The Rejected Ship: Explaining Neville and Luna
Abstract: I’ve recently read an essay by Hpboy13 about Neville and Luna and why they belong together. I felt compelled to write a response to his essay with my own.
There are a lot of relationships out there in this fandom we call Harry Potter. Among the most controversial is none other than Neville/Luna. An essay by hpboy13 called Neville and Luna: The Ship That Should Have Been captured my eye and I started reading, vaguely recognizing the pen name. Before I write my response to his essay on Neville/Luna, I’d like to thank him for an interesting read. I previously read an editorial by him a long time ago titled Ron or Hermione?: Harry’s Truest Friend. What a controversy that was in my mind, I was so close to responding before I realized that someone else already did. So, now I write my own response but this time to Neville/Luna, both major supporting characters in the series.
First, I shall introduce myself. I am Harry_Potter_Prince. I’ve been a fan of the books since Goblet of Fire, being introduced to the screen before expanding my fandom to the books and following Rowling closely. I started following MuggleNet before Book 5. I am also a person who strongly rejects the Sober Universe. For those who don’t know, the Sober Universe is when you take what is canon in the books and leave out any interviews, documentaries, etc… by J.K. Rowling. I am a person who takes Rowling’s word as the final word when it comes to Harry Potter. After all, she knows her characters better than us.
Without further ado, here is my response.
Hpboy starts his essay with his controversial statement “they totally do end up together, despite what Jo Rowling says!” I want to start this essay with my own statement. I agree, but not to that extent. They go nicely together, but did not end up together.
I agree with the premise. Neville and Luna would have been great together. Also, Harry and Luna would have been cool together, let’s not forget Snape and Lily, and it would have been adorable to see Neville and Ginny together and a sweet moment with McGonagall and Dumbledore. Why not? Because just like life, things just did not work out that way.
I’m not going to wage an all-out attack against the essay or its writer. Despite my liking of the ship, I will disprove the idea since, whether we like it or not, Neville ended up with Hannah Abbot and Luna ended up with Rolf Scamander and had twin boys, Lorcan and Lysander. To disprove, I will point to all the reasons hpboy13 pointed to in his essay of why they should get together and spin them the other way. I will explain how all these reasons could easily be attributed to other couples who did not end up together, namely Harry and Hermione.
First reason: J.K. Rowling. She herself said she started to ‘feel a bit of a pull’ towards Neville and Luna. Since she originally did not want them together, she decided to leave it open and so it was left open. Then, she decided to completely destroy the idea by putting Neville with some unimportant Hufflepuff named Hannah, and Luna with some nobody called Rolf. What happened to Ernie and Hannah? Why not Neville and Luna? To us readers, that would have been preferable. Hpboy13 went so far as to call this decision a ‘copout,’ and suggested that Jo was wrong about her characters.
My Response: Let’s start with the end. Jo is never wrong about her characters. She made them. She knows more about them than we do as we will find out via Pottermore and the (hopefully) upcoming Encyclopedia. To us and our limited view of the characters, they belonged together. But Rowling saw something else. She saw that Neville ends up with Hannah and Luna travels the world discovering new creatures with Naturalist Rolf Scamander. So, on one side she says she felt a pull and on the other side the ship is destroyed. My point is simply that the two sides are not mutually exclusive. They could simply have gotten together and then broken up.
Second Reasoning: Rowling debunked the rumor saying that their shared isolation is not enough to foster true love. By the end of Half-Blood Prince, we see that they share more than isolation. They fought in the Department of Mysteries, the Astronomy Tower, and both lost a mother. That adds to the intimacy. While Jo also said that Neville would find Luna’s ‘wilder flights of fantasy alarming,’ couples are always alarmed by each other, including Harry by Ginny’s Bat-bogey Hex.
My Response: Yes, this couple went through a lot. And do you know what, Harry and Hermione went through a lot too and they did not end up together. Harry and Hermione together went through the trapdoor, fought Dementors, worked against the maze, rose the DA, and were side by side in the Astronomy Tower and Department of Mysteries battles. They are practically brother and sister and who is to say Neville and Luna did not have the same relationship?
Third Reasoning: Neville failed to remember his name in Order of the Phoenix when Luna made her debut. In movies, this is a classic move pointing to the idea that the characters like each other and will get together in the end. This is shown again when Luna stares at Neville, distracted from the Quibbler which is difficult to do as she even reads it during the Welcome Feast. She also goes out of her way to defend herself in front of Neville when Hermione attacks the magazine. When Rita attacks the Quibbler and Neville is not around, she lets it slide. Obviously, they are enchanted by each other.
My Response: A lot. Neville failed to remember his name because he is very unconfident. He stutters a lot when speaking to authority figures or new people. We knew that since Philosopher’s Stone. It’s not that he forgot his name, it’s that he genuinely does not believe himself to be anybody. This lack of confidence interests Luna which distracts her from the Quibbler. While she did read the magazine during the feast, I feel compelled to mention I would have too, seeing that Umbridge was talking gibberish and nobody was paying attention, some going so far as to babble. As for Luna leaving Rita alone, that is curious, but so was something else. Hermione and Luna sitting at the same table. They had a common interest and Hermione may simply have asked Luna not to get defensive around Rita because attacks were likely. An argument would have ruined everything. At first, Luna simply does not like Hermione due to her being ‘so narrow-minded.’ She shot her a glowering look when she challenged Crumple-horned Snorcacks and Neville wasn’t there. This is because Luna represents faith, aka believing in stuff without any proof and Hermione demands proof. She is a skeptic. They’re meant to clash. Luna and Rita are not meant to clash.
Fourth Reasoning: Neville and Luna had a cute moment in Order of the Phoenix when she acknowledged there were six of them when the Thestrals came, meaning she acknowledged Neville being there. In Half-Blood Prince, we saw Neville and Luna sitting and conversing together meaning they became friends except we all know it’s more.
My Response: Yeah? She acknowledged Neville by there being ‘six of us.’ She also acknowledged Harry, Ron, Hermione (who she dislikes at first), and Ginny. As for the conversation, again we see loads and loads and loads of those between Harry and Hermione. The only legitimate part is that they were conversing alone. Oooh, interesting. Despite the fact that Harry and Hermione shared plenty of alone moments, none of them were romantic and this time we see something left open. I concede… for now at least.
Fifth Reasoning: In Half-Blood Prince, there is so much going on that we don’t see much of them. For the Christmas party, Harry asks Luna to the party and she is expressionless at first before Harry clarifies it would be as friends. She was expressionless, meaning she secretly liked Neville and she was ecstatic when Harry clarified it would just be as friends.
My Response: Let’s get something straight here. Luna likes Neville because she was allegedly upset that Harry asked her out when she was really expressionless, shocked really because no one ever asked her to a party before. Let me ask something: From all these reasons so far, we find that Neville likes Luna because he forgot his name and Luna likes him because she was staring at him over the Quibbler. If so, why on earth did Neville fail to ask Luna out himself? To Hogsmeade, perhaps. He could have done it in Half-Blood Prince but he did not. Why? Because there’s nothing going on between them. A worthy response might be that he was simply too shy. Let’s be honest though, he asked Hermione to the Yule Ball which is a hundred times more crowded than the Slug Club (no exaggeration) and failed so he settled on asking Ginny instead. He had the guts twice before, one of them after a crushing rejection from Hermione. He loses them with Luna? Well, then the relationship is doomed to failure.
Sixth Reasoning: During Dumbledore’s funeral, Luna helped Neville into a seat and as hpboy13 put it, Aaaawwwwwwwww. That is such a cute moment and this proves once and for all that they were set up for Deathly Hallows.
My Response: Give me a break. Let’s return to Harry and Hermione. Hermione dumped Cormac to hang out with Harry in the Slug Club and at the end of Goblet of Fire, she kissed Harry on the cheek. Let’s go again… Aaaawwwwwwwwwwww.
Seventh Reasoning: Neville and Luna brought the DA back together and possibly shared romantic moments. It was cut short when Luna was taken away and when she was freed, she took a risk and sent a message to Neville saying she was ok, proving she loves him. That is it really but there’s no mention of them in the Epilogue and disregarding the ‘word of God’ (literary term for the author’s say in the matter), we’re safe to assume that they marry and live happily ever after because honestly, Jo just doesn’t count.
My Response: Jo does count. Luna sent a message to Neville not because she particularly cares but because she needs to let the group know she’s fine. Any other member of the DA would do this for anyone else. They’d get the message to someone. Since Neville was one of the heads, Luna chose him to tell. It doesn’t mean she loves him. It means they’re at war and people need to know if she’s ok or dead.
In conclusion, whatever happened between Neville and Luna happened with Harry and Hermione. While it is indeed canon that Neville and Luna would get together simply because Jo said it was possible, it is also canon they ended up with different spouses. The meaning can be simple and that is the meaning I go by. Neville and Luna started dating and developed a relationship, but like any High school relationship, they broke it off. Neville married Hannah Abbot and Luna married Rolf Scamander. And you know what? I can also use a higher word on this point.
“I thought it was terribly coincidental that Harry and co. managed to end up with people they met in high school; that doesn’t happen often. So I thought maybe he and Luna could have had a summer fling, perhaps, and then gone on to marry Hannah Abbott later on.” –Matthew Lewis.
Admittedly, Lewis does not own Neville the way Rowling does and as the agreement between them states, the films do not have rights to the characters. Still, Jo stated she felt a pull toward that ship and a day later she said who ended up with whom. It doesn’t have to be contradictory. It can be both. They got together in their seventh year and then broke it off. I think that’s a good interpretation.
Jo knows best.