A Look Back at “What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7”: Chapter 5: “Neville’s Destiny”
MuggleNet staff has been taking a journey back to What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7 and the theories that were right—and not quite right. Last time we heard from staff member Amy about Dumbledore in chapter 4, but now we’re here at chapter 5, and it’s about our beloved Neville.
The Importance of the Prophecy
J.K.R. has said…that “Neville’s history has been set up to show the true nature of prophecies, that there is a measure of free will and choice within any prophecy.” (48)
This provides an interesting idea, and it is neither right nor wrong. Prophecies seem like set things, given the fortune-telling nature of divination, but even in Wizarding divination, as well as Muggle practices like tarot cards or astrology, there is a choice someone can make in how they interpret what they are given. Voldemort interpreted the prophecy one way, to mean James and Lily Potter’s son Harry, but he could have just as easily picked Frank and Alice Longbottom’s son Neville. Neither was set in stone, and Harry only became set in stone due to Voldemort’s choice.
“But in no way does this mean that Neville is an unimportant character. In fact, we think there is still much to be revealed about the boy who could have been the Chosen One.” (48)
Neville is indeed an interesting character. He doesn’t have the energetic presence that Harry does when leading his peers, but Neville leads them in their own way and is able to bring people together even when times are hopeless. He is the man who keeps the morale up, who keeps fighting, who won’t quit. And that is what makes Neville such an important character.
Why is Neville so Forgetful?
Neville’s forgetfulness as a means to block witnessing his parents’ torture by Bellatrix and company, aka someone cast a Memory Charm on him to shield him from the memory.
Eh, not quite. At least, we have no way to know for sure. It’s never brought up in the series the reason why Neville is so forgetful. It’s one thing to look at it as a character trait, to round out a character and give them flaws they must overcome, like his forgetfulness when it comes to magical spells and skills. While a cool theory, it seems unlikely someone cast a Memory Charm on Neville, if Neville even witnesses his parents getting tortured.
Neville’s early lack of skill may be nothing more than the result of meager self-confidence.
Bingo. It’s incredible to watch Neville gain confidence over the course of the series, to be able to lead an underground guerilla group of students in the Room of Requirement during Hogwarts’ Carrow days.
Neville vs. Bellatrix
“You can bet that in the seventh and final book, with the ultimate battle between good and evil sure to occur, these two will have ample opportunity to settle the score once and for all.” (51)
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead of Neville taking on Bellatrix Lestrange, it is Molly Weasley, in an attempt to protect her daughter Ginny. While maybe this looks like a letdown, it actually provides a lot of significance for Neville’s story as well.
Bellatrix represents an obsessive, tainted love, one that saunters in and snatches you and chokes you. Mrs. Weasley, on the other hand, is the maternal, patient, kind, and overprotective mother who wants you to succeed but also isn’t afraid to give you a second serving of treacle tart. The battle between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix still applies to Neville because Mrs. Weasley is avenging the families Bellatrix and the Death Eaters and Voldemort have destroyed, the children they tore apart from their mothers. Though Molly may not be consciously thinking this, the subtext is clear: this is so she doesn’t lose Ginny like she lost Fred, this is for Harry’s struggle, and this is representative of Neville, who never knew his mother, or rather his mother never knew him as well. The fight between Neville and Bellatrix is still personal, and Bellatrix still receives her comeuppance.
“We’re confident that when the dust from this battle clears, Neville will emerge victorious. He will win because not only is he driven by revenge, but he’s also driven by the power of love.” (52)
This part, however, rings true about Neville’s spirit.
Thanks for joining us! Stay tuned for an analysis of “Chapter 6: Draco’s Destiny”!
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