A 5-Point Ode to Ginny Weasley


She's an enigma, really. A little sister, a loyal friend, a fighter. Sometimes a chaser, sometimes a seeker, sometimes forced into being a referee for her brothers ... and never someone you want to be on the wrong side of.

Her name is Ginny, and this is why I appreciate her.

(There are gonna be spoilers, but if you haven't read Harry Potter WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE. Go read it all now and then come back.)

#1 ~ Her Quidditch skills are legendary.

I mean, this was inevitable, right? She's a Weasley - her family are literally a Quidditch team and at least one of her brothers was good enough to play for England aged seventeen. With six teachers as highly committed as that, there's no way she could ever be anything but amazing ... surely?

Er, I hate to burst your bubble, but no.

Her brothers wouldn't let her play because - well, because they were little boys who'd learnt sexism from a society where it was institutionalised. That's a conversation for another day. But she broke into the broom shed and she spent eight years teaching herself to fly because she'd been told no and NOBODY TELLS GINNY WEASLEY NO IF THEY WANT TO LIVE.
“The thing about growing up with Fred and George is that you sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.” ~ Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Ginny did whatever the heck she wanted to do, and she taught me that, at least sometimes, it was okay to do that too.

#2 ~ All she needed to get into the Slug club was one Bat-Bogey Hex.
Ah, the Slug club. Everyone's favourite symbol of the soul-crushing, dream-breaking caste system that perpetrates so deeply into Wizarding society that it allowed Voldemort to gain support and go almost unchallenged until it was too late.

Okay, again, sorry. That's a debate for another day. But as far as we know, there have only ever been two other members of the Slug Club who didn't have a family name to get them in. Hermione Granger and Lily Evans. Hermione had every teacher at Hogwarts singing her praises (not to mention Hagrid chiming in with his old "brightest witch of her age" chestnut), and Lily had two or three years at least to prove her skills at potions before she was old enough for Slughorn to consider her.

Ginny had the time it takes to pass a train compartment, a wand, and someone she was mad at.
“Yeah, size is no guarantee of power,” said George. “Look at Ginny.”
“What d’you mean?” said Harry.
“You’ve never been on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Bogey Hexes, have you?”     ~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I'm not trying to devalue Hermione or Lily's achievements - getting into what's effectively the inner sanctum of the pureblood elite on sheer brainpower is incredible. But what Ginny did is different because she was overcoming something different: the reputation of her family as muggle-loving, and therefore weak in both courage and magical skill.

For me, it's a similar moment to Molly's duel with Bellatrix in the seventh book - a moment where a strong female character proved someone wrong so spectacularly that they had to look up and accept that she'd smashed through the ceiling they spent so long building around her. To do that, she needed a lot of courage (A.K.A. the exact trait her family 'didn't have').

So, with a little help from her Bat-Bogey hex, she also taught me that power often lies in being the exact opposite of what you're expected to be. And also that what people say means exactly nothing.

#3 ~ She was friends with Neville and Luna when nobody else was.
Maybe it's because she's had so many reputations that just didn't fit. The Weasley. The one who couldn't speak in front of Harry Potter. The girl. But Ginny didn't care about Luna being 'Loony' or Neville falling over his feet constantly. She didn't care what people said. She was just friends with a pair of wonderful, wonderful people; she defended them and encouraged them and was endlessly loyal to them.

So loyal, in fact, that when her crush of four years asked her if she wanted to go to the Yule Ball, she declined, despite that making her miserable. Because Neville had asked her first.
"And I don't know who you are."
"I'm nobody," said Neville hurriedly.
"No, you're not," said Ginny sharply. "Neville Longbottom – Luna Lovegood…"~ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Luna and Neville taught me how great it was to be yourself. But Ginny taught me that, if other people are being themselves - and being awesome - around you, then you'd better damn well accept it if you don't want to miss out on amazing friends.

#4 ~ She got pulled into Voldemort's head and survived.
We know from Harry's scar-burning episodes in the last few books just how painful it can be to have Voldemort inside your head, and that's when you've been trained by one of the country's leading Occlumens (that's Snape, if you haven't been paying attention) in keeping his evil thoughts as far away as possible.

Ginny was eleven and completely untrained, not to mention the fact that she didn't even know it was Voldemort ensnaring her until much, much too late. That web of charming manipulation very nearly killed her, and frankly I think it would have been the end of a lot of people. The fact that she had the strength - not only to stay true to herself and her beliefs in the immediate aftermath, but also to stop the guilt that she had been naive enough to let this monster in in the first place from crushing her - is one of the first things about her character that showed me she was something special.

#5 ~ She's so much more than was ever shown in the films - and the fandom knows it.
There is no character in the whole of Harry Potter - or probably in most popular culture, in my experience - whose book and film incarnations are considered quite so separately. They're basically two different characters at this point. I think it really speaks to how colourful and brilliant her on-the-page persona is: not only have the fandom noticed (and noticed loudly) how washed-up her film adaptation is, but we refuse to accept that the strong, fiery redhead of the books and walking-crush-on-Harry-Potter of the films are even the same person. She's even evaded that stereotype.

Because Book Ginny, in one way or another, has been incredibly important to all of us.

Maybe she taught us to be accepting. Or to be brave. Or break out of the roles that are prescribed to us. But, in some way or another, she changed our lives for the better.

***
In the comments: What do you like (or dislike, if you want) about Ginny Weasley? Why? If she's your favourite character, how come? 
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6 comments:

  1. Yes, great post, Lara! Ginny is not one of my favourite characters, but I do feel like she's underappreciated because of her weak role in the movies. They reduced so much about what is awesome about her, so I love seeing a bit of Ginny love. I mean, it can't be easy to grow up with 6 older brothers, but not only did she survive, she thrived in the care of her family. :)

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    Replies
    1. Aww, thank you Inge! And a weak role is exactly what she had - they basically took her entire character and went "nah, we're going to throw out all of this except maybe the one bit where she has a crush on Harry because plot".

      Grrrr.

      And no, it can't be easy. Frankly, I think just dealing with Fred and George must've been hard enough.

      Delete
  2. Ginny really is an underappreciated character in that series. Hermione and Luna have always been my girls, but I love the feisty Weasleys. :) Harry got a good one.

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    Replies
    1. YES TO THE FIESTYNESS. And Harry really is lucky, even if he doesn't realise it all the time :)

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  3. Ginny was always my favourite Harry Potter character. :)

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    Replies
    1. Well you, Miss, have very fine taste. :)

      Delete

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