Why didn't the Death Eaters take Neville on the Hogwarts Express?
During the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the Death Eaters are seen searching the Hogwarts Express for Harry when Neville confronts them, stating
Hey losers, he isn't here.
Why didn't the Death Eaters take him, similar to how they did Luna, knowing his family's allegiance and his friendship with Harry?
Another important point: Voldemort wanted to preserve as much 'pure blood' as possible, and Neville was pure-blood. Recall: in book 7, when the Death Eaters enter Hogwarts' grounds with (they think) Harry's corpse, Voldemort calls for anyone to come to his side. Neville moves forward to speak out and defy them, but before he speaks, they think he is switching sides. They laugh at him, of course, but even Voldemort agrees he is worthy (as he judges worth).
So on the train - before any actual war had begun - they would have wanted to avoid alienating him entirely by an overt attack.
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Why did the Death Eaters stop the train?Shortly after the Death Eater take-over of the Ministry of Magic, they conducted a raid on the Hogwarts Express. They raided the train in order to capture Harry Potter, who had been branded as Undesirable No. 1.
Can Death Eaters enter Hogwarts?If the two cabinets were connected then Death Eaters could secretly enter Hogwarts, despite the increased magical protection surrounding the school. During periods of extreme desperation, Draco invented more conventional ways to kill Dumbledore.
Did the Death Eaters take Luna?Xenophilius revealed that Death Eaters had captured his daughter Luna, in order to force him to cease his public political dissension of them. He alerted the Voldemort-controlled Ministry that Harry was in his home in the hopes that they would return Luna in exchange for Harry himself.
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More answers regarding why didn't the Death Eaters take Neville on the Hogwarts Express?
They did not take him because Neville is somewhat of a "hard target" and because they were not told to do so.
Neville is an interesting character. Toward the beginning of the series, he is awkward, and shows little magical talent. But toward the end of the series, he blooms into a formidable wizard. In that regard, he lost all fear of Death Eaters.
Also, he has an abiding hate for them as a category, largely because of what they did to his parents. Though it's not stated directly (but definitely by his actions), Neville has embraced the grim reality that he would probably one day die fighting Death Eaters. His comment to them is just the beginning of that journey. Fear is what makes a Death Eater powerful. Lose that, and they are merely thugs to be eradicated.
Neville is from a well established family. To the extent that Death Eater activities are kept low profile, if possible, means that messing with this particular family should only done if absolutely necessary.
Cross Voldemort, and you die, period. If you don't know what he plans with someone, then you take you life into your own hands if you "help your master the wrong way". So Death Eaters on a mission follow orders to the letter pretty much.
Wait! We are missing an important point here.
Foremost, I agree that the orders were to get Luna and no one else. If they had to take someone randomly, I think Ginny would be the perfect target. She was closest to the trio and would have forced them to come out of hiding. But no, they took Luna only.
As to why did Voldemort want Luna more than anyone else:
- Luna's father was writing stuff against Voldemort. He was someone who had stood by Harry since the beginning and was voicing his beliefs too loudly.
- Ginny or Neville were from families who were directly or indirectly victimized by Voldemort. However, the Lovegoods were a surprise entry and there is no mention as to what they did during the wizarding war 1 or during Voldemort's initial rise to power. Knowing Voldemort, he considered himself superior to everyone. It would have been very difficult to have someone as strange as the Lovegoods voice against him.
- Most importantly: the Lovegoods believed in the existence of the Deathly Hallows. Now, this is just a mere guess and I have no evidence to prove it but during Bill and Fleur's wedding, there was a good discussion between Krum and Xenophilius Lovegood regarding the Deathly Hallows. I believe there was someone at the wedding who provided ears for the Death Eaters or to Voldemort himself. Since we know, after this discussion, Luna gets kidnapped. Also, after this discussion, Nagini takes form of Bathilda Bagshot - who was discussed at the wedding. Surprisingly, both these informations were given when Harry was around and whoever the ear was would have reported that Harry is likely to place trust in both the above mentioned persons.
Then again... the Dark Lord works in the most mysterious ways possible. He might have taken a fancy to uniquely strange 'Luna' for all we know :P
The death eaters do not take Neville because they were on orders to only take Luna. If they had disobeyed, then Voldemort either would've killed them or praised them (I'm leaning towards the former). With the threat of death hung over their heads, they obviously chose not to.