I was re-reading the first book and in it said:

"'It’s a Remembrall!’ he explained. ‘Gran knows I forget things – this tells you if there’s something you’ve forgotten to do. Look, you hold it tight like this and if it turns red – oh…’ His face fell, because the Remembrall had suddenly glowed scarlet, ‘… you’ve forgotten something…’ "
Philosopher's Stone - Chapter 9: The Midnight Duel

I read that chapter carefully and I'm pretty sure it doesn't say what he forgot. Do we ever find out what forgot?

  • 3
    I think it was just a throwaway gag. Been a while since i read it though.
    – DanDoubleL
    Jul 18 '18 at 15:09
  • 3
    this brilliant theory states that he forgot his cloak: thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2557154
    – NKCampbell
    Jul 18 '18 at 15:12
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    @DaniellYancey - Not completely throwaway. Remember, it is Draco throwing the Remembrall and Harry catching it on the broom that leads to his being tagged as a Seeker.
    – JohnP
    Jul 18 '18 at 15:19
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    @JohnP The Remembrall itself is certainly not a cheap throwaway magical object inserted purely for a bit of fun, it is important to the plot. However, I think the smoke turning red and instantly revealing that Neville has forgotten something is largely a throwaway gag. If you were really trying hard I suppose you could say it develops Neville's character a little bit more. Definitely a fun question, it'd be nice if there was an answer, but I rather suspect, at this point, if Rowling does tweet out an answer or something, it will probably be post hoc
    – Au101
    Jul 18 '18 at 18:00
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    @Au101 technically since Draco hurls it, it is a throwaway gag.
    – JohnP
    Jul 18 '18 at 20:00

I think that Neville forgot about the password to Gryffindor Tower. Later on in the chapter, when Harry, Ron and Hermione are leaving the tower to the midnight duel, they find Neville outside the tower, who says he forgot the new password into Gryffindor Tower. As it says in the text:

It wasn't Mrs. Norris. It was Neville. He was curled up on the floor, fast asleep, but jerked suddenly awake as they crept nearer. "Thank goodness you found me! I've been out here for hours, I couldn't remember the new password to get in to bed."

The Remembrall must've been trying to remind him about the new password, but Neville forgot, which lead to him camping outside the portrait hole and having to follow Harry, Ron and Hermione.

  • This seems like it'd be the most accurate answer/guess and this excerpt works as proof, great detective work and first contribution!
    – Sensoray
    Jan 28 '20 at 17:41

Rowling never said. The book says he was trying to remember, then the scene ends without him remembering, and it never brought up again.

Neville was trying to remember what he’d forgotten when Draco Malfoy, who was passing the Gryffindor table, snatched the Remembrall out of his hand. Harry and Ron jumped to their feet. They were half hoping for a reason to fight Malfoy, but Professor McGonagall, who could spot trouble quicker than any teacher in the school, was there in a flash.
‘What’s going on?’
‘Malfoy’s got my Remembrall, Professor.’
Scowling, Malfoy quickly dropped the Remembrall back on the table.
‘Just looking,’ he said, and he sloped away with Crabbe and Goyle behind him.


At three-thirty that afternoon, Harry, Ron and the other Gryffindors hurried down the front steps into the grounds for their first flying lesson...
Philosopher's Stone - Chapter 9: The Midnight Duel

(emphasis mine)

However, in the movie, he forgot to put on his robe. In multiple shots you can see he is the only student not wearing a robe.

Neville without robe shot 1 Neville without robe shot 2

JKR worked very closely with the director, Chris Columbus on the film, so details like this in the flim are likely to be as close to an answer as we will get.

Director Chris Columbus says he's being very careful to work with author J.K. Rowling to get the little details right when translating her book to film.
Archived IGN article from 2001

Karis Ronaldson for Historic Scotland Magazine - Do the Harry Potter films meet your expectations?

JK Rowling: Yes, they do. I mean there are obviously things that are not the same as the books but that is because if you did every scene in the book and translated that into films, the films would be about 24 hours each, so they have got to prune and change things slightly. By and large they meet my expectations.

I have spoken about walking into the Great Hall, I have worked with Chris Columbus, the director of the first two films, and he asked me quite a lot about how things looked, it was really like walking into my own head, it was a very peculiar experience.
Press Conference with JKR on July 16, 2005 - Accio Quote

  • 7
    In the very next scene (and without returning to his dorm) he's wearing his robe. Presumably he was sat on it in this scene, rather than having forgotten it.
    – Valorum
    Jul 18 '18 at 17:36
  • I have adjusted the wording to account for that.
    – amflare
    Jul 18 '18 at 17:37
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    I've reluctantly downvoted. There's no good indication that he forgot his robe and the presence of it in the next scene would imply that he had it with him, but just wasn't wearing it. Not only that, but several other characters in the scene aren't wearing robes, suggesting that their wearing is probably optional; i.stack.imgur.com/eyKaa.jpg + i.stack.imgur.com/l1iyn.jpg
    – Valorum
    Jul 18 '18 at 20:47
  • There are multiple instances in multiple films that seem to indicate robes are not mandatory, so I have never liked the answer of ‘he forgot his robes’ that everyone seems to throw about for this question.
    – ZenLogic
    Jul 19 '18 at 0:47
  • 1
    @ZenLogic - Indeed. The presence of multiple other non-robe-wearing students in the same hall (and the fact that he's wearing his robes in the very next scene) would strongly suggest that this answer is just plain wrong. Unless you think that they all forgot their robes at the same time, obviously
    – Valorum
    Mar 6 '19 at 18:26

I've always had this feeling that the remembrall turning red hinted at something much larger than his robes. I feel like he had forgotten something about his parents, like the fact that they were in the order of the phoenix.

  • 3
    Do you have any evidence for this that led you to this feeling that you could edit in or is this solely speculation?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Mar 6 '19 at 15:40

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