I recently read the final book of the series. At one point was the vault heist, where the goblin Griphook runs off with the Sword of Gryffindor. Yet near the end of the book, Neville Longbottom suddenly has the sword and uses it to defeat the snake Nagini.

How could this be possible? Griphook wanted the sword because it was goblin-made, so I doubt he would given it over to any non-goblin. How does Neville suddenly get the sword?

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    This is one of reasons why goblins don't trust wizards and their magic. Griphook couldn't really lock the sword away because the sorting hat could teleport the sword from anywhere to a brave Gryffindor. – Umbrella Corporation Sep 8 at 17:13

Neville retrieved it from the Sorting Hat just as Harry had, so perhaps this theory is correct in saying that whenever a true Gryffindor has need of the sword it appears (as Dumbledore said to Harry after the Chamber of Secrets debacle). Although the Goblins felt that the sword was rightfully theirs after Godric Gryffindor's death, presumably the sword did not feel the same way and left Griphook when Neville needed it.

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    I'd forgotten about what Harry did with the sword in CoS. The parallel seems to be explained by the link you provided (along with how the mutual horcrux deal worked, I hadn't worked that out yet) – Grant Palin Sep 25 '11 at 23:06
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    I don’t think the sword is at all sentient. Rather, the sword is tied to the Hat (which is sentient) through some clever magic of Gryffindor’s. After all, one can only pull the sword from the Hat (not out of thin air or whatever). I think it is the Hat that decides who is a “true Gryffindor” (which would make sense, given its main purpose). – Adamant Mar 20 '17 at 21:14

The hat acts as a portal to transport the sword

The Sorting Hat has another ability, which has rarely been revealed to anyone at Hogwarts. It is a magical portal, by which another of Godric Gryffindor’s possessions may be accessed: the sword of Gryffindor. This sword was enchanted by Godric to appear whenever a member of his house asks for help while wearing the Hat. Twice, in the course of the Harry Potter series, the sword is transported from a temporary owner to aid a Gryffindor who needs a weapon.
Pottermore - The Sorting Hat (behind paywall)

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  • While wearing the hat? How does one retrieve the sword while wearing the hat? – Acccumulation Sep 8 at 23:40
  • @Acccumulation - It hits them on the head. At least that's what happened to Harry in CoS. – ibid Sep 9 at 10:30

In the movie the sword materialises (from the hat??), which backs up the "it shows up just as a true Gryffindor needs it" idea. In Pottermore [SPOILER] JKR writes about the Sorting Hat being very adamant about placing Neville in Gryffindor (despite his hesitations), which adds some credence to "true Gryffindor".

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    Additionally in the film Griphook dies, and you see the sword dematerialize. – Jack B Nimble May 1 '12 at 19:15

I believe either the goblin who produced the sword to Godric Gryffindor's specifications, or Godric Gryffindor himself added the magic which would make the sword appear to a worthy Gryffindor in need. I'm leaning towards Gryffindor himself, because I'm sure the goblin would have been reluctant to do so, or would have made it somehow stop with Gryffindor's death. I'm not sure that's possible, so I believe it was Gryffindor, who was a powerful wizard, who did it.

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    Welcome to the site! =) This seems like a fair observation and I agree with you, but it rather tangentially answers the question asked. It does complement some of the points raised in other answers, but it's important to stress that stackexchange is not a forum. Instead, we strive here to provide complete, self-contained and well-referenced answers specifically and explicitly to the question asked at the top. Sorry if that sounds dismissive, it's not meant to! This is a good observation and you deserve to earn rep for your observations and not have them deleted or anything – Au101 Mar 20 '17 at 21:25
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    So it's important to make sure you address the question and then you'll earn the upvotes and rewards that you deserve =) To the extent that you do address the question, you do address it well, but the point about the sword appearing to worth Gryffindors has already been raised in an existing answer – Au101 Mar 20 '17 at 21:25
  • I'm sorry, i don't know much about this site, but i did look into Griffindor and the sword. It seems That Ragnuk the first, who was at the time, the King of the goblins, created the sword for Godric Griffindor, and to Griffindor's specifications. It seems the goblin king was quite envious of his own creation and tried to take it from Griffindor. When this didn't work, he put out the stort that it was stolen by Griffindor. – Bonnie Mar 22 '17 at 22:27
  • I thought perhaps that the thread of the conversation/answers would naturally broaden, and any input would be accepted – Bonnie Mar 22 '17 at 22:32
  • Hi Bonnie, exactly that, that's why I commented. Lots of people get a bit confused by Stackexchange at first because it works strangely. Like I say we don't have threads here which naturally evolve and develop, we don't have conversations (though we do have them in chat, come join us when you get enough rep!) Just questions and their answers, and a lot of people are tripped up by that, which is why I left a small comment. You clearly know your stuff and I'm sure you'll do well here, as long as you remember to make your answers complete, self-contained and original – Au101 Mar 22 '17 at 22:40

In one swift, fluid motion, Neville broke free of the Body-Bind Curse upon him; the flaming hat fell off him and he drew from its depths something silver, with a glittering, rubied handle...
(Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).

Neville exhibited the courage of a true Gryffindor. And since the sword shows up to help a true Gryffindor who is in need of it (just as it did for Harry in the Chamber of Secrets), it came to Neville's rescue.

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    This quote doesn't show any evidence of courage. – Valorum Oct 5 '17 at 20:06
  • @Valorum This answer may not be necessary since ibid's answer gives the clear canon with quote. But that doesn't make this a bad or incorrect answer. If cutting off a giant snake's head in front of an immortal supervillain doesn't require courage then what does? – The Dark Lord Oct 5 '17 at 20:53
  • @Valorum Whilst on fire, I might add... – The Dark Lord Oct 5 '17 at 20:57
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    @TheDarkLord - He doesn't display courage until after he draws the sword. – Valorum Oct 5 '17 at 21:17
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    @Valorum "I'll join you when he'll freezes over..." – The Dark Lord Oct 5 '17 at 21:44

He kept up Dumbeldore's Army, finding how to transport members into the school despite the danger of snatchers and Death Eaters in the castle, who were open about wishing to torture him for all the times he acted out and refused to do the dark arts asked of students in their classes. When he met up with Harry, Ron and Hermione he is visibly beat up from all the actions he has committed against the death eaters at Hogwarts and narrowly escaped worse. He was one of the group that tried to steal away the sword of Gryffindor from Snape-possibly to try to get to Harry.

He faced down the Dark Lord, as mentioned before with the "I'll join you when hell freezes over!" when he is offered not just his life, but power within the ranks of the Death Eaters. Voldemort even notes his bravery. Neville has shown bravery before. He's not the smartest or best wizard, but even Dumbeldore noted his bravery from the first (remember, he stood up to his friends, concerned with the honor of Gryffindor house) and the bravery in the OOTP(couldn't cast due to broken nose, stabs with wand instead), and being one of the first ready to join the DA and fight.

Neville showed bravery again and again and the fact he did not even hesitate when the sword showed up, grabbed it and sliced of Nagini's head in one fluid movement.

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