Becoming Neville Longbottom: A True Gryffindor
“But you are a pureblood, aren’t you, my brave boy?… You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.”
“I’ll join you when hell freezes over,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army!”
Harry pulled the Invisibility Cloak from inside his robes, swung it over himself, and sprang to his feet, as Neville moved too.
In one swift, fluid motion, Neville broke free of the Body-Bind Curse upon him; the flaming hat fell off of him and he drew from its depths something silver, with a glittering, rubied handle—
In SS/PS when Neville tries to stop Hermione, Harry, and Ron from sneaking out, Hermione hits him with the full Body-Bind curse. For this he earns his very first points because, as Dumbledore says, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
Dumbledore declares Neville brave even when everyone else thinks he’s clumsy, talentless, and cowardly. At the end of CoS Harry is struggling with whether he should have been placed in Slytherin. Dumbledore assures him that only a true Gryffindor can pull the Sword out of the Hat.
We see in the scene above that Neville is a true Gryffindor. He is brave, chivalrous, daring, and strong willed, but he didn’t start off that way. He started off timid, shy, and klutzy. He was an outcast and had barely any magic in him at all. So what changed?
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Dumbledore, CoS
“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” – Dumbledore, GoF
Our choices, each choice we make grows us more and more in the direction of that choice. This is why it is so important that we determine who we want to be and then make decisions aimed at being that person.
Challenge: Take the qualities of the four houses of Hogwarts and list the ones you want to be most like. Perhaps you want to be humble like Cedric, brave like Neville, strong like Ginny, and bold like Luna. On an index card, write out a recipe for who you want to be. Fold it up. Put it in your pocket and look at it often. Follow the directions and you will grow into exactly who you want to be.
Do you want to be brave? Then make brave choices.
Do you want to be humble? The make humble choices.
Do you want to be loyal? Then make loyal choices.
Do you want to be loving? Then make loving choices.
Be like Neville, grow into who you want to be even if no one believes you can.