In the same vein as my post about The Potters, I have a lot of questions about Neville Longbottom’s parents. They also defied Voldemort 3 times – was it public, or was it more personal? How did the Death Eaters get a hold of them?
But, as someone pointed out to me on my Potters post, we are reading this story through the eyes of Harry & his generation, and you can’t know much about your parents and their life before you were born even if they’re hale and healthy throughout our childhoods. We’re free to speculate on what they were like based on what people tell us & what we know about them, but we can never know if it’s real.
But even without knowing much – or anything – about the Longbottoms, they fill an important role in the story. While Harry is a war orphan, Neville isn’t – and in some ways, he has it worse. Because he sees his parents, and has to see them not remember or recognize him. They provide proof that there is a fate worse than death – and that there are worse things than being an orphan. As much as Draco is almost a perfect foil of Harry, Neivlle is in some ways as well. He is the Harry that could have been – if Voldemort had interpreted the prophecy differently, Neville and Harry could have easily switched places, with Neville and his parents standing up to Voldemort directly and Harry and his parents left to bottle the Death Eaters. Except that Neville was raised in the wizarding world, not the Muggle world.
It begs the question: if the Chosen One had been raised in the Wizarding World and aware of his status, how would things have shaken out differently?