In Philosopher’s Stone, Neville himself doubted whether he should have been put in Gryffindor: ‘There’s no need to tell me I’m not brave enough to be in Gryffindor, Malfoy’s already done that’. However, when he found Ron, Hermione and Harry trying to sneak out of the Gryffindor common room, we saw a much more lion-hearted Neville Longbottom:
‘I won’t let you do it,’ he said, hurrying to stand in front of the portrait hole. ‘I’ll – I’ll fight you!'
Though Hermione cursed him with ‘Petrificus Totalus!’ and they left the common room anyway, Dumbledore recognised the bravery – a trait prized by Godric Gryffindor – Neville had shown in standing up to his friends:‘There are all kinds of courage,’ said Dumbledore, smiling. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr Neville Longbottom.’
In Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart decided to start a Duelling Club. You might have expected to find the likes of Harry, Ron and Hermione there, but how about Neville? It’s important to note that the Duelling Club wasn’t compulsory, but Mr Longbottom went along, even though he hadn’t had much luck in any lessons other than Herbology. Paired up with Justin Finch-Fletchley, they both ended up ‘lying on the floor, panting’ but it’s the courage it took for Neville to attend that shows his real Gryffindor colours, rather than whether he could actually duel.
Neville showed a different Gryffindor trait in Chamber of Secrets too – that of loyalty. When Ron received a Howler from Mrs Weasley, Neville advised him to open it quickly, and stuck by him whilst it wailed away. Though he did stick ‘his fingers in his ears’ – very sensible if you ask us!
Let’s not forget that it was Neville who faced the Boggart first in a Defence Against the Dark Arts class with Professor Lupin. A Boggart, as Hermione told us, ‘takes the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us most’. It must have taken some serious Gryffindor bravery to be the first to take the scary shape-shifter on! Bravery isn’t necessarily about not being afraid, it’s more about being terrified and carrying on anyway. We read how scared Neville was of facing the Boggart, but he didn’t try to back out – ‘He looked pale and frightened, but he had pushed up the sleeves of his robes and was holding his wand ready’. That’s true courage right there.
And we will be forever grateful that Neville used ‘Riddikulus!’ successfully and we got the image of Severus Snape ‘wearing a long, lace-trimmed dress and a towering hat topped with a moth-eaten vulture, and swinging a huge crimson handbag from his hand’. Thanks Neville! We’ll be chuckling about that one for years to come.
As Dumbledore reminded us back in Philosopher’s Stone, ‘there are all kinds of courage’ and asking someone to go with you to a ball certainly takes some nerve. In Goblet of Fire, we heard from Ginny that Neville plucked up the courage not once, but twice! ‘I’m going with – with Neville. He asked me when Hermione said no’, Ginny said. In this particular part of the book, Harry and Ron had been stressing over asking people to the Yule Ball every couple of lines – and here’s Neville already with a date! To first ask Hermione, get turned down,and then pick himself back up and ask Ginny? That’s some Gryffindor bravery right there.
In lessons, Neville had to face something truly terrible in Defence Against the Dark Arts. We didn’t know it at the time but witnessing the Cruciatus curse must have been extremely distressing for Neville, given that his parents had been tortured with it. We would find out later that Neville Longbottom had seen much more trauma than his smiling face and sunny disposition would suggest.
In Order of the Phoenix, not only was Neville loyal to Harry, sticking up for him – and Dumbledore – when Seamus believed the lies in the Daily Prophet, he was also one of the very keenest to join Dumbledore’s army. Neville was one of the first to enter the Hog’s Head when Hermione called a meeting to form the Defence Against the Dark Arts group, and he was also one of Harry’s most enthusiastic advocates, reminding everyone that Harry saved the Philosopher’s Stone – although Neville called it ‘Philological’ – in his first year.
As the year went on, Neville improved in Defence Against the Dark Arts beyond all recognition. Then came possibly his most Gryffindor moment so far – when he insisted on accompanying Harry to the Department of Mysteries:
‘We were all in the DA together,' said Neville quietly. ‘It was all supposed to be about fighting You-Know-Who, wasn’t it? And this is the first chance we’ve had to do something real – or was that all just a game or something?’
Despite being afraid, despite knowing he’d almost certainly be facing Death Eaters of the kind that tortured his parents – Neville was determined to fight. And once there, he fought valiantly beside his friends – loyal and brave as Godric Gryffindor himself.
Sometimes bravery is staying true to yourself, even though you know you might to disappoint someone – and Neville’s grandmother, Augusta certainly had a lot of expectations for him. But although his grandmother said Charms was a ‘soft option’, Neville accepted McGonagall’s advice and decided to study it on his new timetable. Neville also reignited his passion and bravery for Dumbledore’s Army on that fateful night Harry left the castle with Dumbledore to search for a Horcrux. He, with Ginny, kept watch on Malfoy outside the Room of Requirement and ended up, yet again, embroiled in a fight against Death Eaters. We loved the detail that Neville and Luna alone had been the ones who had bravely ‘responded to Hermione’s summons’ that night. It was put down, by Harry, to them being the ones who checked their coins the most regularly, ‘who had missed the DA the most’.
Deathly Hallows is the book that many people associate with Neville showing his true Gryffindor colours – though we hope we’ve managed to convince you otherwise with this book by book account! It can’t be denied however, that Neville came into his own in the final instalment of the Harry Potter series. He, alongside Ginny, lead the resistance against Snape and the Carrows at Hogwarts, whilst Harry, Ron and Hermione were off hunting Horcruxes. He rebelled, he found a base for the resistance in the Room of Requirement, and he re-formed Dumbledore’s Army. Then, he fought valiantly at the Battle of Hogwarts, taking on the likes of the werewolf, Fenrir Greyback. He even told Voldemort that he’d join him when ‘hell freezes over’. Go Neville!
And if you needed any more convincing, here’s one last piece of hard evidence that Neville Longbottom always belonged in Gryffindor:
“In one swift, fluid motion Neville broke free of the Body-Bind Curse upon him; the flaming Hat fell off him and he drew from its depths something silver, with a glittering, rubied handle –”
Following this, he cut off the head of the great snake, destroying the Horcrux with Godric’s heirloom. In the words of Albus Dumbledore:
‘Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the Hat’.