I am a pretty huge fan of “Harry Potter.” I pretty much cry whenever I watch any of the movies and I’ve reread the books several times. On any given Friday night, I could happily discuss the ins and outs of potion making, wizard history, or even the economics of the wizarding world. I go hard. The one thing I hear consistently are complaints about Ginny Weasley. I am here to break down your door and tell you why you’re wrong about Ginny Weasley.
Ginny Weasley: The Good
I think one of the reasons people don’t really grasp the awesomeness of Ginevra Molly Weasley is because they may have only seen the movies. The movies do a great job at watering down her characterization.
For starters, Ginny is the youngest of her siblings and the only girl. It’s no surprise she had to develop a strong voice early on in her life. She has a drive to prove herself. She lets her brothers know she’s not to be pushed around. She is often grouped with Fred and George, the twin troublemakers. This isn’t shown well in the movies, but she is often with them and they share inside jokes. She is witty and dryly sarcastic on a regular basis. She played and practiced quidditch with her brothers as she was growing up — so much so, that when she tried out for the Gryffindor team, she stood out on her own. (Slughorn complimented her skill and talent in the sport, so this isn’t arguable.)
When her brother Ron tries to be nosy about her love life, she stops him in his tracks. She knows it isn’t his business and she won’t let him intrude. Bravo, Ginny! Speaking of her love life, she is shown as a female character that dates around whilst in school. Despite her brothers’ protests she isn’t shamed about it or secretive.
Ginny was sort of a plot device in “Chamber of Secrets” but she later became a more serious character. When Harry was then used in a similar fashion by Voldemort, Ginny calls him out by reminding him she went through the same thing. She was possessed by a part of Voldemort’s soul when she was just 11. She tried her best to cope with the horcrux at that young age, alone, and before anyone really knew what a “horcrux” was — something the trio struggled with at age 17.
She’s shown as being friends — or at least friendly — with several other female characters in the book, something the world desperately needs more of (female friendships for the win!). She’s also one of Hermione’s only friends outside of the trio, and she introduced Luna to Harry and Neville.
Through the ordeals in the “Chamber of Secrets” and having six older brothers, Ginny grew into a well-rounded, confident, and strong character. She is lively, energetic, and enthusiastic about life, despite the hardships in the world she lived. (Also, she has a super cute pygmy puff named Arnold!)
Ginny Weasley: The Bad
I think it’s important to recognize that all well-written characters have both good and bad sides, so it’d be unfair for me to just tell you about the above and exclude her vulnerabilities.
As a part of her terrifying experience with Tom Riddle’s diary and in part because she’s the youngest in the family, Ginny has a hard time expressing her emotions well. She’s used to being independent, probably because being consistently teased by older brothers would do that to anyone. She doesn’t like to accept help from anyone (which is why it’s good that she does well with stunning spells).
She was fiercely protective of her brothers to the point of being very hateful towards another woman. She came to realize Fleur was a good person and warmed up to her but it doesn’t change Ginny’s problematic behavior to begin with.
She is a bit ruthless and has that Gryffindor quality of stupidly provoking danger without much thought. She often jumped on the chance at putting her life at risk with little to no pushing from outward sources (arguably, she was doing it so she could save others). Ginny proved to be rebellious while she remained at Hogwarts in “Deathly Hallows,” and, in doing so, could have created more issues for her family — but she still stood up for what was right.
She exhibited nervousness around Harry, blushing instantly and scurrying off to her room when in his presence. Yet despite being infatuated with Harry in the first few books, Ginny eventually came to see him as a real person instead of a hero or a god. Her infatuation waned for a few years, giving her time to date around and grow as a person, which ultimately ended up being a good thing.
Ginny Weasley: The Ugly
Some of the most problematic stuff I see when people argue about Ginny is how they think she’s the same as Lily Potter — so, they argue, Harry essentially married his mother. This is pretty ridiculous to begin with, as Ginny has ginger hair and bright brown eyes whereas Lily has auburn hair (yes, there’s a difference) and jade green eyes. Not to mention, Lily died when Harry was one, so Harry barely knew his mother; he really couldn’t have an underlying though that Ginny resembled his mother.
It was shown Lily spoke up to and around her friends, she was good at Charms, and was known as kind and good-natured. I would be hard pressed to say this didn’t also sound like Hermione Granger (among a few other main female characters). Lily really isn’t shown enough to make a good comparison between them, though; we know more about Ginny than we do about Lily. Lily didn’t play quidditch, didn’t get on with her siblings, didn’t date around, didn’t go looking for danger… all the things we know first-hand that Ginny does.
I also want to impress on the fact that, as a couple, Ginny and Harry make sense; they have similar personalities and Ginny isn’t afraid to be blunt with him and keep him grounded. Harry is an extremely supportive person (which we know since he never choose a side between his two best friends despite the number of times they were on the outs) and would support her in any endeavor. We know he was in the stands cheering Ginny on in any given quidditch game she played in.
All in all, everyone should realize Ginny Weasley is a well-rounded, well-written character and isn’t just the plot device she started out as. Go Holyhead Harpies!
The backstory with Ginny was, she was the first girl to arrive in the Weasley family in generations, but there’s that old tradition of the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and a seventh son of a seventh son, so that’s why she’s the seventh, because she is a gifted witch. I think you get hints of that, because she does some pretty impressive stuff here and there, and you’ll see that again. — JK Rowling
Photo credit Warner Bros.