You've got to admire J.K. Rowling's plucky Neville Longbottom. Of Harry Potter fame, Longbottom goes through a noble character arc, growing from a shy, clumsy boy into a brave Hogwarts defender.
Early in the Harry Potter books, Neville is plagued with misfortune. His hardships include:
- Displaying no magic skill as a kid (a Squib)
- Losing his toad Trevor on the train platform
- Nervously running across the Great Hall with the Sorting Hat on his head
- Being bullied by Peeves the Poltergist
- Melting Seamus Finnigan's cauldron
- Falling off his broom and breaking his wrist
- Receiving the Leg-Locker Curse from Draco Malfoy
- And more, but you get the picture
Check this out:
Lord Voldemornt: "You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom."
Neville Longbottom: "I'll join you when hell freezes over! Dumbledore's Army!"
— Lord Voldemort and Neville Longbottom at the Battle of Hogwarts
Not what you would expect from the introverted Longbottom. He artfully grew from a bumbling kid into a strong and confident wizard.
True, the story arc is an important element of any plot. But a good character arc-for main characters as well as secondary characters-makes the difference between a series of happenings and a gripping human story. Neville Longbottom is a great example.
Sources: Harry Potter Wikia & the Harry Potter Books by J. K. Rowling