Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Neville Longbottom
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
|Related Family||Frank Longbottom, Alice Longbottom, Augusta Longbottom|
Neville Longbottom is a student in Gryffindor House and is in the same year as Harry Potter. In fact, they were born a day apart, Neville on 30 July, Harry on 31 July, a crucial element in the series' plot and one that significantly connects them. Along with fellow classmates Harry, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley, Neville helped battle powerful Dark Magic at Hogwarts. He lives with his grandmother, who has raised him since he was a small child.
Despite being born into a powerful wizarding family, a young Neville appeared to have inherited little magical ability. It was even feared he might be a squib. He also suffers from a poor memory, though just why remains unclear. However, under Harry's influence, his magical skills have developed to where he has become a valuable asset to Harry and his fellow Dumbledore Army friends.
Role in the Books
Neville is first seen on the Hogwarts Express platform, telling an exasperated older lady with a stuffed vulture on her hat that "Trevor" is missing. Aboard the train, Neville stops by Harry and Ron's compartment to ask if they have seen his pet toad, Trevor. We discover shortly that Neville has also enlisted Hermione's help to search. At Hogwarts, the first-year students are shepherded into small boats to ferry them across a lake to the castle. Hagrid asks whose toad he has found; Neville recognizes it as Trevor.
At the Welcome Feast, Neville is Sorted into Gryffindor House. Harry notes that the Sorting Hat takes a long time before deciding that Neville is a Gryffindor. During the feast, we overhear that Neville's grandmother was extremely pleased when Neville received his Hogwarts letter. His family had feared Neville was unable to perform magic, and had applied some extreme measures on him to prove otherwise.
Very shortly, Professor Snape begins mercilessly persecuting Gryffindor students, particularly Neville and Harry. When Neville melts the cauldron that he shares with Seamus, Snape also holds Harry partly responsible, and penalizes him.
Gryffindor and Slytherin houses have flying lessons with Madam Hooch. Neville, unable to control his broomstick, falls off and fractures his wrist, and is taken to the infirmary. In Madam Hooch's absence, Draco spots his dropped Remembrall, and states his intention to hide it in a tree. Harry mounts his broomstick to chase him, and when Draco throws the Remembrall, Harry catches it before it hits the ground. Professor McGonagall, witnessing this, recruits Harry for the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
Harry and Ron set out for the Trophy Room to engage in a Wizard's Duel with Draco Malfoy. Hermione follows, attempting to dissuade them, but discovers when she tries to return to the Common Room that the Fat Lady is away from her portrait, and she is locked out. Hermione decides to accompany Harry and Ron to the Trophy Room. On the way, they discover Neville, sleeping in the hall because he forgot the password. The four head to the Trophy Room, but Draco does not appear; rather, Argus Filch arrives, evidently tipped off that some other student will be there. As the group attempts to escape, Neville crashes into a suit of armor, but they elude Filch and Peeves, only to find themselves in a room with an enormous, three-headed dog. Avoiding injury from the dog, all four return safe to Gryffindor Tower.
Some time later, Neville enters the Gryffindor common room with his legs immobilized by Draco's Leg-locker jinx. Hermione frees him, and Harry gives Neville a Chocolate Frog. Neville returns the Dumbledore collector card inside the package to Harry. The card provides Harry an important clue about Nicolas Flamel and the Philosopher's Stone that Harry believes Snape is trying to steal for Voldemort.
Draco uncovers the plan for Charlie Weasley's friends to take Hagrid's baby dragon, Norbert, to Romania. Neville overhears Draco boasting that he will catch Harry and Hermione in the act, and goes to warn them, but Professor McGonagall catches him out after hours. Harry and Hermione are intercepted by Filch and brought before McGonagall, along with Neville. She assumes the three students were conspiring to get Draco in trouble and penalizes each fifty house points and gives them a detention. Draco, who had been caught earlier, is also penalized.
Detention is served with Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest. Something has been injuring and killing Unicorns, and the four students are tracking an injured one. Draco and Neville initially are teamed together, but Draco deliberately scares Neville. Hagrid then re-shuffles the groups, pairing Harry with Draco and Fang, and making up another group himself with Hermione and Neville.
When Neville discovers the Trio's plan to prevent the Philosopher's Stone from being stolen and given to Voldemort, he attempts to intervene, saying they have already lost Gryffindor enough House points. Hermione reluctantly immobilizes Neville.
At the Leaving Feast, Dumbledore awards Neville ten House points for having the courage to stand up to his friends. This is the first time Neville has won any points for anything, and it wins Gryffindor the House Cup.
Finally, it is noted that despite his abysmal Potions grade, Neville has passed his exams.
The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Soon, there is a general assumption that whatever monster is resident within the Chamber is attacking Muggle-borns, those of non-Wizarding descent. When a brisk business in protective amulets ensues, Neville buys some. Though he is descended from old Wizarding stock, Neville fears his poor magical skills makes him practically a Squib, and the monster had first apparently attacked Filch, petrifying his cat.
In Professor Lockhart's Dueling Club, Neville initially was paired with Justin Finch-Fletchley. After that goes badly awry, Lockhart suggests having only a single pair compete while the rest watch. He chooses Neville and Justin, but Snape overrules him, cuttingly remarking that Neville causes havoc with every wand stroke. Snape suggests Harry and Draco Malfoy demonstrate instead.
After accidentally inflating Aunt Marge, Harry angrily departs the Dursley home. While pondering what he should do next, Harry inadvertently summons the Knight Bus. The conductor asks his name, and Harry, fearing the Ministry is hunting him, says he is Neville Longbottom. When he arrives at The Leaky Cauldron, Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, recognizes him.
In Diagon Alley, Harry sees Neville, whose grandmother is chastising him for forgetting his booklist.
On the Hogwarts Express, Neville and Ginny make their way to Harry's compartment. A Dementor has boarded the train and enters the compartment, causing Harry to briefly lose consciousness. Later, Draco Malfoy overhears Neville mentioning the incident, and mercilessly taunts Harry about it.
In Divination class, Professor Trelawney has Neville hand out teacups, predicting that he will break at least one. He breaks two.
In Snape's class, Neville's potion is a mess. Snape forbids Hermione to help him with it. By class end, Neville's potion is reasonably correct, but Snape assumes (without proof, but correctly) that Hermione helped him, and he penalizes her five house points.
During Defence Against the Dark Arts class, Professor Lupin teaches students how to combat a Boggart using the Riddikulus charm. After Snape had made another cutting remark about Neville's wand abilities, Lupin has Neville lead off the demonstration. The charm forces the Boggart to assume whatever shape the caster is imagining. Neville's greatest fear is Snape, so Lupin tells him to picture Snape wearing his grandmother's clothing. Professor Lupin says it is laughter that destroys a Boggart, so the charm works by forcing it into a laughable form. As "Snape" emerges from a wardrobe, Neville successfully transforms the Boggart into Professor Snape's image wearing Mrs. Longbottom's clothes.
When the real Snape hears that Neville caused the Boggart to assume his image, and how his image was changed by the charm, he mercilessly bullies Neville in Potions class.
When Sirius Black breaks into the castle on Hallowe'en, The Fat Lady's portrait refuses him entry into the Gryffindor common room. Black then slashes the canvas, terrifying the Fat Lady. Sir Cadogan takes over guarding the entrance, but changes the passwords several times a day. Neville, unable to remember them, writes down the entire list. Shortly before Easter, Harry finds Neville attempting to persuade Sir Cadogan to let him into the Gryffindor common room; it seems Neville has lost the list.
After Sirius Black breaks into Hogwarts again, Sir Cadogan proudly states that he had let a man enter Gryffindor Tower because he had the password; he had all of them on a list. Professor McGonagall, furious that someone wrote the passwords down, asks who was stupid enough to leave the list lying around. Neville shamefacedly admits he did. As punishment, Neville is barred from future Hogsmeade outings, receives detention, and is no longer allowed to know the password. He must now wait for someone to enter or leave Gryffindor tower to let him in. He also receives a Howler from his grandmother.
Lacking parental permission to visit Hogsmeade, Harry intends to use the secret passage revealed by the Marauder's Map while hiding under his Invisibility Cloak to accompany Ron there. Neville, almost painfully glad that Harry also is unable to visit Hogsmeade, nearly prevents Harry from getting to the secret passage.
At Easter break, it is mentioned that Neville looks strained. Like other third-years, he has received much homework to complete before Easter break ends.
Aboard the Hogwarts Express, Neville envies Harry and Ron attending the Quidditch World Cup; his grandmother had refused to get tickets. When Ron produces his Viktor Krum souvenir figurine, Neville watches entranced as it walks back and forth across Ron's hand.
In Defence Against the Dark Arts class, Professor Moody asks the students to name the Unforgivable Curses. Neville timidly mentions the Cruciatus Curse. After class, Neville, profoundly shaken by something during Moody's demonstration, is invited to tea by him. Back in the dormitory, Neville shows off a book, Magical Mediterranean Water-Plants and Their Properties, that Moody gave him. Neville seems cheered, both by the book, and Moody's mentioning that Professor Sprout had said Neville was adept at Herbology.
When Harry opens the Golden Egg to solve the puzzle for the Second Task, it emits a loud, screeching noise. Neville, terrified, thinks it sounds like someone being tortured.
Neville invites Hermione to the Yule Ball, but she has a date. When Ron tells Ginny to go with Harry, she says Neville has already asked her. At the Yule Ball, Harry notes that Neville's dancing is even worse than his own; he seems to be treading on Ginny's feet rather a lot.
While left alone in Dumbledore's office, Harry discovers a Pensieve. It contains Dumbledore's memories, including one of a Wizengamot trial. Four Death Eaters, Bellatrix Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jr., are being tried for torturing Frank and Alice Longbottom to insanity in an attempt to extract information about Voldemort. The Longbottoms, Neville's parents, were left incurably insane and now permanently reside in St. Mungo's Hospital. Neville has since been raised by his grandmother. Dumbledore cautions Harry never to mention this to Ron and Hermione—it is Neville's secret to reveal.
After returning from the graveyard duel with Voldemort, Harry is taken aside by Moody, who boasts he had smoothed Harry's path through the Triwizard Tournament, leading him to Voldemort. The book he gave Neville contained information on Gillyweed, and Moody had expected Harry to consult with Neville prior to the Second Task. As Harry had never done so, Moody mentioned Gillyweed's effect within Dobby's hearing, and Dobby relayed that information to Harry.
On the crowded Hogwarts Express, Ginny leads Harry and Neville to a compartment with only Luna Lovegood sitting inside. Neville shows Harry his birthday present, a rare Mimbulus Mimbletonia plant. When he points out the plant's defence mechanism, it suddenly sprays everyone and everything in the compartment with stinksap, just as Cho Chang arrives to say hello to Harry. After an awkward moment, Cho departs; Ginny cleans the stinksap off everyone.
Following the Arrival Feast, new Prefects Hermione and Ron, shepherding the first-years to Gryffindor Tower, have yet to arrive. Neville, however, knows the password ("Mimbulus Mimbletonia") to enter. Inside, Harry learns that Seamus' mother nearly prohibited him from returning to Hogwarts after the Daily Prophet smeared Harry and Dumbledore's reputations. Neville defends Harry, saying his grandmother believes Dumbledore; Dean is neutral. Everyone remains tense until Ron arrives, calming the situation with his Prefect powers.
Neville is an early member in Dumbledore's Army, and attends the group's maiden meeting at the Hog's Head Inn, during the first Hogsmeade weekend. When Zacharias Smith derides Harry's experience, Neville and others leap to his defence.
When Professor Umbridge bans all student groups, Neville is among the Gryffindors who Harry and Hermione reassure that the D.A. will still meet anyway, though in secret.
Later, while waiting to enter Potions class, Draco Malfoy taunts Harry over the Daily Prophet's claims that Harry suffers from mental problems. When Draco snidely remarks that people with mental disabilities should be kept in St. Mungo's, Neville, stung, leaps to attack Draco; Harry and Ron physically restrain Neville. Professor Snape appears and penalizes Gryffindor house for fighting. Harry, knowing about Neville's parents, understands why Neville flew at Draco, though he is unable to say anything to Ron, who is wondering what prompted Neville's outburst.
In Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures, the class learns about Thestrals. Only three students there have the ability to see them: Harry, Neville, and an unnamed Slytherin student. Hagrid explains that only those who have witnessed death can see the creatures.
At Christmas, while visiting Mr. Weasley in St. Mungo's Hospital, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny run into Neville and his grandmother, who are there to see Neville's parents, Frank and Alice. Harry knows that the former Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members were tortured into insanity by Death Eaters. Now they are permanently hospitalized at St. Mungo's. Neville is embarrassed that his classmates now know about his parents, though Mrs. Longbottom says Neville should be proud of how his parents defended themselves against their attackers. After Neville and his grandmother depart, Harry admits to the others that he already knew Neville's secret, but Dumbledore had asked him never to reveal it.
After Christmas, there is a mass outbreak of Death Eaters from Azkaban Prison. Among the escapees is Bellatrix Lestrange. Harry expects Neville to react fearfully upon hearing that the Death Eaters who tortured his parents into insanity are free; instead, it motivates him to work even harder in Dumbledore's Army. Only Hermione masters the Shield Charm faster than Neville.
Harry worries if he did the correct thing in being interviewed by the Quibbler about Voldemort's return. Neville, Dean, and Seamus assure Harry it was the right thing to do, saying it took much courage.
Neville continually works hard in Dumbledore's Army, mastering every spell. As Harry is thinking about Neville's progress, Dobby arrives, warning him that Dumbledore's Army has been betrayed.
When Harry experiences a vision that Voldemort is torturing Sirius at the Ministry, D.A. members create a diversion so Harry can try to contact Sirius using the Floo network in Professor Umbridge's office. Neville, who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, is captured along with Ginny, Luna, Ron, and Hermione and brought to Umbridge's office. Harry and Hermione, after luring Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest, have escaped and meet up with the others. The students fly to the Ministry in London on Thestrals to rescue Sirius.
Sirius is not at the Ministry, and the students have been lured into a trap. When Ron finds a small glass orb with Harry's name on it, Death Eaters, led by Lucius Malfoy, appear and demand that Harry hand it over.
The Death Eaters target Harry during the ensuing battle, and the students run for the Atrium. More Death Eaters appear, tripping the students as they rush for the exit. Knowing Voldemort only wants him, Harry runs into an amphitheatre to stand alone against the remaining Death Eaters. Neville charges in, fruitlessly casting Stunning spells, though he is quickly subdued. In an attempt to force Harry to hand over the Prophecy orb, Bellatrix Lestrange sadistically tortures Neville, tauntingly saying she did the same to his parents. As Harry is about to surrender the prophecy, Sirius, Tonks, Shacklebolt, Lupin, and Moody arrive. Macnair grabs Harry by the throat, demanding the prophecy; Neville stabs Macnair's eye with a wand, freeing Harry. Harry has handed off the Prophecy to Neville, but when he is pulling Neville up the steps, Neville's robe rips, spilling the prophecy orb from his pocket to the floor, smashing it. The battle quickly ends after Dumbledore's arrival, though Bellatrix and Voldemort escape.
After the battle, in Dumbledore's office, Dumbledore tells Harry that Voldemort was seeking the Prophecy. Though the original was lost, Dumbledore knows its contents. The prophecy foretelling Voldemort's possible fate fit two boys: Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom, who were born a day apart. Dumbledore believes Voldemort attacked the infant Harry because he is a half-blood like himself, and therefore possibly more dangerous; Neville is a pureblood. By deliberately choosing Harry, Voldemort "marked" him as his equal, leaving behind the scar on Harry's forehead.
It is noted later that Neville makes a full recovery. He is in the Hospital Wing when Harry visits Hermione and Ron, who are recovering. Ginny, Luna, and Neville are also there visiting.
On the Hogwarts Express, Harry sits with Luna and Neville, while Ron and Hermione report to the Prefects' compartment. Harry finds he is popular again. Romilda Vane, a fourth-year student, invites Harry to join her and her friends, but Harry declines, preferring his current companions' company. Romilda casts a disparaging glance at Luna and Neville before departing. Harry, noticing Neville's reaction to this, mentions that Romilda was not at the Ministry. This cheers Neville, and he talks about his OWL results, wondering if an Acceptable grade in Transfiguration is sufficient to progress to the NEWT level-class. Harry, listening to Neville and thinking about the Prophecy, wonders what might have happened if Voldemort had chosen to attack Neville rather than him; would Neville have the scar and the popularity?
Harry and Neville are invited to Professor Slughorn's compartment for lunch. Once inside, it seems obvious that he only invited those students who are connected to famous wizards, or, like Neville, have distinguished themselves in some way. Slughorn asks about the Ministry battle, though neither Harry nor Neville is forthcoming, and Slughorn does not pry.
Professor McGonagall tells Neville that his Transfiguration OWL score is too low for her class. However, his Charms grade is high enough for Professor Flitwick's NEWT-level class. Neville, disappointed, mumbles that his grandmother thinks Charms is a soft option. Professor McGonagall acerbically retorts that Augusta having failed her Charms OWL is hardly reason to deny Neville that opportunity, and adds Charms to his timetable, then sends him happily on his way.
Neville is seen little during the year, as he and Harry share few classes. Later, Dumbledore asks Harry to accompany him to where a Horcrux may be hidden. Harry, suspecting that Draco's sinister task for the Dark Lord has been completed, worries about leaving the school unguarded while he and Dumbledore are away. He has Ginny, Ron, and Hermione and any other Dumbledore's Army members they can recruit to guard the Room of Requirement and Snape's office.
After the battle with the Death Eaters, Ron tells Harry that the only D.A. members who responded to Hermione's summons were Neville and Luna. Ron, Ginny, and Neville were guarding the Room of Requirement when Draco emerged, holding a dried-up hand object. Seeing the three students, Draco tossed darkness powder into the hall, apparently while guiding others from the Room of Requirement. It was too dangerous for Ron, Neville, and Ginny to cast any jinxes in the blackness.
Neville, injured in the battle, is in the Hospital Wing. Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione visit him there. Neville has recovered enough to attend Dumbledore's funeral.
As Harry, Hermione and Ron roam the countryside on Dumbledore's Horcrux mission, they happen to overhear a conversation about some Hogwarts students breaking into Headmaster Snape's office in an unsuccessful attempt to steal the Sword of Gryffindor. Later, Phineas Nigellus Black's portrait that Hermione is carrying in her beaded bag, confirms that it was Ginny, Neville, and Luna who were responsible and received detentions. Phineas reveals a few more details: after a low-level, student rebellion, Snape re-instated Dolores Umbridge's former decree banning all student groups. Harry suspects that Neville, Ginny, and Luna have taken over Dumbledore's Army to usurp the Death Eaters controlling Hogwarts.
When Harry, Hermione, and Ron Apparate into Hogsmeade village, they set off an alarm. Aberforth Dumbledore rescues them from Death Eaters, and only reluctantly agrees to help sneak them Hogwarts, where another Horcrux is hidden. Aberforth sends a message via his sister Ariana's portrait. Ariana soon returns; as her portrait swings opens, a secret corridor is revealed with Neville standing inside.
Neville's battered appearance shocks Harry, though Neville is actually quite cheerful. Leading the Trio down a dark tunnel, Neville asks if they really broke into Gringotts and escaped on a dragon. Neville updates them on changes at the school. Any student refusing to Curse another student as punishment is beaten. The Muggle Studies teacher, Alecto Carrow, insists all Muggles are dirty and stupid. Neville received one scar after asking her how much Muggle blood she had, though the Carrows punished him relatively lightly because he is a Pureblood. Neville helped re-build Dumbledore's Army, and they were pulling pranks and creating disruptions, but after Luna and Ginny departed the school, the rebellion died down. When Neville was identified as a ringleader, the Carrows tried to kidnap his grandmother as retaliation. Before going on the run, Mrs. Longbottom put at least one attacker into St. Mungo's Hospital. Neville decided he should also disappear.
Harry does not immediately realize that they have entered the Room of Requirement, which has grown bigger and become more comprehensive as Dumbledore's Army members went into hiding. The room is unable provide food, but when Neville's need became great enough, a tunnel leading to the Hog's Head Inn opened, and Aberforth has been sending supplies ever since. Seamus says Neville is the one who knows how to get the Room of Requirement to provide what they need.
Harry tells the group there is something that he, Ron, and Hermione must do, then they will leave. Everybody is dismayed, but Neville expresses what everyone is feeling: that they have shown loyalty to Dumbledore and have earned the right to fight Voldemort alongside Harry.
During the battle, Neville heads to the battlements with Professor Sprout carrying pots of Mandrakes to drop on the attackers. Neville's grandmother arrives to fight alongside her grandson, telling him how proud she is of his accomplishments. When Death Eaters breach the walls, Neville, in the Entrance Hall, is ready to lob Venomous Tentacula plants.
Harry, hidden under his Invisibility Cloak, heads to the Forbidden Forest to meet his fate. Along the way, he sees Oliver Wood and Neville carrying Colin Creevey's body back to the castle. When Neville goes to search for more casualties, Harry reveals himself, and tells Neville that Voldemort's snake, Nagini, must be killed if Voldemort is to be defeated. If he, Ron, or Hermione are unable to kill Nagini, then Neville must do the job. Neville does not understand, but agrees he will, if the opportunity arises.
After Harry's apparent death in the Forbidden Forest, Voldemort orders the captured Hagrid to carry Harry's body as the Dark Lord and his army march to the school. At Hogwarts, Voldemort singles out Neville, saying he is a Pureblood from an old Wizarding family, and entices him to join his side. Defiant, Neville refuses and charges, only to be thrown into a full Body-bind by Voldemort, who then Summons the Sorting Hat and pulls it onto Neville's head. He sets the Hat afire to show that there is no more Sorting and only one school House—Slytherin. Neville casts off the Body-Bind, then pulls the Sword of Gryffindor from the Hat and beheads Nagini, Voldemort's last Horcrux.
Neville is then seen helping Ron defeat Fenrir Greyback during the battle's confusion; after the fighting, Harry notes that Neville has survived and is sitting exhausted in the Great Hall.
In the epilogue, Neville has become Hogwarts' Herbology professor and has married Hannah Abbott. Neville remains a close family friend to the Potters and Weasleys.
Neville is descended from a powerful magical family, and he has the potential to be a great wizard. His problems stem, in Professor McGonagall's opinion, from, "a lack of self confidence." Like Harry, he suffered an early childhood trauma. Despite his earlier lackluster abilities, Neville's magical power has grown substantially since his 5th year when he trained with Dumbledore's Army under Harry Potter's tutelage. With great determination, he worked harder than most to master defensive skills, and struggled to break through the fog that perpetually clouded his mind.
Neville has shown courage and nobility from an early age as he silently endured a personal tragedy without ever seeking attention and sympathy. In his first year, he bravely confronted Harry, Ron, and Hermione, protesting their decision to protect the Philosopher's Stone. He was among the few D.A. allies who fought alongside Harry at the Department of Mysteries, where he demonstrated immense courage and loyalty. He also showed leadership and bravery when, following Harry's departure, he helped reestablish and lead Dumbledore's Army (at great personal risk) to resist the Death Eaters' controlling Hogwarts during his seventh year. During the battle at Hogwarts, Harry relies on Neville to kill Nagini, Voldemort's snake Horcrux. Neville never wavers in accepting and fulfilling the potentially deadly challenge.
Neville is gifted in Herbology and received an "Outstanding" on his O.W.L. Further, he received "Exceeds Expectations" in Defence Against the Dark Arts, possibly because of his work in Dumbledore's Army. He also received an "Exceeds Expectations" on his Charms O.W.L., and is encouraged by Professor McGonagall to take advanced study in that course.
During Neville's early years at Hogwarts, he could best be described as clumsy, shy, and had very low self-confidence. These traits seriously affected his Wizarding abilities and training. He was prone to mishaps or accidents, especially in Potions, due to his (fairly rational) fear of Professor Snape, who constantly bullied him, further eroding his self-esteem.
Due to serious memory problems, Neville was unable to remember the simplest things, such as the Gryffindor passwords. His difficulty with Potions were likely memory-related as well.
As a young boy, Neville displayed no leadership abilities whatsoever and rarely took initiative in anything. His only interest appeared to be Herbology, which he does excel at. His shy, passive nature resulted in him rarely standing up for himself. Slytherin students particularly enjoyed heaping abuse on him.
Relationships with Other Characters
Like Harry, Neville is an only child who was raised by someone other than his parents. In Neville's case, his grandmother, Augusta Longbottom, became his legal guardian after his parents were permanently committed to St. Mungo's hospital after being tortured into insanity by Death Eaters. Neville apparently loves his grandmother, but her stern, overbearing personality has created a barrier to their relationship, and he generally fears her.
Neville also loves his parents, but, being a small child when Death Eaters tortured them, he has never known the people they were before. Whatever they once were, he now sees only their vacant shells and uncomprehending expressions when he visits them in the hospital. Neville was embarrassed by his parents' conditions, and became particularly distressed when Harry and the other Weasley children accidentally saw his family while at St. Mungo's. They, however, supported him. Eventually, Neville fully embraces the heroic sacrifice his mother and father made in fighting Voldemort, and he is proud to be their son.
The shy and rather nerdy Neville initially makes few friends at Hogwarts. Most students either tease him or ignore him completely. Harry and Ron, his dorm mates, always treat Neville cordially, but Harry tended to consider him as someone he would rather not be seen hanging out with. The two boys eventually become close, particularly after Harry discovers Neville's secret about his parents' fates. Having lost his own parents, Harry understands the emotional hardship this creates. Harry also learns that if circumstances had been a little different, Neville, rather than Harry, might have been "The Chosen One," when a prophecy involving Voldemort could have fit either boy. If Voldemort had targeted Neville, a pure-blood, rather than Harry, who is a half-blood like Voldemort, it is highly improbable that Neville would have survived the Killing Curse as Harry did.
With the many similarities between Harry and Neville's circumstances, and their tie to Trelawney's prophecy, it seems more than coincidental that they should also be assigned to the same Gryffindor dorm. Was this intentional on Dumbledore's part? We never know, but if it was, he may have intended that the two boys support each another in a way few others could. This hardly seems likely at first, as Harry has relatively little interest in or interaction with Neville. Their bond grows however, and Harry exerts a great influence on Neville, helping him overcome his magical handicap. Neville, in return, is among Harry's strongest supporters, risking his life in the battle at the Ministry of Magic, and stepping into a leadership role after Harry departs Hogwarts before his seventh year. It was only after Harry embraced Neville as a friend that most other students also did so; but as Neville becomes a capable wizard and a strong leader, he is acknowledged and admired for his own merits. During the final battle at Hogwarts, Harry tasks Neville to kill Nagini. Though not fully understanding why, Neville promises he will, and destroys Voldemort's last Horcrux. Harry never forgets what Neville has done for him.
Romantically, Neville remains challenged throughout the series. He becomes close to Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood, eventually reviving and leading Dumbledore's Army along with them, but both girls are only friends. He is also on good terms with Hermione, though their relationship is more casual. While at Hogwarts, Neville never has a girlfriend, nor is it known if there is anyone he is interested in. Though Luna would seem a suitable match, her personality is probably much too eccentric for the more conventional Neville. He surprisingly mustered the courage to invite Hermione, and later Ginny, to the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire. Whether he was actually attracted to either or just felt comfortable enough to ask them as a friend is unclear. Hermione already had a date, and it was Ginny who accepted Neville's invitation, though she had no romantic interest in him, and was merely excited to be going to the ball. She was soon disappointed, however, upon learning that she could have instead gone with Harry, who was having difficulty finding his own date. Both Harry and Ron seemed mildly annoyed that Neville was able to procure a date to the ball before they did, even if it was Ginny.
Professor Dumbledore and Neville's teachers genuinely like him, though other than Professor Sprout who teaches Herbology, there apparently is little expectation regarding his academic performance. Professor Snape is overly critical regarding his in-class abilities, so much so that Neville becomes terrified of him. Under Professor Lupin's patient guidance, however, Neville is coaxed into performing quite well in the Defense Against the Dark Arts demonstration, infusing him with a much needed confidence boost that Harry is later able to build upon to improve Neville's magical skills in his own Defensive Arts class.
In the Epilogue, it is learned that Neville becomes Hogwarts' Herbology teacher, and in later interviews, Rowling stated that he had married Hannah Abbott. This makes him the first Hogwarts teacher that is known to have a spouse. There were likely other married teachers at some point, but they are never mentioned in the series.
Early on, Neville could best be described as a classic "misfit." His shy, awkward nature, as well as his magical deficiencies, make him off-putting to the more popular students and an easy target for crueler ones. Indeed, it appears he has few friends, and those students who are cordial, are seemingly only being kind.
Neville shares a dorm with Harry and Ron, but in the early years, he and Harry are arguably more amiable acquaintances than friends; he and Harry grow much closer during their 5th year, however. Neville is seemingly clumsy and magically challenged in the first three novels, but by the fifth book, partially with Harry's help, he adopts a new persona, becoming a stronger, more capable character. Rowling may be saying that even the most seemingly hopeless student, given time and encouragement, can develop into a valuable asset. This is evident by Neville's growing role in Book 5, his extraordinary Herbology ability, and that, under different circumstances, he could have been "the boy who lived."
Initially, Neville seems an odd choice to have been sorted into Gryffindor, a House mainly known for bravery and nobility. Neville is certainly a noble character, but his timid, fearful nature, along with his poor magical skills and memory problems, seem out-of-place with the more assertive Gryffindors. Though it is hardly overt, Neville has always had immense courage, first by overcoming his parents' tragic fate, which he keeps secret and never seeks sympathy for, then working hard to improve his magical deficiencies, despite his family's and many others' belief he is nearly a Squib. As his skills improve under Harry's guidance, Neville's courage grows in more obvious ways, and he is always ready to fight at Harry's side when needed. Harry becomes so confident in Neville's abilities that he eventually entrusts him with a vital and potentially deadly task in book 7.
Neville's poor memory is ongoing in the earlier books. Another character, Bertha Jorkins, though never seen, is described in in the fourth book as also having a deficient memory. Her severe problems were caused by memory alteration charms. Some fan sites have suggested that Neville's memory problems are enough like Bertha's that they may have a similar cause. In Bertha's case, her memory was suppressed by Voldemort's allies to hide something important regarding the Dark Lord; Neville's memory may likewise have been altered, though with Bertha, there was likely no concern about causing any long-term damage.
Prior to the seventh book's publication, there was speculation that a valuable secret may have been hidden within Neville's mind, and that it might be released via a Pensieve. No such secret ever emerged in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, however. Alternately, Neville could have been present when his parents were being tortured by Death Eaters, something that would likely have amused Bellatrix Lestrange while deeply traumatizing Neville. If that is true, Neville's grandmother, Augusta, may have liberally applied one or more memory charm to prevent Neville from repeatedly reliving that horrendous episode. Professor McGonagall does mention that Augusta failed her Charms OWL. While Augusta or other family members' intent would have been to alleviate Neville's anguish, the possibility that his memory issues stem from excessive or botched Obliviate charms is almost certain. Considering the damaging and apparently enduring effect the backfired memory charm had on Gilderoy Lockhart, these obviously must be applied with great skill and restraint to avoid permanent mental damage.
Neville's character became more significant in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, in which it was learned that, as infants, both he Harry were targeted by Lord Voldemort as the potential enemy foretold in Sybill Trelawney's prophecy; but, Voldemort chose Harry over Neville, apparently believing Harry's half-blood status made him the more likely threat. In the seventh book, Neville, along with Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood, re-form Dumbledore's Army and recruit more wizards to rebel against the new headmaster, Snape, and the Muggle Studies and Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers, Alecto and Amycus Carrow, respectively.