Fair warning, if you’ve never read the Harry Potter novels, this post is going to contain HUGE SPOILERS because there is simply no way to talk about this character the way I want to talk about him without having HUGE ENORMOUS SPOILERS!!! You’ve been warned!
I know I’m not alone on this one: I think that Neville Longbottom was one of the best characters in the Harry Potter Universe. Take it right from the beginning: he was an insignificant kind of kid, clumsy and unspectacular in any way, and super easy to pick on. He was targeted by bullies and teachers alike. Despite that, he takes it upon himself to stand up to his friends and House-mates, to try and stop them from breaking rules. He fails, but the point is that he tried to do what was right, even if it meant possibly losing some of the only friends he had. He is the epitome of a loser, as far as most of his schoolmates are concerned, but he has nothing but heart.
Moving on through the story, Neville is regularly picked on for a number of reasons and continues being clumsy and forgetful and quite plainly pretty pathetic. It takes multiple books before he even starts to find his niche in the school, to catch on to something that he truly enjoys and is good at. He’s regularly tested in a number of ways, dealing with family issues, a pretty depressing past, and regular problems with school work and the bullies that still hang on like leeches. He’s the underdog that you can’t help but root for because he’s just this sweet thing who constantly has the world spitting on him. He perfectly describes so many of us: he’s not perfect by a long shot, and he’s just trying to find his place.
Eventually we wind up at the conclusion of the story arc, and Neville, of all people, has taken a lead role in the fight against evil. He risks life and limb to fight for his school, his friends, his family, and anyone else who requires protection. Eventually he stands up – alone, I might add – to the biggest, baddest bad guy of all, looks him in the face, and declares that they will not stop, they will not give in, and they will fight for what is right because it is right, and that it doesn’t matter whether they have the Chosen One anymore because good will triumph.
Tell me that’s not a hero right there.