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Luna Lovegood's Fascinating History From Harry Potter

While many may know the "Harry Potter" franchise for its male characters, like Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, the series has amazing female characters, too. The first that comes to mind is Hermione Granger, the brains behind the Golden Trio, and arguably one of the only reasons Harry made it as far as he did. Another female character that people should be thinking about is the eccentric Ravenclaw introduced in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" – Luna Lovegood.

From being a breath of fresh air to handing Harry the final piece of the Horcrux puzzle, Luna packs a big punch, despite only appearing in half the books and films. Evanna Lynch portrays the character in the movies, winning the role in an open casting call. While it was her first acting role, she impressed audiences with her ability to capture the whimsical, dream-like quality of the character that viewers came to love.

She may seem like a straightforward witch, but there is much more to the Ravenclaw than meets the eye. From her home life to the role she plays at Hogwarts, Luna is even more magical than you think. Hold on to your thestral as we take flight and dive into the fascinating history of Luna Lovegood.

Her mother died when she was 9 years old

Unlike many students at Hogwarts, Luna can see thestrals — the skeleton-like horses that pull the carriages full of students to the castle. People can only see thestrals if they have witnessed death. Harry Potter can see them because he watched his godfather, Sirius Black, die at the Ministry of Magic. The eccentric Ravenclaw can see them, too, because she saw death when she was 9 years old.

After the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Harry struggles with his grief. He decides to forgo the feast on their final night of the school year, and he runs into Luna as she tries to find her stolen possessions around the castle. He asks her why she can see the thestrals too, wanting to know who she saw die. Luna is unbothered by his question, and she describes the death of her mother, Pandora (via Wizarding World).

"She was a quite extraordinary witch, you know," Luna explains in the movie. "But she did like to experiment, and one of her spells went rather badly wrong one day." She goes on to say that, while her mother's death still affects her and makes her sad sometimes, she knows she will see her mother behind the veil again one day.

Her father is the editor of a controversial magazine

Fans of "Harry Potter" may be familiar with The Daily Prophet, the wizarding newspaper that is used to share important information with readers, like when the Death Eaters escaped from Azkaban. What they may not remember is The Quibbler, a tabloid newspaper that publishes outlandish stories about magical creatures, famous witches and wizards, and conspiracy theories. There have been times when The Quibbler has published true stories, like when Harry gave them an exclusive on the return of Lord Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." 

The magazine's editor is Xenophilius Lovegood, Luna's father. While many write off the articles he published, the Death Eaters certainly take notice as The Quibbler shows clear support for Harry during "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." Before becoming more political, the editor posted an article about potential corruption in Quidditch, an argument that Minister Cornelius Fudge was trying to take control of the gold in Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and a conspiracy that a famous musician was actually Sirius Black, among other ridiculous headlines. With articles like these, it's no surprise that Luna believed in creatures like Gulping Plimpies and Nargles

She is an ideal Ravenclaw

Some people might call Luna Lovegood "odd" because she does not necessarily match the description people consider when they think about Ravenclaws. Students sorted into this house are known for their intellect, intuition, and wit, but Luna embodies these traits differently than her fellow students. 

She is more intuitive than most, picking up on subtle social queues or aspects of the people around her that others don't notice. In the book "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," she easily identifies Harry at Bill and Fleur's wedding, despite his appearance being disguised with Polyjuice Potion. She recognizes his facial expressions through the disguise, which shows how much attention she pays to the people around her. That moment also shows her confidence in herself. Other people may not have said anything, even if they thought they knew. She trusts her mind and knowledge and uses it to her advantage, as any Ravenclaw should.

There's no arguing that Luna is intelligent. She easily solves the riddles to enter the Ravenclaw Common Room, and she doles out great nuggets of wisdom when you least expect it. While speaking with Harry about the death of her mother, she mentions the veil, giving Harry the knowledge that the people we love never really leave us. She's also adept with spellwork, making a lion hat with a realistic roar that she wore for Quidditch games. That wasn't a spell they were teaching in Charms or Transfiguration. 

She gave Harry the idea for the last Horcrux

Even though Luna Lovegood is one of the last characters introduced in the series, she plays an important part in Harry's hunt for Horcruxes in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2." Over the course of the seventh installment, Harry tries to find the rest of the Horcruxes because destroying them will allow him to finally battle and defeat Voldemort. After Harry snuck into Hogwarts through the passageway in The Hog's Head Inn, he asks the members of Dumbledore's Army if they know of something that belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw, the founder of Ravenclaw house. Two of the previous Horcruxes were objects that belonged to the founders of Slytherin and Hufflepuff.

Luna was the first to answer. "Well, there's her lost diadem," she said. "I told you about it, remember, Harry?" Cho Chang, another Ravenclaw student, said there is a statue of Rowena wearing the diadem in the common room, which would give Harry an idea of what it looks like. Luna takes Harry to the common room, but Voldemort anticipates that he might go there. Death Eaters were already there, stationed to trap him.

While Luna wasn't present when Harry realizes where the diadem is hiding, she did point him in the right direction to find it. Technically, she's the one who made it possible for him to find the last Horcrux. Without that knowledge, the Battle of Hogwarts may have gone a different way.

She helped lead Dumbledore's Army

While Harry founded Dumbledore's Army during his fifth year at Hogwarts, he wasn't the only leader of the group. In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Harry creates the group to give interested students the chance to learn spells that could protect them from Voldemort and his Death Eaters. The class they should've been learning the spells in, Defense Against the Dark Arts, was being taught by Dolores Umbridge that year. But Umbridge wasn't teaching spells, she was assigning readings. 

Dumbledore's Army took a hiatus during Harry's sixth year, as Severus Snape was an incredibly competent teacher. Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, and Luna reintroduce it during what would've been Harry's seventh year in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." While Harry is on the run and trying to find Horcruxes with Ron and Hermione, the new trio at Hogwarts uses the group to show defiance against Death Eaters Alecto and Amycus Carrow, both of which are now professors at the school. The Death Eaters teach Dark Arts, rather than Defense Against the Dark Arts, so once again, Dumbledore's Army must fill a void and show which side of the war students are really on. 

We see Neville and the others graffiti the walls to let other students know that the group is recruiting. But the group lost steam after Luna was kidnapped, and Ginny didn't return to school, which left Neville to run the group on his own. Though Luna was captured, she was still a part of the group's revival.

She gets kidnapped because of her father's actions

Luna Lovegood helps restart Dumbledore's Army, but then she gets kidnapped on the train home from school, meaning she can't help anymore. Why was she kidnapped and who was she kidnapped by? Her father, Xenophilius, was publishing pro-Harry Potter articles in The Quibbler, which made him a target. Rather than hurt him, they went after the person in the world he loved most. The way Neville Longbottom puts it in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," is that "they dragged Luna off the train on the way back for Christmas." 

This isn't the first time Harry hears about Luna's kidnapping. In December, the trio was visiting Xenophilius to ask questions about the Deathly Hallows. He tipped off the Death Eaters that they were there, stating that he thought they'd give Luna back if he turned them in. While it didn't work, it did reveal the fate of one of their friends.

After being grabbed from the train, she is placed in the cellar of Malfoy Manor, which is the headquarters for the dark wizards during the war. Harry and Ron discover Luna when they are thrown there after being found by Snatchers in March, based on a timeline put together by the Harry Potter Lexicon

Luna becomes a magizoologist, and marries one

Rather than follow in her father's editorial footsteps, Luna Lovegood chooses to embrace nature after leaving Hogwarts. In a Bloomsbury live chat with the author in 2007, J.K. Rowling revealed that the witch went on to become a "very famous wizarding naturalist who discovered and classified many new species of animals" (via Accio-Quote). Rowling yields that while Luna never discovered the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, she did discover plenty of other magical creatures.

Rowling shared that, like many of the characters, Luna gets married after she graduates. Many know Newt Scamander, one of the main characters of the new "Fantastic Beasts" movie franchise, but what those films don't get to is that the Ravenclaw marries into the Scamander family. Luna marries Newt's grandson, Rolf, the author said in the interview.

"She ended up marrying (rather later than Harry & co) a fellow naturalist and grandson of the great Newt Scamander (Rolf)," the author shared when asked if Luna got married. This was a perfect fit, considering Luna's love of creatures and that Rolf was a magizoologist as well. The two have sons, Lorcan and Lysander, together, as detailed by the hand-drawn family tree revealed on J.K. Rowling's website in 2007, which was archived by the Harry Potter Lexicon. The tree also reveals the names of other children, like the Weasley's and Malfoy's.

She almost ended up with Neville Longbottom

While the author decided to have Luna Lovegood marry into the Scamander family, Luna almost kept her alliterative name and became a Longbottom. As recorded by the Wizarding World website, J.K. Rowling once said in an interview with USA Today that Luna and Neville Longbottom almost ended up together. She thought there was "a bit of a pull" between them, but thought it would be "too neat" if they actually were together in the end. 

The books did not see the two of them as a couple, but the movies took the story in a slightly different direction. During the Battle of Hogwarts in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley run into Neville on a staircase. Neville asks if either of them has seen Luna, and Harry becomes confused. "I'm mad for her," Neville declares. "I think it's about time I told her, since we'll probably both be dead by dawn!" It's an endearing scene, even if it doesn't match the words of the author.

Luna sits by Neville in the Great Hall after the battle, as everyone celebrates the defeat of Voldemort. The two of them have small smiles on their faces, but it isn't clear if he's shared his feelings with her yet.

Luna almost had a different name and year

When J.K. Rowling was creating her list of characters, Luna Lovegood almost had a different name and was almost in the same year as Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Instead, she ends up in Ginny Weasley's Hogwarts class.

The Original Forty is a list of names that Rowling developed while writing, so she had "names at [her] fingertips when action was taking place around the school." The original iteration of Luna is on the list as "Lily Moon." At this point, Rowling had not chosen a name for Harry's mother. A student with the surname Moon is sorted in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" during Harry's sorting ceremony, but their house is not known. This character does not appear again in the series, though others sorted at that time, like Terry Boot and Justin Finch-Fletchley, became minor characters that played key roles at different times.

In her notes on the list, the author writes that the original name "gave me an idea for a fey, dreamy girl," who became Luna Lovegood. Though she didn't keep the name Lily Moon, the reference to the moon was included in her final name. The original first name was used for Harry's mother.

The character (and actress) appeared in a popular fandom musical

Fans of the series may be familiar with the fan-made musical, "A Very Potter Musical." The music was written by popular "Glee" alumnus Darren Criss and A.J. Holmes, and the musical was produced by StarKid Productions, a musical theater company that was started at the University of Michigan in 2009. "A Very Potter Musical," or "AVPM," was performed at the university the same year and uploaded to YouTube that summer. The musical became a hit, with the first video gaining over 18 million views. 

The success and popularity of the project resulted in two sequels: "A Very Potter Sequel" and "A Very Potter Senior Year." A staged reading and song performance from "A Very Potter Senior Year" took place at LeakyCon 2012. While many of the original cast members made an appearance, the original actress that played Luna Lovegood in the musicals, Arielle Goldman, did not. Evanna Lynch took her place, meaning fans got to see the film's real actress participate in the fan musical. The character actually has the first line of the musical, casting the wand-lighting spell Lumos. All three musicals are available on the Team Starkid YouTube page to watch. 

Luna is J.K. Rowling's favorite character

Every author has their favorite character or two from their work. If you thought J.K. Rowling's absolute favorite was Harry Potter or another member of the Golden Trio, you'd be wrong. In an archived Frequently Asked Questions page from the author's website, she shares which character she likes to write, characters she loves, and her most recent favorite character.

As expected, Rowling loves the Golden Trio. The Weasley twins, Remus Lupin, Albus Dumbledore, Ginny Weasley, and Rubeus Hagrid also made the list. While he isn't on the list of characters she loves, Rowling did love writing the part of Severus Snape. She adds a disclaimer though, writing that she "would not necessarily want to meet" Snape. The author writes that Luna is her favorite "new character." The page is archived from 2007, just before the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" book was released. 

Evanna Lynch went to an open casting call

Evanna Lynch has a unique story regarding how she was cast as the whimsical girl of the franchise. Long before she got the part, Lynch became pen pals with J.K. Rowling after writing to her about how much she loved the story. The two continued to communicate, with Lynch sharing her hope to be in the films one day. In an interview with The Irish Examiner in 2009, Lynch details what she wrote, noting she never thought she could get a part in the movies because she lived in a "sleepy town." 

Though interested in the role, Lynch didn't know auditions were happening until she saw a post about an open casting call on MuggleNet.com in January 2006, based on a post from her Facebook page. Out of the 15,000 girls who auditioned, Lynch is the one who was selected for the role. Rowling was both surprised and excited. Lynch said Rowling asked the director, "Is it the same girl?" and it was — it was the same girl Rowling had been writing to all this time.

On an episode of "Normal Not Normal," a podcast run by Oliver and James Phelps (the actors that played George and Fred Weasley, respectively), Lynch discusses how intense of a fan she was before being cast in the role. She said there were posters all over her room, and that she'd written to the cast to get their autographs. She admits she was "obsessed," and already knew a lot about her fellow cast members before meeting them. 

Another popular Irish actress auditioned for the role

One of the 15,000 girls Evanna Lynch beat out for the role was an actress that is now a household name. In an interview with the blog "Oh No They Didn't" in 2011, Saoirse Ronan admitted to auditioning for Luna Lovegood. "I was too young — but at the time I thought, 'I'd love to be in Harry Potter,'" the actress shared with the blog. "When I was younger, I used to think they had the best job in the world." Like Lynch, Ronan was a big fan of the series when she auditioned. "I've basically grown up with 'Harry Potter,' as so many kids my age have," she said. "It's kind of a part of my life. I'll go see [the final film] no matter what."

Ronan went on to have her big break with "Atonement" and the movie adaptation of "The Lovely Bones." Though she didn't get to be in the "Harry Potter" films, she's worked with several members of the cast. She was in "Stockholm, Pennsylvania" alongside Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) and was part of the ensemble cast of "The Grand Budapest Hotel," which was helmed by Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort). In an interview with Hollywire at Sundance in 2015, Ronan notes that, while working with Fiennes, she completely forgot he was in "Harry Potter" at the time.