standing were the
Prophesy Boys.  Neville was at
Harry’s side. They both have stock
in this fight.
There are similarities between Ron and Neville.  He is almost a foil to Ron.  They are both used
as plot devices and to fill gaps.

Both are overshadowed by Harry and Hermione.  However, Ron wants/needs the attention.  
Neville doesn’t necessarily want it; he almost actively gives it away.

Neville truly thinks of himself as nothing special/nothing important.  He doesn’t know what to
do with himself when he has any type of attention.  It unnerves him and makes him more self-
conscious, whereas Ron basks in it and comes to life with a little attention.

Though, Neville runs from the spotlight, when push comes to shove, he’s there.  Ron’s more
mouth than substance.  In my opinion, Neville’s eleventh hour strength and courage means
more than Ron’s front.

For appearances, Ron is more intimidating.  But he always gets taken out before the end of the
fight (he gets separated from Harry, Hermione and Neville straight away and then is to giddy to
be functional and eventually gets taken out by brains).

Neville fights hard right through to the end. Even with a broken nose.

Then in Book 6, we see him showered with attention because of his connection with the siege of
the Ministry, from which he all but runs and hides.

We learn he has a new wand, made of cherry wood and unicorn hair.  It was one of the last
Ollivander made before his disappearance.

Neville’s loyalty and willingness to fight is mistaken for being a loser with no friends when he
and Luna are the only ones to answer the call for help.  The DA coin is activated after not being
used all year and Neville comes to their aide.

This is a measure of Neville’s friendship and honor.  Not a question of whether or not he has a
life.  Harry, Hermione, and Ron developed “lives” in Book 6 and they were barely saw each
other, let alone anyone else.  I think Harry’s values are more in question, than Neville’s here.

Let’s not dwell on the disaster that was Book 6.

Neville is a hero in his own, quiet way.  He’s not as ostentatious or overbearing as the other
boys in the group, but he’s reliable, kind and has more than enough heart to make up for any
shortcomings he may have.  

He would definitely make his parents proud.