Rowling, Red Herrings and The Case for Ginny

Or not, as the case may be (sees Sput rushing by to grab the picture from the blog wall 😉 ).

I’m taking a little break from writing (and I am working right now so my days are a bit full) which means my mind is free to wonder. Therefore it ended up on the subject of one Ginny Weasley.

Just a moment….

<<<<<SPOILER ALERT!!!>>>>>

If you happen to be either under five years old or the one in 7 billion human beings who hasn’t read the book, what I am about to discuss may spoil a few things.

You have been warned.

Now, where was I, yes, Ginny Weasley. Or should I  say how J.K. Rowling paired Ginny with Harry without the UST normally associated with such things (Hermione/Ron covered that territory very well, thank you very much). Ginny comes into the scene during book 2 where she is at the center of the action, then recedes while Harry nurses a soft spot for Cho Chang.  The whole Cho Chang thing doesn’t go well for Harry (or for the Patil twins in the fourth book), then it emerges that Harry really loves Ginny and well they end up together.

It came as a complete surprise to me, and to many other readers (some loved it, others hated it). That was first reaction, the second one was “Brilliant!”

By using Cho Chang as a romantic red herring, Rowling accomplished the following:

  • Allowed Harry to make the mistakes of first romances without hurting Ginny.
  • Showed that her MC is as flawed as anyone in the story (if not more so).
  • Allowed Ginny to develop on her own (quietly and in the background) from shy 11 year old to confident 16 year old.
  • Managed to surprise legions of readers who thought they had Harry all figured out.
  • Allowed Hermione and Ron’s relationship to take center stage, or at least center-left stage, thus making them heroes in their own love story.

Now I think I have idea why many readers (most of them female) hate the idea of Ginny ending up with Harry.  They see themselves as Hermione (that is they experience the action vicariously through her) and therefore want her to end up with Harry. Only natural that the principal female character end up with the hero. It is also a horrible romance novel cliche that has no place in the story. Ginny, like Neville, shows a wealth of character growth at the edges of the action, due to the fact that the action occurs largely from Harry’s perspective. It also means that the story is not derailed by a romantic plot tumor between the MC and a secondary character who’s only function would be as his love interest. Not a bad thing per say, but everything else going on in the books plus Hermione/Ron UST (as funny as it is) an earlier hookup between the two would simply lead to a break up that was uncessarry at that stage.

Both of them had a lot of growing up to do, especially Harry and it is not like Ginny was simply waiting in the wings for him (although that is what the movies imply, mainly because they cut out almost everything not centered around the golden trio). Ginny, while originally shy around Harry, was more than willing to stand up for him and to him, always willing to put him in his place, matched his courage and skill (won every game of Quidditch she subbed for Harry against Cho Chang), and was more than a match for anyone she encountered.

In the end, it worked out for the story and for Harry, and I think it was a brilliant way to deal with a romantic subplot, which tends to derail so many other stories.

Well done Jo, well done!


Well, Harry gets all the lamplight, so it is only fair that we show a bit of Draco Malfoy as well, or in this case the actor that plays him, Tom Felton. Excellent job, by the way, Tom.

7 comments on “Rowling, Red Herrings and The Case for Ginny

  1. What does Snape look like from the other side, though???


  2. Okay, you got me with the picture, then convinced me with the logical reasoning. Crap. I’m so easy.


  3. I’m I the minority, I suppose, because I despise the pairing but not for the reason you hypothesized above — I think Harry is a great, heaving plonker and Ginny can do so much better. Then again, that’s what I think about Ron and Hermione as well.

    What I can’t understand are the people who hate Ginny — at least the ones who’ve read the books. Movie Ginny is insipid and, as you said, waiting in the wings, and does nothing interesting once the romance kicks off. Icky. Book Ginny is fantastic, though! It makes me sad to see fans slagging


  4. … off on her (stupid iPhone posted too soon) because other sexuality. There’s a surprising number of anti-Ginny slut-shamers that just make me ashamed for the entire Internet. :/


    • Welcome to my blog Lora. I have to disagree on the trio of course, but that’s just me. As for movie Ginny, I think it really boils down to the directors/writers. It is as if they could not figure out what to do with her, as Bonnie Wright has shown to have funny and fierce moments on her own.As for the shippers that claim that Ginny “went around”, well, she did nothing more than most teenagers do and came out the better every time.


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