Who doesn’t remember when Neville killed Nagini at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? It was cinematically awesome. Neville sliced her head off nice and clean. Another horcrux had been destroyed.
However, something struck me as I was watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald awhile back: Neville Longbottom didn’t just kill a giant snake. He killed a woman.
Nagini is a Maledictus – a carrier of a blood curse which will ultimately destine them to permanently transform into a beast. And for much of her life, she was treated horribly. People took advantage of her and used her as a sideshow act. It definitely wasn’t what she signed up for in life.
It’s not yet clear how Nagini ended up with Voldemort, but I have to imagine that they crossed paths somehow after she had outlived her usefulness in the sideshow – when she was permanently transformed into a beast. However, I don’t think being trapped as a beast erases who she is as a person. She’s still a woman who has thoughts and feelings, she’s just not in her human form.
When looked at from this angle, her death is actually quite sad. Her entire life, she had been considered a freak. People used her for entertainment, and Voldemort later used her as a … is slave the right word?
I know Nagini was a horcrux, so she had to be destroyed in order to take down Voldemort, but now part of me wishes she didn’t die. She didn’t ask for any of these horrible things to happen to her. She didn’t enjoy any of it. She was innocent.