Preface: I am discussing characters as they are from the books, not the movies. That’s a whole other can of worms.
Have you ever just connected with a character, but other people just don’t seem to appreciate them enough? That is my experience with Ginny Weasley.
I have such a deep love for Ginny. She is sassy, intelligent, funny. She has so many fantastic traits which have developed over the course of 6 books. (I’m excluding book 1 since she was not really involved in the first book.) By the end, I wasn’t sure if I had a crush on her or if I wanted to be her. Obviously the wanting to be her won out via cosplay:
Still, I’ve heard every bereavement of Ginny from she’s boring to she never got proper character development. The one that irks me most is the argument that she was barely significant in the first 4 Harry Potter books. I could not argue against this enough. In all actuality, if you pay attention throughout each book, Ginny is the hero we all needed, at least I did. Here are my reasons why:
1) From the very beginning, Ginny valued her education.
The first book (Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone), we are only briefly introduced to Ginny. In the scene, we see Ginny begging her mom to go to Hogwarts. She is quickly hushed. The next time we see Ginny, is in the second book (Chamber of Secrets). Though she dreads the idea of everything being hand-me-down, she gets very excited about going school supply shopping in Diagon Alley. That year obviously goes awry because of the infamous Lord Voldy. However, she gets back on track for the next two years. Once her fourth year (Order of Phoenix) approaches and Umbridge restricts learning, Ginny is one of the first to join the D.A. Outside of Dumbledore’s Army, she is in the library studying or on the quidditch pitch. In her fifth year (Half-Blood Prince), one of the issues with Harry and Ginny spending time together is her reviewing for the O.W.L.s. Even after the tragedy towards the end of the book, Ginny still buckled down and took her O.W.L.s. Then, she went back to school and fought for fair education among the chaos during the last book.
2) Ginny fought back against Voldemort’s horcrux without even knowing it.
People often forget that Chamber of Secrets largely involves Ginny. We only find out her side of the story towards the end of the book, but it remains significant nonetheless. Ginny receives Tom Riddle’s diary via Lucius Malfoy at the beginning of Chamber. As we find out in later books, horcruxes are pieces of a person’s soul and they distort, possess, aggravate, and bring out the worst in the person holding and using the horcrux. Yet, Ginny is less affected than others, much older than her. She becomes hollowed in her appearance but her demeanor never changes. She is possessed by the book; however, once she has any indication that she was responsible for the attacks, she throws the book into the toilet in an attempt to get rid of it. This ends up working for a while until she realizes that Harry has the book. She fears that Harry will discover her guilt, so she steals the book back. Later, she tries to confess to Harry and Ron, but this only angers Riddle. Only then does she lose the fight; Riddle completely takes over Ginny’s being and brings her to the Chamber of Secrets.
3) Ginny is compassionate and loving towards her friends.
No matter how scared Ginny was to talk in front of him, she almost always visited Harry in the Hospital Wing. In fact, during her second year (Prisoner of Azkaban), she made him a singing card. She also sticks up for Luna and Neville when other people question her choice in friends. She never lets anybody badmouth her friends, defending them until the other person backs off. She never questions her friendship with Luna and Neville because she sees them as unique. Furthermore, Ginny and Hermione have a fantastically developed friendship. Hermione is an only child and Ginny is the only female Weasley (minus Molly), so they turn to each other for guidance. They share advice. They bond and keep secrets for one another. They honestly care about one another’s well being.
4) Despite changing factors, Ginny is good to her word.
In Goblet of Fire, Ginny realizes that, in order to go to the Yule Ball, she must have a date. Otherwise, she is a year too young to attend. Ginny happens to be with Hermione when Neville asks her to the ball. Hermione has to turn him down because she already said yes to Krum. A disheartened Neville turns to Ginny and asks her to go. She is happy at the prospect of going to the ball; plus, she is friends with Neville. Thus, their agreement is made. Later, Ginny learns that Harry does not have a date. Jokingly, Ron suggests that at least Harry can go with Ginny so that he won’t be alone. Ginny gets flustered because she really likes Harry and would’ve gone with him had he asked her before. Still, she chooses to stay with Neville, dancing the night away.
5) Ginny refuses to be slut-shamed.
As the two get closer, Hermione advises that Ginny back away from Harry. She suggests that Ginny try dating other people, that she relax around Harry and focus on being his friend instead. Taking this advice, she ends up dating Michael Corner. Once she starts dating, her brothers are unrelenting in their negative comments. This appears as protective at first. However, it becomes shaming quickly once she starts dating Dean Thomas. When comments are made to Ginny, she pushes back saying it’s none of their business. Particularly, with Ron, she fights back about his comments on her kissing Dean. He proceeds to say, “‘Yeah, it is!’ said Ron, just as angrily. ‘D’you think I want people saying my sister’s a — ‘” at which point Ginny cuts him off and questions his choice in words. She makes certain that he knows it’s none of his business. Ginny does not question if she should be friends with so many guys, no matter what is said. She does not regret the fact that she has dated 3 people over 3 years, despite her brothers’ comments.
6) One of the most consistently brave characters throughout the series is Ginny.
From the time Ginny is permanently introduced into the narrative, she demonstrates bravery. In her first year, she steps in front of Harry and stands up to Draco Malfoy (a known bully). “Leave him alone.” When sorted, the sorting hat doesn’t once question where she belongs. She bravely tries to fight the horcrux for a whole year. Then, she joins the D.A. to learn combat at the age of 14. With the help of a few others, she lies to and distracts Umbridge, a Ministry official, to buy the others time to contact Sirius. She joins Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna, and Neville at the Ministry of Magic without a hesitation. While there, she stands nose threatened by Bellatrix Lestrange without flinching. She ends up with a broken ankle and still keeps trying to fight. The next year, she helped fight in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. She fought off one of the Carrows without any kind of injuries. She also tried to keep others at bay. This bravery ties over into the last book. While the Golden Trio are off hunting horcruxes, Ginny, Neville, and Luna are running the D.A. at Hogwarts. She risks torture by graffitiing the walls with pro-D.A. messages. They attempt at stealing the Sword of Gryffindor for the Golden Trio. Finally, Ginny refuses to sit in the Room of Requirement during the Battle of Hogwarts. She leaves the room and fights with the Order of the Phoenix. And let’s not forget, she is the one who says, “Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
7) Ginny goes after what she wants.
There are not many people who would sneak out in the middle of the night, steal a broom, and spend hours practicing something which they aren’t even supposed to be involved with. Ginny, at the age of 6, is so determined to learn quidditch that she did all of the above. When the opportunity arises, she tries out for the empty position on the Gryffindor team. She takes over for Harry as Seeker during his ban and detentions. Furthermore, she plays as a seeker on the team for quite a while. Her passion leads her to a career with the Holyhead Harpies. She similarly goes after Harry once the time is right. Dean and Ginny break up. Everybody is in quidditch mode as the finals are coming up. After Ginny and the Gryffindors win the Quidditch Cup, she and he embrace is a passionate kiss. He claims that she kisses him like he’s never been kissed. This starts their relationship.
8) Ginny has innate talent which surpasses that of the others.
Ginny doesn’t present her skill often, prior to the Order of the Phoenix. However, when she does magic, it’s some powerful stuff.At the age of 14, Ginny joins Dumbledore’s Army. In the club, she is frequently revered as powerful. For instance, she produces a corporeal patronus at the age of 14 years old. Corporeal patronuses are listed as one of the most difficult spells to perform successfully. She also impresses Harry with her Reductor Curse. On more than one occasion, Ginny performs a stellar Bat Bogey Hex. The first of these depicted helps members of the DA escape from Draco Malfoy and the Inquisitorial Squad. The second, she gets invited to the Slug Club as a result. Another show of Ginny’s power is her skill in the Battle of the Astronomy tower. Amycus Carrow is a skilled death eater, one who later-on punished children with unforgivable curses; yet, Ginny is strong enough (with only a little help from Felix Felicis) to hold him off. Time after time, she shows this skill. Even the twins recognized this truth: “‘Yeah, size is no guarantee of power,’ said George. ‘Look at Ginny.'”
9) Ginny is blunt and honest.
Remember that one time that Harry thought he was the only one who would understand what it’s like to be controlled by Voldemort? Remember how Ginny very poignantly reminds them that she was controlled by Voldemort for an entire year without anyone to confide in? One of my favorite things about Ginny is that she is not afraid to call Harry on his constant moody, brooding, angsty bullshit. Unlike the stereotype of the hero’s love interest, she has thoughts of her own which contradict that of the protagonist. Thank you J.K. Rowling! Still, even when she isn’t with Harry, she stands up for herself. She is the only girl in her family with six brothers. Yet, she holds her own against their teasing. When it came to dating, she couldn’t stand Michael Corner’s poor attitude about losing the Quidditch Final; this led to their breakup. Dean Thomas dated her after that. She didn’t like the way that he tried to do things for her, protect her. When this got to be too much, she made it known. Then, in the Battle of Hogwarts, she made it known that she didn’t want to stay in the Room of Requirement. No matter who it was she was talking to, no matter what it was she was saying, she always made sure her voice was heard.
Honorable mention: Ginny was the brilliant mind that said, “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.” This is basically one of my life’s mottoes.
All in all, there are not enough words for me to express the profound impact that strong women characters like Ginny had on me. Yes, there were other strong women in the series. I love them as well. Still, there is something to be said when a character is underappreciated, yet very important in the grand scheme. Even the littlest action, like sticking up for Neville, could have been something that started the ball rolling towards his confident defiance of Voldy. Calling harry on his attitude and mindset could have been what pulled him back to the ground. She certainly had an affect on the Battle of the Department of Mysteries AND the Battle of the Astronomy Tower AND the Battle of Hogwarts. But, it was the smallest actions which had the biggest impact on a young person fighting against the notion that she couldn’t do things because she was a girl.
So, thank you J.K. Rowling for writing her.
Thank you Bonnie Wright for being her.
Thank you Ginny.
You gave me the hero I needed.
P.S. I was talking about the books in this post until the very end (see what I did there?), but I wanted to give another shout out to Bonnie Wright. She did amazingly with what she was given. It was a shame that they made Ginny less of a prominent and badass character in the movies. But, Bonnie Wright is still fantastic in my eyes.