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Old September 1st, 2008, 8:48 pm
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Den_muggle  Female.gif Den_muggle is offline
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Join Date: 15th January 2007
Location: Indianapolis, IN, USA
Age: 55
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Re: Hermione & Neville: In the Spotlight...or on the Spot?

I sat down with Neville recently to talk about his first (but not only) love: herbology.

“You used to travel a lot as an internationally renowned herbologist. Now that you’re a teacher, I assume you don’t travel nearly as much. Do you miss it?”

“Well, Hannah and I travel some in the summer, usually, while school’s out, but I have lots of other ways to study plants. My good friend, Luna Lovegood Scamander, still travels a lot (or did before this campaigning started) and she and her husband send me back samples of interesting plants they find. Since I have found the muggle internet, I have been spending a lot of time searching it for information on plants from all over the world. The sharing of information that is available on the internet is wonderful. I think Hermione and I are going to have to see if we can promote something like it for the wizarding world…or some kind of shielding to allow electricity to work in wizarding parts of the world.”

I was surprised by this. “You are interested in muggle plants as well as magical ones?”

“Of course. Understanding of all living plants is important in my job. I have found some very exciting muggle plants. In fact, I have been working on cross-breeding a Venus Flytrap and different magical plants, hoping to find a plant that will help control pests naturally. Of course, it’s important to find one that will only eat the insects in the garden and not the gardener,” he laughed.

I found this to be very interesting. “Where are you working on this? Hogwarts?”

“Actually, I don’t want to do that because there are so many rare and valuable plants there that I just don’t want to risk anything getting out of hand. I built myself a greenhouse at home for my plants with a separate one for Hannah. She enjoys more simple flowers and lots of pretty muggle ones and got a little upset when she would nearly be assaulted by some of my experiments or some of the more aggressive plants I work with,” he grinned sheepishly. “So separate greenhouses seemed to be in order. Now we’re both happier and more able to enjoy our plants.”

“Do you still have your mimbulus mimbletonia, and is it still your favorite?”

“The original one my uncle gave me is in one of the Hogwarts greenhouses, but I have a smaller start in my personal greenhouse at home. It’s hard to pick a favorite. Especially as new ones are being discovered and cross bred all the time. I think I’ll refrain from answering that one,” he grinned, “despite the possibility that Ms. Skeeter will accuse me of being evasive.”

“What is it you find so fascinating about plants?”

His eyes widened. “What’s not to find fascinating? Some are very beautiful; some are dangerous; some are mysterious; and some are incredibly useful. For example, some people think stinksap is just a useless, noxious liquid, but through my studies, I have found that it has many wonderful uses: it can cure injuries caused by the venomous tentacula; it is a vital component in natural stain-removers; believe it or not, Hagrid and I learned that it is the only food his blast-ended skrewts enjoy. They thrive on it!” He gave another of his devastating grins and admitted, “Whether that’s a good thing can be debated, but it is a use. And Luna swears it repels Nargles. I won’t argue with her, although that won’t be one of the uses listed in my upcoming publication: 101 Uses for Stinksap. And, plants have great uses for defense. We used both mandrakes and venomous tentaculas to defend Hogwarts ten years ago. And of course, my friend Hermione would still be petrified without the mandrake potion that cured the effects of her encounter with the basilisk.

“Even non-magical plants have wonderful uses for wizards. On the internet, I learned about valerian, which is a natural relaxer/sleep aid for muggles. Working with Prof. Slughorn and others, we discovered that it can aid in sleeping draughts that are more gentle than dreamless sleep and can even be safe for the very young. It also aids some pain relief potions. Muggles knew cats love it, and I discovered that kneazles also adore it. Many wizards now feed it to their kneazles to help them calm down before vet visits just as some muggles do for their cats. It also aids patients who are suffering from prolonged stress.”

“Has it helped your parents?” I asked hopefully.

He lost his smile and looked at the floor as he slowly shook his head. “Unfortunately, no. I’m afraid my parents are beyond any help at this point. I haven’t given up on them and I continue to try as do many others, but there has been little progress and I am realistic. They have been helped in the sense that it can calm them when they become agitated without putting them totally to sleep, but as for real, permanent progress, I’m afraid not.”

“Do you and Hannah visit them?”

“We go to see them as often as we can. I’m not sure it could be called a visit, but occasionally, I do get the feeling that they recognize me a little. Gran thinks it’s my imagination, but sometimes, I do see a spark of recognition in their eyes. It’s brief and they still don’t talk,” he admitted sadly, “but they are calmer since they started taking the valerian potion and seem to enjoy our visits.”

I wanted to change the subject away from one he found so painful. “So how are you going to balance campaigning and teaching?”

“Well, of course today was the first day back for students. Fortunately, Prof. Sprout was willing to come out of retirement for this first semester and take her old classes back, leaving me free to spend my time on the campaign trail. If I win, she’ll stay on until a permanent replacement can be found.”

“So she’s supporting your campaign?”

He smiled. “Pomona has always been very supportive of me and my endeavors, but I won’t put words in her mouth. She isn’t as interested in politics as she is in plants.”

“Will you miss working with plants if you win the election?”

“Why should I? I do have my own greenhouse and Ministers are allowed to have hobbies,” he reminded with a smile. “Maybe I’ll build a conservatory in the Ministry building,” he offered with a wink.

“One last question, and it’s not plant related: Do you still have a remembrall or have you forgotten it someplace?” I teased.

He laughed at my mischievous question. “I suppose Ms. Skeeter will claim I have lost it, but I don’t carry it any longer. I needed it when I was younger because I was so nervous that I couldn’t remember much. Too much of my mind was consumed with worry to be able to remember little things. Once I got over that and became more sure of myself, I no longer needed the remembrall. I do write lists sometimes, especially for this campaigning, and those are much more helpful than remembralls, because they actually tell me what I need to remember, not just that I’ve forgotten something,” he finished with a grin.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at another side of one of our candidates. Be sure to send me an owl if you have anyone else connected to the campaigns of Hermione and Neville you’d like to see me sit down and chat with. I can’t promise I’ll be able to work it in the schedule, but I’ll try. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back soon with more interviews and snippets of our candidates’ lives.

Denise


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Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has manyŚnot on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.ŚCharles Dickens

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Liberals want big government to ensure they don't fail; conservatives want small government so they can succeed.
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