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SYFY WIRE witchy wednesday

The resiliency of Luna Lovegood

By Jenna Busch
luna lovegood

Hermione Granger might be the brightest witch of her age, Harry the bravest, and Ron the funniest in the Harry Potter series, but Luna Lovegood is the most resilient. For this week’s Witchy Wednesday, we’re celebrating a witch who triumphs over bullying, capture by the enemy, and childhood trauma with her beautiful attitude, belief in magic, and love for her friends.

Luna “Loony” Lovegood is a witch in the same year as Ginny Weasley, and we Ravenclaws revere her. You know this House sort of has a reputation for being a bit stuck-up and overly nerdy, but Luna was a bit out of the ordinary even for her own House. When we first meet her, she’s reading The Quibbler, a gossip rag her father publishes, upside down. She believes in creatures no other witch or wizard has ever seen or heard of. She’s soft-spoken and she’s sort of dreamy. In fact, in the books she’s described as someone with an “aura of distinct dottiness.” She’s out there, our Luna. People call her Loony and tease her mercilessly. They steal her stuff, and they laugh at her radish earrings. You know those jerks. They’re the same ones who laugh at your Ravenclaw iPhone case. They totally suck.

Luna has been through a lot. She watched her mother die when she was 9 years old. We know this because of an act of kindness. When Harry sees the Thestrals pulling the school carriages and no one else can, she tells him that he isn’t mad. She sees them as well, as only someone who has seen a person die can. She doesn’t make a big deal of it. She’s just there for, and accepting of, a stranger.

Luna questions nothing and takes the world as she finds it. Her father tells her that Crumple-Horned Snorkacks are a thing, so she believes him. She accepts the things we can’t see and incorporates them into her universe. Her acceptance of the more magical aspects of a world that is already full of them is delightful. We all know a Luna. Whether it’s crystals or Yeti, we all have someone in our lives who never let the whimsical beliefs of childhood go. Laugh at them if you will, but aren’t they living a life full of magic? Who cares if it’s true or not? There isn’t a quiz at the end that we’re aware of. You hang around with this person long enough and you start to feel like a kid again. You start to believe that the world has more to discover. We could all use a little less cynicism these days.

Pair that belief with kindness and you have Luna. Her capture by Voldemort’s forces doesn’t destroy her. She takes care of Ollivander, who is her fellow prisoner, and despite her trauma, her first thought is to comfort Harry after Dobby dies. (Dobby is a free elf, you guys. It’s still too soon.) Instead of railing at her fate or descending into inescapable grief, she spends her time praising Dobby for freeing her and wishing him happiness wherever he is.

Her belief in the goodness of most people and her unshakable self-confidence allow her to accept the teasing and the stealing with a good heart. Even at the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, she’s off looking for her shoes, which someone took and hid. She’s not complaining or changing who she is because of it. She accepts what being herself is going to bring her, and lives her truth. (Maybe we could all learn a lesson from Luna when we get bullied online. It should never change who we are or what we believe.) She also believes her friends and believes in her friends. When Harry talks about Voldemort as a real threat, she believes him right away. She joins and co-runs Dumbledore’s Army in his absence. She’s thrilled to be invited to Slughorn’s Christmas party by Harry. There is no reading into it. There is no disbelief or "Why would you want to take me" declarations. She’s just happy to be invited somewhere for the first time as a friend. Who cares about them laughing at her outfit? Not Luna.

There are very few people in this world, or the wizarding world of Harry Potter, who have such a strong belief in themselves. Luna isn’t trying to change herself for anyone. She isn’t destroyed by trauma. She isn’t bitter or broken. She’s our perfectly dotty, whimsically wonky Luna Lovegood, and she’s just wonderful.