Wed
Jan 15 2014 10:00am

Erased by Time and Blockbusters—The Cautionary Tale of Ron Weasley

Ron Weasley, Harry Potter

So a little while back I was going on about Neville Longbottom, expounding on his virtues and heroics. And something sort of sinister cropped up in the process—I learned that a healthy slice of fandom harbors disdain or outright vitriol toward Ronald Weasley.

And... I really don’t understand that. Not in the slightest. But I do have a theory about why the waters might be growing even more unfriendly toward the less flashy member of the Potter trinity.

Trios are a powerful thing. Though most of fiction finds itself constantly obsessed with dependable duos, trios are actually a better model for fighting evil and team dynamics. Three legs offer stability. It’s possible to break ties. Perspectives have a better opportunity for variation. And so Harry is graced with two incredible friends who will help him fend off Voldemort on his journey.

Harry is our avatar, and as such, it’s hard not to relate to him. Hermione has won the world over by virtue of her brain, and because of this, she garners most of the applause. And I agree, it’s exciting to have a female character portrayed as the logical, pragmatic one in the group—it rarely occurs that way in fiction, a place where women are told constantly that they are the emotional, irrational participants. But to suggest that her strengths negate Harry’s—and Ron’s—is a grave mistake.

Ron Weasley, Harry Potter, Hemione Granger

A trio is a balancing act, and these three are an excellent illustration of how that works. Hermione has the knowledge, the skills, but she’s not the most personable human being in the world. It’s not as though Harry and Ron were the only kids at Hogwarts to be less than impressed with her people skills either; up until their friendship begins at the mercy of a troll in the girl’s loo, Hermione has no friends at school whatsoever. She’s a difficult kid to pal around with. On Harry’s tip of the triangle, we see what both Hermione and Ron lack—inherent leadership skills and charisma. People like Harry a lot. He’s sensitive to the treatment and care given to others, especially as he gets older. He has an easy time heading up large groups. He excels at drawing people to him and gaining their trust; the most unpopular spate Harry ever endures is during his insistence at Voldemort’s return after the Tri-Wizard Championship, and that is primarily due to fear-mongering and politics.

So what about Ron? He actually tends to a very clear gap in the ranks—providing a sense of family unity and street smarts. While Ron himself may often feel crushed by the burden of familial expectations, he extends the closeness of the Weasley clan to his friends both figuratively and literally. Harry and Hermione do both eventually become members of his family through marriage, but more importantly, Ron always treats them as blood. It’s there in every holiday Harry spends with the Weasley family, with that first sweater Harry receives on Christmas, and the unconditional love Harry and Hermione are both offered only because Ron’s family know how much these children mean to their son. I mean, he steals the family hover-car with the help of the twins because he’s worried that Harry is being held hostage by his abusive relatives. That knight parallel from their mega chess battle is looking more and more apt.

Ron Weasley, wizard chess

In addition, because Ron is only one out of the trio who grew up in the wizarding world, he has an immediate frame of reference and level of comfort that they both lack. Even Hermione’s book smarts cannot make up for Ron’s practical know-how, a kind of intelligence that often gets no credit at all. More to the point: you cannot be a whiz at chess and be an idiot.

Because Ron has fewer expectations placed on him, he often feels the weight of people’s indifference toward his accomplishments. Which is perhaps another way of saying, yeah, on occasion, Ron gets incredibly jealous. Jealously is often marked as one of the most undesirable traits in a human being, but it’s entirely common to us as a species. So we should probably ask another question—is Ron’s jealousy understandable? He is the youngest out of six brothers, each accomplished and unique in their own right, and he feels a need to live up to their examples. Then he ends up picking one best friend who’s famous and congenial, and another who is a near-genius at excelling in every way that he has been taught to value.

Draco, Lucius Malfoy

And don’t give me that bunk about “if Ron had studied harder in school, maybe he wouldn’t have so much to complain about.” Not everyone is a superstar student, even if they are academically inclined. (Which Ron is clearly not for the most part.) This is counting out the fact that Ron’s family is living at a near-poverty level, as far as we’re led to believe. Ron Weasley is accustomed to having very little, and his inferiority complex is only heightened by the constant battering he takes from kids like Draco Malfoy, who need to prove their superiority by tearing him down for his class bracket. These are the most common insults levied at Ron; he’s dumb, untalented, and poor. Funny how often those items are paired together by bullies. The idea that’s it’s impossible to relate, or even wrong to sympathize with any jealousy that might spring from that treatment is plain unrealistic. In fact, it is more likely that we rail against Ron’s bouts of less-than-stunning behavior because we’ve all been standing right where he is and done something we regretted.

No, Ron! fans cry. I demand that you make up for my personal failings!
(Or am I the only one who frequently shouts at fictional characters?)

Ron Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger

But there’s perhaps something more subtle at work here as well. Where films are more recent in public memory, they can sometimes overwrite their fictional underpinnings. Is it possible that much of this Ron-hate is coming from people who are confusing canon-Ron with Ron-on-film?

Let’s start that examination with a little set-up. When Steve Kloves (who wrote the majority of the Potter screenplays) met J.K. Rowling for the first time, he told her straight up that Hermione was his favorite character. Rowling admitted to being relieved, and who could blame her? It was more likely for Hermione to end up disrespected on screen—she wouldn’t be the first female hero to get butchered in the reels.

But this resulted in an undercutting of Ron’s entire character from the first movie. Don’t believe it? When the trio go after the Philosopher’s Stone, they face a series of tests that demand each of their skills in turn. Time likely demanded that this sequence be cut down, and so Hermione’s test—solving Professor Snape’s potion riddle—was removed entirely. To make up for this, she gets them out of the Devil’s Snare, Professor Sprout’s deadly plant. Hermione shouts to Harry and Ron to relax so the foliage will release them—but Ron continues to panic and moan (in campiest fashion possible because he’s played by a child actor and these things are always requested of them), requiring Hermione to blast the thing with a sunlight spell.

Ron Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger

In the book, Hermione is the one who panics. She remembers what her lessons taught her—that the Devil’s Snare will recoil at fire—but balks at their lack of matches while they are being strangled to death. Ron immediately shrieks to the rescue YOU ARE A WITCH YOU HAVE A WAND YOU KNOW SPELLS WHAT ARE MATCHES.

It’s a simple change, but it makes such a marked difference in how both characters come off to an audience. Rather than a near-infant, incapable of following the clearest directions, Ron is the even-keeled nitty-gritty one. He’s a tactician, the one who will find the simplest answer to a problem provided that the situation is dire enough to ensure his clear head. Ron is good under pressure and brave to boot. He’s also hilarious.

It is easy to write this off as an actor problem; Emma Watson matured and improved much faster than her costars in terms of talent—and Steve Kloves liked her portrayal so much that he started giving her many of Ron’s important lines. During The Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black is trying to get to Peter Pettigrew (currently disguised as Scabbers the Rat), but Ron and Hermione are convinced he’s after Harry. In the book, Ron stares up defiantly from his mangled, broken leg and tells Sirius Black that if he wants Harry, he’ll have to get through his friends first.

Ron Weasley, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger

And in the film, it’s Hermione who boldly steps in the line of fire while Ron sobs in pain and babbles incoherently.

These rewrites not only depict Ron as an idiot coward—they also make him an outright jerk. When Professor Snape snaps at Hermione yet again for being an insufferable know-it-all, movie-Ron gives her a look and drawls, “He’s right, you know.” Wait, what?! Harry, why are you friends with this prick? Well, maybe because the Ron Weasley that J.K. Rowling put on paper was in that exact same situation, and immediately leapt to Hermione’s defense when she was being abused by a teacher—“You asked us a question and she knows the answer! Why ask if you don’t want to be told?”

Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger

All the points to Gryffindor! (Actually, he got detention.)

Chemistry also made this a tough one for screenwriting; Daniel Radcliffe clearly had the greatest rapport with Watson, enough that it might have been a shock to those who never read the books that Hermione ended up in love with Ron. (The romantic dance to Nick Cave in Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows? The hell?) For that matter, every time Harry is feeling alone or confused, he goes to Hermione. He has all his major heart-to-hearts with Hermione. He is consoled by Hermione.

Ron Weasley, Harry Potter, Marie Grandpre

Does anyone remember how that actually worked in the books? In case you don’t, Harry usually spent the majority of his off-hours with Ron. Not because he didn’t love Hermione a whole lot, but because downtime in the library was kinda boring to him. (Getting tipsy on butterbeer while playing strip poker in the Gryffindor common room is way more fun. Er, I mean...) That and the oh-so minor detail that Ron is his best friend. Because Ron Weasley is a staid, funny, loving, incredibly bright guy. Sure, he made some dating mistakes—don’t we all at that age?—and sometimes let his internal self-deprecation get the better of him to wince-worthy ends. But that doesn’t devalue all he has to offer his dearest friends. That doesn’t remove the desperate need for a family that he invited them to become a part of, or the countless times he stood at their defense, or the supremely undervalued type of intelligence he unknowingly provided to them. It doesn’t change the fact that Ron Weasley, who felt third-best or worse throughout their entire childhood, always had their backs when Harry and Hermione needed him most.

Characters don’t have to be perfect to be good—in either a well-written sense, or a personally likable one. And it is precisely Ron Weasley’s imperfections that make him tangible and so easy to love.

“Easy to love” are Rowling’s words concerning Ron, by the way. Not mine.

 


Check back on Tor.com on Thursday, March 6th, when Emily Asher-Perrin begins a reread of the Harry Potter series. Until then, you may enjoy other ruminations she has made about the wizarding world:

Neville Longbottom is the Most Important Person in Harry Potter—And Here's Why

Harry and company need Neville in the exact way that James and Lily and the Order of the Phoenix needed Peter Pettigrew. The difference is that Neville is more than up to the task. It’s a lesson in self-worth under stronger personalities that most human beings could do with at some point or another. Because society at large insists that the only people of value are leaders and their closest confederates, people like Neville are dismissed at first blush much in the same manner that he is dismissed by his classmates in his first years at Hogwarts.

 

Everyone Should Want to Be A Hufflepuff, Or, Stop the Hogwarts House-Hate

Cedric Diggory was the Hogwarts Champion and he was pure Hufflepuff, through and through. Just, honest, hardworking and fair. Helpful, capable, and a fierce friend, just as Dumbledore said. It’s not as flashy as Gryffindor swagger, but it’s infinitely more admirable.

 

Growing Up Potter

When Harry Potter was eleven, so was I.


Emily Asher-Perrin thinks people usually forget that Harry Potter books without Ron Weasley would never be funny. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

87 comments
Jeremy Goff
1. JeremyM
Great post! I just re-read the first book the other day and was amazed at how much I had forgotten and had replaced with the movie version. I always related to Ron when it came to the books. Harry was always the person you aspired to be and Hermione's intelligence is through the roof and I could never match that. Ron was always the character that I could place myself in.

The movie version though is completely different. He's so much more cowardly and rarely gets anything right. He has his moments and I still like his character, but I just couldn't relate to him like I could in the book.
Colin R
2. Colin R
The movies definitely change the nature of Harry's relationships with Ron and Hermione. I don't know if they can be entirely blamed for that--when you're making a movie you have to go with what works. And while the pull between Harry and Hermione is stronger in the films because of Radcliffe and Watson's chemistry... it's not absent in the books.

That kiss between Hermione and Ron near the end of the Deathly Hallows feels awkward and undeserved in both formats. It feels like something that was decided by the author, but never really developed naturally from the characters. Likewise the reintroduction of Ginny Weasley as a viable love interest toward the end of the series seems to me like a way of solving a problem; I think Rowling perceived the possibility of a love triangle, and was trying to avoid it. Not entirely convincing to me--Ginny never seems fully realized as a character.
Scott Sherris
3. ssherris
I have always been annoyed by Hermione ending up with Ron and Harry ending up with Ginny. I would much rather the three of them went their separate ways. It's not just the movies - it's awkward in the books when Hermione and Ron are together and while Ron is his playmate, Hermione is always the one who comes to take care of Harry. (Harry is also the first to rush to Ron, so maybe they should have ended up together?)

But a more interesting point is that maybe Rowling got it wrong. Maybe once we got to see these characters on screen, it became apparent that she was trying to force something unrealistic on the trio. Just because she *says* Ron and Hermione end up together doesn't mean it makes sense. Sometimes role-playing the thing helps you figure out what's really happening.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
4. Lisamarie
Oh man, Ron is the new Faramir! I think a lot of this flew right under my radar, shame on me. Maybe I was just blinded by the Hermione awesomeness (at least, for once, we have a female character that didn't get sidestepped or dumbed down, right? Even if my bushy haired, buck toothed, unfashionable self does kind of object to the 'prettification' she undergoes.)

Even in the books, Ron occasionally struck me as a bit insecure, whiny, and lazy at various times (I always disliked how he wanted Hermione to do his homework for him!) but not in an unforgivable sort of way. He's human.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
5. Lisamarie
Oh by the way, Harry Potter reread??? PLEEEAAAASE?????
Deana Whitney
6. Braid_Tug
@1: agree. It's so easy to forget who says what lines. But it really does matter.

Re: Harry & Hermione - best friends can be boy & girl. There doesn't have to be a love interest there. It can morph into a sibling like love. But because they are not siblings, they don't have to grow up and past the fighting stage most of us have with our siblings. Both Harry and Hermione are only children. Harry may have grown up with his cousin, but he wasn’t loved or treated like a equal playmate.

Ron already has a sister and a ton of brothers. He doesn’t need more. He needs friends and wants a girlfriend (by book 4).

Yes, movie Ron is much more whiney. But look what the movie did to the twins? Cut out so much of their greatness! They always staged their tricks to “not screw over anyone else.” Yet the movie put’s their greatest (movie) trick right in the middle of the major OWLS. Which would have screwed all the test results.
Colin R
7. Colin R
@6--The problem is that Rowling has tried to turn the relationships between characters into logical equations, like you have, rather than doing the work of making the relationships convincing. Ron 'needs' a girlfriend more than he 'needs' another sister. Harry is missing a family and thus marrying into a large one fills that hole. If all you're doing is storyboarding the relationships you can make it make logical sense, I suppose.

In the actual execution though, it's not very convincing. Or rather it's convincing that Ron might like Hermione, but not terribly convincing that Hermione is attracted to Ron. Nor very convincing that Harry is suddenly in love with Ginny. This is so in the books, and moreso in the movies.

In the movies I found myself wondering why Harry couldn't go ask out that girl he saw in the sandwich shop in the subway.
Colin R
8. KAsiki
@3 ssherris

I think it is also important to remeber the point of view of the books, wityh a few exceptions, we are always following Harry and know nothing about what is going on in the background unless it is told to him. When rereading the series, you can see chunks of time that Ron and Hermione spend together without Harry, but because they keep it private Harry really knows nothing of it so neither do we.
Colin R
9. Sollitaire
Agree with @8 - Hermione and Ron spent a lot of time together where Harry was missing because he was stuck at the Dursley's. Harry even points this out at time because he feels left out. We have no insight into any of that, if for no other reason, Harry wasn't there.
Colin R
10. DougL
Well, the movies were much less kind to Ron, but man, I loved Emma Watson as Hermione so much I don't really care.

In any case, I didn't love him in the books either, mostly because of the whole Tri Wizard cup book, whichever that one was.
Colin R
11. Colin R
It's not really very convincing to say that Ron and Hermione's romance occurs off-screen. It's not tangential to what is going on in the story--Harry's relationship with both of them is pretty important. And Ron's jealousy of Harry and Hermione's closeness is a key plot point in the seventh novel. For that to be convincing we have to buy into Ron and Hermione's relationship.
Chris Nelly
12. Aeryl
I have absolutely no problem accepting Ron/Hermione.

She's obviously been crushing on him for years, but he acts so disdainful of her she figures she has no chance, and doesn't say anything, except the time he gets insansely jealous. Then she calls him on it, but also has enough respect for herself that she's not going to be with someone, or moon over, someone who can't be honest with himself about how he feels about her. Plus, Hermione is the Social Justice Wario(tumblr joke) of the Wizarding World, and she's NOT going to go out with someone who still acts in a racist manner. It's not until he shows concern for the house elves that she sees he's grown past that.

He's absolutely gaga over her, but considers her way out of his league, so treats her with disdain to not show his true feelings, until he gets kicked in the pants by his own jealousy. Once that's out though, he thinks Hermione's anger is about the possibility he likes her, not from him being jealous, so he continues to treat her disdainfully.

Did you all not KNOW people who acted like this in high school?
Emily Asher-Perrin
13. EmilyAP
Gotta agree with Aeryl on the Ron/Hermione relationship. It's clear from practically the first book that something is going on there. Rowling practically telegraphs it and always expressed confusion over readers who thought they didn't make sense. No, they're not obviously flirty, but that's because they're too busy awkwardly growing up and getting over their stuff.
Dan Rice
14. driceman
I think the relationships ended up the right way- Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione that is (@12 is right on the money in regards to Ron and Hermione)-but I think Rowling could've done a better job of developing Harry and Ginny. It felt as though it was thrown in there as if it was a given rather than establishing why the two work so well together. I mean, I get that Harry is a courageous leader-type person and so his girlfriend has to be someone who's on his level (and we do get several displays of Ginny being very independent in the last couple books), but we don't see them building up a relationship together very much. Ah well, nothing's perfect.
Dixon Davis
15. KadesSwordElanor
I cannot relate at those who have “disdain” for Ron, on film or in book. I mean, after all the things he’s done, I think I love him better now (A butterbeer on me to whoever gets this reference).

I also like Lisamarie @ 4’s Faramir comparison. It works on some level for film & book. Both were bought down a notch on film. But, although human, Book Faramir was not human, if you get what I mean. Film did ruin Faramir though.
Colin R
16. Brian_E
Perhaps it's just because of the change of medium types.

In books it's easy to have the main protagonist not be the character the reader connects with the easiest (Ron seems to be the "everyman" to Harry's hero and Hermione's ... genius?).

But movies seem to want to make the viewers connect to the hero/protagonist more easily.
Colin R
17. ProfMel
I agree!!! In the books, Ron is awesome and it's obvious why Hermione would end up with him. Even though the gender roles are swapped a bit from the usual stereotypes. Ron is the one that keeps Hermione grounded.
In the books, it's also clear, though only hinted at, why Harry and Ginny end up together. In the books, Ginny is totally fearless, has a wicked sense of humor and always has Harry's back whether he knows it or not. Ginny was like the twins squared. In the movies, you barely knew she was there. But so much of it is just casually mentioned. If we had the last two books from Ginny's point of view, Neville and Ginny would come out much better.
I know the movies can only do so much, but I felt that Ginny and Ron suffered the most.
Colin R
18. dwndrgn
Never had a problem with Ron/Hermione or Harry/Ginny.

AND, I never lost sight of the awesome of Ron, in fact, he has always been my favorite character over and above Harry and Hermione (mostly because both of them were annoying in different ways and Ron was always more real to me).

I'll agree that a re-read of the series would be fun here at Tor.com.
Phil Boswell
19. NotACat
For me, one of the most important things to remember is that while JKR based Hermione on herself, she based Ron on her friend Sean, the owner of the original Ford Anglia, to whom she dedicated the second book.

I have a "theory of Ron", which is that his major blowups all occur because he thinks his friends are being disloyal: Hermione to Harry over the Firebolt; Harry to him over the latter's name coming out of the Goblet; Harry and Hermione to him when—in his weakened state after splinching and having suffered lengthy deprivations—the Horcrux manages to sneak under his defences and twist his perceptions.

Each of those times he allowed himself to be provoked into overreacting and making an arse of himself, but at least he cared enough to actually react, rather than bury his resentment where it would fester. Once he was done being an arse, he came back and everything was fine until the next time…which is pretty much how real life works to be honest.

I'm sorry, I have no such excuse for the Lavender episode, that'll just have to be chalked up to hormones, but you know what? At least he didn't end up like Wormtail.
Beccy Higman
20. Jazzlet
I agree with Aeryl @12 about Ron and Hermione.

I also wasn't surprised about Harry and Ginny. Ginny had a crush on Harry from the start and eventually Harry comes to see her as a young woman rather than just Ron's kid sister.
Colin R
21. bluemeanies
I think part of it is that the lack of strongly established female characters outside of Hermione until book fivish (I mean outside McGonnagall, Mrs. Weasley, 2nd book Ginny and Petunia who makes an impression in the first four- Pansy? Cho? Fleur?) combined with a number of complex male characters created a shipping environment where people looking for a het pairing with a young non-OC woman would lean towards Hermione as the love interest at the expence of her canon love interest. Not only do you have Harry/Hermione out there, but Neville/Hermione, Draco/Hermione, Snape/Hermione, Remus/Hermione, Sirius/Hermione, Twins/Hermione ect. There was no equivalent proliferation of shipping with Ron (or to some extent Harry) and other female characters because the other female characters were non-entities, incest-ick or McGonnagall. Not until Luna do you have a character that makes a good alternative, and too many shippers felt they had to destroy the other love interest to make their relationship work (hint, the best alternative shipping doesn't do that).

Add the movies, add the evil is cool fans seeing him as too square compared to say Draco- you get a fandom goat. Not that he doesn't have grounds for criticism, but that there are dynamics in the fandom that exaccerbated it for this character.
Shelly wb
22. shellywb
You just made me glad I never saw the last 4 movies. I always rather liked Ron.
Colin R
23. Dr. Cox
If not a reread--but that would be great!--a continuance of character revisit articles?
Colin R
24. Dunedain5
I guess it never registered with me that so many of Ron's stronger acts were gifted to Hermione in the films. I don't think I questioned it because to me it seemed that the films focused more on a comic relief for Ron in order to lighten the mood because of the darker tone the later films had.

That said, based purely on my reading of the books I never had that high of an opinion of Ron post Azkaban. His jealously, laziness, spitefullness and general ambivalence towards the feelings of others became more and more prevalent with GoF onward, which culminated in his complete abandonment of Harry in Deathly Hollows. Yes he would always want to come back, but even Dumbledore knew enough of his deficient character to basically give him the equivalent of a 'get out of jail free card' with the deluminator.

Yes Ron grew up poor as the youngest son in a very large family, yet time and again he proved to be nothing more than a spoiled brat. Jealous of Harry's wealth, yet unaknowleging of the price Harry paid for it (the abuse, losing his family) Ron continued to showcase his poor character and continued his bitterness over being constantly overlooked. While Percy was a git he distinguished himself in his family through superior grades and a fierce ambition. George and Fred distinguished themselves through their mischievousness and creative endeavors. Ron meanwhile put zero effort into anything he ever tried. Homework was done at the last minute and with minimal effort, spell work the same. Hell he even half gave up at quidditch once he was up against someone better. Rather than try harder he resigned himself to losing. The only way he made the team was because Hermoine cheated, something he was too stupid to work out (it took Harry all of 5 seconds). Basically. Hermoine had to compromise her morals so Ron could feel good about himself. Jo makes this dishonest act seem okay by portraying the guy she did it to as a jacka** so we don't dwell on it too much, but it's a telling thing.

Maybe this is why the Ron/Hermoine love angle always rang false with me. Ron constantly made her feel bad for excelling. He was the one always mocking her hard work. The flip side of this equation is Neville Longbottom. Neville was 10 times the person Ron was. Constantly overlooked, underestimated, and ridiculed (and this was just by his grandmother), yet Neville maintained an unwavering loyalty to Harry and a pretty good overall attitude all things considered. I think Jo realized this about Ron towards the end of the book hence the whole 'Ron mimics parseltongue to get to the chamber of secrets and the basilisk fangs' thing. I remember reading that and thinking how hollow it soundedand how it just felt shoehorned in, as if Jo felt the need to prove to the reader that Ron actually was worthwhile after showing his glaring deficiencies for the 400 pages previous. Stopping the flow of the story for a second to say 'hey Ron did a good thing. Did you see the good and smart thing Ron did' before getting on with the battle.

I mean I get why Rowling put Harry with Ginny, even though Hermoine was the better fit. Ginny, though thinly drawn, was a closer equal to Harry in spirit than any other female character in the series save Hermoine. Put Harry with Hermoine and Ron is the odd man out, and a bitter one at that. It breaks up the trio. Put Ron with Hermoine and Harry with Ginny and Harry Gaines the family he's always wanted while maintaining the closeness of the trio and keeping them together.

To me Ron was inept as a wizard, shaky as a best friend and the weakest part of the trio. If Harry and Hermoine were made of oak, Ron's leg of the table would undoubtedly be made of balsa wood. All the movies did was make it that much more obvious.
Colin R
25. Mollie
You are now my best friend. I have been saying this for YEARS! I feel the films did a great injustice to the character of Ron, who is my favorite from the books. The films made him out to be a bumbling, cowardly, fool. The books make him out to be a kid who is brave, stupid, whole-hearted, stubborn, clever, and unfailing. What we've all been and hope to be.

I'd like to add that things never really worked when things were "off" with Ron. Harry admitted it several times; he loved and respected Hermione, and valued their friendship, but things weren't right without Ron in his life. When they were fighting in the GoF, Harry was off-kilter. When Harry decided to go to the Ministry of Magic in OotP, he wanted Ron with him, not Hermione. Ron was the glue to their trio, not Harry. Ron made it work.
Scott Sherris
26. ssherris
I think the big fail for me is the assumption that everyone has to end up with a classmate. They're teenagers! Sure, *some* teenagers end up marrying their high school sweethearts, but more don't. Is the wizarding world so tiny that there are only 10 kids in each grade for the whole of the UK?
Eric Wyatt
27. SunDriedRainbow
@24

My feelings exactly! Ron always bugged the crap out of me because he's so self-centered and unempathetic. Yes I realize he's high school age and believe me, I know how self-centered high school kids are, and he's a good foil to Hermione who is remarkably self-aware and mature, but the books only cover him age 11 to 18, it's not like I have anything else to judge.
Colin R
28. AW21
Excellent post. I agree for the most part that movie-Ron doesn't exactly do justice to book-Ron. Between Rupert Grint being a less-talented actor than Emma Watson (sorry, RG and fans, but it's true) and the several movie directors who each wanted to put their own stamp on the franchise, movie-Ron becomes marginally tolerable at his very best. B00k-Ron, however, is generally quite likeable despite a handful of obvious flaws.

Just a quibble about this passage, though: "People like Harry a lot. ... the most unpopular spate Harry ever endures is during his insistence at Voldemort’s return after the Tri-Wizard Championship, and that is primarily due to fear-mongering and politics." This minimizes the continual mistrust that Harry generally endures at Hogwarts and in the wizarding world in general. Though he has a loyal cadre of sympathizers for The Boy Who Lived, he also endures continual ridicule from Snape as well as antagonism from the Slytherins and their sympathizers. The Ministry of Magic typically holds Harry at arm's length, to say nothing of Rita Skeeter's treatment. Except for Half-Blood Prince, he endures collective suspicion in every book--the Chamber of Secrets scare, hostility even from friends during the Triwizard Tournament, running for his life in Deathly Hallows, etc., etc.? Harry has friends throughout, yes, but he's rarely popular.
Amey Chinchorkar
29. ameyc
Agreed. The line that sums up Ron is the exasperated "You're a witch!" to Hermione during Devil's Snare scene.

Weasley is our King! :D (P.S. Nobody else in the series gets to take a song which was supposed to mock him/her and make people rewrite it to his victory song)
Colin R
30. Ashgrove
Well, brilliant essay, Ms. Asher-Perrin! And I do mean brilliant!

My only quibble is also AW21's. Harry has a leader's charisma alright, but he is shunned by most people throughout most of the books (and films) for a reason or another. Popular my foot.

In defense of Rupert Grint, who was usually handed the fuzzy end of the lollipop in favor of the other two, I'll 2520 8559438say this: every time he was allowed to step up to the plate, he was perfect. And he brought to movie-Ron a rare quality that's not so self-evident in the books: he is inmensely, slyly likable. If I had to choose a friend from all three actors, I would choose Grint with my eyes closed.
Colin R
31. Ashgrove
Actually, ssherris, one of the (sadly very few) things I picked up from very early in the books was that Hermione and Ron were going to end up together. Think about it: they were fighting ALL THE TIME. And they never really competed for Harry's attention, which would have made sense.

Drawing a Star Wars parallel (which I hate to do, as I HATE Star Wars), who does Leia end up with? The guy she has a sweet rapport with, or the one she's snapping at constantly?
Colin R
32. LarryK
You tagged it. Movie Ron 5 out of 10

Book Ron 10 out of 10.

The movies did his character an injustice.
Chris Nelly
33. Aeryl
@31, Um, the one that's NOT her brother?
Colin R
34. Sinsangel
I think those who riddicule Ron forget that he was the heart of the trio, he was the best friend in the books, the one that would follow him into trouble unerringly without judgement, something he didn't get from Hermione until book 5.

Also to the commenters talking about the Ron Hermione relationship, originally JK had planned for her to fall in love with Fred Weasley yet changed her mind and gave her to Ron.
Colin R
35. Ramenth
You're right. Ron pretty much always performs under pressure. The problem is he's basically a complete shit the rest of the time.

I think the objection most people who aren't a fan of Ron have is not so much "He's unreliable" as "He's incredibly unpleasant to be around most of the time." Yeah, he'll always have your back in when it counts, but he's not exactly supportive when it doesn't.

Even then, Ron's friendship with Harry still kind of makes sense. But he's basically horrible to Hermione for most of the series, except when someone else is being nasty to her, in which case he leaps to her defense.
Colin R
36. Ramenth
@Aeyrl: I totally knew people who acted like that in Highschool. Most of them never ended up together, and the ones who did basically had hilariously abusive relationships on both ends.

The thing about Ron and Hermione's relationship that's so problematic is that it's basically defined by them arguing and then making up, over and over again. And they have pretty darn toxic arguments.

That's not a healthy dynamic for a relationship, and most people would probably call it borderline abusive. JKR seems to have gone with 'They fight a lot, it's unresolved sexual tension!' And maybe they'd go off and have great sex. But they're not going to magically stop fighting just because they're in a relationship, and given that their entire friendship basically falls apart several times over the course of the books, it's hard to imagine them working out.

Honestly, I would have liked to see Ron and Hermione get together at the end of Book 7 and then both be married to different people in the epilogue. Would have felt far more believable.
Colin R
37. Shaq
I definitely agree that there is something wrong with Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny. There are hundreds of better alternatives. Yes, maybe Ron and Hermione were flirtious. Maybe Ginny is fitting to Harry by means of personality. But it sounds to me executed clumsily as well, especially because there are two problematic couples to doubt. Had it been only Ron and Hermione, perhaps i'd get used to it, but having all Gryffindor's marry each other is a bit weird. I wish JK wouldn't have written the epilogue, summarizing their life story so that she eventually could've turned things around, by making Ginny and Harry a heat-of-the-moment thing and Ron and Hermione as a relief of long-stored sexual tension. Ginny and Harry could date a while, being no longer than a year, and Ron and Hermione could destroy their friendship in a long term relationship, that would eventually end up with Hermione falling for another guy. That would sound plausible to me. (If you find my version not romantic enough perhaps it would help if I'd add that I imagine both relationships as happy. Ron an Hermione would eventually work things out for their friendship and they'd fall in love and live happy marriages with complete strangers)
Colin R
38. Squeaker90
I never disliked or dismissed him. I understood him; related to him. Ron was my favorite character throughout the entire series.
Colin R
39. les111280
I have to completely disagree with you on Ron. Yes the movies gave some of his moments to Hermione but for me the movies are the only reason I can even slightly stand Ron. I disliked Ron from pretty early on in the books and the later books didn't do anything but make me like him less and I blame JKR for that because he doesn't grow as character or really add anything to the story other than being the vehicle to show us up close an average wizard. It feels wrong to have him go through those major events in each book with Harry and Hermione and not have them create some sort of change in the character. That may be why people like him because he's still the same normal wizard boy but that doesn't cut it for me because his jealousy and laziness still have an adverse effect on Harry, Hermione and how they handle things. He could have almost been completely removed from the main storyline and had nearly the same effect on the outcome of the story except for knowing about the Tales of Beedle the Bard and the unbelievable moment where he "mimics" Parseltongue. In the end he pretty much still the same lazy, jealous boy he was at the beginning and in a series where you have Harry, Hermione and Neville going through some fairly big changes it makes him not as good a character in comparison for me. In fact, I still firmly believe that the characters got away from what JKR intended while writing the books and she had to quickly bring them back in line with what she wanted, which is why for me some of the characterizations and events of the last two books seemed forced just to fit with what she had planned. I don't buy Hermione being a complete shrew in HBP, I don't buy Harry almost shrugging off Sirius' death to worry about "the monster in his chest" and Draco when he should have been even more angry in HBP than he was in OotP, I don't buy Ron being able to "mimic" Parseltoungue to open the Chamber, I don't buy Ginny being this super sexy awesome witch out of what seemed almost nowhere, I don't buy Dumbledore not giving Harry some real training for facing Voldemort and I certainly don't buy Harry and Hermione letting Ron just come back after he abandons them in DH.

I also don't buy Hermione having anything more than vaugely friendship like feelings for Ron. They have absolutely nothing common besides Harry and are at times downright cruel to each other. Which is why I hate when people try to compare the Trio to Luke, Leia and Han bacause that comparison just falls flat after you get past there being 2 guys and a girl, especially with Ron and Hermione. Maybe JKR wanted the Trio to be similar to Luke, Leia and Han but they aren't and it isn't a good comparison at all. Ron and Hermione don't bicker in the funny way Han and Leia do in Star Wars, they fight to the point that one of them usually ends up with their feelings hurt or in tears (usually Hermione) and it's not something they grow out of during the course of the books nor does it take on the loving teasing that it does with Han and Leia. The fact that the books cover more than 7 years makes the comparison even worse because they really don't grow out of the mean spirited fighting to loving bickering. The fact that it takes Ron getting a book from his brothers to "woo" Hermione (in a way that seems more than a little sexist) makes them even less believable.

I also personally feel that JKR is not the best person to take queues from on how to view the characters after some of the things she said in her interviews as she was writing the books. She sees the characters and events in one way, the way she intended them to be, but what was written doesn't always measure up to what she believed she wrote. The shipping war in the HP fandom is a good indicator of this because she did some interviews where she was stumped as to why it was even an issue but once the books were finished and she admitted that it was a possiblity, even though it wasn't what she intended or was going to write. Which is why I'll always believe that the characters got away from her as she was writing them and may have been better suited to a different ending than she intended. I also blame this for why the epilogue was like a bad fanfiction.
Colin R
40. bluemeanies
I find Ron and Hermione bickering hilarious (better than Han and Leia), the shipping and the epilogue the least of the last books problems and that the fact that this thread has devolved into shipping so thouroughly sad. And no, shipping wars don't say anything about the source material, they basically confirm that you are a large fandom on the internet. The fact that you don't like a ship is not evidence that the books would have been better if your ship had sailed - hey, in my mind there is a much better book 7 that should have been written without them dropping out of Hogwarts and thus stripping the book of its most charming feature and the familiar plot structure, but there is always a chance that would have been complete crap and it can be a masterpiece of fiction in my mind mainly because it doesn't exist.

Ron Weasley has a problem we normally associate with female characters- he has become defined in the fandom mind entirely with shipping. We can say JKR has succeeded in a sense in that Hermione did not fall into the trap by pushing Ron there (Ginny is in the trap, though), but its still an issue. If your arguement against Ron revolves around why you don't want him with Hermione romance has hit primacy in your view of these characters. Is that really how you experienced these books?
Colin R
41. les111280
My dislike of Ron is separate from my dislike of the romance with Hermione. I feel their romance was a really bad attempt at the Han and Leia dynamic and doesn't even come close to being its equal. Their romance doesn't work for me because of both characters, I think Ron is horrible for Hermione and she's horrible for him. I actually don't think any of the boys in the books are boys that Hermione would really end up with (at least non of bigger characters) and I don't ship her with any of them, not Harry, Ron, Neville, Draco or even Snape.

I dislike Ron because at the end of the books he's almost exactly the same as he was at the beginning of the books, he's still the same immature, lazy, jealous boy he was in the beginning. He has his good points, all of them do, but his faults far outweigh the good parts for me. There is very little change in him at a time when he would naturally be changing and growing up. I didn't like him in book 1 and nothing he had done by book 7 made me like him. I don't like characters like Ron, the average guy who is there to be the main characters bff and from time to time be helpful but who have a sense of entitlement about themselves without really working for anything they want. He wants out of brothers' shadow so much that it makes him at times insanely jealous of Harry, but he never does anything to get out of their shadows, except for the friendship he fell into with Harry by happenstance. He can be a good friend to Harry, until Harry get's something he doesn't, or he perceives that Harry got something he didn't. The movies for me actually make him likable because he comes across as more of the class clown who can be a jerk but has a good heart.

I think in the case of HP that the shipping war was partially influenced by the way JKR wrote the books. When an author spends many interviews saying one thing and then later admits the other was a possibility it is a product of the writing, especially when she admitted to not re-reading the books before writing the next one. Her interviews were at times veering toward being condescending when it comes to characters and the romances because she saw them in one way (and only that way) and wrote them in a different manner. The biggest example is Snape and Draco, where she once said she didn't really get why people liked them as characters because they're the bad guys and then she writes HBP, where Draco is at times the most sympathetic character or DH where it becomes clear that while Snape really doesn't like Harry, he's not really one of the bad guy's in the same way Voldemort or Bellatrix are. How an author envisions and plans out the characterization of their characters doesn't always equal how they end up being written.
Colin R
42. Dunedain5
The main issue most have with Ron and why those of us don't like him is not about the love interest with Hermoine, it's that his character arc is perpetually stuck back in 1st year. Harry, Hermoine, Neville, Fred and George, hell even that git Percy mature and change as the books go along. They grow older, wiser, more powerful, and learn to deal with the changing world. Ron however, remains the same immature, jealous, oblivious and rather all around dim self that he started out as.

Yes he's loyal to Harry when there's danger afoot, but any other time he's abrasive, selfish, and downright annoying, even to Harry and especially to Hermoine. Yes Harry always gravitated to Ron over Hermoine in the trio, this was due to the fact that he was a fellow boy, and the first friend Harry had ever had.

My main deal with Ron as a character was that both Harry and Hermoine had to constantly compromise their morals to stroke Ron's ego. Like I cited above in post 24: Hermoine cheats (something she steadfastly refuses to do earlier in the series) and jinxes McLaggen into losing the Quidditch competition. It takes Harry all of 5 seconds to work this out, yet allows Ron to falsely win the competition. While Harry and Hermoine have broken rules in the past it was never in a dishonest way. Ron clearly doesn't deserve to be on the pitch, but the cheating was okay because he's Harry's friend and Cormac was a douche. H&H have to constantly play down their accomplishments lest Ron get jealous, and let's face it, Ron is always operating several steps back from them intellectually speaking when it comes to figuring out the bad guys plans.

He treats Hermoine like garbage a lot of the time, puts zero effort into anything he does and generally coasts by on the coat tails of his friends.

All any of the Ron supporters can say is that he's loyal. Well he hasn't always been that either.

Explain to me why Harry keeps him around again (other thang he obvious he was his first friend and wishes he were a part of the weasley family)?
Ursula L
43. Ursula
@26 - I think the big fail for me is the assumption that everyone has to end up with a classmate. They're teenagers! Sure, *some* teenagers end up marrying their high school sweethearts, but more don't. Is the wizarding world so tiny that there are only 10 kids in each grade for the whole of the UK?
40 kids per class, I'd guess. Roughly five boys and five girls per house, and four houses. But given the way house rivalries are cultivated, kids don't seem to socialize much with those outside their houses.

Really, outside class, the only places for kids from different houses to interact is the dining hall, where they are seated by house, and the library, where socalizing is discouraged due to the noise. If the weather is good they can go out on the grounds, but there seems to be only a short period in the fall and spring where the weather is decent. And there is the occasional afternoon in Hogsmead for older students.

Muggle-born kids might meet people when they're home over break, but those in wizarding families seem to stick with each other. And the requirement that the kids not perform magic around muggles means that they have to keep a huge secret from any muggle friends, which would undermine friendship.

So I expect that pretty much everyone in the wizarding world winds up with someone they went to school with. And it takes only a few sticking with their school-years sweetheart by choice to severely limit the options of others.

And that's just for the kids who are straight. QUILTBAG kids may have only one or two options within the wizarding world and within two or three years of their age. If Dumbledore seems to have had few or no relationships after the collapse of his relationship with Grindlewald, it may well be because there were few or no other gay or bisexual wizard men around his age to be potential romantic interests.
Colin R
44. Dielle
It always bothered me in the CoS movie, that Hermione explained about Mudbloods and not Ron. That was one of his moments in the book. Of COURSE he knows more abt that them.
Colin R
45. Jaqs
The truth is that I love Ron's character. Most people think that they know how they will react to stressful situations in advanced but most of the time, when faced with danger and humiliation they fall short. The same can be said with Ron. He may not be perfect, but when faced with danger he thrives. Even more so when you think that this are kids. He always showed me that courage isnt always glamorous or evident, sometimes it can take the form of saying sorry when you know you are wrong. It can be facing the consequences of being weak and petty to others. I cant say its easy being around Ron, nor its easy being around Hermione and Harry. But in this story he is the person thats stands for whats right, that brings another perspective, that cheats and acts pettily but can still rise to the occasion. Helping friends and loving them inconditionally. Also, Harry was perfect for Luna, at least on screen their chemistry was off charts ^o^
Ursula L
46. Ursula
@26 - I think the big fail for me is the assumption that everyone has to end up with a classmate. They're teenagers! Sure, *some* teenagers end up marrying their high school sweethearts, but more don't. Is the wizarding world so tiny that there are only 10 kids in each grade for the whole of the UK?
40 kids per class, I'd guess. Roughly five boys and five girls per house, and four houses. But given the way house rivalries are cultivated, kids don't seem to socialize much with those outside their houses.

Really, outside class, the only places for kids from different houses to interact is the dining hall, where they are seated by house, and the library, where socalizing is discouraged due to the noise. If the weather is good they can go out on the grounds, but there seems to be only a short period in the fall and spring where the weather is decent. And there is the occasional afternoon in Hogsmead for older students.

Muggle-born kids might meet people when they're home over break, but those in wizarding families seem to stick with each other. And the requirement that the kids not perform magic around muggles means that they have to keep a huge secret from any muggle friends, which would undermine friendship.

So I expect that pretty much everyone in the wizarding world winds up with someone they went to school with. And it takes only a few sticking with their school-years sweetheart by choice to severely limit the options of others.

And that's just for the kids who are straight. QUILTBAG kids may have only one or two options within the wizarding world and within two or three years of their age. If Dumbledore seems to have had few or no relationships after the collapse of his relationship with Grindlewald, it may well be because there were few or no other gay or bisexual wizard men around his age to be potential romantic interests.
Colin R
47. Tod
I agree. The movies bashed Ron and and made Granger more human. But there is one thing that seems to be left out or two things rather. The first is that while Harry is up to things by himself R@H were usually hanging out together. It took Ron awhile to like her because lets face it she was hard to like. The second thing was that Harry and Hermoinie could never get together. Harry had enough of putting up with a family that was overbearing and Hermoinie could be a bit much at times but Ron was used to that. Besides Harry was desparate for family and Ginny gave that to him not to mention she just as smart as Granger, a real badass, and a ginger godess. Not to mention she showed outright affection for Harry and as his home life left him starved for affection she was the perfect fit.
Phil Boswell
48. NotACat
What none of the Ron-haters seem to even try to explain is why, if Ron is so unpleasant and all, do Harry and Hermione persist in being his friends?

Neither of them is thick. There are other people they could be friends with. Is the assumption that they are so inadequate and masochistic that they must hang around with this person who is continually dragging them down and demeaning them?

Or might there be the slightest possibility that in actual fact Ron is simply an average teenage boy, with the potential to be an absolutely unspeakable scumbag on any given day of the week, but in between a totally loyal friend who will—and indeed did—stick with them to the very end?
Colin R
49. les111280
@NotACat

My dislike for Ron is because of the type of character he is. I don't like characters like Ron who to me come across as entitled and whiny yet too lazy to do anything about what makes him whine (i.e. not being in his brothers' shadows) when he's not being a jerk or jealous. Ron is the HP equilivalent of a frat boy IMO, which makes him the least interesting character in a series with some otherwise awesome characters for me. That doesn't mean that I can't see where others would like him or admit that he does do things like stick up for Hermione, or try to protect Harry from Sirius, it just isn't enough to outweigh his faults for me.
Colin R
50. Faculty Guy
EAP: Impressively well-written post. You raise interesting points, take and defend positions in a reasoned way, and stimulate discussion, while demonstrating depth of knowledge about the works. I support the idea of your leading a re-read of the series!
Colin R
51. HanaMcc
Wonderful post! The comments about Ron as a whiny, entitled (wah?), etc., simply prove your point that the dear, caring, loyal Ron who plays such a central role in the books has been erased and replaced in people's minds by Movie Ron.
Colin R
52. Lequitas
"entitled" -- This is the one word that should never be ascribled to Ron. He always felt second class, and despite a lack of interest in school work, Ron manages to be named Prefect, so there is obviously some moral fiber. And when he looks in that mirror he sees achivement for himself, and I think he does actually work towards it. And finally the book he recieves to help him with Hermione is nicely ironic because she is always the one looking for answers in books.
Colin R
53. NAMITA
Thanku for writing this.. all my feelings about ron put up so brilliantly in a post.. ron weasley fans can never thank you enough for this.. i wish they hadnt made thee movie ron so different than the books..! any how still love him because Rupert plays the part so effortlessly..!! Weasley is Our king.. ;)
Colin R
54. Gry Pil Lund Ranfelt
Absolutely wonderful post! I have to admit that I'd started wondering about some of these things as well: why is Ron even there? Obviously I've not read the books in too long!
That scene where Hermione's teeth are enlarged and Snape says he sees no difference, Ron and Harry immediately leap to her defence, though they're mad at each other. This scene stuck with me and made a clear distinguishing between movie and book Ron.
You've made me want to go back and reread!
It's true, street smarts is important.
Colin R
55. ShellyS
I never read the books and only recently saw the movies, and Ron was actually my favorite, because I saw the sweetness and intelligence and the insecurity, all of which made him endearing and I was rooting for Hermione to see it, too, and fall in love with him. I saw her relationship with Harry that of friends, even siblings, and sometimes, that can feel like more, but they got past that. It's interesting to know that Ron in the books is a stronger character.

People change, their opinions change, and that includes writers. But for Rowling to demean one of her creations -- Ron -- in this way is just another reason why I have lost so much respect for her. Write a new series of books if you have a different perspective now, but don't demean your own past creation that so many people love.
Colin R
56. Rucha
Superbly written :) He has been my favorite character since book one. I feel he is the most realistic character in the entire series, someone who you can relate to easily. Weasley is our king! forever ;)
Colin R
57. DemiserofD
I could agree with this...if Ron ever showed any of the 'street smarts' and whatnot after the first book. You're quite correct about everything, when you're relating it to just that first book; Ron is the pipeline to pureblood wizard culture. He's the one that explains what's going on, unravels the mysteries that are common knowledge to the average witch or wizard.

But after that book, he loses that boon. At that point, Harry and Hermione basically know as much as he does. Sure, from time to time he throws out some bit of knowledge the others dont know, but the vast majority of the time from then on, it's Hermione that's being the brainy one and Ron who's just mooching off her for his homework and complaining that his friends are more famous than he is.

I just wish they had given him more of a role in later books. He's supposed to be phenominal at chess; have him expand that and become a brilliant tactician. A good tactician is infinitely more useful than a good speech-giver like harry when it comes to the down-and-dirty war that war inevitably is. Or have him ACTUALLY know things about wizarding culture that Harry and Hermione don't know, things that are modern enough they might not be in books, betting pools and contacts and stuff.

As things were, he just ended up being the load book after book.
Colin R
58. Rose Everlark
No disrespect. I really Like Ron. He is kind and brave and loyal and quirky but you know what they say...two is company, three is...
I just feel sad right now.
Colin R
59. Chandra Jyothi
I don't know how Harry and Hermionie would ever make a couple. Well I am very loyal to books so, what they showed in movies never made much sense to me. (If you have watched only movies and never read books, you would totally be convinced that Harry and Hermionie are going to end up together).
Harry needs someone who can understand his love for Quidditch, his need to risk his life for others and his desire to have a proper family. In that sense Ginny is tailor-made for him. Hermionie would have never let Harry have his way.
On the other hand Hermionie needs someone who can pacify her whenever she's being an 'insufferable know-it-all'. And here comes our patient, understanding and wise Ron. (Patient only with Hermionie ofcourse). And also, I think without Ron Hermionie's life would be serious, dull and very boring like a book without any pictures in it. (Or in this case, a story without any magic in it) Ron adds the element of fun to her life (and to the story).
I am a total shipper for Romione.
Colin R
60. Cherry Blossom
While many good points are brought up, it still remains that Ron as a jerk also features in the books and is not solely a by product of the movies. Also stating that Ron 'always had their backs when Harry and Hermione needed him most' is an outright lie as he calls Harry a cheat and a liar in GoF over the tournament and lets his stomach abandon them in DH. So yeah on the most crucial of moments (DH) he abandons his best friends.

And I'm sorry Ron have street smarts? Did we read the same books? All the knowledge that the trio needs comes from Hermione, Ron sadly provides nothing, or very little of use.

Ron as a character had run his course at the end of PoA what with him being the owner of Scabbers... In GoF he doesn't speak to Harry for a while and Harry only suffers from the loss of his friend not from anything else that Ron provides... In OotP, his further utility was questionable only going to show how unconpatiable he and Hermione were as she respected the office of Prefect where as he could not care less and let her do all the work... His utility was non existent in the last two books... In GoF his abandonment should have thrown up a warning nod towards the betrayal of Peter Pettigrew and had him be ditched as a friend then and there and perhaps him dying instead of Sirius Black would have been a better thing as Harry was actually close to his friend and it would have served as a motivator to destroy Voldemort and his minions. Certainly him ditching his supposed best friends in the forest in the middle of war to return home to mummy and a warm meal is not the actions of someone I'd call a 'brilliant friend'. Furthermore, while in GoF he was still a child by DH he was an adult, and yes the situation was stressful but did Harry abandon ship and run away? Did Hermione?

There are several issues in the Harry Potter series just one of which is the portrayal of Ron and Ron/Hermione as a couple...
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
61. Lisamarie
I have to say, after reading some of the comments (as well as hearing what JK Rowling may have said!) I have forgotten a bit how annoying book-Ron could be, and can understand why some don't like him. I definitely remember being irritated at how he, even in the epilogue - talks about cheating on his driver's test.

As I stated on the other thread, I do still think Ron and Hermione could be a good idea, but I think in some ways his character got a bit Flanderized and wasn't developed/matured as well as it could be. I suppose I just view Ron as a slightly more idealized version in my mind, since I don't think Rowling was INTENDING that he should be such a dislikable character (not that I truly dislike him, I do think he has redeeming qualities).
Colin R
63. Friend of Fwiffo
It's so interesting how differently people can feel--I can't stand Book Ron and never could, where Book Hermione was very dear to my heart; these opinions are exactly reversed in the movies. It is astonishing to me that anyone could say that Emma Watson is or ever was a better actor than Rupert Grint. I give Daniel Radcliff a lot of credit for, apparently, working really hard to improve his acting from awful beginnings; Watson started out better than him, but ended up far worse. I went into the movies not expecting to pay any attention to Ron at all, but to my surprise I found that Grint (the only one of the three with any natural acting talent at all, as far as I'm concerned) had made the character someone that I could care about.

Of course as it turned out the only actor who created, for me, a really spot-on version of the character I met in the books was the incomparable Evanna Lynch; someone should get some kind of special Oscar for casting her. Anyway. Fascinating.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
64. Lisamarie
@62 - being a bit nitpicky, but so far it seems that all she has said is that Ron/Hermione wouldn't have worked out and she regrets that paring (at leaset not without counseling)...I haven't seen any quotes where she actually said Hermione should have ended up with Harry. That seems to be the assumption made by the people made by the people writing the articles (which kind of says a lot, when you think about it. Who says she has to end up with anybody, or that it has to be a main character?)
Chris Nelly
65. Aeryl
@63, That might be because the character of Luna was inspired by Lynch, whom Rowling had met previously. Lynch then went out for the role, and Rowling didn't learn she had gotten until the movie started filming.
Colin R
66. Salina
I don't even feel the need to reply to any of the comments because I feel if people didn't get it after reading this article, they never will. Thank you for this!
Colin R
67. Salina
Actually, I do have something to say...

To those saying Ron is stupid: No. He was eleven-years-old and beat the game of wizards chess that MINERVA MCGONAGALL set up. Hermione and Harry sucked at chess, and it takes a certain level of strategic intelligence to be able to be THAT good at the game, especially at the tender age of ELEVEN. That right there proves his intelligence.

Reread the books to find out that a lot of the stuff concerning the wizarding world "Hermione" tells us about in the films is actually given to us by Ron (the example that immediately comes to mind is the term "Mudblood"). Hermione did not know the meaning of this word in Chamber of Secrets; Ron did. Not to say that necessarily makes him the more intelligent one, but this is merely to showcase that he DOES have valuable knowledge to contribute.

Are we also forgetting that he got high enough scores on his OWLs to be in the same exact OWL classes that Harry is in. Yeah, sure, maybe he didn't get any O's -- but that's like saying someone who got an A is clearly more intelligent than someone who got a B. Letter grades don't matter because in the end, they both got into the same exact classes and had they been able to take NEWTs, would have taken the same exact finals.

Let's also not forget that Ron helped Harry fight Voldemort. That means that he is a quick thinker, a great duelist (seeing as he's not dead), and knows a fair bit of spells that he is also able to perform with next to no hiccups.

Just because Ron isn't as flamboyant with his knowledge does NOT make him unintelligent. To say that Ron is stupid is to essentially ignore the entire book series. Say what you want about Ron, but never claim that he is dumb.
Colin R
68. Brian M.
@Colin R.

The chemistry between Harry and Hermione was definitely less in the books, by far. She was a good female friend, but the scene in book 7 where Ron destroys the locket pretty much confirmed what many of the non-crazy-withtheshipping fandom thought.

Ginny was introduced pretty organically if you ask me. Based on her introduction in earlier books, and her character development therein, I always felt like she was going to be involved with Harry when he became interested in girls. Again, the movies kind of mess this up by boiling their relationship down to the one scene in the room of requirement. It was presented much more realistically in the books. They even broke up at the end of the Half-Blood Prince, something that everybody seems to forget.
Colin R
69. Rhayane
Finally someone thinks like me! Unfortunately most people know HP serie because of movies. And, in my opinion, the movies are terrible!!!
On the movies, Ron is the fool, Hermione is the smart and Harry is the hero. But it isn't so on the books. Ron's most fool speeches on the movies, in fact, were spoken by Harry on the books. E.g., first book, trio met Fofo, Harry said to Hermione "I was worried about three heads, not about floor" (something that). On the movies, it was Ron who said that.
Because of this disrespect to Rony, a lot of people (who just watch the movies) doesn't understand friendship between Harry and Rony.
It's a shame. I love Ron, his mood, his strategies, his loyalty, even his insecurities.
Colin R
70. Prysm
The real Ron:

The claim of Ron being unexceptional is preposterous. First and foremost, Ron was an amazing wizard. He nailed his OWLs so that eliminates the "dumb" part. He made Auror which is the most difficult of all career paths to achieve. In fact, his wizarding prowness may have enhanced his flaw of laziness. Remember Hermione was the greatest of students and Harry was the single greatest wizard of his generation. To say he was not a great wizard is to say that Kobe Bryant is not a great basketball player because he is not as good as Lebron James.

Ron's accomplishments: Became an Auror, as a teen dueled well against the greatest of Deatheaters, Even in DH at the beginning, Tonks praised his dueling prowness. Ron was a great tactician: wizard chess master at age 11, he tricked the entire inquisition squad into eating the weasley wizarding weezes so they could escape, he figured out the Chamber of Secrets, destroyed a horcrux, saved numerous lives (Harry, Draco, etc) and discovered the TABOO.

I am sorry but if you are not able to see his greatness because he is compared to Harry and Hermione, then you are obviously projecting your own laziness (not doing the research) or your inability to decipher reading (the text is there but you have to reread it). It is ok not to like him because of his boorish behaviour; but you cannot say he was inadequate in the least.

As for his relationship with Hermione, they are a good match (no such thing as a perfect match) . Hermione needs him to help keep her grounded. She is extremely detached from wizard reality and would forever be alone without him. She had no other friends other than the Weasleys and Harry. She was insufferable and self-righteous. He humanizes the machine of her mind and drive. She is great for him as well by keeping him organized and on track. The whole of their relationship is far better than the sum of their parts. Hermione without Ron would just be another Percy - stuffy and by the book.

As for the Weasley family they were all spectacular wizards. The 'rents survived Voldemort I. Molly slew Bellatrix("the greatest of his lieutenants") mono e mono, Mr. Weasley rose to prominence in the Ministry, Charlie was a Dragon keeper, Bill a curse breaker, Percy (mostly due to politics) became high in ministry at an early age, Fred and George need no recap, and Ginny became a good duelist and amazing Quidditch Player (Holy Head Harpies). Yet compared to them, Ron achieved far more success.

As stated earlier, you can completely hate Ron, but you cannot belittle his abilities and accomplishments without looking ignorant or petty.
Colin R
71. E.L.
Thank you so much for defending Ron! He was always my favorite out of the three precisely because he was so relatable and funny. (Can I have a look at Uranus too, Lavendar?) He is truly a remarkable character who has not been given the respect and love that he deserves!
Colin R
72. Kira Stein
**Sorcerer's Stone**
This is a really great article. I hadn't noticed previously how true all of this is. As much as Ron's character was underplayed, I have to say that many of his strong moments were still kept, so that if you look at the overall spectrum of the movies, Hermione and Ron come into balance. For example, the sword of Gryffindor coming to Ron and his coming back to Harry and Hermione and killing the horcrux, along with the early chess scene show his bravery. Because female heroines are usually so underplayed, the granting of so much to Hermione allowed her character to come into balance with the rest of society and the other characters in the HP books.
Colin R
73. K.K.
I ship Ron Hermione. But it is Ron that I love.
I will not go into the reasons because they have been covered in the article and many of the other postings.
One thing that really stood out for me as a difference between the books and movies was at the end of Half Blood Prince. In the book it is Ron that tells Harry that he and Hermione will be going with him. He is the one offering the support though obviously they had discussed it. In the movie, they gave those lines to Hermione while Ron lingered in the background. That really bothered me.
I think Ron and Hermione are perfect for each other. And I disagree with the person who commented that Ron had not changed. I think her matured as much as the other characters through the books. Just differently.
If JK is going to rethink any relationships in the books, I think it should be Harry Ginny. I like Ginny but I do not think a relationship should start with hero worship. It makes it too one-sided. However, I think Luna would balance off Harry nicely. Yes, she is eccentric, but she is brave and not impressed by Harrys celebrity. I think Harry needs her to balance his own darkness.
Colin R
74. apokalypsis
I was bummed to hear JKR let slip that she regrets pairing Ron and Hermione. Not because I thought they were perfect for each other -- on the contrary, because most of us know devoted couples that make us think "How the heck did those two end up together?" I found it believable.
Colin R
75. bunny
On the shipping front, I think the problem that some people run into is that there is a difference between two characters who have compatible personalities and two characters who have a compelling relationship with one another. At least, for me, that was my biggest problem with Hermione/Ron and Harry/Ginny. Is Ginny the perfect girl for Harry? Absolutely! Rowling herself has said that she basically designed Ginny to be so. Ginny loves Quidditch, isn't too weepy, is very pretty, is popular, has had personal dealings with Harry's archnemesis, and is the only daughter of Harry's dream family. As characters they are ludicrously suited to one another, but their relationship? As in, the actual interactions we see them have, the rapport between them? Virtually non-existent. Which is why some people will say that Harry/Ginny came out of nowhere, and others will insist that it was obvious all along - if you're looking at the two characters and thinking 'what will the author probably do?' then yes, it seems likely that Harry and Ginny will hook up. But if you're looking at their interactions (of which they had only a few, and most of what Harry - and therefor the reader - knows about Ginny comes second-hand) then it IS very abrupt.

Ron and Hermione have a similar problem, though different because they actually do have a substantial relationship - it's just a very conflict-heavy one. The 'slap-slap-kiss' style of interaction has been a standard in storytelling for a long time - generally speaking, if two characters of the opposite gender who aren't related to one another spend a lot of their time arguing with one another, you can bet that they're going to hook up with one another at some point. So a lot of people can easily read even the first book and foresee that Hermione and Ron are going to be an item, but it's not because of Hermione and Ron themselves - it's because they're familiar with conventional romance narratives (either consciously or subconsciously). But if you take the conventional narrative out of the equation, you're left with two characters who are constantly arguing and doing things that seem obnoxious to one another. Ron and Hermione in particular have a remarkable ability to grate on one another's nerves, which doesn't exactly spell out 'destined for a future of fulfilling cohabitation'. That was what always got to me about them as a couple - sure, they've got complimentary skill sets and in theory Ron's practicality and fun-loving nature could make a very smooth balance with Hermione's obsessive intellectual fixations and habit of over-working herself, but in actual practice, after a week of Ron leaving the toilet seat up and Hermione constantly getting on him about doing this or not doing that, they'd be ready to murder each other. Deathly Hallows kind of shoots itself in the foot regarding their relationship here because we actually see the trio try and live together on their own for a while, and even though they had a horcrux exacerbating things, it wasn't long before it exploded in their faces and Ron left.

Intentionally or not, it certainly set a tone for what to expect in the Ron/Hermione dynamic - frustration, failure, and an angry parting of ways. As characters, I like them both, but their relationship to one another is a conga line of miscommunication, frequent upsets, and constant misunderstandings. I'm not saying there's nothing to like about it, but I can certainly see why some people have issues with it or were taken aback by how it played out.

As for Ron's character, I think he had a lot of potential that was never really realized, movies aside, which is why a lot of people say that he didn't grow at all. Technically he did - he grow from the kind of guy who'd take House Elves for granted and justify their enslavement into the kind of guy who'd make sure they got safely out of a warzone - but we don't really get the fulfillment of his potential the way we do with Harry and Hermione and Neville.

Ron's actually a lot like Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender, only less developed. Both start out with a thirst to prove themselves, are goofy comic-relief at times, have some issues born of bigotry courtesy of their society (Ron's got racism, Sokka's got sexism), and have surprisingly keen tactical minds. The problem is that we needed to see Ron USE tactics. I mean, there have been plenty of times when the trio was in sore need of a tactician - Goblet of Fire, Harry could have used one for helping with the trials; Order of the Phoenix, they could have used one for the DA and their trip to the Department of Mysteries; Deathly Hallows, a good tactician would have come in handy during that whole 'wandering around doing nothing' phase. Ron could have stepped up to the plate at any time and used his skill for strategy to tie in Harry's leadership and heroism and Hermione's font of information and brought them a victory, or at least a less disastrous plan. But instead, we get one weird moment in DH where he fakes parseltongue to open up the chamber of secrets, and otherwise, it's Hermione or Harry who come up with the plans, even though Harry explicitly sucks at plans and the first real skill attributed to Ron is strategy.

Contrast that with Sokka, who eventually becomes his own group's key tactician, and it does seem an awful lot like Ron's just standing there scratching his arse and complaining while his friends do all the work, and only bothering to help when it's really down to the life-or-death wire. It can be particularly obnoxious when you know that Ron wants to prove himself, and get out from his brothers' shadows and Harry's, too, and that he has skills that could potentially help him do so, but he never seem to actually use them. Of course, this is probably because he got lost a bit in the narrative shuffle and became JKR's go-to for relationship drama rather than plot-relevant activities, but in-universe, it does seem like the only reason why Ron isn't more useful is because he's too lazy to bother. Which is probably why some people percieve him as entitled/spoiled; taking that into consideration, it can come across like Ron wants to be praised and celebrated over and above his brothers and friends but doesn't want to do anything to actually earn such esteem - or in other words that he expects to be handed everything he wants just because he wants it, and throws hissy fits when that doesn't happen.

Looking at Ron as a character, seperate from the narrative, he's great! Ron is an excellent demonstration of how you can absorb problematic traits (like his bias against magical creatures such as giants, house elves, etc) without being a bad person, how you can grow from self-examination, how you can be flawed and human and still push back your own pettier impulses and be stalwart and true, how you can learn to appreciate what you have even when you don't have everything - all good stuff. But when you factor in the narrative, where Ron's most consistent purpose is to get angry, run off, make Harry and Hermione upset, and then come back around and apologize - geez, it's no wonder so many people don't like him.
Colin R
76. Green Queen
This is so accurate it's like you looked into my soul and wrote it.
Colin R
77. youngtwenty something
I 100% agree with all of this. Thank you for your defense of Ron. Even as a feminist who loved Hermione, he was always my favorite character (and my first fictional crush at the age of 8).
Colin R
78. depressed
Starting a shitty day and don't know why this just made me cry...
Colin R
79. asparagus
Being good at chess doesn't come close to translating to actual intellegence, its always sort of bugged me that people assume it does.

There are some complete moron chessmasters, and genius people who can barely understand the rules.

Also he does have some character growth, but its the cartoon kind, where they go back to thier normal ungrown person by the next episode/book so they can learn the lesson all over again.
Colin R
80. RonRules
Thank you for writing this post and for correctly pointing out why Ron is my absolute favorite among the trio. I will completely disagree though that Emma had a better relationship with Dan though. If you watch all the extra footage, you will note that Emma often can't keep her hands or eyes off Rupert and clearly had a closer relationship with him, even spending the last day on set distributing ice cream from Rupert's ice cream truck with him but whatevs.

As for you Asparagus, please, read the books and then we can have a discussion on growth. Ron's character grew the most out of all of them. Harry always had things thrust on him and his growth happened almost in a whiny martyr sort of way. It was actually to the point on some re-reads where his character was almost obnoxious. From the books and for that matter the films, he had better chemistry with Luna than he ever did with Hermoine, so this fascination with putting two people together that almost have a sibling like relationship at best and a tolerance at worst, is idiotic.

Hermoine always had the quiet moments with Ron--the hand holding, the awkward hug in Azkaban, the little moment at the Shrieking shack, the jealously in Goblet, the playful banter in Order of the Phoneix and needless to say the summers and winters at the Weasley house where Harry was often not even there.

As for Ron, most of his great lines were given to other characters--often Hermoine--in the films which never even made sense. As a muggle, even if she was super smart, Hermoine wouldn't know some key ins and outs of the magical world because she didn't grow up there. Example, in the books Hermoine doesn't even know what a mudblood is thus making Ron's slug eating sacrifice to her even that much more romantic and brave. Please read the books and they will give you a much deeper appreciation for the awesomeness that is Ronald Weasley.
Colin R
81. HudsonHawk
I have always that if either Ron or Harry where going to end up with Hermione that it would of had to have been Ron. Everyone seems to forget that Lord Voldermort was not only the villian but he was also a real part of Harry's life. Not only in his ablitiy to talk to snake but also a part of his subconscious, the sorting hat could sense it but thought it was just Harry's own thoughts, that is why it was considering him for Slytherin House, if it where not for Harry letting the sorting hat know he did not want to go to Slytherin House there is a good chance that is where he would of ended up.
With that said it would not take much of a leap to think that Harry would have some of Lord Voldemort's prejedices as well, especially toward Muggles and Muggle born. Although Harry can still from his own opinions and have feelings toward people, still some of Lord Voldermort's soul would affect him without his knowledge of it doing so.
Even though Harry loves Hermione very much, the best he can do as far as feelings go toward her is that of what a bother feels for a sister, and why he does not have that same sort of feelings toward Ron's sister Jenny who is a pure blood.
Chris Nelly
82. Aeryl
@81(love your name, btw)

I don't agree that the Sorting Hat saw Voldemort in Harry and thus wanted to place him in Slytherin. Dumbledore pointed out that Harry possesses many qualities that are valued by Slytherins. And Harry owned it in himself in the epilogue to Deathly Hallows. It makes no sense for him to say what he did to Albus, if he didn't believe it what was in himself that the Sorting Hat saw, not a part of Voldemort.
Colin R
83. Helena FW
Ron was definitely my favorite character growing up, probably because I saw his insecurities and unconsciously recognized them in myself. Someone mentioned once (in an article similar to this one!) that as children our favorite characters are the ones that we see most of ourselves in, and that we tend to vilify the ones that are the opposite--to the point where, ten years later, we forget are brush aside the real reason as to why we began vilifying them in the first place. Perhaps that's another reason for all the Ron hate, I don't know. But man, everything in this article is so spot on; I almost cried. Thank you.
Colin R
84. Ashes
I'm late to this party, but I'd just like to say, I love and commend the positivity with which this article is written. You build up Ron, and remind us of everything we love about him, at the expense of no one. I really admire that in a person. The world needs positivity, particularly from intelligent authors. Great job!
Colin R
85. Derek Beigh
Great post! One nitpick, though: wasn't Harry and Hermione's dance in Deathly Hallows Part 1?
Colin R
86. Virginia Wright
WOW THIS IS EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED TO SAY ABOUT RON
Colin R
87. alreadymadwithRon
It's easy to bash Ron, but then again, it's easy to forget that the whole series was a coming of age story about not just Harry, but also Ron, and Hermione and quite a good segment of the supporting cast. So yeah. A lot of mistakes were made. They were eleven. What else could be expected?

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