Neville Remembers All
by Gwyndolyn McCann
Neville remembers all. Not something you hear every day or in fact at all. But it caught my attention and led to the question: What if Neville already has in his possession the key to unlocking his memory? That is what I asked myself one day while listening toSS. It was a shocking question and the conclusion I came to was even more so. My answer: Yes, Neville has the key to breaking the memory charms on him in his possession: the Remembrall. At least until I read Book Five when I learned he no longer had it in his possession. And then I really started to think that I was on the right track (which was the biggest shock of all because I’m terrible at unraveling mysteries). Following are the scenes in SS that first caught my attention. All the quotes are from the U.S. Hardcover Editions.
(SS page 145)
A barn owl brought Neville a small package from his grandmother. He opened it excitedly and showed them a glass ball the size of a large marble, which seemed to be full of white smoke.”It’s a Remembrall!” he explained. “Gran knows I forget things – this tells you if there’s something you’ve forgotten to do. Look, you hold it tight like this and if it turns red – oh…” His face fell, because the Remembrall had suddenly glowed scarlet, “…you’ve forgotten something…”
Neville was trying to remember what he’d forgotten when Draco Malfoy, who was passing the Gryffindor table, snatched the Remembrall out of his hand.
Harry and Ron jumped to their feet. They were half hoping for a reason to fight Malfoy, but Professor McGonagall, who could spot trouble quicker than any teacher in the school, was there in a flash.
“What’s going on?”
“Malfoy’s got my Remembrall, Professor.”
Scowling, Malfoy quickly dropped the Remembrall back on the table.
“Just looking,” he said, and he sloped away with Crabbe and Goyle behind him.
(SS pages 148-149)
“Look!” said Malfoy, darting forward and snatching something out of the grass. “It’s that stupid thing Longbottom’s gran sent him.”The Remembrall glittered in the sun as he held it up.
“Give that here, Malfoy,” said Harry quietly. Everyone stopped talking to watch.
Malfoy smiled nastily.
“I think I’ll leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find – how about – up a tree?”
“Give it here!” Harry yelled, but Malfoy had leapt onto his broomstick and taken off. He hadn’t been lying, he could fly well. Hovering level with the topmost branches of an oak he called, “Come and get it, Potter!”
Harry grabbed his broom.
“No!” shouted Hermione Granger. “Madam Hooch told us not to move – you’ll get us all into trouble.”
“No Crabbe and Goyle up here to save your neck, Malfoy,” Harry called.
The same thought seemed to have struck Malfoy.
“Catch it if you can, then!” he shouted, and he threw the glass ball high into the air and streaked back toward the ground.
Harry saw, as though in slow motion, the ball rise up in the air and then start to fall. He leaned forward and pointed his broom handle down – next second he was gathering speed in a steep dive, racing the ball – wind whistled in his ears, mingled with the screams of people watching – he stretched out his hand – a foot from the ground he caught it, just in time to pull his broom straight, and he toppled gently onto the grass with the Remembrall clutched safely in his fist.
Two major scenes where the major focus is this tiny ball. Why? Is it just the means to push the story along or is there something more to it? Does this ball know what it is that you forgot–or just that you’ve forgotten something? If this was the last time we heard about it, then I would guess that it wasn’t overly important. That it was just another reference to Neville’s bad memory and the animosity between Harry, Ron and Malfoy. But this isn’t the last time it is mentioned. We hear about it again in this conversation between Harry and Ron:
(SS page 166)
“Well, it’s true,” Harry chortled as they reached the top of the marble staircase, “If he (Malfoy) hadn’t stolen Neville’s Remembrall I wouldn’t be on the team…”
And even then maybe it is still just reinforcing bad memory and rivalry. It has been said that when J.K.R. repeats something it is important. Harry mentions it in his conversation with Neville on the Hogwarts Express in OotP, so it must be important.
(OotP page 186)
“Guess what I got for my birthday?” said Neville
“Another Remembrall?” said Harry, remembering the marble like device Neville’s grandmother had sent him in an effort to improve his abysmal memory.
“No,” said Neville, “I could do with one, though, I lost the old one ages ago…”
Maybe someone should rush out and get him another one!
There are three questions that haunt me. Why was Draco so intent on separating Neville from the Remembrall? Who took the Remembrall if Neville didn’t lose it (as we are led to believe)? And last but not least – Will the Remembrall live up to its name and help Neville remember all?