The Luna Lovegood Fashion Show, Pt. 3

The final episode, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—made into two films—is when Luna comes into her own. As a late arrival, there is the necessity of introducing the character and developing her so that readers and viewers care about what happens to her. There have also been enough clues strewn about regarding the nature of magic in this world and the Lovegoods’ place in the scheme of things that suggests their contribution to the future of wizardry.

We got our first hint of Luna’s family life when she had her first long talk with Harry about how her mother was killed during an experiment. To the average viewer this might come off as comical and emphasizes the quirkiness of the family, but it got me thinking that someone would only take these kinds of risks if she were doing something very important. The last episode does make clear that there was a loving family life demonstrated by Xenophilius’ public affection for his daughter. It also gives the audience the emotional context to understand his distress at Luna’s abduction.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010) (1)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) (1)

When Harry and the gang do see Luna again, it is in the dungeons of the Malfoy Estate. Still true to form, Luna is polite to Dobby and shows him the kind of respect rarely afforded an elf by establishment wizards and witches. An interesting clue is that elfin magic does not work in the same way as “classical” magic. It is as though they function on different frequencies and are not constrained by one another. Some efficient exposition ties up a few loose ends by reintroducing us to Ollivander who later reveals more about the nature of magic in this world. We learn about the composition of wands and how they reflect the character of the owner. I am particularly intrigued by the ambiguity of Draco’s role in the story as his wand’s core is a unicorn hair while the rest of his family’s is dragon’s heartstring and lamenting that his mother’s wand just doesn’t understand him.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010) (2)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) (2)

I wondered if the death of Dobby was a cheap way of reminding us of our main characters’ peril and illustrating the malice of Bellatrix. But given the way Dobby could easily penetrate magical defenses, he had to be disposed of so that Harry and company would need to cope with Gringotts and Bellatrix’ vault by some other device than elfin magic. Luna’s compassion is demonstrated once again as she helps Harry give Dobby a dignified passing.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010) (3)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) (3)

In the beginning of Part 2 there is a somewhat mundane scene that for some reason really sticks in my memory. While some exposition is shared about the good old days of the Weasley’s family life, Luna seems transfixed by a wind chime. She displays her scholarly upbringing and shows she is knowledgeable about the magic of other cultures including Muggle. This is yet another clue that there is this dimension of non-conventional magic that exists and that her family has made the effort to investigate it.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2011) (1)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) (1)

A nod to the human need for iconography and fetishes, the wizarding world has its holy relics as well. Here, Luna is displaying her extensive education by revealing the existence of the Rowena Ravenclaw tiara—likely the artifact Harry is looking for.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2011) (2)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) (2)

Up to this point, Luna has mainly facilitated the storyline—not being especially assertive about her own beliefs and wishes. Having knowledge and experience that others haven’t, she realizes that though she may seem crazy to others, there is a time when others need to listen. While everyone is frantically searching for the tiara, Luna gives Harry a wake up call and makes him stop and hear what she has to say. Consistent with mythic hero’s journeys, she cannot accompany him to meet the ghost of Helena (The Grey Lady), Harry must face this next task on his own.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2011) (3)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) (3)

I suppose it made some sense in the author’s mind that the two odd yet heroic characters should end up together, but I can’t help thinking what a treasure of experience Harry will be missing by not being with Luna. Having had his share of excitement, perhaps it is just that he be allowed to settle into a life of normality. Both Luna and Neville have suffered family tragedies and having prevailed in this latest crisis, can establish a basis for mutual healing.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2011) (4)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) (4)

I got the strong feeling watching the last three episodes that the Lovegoods represented more than just a counterculture, but opened the door to an era of humanistic magic. New magic is possible as demonstrated in Half-Blood Prince with the revelation of Severus Snape’s new spell—along with its countercurse. It was revealed that there may be many types of magic such as elfin and trollish which do not operate on the same basis as the classical magic (notice the use of Latin incantations) taught at Hogwarts. Apart from the Unforgivable Curses, there seem to be some very powerful spells or enchantments that can render witches and wizards helpless, for example the Thief’s Downfall—a bit of trollish magic that can wash away classical spells. What I see developing is a system of alternate magic that has a different character and can operate where classical magic fails and the Lovegoods were developing some of the technology that others could build upon.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010) (4)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates
– Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) (4)

The Luna Lovegood Fashion Show, Pt. 2

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my favorite episode of the series. Although many would disagree, those like me with a certain sensitivity appreciate the subtler elements: character pathos and development, humor in the face of a dark and foreboding backdrop and expressions of poignant humanity when least expected.

Draco Malfoy is revealed to us as a sympathetic character who is painted into a corner by the wishes of the Dark Lord and wrestling with the impulses of his humanity. Never buying into the notion of a patently evil or heroic character, I always had the notion that Draco might someday have the courage to defy his father and save Harry’s life at some cathartic juncture.

There is the hint of Severus Snape’s past, where he created new and deadly magic and then had a change of heart, later devising the counter curses for those same spells. He is also a tortured and deeply misunderstood character and, for those who did not pick up the clues throughout the series, unequivocally manifests his humanity in the final episode.

Harry takes things in stride with humor and lets the tide of events carry him away so that he can be in a position to serve the story when most needed: namely in helping Professor Slughorn find his own courage in revealing an embarrassing but critical piece of evidence.

All this is accompanied by Nicholas Hooper’s stirring music that puts the audience in the proper emotional place to appreciate the turn of events.

Luna Lovegood is at her most charming in this episode, and I could not help feeling that Evanna Lynch was having the time of her life. I commend the efforts of costume designer Jany Temime in pulling this off. Yes, the point was partly to show the oddness of the character, but there is also an other-worldly beauty in her selection of attire.

Here she is passing out copies of The Quibbler, a kind of tabloid that, despite conventional wisdom, probably has more insights about the world than the establishment would have us believe.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (1)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (1)

Luna always seems to have charms and devices that perform unconventional but useful functions. I will say more about the nature of the Lovegoods’ countercultural magic in Part 3. Here she uses these special glasses to discover and save the imperiled Harry trapped under a Cloak of Invisibility.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (2)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (2)

Here Luna repairs Harry’s nose, and he has learned to be good-spirited about such things and lets her give it a try. She has repaired many toes before and both are small appendages and rhyme after all.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (3)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (3)

This costume made me fall in love with Luna. We see her wearing this costume at the Quidditch match ostensibly as a kind of mascot, but I feel Luna would have worn it anyway.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (4)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (4)

This shot comes right after Harry’s quote that he should ask someone to the party, someone cool. How prophetic those words are, and though Harry respects and appreciates his friendship with Luna, I do count him a fool for not fully recognizing what a treasure she was.

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (5)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (5)

This touching scene of wizards and witches raising their wands in solidarity demonstrates how people of good nature can only be pushed so far before they draw a line in the sand and say, “This far and no more.”

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (6)

J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) (6)

Part 3 will focus on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the nature of magic in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

The Luna Lovegood Fashion Show, Pt. 1

I came so close to never seeing the delightful Evanna Lynch in her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series. I don’t generally follow popular culture and it was a while before I decided to take my first look at Harry Potter. I was quite impressed with the premise and play of ideas in the first story: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s [Philosopher’s] Stone. The author’s use of language and pagan mythic themes really did create a compelling new world. While reading the books, I looked forward to the next movie installment to see how true to the books they would be. When the fourth movie (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) came out, I was actually disappointed. The special effects were great, but the execution was overly theatrical and I felt less emotionally involved with the drama of the characters. I decided not to watch any more and just finish the books. Some time later, someone mentioned a plot point not consistent with the books and I decided I had to watch the rest of the films.

Those last three episodes featured the character Luna Lovegood and I must concur with the fans that Evanna Lynch was a casting coup. When watching her performance, the quality of her voice seemed surreal, giving the character an ethereal quality. I did not know if it was her natural voice or if she was just affecting this kind of speech for the role. A YouTube interview confirms that it was her real voice. Lynch is an Irish native and was one of 15,000 girls trying out for the part. I imagine getting the role was a dream come true because she was already a major fan, with posters on display all over her room. When producing this post, I thought I would congratulate the casting director Fiona Weir for making such an excellent choice, but from the literature it seems that Lynch was a natural and obvious choice.

When I learned she was cast at age 14, I had to acknowledge that she really wasn’t a little girl, but her delicate features and gentle manner suggest the spirit of a much younger girl and so she appears in Pigtails. I found myself getting a bit fixated on this character and I started asking around and discovered she was the favorite of quite a few people—men and women. I noticed the clever way J.K. Rowling (the author) uses a character’s name to tell us something about him or her. “Luna” refers to the moon and evokes pagan associations as well as serving as an idiom for insanity and “Lovegood”—probably a double entendre—indicates her compassionate nature while hearkening to the Free Love Movement of the 1960s and 70s. Some like the character because she portrays a kind of classic counterculture type drawn principally from the hippie generation. As for the rest, I think we simply fell in love with the actress and wondered how much like her screen character she really was. This post deals with the introduction of the character as depicted in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

She is introduced to us sitting on a carriage, waiting to be taken to Hogwarts and reading a tabloid. Even with her school uniform she wears interesting accessories that make her stand out.

J.K. Rowling, Michael Goldenberg & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) (1)

Only Harry and Luna among the students can see the thestrals, as they only appear to those who have seen death. Luna witnessed the death of her mother which is an interesting clue to something I will discuss in Part 3. She spends the entire movie barefoot as someone—probably a Nargle—has been playing a prank on her.

J.K. Rowling, Michael Goldenberg & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) (2)

Katie Leung, who plays Cho, is another relative newcomer and took it upon herself to help Lynch settle in with the cast and crew.

J.K. Rowling, Michael Goldenberg & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) (3)

It is hard to capture skipping in a movie still since the image is blurry, but here she is on her way to a makeshift Dark Arts lesson taught by Harry. Skipping seems a most appropriate form of locomotion for this character.

J.K. Rowling, Michael Goldenberg & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) (4)

It is Luna’s suggestion that the gang use Thestrals to get to London and confront the dark forces at the Ministry of Magic. It looks like fun, but alas the actors were shot against a blue screen and the creatures were “comped” in later.

J.K. Rowling, Michael Goldenberg & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) (5)

Luna’s kindness is touching, and here she is consoling Harry after the death of his godfather..

J.K. Rowling, Michael Goldenberg & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) (6)

This leads to a nice denouement when Luna finally locates her shoes, as seen in this shot.

J.K. Rowling, Michael Goldenberg & David Yates – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) (7)

Part 2 of this series will focus on costumes using images from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Part 3 will explore the nature of magic using images from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.