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One Thing Made Harry Potter's Neville Longbottom Really Bad At Magic (At First)

Throughout most of the early "Harry Potter" books and films, Neville Longbottom — played by Matthew Lewis — is a bit of a bumbling fool. But could this be explained by the fact that he's just using the wrong wand?

When Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) gets his first wand in "Sorcerer's Stone," Ollivander (John Hurt), the famous wandmaker, gives him a bit of wisdom and tells him that wands choose their wizards. That way, the two are in sync, and the wizard is capable of performing the best magic they can. So what's wrong with Neville's wand? It was passed down to him via his grandmother Augusta and once belonged to his father Frank, so the wand never chose him ... and as a result, he fumbled even the most basic of spells during his early years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

During the climactic fight at the end of "Order of the Phoenix," Neville's wand is broken when a Death Eater steps on it — and as he tells Harry, he's worried Augusta will be furious since the wand belonged to his father. (Neville's parents are alive but were tortured so badly by Death Eaters that they remain hospitalized.) By "Half-Blood Prince," though, Neville tells Harry that not only was Augusta proud of him after the battle that broke his wand, but she purchased him a new one ... and from that point on, Neville's magic work is much more successful.

Some fans think Neville's family actually intended for him to struggle with his wand

There's one fan theory floating around that Augusta purposefully gives Neville Frank's wand because it will make him look untalented. Before their torture and hospitalization, Neville's parents Frank and Alice were popular and powerful wizards who fought against Voldemort (played on-screen by Ralph Fiennes), and according to one Redditor, Augusta might have wanted to keep Neville's real talents quiet.

As u/samsg1 wrote on a thread, "Augusta (Neville's Gran) surely expected that Neville, too, would grow to be a powerful wizard and she may have anticipated Voldemort would come back someday, or that Neville might want to avenge his parents and become an Auror himself someday, and decided to sabotage her son's magical ability to protect him. So instead of buying Neville a wand for himself from Olliviander's (surely coming from a seemingly well-respected and old pure-blood family she had the galleons) she decided to give him Frank's old wand knowing Neville would struggle to use magic to his full potential."

Other users admitted the theory was compelling, but pointed out a few flaws. First, Neville frequently mentions that Augusta is disappointed that he isn't more like his father, and second, she's not necessarily wealthy just because the Longbottoms are a pure-blood wizarding family. Most convincingly, though, is the fact that before his father's wand breaks, Neville has been furiously training alongside Harry and the student vigilante group Dumbledore's Army — because the Death Eaters who tortured his parents break out of the wizarding prison Azkaban, and Neville probably wants to avenge Frank and Alice himself.

Neville Longbottom ultimately becomes an extremely powerful force

Ultimately, when he's armed with a brand-new wand, Neville becomes one of the series' most formidable wizards. In the final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Harry and his two best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (played by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, respectively) leave Hogwarts to search for Voldemort's Horcruxes ... and in their absence, Neville stages a quiet yet powerful revolution within the school. When the trio returns to look for one specific Horcrux, Neville welcomes them through a secret passageway and is clearly worse for wear, revealing that Dumbledore's Army has been working overtime at Hogwarts to combat the Death Eaters placed in charge of the institution. Neville bears obvious battle scars, and though Harry, Hermione, and Ron are horrified by his appearance, he seems cheerful, buoyed by their reappearance, and proud to share his accomplishments.

Perhaps it's this sheer determination that encourages Harry to tell Neville that, no matter what, Neville has to kill Voldemort's snake Nagini (a Horcrux herself). In both the book and film, Neville lops the snake's head off with the Sword of Gryffindor — an artifact that reveals itself only to the bravest of wizards — and succeeds in this task. It's unfortunate that something as simple as the wrong wand apparently hindered his progress for so long, but by the end of "Harry Potter," Neville is an indisputable hero in his own right.