I was scrolling through the Ginny Weasley tag when I realized the actual lack of material and the amount of hate fans and people have towards this character. And it got me thinking. Why? Why does this character get so many times sidelined, ignored and hated on. The answers are of course there, staring into our faces.

I’m not really a meta person, but I just felt like this is something I need to write down and put it out to the world.

I’ve read many silly comments about why people hate Ginny. My absolute favorite is the 'she's a slut' one. No, I’m quite serious, this is one of the most repeated phrases when it comes to some anti-fans of hers. And without getting me started on the wrongness of slut-shaming - it is completely unfunded. We see Ginny in three different relationships throughout the series. Three different lasting relationships as a matter of fact. She dates Michael through the entirety of OotP, then she hooks up with Dean which lasts almost through the whole arc of HBP. Now seriously, how many 14-15 years olds you know who manage to hold year-long relationships? Exactly.

Others argue that if she really did not give up on Harry, as she states in HBP, then why did she go out with all these people. Again, I’m trying to hold myself back and answer these kind of questions without throwing things and banging my head (or preferably other people’s head) into the wall. Because guys, this is major SLUT SHAMING. Why can’t a girl be confident in her sexuality? Why can’t she form more or less casual romantic relationships? At this point she’s emotionally invested in a guy who clearly ignores her existence. So she decides to move on - or at least try -, have fun, gain more confidence in herself. Just by what twisted standard is that a despicable thing?

No, these people are showing signs of those desperate fans who practically rage when their beloved celebrity starts dating someone. Who isn’t them. (Yes guys, this is happening in a book fandom.) Or because they already envisioned him with someone and they can’t get over the fact that their OTP isn’t happening. Which is, as a character-centric reader/viewer something that I don’t find a healthy perspective in any fandom. To each their own I guess, but if you get so blinded by your ships, you miss out on a lot of the good stuff.

You know, I’m talking a lot about Ginny’s relationships, and I can actually hear those who stand by the opinion that she is completely hung up on and her whole world is centered around Harry cheering right now.

Which is another point I’d like to clear. Ginny is not defined by some school girl crush. Did she idolize Harry at some point? Probably yes. Was she into him through the whole series? That could be another yes. Did she put her life on a hold because of it, or put Harry above everything else that was going on? Well, that is a definite NO.

First of all, let’s inspect this quote here. OotP, right after Mr Weasley got attacked by Nagini and been transported to the hospital, Harry and the Weasley kids are at Grimmauld Place, waiting for news on his state.

“We’ve got to go to St. Mungo’s,” said Ginny urgently. She looked around at her brothers; they were of course still in their pajamas. “Sirius, can you lend us cloaks or anything?”
“Hang on, you can’t go tearing off to St. Mungo’s!” said Sirius.
“Course we can go to St. Mungo’s if we want,” said Fred, with a mulish expression. “He’s our dad!”
“And how are you going to explain how you knew Arthur was attacked before the hospital even let his wife know?”
“What does that matter?” said George hotly.
“It matters because we don’t want to draw attention to the fact that Harry is having visions of things that are happening hundreds of miles away!” said Sirius angrily. “Have you any idea what the Ministry would make of that information?”
Fred and George looked as though they could not care less what the Ministry made of anything. Ron was still ashen-faced and silent.
Ginny said, “Somebody else could have told us… we could have heard it somewhere other than Harry.”

Oh yes, she cares about Harry’s side. In fact, after this she is the first of the three of them who accepts the situation which then cools down the twins as well. But that’s her dad. Her first instinct is not that to acknowledge that Harry’s involvement in some weird Ministry power game could be more important than making sure that her dad’s safe.

Still, the most obvious and popular reason for all the ignorance towards this character is her portrayal in the movies. Actually, if I’d seen the movies without any knowledge of the source material, I know I would’ve been either absolutely passive or even negative about her. Why? Because movie!Ginny lacks almost each and every property that has driven me to this character in the first place. You can blame everyone from the script writer to the director for this, I’ve seen many take it out on Bonnie Wright, but personally I honestly don’t believe it’s an actor fault. (I’m actually quite excited to see Bonnie in other projects and movies in the future.) It’s just that Yates’ and Klove’s take on the character is obviously very different from my own, which might not be bothering me, if they didn’t rewrite her entire OotP/HBP/DH arc to suit their purpose more.

Let’s see who Ginny is in the movies or in the books. Before OotP, there’s really not much we can talk about, she gets mentioned again and again, but you need a magnifying glass to see an actual character between the lines. Then comes OotP, a book that is generally my least favorite of the whole series, but still has many redeeming qualities: and one of them is definitely this sort of re-introduction that Ginny gets.

I admit, before that I didn’t care much about Ginny. She was… there. She didn’t bother me, I didn’t bother (about) her. But then here comes OotP and suddenly… Bam. Instant favorite.

It’s not that the character changes, rather than our perspective about her. Until that we really do define her as “the girl with the crush on Harry”, but once that gets out of the way, we have this incredible chance to see her for who she really is for the first time. And at the same time we realize just how restricted we are because of the single pov nature of the books.

So who this shy girl with the cereal bowl really is? Well, first of all there is nothing shy about her. She’s outspoken. Stubborn. Temperamental. Impulsive. Witty. Fun. The kind of person people are generally drawn to, therefore also has a sort of popularity. (Which is I presume another source of the Ginny hate going around. People generally like their favorite characters nerds, geeks or loners.)

She was the life and soul of the team. Her imitations of Ron anxiously bobbing up and down in front of the goal posts as the Quaffle sped toward him, or of Harry bellowing orders at McLaggen before being knocked out cold, kept them all highly amused.

There are actually many parallels that Rowling draws between Ginny and the Weasley twins, or hinting at the closeness of their relationship. She even once flat out announces that there is a visible similarity between them.

“Excuse me, but I care what happens to Sirius as much as you do!” said Ginny, her jaw set so that her resemblance to Fred and George was suddenly striking.
“You’re too -” Harry began, but Ginny said fiercely, “I’m three years older than you were when you fought You-Know-Who over the Sorcerer’s Stone, and it’s because of me that Malfoy’s stuck back in Umbridge’s office with giant flying bogies attacking him -”

And let’s not forget this poignant scene.

“Well,” said Ginny slowly, helping herself to a bit of egg, too, “if you really want to talk to Sirius, I expect we could think of a way to do it.”
“Come on,” said Harry dully. “With Umbridge policing the fires and reading all our mail?”
“The thing about growing up with Fred and George,” said Ginny thoughtfully, “is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.

She obviously also acquired a fair amount of resourcefulness around the twins, which prevents her from actually getting caught most of the time.

Turning to Fred and George, she said, “It’s no-go with the Extendable Ears, she’s gone and put an Imperturbable Charm on the kitchen door.”
“How d’you know?” said George, looking crestfallen.
“Tonks told me how to find out,” said Ginny. “You just chuck stuff at the door and if it can’t make contact the door’s been Imperturbed. I’ve been flicking Dungbombs at it from the top of the stairs and they just soar away from it, so there’s no way the Extendable Ears will be able to get under the gap.”
(…)
And who’s left all those Dungbombs outside the kitchen door?”
“Crookshanks,” said Ginny unblushingly. “He loves playing with them.”

Ginny never really keeps herself from speaking her mind. No matter who is the person she’s speaking against.

“Yeah, Zabini, because you’re so talented… at posing…”

“Ron and Ginny say you’ve been hiding from everyone since you got back from St. Mungo’s.”
“They do, do they?” said Harry, glaring at Ron and Ginny. Ron looked down at his feet but Ginny seemed quite unabashed.
“Well, you have!” she said.
(…)
“I didn’t want anyone to talk to me,” said Harry, who was feeling more and more nettled.
“Well, that was a bit stupid of you,” said Ginny angrily, “seeing as you don’t know anyone but me who’s been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels.”
Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he wheeled round.
“I forgot,” he said.
“Lucky you,” said Ginny coolly.

I believe if there’s something that doesn’t need saying, and so I won’t really elaborate on that part, is that Ginny can absolutely hold her own in a fight. She’s a 16-year-old who took an enormous part in the final battle and lived to tell the tale. I think it’s actually interesting to see how the movies focused so much on Ginny’s magical power. Strangely enough, I never found it that important. I rather admired her willingness to fight.

“I can’t go home!” Ginny shouted, angry tears sparkling in her eyes. “My whole family’s here, I can’t stand waiting there alone and not knowing and—”

We also learn pretty quickly that Ginny is quite protective of those close to her. Her (in)famous standing up to Malfoy in CoS is only beginning to hint what comes later, as her character gets more spotlight. Her whole relationship with Luna is a beautiful example of that and I would so like to write a whole other discussion about it, and why is that also a case of character development for Ginny. The way she starts to scold people for insulting her, and even berates Ron for calling her Loony, or how she generally always sticks by her after OotP. It is something that oddly goes unrecognized by many.

“Oh, it’s been all right,” said Luna. “A bit lonely without the D.A. Ginny’s been nice, though. She stopped two boys in our Transfiguration class calling me ‘Loony’ the other day —”

“I like this song,” said Luna, swaying in time to the waltzlike tune, and a few seconds later she stood up and glided onto the dance floor, where she revolved on the spot, quite alone, eyes closed and waving her arms.
(…)
“This girl is very nice-looking,” Krum said, recalling Harry to his surroundings. Krum was pointing at Ginny, who had just joined Luna.

And while I promised I wouldn’t go into a full-blown discussion on this relationship, there’s this one scene that I have to mention. I always considered this a turning point in the Ginny/Luna dynamic, and part of the reason why I believe this friendship played an enormous part in Ginny’s character development. She finally puts aside her prejudices and is forced to look through Luna’s crazy-girl image, and see a loyal supportive friend in her.

“Luna, can you help Ginny?”
“Yes,” said Luna, sticking her wand behind her ear for safekeeping, then putting an arm around Ginny’s waist and pulling her up.
“It’s only my ankle, I can do it myself!” said Ginny impatiently, but next moment she had collapsed sideways and grabbed Luna for support.

Okay, I know I’m overanalyzing here. But you can’t argue that after their Ministry adventure Ginny’s whole attitude towards Luna dramatically changed.

There are however reasons I can accept when it comes to not liking Ginny’s character. First, talking about her and Luna’s relationship, we must not forget that Ginny was the one who introduced her as "Loony Lovegood" to Harry and Neville at the OotP train ride in the first place. Her outspokenness also means that she can sometimes be unforgiving with her words, and her pranks could be rather humiliating (tripping Ron in front of Fleur, etc). In this regard, once again there are quite many twins parallels that we could make, and I expect that those, who dislike Ginny for these reasons, are also not so smitten with the twins’ ways. If not, we could pop up the question why is it okay in their case and not okay in hers, but that would lead to nasty subjects like sexism and we don’t want to go down on that road more than necessary right now.

Finally, but not at all least, we need to talk more about the subject of drawbacks of single pov books. Namely the impact it has on other than the main character’s development and understanding. Or more precisely: the lack of understanding we have of anyone who’s not Harry (or Hermoine and Ron, but even with them there are gaps in our knowledge). Just like every more or less minor character in the books, Ginny is not fully fleshed out. And the fact that she’s a teenager, therefore she’s ever-changing - not really helping. We get hints about who she is, but we fill the gaps ourselves, we paint the whole picture to our own taste.

You must have noticed that I didn’t even mention Ginny’s experience with Riddle’s diary the whole time. That’s because we never really know how that affected her. We can assume that it made her wiser. More cautious. We can also assume that it might be the reason she - alone of all the Weasleys - can be seen saying Voldemort’s name. (Another rather overlooked moment.)

"I knew you wouldn’t be happy unless you were hunting Voldemort.”

It’s hard to write about a character when there are so many things left unsaid or unexplained about her. It’s even harder to differentiate our own assumptions from the actual facts that we were given. I’m pretty sure that I failed in that regard, but I still hope that I managed to provide some new aspects to an unfairly unappreciated character.

Posted on June 16th at 1:30 AM
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