Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Augusta Longbottom
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
|Related Family||son Frank Longbottom, daughter-in-law Alice Longbottom, grandson Neville Longbottom|
Augusta Longbottom, who Neville always refers to as "Gran", is raising Neville.
Role in the Books
At breakfast the first day of school, Neville comments that he's waiting for the post owls, as Gran (Augusta) was going to send on some things he'd forgotten.
It is revealed that the thing Neville fears most is Severus Snape, so when he is preparing to battle a Boggart, he expects that the Boggart will appear as Snape. In order to make the Boggart appear funny, Professor Lupin suggests that Neville should imagine him dressed as his grandmother, wearing a hat with a stuffed vulture, carrying a big red handbag, and wearing a long green dress.
After The Fat Lady's portrait is destroyed by Sirius Black, she is replaced as Gryffindor tower guardian by Sir Cadogan. Sir Cadogan, in the interest of security, sets new passwords every few hours. Neville, who has trouble with remembering them, writes them down on a piece of paper, which he then loses, and Sirius Black retrieves with help from Hermione's pet cat. Sirius uses this list to make his way into Gryffindor tower. Though no harm is ultimately done, Neville is in disgrace for the remainder of the year, and as part of his punishment, Augusta sends him a Howler, which he receives at breakfast two days later.
Harry learns that the reason Augusta has been raising Neville is that his parents, Frank and Alice Longbottom, had been tortured into insanity by Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jr.. Professor Dumbledore tells him that this is Neville's story to tell, and asks him not to pass it on.
In St. Mungo's, where they have been visiting Arthur Weasley, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny Weasley mistakenly end up visiting Gilderoy Lockhart. Neville's parents, it turns out, are on the same ward, and Neville and Augusta are visiting them. Augusta recognizes Harry immediately, says that Neville has said good things about Hermione, and is generally approving of the Weasley family. When Neville's mother carefully gives Neville a gum wrapper, Augusta is dismissive, though Neville obviously plans to keep it.
Neville does reasonably well in Charms and is eligible for NEWT-level studies in that course, but says that his grandmother considers Charms a soft option. Professor McGonagall says that Augusta had failed her Charms OWL, and implies that is why she was denigrating the course. Neville is quite cheered by this discovery.
As Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts, they are met by Neville. Neville has suffered at the hands of the new school order, for having dared to stand up to the increasing use of Dark magic and for re-creating Dumbledore's Army. Having found that they can get at adults by kidnapping their children, the Death Eaters decide to try the opposite tack, attempting to control the children (in this case Neville) by kidnapping the adults (Augusta). In this case it backfires, with Augusta putting Dawlish in St. Mungo's and going on the run. Before her departure, though, she had expressed great satisfaction with the stand Neville was taking.
Augusta has very great strength of character. She is strict and has high expectations of Neville who hasn't often performed to her standards. However, she is very proud of Neville's eventual leadership of Dumbledore's Army and their resistance to the Death Eaters' control of Hogwarts during his seventh year.
Professor McGonagall tells Neville that Augusta had failed her Charms O.W.L. exam; this would seem to be the only weakness in her that Neville has ever seen.
Relationships with Other Characters
Augusta is a very self-contained person and it is hard to get an idea of how she feels about other people. We see that she cares about her son and daughter-in-law, as she takes the time to visit them in hospital. She is definitely less sentimental about them than Neville is, as Neville clearly plans to save the gum wrapper that his mother gives him, while Augusta seems dismissive of it. She does, however, express pride in Neville's behaviour during his last year at Hogwarts, and the almost-proprietary manner in which she expresses that pride leads us to believe that she does care rather a lot about Neville and his progress.
Augusta seems to have some relationship with Minerva McGonagall. Judging by the assumed ages of the characters as well as the fact that McGonagall is aware of Augusta's score on her OWLs it's probable that the two attended Hogwarts together. It is a common assumption of fans that the two witches were friends while they were in Hogwarts.
Augusta is a minor character, and there is no need for her to be shown in any sort of detail; however, who she is and how she feels about Neville, with all its complexities, is critical to Neville's development. Neville, of course, is a major character, playing as he does a fairly large part with his interactions with the Trio from the first book onwards. Understanding of Augusta, limited as it may be, is definitely helpful in understanding Neville, particularly his initial insecurity, and his rapid development starting in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. While we may concur with Harry's guess that his sudden interest in defensive magic may have been spurred by the mass escape from Azkaban, his continuing to improve after his less than stellar showing in the battle in the Ministry in that book is likely due to Augusta's approval of his actions in that battle. We don't hear Augusta's comments to Neville following that episode, but she does express her pride in Neville to Harry in the final book; this may lead the reader to believe that Augusta had softened her critical stance towards Neville as he had started to show defensive magical ability under Harry's tutelage.
- Why does Augusta choose to wear a stuffed vulture on her hat?
- How do you think Augusta feels about Neville's mother and Frank's choice of wife?