"I believe Neville visits [his parents], with his grandmother, during the holidays. They do not recognize him..."
-- Albus Dumbledore
"I'm worth twelve of you, Malfoy."
-- Neville Longbottom
"He's dot alone! He's still god be!"
-- Neville Longbottom
Neville Longbottom is the son of Frank and Alice Longbottom, famous and well-liked Aurors who were tortured into madness by the Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange. The Longbottoms are one of the few pureblood families in the wizarding world. Neville is a staunch friend of Harry Potter’s, and a true Gryffindor.
Neville’s parents were tortured into insanity by Bellatrix Lestrange and other Death Eaters who were trying to find out where Voldemort was (GF30); according to Albus Dumbledore the Longbottoms were very popular (GF30). After his parents were institutionalized when he was an infant, Neville was raised by his grandmother Augusta. She and the rest of his elderly extended family worried that Neville was a Squib (a non-magical child of a wizarding family) because he showed so little aptitude for magic. Once at Hogwarts, this did not improve very quickly. Neville was rather forgetful and often had serious trouble performing magic; it didn’t help that Professor Snape relentlessly singled Neville out for ridicule. Luckily, while broom-flying and Potions were problems, Neville excelled at Herbology.
Neville’s turning point came when he joined Dumbledore’s Army during his fifth year at Hogwarts (OP18). Under Harry Potter’s patient tutelage, Neville gained confidence and mastered quite a few Defence Against the Dark Arts spells. Mere months later, Neville, along with Luna, Ginny, Hermione, Ron and Harry took part in the running battle in the Department of Mysteries against a band of Death Eaters that included his nemesis Bellatrix Lestrange. Although Neville was wounded, in the end he was the only other student left standing besides Harry (OP36). He also fought bravely a year later when Hogwarts itself was infiltrated by Death Eaters and their minions (HBP28).
Naturally, it was Neville who protected the weak and led the resistance at Hogwarts while Harry, Ron and Hermione were hunting Horcruxes (DH29). He remembered how Harry’s dogged assertiveness gave others hope and encouraged the same thing amongst the beleaguered students. During his seventh year at Hogwarts, Neville, Ginny and Luna tried to steal the Sword of Gryffindor from Headmaster Snape’s office; for punishment they were told to help Hagrid with something in the Forbidden Forest (DH15). In the final battle at Hogwarts, it is Neville who utterly defied Voldemort (“I’ll join you when hell freezes over”), drew Gryffindor’s sword from the Sorting Hat, and slew Nagini – the last Horcrux (DH36).
After the Battle of Hogwarts, Neville, Ron and Harry were recruited to join Kingsley Shacklebolt’s progressive government as Aurors to clean up the department and finish the job of ending Death Eater power once and for all (PC/JKR1). After that he became a beloved Herbology professor at Hogwarts (DH/e). It is probably while a professor that Neville married former Hufflepuff Hannah Abbott, who eventually became the landlady of the Leaky Cauldron (OBT/CH). Neville still has his charmed coin from his Dumbledore’s Army days (BLC).
Affiliations and acquisitions
Wands: Initially uses his father’s wand, but it broke during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. New wand is cherry and unicorn hair, possibly the last wand Mr. Ollivander sold before he disappeared (HBP7).
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 …
And the dark lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the dark lord knows not … And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives (OP37)
According to Dumbledore, this prophecy might have referred to Neville until Voldemort “marked” Harry.
Mother: Alice Longbottom, former Auror, now at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Alice's maiden name is unknown.
Father: Frank Longbottom, former Auror, now at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
Grandparents: Augusta Longbottom (but Neville calls his grandmother "Gran"). His Grandfather is deceased. Neville saw him die, but we don’t know how this happened (OP21).
Aunts, Uncles: Great Uncle Algie, Great Auntie Enid (PS7).
Childhood: Raised by grandmother after parents driven insane (OP23). Nearly all of his relatives were elderly people who had forgotten what it was like to be young, so Neville could never measure up to their standards (YL).
Spouse: Hannah Abbott of Hufflepuff House, the Landlady of The Leaky Cauldron (OBT/CH).
Pet: Toad named Trevor. In the first book, Trevor keeps escaping; first on the train (he is found by Hagrid after the boat ride to Hogwarts) (PS6), and again at the end of the book when he jumps out of the way of Hermione's Petrification Curse and isn't found until days later when Neville is about to leave, "lurking in a corner of the toilets" (PS17). No additional escapes have been mentioned in books 2-7. Trevor was a gift from Neville's Great Uncle Algie in recognition of the first time Neville showed magical talent (PS7).
Other canon notes and references
Was his last name originally 'Pupp?' In 2001 Rowling flashed a notebook during a BBC interview that showed her notes on the students in Harry Potter's year and Neville's last name is given as 'Pupp' and then corrected to read 'Longbottom.'
He was born "hours" before Harry (YL).
Although not specified in the books, he is 'short and plump and blond' (NPR). Rowling's own drawing of the five Gryffindor students ("Chapter 7, Draco's Duel" - link to reddit) shows Neville as the shortest and chubbiest of the group. His hair appears to be a light-colored and he wears pajamas with teddy bears on them (JKR).
Neville is French for "new town, land, or farmland." An old-fashioned name that was originally a surname (Behind the Name).
Longbottom is a comical name all on its own, but could also indicate someone with "bottom," an old word for staying power. In J R R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, "Longbottom leaf" is a type of fine tobacco. The original surname is Anglo-Saxon in origin and indicated someone who lived in a "long valley or dell" (Internet Surname Database).
A Gryffindor, although the Sorting Hat initially considered putting him in Hufflepuff House (PC122), Neville’s bravery is a different sort than Harry’s. It is the bravery of children who keep trying even though they have repeatedly failed in the past. It is the bravery of the unpopular child who never succumbs to peer pressure, even from friends. And it is the bravery of a person who doesn’t parade their personal tragedies even when it might make their life easier. Even during his most embarrassing blunders, Neville maintained a quiet dignity that eventually made him an effective leader.
Neville Longbottom in the films
Neville is played by Matthew Lewis.
Selected quotes from 2005 MuggleNet chat with Matthew Lewis:
"I think it's amazing that the character of Neville has really shaken off his klutz image (to an extent.) It very good to see him finally being a help as oppose to making things worse, I'm looking forward to the 5th film, it will be interesting to almost play a different character."
[How he first read the books] "My friend lent me the first book and I was hooked, I had read the first 4 before my audition and never ever thought I would be in the film. Knowing that one was to be made was good enough for me. I didn't care what character I played I just wanted to be a part of it."
From the Web
- Ten Times Neville Saved the Day
- Becoming Neville Longbottom: A True Gryffindor by Nicole Rivera
- If Neville Longbottom were “The Chosen One”
by Amy Hogan
Wizards and Whatnot (Fan-Sided): Harry Potter and the Order of Archetypes: Neville Longbottom, the Conqueror by Katie Majka
- Neville Longbottom: Boy, Interrupted
- More than Revenge (Exploring Neville Longbottom In Relationship to Bellatrix Lestrange) by Mosaic
Harry Potter Wiki: Neville Longbottom
Alohomora Podcast: Episode 275: Neville Longbottom – From Zero to Hero
The Rowling Library, TRL Magazine Issue #42: The wand didn’t choose the wizard: Neville Longbottom and his dad’s wand by Demi Schwartz
DwellingOnDreams blog and podcast: Ep. 9: Longbottoms, Blood Curses, and Roguish Earrings
WizardingWorld (Pottermore) features: