J.K. Rowling Proved that It’s Okay to be Weird

I know it’s a day late, but I would like to say my own “Harry Birthday” to Harry. I am super excited about the release of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” A copy of is heading my way right now. In honor of this auspicious occasion, I would like to open up a discussion about a very particular Harry Potter character, and I’m going to reply to a post that was published on tor.com a few years ago. It showed up in my feed a few days ago, probably also in honor of the new release, and I just couldn’t help but notice it. Here’s the link to that: 

http://www.tor.com/2013/11/19/neville-longbottom-is-the-most-important-person-in-harry-potter/

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First, though, I’d like to add my voice to these common Harry Potter topics:

1. I definitely belong in Hufflepuff. It’s not that hard to figure it out. I’m a badger through and through. I also like to think that I have some Ravenclaw brains in me. Apparently, I’m also an American Thunderbird. I don’t really know what that means yet, but I’m excited to learn about it.

2. I cried during every death, every death, that occurred in the Harry Potter books and movies. I think that Dobby’s death affected me the most, though Hedwig was a close second…Is it bad that the non-human deaths affected me more?

3. Yes, I own all of the Harry Potter books and the movies. I remember the first moment that I sat down to read/watch each one. My favorite books are the 3rd and 4th ones, because Harry wasn’t really a little kid anymore, and the themes start to get really dark in the 5th book (understandably, but really dark). Of course, those grim themes occurred earlier in the movies. The 4th movie is really my favorite, because I enjoy watching the tournament. 

4. I didn’t hate the Dursleys so much by the end of the series, but I would looove to belong to the Weasely family. They are the best part about the Wizarding World. They just are! And with my red hair and glasses, I would totally fit in!

5. I don’t think that Rowling made a mistake when she paired off Harry and his friends. The movies don’t come close to doing them justice. If you read the books, however, you’ll see that Ron and Hermione and Harry and Ginny are soulmates! It’s complete balance and worth fangirling over!

6. Of course, my favorite character was Hermione. She’s such a strong female character. Clearly the boys would be lost without her. Plus, she’s a bibliophile. I still can’t get over how amazing she truly is.

7. I’m not going to pretend that I knew Snape’s backstory, but I did suspect that Rowling had something big planned for him. When I found out, I think that I yelled at the book for like 10 minutes…and then I got over it. Snape was a tortured good guy who was on Dumbledore’s side the whole time. I believe it. 

8. I was super upset when someone asked this question: If you had the chance, would you rather kill Voldemort, Snape, Bellatrix, or Umbridge? First of all, Snape shouldn’t even be on that list. If Voldemort was still alive, I think that we should all feel a duty to kill him…but if he was already dead, then I would go after Bellatrix without even throwing Umbridge a second glance.

8. I think everyone would say that the ending was the most shocking part of the book. I always knew that Harry would have to die at the end, but the fact that he could come back just blew my mind! The beauty and symbolism in that one scene was breathtaking! Other than that, I think the scenes that caught me most off guard were when we found out about Neville’s role in the prophecy (I was like, “What!? He’d better step it up then!”) and Dumbledore’s death (I didn’t see that coming at all. I kept wanting him to appear in a picture frame and solve everything.)

9. The question that I want answered most isn’t really anything big, but it’s been nagging me for years…Did Harry ever go back to look for Hedwig’s body? How did he mourn her loss when everything was over? Did he ever get another owl?…Why wasn’t one of his kids named Hedwig?

10.Finally, I’m super psyched for Newt’s movie and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, but I’m totally okay that Harry’s story is over. I thought that the last book ended appropriately. It was a classic Bildungsroman story…once Harry was grown up, there was no reason to keep the series going. In some sense, I should probably be worried that “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” could take away the sense of peace that the series’ ending gave me. Everybody seems to think it’s amazing, though, so I doubt that will happen. I’m not quite ready to leave the Wizarding World, and I’ll never stop talking about the Harry Potter Series, but I think that Harry deserves his rest. 🙂

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Now, on to the second part of my birthday tribute. Again, here’s the article that I am responding to: http://www.tor.com/2013/11/19/neville-longbottom-is-the-most-important-person-in-harry-potter/

Emily Asher-Perrin goes through all of the main characters (except one) in Harry’s group of fighting friends and explains how all of them are “related” to the fighters that made of the group of James’ friends in the older generation.

She then explains how Pettigrew, that heartless little traitor, actually set things into motion and caused Harry’s death and everything after. And Neville, being Pettigrew’s new counterpart, could have betrayed Harry, too. He doesn’t. He actually carries on a major part of the fight himself and kills Voldemort’s snake himself. He really stepped up and a lot of Harry’s success is due to him. I got that!

I knew that from the moment I heard the prophecy that Neville was more important than anybody knew, maybe even as important as Harry himself. Neville defintely belongs high on up the list of characters who are often underestimated. I don’t think I understood how truly amazing Neville really is until reading Asher-Perrin’s article. I think her analysis is spot on.

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However, at the same time that I was coming to the realization of how awesome Neville is, one thing kept bothering me. All of the characters in Harry’s core group of friends, and Malfoy, are paired with a character from that past generation…all of them, except for Luna Lovegood.

Luna stood by Harry in the end. She never quit fighting. In fact, she was kidnapped by Death Eaters at some point, but she didn’t flee or faint when she was rescued. She was Harry’s guide into the weird unknown that was right before his eyes.

Harry would still be knocked out under his invisibility cloak on the train if Luna hadn’t saved him. He would still be caught alone in his grief if she hadn’t have told him about the Thestrals. He would still be dead if she hadn’t have told him about the diadem. Did you hear me? Harry would be dead and Voldemort would have been alive without the help of this one friendless girl who had to deal with bullies every day at Hogwarts! She’s so weird and loyal and smart…and she totally embraced that! She’s amazing!

 But Asher-Perrin didn’t even mention her. Where’s Luna’s credit? Who is she supposed to be?

These questions bothered me so much that I had to stop reading the article at some point and come back to it later. I didn’t want Luna’s problem to get in the way of Neville’s success. But after thinking about it for a while, I’ve finally realized something equally as important.

Yes, Neville may be Pettigrew and Harry may be James and everyone else is everyone else…but Luna is just Luna. She doesn’t get to be paired to anyone, and she doesn’t need to be. Maybe just having a “new Pettigrew” wasn’t enough. Maybe they also needed someone else.

Luna has always struck me as the one person in the group who didn’t fit into any mold. Rowling paid her even more respect by making her a completely unique character. She filled a very important role in the group: the one person who isn’t afraid to embrace the weird and who truly believes in the impossible. Without that belief, how could anyone truly expect to overcome such a dark wizard as Voldemort.

That’s what was missing from the previous generation.

My guess is that no one would took Luna’s father seriously, even if he did try to help them. Thank goodness Harry and his friends were willing, albeit reluctantly at first, to take Luna seriously. Luna might have been a bit odd at times, but she is quite wise and her insights should not be taken lightly. 

So, alright, Luna doesn’t need to fit into Asher-Perrin’s analysis, or anyone else’s. She didn’t need to fit into any predestined role. I don’t think she would really care that she doesn’t. She decided that she was going to use her own unique skills to help Harry win his fight against Voldemort, and, really and truly, we have her to thank for his success!

Thank you, Luna, from the bottom of my heart!

I hope that everyone comes to appreciate the important of both Neville and Luna, Harry’s geeky, weird, underappreciated sidekicks.

Luna Lovegood

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/EatSleepAndRead/
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