Since the first Harry Potter book debuted in 1997, the series has become a massive hit. Over the course of 7 books, people the world over have fallen in love with the story of the Boy Who Lived. J.K. Rowling found a playful and inventive way to tackle the coming-of-age tale; weaving fantasy, wordplay, and a surprising amount of pathos into the ever-maturing story. Thanks to a series of movie adaptations, produced by Warner Bros. starting in 2001, Harry Potter has became one of the most popular franchises of all time.
In the years since, the universe and characters created by Rowling have spun into all manner of media, spawned separate spin-offs, like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the films have launched the careers of many a child actor. Though Harry and his best friends Ron and Hermione often hog the spotlight, a few smaller characters have developed an intense following.
Chief among them is a highly unusual Ravenclaw named Luna Lovegood. Her dry wit and tactless candor have made her one of the series’ most popular characters, but there’s more to her than many fans realize. Here are 13 Things You Didn't Know About Luna Lovegood.
13. She Married Newt Scamander’s Grandson
As one of the Harry Potter series’ newest characters to be fleshed out, there’s a lot people don’t know about Newt Scamander. While Fantastic Beasts has helped to illuminate one period of his young life, he’s had decades of influence in Rowling’s wizarding world. After traveling the world and writing a number of books, Scamander eventually settled down with his New York sweetheart Teenie Goldstein. Over the years, they eventually had at least one child (the details aren’t well known) who then sired a grandchild named Rolf. Like his grandfather, Rolf Scamander grew to become a well-known magizoologist.
While some assume Rolf attended Hogwarts with our heroes, his notoriety seems to dispel that possibility-- surely the grandson of the famed Newt Scamander would've warranted at least a passing mention in the books. Still, it seems that he eventually encountered Luna Lovegood, and the two hit it off. They’d soon get married, with Luna winning Rita Skeeter’s "Most Hideous Outfi"’ award for her tiara made of unicorn horns, and a dress comprised of rainbows and spangles. The two had a pair of twins, Lysander and Lorcan, who they brought with them to the 2014 Quidditch World Cup and introduced to the rest of Luna’s friends from school, who were also in attendance.
12. Luna Became A Magizoologist After Graduation
It likely won’t come as a surprise that when it came to choosing a career path, Luna also followed in her grandfather-in-law’s footsteps and became a magizoologist. After seeing Newt in action during Fantastic Beasts, and knowing that Rolf married Luna, it seems safe to assume that Rolf took after his grandfather's eccentricity. Perhaps that type of personality is a prerequisite for dealing with magical beasts and their unusual proclivities. Luna’s affinity for the animals of the wizarding world is well documented long before she leaves Hogwarts, most notably her connection to Thestrals.
Like Newt, she traversed the globe in an attempt to discover and document new and exciting creatures. While she accomplished her goal and gained equal notoriety to her kin, one beast her in-law was familiar with always eluded her: the Crumple Horned-Snorkack. Book readers will of course know that this creature, championed by Luna and her father, is actually an Erumpent. Harry and co. soon learn how dangerous an Erumpent’s horn can be, and Fantastic Beasts showed us one of these creatures in action. Perhaps Luna encountered an Erumpent at one point but refused to believe that’s what a Snorkack really was. Regardless, it’ll be a real shame if a future installment of Newt’s adventures doesn’t eventually intersect with some member of the Lovegood family.
11. Her Name Is Actually "Loony"
Luna’s nickname "Loony" isn’t truly her real name. Rather, the word "loony" is short for "lunatic" and derives from the Latin word "luna." If you’ve ever studied a romance language, or just recognized the connection to all things lunar, you’re likely well aware that "Luna" means "moon." Back in the day, many people believed that craziness and odd behavior in general were tied to the moon. Similar ideas fed into the belief that a full moon is responsible for werewolves, as well as being connected to all manner of strange people and activities.
As J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is well-known for playing with language, it’s no surprise that one of the most eccentric characters we meet is named Luna. As for her last name, Lovegood, it’s sadly not a reference to Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons. Instead, it’s a real last name, and likely appealed to Rowling based on the alliteration it offers with Luna, and the allusion to loving all creatures and people-- the way Luna does.
10. The Truth Is Out There
While Luna’s surname might not have any pop culture connection, many believe her father’s first name does. Like Luna, her father Xenophilius’ name has a Latin root. Recent years have taught many people the word for fearing foreign people and strangers: "xenophobe."
Xenophilius’ name plays on that by offering up a person who is in love with the strange and unfamiliar. Luna may believe some odd things, but when we meet her father, we find that she’s relatively grounded compared to him. Not only does he keep a dangerous Erumpent horn in his house, but he buries himself in lore and conspiracy theories. He’s even oblivious enough to wear the symbol of the Deathly Hallows, not realizing that its association with Grindelwald makes it akin to a swastika.
Of course, the love of the strange has a fairly obvious allusion in the book and film Dr. Strangelove. Another connection theory, bolstered by Rowling’s love of wordplay, is the similarity between "Xenophilius" and The X-Files. Not only is there a pun connecting the two, but the show’s motto of “The truth is out there” and its examination of conspiracy theories and all things bizarre makes the reference seem even more likely. It probably wasn’t the reason Rowling created "Xenophilius," but may have helped secure it as Luna’s father’s name.
9. Luna Believes A Lot Of Conspiracy Theories
We may never know if Luna excelled at divination, the subject Harry, Ron, and Hermione hated so much. Still, her dreamy and wispy air certainly makes her reminiscent to Sybil Trelawney. Both believed in things others laughed at, and had a unique way of viewing the world.
For Luna’s part, it likely derived from her inclusion in Ravenclaw. Known to possess “wit beyond measure,” Ravenclaws are more than just intelligent. Many of Luna’s qualities, such as cutting through polite convention with her brutal honesty and her willingness to question everything, are what truly separates those sorted into Rowena Ravenclaw’s house. Like Luna’s father (also a Ravenclaw), this she held a number of radical views and ideas.
Given that her father ran what amounts to The Weekly World News, it’s not super surprising that the daughter of The Quibbler’s editor would be a conspiracy buff. Long before we meet Xenophilius, however, we’re treated to a number of the Lovegoods’ bizarre beliefs thanks to Luna. Among these theories is one positing that Sirius Black was secretly Stubby Boardman, the singer for the Hobgoblins; that the Aurors were a front for a plot to destroy the Ministry of Magic using dark magic and tooth decay; and that Cornelius Fudge would bake goblins into pies in order to assassinate them. Her askew perspective, however, also meant she was one of the few people that believed Harry’s story about Voldemort’s return, so who’s to say Fudge wasn’t secretly making goblin pies.
8. Rowling Considers Luna "The Anti-Hermione"
As an author, J.K. Rowling naturally loves all of her creations. Still, there are certain characters that she has a special affinity for and connects with the most. Rowling has made it clear how similar Hermione is to her, which makes it all the more interesting how much she enjoys writing Luna Lovegood. While she's just as clever as the bookish Hermione, Rowling herself has noted that Luna is quite the opposite of the hyper-organized Gryffindor. "She's slightly out of step in many ways but she's the anti-Hermione. Hermione's so logical and inflexible in so many ways and Luna is likely to believe ten impossible things before breakfast."
Through Luna and Hermione, Rowling was not only able to study two different strong female characters, but to deconstruct the differing ways that intelligence can manifest in individuals. It’s fitting then that both characters seemed to land the perfect actors to portray them.
While Emma Watson didn’t quite have all the physical characteristics of Hermione in the books, she still nailed the role. Outshining most of the competition, however, was Evanna Lynch’s turn as Luna Lovegood, which has become synonymous with the character. The two are so inseparable, in fact, that Rowling has admitted that Lynch is the only actor she gets stuck in her head when she’s writing about their respective character.
7. Evanna Lynch Had Some Competition For The Role
Considering how hard it is for Rowling to separate Evanna Lynch from Luna Lovegood, it’s no surprise she’s a fan of the actor’s portrayal of her character. That admiration came before Lynch even filmed a scene. While Rowling had nothing to do with the casting, she did meet Lynch after she nabbed the role. After having lunch together, Rowling stated simply that Lynch was “perfect” for the role. The actor had plenty of competition, however, before she finally secured the part.
Long before Saoirse Ronan became a star thanks to starring roles in The Lovely Bones and Hanna, the Irish actress auditioned for the role of Luna Lovegood. Co-starring with Ronan in Atonement and best known for her role in The Dark Knight Rises, Juno Temple too took a crack at the part of Luna. Most interesting is actor Scarlett Byrne, who failed to land the role in Order of the Phoenix but ended up being cast as Slytherin and girlfriend of Malfoy, Pansy Parkinson in Half-Blood Prince. Not a bad consolation prize.
6. Luna Is One Of Rowling’s "Big Seven"
Luna Lovegood isn’t only a character that Rowling enjoys writing; she's also one that Rowling considers vastly important to the entire series. Though she came later than the others, Luna joins Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny, and Draco in the group J.K. Rowling considers her "big seven." Together, these characters are at the core of the story Rowling is telling and the ones she considers to be not only her favorites, but the most essential.
Luna quickly moves from curiosity to part of the gang when she joins Harry and his friends as they attempt to invade the Ministry of Magic and find Sirius Black. There, she helps the crew battle the Death Eaters. This would be something of a dry run for her, as she’d later help defend Hogwarts following Dumbledore’s death, help the resistance during Snape’s reign at the school (which would lead to her being kidnapped), and take part in the Second Wizarding War, notably battling Bellatrix Lestrange alongside Hermione and Ginny.
Aside from her fighting prowess, she’s also one of the emotional cores of the series. Not only does she believe Harry about Voldemort’s return, but she’s one of the few people able to pierce his grief after Sirius dies. Her knack for getting straight to the point allows the two character a rare bonding moment.
5. Harry and Ginny Named Their Daughter After Luna
While Harry’s and Ginny’s daughter bears the first name of Harry’s mother Lily, her middle name comes from their friend Luna. The Potters were actually quite fond of naming their kids after loved ones, as all three of their children share first and middle names with friends, family, and one former enemy. There’s James Sirius, named for Harry’s father and god-father; Albus Severus, named for two famed Hogwarts’ headmasters; and Lily Luna. Interestingly, Luna is the only living person to give a Potter child their name. She’s also only the second non-Gryffindor.
In fact, Luna is the only one of Harry’s close friends that wasn't a Gryffindor. Though he certainly interacted with and befriended a few Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, and Slytherins, Luna is the only one in Harry’s inner circle that’s not a Gryffindor. Along with Draco, she’s also the only non-Gryffindor in Rowling’s "big seven" (sorry Hufflepuff, at least you have New!). Houses are also what divides Luna from Evanna Lynch, as the actor discovered that when she took the sorting test (twice) on Pottermore, she was actually a Gryffindor herself.
4. There Was Once A Theory That Snape Was Luna's Father
Luna and her father aren't the only ones who believe wild things about the wizarding World. Harry Potter fans, like most passionate fandoms, have developed a number of theories surrounding the franchise. When it comes to the rather mysterious Luna, the two big theories are shockingly tame. The first was the idea that the initial series would end with Luna getting together with fellow outcast Neville Longbottom. Though the Neville of the films admits he has a crush on Luna, something Rowling was initially opposed to, the potential relationship doesn’t appear to have ever gained traction in the text.
The slightly wackier theory, with far less grounding in reality, was the idea that Severus Snape would turn out to be Luna’s father. Though this would certainly have made for an interesting twist, nothing about it really added up, even before we met Xenophilius. For one, Luna and Snape couldn't be more opposite. While that could make for some interesting scenes, the theory never really had legs, as Luna tells us about her father running The Quibbler shortly after we meet her. That said, it's entertaining enough to spawn some good fan fiction.
3. Luna and Evanna Both Have An Interesting Wardrobe
It’s not only Luna’s beliefs which are a bit outré. Both the books and the films have shown us that Luna has a very unique sense of style. Aside from the award-winning dress she wore to her wedding, she’s been depicted with a butterbeer cork necklace, a pair of Spectrespecs that she’s fond of wearing even when not reading the Quibbler, and both a lion- and eagle-themed hat she wears to Gryffindor and Ravenclaw Quidditch games, respectively. Both the last two and the first are also notable as they were made by Luna herself. Proving once more how perfect she is for the role, Evanna Lynch followed Luna’s lead when she appeared in the movies.
One of the earliest interesting items Luna is shown to wear is a pair of Dirigible plum earrings. Looking like odd, orange radishes, Dirigible plums are said to enhance the wisdom of those who wear them, and also keep away any pesky Nargles. When Lynch appeared in Order of the Phoenix, she wore a version of these earrings that she'd made herself. Similarly, when Luna attended the Slug Club Christmas party in Half-Blood Prince, she wore a bracelet made by Lynch. The bangle included a hare on it, representing Luna’s Patronus. Crafty and clever.
2. Luna Has Become A Hero To Those On The Autism Spectrum
As stated earlier, J.K Rowling used the characters of Hermione and Luna to analyze the permutations of intelligence. While Hermione fits the traditional role of a studious genius, Luna’s smarts and emotional intelligence offer an alternative look. In fact, there are many who believe Luna’s detached mannerisms, lack of tact, and unique perspective are all signs that she may have Asperger’s syndrome or otherwise be on the autism spectrum.
Though it's never been explicitly stated, Luna’s characterization and Lynch’s portrayal of her meet many of the qualities of those with autism and Asperger’s. One writer in particular noticed 5 traits she, Luna, and many others with Asperger’s share. She spends a lot of time alone with her thoughts, lacks pretense, sees things others don’t, chooses words deliberately, and is hyper-loyal. Her positive portrayal and agency have led to her becoming a hero and inspiration for many on the spectrum, allowing them to open up about their experiences.
It’s unclear whether any of this was intentional by Rowling, but it does seem like too much to be a coincidence. Either way, art and stories often take on a life of their own in the hands and minds of audiences. Luna’s and Lynch’s ability to inspire those struggling with autism and Asperger’s is certainly a wonderful legacy.
1. Evanna Had A Correspondence With Rowling Years Before Being Cast
The most interesting fact about Luna Lovegood doesn’t involve the character, but the actor who portrayed her. Born in 1991, Evanna grew obsessed with the Harry Potter books when they were released. This passion continued even when Lynch became hospitalized in 2003 due to anorexia. The books helped to keep her strong, as did a short correspondence with J.K. Rowling herself. Lynch wrote to her about her love for the books and her condition, to which Rowling replied that anorexia was "destructive, not creative." This proved to be just what Lynch needed to hear, and helped her recover and leave the hospital after two years.
Before she was ready to be released, however, Order of the Phoenix, the book that would introduce Luna Lovegood, was about to debut. Lynch, being a superfan, was devastated that she would miss the release, but thanks to some coordination between the publisher, author, her parents, and the hospital, she was able to be discharged for the event and received a signed copy of the book from Rowling.
A year after leaving the hospital, she learned of a casting call for the fifth movie. Despite her parents’ worries that she wouldn’t be cast, she made the cut and beat out 15,000 other actors to land the role of Luna. As stated earlier, Rowling wasn’t involved in the casting and the two had still yet to meet, marking one of the more intriguing coincidences (or destinies) in Harry Potter and film history.
What are your favorite things about Luna Lovegood and Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments.