Why Ginny Weasley has poor characterization, and why I disapprove of the Harry/Ginny pairing. (Please read even if you are a fan of her character.)

Why Ginny Weasley has poor characterization, and why I disapprove of the Harry/Ginny pairing. (Please read even if you are a fan of her character.)

I have made several of these comments on someones rant about Cho Chang, where the author mentioned that they shipped Harry/Ginny. The essay I have written below does not intend to be insulting towards fans of Ginny's character. It is not a hate post, and I have tried to not make it biased. I simply want to state my opinion, and feel free to write yours in the comments.

Chapter 1

The character development of Ginny Weasley... Or the lack thereof.

When Ginny Weasley first appeared, most people claim that she was nothing more than a Harry Potter fangirl. Depending on how you look at things, this is true: Ginny is curious to see the "boy who lived", and later develops a childish crush on him. As the first two novels progress, the character of Ginny does not. Her role in CoS is also criticized. The fact that she, as one rather colorful blog post said, "made friends with an interactive diary" which led to her almost "resurrecting Voldemort's evil overlord a**". Again, this is true in a way, but it doesn't seem right to complain about the naivety of a girl only 11 years old. Anyhow, Ginny's role as "Ron's little sister" was in no way expanded by the experience of Voldemort possessing her. Since she is so minor a character, there is no in-depth musing on how the experience may have changed her as a character.

After Ginny's role in CoS, she falls completely off radar for the next two books. Some have said that she just "dropped off the face of the Earth", and I can't help but agree. Want some statistical proof? Ginny's name was mentioned 5 times in the first book and 114 in the next. Then again, after being introduced as semi-relevant to the plot (rescuing her was the motivation for Harry to go down into the Chamber), her name is mentioned 17 times in PoA, and 46 times in GoF. Ginny's character arc went straight down. She turned from secondary-tier in importance, to little more than a background character.

Herein comes the problem that most people have with Ginny's character. Suddenly, Ginny returns with a vengeance in book five. This reemergence is heralded by virtually no character expansion, but somehow she is elevated to almost-major status. And here the glorification of Ginny, who was once a minor wall-flower character, begins.

It seems as though Rowling intended to create her as a "strong" female character. Perhaps this was to provide a comparison to the irritatingly weepy Cho Chang, Harry's first love interest. So, in the space of one book, it becomes apparent that Ginny can play both the Chaser and Seeker position in Quidditch with exceptional talent. It is even said that she is the life and soul of the Gryffindor team. Ginny is not only athletic - she is confident, smart, funny, not weepy, brash, sassy, tough, casts amazingly good hexes and jinxes, etc. Moreover, she has become outstandingly good-looking. Even the Slytherins (who, realistically, shouldn't deign to look at a girl who they consider a blood traitor) have noticed, and even discussed, her foxiness. In DH she is even referred to as “pretty” by a Death Eater trying to kill her. The reader seems to be oft informed of her positive traits, qualities that were not discussed in depth, or even touched upon in the previous four books. It was all heaped upon us in a massive info dump.

Another main issue that most people have with Ginny's characterization is her lack of flaws. Yes, she has many positive attributes. But where are her negative ones? Ginny is almost universally perfect as a stereotypically gusty girl. Even when she shows a character trait that could be considered negative, the way the other characters perceive shows that it actually isn't bad. Her name-calling of Fleur as "Phlegm" was apparently amusing to the other characters, even though it really didn't seem funny at all. When she was caught jinxing a student on the Hogwarts train, she was rewarded for this by Slughorn by gaining entrance into his exclusive club. Her misbehavior was instead interpreted as a qualification for her talent as a witch. Perhaps Slughorn is simply lax, but it does seem ludicrous that any character could ever be rewarded for misbehavior.

Which brings me to my next point - Ginny is a Mary Sue. What is that term? I won't go into the details, because I could probably write a college thesis on this subject. A Mary Sue (or Gary Stu/Marty Stu, if said character is male) is a too-perfect character that lacks any kind of notable flaws. They are usually idealized, outstandingly good-looking, and is exceptionally talented in wide variety of areas without a balance of areas that they are poor in. Other characters admire them for their courage, beauty, wit, outgoing nature, or their other virtues. Even if they do wrong, other characters seem to not notice, because Mary Sues can do no wrong. Doesn't this sound familiar to Ginny's characterization? Mary Sues are annoying when written by fledgling fanfiction writers. I bet we've all slipped up and written a Sue once in a while. But a Mary Sue in one of the bestselling book series of all time? I don't find that acceptable.

So why this rushed characterization? Why try to force the readers to like Ginny by piling on the positive attributes, and seemingly forgetting to write in flaws, negatives, and quirks? Why thrust Ginny into the spotlight as being pretty, spunky, and sporty out of nowhere? The answer is simple. In order to pair Harry with Ginny, Rowling had to make this minor character into a truly relevant part of the series. This is were the author made her fatal mistake - by overdoing Ginny's virtues and effectively turning her into a Mary Sue.

And suddenly, out of the blue, Harry's infatuation with Ginny is born. When he sees Ginny with her boyfriends he is tormented by jealously, and even experiences "chest-monster syndrome" in his envy (excuse me while I snort at how ridiculous that sounds). Eventually, this negative emotion gives way to his desire to hook up with Ginny. Of course, this was only after she had become popular, sassy, and apparently talented in Quidditch.

This is the major issue I have with the Harry/Ginny pairing. Even though there is almost no actual onscreen interactions between them, she is suddenly his "only girl". The one notable exchange between them was when she brought him chocolate in the library, and tried to relate to him about his experience with Voldemort. While I have heard that the majority of the fandom found this insulting, I still think it was a nice thing to do. That was one of the few redeeming moments I witnessed for Ginny's character, it had no romantic overtones. There was barely any development of a friendship to start with, other than the fact that Ginny is the younger sister of Harry's best friend. I don't understand why, if Rowling planned all along to set the two up, why she put Ginny into the background in the third and fourth books instead of developing a friendship between the two. There are simply not enough scenes to show a relationship with substance between the two. Ginny had a crush on Harry in her childhood, and eventually decided to hook up with other guys. This is either because she really was tired of waiting for Harry to return her affections, or, more likely, she was trying to make him jealous. Harry's relationship with Ginny seemed entirely based on physical desire (wanting to make out with her). He even hopes to hear her confess "deep attraction" rather than a feeling of love. Only from did his sudden and overwhelming lust does he seem to notice the positive attributes that were heaped on Ginny through the course of OotP. Their whole relationship seems like a hormonal teenage romance.

And the fact that this relationship is fixed on physical desire does not change through the last book. Ginny is again forced into the background, because Harry is so protective of her (despite supposedly admiring how tough, brave, and resilient she is) he can't bear to continue his relationship for fear of endangering her. I suppose this is noble, and the choice all respectable heroes might have made. But this drops her character arc once more. We hear that she is helping to resurrect the DA. While word of her daring exploits reach everyones ears, we don't actually get to see her do this. So again, Ginny is pushed upon us as a heroine... But one who we never really get to know firsthand. Her character development is rushed and in no way seems gradual, just like the Harry/Ginny relationship. Ginny suddenly made a transition from shy little girl who had a crush on Harry, to hot athletic chick with an attitude, to Harry's true love. And between these stereotypical Mary Sue characterizations there was almost no character development.

As a closing, there is one point that Ginny's haters often bring up that I can't condone: Ginny is a slut. In my opinion, this is not true. While she does seem to flit quickly from one boy to another, this is an ordinary trait of a shallow teenage girl. Its unreasonable to call her a slut, because according to the books she had two boyfriends before Harry. While we can assume that she had more love interests than that, but that is only speculation. There is also no proof that she went past first base with any of these said boyfriends. One of her remarks insinuated that she had seen Harry's bare chest, but it was a joke rather than a serious statement.

In closing, I'll quote from another blog post: "If Harry's relationship with Ginny is supposed to be important, shouldn't we get more time to see it develop? And if it's not important, what the hell is it doing in the book?" I'd also like to mention that I've heard some theories that Harry has a bit of an Oedipus complex when it comes to his attraction to Ginny, but I find that speculation too creepy for words.

Ginny may not be a bad person in retrospect, but her development makes her a bad character. Therefore, I can't support Harry/Ginny. End of speech.


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