The Real Reason Neville Longbottom Was So Bad at Magic - Harry Potter Theory

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Welcome to Harry Potter Theory. Today we're discussing Neville Longbottom and why he was so bad at magic – because, let’s face it, when you think “Neville Longbottom,” you do NOT think “great and powerful wizard.”

But have you ever considered why that may be? Have you ever thought that Neville’s poor magical performance may not have been his fault AT ALL?

Okay. So, what exactly are we talking about here? Well, as some of you Harry Potter super fans out there may know, there’s a popular theory that suggests the REAL reason Neville was bad at magic was because of his…WAND. Yes, that’s right. Nothing to do with Neville’s skill or ability to learn. But his wand.

You might be wondering how this could be possible. After all, as Diagon Alley’s famous wandmaker, Ollivander, explains: “The wand chooses the wizard. That much has always been clear to those of us who have studied wandlore…”


Ah yes. The wand chooses the wizard. Not the other way around. Which brings us to an important point. Like most magical things in the wizarding world, a wand isn’t any old object devoid of – for lack of a better word – life. In fact, they’re quasi-sentient.

Unlike muggle school supplies, it’s not just something that a witch or wizard could quickly pick up from a shop on their way home one day. In fact, according to wandlore, each wand is thought to have its own “personality” of sorts – that is to say, just like PEOPLE, no two wands are alike. And even if multiple wands are made of the same materials, they will be fundamentally impacted by whoever they choose as their master. Sure, how they perform can be best predicted by wood type, core material and owner. But sometimes, even then, a wand could surprise you…

Alright. So, back to Neville and his wand. The big question here is: How could a wand that CHOSE Neville be the very reason he’s unable to wield it properly?

As it turns out, Neville’s wand isn’t NEVILLE’S at all. It actually originally belonged to his father, Frank Longbottom, before he and his wife, Alice, were tortured to insanity by Death Eaters when Neville was a baby. Terrible thing…but we won’t get into that here…

Okay. So, Neville inherited his father’s wand by way of his Gran, Augusta Longbottom – Frank Longbottom’s mother.

Augusta was very proud of her son, Frank, as both he and Alice had been powerful Aurors, that is to say, protectors against the Dark Arts. So, it’s reasonable to think that by giving her grandson Frank’s wand, she may have been trying to transfer her son’s exceptional wizarding skills onto Neville. Or perhaps, as an older, more conservative witch, Augusta didn’t want to spring for a new wand. Whatever the reason, Neville ended up inheriting Frank Longbottom’s wand.

At this point, with Ollivander’s emphasis on how the wand chooses the wizard, you may be wondering if inheritance is an acceptable way to acquire a wand. Well, technically, yes. It is. In fact, there are three different ways, according to the laws of wands, that a witch or wizard can take possession of a wand. They are:


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