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Happy Birthday, Neville Longbottom!

30 Jul

While the rest of the world is getting ready to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday on the 31st, I am choosing to focus on Neville Longbottom, born on July 30th, one day before Harry, and who  COULD have been the Chosen One.

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 his 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… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies….

Dumbledore clearly points out that Neville was not physically marked by the Dark Lord and the stories clearly cast Harry in that role. But, where would Harry be without Neville? Probably dead at the hands of Voldemort.

As early as the first book, Neville, though a minor character, plays a big part. He tries to warn Harry about Malfoy’s plan to get them caught when they try to release Norbert. Later, he stands up to Harry Ron and Hermione when they try to sneak out to stop Professor Quirrell. The famous trio lost many points for Gryffindor, allowing Slytherin to win the house cup…until Dumbledore awarded Neville ten points for having the courage to do the right thing, putting Gryffindor’s point total past Slytherin’s.

But it is as a member of Dumbledore’s Army where Neville truly begins to shine. He was one of the first to sign up and surprised everyone by disarming Harry. He endured Bellatrix Lestrange’s torture with the Cruciatus Curse all the while encouraging Harry not to turn over the prophecy. In the absence of the three main characters, Neville takes on a leadership role and is the person who gets Harry back into Hogwarts.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog and the overlooked, so I wanted to take the time to say, “Happy Birthday, Neville Longbottom!”.

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