Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ginny Weasley: Or, The Girl Who Never Gets Enough Credit [Contributors: Lizzie and Megan]

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To end up with the titular hero in basically any book, TV show, or movie is to be a divisive character. People will either love you or hate you, and there’s usually no middle ground. Unless, of course, you’re Ginny Weasley.

Now, don’t get us wrong: Ginny gets a lot of hate, and her fair share of love, too. But what she mostly gets is... well, overlooked. Forgotten. For most people — especially those who’ve seen the Harry Potter movies without reading the books — Ginny is just the mother of Harry’s children.

She’s not a character in her own right. She’s not the sassy girl who had a crush on the hero, got over it, went through her own journey, actually managed to fall in love with him, and fought her own battles without ever needing Harry to rescue her. But to us Ginny Weasley fans — and book readers — that’s exactly who she is.

And today, we’re here to defend her. We’re here to remind you of who she really is. And we’re here to give her the credit she deserves.

Let’s talk book!Ginny vs. movie!Ginny. What’s the difference between one and the other? Did you like both versions? What, if anything, failed in the adaptation?

Megan: Oh, there’s totally a difference. Sure, in the movies she’s a strong character, but a lot of the time, she’s dumbed down. She’s such a presence in the books, and a strong one at that, that it feels like she loses some of her luster in the films. Don’t get me wrong, she’s played beautifully by Bonnie Wright, but they almost did her a disservice when it came to all of the really great lines and pep talks that Ginny was given in the books. She had just so much more say in the books and it made a lot more sense that Harry would eventually fall for her. That was lost in adaptation somehow and it makes me so sad. I do like both versions, but the movie version needed to be more of book version.

Lizzie: They’re not even the same person. Movie!Ginny looks like Ginny, but doesn’t talk like Ginny and just isn’t afforded enough screen time to be Ginny, you know? In the movies she’s Harry’s love interest, while in the books she’s a defined character who makes decisions for her own reasons, and who loves Harry, but isn’t actually defined by her love for Harry.

Plus, the movie cut out her best lines and her best scenes! What was that awkward first kiss? Harry and Ginny’s first kiss was epic! And the worst part is that, visually, Bonnie Wright looks very much like my idea of Ginny, so it’s not on her that the movies just couldn’t recreate the magic, and it’s certainly not on J.K. Rowling, who made it work in the books. The adaptation was just too concerned with doing just one female character right. And that character, of course, was Hermione. Everyone else was kind of just pushed aside.

Megan: Oh my God, YES. I agree! Ginny was not afforded the right amount of screentime to be the character she was written as in the books. There were so many more scenes that either involved her in general or more heavily involved her. I thought it was weird that of all the people they would cut the screentime of, it was Ginny. She was always right there — Ron’s sister, Hermione’s best friend, Harry’s love interest. That alone should guarantee more screen time!

She is ABSOLUTELY not defined by her relationship to Harry. But the creators of the films made it that way. Specifically with the scene where she’s saying, "Hey, I was also possessed by Voldemort, remember? I’m here to help." The whole thing was nixed! So, yes. I understand your point. They wanted to do Hermione justice (which is also important, and we can’t deny that), but they could have done the same for Ginny.

Lizzie: It’s basically like they can’t write more than ONE female character right at the same time or their heads will combust or something. It's like they said: "WE ALREADY DID HERMIONE, WHY ARE YOU ASKING US TO DO GINNY AS WELL?"

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Now, let’s go into Harry Potter and the Cursed Child universe Ginny. Did you enjoy this version of her? Do you think it added anything to the character, or would you just rather forget she exists?

Megan: Absolutely NOT. I cannot even begin to describe just how angry I felt reading that play. Not only did it essentially go against the entire mythology (Really? Voldemort, who didn’t believe in personal connection and at that time believed himself to be immortal, wanted to bang Bellatrix and have an heir? No, he was too arrogant to necessitate an heir. Please.), but it made these robust characters just so one-dimensional. They turned Ron into a caricature and Ginny into this one-dimensional ditz who was just there to facilitate Harry’s decisions. “Yes, Harry. No, Harry. Do whatever you want, Harry.” It completely destroyed what made Ginny such a great, powerful, well-rounded character. Play Ginny would NEVER be friends with Luna Lovegood when everyone else was being mean to her. She wouldn’t be bothered. It irritates me that they can take someone so developed character-wise and then just turn her into a piece of paper just meant to move Harry along.

Lizzie: You know what bugs me more? That right now I feel like I would have been better off NOT reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’d like to erase it from my brain. Just, forget it exists. I’m cursed with a good memory though, so what I’ve taken to doing is treating it like a bad fanfiction that I once read, one where the characters were out-of-character and you somehow just continued reading because there was an interesting possibility there.

And it wasn’t just Ginny, though she was a travesty. The problems with her movie persona were somehow amplified in the play. She was just there to say yes to Harry, and that has never been Ginny. If it had been, Harry wouldn’t have fallen in love with her in the first place! Harry didn’t just need a pretty girl by his side or a Weasley — he needed a partner. He found that in Ginny. It’s sad that both the movie and the play failed to show us this.

Megan: If I could erase it from my brain, I honestly would. It went against the entire mythology and it’s like, bro, you had the Internet at your fingertips and it could inform you so much in absolutely no time at all and the guy just went entirely against everything. It was ridiculous. I wish I could scrub that away.

Ron was an absolute JOKE, Harry was somehow the entire opposite of what we found endearing or redeeming (the whole martyrdom thing really irked me throughout the series) and, Ginny was a piece of paper. The only person who even really worked was Hermione and that’s me simply stretching it and looking for a redeeming quality in that play. And I agree: Ginny was so much more than a piece of paper and they turned her into one and it was horrible.

Lizzie: In conclusion, Potter fans, avoid the play. Pretend it doesn’t exist. The End.

What’s your favorite thing about Ginny Weasley? Why do you think she’s a good character? What’s your response to people who say she should be more like Hermione?

Megan: I absolutely don’t think she should be anything like Hermione. We love Hermione because she’s smart and loyal and willing to do anything to make things right. She stands by Harry no matter what, even when the idea is stupid and she knows it’s risky. She values cleverness over everything. That’s not why we love Ginny. We love Ginny because she’s brave, fearless, and just doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her. She’ll date who she wants to (and stop dating them when she wants to), be friends with whom she wants to, play Quidditch and always defend what’s right even if there are major risks involved (see: the DA in the time of the Carrows). I think she’s just as much of a role model as Hermione or Luna is to girl readers because she really is fearless. She goes for what (and who) she wants and isn’t defined by anything she doesn’t want to be part of her identity. “Living with Fred and George, you find that anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

Lizzie: It bothers me that people feel like there’s only one way to write a good female character. No! We have male characters we love and admire that are vastly different, so why do the female characters have to follow one set of rules to be “good”? That is some James Cameron level silliness. Hermione is a great character and she was a great role model, and, in a way, life-changing. But that doesn’t mean Ginny can’t be those things in a different way. We've gotta stop comparing female characters and saying there’s only one way to be strong or one way to be a role model, and that starts with treating our fictional characters — male or female — the same way.

As for my favorite thing about Ginny, I have to say I love her journey, most of all. She started a shy, star-struck kid, and she grew up to be a strong woman who made her own decisions, who took her own risks, who lived her own life and a woman who — when she finally chose Harry — did it not because he was Harry Potter, the hero, but because he was Harry, her friend. Also, let’s not forget that while Harry, Ron, and Hermione were out looking for horcruxes in book seven, Ginny was literally fighting a war inside Hogwarts. And she, Neville, and Luna basically became the resistance in the school. She didn’t do this for Harry and she didn’t do it for her brother — she did it because it was right, and that’s who Ginny Weasley is.

Megan: I agree! I mean, look at this series alone. We have tough as nails McGonagall who will shut you down in a second, but remains proper. We have Hermione who is bookish, clever, vulnerable and wildly loyal. Ginny is strong and headstrong and so capable of anything. Luna is weird and understanding and doesn’t care what anyone says about her. I could go on and on about the women in this series, so to assume there’s only one way to write a strong female character is nutty to me.

I could not have said it better myself. Ginny’s journey was a really great evolution and an overlooked one at that. Which is sad because it really was so good. And that is exactly true. She did it because it was right and not for anyone else.

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Let’s go into the Harry/Ginny relationship a bit. Do you ship it? Do you think they make a good couple? 

Megan: I think so. I think it’s a nice balance of hardheadedness and true tenderness. They are, in a lot of ways, quite similar which makes it work for them. They both seek out danger in a way that has wildly good intentions behind it. They’re loyal and caring and fiercely protective. They’re intelligent in different ways. They balance each other really well and I think that’s what makes them such a great couple.

Lizzie: Yes, yes, yes! Harry and Ginny were my Harry Potter OTP, more than Ron and Hermione, more than Lupin and Tonks, more than anyone else. Why, you ask? Well, because not only was it obvious to me from the beginning that Rowling was going there — why else set up Ginny as the girl with a crush on Harry who then got over her crush if not to go there? — but because I liked the person Ginny became in the little glimpses Rowling let us see. I like that Ginny never took Harry too seriously, despite who he was. She wasn’t asking him to stop being Harry Potter, she never intended to stop being Ginny Weasley, and any and all moments they had together were about how they were equal. Harry didn’t need someone to be there for him or someone to tell him what he was doing wrong because he had Ron and Hermione for that. Harry needed a partner in the journey of life, and Ginny needed someone who was going to let her be who she was, without asking for less. They found what they needed in each other.

Megan: YES! It was so easy to look at Harry as this savior, this beacon for so many people and she was like, "He’s just Harry and that’s what’s great about him." She was very much her own person, never fully wrapped up in him, and I think it’s important to show that to younger audiences. You can be your own person and still have a great love. You don’t have to be defined as a part of a whole; you can just be yourself and that’s okay.

What was your favorite Ginny moment?

Megan: That’s a really good question. I quoted it earlier, but when Ginny’s talking to Harry in the library in Order of the Phoenix and she’s just casually telling him that anything is possible. I just really loved that. It was simple and quick, but it was really powerful. And when people would make fun of Luna and she was right there to tell them to buzz off. Or whenever Ginny showed just how amazing and strong she was. She had six older brothers. You think she WASN’T going to be tough as nails, but also extremely vulnerable? I also just loved any moment between her and Hermione. They’re so vastly different, but it’s a treasured friendship that I think is really overlooked.

Lizzie: I really love the moment you mentioned, Megan, but I also really like the whole revelation that Ginny has been sneaking Quidditch practices for years with her brothers’ brooms and that she’s good enough to make the Quidditch team, as well as basically everything she does in book seven. My favorite moment, though, or at least the moment where I started seeing Ginny for Ginny, is in Goblet of Fire when Ron basically tells her she’s going to the Yule Ball with Harry, and Ginny, despite her crush on Harry, says that she already promised Neville. It was like, in that moment, Ginny finally came out of her shell.

Megan: And that date was just so precious. She gave Neville something so wonderful and that was what Ginny was about. She wanted to make those who are on the outside feel included.

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What’s your favorite Ginny quote?

Lizzie: “Nothing's impossible if you've got enough nerve.”

Megan: Same. Always has been, always will be.


  1. I will always love book Ginny more than movie Ginny. While I like the actress, movie Ginny often felt underdeveloped compare to book Ginny. It sometimes wonder if Harry Potter could have been better off as a TV series than a series of films. It would have provided more room for character development.

  2. you are amazing thanks so much for this