An eccentric wedding guest

Harry and Ron meet Xenophilius Lovegood at Bill and Fleur's wedding

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

While Mr Weasley repaired the damage and Hagrid shouted apologies to anybody who would listen, Harry hurried back to the entrance to find Ron face to face with a most eccentric-looking wizard. Slightly cross-eyed, with shoulder-length white hair the texture of candyfloss, he wore a cap whose tassel dangled in front of his nose and robes of an eye-watering shade of egg-yolk yellow. An odd symbol, rather like a triangular eye, glistened from a golden chain around his neck.

‘Xenophilius Lovegood,’ he said, extending a hand to Harry, ‘my daughter and I live just over the hill, so kind of the good Weasleys to invite us. But I think you know my Luna?’ he added to Ron.

‘Yes,’ said Ron. ‘Isn’t she with you?’

‘She lingered in that charming little garden to say hello to the gnomes, such a glorious infestation! How few wizards realise just how much we can learn from the wise little gnomes – or, to give them their correct name, the Gernumbli gardensi.’

‘Ours do know a lot of excellent swear words,’ said Ron, ‘but I think Fred and George taught them those.’

He led a party of warlocks into the marquee as Luna rushed up. ‘Hello, Harry!’ she said.

‘Er – my name’s Barny,’ said Harry, flummoxed.

‘Oh, have you changed that too?’ she asked brightly.

‘How did you know –?’

‘Oh, just your expression,’ she said.

Like her father, Luna was wearing bright yellow robes, which she had accessorised with a large sunflower in her hair. Once you got over the brightness of it all, the general effect was quite pleasant. At least there were no radishes dangling from her ears.

Xenophilius, who was deep in conversation with an acquaint- ance, had missed the exchange between Luna and Harry. Bidding the wizard farewell, he turned to his daughter, who held up her finger and said, ‘Daddy, look – one of the gnomes actually bit me!’

‘How wonderful! Gnome saliva is enormously beneficial!’ said Mr Lovegood, seizing Luna’s outstretched finger and examining the bleeding puncture marks. ‘Luna, my love, if you should feel any burgeoning talent today – perhaps an unexpected urge to sing opera or to declaim in Mermish – do not repress it! You may have been gifted by the Gernumblies!’

Ron, passing them in the opposite direction, let out a loud snort.

‘Ron can laugh,’ said Luna serenely, as Harry led her and Xenophilius towards their seats, ‘but my father has done a lot of research on Gernumbli magic.’

‘Really?’ said Harry, who had long since decided not to challenge Luna or her father’s peculiar views. ‘Are you sure you don’t want to put anything on that bite, though?’

‘Oh, it’s fine,’ said Luna, sucking her finger in a dreamy fashion and looking Harry up and down. ‘You look smart. I told Daddy most people would probably wear dress robes, but he believes you ought to wear sun colours to a wedding, for luck, you know.’

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling