Swythyv: Luna Lovegood Looks at Ariana’s Death

I had a wonderful time catching up with old friends at MISTI Con in Laconia, New Hampshire this Spring. Keith Hawk from MuggleNet Academia was there, Janet Batchler flew in from LA to pull back the curtain on the making of the Potter movies in her keynote talk, and the whole Group that Shall Not Be Named was on hand, which made the conversational atmosphere fast, fun, and fabulously fascinating. Did I mention the CosPlay heroics and statuary among the art exhibits? For a ‘low key’ fan gathering with participants numbering in the hundreds rather than the thousands, MISTI Con was a meeting exceeding all of my expectations.

My favorite moment, though, has to have been sitting at a table in the Big Tent all by my lonesome an hour or so before the book signing event. I’d arrived early to set everything up and to read for a while in anticipation of whatever came next (and there was always a big ‘something next’). And in wheeled the woman known to her admirers as ‘the Luna Lovegood of Potter Pundits,’ Swythyv.

If you’ve read her LiveJournal posts or the chapter she contributed to Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?, you know Swythyv reads a text at a different angle than the normal reader and at a greater depth than even serious readers. I want to share what we talked about — really, what I sat spell bound listening to for what must have been ninety minutes bit seemed like an extended moment of diving into clear, blue water and discovering another world of sensation and sights — but I cannot, except to say she shared the magical back story of the Hogwarts Saga that ties together a host of loose ends from Albania to Albion and Albus Dumbledore.

God willing, she’ll soon be sharing at her LiveJournal that epic historical bracketing of the Harry Potter epic that is implicit to the tale but never discussed explicitly. I’ll provide the link when she does. Until then, though, I have Swythyv’s permission to share a link something she wrote last year about the death of Ariana, a post that, at first, as with much of what she writes, flabbergasts me, then makes me see things as possible that I never would have considered, and finally leaves me wondering if she hasn’t seen things much more clearly than everyone else.

Ariana’s Death. Read it and let me know what you think. Fan fiction? I have to think the lazy reader will dismiss it as such. I see it as entering into a text at such a level that, as in a Pensieve, the neglected aspects of a memory or scene include dimensions and perceptions not available to the original narrative. Swythyv is a Potter Pundit of the first order and meeting her at last was a life event for me. I hope soon to share her Dodona musings which are an order of magnitude more challenging than this short piece. Enjoy!


  1. phoenixsong58 says

    I read the essay on Ariana’s death. It sounds brilliant, and possible, to me. It doesn’t seem like a stretch if one looks carefully at every word, as Swythyv has. I have no idea if it’s what JKR intended, and we will probably never know. JKR seems to purposely stay out of the more academic discussion of the books, which makes me suspect that she thinks it will take time, a lot of time, for all of the secret meanings and possibilities in the Harry Potter series to be discovered and questioned. And we know she is brilliant!
    Is Who Killed Albus Dumbledore your new book?

  2. phoenixsong58 says

    Oops! I just looked it up and saw that it came out after book six. 🙂

  3. Only slightly plausible for me. I always imagined Ariana to be quite delicate and unstable having never recovered from the Muggles’ attack on her. It is never mentioned what that attack exactly entailed, but her reaction, and indeed her father’s reaction, made it seem likely that it was more than being smacked around. I assumed it meant some form of sexual violence if not outright gang rape. With that view, I find it difficult to see her interested in the opposite sex in any way. I think she would be terrified of strangers and all attentions would be unwanted. I can see Gellert fancying her though and he seems like the sort who later on might push himself on her. The terrible thing that came out that day was in Gellert and not in Albus himself. I think DD saw quite suddenly and all at once that he was ruthless and self-serving and not at all focused on the greater good.

  4. phoenixsong58 says

    Hi, Nana, Yes, that a really good point. I do think from the wording in the book that Ariana was sexually assaulted in some way and extremely traumatized by it. Her father, enraged and grieving, went after the Muggle perpetrators, but was unwilling to tell the authorities what they had done, in fear of bringing shame upon his daughter. So he took the punishment to protect her.
    It did cross my mind when reading Swythyv’s interpretation that Ariana might not be attracted to a man because of her history. But, yet, I do know many survivors of sexual abuse and even rape who are still sexually attracted to others in spite of their pain. They find ways to compartmentalize the experience or work around their issues. Possibly Ariana trusted someone whom her older brother clearly was close to and admired. Anyway, it’s interesting to see the continued possibilities in the text, whether we agree or not. It sounds like you have a good read of the characters as well.

  5. It’s a work of love, PhoenixSong.

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