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Unfortunately, we don't see much of Luna in the books.  She is really only a presence in the
same book she was introduced in, Book 5.  

In Book 6, other than commentating at a Quidditch match, she doesn’t have much page time.  
Though I do think she is a brilliant character!  

So without further ado:
She first appears as a wacky, almost deranged, character we’ve complimentary light.  We see
Neville’s reluctance to sit in the same train car with her, Harry’s mortification at being seen by
Cho in such company as Neville, Luna, and Ginny (implying that they are the school’s
undesirables [though this is really a strike against Harry’s character, but I’ll cut him some slack
chalk it up to being a teenage boy wanting desperately to impress a pretty girl without being
covered in stinksap] Luna in particular).

She is not first introduced in a in a positive way.  She's viewed as crazy and she first appears as
a wacky, almost deranged, character we’ve never seen before.

Upon first sight, Harry sees her as this enigma.  She’s got her wand stashed behind her ear (now
thanks to Moody we all know you need to be careful where you put your wand…if it can blow
a buttock off, it could definitely take out an ear or an eye) and she’s reading a magazine upside
down.   

Also her lack of preamble or polite segues in conversation...
    “Had a good summer, Luna?” Ginny asked.
    “Yes,” said Luna dreamily, without taking her eyes off Harry.  “Yes, it
was quite enjoyable, you know.  You’re Harry Potter.”
Chapter 10, page 185
US Paperback Edition
...and her belief in creatures that are nonexistent make her seem a bit off.

She appears fixated on Ron.  In Chapter 11, on page 189 of the US Paperback Edition, she points
out that he took Padma to the Yule Ball and Padma hated it because Ron wouldn’t dance with
her.  Luna adds that she wouldn’t have minded.  

She laughs almost crazily at his only sort-of-funny joke, so much so that he thinks she’s making
fun of him (page 190).  And she watches him as if he were some “mildly interesting television
program.” (Chapter 11, page 201)

You’re made to think she’s as loony as everyone says she is, but when she can see the thestrals
and no one else can, you know there’s more to her story than meets the eye.  

It’s important to note that as crazy as she may seem at times, she was sorted into Ravenclaw and
that old Hat hasn’t been wrong yet...scary judge of character, that Hat.  

She might seem out there, but we know she’s very intelligent; maybe she’s symbolic for keeping
an open mind or that childlike dispension of disbelief.  As a kid, when you play pirates you
really are a pirate out on the sea, even though your mother is yelling for you to stop jumping on
the couch, in your mind it’s the call of the gulls. It’s innocence and imagination.  

I’m not sure if she symbolizes anything or not, but maybe, just maybe, she’s there to remind the
whole Harry gang to think outside the box (and maybe that kind of thinking is what will help
Harry on his quest to destroy evil).

She also stands by Harry when the while school thinks he’s made up the story about Voldemort
coming back.
Many of his classmates turned curiously to watch.  Luna took a great breath
and then said without so much as a preliminary hello:
    “I believe you fought him and escaped from him.”
Chapter 13, page 261
US Paperback Edition
Hermione insults the Quibbler, saying it’s a nonsensical magazine before Luna admits that her
father owns and operates the magazine.  She stands firm against the formidable and opinionated
Hermione.  Her flighty demeanor leaves her as she states that her father owns the magazine and
snatches it back from Harry.  She is proud and defiant here.

Luna is strong enough in herself to stand against the grain – unusual for a teenager, when most
kids will do anything to just fit in with the crowd.

Harry doesn’t know what to think at first because he’s not sure the school lunatic is a good
person to have on his side. Hermione disagrees with Luna’s perception of things and tells Harry
he doesn’t need the likes of her agreeing with him.  But also, it is clear that since the experience
on the train Hermione has spoken to Ginny about Luna and got a not-so-good review.
    “Ginny’s told me all about her, apparently she’ll only believe in things
as long as there’s no proof at all.”
Chapter 13, page 262
US Paperback Edition
It’s also important to note that where Hermione’s dislike of Fleur was chalked up to jealousy
(which the dislike actually predates Ron’s fascination), her disagreements with Luna are never,
to my knowledge, thought of in the same light.  The girls are just opposites and you almost
wouldn’t expect them to agree on anything.  

Luna is Hermione’s foil.  They are almost exact opposites...in the way the view the world and
approach problems.  However, by the end of Book 5, Luna has proven herself beyond measure
and we see Hermione making a concentrated effort to not argue with her. Hermione even
realizes before the Department of Mysteries that Luna is an asset because of the very thing that
set them off on the wrong foot...
The Quibbler.

We also see that the other kids at school are mean to her:
    - they call her names (“Loony”, Ernie calls her a weirdo),
...Ernie Macmillan had stepped up to him.
    “I want you to know, Potter,” he said in a loud, carrying voice, “that it’
    s not
only weirdos who support you.  I personally believe you one hundred
percent.  My family have always stood firm behind Dumbledore, and so do I."
Chapter 13, page 262
US Paperback Edition
    - they steal and hide her books on the last day.  
    “Well, I’ve lost most of my possessions,” said Luna serenely.  “People
take them and hide them, you know.  But as it’s the last night, I really do
need them back, so I’ve been putting up signs.”
    She gestured toward the notice board, upon which, sure enough, she had
pinned a list of all her missing books and clothes, with a plea for their return.
Chapter 38, page 862
US Paperback Edition
Harry offers to help, but she declines saying it happens all the time and she’ll deal with it
herself as usual.  

In this context, we see her strength and her resilience and that these ways, she’s like Hermione...
more alike than either girl will admit, probably.  But both stick up their chin and get the job
done when the going gets tough.  And whereas it’s nice to have other people’s approval, I don’t
think either girl is the type to let it slow them down if they don’t have it.

She shows true courage by going to the Department of Mysteries to save a man she doesn’t
know with a bunch of kids who kind of all regard her as crazy.  

She goes and fights hard, and winds up carrying Ginny through after she breaks her ankle
(Chapter 35, page 796).  Luna doesn’t stop until she is knocked unconscious, another similarity
to Hermione.  

They get knocked around and bounce right back up again, ready to fight.  They don’t give up,
or wuss out,
they’re only out when they’re forced out.

No one knows how her mother died; I think the assumption, or at least the movie account, is an
experiment gone bad. It would seem that Luna was there to see her mother die.  

I only mention it because her adoption and zealousness in this cause surpasses Dean, Seamus,
Lavender, Parvati and everyone else in the DA, it rivals Neville...but we know why he’s so
adamant about learning how to defend himself and fighting back...his parents were stolen from
him in the same way Harry’s were, and for the same stupid reason.
It’s mentioned at the end of Book
6, that Luna and Neville are the
only ones who respond when the
coins are activated.

Instead of that being a great
thing, they speculate why that
is...
It's implied that it's because they are the only ones without lives/friends and that's why they
need the DA.

But I like to think that it shows their loyalty, their friendship and their awareness of the events
taking place around them.  All three of those things are forgotten, disregarded or completely
ignored by our infallible “Golden Trio!”

It’s curious too, that even after the Patil twins’ younger brother gets attacked in book 6, they aren’
t more involved in fighting for the cause.  They don’t seek Harry out to review last years DA
lessons and they aren’t there at the end when the coins are activated.  But Luna was there.

Book 6 was like the last ditch attempt for these kids to act like kids...and we all saw how
successful they were at trying to be something they’re not. Unfortunately, they haven’t been
children for some time now.  Hopefully, they’ve gotten total idiocy out of their systems and can
get back to being who they really are.

Funny too that at the end of Book 6, Luna and Hermione are both sent to guard the dungeons.  
The two smartest witches are relegated to the basement to run interference.  I’d like to know
whose ingenious idea it was to get rid of the two smart kids.  plan is that...it’s like sacrificing
your Queen three moves into the chess game!

There’s obviously a link between them here.  I’m not smart enough right now to think what it is
exactly...maybe they knew Hermione and Ginny wouldn’t work well together (at that point, they’
d already had words twice...mean ones).  

Maybe Ron was trying to protect them...a valid reason, but then why would he let his baby
sister be upstairs in the hall...

I’ve always gotten the impression Ron was more afraid of Hermione then his sister, so if she
pitched a fit there’s no way anyone of them would have been able to stop her from being in the
corridor.  Which would have to mean either there was a point to it, or Hermione went willingly
and why would she do that?

Or maybe it was just a way of showing that no one was thinking clearly with their brains in the
dungeons.
Luna is a strong, independent free-spirit unafraid to swim against the current.  She is very well
aware of her surroundings, of the people (stealing her books) and events (the war) despite her
apparent “dottiness.”

She is smart, capable, dedicated and loyal (proven in that she goes to the Department of
Mysteries with them to save a man she’s never met and then still shows up at the end of Book 6
to help).  

She did it not for the attention (she is made uncomfortable by it on the train at the beginning of
Book 6), she did it because it was the right thing to do.

So we see that Luna is indeed highly intelligent, trustworthy, honorable, courageous, and loyal.  
We get to see a bit of vulnerability in her as well.  

Just because she is different, the other kids abuse her mercilessly.  They don’t take the time to
get to know her...ask why she wears butterbeer corks around her neck.  They judge based on
appearances.  That she can see thestrals is a rare gift/burden and we get a bit of insight to her
obviously deeper story.  

In Book 5, we have just scratched the tip of the iceberg that is Luna Lovegood and,
unfortunately for us, she was all but dropped from Book 6.  And we can only wonder why...