Sunday, August 31, 2003

How Luna Represents Faith

"So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
(Corinthians 13:13)

It is interesting that Luna Lovegood's character is introduced in Harry Potter V, a book based on truth and knowledge. It is interesting because I believe that Luna represent faith, especially faith in dark times.

This would explain why Luna was given her strange name. Luna means moon, a fitting name for faith. The moon shines in the night sky, keeping some perspective in the dark. Luna shines a light of truth on the darkness. I will go more firmly into how Luna does this later in this article. Luna's last name is another corny name made to make us think. I believe we should break up the name into its two obvious parts: love and good. If Luna does represent faith, it is fitting that love and good are part of her name. Faith comes from love just as love grows in faith. Faith is also good, though often unrecognized.

Now I am going to examine Luna in more detail, based on the actions from book 5.

"The girl beside the window looked up. She had straggley, waist-length, dirty-blond hair, very pale eyebrows, and protuberant eyes that gave her a permanently surprised look. Harry knew at once why Neville had chosen to pass this compartment by. The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down."
Book Five, pg. 185

When we first meet Luna, we are not sure what to think about her. She is a strange girl that reads tabloids upside down, wears wands in her ear, and seems to believe a great deal of ridiculous things. In fact, one of my first inclinations was to think: Don't believe a word this girl says. Why? She looks strange and acts crazy. Yet, something tells us that this girl must know something more than we think. After all, why is she in Ravenclaw?

Luna starts to show Harry that there is something more to her when she claims to see the animals pulling the school carriages. Athough Harry can only see them for the first time, Luna says that she has been able to see them ever since she first came to the school. Is Luna lying, making up stories, or is their truth to her tale? The truth is confirmed when Hagrid shows the students the thestrals and explains why only some people can see them.

Why is this representative of faith? Just as many people who have faith seem to believe crazy things, so does Luna. In fact, much of the world shakes off the beliefs of people with faith. "A man can't walk on water." is similar to "Voldemort is not back, and I will never believe otherwise." Luna understands that there is something beyond herself and the known world. She may believe some crazy things, but the fact is that at least some of what she believes is true. People don't understand her, they mock her, and they insult her. Why? Because she is different and she believes different.

Luna proves herself as faith throughout the book. She is always willing to help Harry, even when what he wants to do doesn't make much sense, isn't fully explained to her, and might put her in danger. She simply has faith that Harry knows what he is doing and needs her help. Even when Harry tries to shake her off, she insists on coming and helping him out with the journey. For many people with faith this is a familiar story. We may not want to believe something, yet that belief manages to stay with us. We may not understand something that we put our full faith in. Sometimes we put ourselves in danger only because our faith tells us that we must. Notice how Luna is one of the first to publicly announce to the school that she believes Harry's story. Others don't listen to her simply because of her strange appearance, but the fact is that she has enough faith to step forward and say I believe you and I don't care what people think. It is her standing up that leads people like Ernie to also stand up and say, hey I believe this is true. It first took faith leading the way.

Faith is a tool that keeps the darkness at bay. It is a silent truth. Yes, some of what Luna believes in may not be true, but a large part of it has now been proven to be. Her announcements of these truths help shed light on the blindness of the world. It is because of Luna that Rita was able to publish the article telling Harry's story. It is because of the article that some people came to see what was true instead of what they wanted to believe. This is true with faith. Often we have to put our faith in something we wish wasn't true, knowing that to deny it would only cause more harm.

At the end of book 5, Luna sheds the greatest light on Harry's darkness.

"Yes, it was rather horrible," said Luna conversationally. "I still feel very sad about it sometimes. But I've still got Dad. And anyways, it's not as though I'll never see Mum again, is it?"
"Er - isn't it?" said Harry uncertainly.
She shook her head in disbelief. "Oh, come on. You heard them, just behind the veil, didn't you?"
"You mean . . ."
"In that room with the archway. They were just lurking out of sight, that's all. You heard them."
They looked at each other. Luna was smiling slightly. Harry did not know what to say, or to think. Luna believed so many extaordinary things . . . yet he had been sure he had heard voices behind the veil to . . .
. . .
She walked away from him, and as he watched her go, he found that the terrible weight in his stomach seemed to have lessened slightly.
Book Five, pgs. 863-864

For years, Harry has lived under the impression that he would never see his parents again. Even Dumbledore never told him anything beyond the fact that his parents live inside him (Why Dumbledore never mentioned Beyond the Veil is anyone's guess). Yet, Luna is the only one out of the five books that returns this hope to Harry. In a way, his parents are alive and so is Sirius. They are simply beyond the veil. (Even if what we saw is a death chamber for executions, I still believe it is a door to the afterlife. That's why Harry could hear the voices and that's why Luna said he would see them again.) Dumbledore told Harry once that "death is but the next great adventure", Luna's story sheds more light on this. The next great adventure is beyond the veil where all the loved ones will be united. Harry will see his mom and dad, and Harry will see Sirius. Luna has gone beyond telling Harry about faith to giving him a small piece of it. From this, Harry's load is lightened.

There it is. Luna is faith, a great moon giving light in the darkness. I think I understand now why my intuition suggests that she could die. By the end of the books, Harry will have gained lots of faith. As with many people who gain faith, the outside appearance of it becomes less and less important. I think Luna will move on to Beyond the Veil, leaving Harry with his own well grounded faith. Harry will know that Luna has gone there, and maybe even ask her to say hello to Sirius and his parents for him. I could be wrong, but it does make sense. I've noticed that in these books the three main themes appear to be: faith, hope, and love with love being the greatest theme. Faith is strongly found in Luna. Love is found in the story of Harry's mother. Harry represents hope. Perhaps that is why I love these books so much!

Update: I don't think Luna has that strong a chance for dying. It is something I waiver back and forth on though. I still think she represents faith.