While this does sound a bit sinister at first – surely the polar opposite of Hermione is somebody like Bellatrix? – it was something said by J.K. Rowling that makes total sense. She said that Luna was ‘the anti-Hermione. Hermione’s so logical and inflexible in so many ways and Luna is likely to believe ten impossible things before breakfast’.
It’s true in countless ways – Luna was just such a free spirit in a way that Hermione wasn’t. That’s not to say Hermione wasn’t capable of a little fun, but she depended on common sense and reason whereas Luna was… let’s say, a little more airy-fairy.
Luna was a girl who believed in the Blibbering Humdinger and Crumple-Horned Snorkack, while Hermione was someone who disliked ‘woolly’ subjects like Divination. Both were wonderful in their own ways but they walked different (yet totally brilliant) paths in life.
‘I enjoyed the meetings, too,’ said Luna serenely. ‘It was like having friends.’
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Luna didn’t really end up with anyone at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows but there was oodles of chemistry between her and Neville (something the movie versions did play with). In the end this didn’t amount to anything, but J.K. Rowling has revealed that they were almost an item.
She once told USA Today that she started to ‘feel a bit of a pull’ between them but added that if they were together by the end it would have ‘felt too neat’. Additionally, she stated that ‘Neville would always find Luna’s wilder flights of fancy alarming,’ despite their close friendship. It would have been an adorable partnership, but Luna married someone else who was also pretty cool.
Now that we know so much more about Newt, thanks to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), it carries extra weight that Luna married into the Scamander family. They were both Magizoologists and went ‘globetrotting and looking for weird creatures’, which makes total sense for an animal-loving outsider like Luna.
In a Bloomsbury webchat, J.K. Rowling confirmed that Luna ‘discovered and classified many new species of animals (though, alas, she never did find a Crumple-Horned Snorkack and had, finally, to accept that her father might have made that one up)’. It’s a bittersweet moment as we’re thrilled for Luna, but rather sad that Crumple-Horned Snorkacks aren’t real.
Luna’s name does, of course, mean ‘moon’ in Latin and throughout history the moon has been portrayed as causing people to go insane. Luna was continually teased at Hogwarts for being eccentric, for being a bit of a free agent and for following the beat of her own drum, so much so that she was perceived as being not all there. Other students nicknamed her ‘Loony’ and we would wager that this connection isn’t a coincidence.
‘Don’t worry. You’re just as sane as I am.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
If you were paying very close attention during Harry’s Sorting Ceremony then you would have heard the famous grumpy hat shout the surname, ‘Moon’. J.K. Rowling later confirmed this character was supposed to be called Lily Moon, an earlier iteration of Luna. Lily’s forename was never confirmed in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as the name ‘Lily’ was, of course, used for Harry’s mother.
Lily Moon may never have existed as a main character – although she was at Hogwarts since she was namechecked at the Sorting Ceremony – but she gave Rowling the idea for ‘a fey, dreamy girl’ who would later become Luna, so we have Lily to thank for that.
There weren’t many people left now.
‘Moon’ … ‘Nott’ … ‘Parkinson’ … then a pair of twin girls, ‘Patil’ and ‘Patil’ … then ‘Perks, Sally-Anne’ … and then, at last –
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
This one may seem like a given but because of her odd disposition Luna was often assumed to be not especially bright. She would totally be willing to believe ten impossible things before breakfast but she picked things up easily, like when she helped Harry get into the Ravenclaw common room when it was most important.
‘Yeah ... trouble is, we can’t really afford to wait for anyone else, Luna.’
‘No, I see what you mean,’ said Luna seriously. ‘Well then, I think the answer is that a circle has no beginning.’
‘Well reasoned,’ said the voice, and the door swung open.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
She also came to Harry’s aid again in the same book – at a time when we would say he needed help the most – when she gave him the support to cast his Patronus.
‘That’s right,’ said Luna encouragingly, as if they were back in the Room of Requirement and this was simply spell practice for the DA. ‘That’s right, Harry ... come on, think of something happy ...’
‘Something happy?’ he said, his voice cracked.
‘We’re all still here,’ she whispered, ‘we’re still fighting. Come on, now ...’
There was a silver spark, then a wavering light, and then, with the greatest effort it had ever cost him, the stag burst from the end of Harry’s wand.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows