In search of Nargles

“I enjoyed the meetings, too. It was like having friends.”-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

When I read, I like to step into the character’s place, trying to understand motivations and feelings and actions, but I rarely feel that I am personally like a character. Mostly, readers want to say that they are an Elizabeth Bennet or born to be a righteous hero like Harry Potter or some glittering character who makes clever remarks while being admired and fawned over by all those around them. None of us want to see ourselves in simpering Mr. Collins or anyone similarly ridiculous, though there might be a bit of that within us. It is common to want to be a popular character, one who has many friends and gives off a sense of being so gosh-darn normal.

I identify with Luna Lovegood.

Luna is a character that we do not see often in books. She does not have many (or any) friends, she believes in strange conspiracy theories, and she is also not afraid to be herself. Often lost in thought, I think Luna would identify as INFP, the dreamer, caught up in her own world while her classmates swirl around her through reality. She is alone, a loner, an outsider because of her nonconformist views.

Remember, though, that Luna is a Ravenclaw, so behind the Rotfang Conspiracy or her belief in Nargles lies a quiet intelligence. This is not a heroine who dazzles through quick wit or beauty. Luna is often earnest and thoughtful. She appreciates when others listen to her and listens in turn. She fits into Dumbledore’s Army in the way that Neville does, as characters who do not quite fit in yet will prove their worth eventually.

She is also a bit of a running joke. Whenever the book needs comic relief, Luna is there with her radish earrings. When she is first introduced, she is reading a magazine upside down and is described as having “an aura of distinct dottiness.” Her classmates call her Loony Lovegood. She is a true outsider, without friends, without anyone close to her besides her father. So greatly does she appreciate the small attention from Harry and his friends that she paints a mural of them on her bedroom ceiling. She is grateful for friends, but I do not see Luna as the type to mind being alone. Her rich inner world would make up for the deficit in acquaintances.

Though used for humor, Luna Lovegood also seems realistic. There are many teenage girls who do not fit into common perceptions of what it is to be a teenage girl, who do not seek attention or celebrity, who do not worship the latest pop group or wear make-up or worry about their hair, who do not fit in and are therefore ridiculed. Instead, they are constantly in search of Nargles, the elusive dream which no one else seems to understand.

Luna is interesting because she is different and relatable to those of us who do not often see ourselves in literary characters. Dream on, Luna. I hope you find a Crumple-Horned Snorkack.

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