Only a few characters in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series have the honor of their names being a chapter title in one of the seven books. It's no surprise to us that Luna Lovegood is among that select number.
We first meet Luna on the Hogwarts Express in Chapter 10 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The chapter, named after the character, sees our familiar group of Harry, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and friends boarding a crowded train with nowhere to sit except with Luna. While Neville Longbottom hesitates to sit with her, Ginny Weasley proclaims that "Loony Lovegood" is all right. Our Gryffindors decide to sit with the strange Ravenclaw girl.
From the moment we meet Luna, she stands out from anyone readers had previously met in the Potter universe. She's described as having "an aura of distinct dottiness" while reading The Quibbler magazine upside down, wearing a Butterbeer cap necklace, and sporting her wand behind her left ear "for safekeeping."
While Harry, Ron, and Hermione might not know what to make of Luna at first, she soon becomes a dear friend as they get to know her. As they and readers learn, Luna is more than what she initially seems and, in our opinion, one of the best characters in the franchise.
February 13, 2018 marks Luna's 37th birthday, and what better way to mark the occasion than by reflecting on what we love about our favorite Ravenclaw? There are a lot of ways you can describe Luna, from smart and loyal to brave and kind to weird and curious, but let's take a closer look at why we love Luna.
If Luna were more pessimistic about life, I wouldn't really blame her. She lost her mother at a young age, is made fun of by her fellow students for being herself, and doesn't really have any friends. Yet, despite reasons that might make others have a more negative outlook on life, Luna is often optimistic and hopeful. When things get rough, she doesn't give up or give in to despair — she often tries to help others see the brighter side of things, as well.
When Harry sees the Thestrals for the first time in Order of the Phoenix and starts to worry why his friends can't see them, Luna reassures the then-stranger that she can see them too. He shouldn't be concerned; he's just as sane as she is! At the end of the book, when Luna tells Harry about her mother's death, Luna admits it was horrible, but she doesn't seem to hold on to grief. Instead, she acknowledges it and admits it makes her sad, but says she has her father and that it's not as though she'll never see her mother again.
Even when others are being cruel to her, Luna doesn't hate them or even feel bad for herself. She believes everything will work out in the end. When Harry can't find Luna at the feast at the end of Order of the Phoenix, he goes searching for her. It turns out she's hanging up flyers asking for her possessions back, which have all been hidden by the other students. Luna understands that people treat her this way because they think she's odd. After all, they do call her "Loony." Harry feels bad for her and offers to help, but she declines and actually ends up skipping towards the feast soon after because she believes her items will all eventually come back. Her optimism and approach to life are refreshing and inspiring!
Luna has a wonderful willingness to believe in the impossible when others don't. It doesn’t matter if everyone tells her some things aren’t real, she chooses to accept that there are more incredible things out there than others believe.
Throughout the books, Luna's mentioned so many fantastic creatures that they can be hard to keep track of. Newt Scamander would likely be proud of her. There are Wrackspurts, which are invisible and "float in through your ears and make your brain go fuzzy," mistletoe infested with Nargles, the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, and the Blibbering Humdinger. She also holds some beliefs that are perhaps slightly more questionable, such as Cornelius Fudge having an army of heliopaths, Rufus Scrimgeour being a vampire, and the Aurors being part of the Rotfang Conspiracy, but just because a few things she believes might be proven false doesn’t mean it's wrong for her to believe in the others. After all, maybe everyone else just isn't willing to believe what's been in front of them all along!
Luna is right there with the rest of Harry's friends and supporters in the middle of the battle against Voldemort in the three books and four films she's in. Through it all, she never gives up and has the resolve to see the battles through. She joins Dumbledore's Army in Order of the Phoenix and believes Harry about Voldemort's return.
Luna even goes with Harry to the Department of Mysteries and, at one point, is the only member of the group to escape without injury. Things look dire and when they meet up with Harry again and have to escape, Luna helps an injured Ginny — "sticking her wand behind her ear for safekeeping" — and keeps moving to get the job done. When Harry and the others worry Luna is a prisoner in Azkaban during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry insists she's all right, telling the others that Luna is "much tougher than you'd think" and most likely "teaching all the inmates about Wrackspurts and Nargles." During the Battle of Hogwarts, Luna even duels one of the world's most dangerous witches, Bellatrix Lestrange, alongside Ginny and Hermione. No matter the danger and risk, Luna sticks by her friends and is willing to stand up to evil.
Ever since that first meeting on the Hogwarts Express, we've known Luna has a great fashion sense! We see her, again and again, wearing exactly what she wants no matter what anyone thinks. Her colorful look is a perfect match for her distinctive personality. Not only has she worn a necklace of Butterbeer caps, but she's donned orange radish earrings, a Butterbeer cork necklace, spangled silver robes, Spectrespecs, a "hat shaped like a life-size lion head" that actually roared, and, more than once, her wand behind her left ear. Some students may make fun of her for what she wears, but none of them come close to matching her impeccable style.
Her Sense of Friendship
Despite how others — including some of her supposed friends — treat her, Luna is never mean or dismissive of people. Once Luna counts you among her friends, she is there for you no matter what. Making friends is not something that comes easily to Luna because of what others think of her and it seems she doesn't even believe sometimes that she has friends. While discussing the disbanded Dumbledore's Army in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, she says she enjoyed the meetings because "it was like having friends" and later on states that people expect Harry to have cooler friends than her and Neville, though Harry replies that they are cool. She's also thrilled when Harry invites her to Slughorn's party as a friend and the two end up having a good time together.
In the Half-Blood Prince movie, there's a slight difference. She helps Harry on the Hogwarts Express and they end up walking to the school together. She states that the walk was like being with a friend and Harry insists they are.
Luna values her friends highly, perhaps because she has had so few over the course of her life. In Deathly Hallows, Harry discovers that she's painted her ceiling to depict him, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Ginny along with the repeated word "friends." When her friends need her most, she is there and knows what to do. For example, at the Battle of Hogwarts when a group of Dementors approaches Harry, Ron, and Hermione, they're struggling to produce Patronuses and Harry just can't think of anything happy. Luna, Seamus, and Ernie arrive to help and Luna encourages the trio, staying calm and telling Harry to think of something happy. When he can't, she whispers that "we're still here. We're still fighting. Come on, now." It's enough to remind Harry that all is not lost and allows him to produce a Patronus.
Then, after the battle, Luna is there for her friend again and knows what he needs. Harry and Luna sit on a bench once Voldemort is finally dead, and she understands that he wants some peace and quiet after everything. Once he puts on his Invisibility Cloak, she offers a distraction by starting to exclaim about a Blibbering Humdinger, allowing him to get away. What else could you want in a friend?
Her Wisdom and Kindness
This was touched on in the friendship section above, but Luna's kindness and wisdom deserve a section of their own, too. Despite what some people might think due to Luna's demeanor, she's much wiser than many might expect. Yes, she's in Ravenclaw so she's clearly smart, but it's more than knowledge or what’s in books that makes her worthy of the Rowena Ravenclaw's house.
Looking back at the moment in Order of the Phoenix when she's lost her things and is talking to Harry, Luna mentions seeing her mother again; it's not just a great example of her optimism but also shows she knows what Harry needs to hear at that moment after losing Sirius. Their loved ones aren't gone forever since they both heard whispers behind the veil in the Department of Mysteries, right? It's just enough to make Harry feel like "the terrible weight in his stomach" had lessened. When Dobby rescues Luna and the others in Deathly Hallows, she shows the elf respect and calls him "sir" in the movie, which he likes. When Dobby dies, she closes his eyes and, in the book, even says a few words when they bury him because someone ought to; her words are honest and kind, a perfect send-off for the elf. Her speech captures what everyone else, including Harry, wanted to say.
Luna's very insightful, even if she's dreamy and people think her head is always in the clouds. You can see this in her honesty about her friends, whether in how they treat her or others, like when she observes that Ron can be "a bit unkind" to people. Harry often observes that she speaks "uncomfortable truths." She also shows others the truth when they can't see it, such as in the Order of the Phoenix movie when Luna and Harry are with the Thestrals. She tells Harry she believes him about Voldemort and also that if she were Voldemort, she would want Harry to feel alone. It's an astute and quite true observation that clearly Harry hadn't considered before.
Luna also doesn't let others ignore her when she has something important to say. During the final battle, even Harry starts to get dismissive of her when she tries to talk to him, which forces her to yell at him to pay attention to her. She knows what he needs to find and who to ask to find it, ultimately putting them on the path to defeating Voldemort.
All of these things combined create the final aspect we love about Luna: her uniqueness.
Luna doesn't change who she is for others. She continues wearing what she wants, believing in what she wants, and being there for others no matter what others think of that, too. She's not afraid to be herself, even if it means only a handful of people can see her wonderful uniqueness as the gift it truly is.
What do you love about Luna Lovegood? Tell us in the comments!