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Transfiguring Luna - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Transfiguring Luna
For myf

McGonagall and Luna. Sounds like a guaranteed, head-exploding encounter. :)




Generally, Minerva rather liked her Ravenclaw students.

It was a myth that all Ravenclaws were brilliant--there wasn't a one that could compete with Hermione, and quite a few had perfectly average intelligence. But it was a House Sorted by its very interest in books, and she rarely had to find ways to coax Ravenclaws into studying something that didn't seem immediately useful, and they were devoted to doing as well as they possibly could. It was difficult to distract a Ravenclaw with an academic project.

Which was only unfortunate when that project had little or nothing to do with what the class was meant to be studying.

"Miss Lovegood!"

Luna Lovegood looked up vaguely from her seat in the very back of the classroom, and two of the other first year girls tittered at her from the front. Minerva gave them a sharp look and they quieted. "Yes?"

"Would you care to join us for Transfiguration?"

Luna looked down at the scroll she'd been writing on and frowned. "I am doing Transfiguration," she said. "My father is writing an article the Oldivonji wizards, who can transfigure time and change history. I couldn't find them in this book"--she pointed disdainfully at her textbook--"but I did find something here." She held up a garishly colored popular book, whose cover showed three badly drawn wizards smiling confidently and aiming their wands at a clock.

Don't insult her father, Minerva reminded herself. Even if he is peddling patently stupid notions and convincing this child that they are facts.

She bit her tongue until the acid response departed, then said, "We are not studing the Oldivonji wizards or the Transfiguration of time in this class, Miss Lovegood. We are transfiguring matchsticks into needles."

"Oh, I already did that," Luna said vaguely, waving something in the air."

Minerva went back to her desk. Much to her distaste--it didn't make for a good teaching moment--Luna had Transfigured it quite adequately into a workable sewing needle. It still had slightly square edges, but her more attentive students hadn't managed to put eyes in their needles yet.

James Potter and Sirius Black had accomplished it on their first day despite their lack of attention as well, but theirs had been an exuberant presence that had inspired the rest of the class to try harder. Luna Lovegood had forgotten to mention that she'd succeeded and immediately engaged herself in the pointless study of complete impossibilities. The rest of the class disliked her and didn't care to repeat her accomplishment.

Still--it wasn't Luna's job as student to inspire her classmates, and she had done quite a good job. Minerva took the needle. "Excellent work. Has anyone else been able to get such a good needle?"

The others hastily looked away from Luna and started working on their matchsticks again.

Minerva sat down across from Luna, who was already fingering the corner of her Oldivonji book and looking at it longingly. Minerva took it away gently and dropped it into her bag. "You did well, Miss Lovegood," she said.

Luna looked at her bag. "Is there more to the lesson?"

"Of turning a matchstick into a needle? No. But I'd like to discuss your reading with you."

"What about it?"

"Most respectable scholars... er... don't think much of the Oldivonji society."

"Enemies," Luna said sincerely, shaking her head sadly. "People never like ideas that they didn't think of first."

"Miss Lovegood, Transfiguration applies to objects in the present moment. Time is not an object. It has been studied in some depth by responsible scholars of magic, and the Oldivonji claims have been examined. Whatever they are doing, they are not 'tranfiguring' history."

"Someday, they'll transfigure history so that the tests will come out right, and people who aren't trying to discredit them will be in the Ministry."

"Miss Lovegood--"

"Really, they've done it quite a lot. Everything we think we know is just what they've transfigured history to be."

"Then they've shown astoundingly poor judgment," Minerva said.

"What do you mean?"

"What do I mean? After twelve years of war--"

"Well, they haven't got round to changing that, yet. When they do, we won't even remember it."

"And how will they prove they've done this?"

Luna looked at her blankly, quite literally not comprehending what she was asking.

"I think they can do it," she said. "And I want to learn to do it as well. But I'll need to find out the properties of history, the same way we found out the properties of the matchstick."

"History is not a matchstick, Miss Lovegood. It's simply a concept. You can't Transfigure a concept or an idea, which would be rather like Transfiguring the air. Or even less than the air, and air has some physical substance. Do you understand the difference?"

"Can you Transfigure air?" Luna asked, looking interested for the first time. "The bits of it that are gases and so on, I mean. Could I make the room full little lights?"

"Yes--someday; it's advanced--but it would incur the minor problem of leaving us unable to breathe. And where would you stop the spell?"

"Oh. What about the dust motes? Could they be transfigured?"

"Yes."

"And the sunlight in the windows?"

"No."

"But light has weight. I read that. So it must have substance."

"What are you reading, Miss Lovegood?"

"Muggle science," she said vaguely. "Physics. Mostly rubbish, once you have magic, but they did notice that light has weight, so perhaps it could be Transfigured."

"Well... I would have to study the properties of light before I could answer you," Minerva said, feeling a bit out of sorts at not having a ready answer for this absurdity. "But I imagine that if light could be Transfigured, someone would have done it by now."

"Aha!" Luna said. "But you might not believe them if they said they did, just like with the Oldivonji wizards!"

"They've been revealed as frauds," Minerva snapped, not bothering to coddle anymore. "Their leader was arrested for trying to steal a time turner. If they have manipulated time, I assure you, it was not through Transfiguration, and there are reasons that the methods they have tried are illegal."

Luna looked down at her scroll and muttered something about Ministry conspiracies.

Minerva considered taking it up with her, but two of her classmates had managed to set their matchsticks on fire, and by the time she'd dealt with that, class was over, and Luna Lovegood was wandering out, her vague, dreamy eyes seeming not to notice when she left the room.
9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
mafdet From: mafdet Date: July 25th, 2004 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm both a Luna fan and a McGonagall fan, even though they're like oil and water. They are both so brilliant yet neither one understands the other...

The Skeptic meets the Believer. I am sure Luna would love the works of Fritjof Capra ("The Tao of Physics").
myf From: myf Date: July 25th, 2004 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
*applauds loudly* Just wonderful! I'm surprised McGonagall herself didn't spontaneously combust, with a conversation like that.

Ah, Luna. You know, if anyone could come up with a Unified General theory of physics (or whatever it is they're calling the Holy Grail at the moment) it would probably be someone like Luna. I love how her internal logic system is very strict, even though it may not act like everyone else's.

Oh, and I believe I have missed your birthday - I hope it was happy in every way.

A couple of tiny typos which I noticed - a rogue " at the end of the sentence "Oh, I already did that," Luna said vaguely, waving something in the air. and a missing s here: Whatever they are doing, they are not 'tranfiguring' history.

*smiles* Fantastic, thanks. Will this be going on HB so I can pimp it out?
From: leeflower Date: July 25th, 2004 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
fantastic as always.

and happy (belated) birthday.
liebchen127 From: liebchen127 Date: July 26th, 2004 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant!!!!!

Luna is a great character, and you captured her very well!
natgel From: natgel Date: July 26th, 2004 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, two of my favorite characters in one brilliant fic ^_^
Luna kind of reminds me of myself in this one,very often my teachers and I have arguements in class.
kelleypen From: kelleypen Date: July 26th, 2004 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Lunascape

Loved it. I've had a few Luna students, although I'm hardly a McGonagall. They have their minds so set on the reality of their nonsense that all other arguments are subordinant to it. It's really quite infuriating as a teacher, so I was totally understanding McGonagall on this one. In fact, my daughter Amy reasons the same way. I've tried to explain to her that it would be easier if she would change her mind rather than expect the whole world to come around to her way of thinking, but she doesn't get it. Anyway, you portrayed that conflict quite nicely. Kelley
silverhill From: silverhill Date: July 26th, 2004 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Great story, as usual.

I love Luna and McGonagall. Luna always makes me smile. I can just see this scene happening. :)
From: alouette Date: July 26th, 2004 10:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, brilliant. I love both McGonagall and Luna, and you've captured both of them very well! This is exactly the sort of conversation they'd have.

And belated happy birthday!
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: July 27th, 2004 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Physics is not rubbish, Luna Lovegood! *sulks*
9 comments or Leave a comment