“I think I am right in saying, my dear, that you were born in midwinter?” “No, I was born in July.”
I want to take this time to wish Harry, born at the end of July and not in midwinter, a very happy birthday. Interestingly enough, another boy was also born at the end of July, and that becomes surprisingly significant as time goes on. His name is Neville Longbottom, and his birthday was yesterday.
Pertaining to the significance of the boys’ nearly-shared birthday, and a certain prophecy, Dumbledore says, ” ‘The odd thing is, Harry, that it may not have meant you at all. Sybil’s prophecy could have applied to two wizard boys, born at the end of July that year, both of whom had parents in the Order of the Phoenix, both sets of parents having narrowly escaped Voldemort three times. One, of course was you. The other was Neville Longbottom.”
Neville Longbottom: one of the studliest fictional heros of all time. As Harry discovers in The Order of the Phoenix, Neville may have just as easily been chosen as he, had it not been for the spying and serpentine Severus Snape. (This is a topic for another day.)
“As Harry took off his glasses and climbed into his four-poster, he imagined how it must feel to have parents still living but unable to recognize you. He often got sympathy from strangers for being an orphan, but as he listened to Neville’s snores, he thought that Neville deserved it more than he did.”
Although Neville starts out at Hogwarts as an insecure and less-talented student, he grows into an intelligent and fearless wizard the older and more experienced he becomes, eventually leading Dumbledore’s Army, and courageously and heroically slaughtering a horcrux with the sword of Gryffindor. Yeah. And as he says to Malfoy, “I’m worth 12 of you, Malfoy!” Too true.
Neville, outshone by Harry and most all other students, had the courage and bravery only a true Gryffindor could have, as revealed in The Deathly Hallows. The progression he makes throughout the years is due more to his own hard work and determination than anything else.
“He. . . worked relentlessly on every new jinx and countercurse Harry taught them, his plump face screwed up in concentration, apparently indifferent to injuries or accidents, working harder than anyone else in the room. He was improving so fast it was unnerving and when Harry taught them the Shield Charm, a means of deflecting minor jinxes so that they rebounded upon the attacker, only Hermione mastered the charm faster than Neville”
In comparison to Harry, he shared a birthday at the end of July, as well as parents who had “thrice defied Lord Voldemort”. However, because Voldemort didn’t choose him, he didn’t share the fame, responsibility, or history. What if he had been chosen? I believe that Neville could have withstood Voldemort in the same way that Harry had, because I believe that he had equal courage, bravery, and even love, although it took longer to be realized since it wasn’t forced upon him. I say Neville lives up to the position of the Chosen One in Harry’s absence, and serves just as valiantly in an alternate position. (I don’t mean this to demean or belittle Harry in any way. He absolutely lived up to the destiny Lord Voldemort set for him, and showed immense courage, bravery, and pure love.)
Lord Voldemort: “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.”
Neville: “I’ll join you when hell freezes over!”