With the release of the eight and final Harry Potter movie – and the revelation that the actor who plays the character of Neville Longbottom has turned into quite a handsome young man – I got to thinking about late bloomers. It’s a happy coincidence that the actor, Matthew Lewis, is playing a late bloomer. For the first few books, Neville Longbottom is an an absent-minded pre-adolescent, but by the end of the series he’s an admired leader of the anti-Dark Magic resistance movement.
By the end of the final book, Neville has gone from laughingstock to hero. He has developed into a courageous and charismatic leader of a small army of magical civil rights activists. (Seriously people, I’m telling you, social justice is hot.) In the great battle at the end of the series, he has a moment of glory. (SPOILER ALERT!) In the epilogue, we learn that Neville will remain at Hogwarts as a teacher of the one subject he was ever any good at when he was a student. His character arc is one of the most satisfying in the whole book, partly because, at the beginning, he’s the last person you expect to become a political hero – or a teacher, for that matter.
Neville – and the very handsome Mr. Lewis – are excellent examples of the late bloomer. Some of us had the misfortune of being awkward adolescents. Some of us endured the mortification of being shy, or clumsy, or not terribly good in school, or some unpleasant combination of these qualities. Some of us took a little longer that we would have liked to figure out who we were and what mattered to us – and to find the courage to go after those things once we determined what they were.
There is nothing wrong with that. And some things (studliness, heroism, a commitment to equality in the wizarding world and beyond) are worth the wait.
You can read the whole thing at The Frisky.