The Phoenix Files #11: Luna Lovegood

By Christopher Stephen

Hello to all of you! Welcome to the eleventh File, that of the newest major character in the series – Luna Lovegood! In fact, only a few characters have been introduced after her (such as Marietta Edgecombe and Professor Tofty). As you know, there will be just one more File posted before the publication of HBP, so I chose Luna because she has the potential to be an extremely major character in each of the next two books (though I don’t think she will be…more on that later). So, chronologically, as always…

I believe she is the newest major character because we never even hear about her at all (unless you count the slight mention by Amos Diggory in “The Portkey” chapter of GoF) until the train to Hogwarts in Harry’s fifth year. (We hear of Umbridge in Harry’s trial.) So let’s dive right in, shall we? What do we know about her? What don’t we?

Let’s start with the slight mention in GoF. Arthur Weasley and Amos Diggory are attempting to think of all the wizarding families in the area to make sure none were forgotten, and the Lovegoods are mentioned. Now, it’s obvious that it could be an uncle or some other relative of Luna who lives near Ron, but it seems strange to me that Ron does not know her or of her (or at least does not show any sign of knowing her in OotP). Perhaps I am wrong, but I think most of the wizarding families in a small area would know each other; surprisingly, however, I have seen no real evidence of this being the case yet.

Chapter Ten of Book Five is named for the perfect example of a Ravenclaw. Those of you who have seen me post in the CoS Forums know I was sorted into Ravenclaw, the House of intelligence and wit. Like every House, however, each one has its stereotypical negative qualities (Hufflepuff = useless, Gryffindor = bravery comes before brains, Slytherin = disposition to evil), and Ravenclaw’s is a snobbishness that seems to be absent in some other Houses. Read Jo’s description of her (to us):

She had straggly, waist-length, dirty-blond hair, very pale eyebrows, and protuberant eyes that gave her a permanently surprised look. Harry knew at once why Neville had chosen to pass this compartment by. The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down.

The perfect Ravenclaw: Luna seems not to care what other people think of her and is a bit eccentric. After (sort of) meeting Harry and Neville, Luna replies to Ginny’s comment that “Luna’s in my year, but in Ravenclaw,” with, “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure,” and then goes back to reading her magazine.

In a word, Luna is blunt. She tells you what she’s thinking, and you can like it or not (very few girls do this). “She [Padma] didn’t enjoy it [Yule Ball] very much,” Luna informed him [Ron]. “She doesn’t think you treated her very well, because you wouldn’t dance with her. I don’t think I’d have minded,” she added thoughtfully, “I don’t like dancing very much.” (And she “retreated” behind The Quibbler again.)

Luna definitely has a crush on Ron at the beginning of OotP (at least that’s my reading). She cracks up for minutes over his mildly amusing joke. Combine that with her comment above, it’s a given, right? If you need more evidence, she offers to carry Pig off the train.

Hermione ticks Luna off from the start by calling The Quibbler “rubbish.” Smooth move, Hermione. There was no way she could have guessed or known that Luna’s father was the editor, but she was reading the magazine, so it seems rather obvious she at least liked it. Hermione should have been more aware of that emotional situation. Oh well, she’s only human.

After Luna’s done with The Quibbler, she “took to staring at everyone in the compartment instead.” For some reason, Luna’s “dreamy” voice does not jive with my conception of a Ravenclaw – smart, appreciative of fact, very Hermione-like, but The Quibbler doesn’t jive either. Luna is an extremely unique character.

Luna again simply states her position, heedless of who is around. She voices her opinion on Hagrid in the coaches. “Well, we think he’s a bit of a joke in Ravenclaw,” said Luna, unfazed [by the Gryffindors’ responses]. One of my favorite lines in OotP follows: “Luna did not seem perturbed by Ron’s rudeness; on the contrary, she simply watched him for a while as though he were a mildly interesting television program.”

Luna professes her faith in Harry’s story in the same, blunt way. Running up to him, she states, “I believe He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back, and I believe you fought him and escaped from him.” Immediately after that, Ernie states his support of Harry (and Dumbledore) as well. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Note how close together these two professions are: this is our first sign of inter-House unity on Harry and Dumbledore’s side since the beginning of Book Five. A Ravenclaw and a Hufflepuff confess it within five minutes of each other to a Gryffindor. Now, if only Malfoy had come by then…

Okay, so the Luna-Hermione rivalry continues in The Hog’s Head (the first unofficial DA meeting) with the argument over Fudge’s army of heliopaths. Guess who steps in to break up the fight? None other than former TPF subject Ginny Weasley! Yes, she is the only one who, at the start of Book Five, was friends with both Luna and Hermione. Ginny finds Luna very amusing, but she isn’t cruel to her, and we already know how close Hermione and Ginny are.

Probably the most interesting quote from Luna is one that I had personally overlooked and forgotten about. It’s in the chapter entitled “Dumbledore’s Army,” p. 395 on the first edition American hardback book:

“Well, my father is very supportive of any anti-Ministry action! … He’s always saying he’d believe anything of Fudge, I mean, the number of goblins Fudge has had assassinated! And of course he uses the Department of Mysteries to develop terrible poisons, which he feeds secretly to anybody who disagrees with him. And then there’s his Umgubular Slashkilter –”

So, first, she says that her father is very supportive of any anti-Ministry action (which is why he printed Harry’s story in the first place). This is something I want to emphasize, especially because it seems he’s more anti-Fudge than anti-government. And yes, it’s somewhat a stretch to say that Fudge has assassinated goblins (though not impossible), and there’s probably no Umgubular Slashkilter, but note how Jo often hides important information…could he, in fact, be feeding poisons to people who disagree with him? I find this the most possible (even if he’s not using the DoM to do it) of her claims, if still unlikely. It would surely explain how he became MoM in the first place…

Okay, so perhaps I was a bit obvious when I mentioned Luna’s crush on Ron, but so many people are such Ron/Hermione shippers that they could possibly ignore this – p. 403 of the same edition of OotP has Luna showing the (cool? weird?) lion hat and wishing “Ronald” good luck. (Note Hermione then immediately retaliates by planting a kiss on Ron’s cheek.)

I also thought the mistletoe scene with Harry in the RoR (Room of Requirement) was funny. “Good thinking, it’s often infested with nargles.” I have often stated in this File how blunt Luna is, but that is not her only sometimes-good, sometimes-bad quality. She also does not let trivial things affect her. From my point of view, Luna is somewhat like Hagrid in this respect: Hagrid does not seem to know when certain creatures are too dangerous for him (or others) to handle (sending Ron and Harry to Aragog, anyone?). Similarly, Luna, when in seemingly major trouble (Umbridge’s office in OotP when the Inquisitorial Squad had captured all of them, for instance), doesn’t even seem to notice. She gazes “vaguely out of the window as though rather bored by the proceedings.” Only when Hermione decides to lie to Umbridge does she become “mildly interested.” You should take note whenever Luna seems “interested” in anything. It seems to me that Jo could possibly use Luna as our assistant in future books, helping point out clues. “Who’s Grawp?” Luna asked interestedly. By now, we obviously know who Grawp is, but it’s also clear that Grawp will have a rather, er, big part to play in Book Six. The success of his domestication could help spell the ultimate fate of Dumbledore’s Order and the Voldemort-resistance.

But Luna has a great mind–she’s not in Ravenclaw for nothing! She even puts that mind to practical use toward the end of Book Five. “Well, we’ll have to fly, won’t we?” “I thought we’d settled that? We’re flying!” Luna recalls that thestrals are good at finding places their riders are looking for. Notice Hermione didn’t come up with the plan (probably because she can’t see them); is it possible Luna could be another practical thinker in the new Harry group?

She mounts her thestral with ease, “as though she did this every day.” Luna is a very kind person, unless you insult her, her family, or her interests (like the Crumple-Horned Snorkack). She then dismounts with grace and asks Harry where to go “as though this was all a rather interesting day-trip.”

Luna hears the voices in the Veil Room in the Dept. of Mysteries, saying, “There are people in there!” (Italics are Jo’s.) Perhaps she is the closest to the correct function of The Veil? I don’t think we’ve seen the last of that fluttering fabric…

The one time we see Luna excited about something other than seemingly-ridiculous creatures is when she asks Harry, “You know what could be in there?” eagerly as they decide to leave the locked door behind. Whatever is behind that door is most probably the key to the whole outcome of the series.

But Luna’s shining moment comes in the DoM in the chapter entitled “Beyond the Veil.” She was able to lead a crazy Ron and a nearly immobile Ginny away from the harm of four Death Eaters. In fact, she only gets knocked out by a lucky chance; the door she was attempting to seal she reached about a half-second too late. It’s clear she is a competent dueler, and it’s possible she will prove a continued asset to the Trio if she’s hanging around in Book Six.

There’s no doubt about it: Luna Lovegood’s one strange cookie. But after reading OotP, I hope you found her a perfect outlet for Jo’s wonderful comic relief. And after reading this File, I hope you realize that Luna rocks. She sings “Weasley Is Our King” when Rita, Hermione, and Harry are doing the business deal in The Three Broomsticks. “Daddy will be pleased.” I love Luna (in case you haven’t noticed); she’s my favorite new character (yes, more than Tonks). “It’s good, isn’t it?” says Luna, and she even sent Harry a free copy! Then, of course, they have to reprint because so many copies were sold. Luna was quite an advantage to Harry in Book Five.

Which leads me to my next point…she was a huge advantage in Book Five. Has Luna played her part? Will she drift into oblivion in the series – a character simply mentioned in passing, or will she truly join the Trio and help comprise the sextet (adding Ginny, Neville, and Luna, the DoM crew)? She would be the only Ravenclaw in the group if she were to join. Somehow I feel like Luna played her part in seeing (and remembering) the thestrals, printing Harry’s story, and taking care of Ron and Ginny in the DoM. In addition, it seems to me that when a lot of time is spent on a new character (like Moody or Cedric) in the series, they nearly fulfill their role in the book where they are introduced. Of course, I have been wrong before (and will be many more times!), so it’s possible Jo introduced her in Book Five for an even bigger purpose in the future. In fact, I think it’s likely that one of her major roles in Book Six will be romantic. I can see Harry finding Luna a nice change from Cho, perhaps a middle, healing-type relationship before finding the One for him (*coughGinnycough*), but I suppose Luna and Harry could end up together in the end…

Well, that’s just about everything on Luna that I have for you this week. So, as I close, I leave you with one thought: “When you say ‘Sirius,’ are you talking about Stubby Boardman?”

Thanks for reading. Remember to send your comments to christopherstephened at hotmail dot com and look out for the twelfth folder, the last before the publication of HBP: that of Peter Pettigrew!

“Oh, come on. You heard them, just behind the veil, didn’t you? They were just lurking out of sight, that’s all. You heard them.”
— Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, p. 863.