Okay, so now we all know that it's going to be Ron and Hermione, and Harry and Ginny (nope, not Harry and Hermione, Jo said no ’ "we do now know that it's Ron and Hermione" 1). However, where does that leave Neville and Luna? They'll just be third wheels now ’ hanging out with their friends who have all coupled up. And as TV and movies show us, when there are two third wheels, they often end up together. But don't worry - I'll try to provide a bit more proof than that. And let's get this out of the way now: When J.K. Rowling debunked a rumor about a Neville and Luna pairing, she specifically said that they would not get together in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
Luna and Neville will hook up in HP&THBP
The Luna/Neville shippers are much less vehement and scary than the Harry/Hermione, Ron/Hermione tribes, so I hope I won't receive too much hate mail for quashing this rumour. I see Neville and Luna as very different kinds of people and while they share a certain isolation within Hogwarts, I don't think that's enough to foster true love - friendship, perhaps, although I think that Neville would always find Luna's wilder flights of fancy alarming.2
And indeed they don't. However, what'll happen to them in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a whole other story! While this quote might appear to be the downfall of a very fun ship, I think it's possible that they will end up together. Jo says that Neville and Luna are very different people ’ so what? Ron and Hermione are two completely different people, yet Jo stuck them together. James and Lily were polar opposites, yet they ended up together. Remember the saying "opposites attract"? I think it applies.
Jo says that the isolation they share isn't enough to foster true love, and I agree. If that was all we had to go on, this would be a very feeble theory indeed. However, by the end of Half-Blood Prince, they share much more than isolation. They have fought in the Ministry together, then in the Hogwarts battle together. They've been through thick and thin. They share much more than isolation now.
They also share the fact that they don't have a mother ’ in a sense. Luna's mother died when Luna was ten years old. Neville's parents are still alive, but they're as good as dead ’ they barely recognize him. I think it would be really sweet if they found solace in each other. They can understand each other much better thanks to this shared characteristic.
Jo also says that Neville would find Luna's flights of fantasy alarming ’ well, most people would. But so what? Jo says he'd only find her wilder flights of fantasy alarming ’ not her regular ones. I'm sure that Ron also finds Hermione alarming at times (more specifically, at times of tests), and Harry finds Ginny alarming when she's mad (Bat-Bogey Hex, anyone?). Most couples are alarmed by each other now and then. Look how Mr. Weasley cowers in front of Mrs. Weasley ’ and what a successful relationship they have. So now that we've seen that this quote isn't reason to lose all hope, let's continue with the rest of the essay!
Before Half-Blood Prince came out, many people thought ’ or hoped ’ that the sextet (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny, and Luna) would somehow end up together. From there, the shippers divided to support every possible combination of the six teens, save for Ron/Ginny. The major debate was of course Harry/Hermione versus Ron/Hermione, despite the "anvil-sized hints" 3 and Neville and Luna were used for convenience for who was left over. Indeed, I myself always pictured Harry with Luna, it seemed like they had a connection after that conversation at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. However, now that it's clearly Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny, that'll leave Neville and Luna. They are both unpopular, and it's common for unpopular people to find each other and connect, as most of the popular people shun them and they can relate to each other. I'm fairly sure that if Neville and Luna do end up liking each other, they at least won't be as stubborn as Ron and Hermione about getting together! So, let's start doing what all great shipping articles do: find excerpts from the books that might be interpreted as a moment for the couple. While we are missing those aforementioned anvil-sized hints, I think we've quite a bit to go on.
"¦ there's only Loony Lovegood in here”"
Neville mumbled something about not wanting to disturb anyone.4
[¦]Neville chuckled. Luna turned her pale eyes upon him instead.
"And I don't know who you are."
"I'm nobody' said Neville hurriedly.5
[¦]Luna Lovegood's popping eyes appeared over the top of her upside-down magazine again, watching what Neville was doing.6
[¦]"Excuse me' said Luna; her voice had suddenly lost its dreamy quality. "My father's the editor." 7
I believe that these four short excerpts speak volumes over whether Neville and Luna are meant to be, and it's likely the best pieces of evidence I'll have. (No, don't close the window yet, I promise this'll be good!) In the first excerpt, Harry and Ginny stumble upon Neville, all alone, looking at Luna, but too scared to go in. This whole scenario screams that something is going on underneath the surface! First, when has Neville ever been alone on the train? Think back. He's always with the Trio, with Hermione, with Dean and Seamus, but never alone. Why is he alone now? I'm sure Dean and Seamus would gladly have sat with him, they did in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. So, it could be concluded that he purposely split from his friends, in order to gaze at Luna. We know that in Potterverse guys are notoriously too cowardly to approach the girls promptly, thus, Neville is also too shy to talk to Luna. Why do you think he "mumbles" something about not wanting to disturb her? Why not just say, "I'd rather not disturb her" or something to that effect? We know Neville is timid and he's too shy to talk to Luna ’ so she might be the girl that he likes!
The next little excerpt once again illustrates Neville's shyness in front of Luna. We've never known Neville to say something of that sort, but it appears Luna really throws him off. "I'm nobody' he says. We know that in the movies or on TV, when they want to show how head-over-heels someone is, the person always forgets his or her name. It's even present elsewhere in the Harry Potter series. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ginny not only never utters her name to introduce herself to Harry, she practically forgets how to talk when Harry's around.8 Sure looks like love to me, if Neville suddenly forgets his name in front of Luna!
The third excerpt shows that Luna is also interested in Neville at least a little. She pauses in reading the Quibbler, something she appears to be quite engrossed in, to look at Neville. The last excerpt once again shows that Luna is interested in Neville. When Hermione insults her (or her father, to be more exact), Luna immediately has to save face in front of Neville, the boy she fancies! She finally loses that dreamy quality, something we've very rarely seen her do, and defends herself. It is true that Luna claims not to know who Neville is. However, this does not rule out the possibility of a crush. Girls, how many of you have seen a guy, and just started crushing on him without even knowing his name? My friends have done it time and time again. Or, Luna could just be saying she doesn't know much about who Neville is, even if she does know his name. So the ship isn't ruled out, and from that one chapter, it's possible that the two could at least be crushing on each other somewhat, though from afar.
Another thing to consider is why Jo had Neville sit with Harry and Luna. Things rarely happen coincidentally in Jo's universe, and when they do, it's often for a reason. So, what was Jo's reason for sticking Neville in the same carriage? We don't really get much Neville/Harry bonding time. Harry could have easily been put in a ridiculous situation for Cho without the Mimbulus mimbletonia. Speaking of which, even if the plant will prove to be significant, it could have been comfortably introduced after Harry's argument with Seamus. If the scene could have gotten along perfectly fine without Neville, why is he there? I believe it's to give us those little tidbits to forewarn us of a Neville/Luna ship. We know Jo rarely brings surprises into the book without tiny hints given beforehand (again, think Ron and Hermione). I believe that the purpose of having Neville in this scene was to show us a bit of the budding relationship between Neville and Luna.
There is yet another example of Luna trying to save face in front of Neville, less than 150 pages later.
"They don't exist, Neville" said Hermione tartly.
"Oh yes they do" said Luna angrily.9
Once again, this anger seems distinctly un-Luna-like. I don't think she is ever again described as saying something angrily. Also, why is her anger sudden? People have disbelieved her and her wild claims, made fun of her, nicked her stuff on many occasions, and yet this never gets a rise of her. Why now? I think the answer is easily explained. For the second time, Hermione has made her look dotty in front of Neville, the boy she likes. If someone kept making you look like a fool in front of your crush, would you be overly happy with them? Nope, didn't think so. And Luna's one of the calmer characters in Potterverse. Interesting how she only gets angry when she's made to look dumb in front of Neville. When Rita Skeeter insults her father's magazine much more directly than Hermione in chapter twenty-five of Order of the Phoenix, she barely reacts.
"I'm guessing your father runs some stupid little village newsletter?" she [Rita] said¦.
"No' said Luna, dipping her onion back into her gillywater, "he's the editor of The Quibbler." Rita snorted...
"Important stories he thinks the public needs to know?" she [Rita] said witheringly. "I could manure my garden with the contents of that rag." 10
Luna calmly sips her drink as Rita insults her father's magazine as best she can. This is a rather big contrast to the rise Hermione got out of her! The only conclusion I can glean from this is that she likes Neville; otherwise it makes no sense for her to get angry at Hermione all of a sudden, while staying perfectly calm when insulted by Rita in Neville's absence.
A bit later on, it's shown that Luna wants to be with Neville. In Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny are arguing over how many thestrals they need. They go from two, to three, to four. That leaves out Neville and Luna. And instead of saying "five' Luna says "there are six of us' which means she clearly wants Neville along. So at the end of Order of the Phoenix, Neville and Luna clearly like each other, yet are very subtle about it. Luna probably doesn't want Neville left out, since she knows what it's like to be an outcast. And, as previously stated, outcasts often find love with each other. Now, let's see how the relationship develops in Half-Blood Prince.
"Neville!" said Harry in relief, turning to see a round-faced boy struggling toward him.
"Hello, Harry' said a girl with long hair and large misty eyes, who was just behind Neville.11
My, now this is a very interesting development! Neville and Luna found each other from the beginning and are spending the train ride with each other! Apparently Neville has gotten over his shyness and actively seeks to be with Luna. Also, this is where Jo starts describing Neville and Luna as a unit, sort of like the Trio: " ˜They're even staring at us!' said Neville, indicating himself and Luna." 12
From what we've seen, when Jo often lumps two people together in her writing (using pronouns such as "they" "we" and "us"), it often leads to a coupling, as in the case of Ron and Hermione. Neville and Luna keep getting lumped together in this chapter: "You don't have to sit with them." 13
So once again, the Hogwarts Express train ride proves to be very indicative of a Neville/Luna romance. What's important to note is that Neville and Luna seem much more at ease with each other in this chapter. Instead of Luna staring at Neville, she displays her knack for "embarrassing honesty' and instead of mumbling nonsensical answers, Neville converses quite normally. Perhaps before it was just a crush on each other, when they didn't know much about one another, but it now appears that their relationship has developed. Now, like Ron and Hermione, it seems they fancy each other, but they're still friends and are quite comfortable around each other. This is an important step towards a relationship ’ if things feel extremely awkward, there's no way it will work out: "Oh, no, I'd love to go with you as friends!" said Luna¦.14
Another very interesting little quote. Note that Luna doesn't look happy or anything when Harry asks her out, yet she's perfectly happy to go with him as friends to Slughorn's party. (Harry only wants Ginny as a real date, and is desperate to become "unavailable" before Romilda Vane seizes her chance to ask Harry, or even worse, spikes his drink with love potion.) Why would she like to go as friends, but not as a date? Because she likes Neville! Now, I won't go into the usual theories in these situations, where Luna goes to make Neville jealous, because that is not at all like Luna. It appears she and Neville have a situation similar to Ron and Hermione's now ’ they both clearly like each other, but are too shy to admit it. So Luna is perfectly willing to go with a friend and have fun at a party, as long as it's not romantic.
So, in conclusion, I believe the Neville/Luna ship started sailing in Order of the Phoenix, when they just had simple crushes on each other. They steadily grew to be friends. In Half-Blood Prince, they were better friends. They began to like each other, but were both too shy to admit it. I believe that this relationship will come to fruition in Deathly Hallows, which is just around the corner! And won't it be sweet when these two outcasts finally find love with each other? So now, I leave you with one last quote.
Harry saw Neville being helped into a seat by Luna.15
Everybody with me: Aaaawwwwwwwww.
1. Anelli and Spartz. "TLC/MN Interview Part Two."
2. Rowling Official Site, "Rumours."
3. Anelli and Spartz. "TLC/MN Interview Part Two."
4. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 185.
5. Ibid., 185’6.
6. Ibid., 187.
7. Ibid., 193.
8. Ibid., Chamber of Secrets, 44.
9. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 345.
10. Ibid., 568.
11. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 136’7.
12. Ibid., 137.
13. Ibid., 138.
14. Ibid., 311.
15. Ibid., 642.
Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. "The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Two." The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005. http://www.leakynews.com/#static:tlcinterviews/jkrhbp2 (accessed 18 April 2007).
J.K. Rowling Official Site. "Rumours: Luna and Neville will hook up in HP&THBP." http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/rumours_view.cfm?id=24 (accessed 25 April 2007).
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
”””. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005.
”””. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.