That Hard, Blazing Look: Ginny Weasley

November 16, 2010

I love this girl.  The little sister to six big brothers who all think they know best, Ginny Weasley takes no crap from anyone.  She’ll catch the snitch under pressure, stand up for her friends, break the rules with impunity and hex you if you get in her way … or even ask too many annoying questions.  She’s great from day one but stands out even more in Book Six, where I’m tempted to draw little hearts around her name every time it comes up.

A Match for Harry

Maybe its just the power of propinquity but Harry and Ginny really “get” each other.  He thinks she’s really funny, laughs at her Phlegm imitations, appreciates her back up on the Quiddich pitch and generally understands how great she is.  She is one of the few people who’s actually able to see him as a person rather than a celebrity.  She doesn’t put up with his self pity for a moment (I love the scene in Order of the Phoenix when she chews him out for worrying that Voldemort was possessing him and not coming to her for help … as she’s the only person he knows who has some experience with that particular problem).  When Harry’s upset, Ginny sometimes knows before Ron and Hermione do and she’s usually ready to help out as when she checks in on his mood at the end of Order of the Phoenix (probably thinking he’s sad about Cho and feeling a touch jealous) but finds that he wants to talk to Sirius.  She’s helping him break into Umbridge’s office about five minutes later.  Quite the can-do kid.

In the end she’s a great match for Harry – she’s just as tough, principled and committed as he is … and she’s occasionally much smarter.

The Shadow Trio

But all her relationships are really strong.  She’s apparently popular and outgoing and socially successful in her own year but she uses that as a license to do what she wants and befriend who she likes rather than being restricted to her own circle.  Over the course of a couple of years she becomes a good friend to both Neville and Luna.  They aren’t any of them central to the plot but Rowling throws out some clues that their connection is more than polite acquaintances or even DA partners; for example, Luna tells Harry that she and Ginny have talked about his mourning Sirius and that Ginny told her some of the backstory of that relationship.  To me, this means that Ginny is worried about Harry and sees Luna as an equally concerned friend in whom she can confide.

Sister Friends

Ginny also has a very strong friendship with Hermione which is (interestingly) almost unspoken in the books.  Since they are written from Harry’s limited teenaged boy perspective, this friendship between women is nearly invisible through the text but there’s some anecdotal evidence.  When Ginny steps in a seeker, everyone is amazed at how well she can play except Hermione who says that Ginny has been steeling her brothers’ brooms and practicing with them for years.  We also hear from Ginny a the end of Half Blood Prince that Hermione gave Ginny relationship advice (and darn good advice at that), telling her not to fixate on Harry so much, to pursue her own interests and be more herself rather than worrying about what he thought.  Similarly, Ginny is a confidant for Hermione as she reveals in a moment of fury, yelling at Ron that Hermione had snogged Viktor Krum (something the reader never knew for sure before).

Text evidence aside its easy to see how the two of them would be close.  They’ve spent a lot of time together, one way and another.  Hermione has stayed at the burrow (and with the Weasley’s at Grimauld Place) for a lot of time over the years and although she’d spend her days hanging out with Harry and Ron, she stayed with Ginny and certainly had some down time with her.  Neither of them have found a lot of kindred spirits among the girls of their own year and it seems quite natural that they should continue to be friends at school as well as at home.  I really love the idea of them having each other to rely on through tough times.

Quite the learning curve

One of my favorite Ginny moments has nothing to do with Voldemort or danger though.  She’s ticked off at Zacharias Smith after his (pretty ridiculously biased) commentary on the Quidditch match and gets her revenge by crashing her broom into the commentators booth … then blythely brushes off Madam Hooch’s reprimand by claiming she “forgot to brake”.

Ginny’s arc is so interesting.  We watch her go from an eager 10-year-old bouncing up and down and asking to go in the train to see Harry Potter to a strong, sassy force to be reckoned with who can do people the credit of letting them risk their safety for the things they believe in (a trait Harry doesn’t always manage to share) and battle Death Eaters in Hogwarts and out of it.

I’ll take this chance to give another hurrah for strong women characters in the Harry Potter books!

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One Response to “That Hard, Blazing Look: Ginny Weasley”

  1. Anon Says:

    I’d recommend this, it really goes in depth into the Harry-Ginny relationship, as well as the subtle clues leading it. And the best part is that it was written before Half Blood Prince

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