Some quick notes:
1 – I am not one of those people who thinks Bonnie Wright is “ugly”.
2 – Nor am I jealous of Ginny, or angry that Harry didn’t shack up with Hermione – or even Draco. For the record, I hated Ginny long before I shipped H/Hr.
3 – Ginny Weasley is the only character I hate in the Harry Potter books. Notice that word there – books – When it comes to the films, I am utterly bored or indifferent to her.
If you’re an active part of the Harry Potter fandom, or know how to google, then you probably already know that that Ginny is one of “the biggest polarizing characters in the series” (along with Snape, and to a far lesser extent, Draco).
For a long while, Ginny was a character that I quite enjoyed in the series. I even named my cat after her (because Hermione just seemed too long for a little kitten). However, the change in Ginny’s character in books 5/6 (most noticeably 6) was just downright infuriating. Hopefully, I will be able to focus my points into a well-flowing structure; and not some wayward rant. So, bear with me.
For a lot of reasons, I think Ginny Weasley is a Mary-Sue. Now, someone has taken the liberty to do the Mary-Sue Litmus test for Ginny, and results were negative. I beg to differ:
- From the get-go, she is set up to be the long-term romantic interest for the series hero.
- She is beautiful. I mean, beautiful enough for a Slytherin (Blaise Zabini) to think so.
- She is overly skilled, from Quidditch to Jinxes.
- She is popular, and not just in her own house.
- Her only flaw is her temper, but even then she is never pulled up for being a bitch.
Now, I know that JKR always intended for Ginny to be that sort of character. It is even hinted in early books:
– Chamber of Secrets Ron says that Ginny “never shuts up, normally.” And we are constantly reminded that Ginny is a loud and confident girl – when Harry is not around.
– We are fed tidbits of information about Ginny, namely that she is quite popular amongst her year level.
– Finally, when Harry breaks up with her during Dumbledore’s funeral, Ginny says something along the lines of “Hermione told me to be more like myself around you.”
The thing is JKR knew that Ginny was Harry’s soul mate right from the beginning. And therein lies a big problem. When it came to Half Blood Prince, JKR just tried waaaayyy too hard for us to love Ginny, and have us accept her as being worthy enough for our hero, Harry, to love. Out of nowhere, BAM, Ginny is just “awesome.” She is pretty, popular, allegedly funny (I say allegedly, because her humor is always at the expense of others), great at Quidditch, and a strong witch (I mean… she joined the Slug Club, because of a Bat-Bogey hex… seriously?). She is just too perfect. At least Hermione and Ron’s relationship had flaws – which made them real.
Which brings up another point: Ginny is not a fleshed out character. She is eternally one-sided. She is either Ron’s shy and awkward sister; or this perfect girl that everybody adores. Where is the realism in that? Ginny’s development is not gradual or subtle. We start a book (Chamber of Secrets or Half Blood Prince), are bombarded with how to perceive Ginny as a character, and that’s how she remains until the last page.
Truth is, we don’t know Ginny. All we know of her is how Harry sees her. Which is, at first, just Ron’s sister (she is easily glanced over in early books), or someone that Harry wants to bang (apologies for not being able to convey that more eloquently). If we look beyond the way Harry, and apparently everyone else at Hogwarts who adores this demi-bitch, Ginny is nothing more than a mean girl. Some may argue that this is due to Harry’s changing perception of her — which really only tells us that Harry sees her as a insolent, violent and passive-aggressive girl. As PK has pointed out in the comments:
I don’t think “Harry’s perspective” is anywhere near close to cutting it either. If it were true that everything we see of Ginny is what Harry perceives her as, wow, that is even worse for her character bc Harry sees her as a near-sociopathic, mean, rude, childish bully.
As for the term bully, some may brush this aside due to the fact Ginny was not an overt aggressor (like James or Draco), or was only responding when provoked. Firstly, just because someone is provoked does not give them permission to sink to the instigator’s level. If anything, a better and more admirable quality would be to rise about another person’s taunts. Furthermore, also pointed out by PK:
[Ginny] goes out of her way to say Luna is “all right,” but negates that statement by calling her “Loony.” She is a passive aggressive bully, which is just as bad as an outright bully bc it’s harder to call someone out on it, hence everything Ginny gets away with.
My hatred for her probably erupted when I read Half Blood Prince. Upon reading, I was horrified to see that Ginny had turned into this rude, loud mouth, boy crazy goddess. Of course, there were hints of that during Order of the Phoenix. I do recall being ticked off when Ginny snapped at Hermione after Harry and the twins were banned from Quidditch (like, seriously girl, who do you think you are yelling at Hermione? Guuurrl, learn your place).
But, in the 6th book? She was utterly HORRIBLE! From the moment we saw her – calling her soon-to-be sister-in-law “Phlegm”, pretending to vomit into cereal, and flouncing about the house in a nasty – BULLYING – imitation of Fleur. Personally, I never saw behaviour from Fleur that would warrant such nastiness – no, bitchiness – to be aimed at her. And, even if your brother is dating someone you don’t like, what gives you the right to be such a cow about it? Grow up.
But it wasn’t just her attitude towards Fleur. Throughout Half-blood Prince, Ginny exhibited insolence (the Quidditch match, a prime example), used boys to get Harry’s attention (we all know she didn’t have genuine feelings for Dean or Michael; she only ever had eyes for Harry), was horribly judgmental – and never called out on it – and was emphasized on being well-liked by almost everyone (remember Pansy calling out Blaise on the Hogwarts Express?). Personally, I don’t see the justice in that. All I see is a horrible girl – and I compare her to the horrible girls I went to school with – who is being rewarded.
A common misconception is that Mary-Sue’s are “perfect” characters, or characters without flaws. This is incorrect. There are many subcategories of Sues – and, I do feel the need to point out Self-Insertion Sue, Bella Swan from Twilight. To those arguing that Ginny is without flaw, you are wrong. She does have flaws – very minor or unmentioned – but, more often than not she is either rewarded for them (being rude, judgmental and temperamental), are ignored, or framed into a positive-light. (“Oh, someone pissed you off and you hexed him? Welcome to the Slug Club, you hot-tempered, belligerent cow! Well done!) She escapes all consequences.
Half-Blood Prince aside, Ginny is still pretty darn annoying. From the few times that she is mentioned in previous books, she comes across as either whiny or self-righteous (a Leo trait she shares with Harry). In Goblet of Fire, Ginny accepted an invitation to the Yule Ball from Neville Longbottom. When she realised that Harry was still looking for a date, she whined in return: “I accepted an invite from Neville, or else I wouldn’t have been able to go.” Don’t get me wrong – this is exactly the sort of thing a 13 year old girl would say – so, kudos to JKR for that one – but it was still something that I read and felt a pang of disdain.
Furthermore, when we’re introduced to Luna Lovegood (or, the scene outside the Herbology green house), Ginny is shown to be defending Luna from bullies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an admirable trait to have. But every time I read that scene, I envision Ginny to be conducting herself in a somewhat holier-than-thou manner. I almost hear her inner-monologue “Oh, I am so above you people – look at how nice I am to the strange girl!” It’s like in Mean Girls when Regina is nice to Cady.
Of course, these last two points are merely my interpretation of the text. These are not perfect examples of how Ginny is a terrible character in general, simply reasons for why I do not like her.
So, hopefully that should cover Book!Ginny – if not, I’m sure I will remember some points later.
I am not opening up a conversation of hatred towards Bonnie Wright.
Truth is, Bonnie Wright is so far removed from Ginny in the books, it’s not even funny. Is Bonnie the femme fatal Ginny, supposedly, grew up to be? No – but she is far from ugly. When the effort is put in (by effort, I mean hair and makeup), she is quite pretty.
Bonnie’s presence on screen does no justice to Book!Ginny. Is this a reflection of Bonnie’s acting skills? Possibly – her only high profile acting job has been Harry Potter, so we are yet to see her range. But, personally, from Bonnie’s personal pictures she looks far more fun and “Ginny-like” in real life:
In real life, Bonnie Wright exudes confidence and an ability to have fun, both of which are qualities she is lacking on screen. Suffice to say, the problem with Film!Ginny probably lies within David Yates and Steve Kloves.
Prior to Yates, Ginny had been handled quite well on screen, particularly Goblet of Fire (looking back, perhaps her portrayal here is where I was inspired to name my cat after her). Kloves, on the other hand is a blatant Harry/Hermione shipper (see http://www.frakearth.com/apps/blog/show/prev?from_id=6804737). That, and prior to Half Blood Prince, WB had been commercializing Harry and Hermione’s relationship; yet we saw nothing like that for Harry and Ginny.
But my dislike for Ginny Weasley has nothing to do with Bonnie Wright or the films. Yes, Ginny in the films is lacking confidence, charisma and allure. She is bland on screen, boring and forgettable – but there is only so much she can do with the material she is given. Kloves writes Ginny into the background whenever he can, gives her little-to-no lines (and the lines she has are uninspiring and dull), and gives her zero personality.
So, on two mediums, Ginny Weasley is a difficult character for me to enjoy. It’s come to the point where, only recently, I have decided to create my own Ginny Weasley. Now, whenever I read the books or watch the films, I try to envision Ginny as Rachel Hurd Wood (the actress who played Wendy Darling in the 2003 film, Peter Pan – alongside Jason Isaacs/Lucius Malfoy, as well :p). I am doing everything I can to reinvent the character for myself, in both appearance and personality. My Ginny isn’t ill-mannered, obnoxious, or put on a pedestal – nor is she boring, plain or someone I would easily look over on screen.
In the end, nothing is perfect. Not even Harry Potter. And, for me, Ginny Weasley will always be that one thing that could have been better.