I was reading the question Why is it considered admirable that Neville stood up to his friends?, and it reminded me of something I've been mulling over for years.

At the awarding of the House Cup at the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Dumbledore awards Harry sixty points for 'pure nerve and outstanding courage.' My assumption has always been that the 'pure nerve and outstanding courage' was specifically in reference to the events that occurred between Harry and Voldemort when they fought over the Philosopher's Stone.

Dumbledore subsequently awards Neville ten points for Gryffindor, for when Neville attempted to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione from engaging Draco Malfoy in a duel earlier in the school year.

'There are all kinds of courage,' said Dumbledore, smiling. 'it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.'

Sorcerer's Stone - Chapter seventeen, The Man With Two Faces - page 304 - Scholastic

If all things are equal, why did Dumbledore give Harry sixty points for courage and bravery, yet award only ten points to Neville for the same accomplishment? Why wouldn't he give Harry and Neville sixty points each?

  • 22
    I though the points were for the most recent time Neville had stood up to his friends, i.e. when he tried to prevent them from going out to confront Voldemort.
    – Adamant
    Jul 26, 2016 at 4:50
  • 7
    Well I guess for the same reason that if a traffic cop pulls you over for drink driving (DUI as they say in America) you get up to six months' imprisonment (UK), but if you crash into someone and kill them you get up to 14 years' imprisonment (UK)
    – Au101
    Jul 26, 2016 at 8:00
  • 39
    Because Voldemort >> Hermione Jul 26, 2016 at 10:54
  • 10
    Dramatic tension... IIRC the trio all receive the same amount of point and that ties them with Slytherin for the Cup. The 10 points Neville gets is the unexpected deciding factor. If Dumbledore did not want the tension he could have awarded Harry any number of points. However, this may have led to more people believing that Dumbledore was gaming the system...
    – Skooba
    Jul 26, 2016 at 11:30
  • 5
    "Neville tried to do something, even if it wasn't the right thing, doing what's right is the second lesson, you can start practicing that after you learn to do anything at all ... [but] you can't award literally zero points for the part where you get the action correct..." ~Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres Jul 26, 2016 at 16:17

6 Answers 6


We have a few things going on here.

First we must look at the context of Harry receiving 60 points.

‘First – to Mr Ronald Weasley, for the best-played game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I award Gryffindor house fifty points.’

‘Second – to Miss Hermione Granger ... for the use of cool logic in the face of fire, I award Gryffindor house fifty points.’

‘Third – to Mr Harry Potter ...’ said Dumbledore. The room went deadly quiet. ‘... for pure nerve and outstanding courage, I award Gryffindor house sixty points.’

Now further context, everyone KNEW about Harry, Ron, and Hermione passing the challenges and stopping Quirrell, maybe not 100% of the events, such as Voldemort possessing Quirrell, but they knew about the challenges.

Percy could be heard telling the other Prefects, ‘My brother, you know! My youngest brother! Got past McGonagall’s giant chess set!’

So now in context, and compared to, Ron and Hermione, Harry receives an addition 10 points for being essentially physically assaulted by Lord Voldemort, and showing courage and bravery through it all, and almost dying(remember Harry's been in the hospital wing for a few days now).

So now their points make sense, so what did Neville do to receive points.

A slight correction to @Slytherincess's question, but Neville did not recieve points "for when Neville attempted to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione from engaging Draco Malfoy in a duel earlier in the school year."

He received points when on the night that Harry and crew left to fight Quirrell he attempted to stop them.

‘I won’t let you do it,’ he said, hurrying to stand in front of the portrait hole. ‘I’ll – I’ll fight you!’ ‘Neville,’ Ron exploded, ‘get away from that hole and don’t be an idiot –’

‘Don’t you call me an idiot!’ said Neville. ‘I don’t think you should be breaking any more rules! And you were the one who told me to stand up to people!’

‘Yes, but not to us,’ said Ron in exasperation. ‘Neville, you don’t know what you’re doing.’

So now Neville bravely stood up to his friends, before mortal danger was happening, in which Harry and crew received their 50+ points. Everyone knew Neville was not actually a part of those events, so his 10 points are simply a footnote in Harry and crew's adventure and success.

Another possible way to look at it is that Harry and crew were all a part of the adventure to save the philosopher's stone, and each of them received 50 points for it. Harry showed additionally, "outstanding courage" in the face of Lord Voldemort , which netted him the extra 10. Neville also showed "courage" in the face of his friends which netted him the same value as Harry, 10 points.

  • 1
    I think your Percy quote is incomplete.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Jul 26, 2016 at 18:50
  • @RogueJedi thanks lemme go look that up and see why copy paste failed hahah, my ebooks doesnt like me copying very much
    – Himarm
    Jul 26, 2016 at 18:51
  • 3
    @Himarm - that last point is fantastically well thought out. Harry and Neville were rewarded the same points. This SHOULD be the Accepted answer. Jul 27, 2016 at 5:40
  • You now made it look like Alvo Dumbledore second surname is something beginning with M. and he is actually tallying EXP. Jul 27, 2016 at 17:33

Possibly because "saving the world" from Voldemort seemed to be more important than preventing some kids from fighting a magic duel in which possibly nobody might have been killed.

So even if the amount of courage was the same, the cause might have seemed more important to Dumbledore.


We don't really know, but there are several plausible explanations:

  • First, Dumbledore was making an broad statement about how standing up to one's friends can be just as hard, in general, as standing up to one's enemies. He may not have been implying that it took just as much courage to for Neville to stand up to Harry and company (whom he knew would not likely harm him) as for Harry to stand up to Voldemort (who wanted him dead). Rather, he may have meant that standing up to one's peers could be just as hard as standing up to, for example, Draco Malfoy.
  • Second, even if the degree of courage had been the same, the results were different. Harry prevented the return of Voldemort. Had Neville succeeded, he would actually have helped Voldemort return! So Dumbledore may well have wanted to reward the results of each person's actions, as well as the qualities that they demonstrated.
  • Finally, Dumbledore may simply have wanted to put Gryffindor ahead of Slytherin.
  • 10
    How exactly would Neville help Voldemort return? Voldemort wouldn't have been able to get the stone without Harry. Neville was right.
    – Oriol
    Jul 26, 2016 at 22:24

There are two reasons.

  1. The story is about Harry.
  2. Harry's situation was much more dangerous. He could have been killed. Neville faced, at worst, someone telling him off.
  • 1
    Add to that bad writing and favouratism.
    – GreySage
    Jul 28, 2016 at 18:48

I do like to believe that Dumbledore intentionally set the points so that Gryffindor and Slytherin would be tied after points were awarded for the known events, causing tension and suspense as people consider what happens when houses tie. Then, of course, he makes Neville the hero by adding the surprise 10 points at the end.


Remember that earlier in the year the trio has lost their house a staggering 150 points, while Malfoy's snooping around also took away 50 points from Slytherin. So this +160 points to the trio could be compensation for the harsh McGonagall's decision, and a bonus 10 points to Neville were to tip the balance just above Slytherin, to make Gryffindor the winning house that year, and not to seem too unfair by making the margin so small.

I've rewatched the first movie a few days ago, but I don't remember more exact point totals of each house which may have been given in the book, so my guess is the margin was pretty small.

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