Harry’s Helping Hand: Three Times That Harry Was Neville’s Role Model
Harry’s and Neville’s lives are increasingly intertwined from the age of one, with both leading almost parallel lives. They both face tragedy, danger, and the process of dealing with their respective vulnerabilities and senses of self. And throughout this process, they each have help, with various mentors and sources of inspiration to help them on their journeys. But for Neville, it is Harry himself who provides this inspiration. Here are some of the times that Harry was Neville’s role model and why it’s important to have these peer role model moments.
1. Dumbledore’s Army
Harry’s role as the teacher and leader of Dumbledore’s Army is where his skills as a role model really shine. Harry helps Neville tap into his previously hidden talents through hard work and encouragement. Here we see what kind of teacher Harry is – not one to use his position as a way to promote himself but to support his peers as they strive to better their own skills. It’s not about Harry using his own feats to overshadow anybody else but instead lending a helping hand and encouraging Neville to believe in himself.
‘Expelliarmus!’ said Neville, and Harry, caught unawares, felt his wand fly out of his hand.
‘I DID IT!’ said Neville gleefully. ‘I’ve never done it before – I DID IT!'” (OotP 349)
2. The Battle of Hogwarts
After Harry’s supposed death in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Neville speaks out against Voldemort and his followers, really highlighting the impact Harry has had on his friend. Rather than giving in to despair and helplessness, Neville comes into his own, continuing the fight against some very unfavorable odds as he knows Harry would’ve done. This speaks to Harry as a symbol, yes, but a symbol that is deeper than his title of “The Chosen One” and more as a fighter and somebody who refuses to give up.
‘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!’ he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, whom Voldemort’s silencing charms seemed unable to hold.” (DH 586)
3. “There’s no need to call me ‘sir,’ Professor.” (OotP 171)
Who says that being a role model needs to be reflected in great deeds or flashy acts? Harry standing up to Snape’s bullying of his students may be put down to his sassy character. And perhaps it’s just comedic. But this point where Harry draws the line between himself and Snape in front of his class is one that I always thought would have inspired Neville. Neville has always struggled with Snape as a teacher, but Harry’s acting out showed him that Snape isn’t impervious to criticism. And given Neville’s underground acts of rebellion with the DA while Snape was headmaster, I’d say it’s the little things that encourage others to also take action.
Neville is a strong and incredibly brave character in his own right, joining Harry on many of his more dangerous adventures, from the Forbidden Forest to the Ministry of Magic. However, being strong and brave like that doesn’t mean that role models are not wanted or needed. Harry and Neville’s relationship encourages us all to think about our own peers and what strength and inspiration we can draw from those around us.