Neville Longbottom

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The Unlikely Hero Trope

Published December 12, 2013 by A. Featherquill

Last December 1, I posted an article about Neville Longbottom’s heroism. As stated in that post, the theme of the month is becoming an unlikely hero. We still haven’t reached the third week, but I would like to post early, because I’ll be busy in the following weeks due to various Christmas activities.

While looking for examples around the web, I realized that there are many types of unlikely hero. Thus, instead of just writing about one great example, I will list down seven popular types based on my web search and give an example for each.

1. From weakling to badass:

This type is probably the most popular. Even Neville can fall under this category. Besides this awkward-boy-turned-basilisk-slayer, another good example is… Captain America.

I got this idea from mashable’s article “What Books Would ‘Harry Potter’ Characters Read“. While there are many other fantasy literatures and comic book superheroes following this pattern, I chose Captain America because sometimes nothing beats the classic.

Frail and sickly Steven Rogers volunteers in the army but was initially rejected. By some luck or twist of fate, Rogers is picked to be the recipient of the super-soldier serum. The once weak boy transforms into a superhero but retains his good heart and honorable character.

2. Too extraordinarily ordinary to become a hero (but think again!)

The best example for this category is definitely… Bilbo Baggins. Small in size, enjoys the comfort and security of his home, respectable, conventional, simple, very ordinary. Bilbo does not have any special ability like The X-men or The Avengers. He does not have the magical powers of a wizard. He doesn’t have the training of a warrior or the power of a king. If there is anything noticeable about Bilbo before his unexpected journey, it is probably his ordinariness.

But, as Gandalf says, there’s more to this hobbit than meets the eye. This hobbit helps the dwarves in their journey to the Lonely Mountain. Some of you may have followed his adventures in Tolkien’s book, but I invite you all to see Bilbo’s development into a hero (although not the Superman-type) in the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The movie is now showing in theatres worldwide.

3. The adorable animal savior:

I will pick an example from real life for this category. You have probably heard of stories where the dog swims its master back to saftey and other similar events. But have you heard of the hero-dog Kabang?

One day, two girls were crossing the street. They did not notice that a motorcycle was approaching. Kabang came to the rescue and knocked the motorcycle over. The two girls were saved. Kabang also lived. However, the dog’s snout was crushed. Eventually, the dog developed infection. The owners of the dog, being of humble origins, could not afford to give their dog a surgery. Fortunately, the news of the dog’s heroism reached able people. With the help of sponsors, Kabang was able to undergo surgery in the US.

For more information about the hero dog, read this wikipedia article which lists down other titles featuring Kabang’s story.

4. The Woman Warrior

Probably, this type is not quite surprising now as many woman characters take the role of heroes in literature, film, and many other genres. We now have Katniss Everdeen who challenged a tyrannic system, Merida of Brave, Tauriel of The Hobbit’s film franchise, Hermione of Harry Potter, etc. Still, I want to celebrate the power of women by including in this post a case which features women’s greatness.

There was an age when seeing a woman warrior is not only surprising but also forbidden. Take the case of Mulan. What she did was against the norm. Yet she ended up saving not just her father but the whole empire.

My first encounter with Mulan’s story is through Disney’s cartoon movie. It touched my heart to hear the emperor say in the end:

I’ve heard a great deal about you, Fa Mulan. You stole your father’s armor, ran away from home, impersonated a soldier, deceived your commanding officer, dishonored the Chinese Army, destroyed my palace, and… you have saved us all.

Later on, I learned that there is a non-animated Chinese movie about Mulan. If animated cartoons is not your thing, you can give this version a try.

5. The kid who beats them all:

It’s Christmas time so a Christmas-related example seems fitting: Kevin McCallister of the Home Alone movie series.

I have watched the first three installments of this Christmas movie a couple of times, but they never fail to entertain and make me laugh. My favorite is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and this installment is probably the most suitable example for this unlikely hero category.

Kevin repeats the feat of beating bandits Harry and Marv but this time not just for himself but mainly for the sake of a Christmas toy store whose proceeds will go to a children’s hospital.

6. The Accidental Hero:

The third week post is meant to feature things outside the Harry Potter world. Forgive me, however, because I couldn’t resist posting this small accidental “heroism” of Ron Weasley. I was reminded of this scene after seeing it in Everything Harry Potter tumblr blog:

Ron Weasley: I’m rubbish. I’m lousy. I can’t play to save my life. What was I thinking?
Harry Potter: Get a grip. Look at that save you made with your foot the other day, even Fred and George said it was brilliant –
Ron Weasley: That was an accident. I didn’t mean to do it – I slipped off my broom when none of you were looking and I was trying to get back on and I kicked the Quaffle by accident.
Harry Potter: Well, a few more accidents like that and the game’s in the bag, isn’t it?

Really, the accidental hero deserves a place in this list because of this type’s unassuming brilliance.

 
7. The Villian turned Hero:

The villian is probably the least likely candidate to be hero simply because the villian is supposed to cause the problems. Nevertheless, some villians have successfully managed to transform into heroes. A good example is Megamind. My friend River Taylor’s post last month about Megamind inspired the example for this category.

While Megamind is a super-villian, at some point, he saves the city from the bad schemes of his newly made superhero Hal/Tighten. I think this character combines categories 1, 5 and 6 and thus makes for a good last entry. He is weak when compared to his nemesis Metro Man and so always loses. Then, this villian suddenly wins and becomes a hero because the situation calls for it. The heroism was somehow accidental.

This incident, however, proves that even villians can turn into heroes!

 

Stay Magical,
A. Featherquill

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P.S. This article will probably be my last post for the year so I would like to take this chance to thank each and every reader, follower and visitor of my blog. Merry Christmas to all of you! Enjoy the holiday season!

 

 

 

The Other Boy Who Lived

Published December 1, 2013 by A. Featherquill

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies …”

Quoted above is the prophecy made by Sybill Trelawney about the boy who is destined to defeat Voldemort. Two boys fill the requirements – Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter. However, the prophecy has pertained to Harry ever since the Dark Lord, believing that it was the Potters’ son who is destined to defeat him, tried to kill Harry. In doing so, Voldemort ironically made the prophecy come true.

Thus, Harry Potter has become the chosen one, the hero, the savior of the wizarding world. Likewise, being unchosen, Neville ceased to be an option and grew up as an ordinary boy.

Neville started out as awkward, careless, prone to accident, and forgetful. Also, he performed poorly in most of his classes except Herbology. He was often bullied but he could not defend himself. Seeing him in his first few days at Hogwarts, one would wonder how this boy ended up in Gryffindor. One would think that Voldemort was right in picking Harry instead of Neville.

Nevertheless, Neville learned to stand up against evil and became one of the bravest in his batch, re-organizing the Dumbledore’s Army. He would often defy the Death Eaters in order to give others hope even though it meant he would get beaten. Most of all, when everyone thought Harry was dead, he was the one who boldly told the Dark Lord that the fight was not yet over for them. With or without the savior, the battle must go on. It does not mean that, when the destined hero is dead, they all must kowtow to the Dark Lord. In the absence of the chosen one, Neville took the responsbility to continue the battle against evil.

He may have been just an ordinary boy, not chosen by Voldemort as his equal, but he still became a source of hope during a time when everyone thought the supposed hero was dead.

Neville’s evolution in the series can also be a source of inspiration for all of us. His feats show that everyone can be a hero. It doesn’t matter if we have a painful past. It doesn’t matter if we are not famous, smart or wealthy. One does not have to be a protege of someone great. One does not need to have a title. One does not have to wait to be chosen. Instead, it is our choice that matters.

We may be ordinary. Others may not believe in us. But we can still choose to move, to change, to fight for a greater cause, to send out love to others, to be a source of hope and inspiration. We just need to believe in ourselves.

Let me end with a quote from The Order of the Phoenix movie that shows Neville beginning to embrace who he is, an exchange with Harry which I believe was significant in Neville’s development.

Neville Longbottom: Fourteen years ago, a Death Eater named Bellatrix Lestrange used the Cruciatus Curse on my parents. She tortured them for information, but they never gave in. I’m quite proud to be their son. But I’m not sure I’m ready for everyone to know just yet.
Harry Potter: We’re going to make them proud, Neville. That’s a promise.

Indeed, he did!

Stay Magical,
A. Featherquill

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Have you guessed the theme of the month? It is being an unlikely hero. Please wait for the best-of-the-web post (if you don’t know what this type of post is, read this) coming in the third week of December.

My HP Character House Pride Honor Roll

Published September 8, 2013 by A. Featherquill

Just a few days ago, Pottermore held the House Pride week. The determined and ambitious Slytherins conquered the world on September 2 while the intelligent and creative Ravenclaws celebrated their individuality on September 3. The bold and daring Gryffindors painted the online community red…and gold on September 4. Finally, the just and humble Hufflepuffs showed their pride on September 5.

The House Pride week has likely inspired the Pottermore members (a.k.a Hogwarts students) to help make their respective houses win the 4th House Cup which will be awarded on September 12.

While everyone is in competition mode, I will take on a different route by remembering that, at the end of the day, the four houses must act as one.

We’ve seen it in the Battle of Hogwarts in The Deathly Hallows. Even non-Gryffindors had to be brave. Non-Ravenclaws had to muster all their wits and talents to outsmart their foes. Slytherins had to find their inner Hufflepuff and realize that they had to side on what’s fair and good.

To celebrate the greatness of each house and how the ideals of each make one a better wizard and contribute to a better Hogwarts, I will list down 10 characters who exemplified their house traits well at critical moments and another 5 who embodied not only the virtues of their house but also of other houses. Enjoy reading!

10 characters who exemplified their house traits well:

1. Cedric Diggory (Hufflepuff)
Cedric has shown his fairness many times during the Triwizard Tournament. While some students joined Draco in his campaign against Harry’s being an extra Hogwarts champion, Cedric remained nice to Harry. He gave Harry a tip on how to figure out the second task and, instead of taking the Triwizard Cup for himself, preferred to take it with Harry.

2. Molly Weasley (Gryffindor)
“Not my daughter, you B****!”

The epic line she said to Bellatrix Lestrange, Voldemort’s most obsessed and, in my opinion, one of the scariest and toughest Death Eaters.

Bellatrix has done a lot of damage: tortured Neville’s parents to madness, killed Sirius, tortured Hermione (good thing she escaped!), killed Dobby…

Mrs. Weasley must be really brave and bold to end this Death Eater’s life and call her – in her face – a b****.

3. Luna Lovegood (Ravenclaw)
If not for her, Harry may not have found Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem on time. This girl does know things that most do not.

4. Garrick Ollivander (Ravenclaw)
Every student must know Mr. Ollivander, the maker of fine wands. His passion for the art of wand-making reveals his being a Ravenclaw. He can tell the owner of a wand by examing it and seems to have memorized who has which.

This knowledge may have been abused by Voldemort, but Mr. Ollivander redeems himself by telling Harry that the allegiance of Draco’s wand has changed. This info will help Harry figure out that he is the master of the elder wand.

5. Minerva McGonagall (Gryffindor)
In the final movie, she protects Harry from Snape and duels with the latter. In the absence of a headmaster, she takes charge.

6. Ron Weasley (Gryffindor)
Who will ever forget his sacrifice during the living wizard’s chess? Ron proves that age doesn’t hinder one from being brave.

7. Severus Snape (Slytherin)
This half-blood truly did everything to prove his worth. His old Advanced Potion-Making book is a proof of his determination to be a great wizard. Plus, we’ve seen him work to land his dream job, the Defense Against the Dark Arts Post, after many disappointments.

8. Remus Lupin (Gryffindor)
He takes on a dangerous mission which leads him to face Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf who bit him. Facing the reason for your sad predicament is already difficult. Even more so when you have to spy on him and eventually ask him and his pack to ally with the good side.

9. Neville Longbottom (Gryffindor)
From standing up to his friends in the first book/movie to standing up to the Dark Lord. Remembering his moment in the final movie and in the 7th book still makes me feel high and giddy. I think no one needs any more convincing why it’s so courageous.

10. Harry Potter (Gryffindor)
This entry is so obvious. I really hope you are not disappointed, but I feel the need to acknowledge Harry’s bravery. Just because he’s the protagonist does not mean we have to exempt him from lists like this. Anyway, walking towards your death for the good of all really takes a huge amount of courage.

5 characters who also embody the virtues of other houses:

1. Intelligence: Hermione Granger
“It’s Wingardium LeviOsa, not Wingardium LevioSA!”

Hermione is the only one to execute that charm correctly at first try. Also, the only student to raise her hand for Snape’s every question during their first class. Intelligent and always prepared, Hermione is the brains of almost all of the trios plans. She may be in Gryffindor, but she can easily pass off as a Ravenclaw. No wonder the Sorting Hat had a hard time deciding where to place her.

2. Bravery: Severus Snape
Pretending to Voldermort that he’s spying on Dumbledore while really spying on the Dark Lord for the Order of the Phoenix is not a job for the fearful and the weak. I think Harry is right in telling his son that Severus Snape is probably the bravest man he has ever known.

3. Fairness and humility: Remus Lupin
His shabby robes and demeanor may conceal the intelligence that Remus Lupin has. But check his description in Pottermore and you’ll learn how brilliant he has been even as a child. He has been called a competent teacher by no less than Prof. McGonagall. Yet despite his ability, he has remained humble.

In his class, he reassures and encourages the underdogs to do better. Sometimes he even goes out of his way to teach them. Prof. Lupin will surely not brag about it, but we have to credit him for teaching Harry the Patronus Charm which has become the boy’s most mastered spell ever.

4. Ambition: Cedric Diggory
This may come as a surprise, but, after much reflection, I think it is not wrong to say that the fair and humble Cedric has ambition and determination. He is a prefect, a seeker, and one of the Hogwarts champions for the Triwizard Tournament.

That he has qualified or tried out for all these positions means that he does have some ambition for himself. Cedric proves that having ambition does not always go with being aggressive and sly.

5. Everything: Albus Dumbledore
Dare disagree? Dumbledore’s wisdom had been Harry’s guide for most of his growing years. He was the reason why a werewolf like Remus had the chance to enroll in school. He acknowledged Neville’s bravery even when it was not yet that obvious. When he was younger, he had been fascinated with Grindelwald who may have mirrored a secret thirst to show his brilliance to the world. But, as an older man, he sacrificed his life in order to prevent Voldermort from realizing his dark plans.┬áIndeed, no one represents Hogwarts better than a famous headmaster.

There you go! I’m sure you have other ideas in mind, too. Feel free to share them by commenting on this post.

Stay magical,
A. Featherquill

P.S. Continue showing your house pride by adding more points to your house in Pottermore.

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