Are we talking Neville-Peter parallels? Let me talk to you about Neville-Peter parallels.
Superficially, Neville and Peter both do and don’t map onto each other. On the one hand they’re both clumsy, not great at school, physically awkward, more follower than leader (at least at first). Neville needs Hermione’s help in potions; Peter wouldn’t have gotten through school with out his friends’ help. On the other hand, Neville is a direct product of the first wizarding war in the way Peter can’t possibly be. Neville has seen first hand what darkness does. He’s a victim of a war he was too young to remember. He has concrete experience with particular brand of evil in a way Peter doesn’t. Potentially even more importantly, Neville is explicitly not part of the golden group, especially in the early years. There are four marauders. There have always been four marauders. It’s why Peter’s betrayal came as such a blow — not only did he betray them, he did it despite being one of them. He wasn’t just James’ friend, he was James’ best friend. Neville, by contrast, is on the fringes of Harry’s group. It’s the golden trio, and Neville’s not part of it. He doesn’t really ascend to it either; when the time comes for him to shine he gets his own group. Like Peter, Neville grew up in someone’s shadow, but it was his parents’ shadow, not his friends’.
To me that’s one of the key differences and one of the reasons they go down such different paths. Of course I don’t want to diminish Neville’s strength of character or his arc — he’s incredible and his growth as a character is phenomenal and he deserves all the credit in the world for the choices he makes. But the pressures he faced were subtly different than the ones weighing on Peter. Neville was pressured to be a hero, to live up to his parents’ achievements. He comes from a background that judged him and found him wanting. Peter meanwhile is compared not to heroes of days gone by but to the friends he sees every day. He sees every day the ways in which he is not as good as them, the ways in which they surpass him. Neville has space to grow in a way that Peter doesn’t really, because Neville is basically trying to live up to abstracts. Living up to abstracts is daunting as hell and in many ways fundamentally impossible, but at least he isn’t presented with concrete proof of his failures as a person in the form of living breathing people ribbing on him for missing too many questions on that last charms test.
Let’s be clear, just like I don’t want to diminish Neville’s choices, I’m not excusing Peter for his. Peter could have chosen to stick with his friends, could have chosen to come clean before it was too late, could have found a different way to express his individuality or gain power and respect and a sense of self worth (short lived as that may have been). He didn’t. Neville, when faced with similar circumstances, did. Neville Longbottom has demonstrably more strength of character than Peter, and no difference in unattainable expectations can change that. (Neville Longbottom has demonstrably more strength of character than, oh, 90% of the characters in the series, let’s be honest. And that’s a conservative estimate.) Where Peter chose to prioritize his own power by attaching himself to the most powerful person around, Neville chose to prioritize his morals and attach himself to the least powerful people. He did was basically no other character except possibly Harry managed to do and broke out of the cycle of bullying to become a better person.
#hp#mind you it’s not like the harry-james or ron-sirius comparisons are perfect either#formative experiences are important after all#harry doesn’t have the pride or really the mean streak#ron doesn’t have the cockiness and desperate recklessness#(though harry does have that recklessness interestingly#there’s a *lot* of sirius in harry i think#i wish we’d known james better so that we could do a better comparison#but the sirius-harry parallels are totally there#both in terms of upbringing and attitude#though again harry doesn’t have the cruel edge that sirius does#well except the thing with draco 6th year#and even then he didn’t know what he was doing in the same way sirius did#hermione’s the one with the cruel edge in the trio and she thinks things out more than sirius ever does#but i am getting way way off topic so i’m going to stop or we’ll talk about hermione forever)
Whether or not you wanna admit it, Peter Pettigrew was a Marauder—the map reads Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. Not Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, and Karen Gillan as Lily Evans.