Musings on Ron Weasley

Harry Potter: 10 Things About Ron Weasley The Movies Deliberately Changed

I’m a big reader, and sometimes writer, of fanfiction. Harry Potter seems to be the fandom I spend most time in, at least enough to get thoroughly sick of all the Dumbledore-bashing and Weasley-bashing… especially if it’s paired with Badass Poorly Hidden Self-Insert Harry who becomes hugely awesome and powerful.  But I have been thinking of one very big target for fandom hate: Ron Weasley.

Ron is one of my favourite characters in the HP story, but he’s a little frustrating because he never comes into his own. Ron is an underdog story waiting to happen, but which never really DOES happen, because he’s constantly being shoved aside so that  Harry (and to a lesser extent Hermione) can shine. He does have his small triumphs, but they tend to happen off-screen and/or immediately be overshadowed by Harry’s problems or accomplishments.  

Thing is, J.K. Rowling lets Ron realize this and be understandably frustrated by it, but she never lets him overcome it. As a result, Ron enters the story as the kid who’s constantly overshadowed by his siblings, and as a result is usually ignored and overlooked… and he exits the story as the kid who’s constantly overshadowed by his FRIENDS, and as a result is usually ignored and overlooked. The only thing that’s changed is who he’s being overshadowed by.

Really, though, Ron is one of the more relatable characters in the HP universe, and weirdly enough I think that’s one reason why he’s so hated: Harry and Hermione both work as representations of our hopes and dreams that we’re special, but Ron is more a representation of our fears that we aren’t.

As fans and readers we can and do fantasize about being Harry the Hero, who goes from misunderstood nobody to rich and famous celebrity who ultimately defeats evil and saves the world,

We can fantasize about being Hermione the Genius, at first mocked and shunned for her bookish and nerdy ways but eventually growing up to be the pretty and popular and successful Smartest Witch Of Her Age.

But nobody fantazises about being Ron the Overshadowed; the one nobody remembers the name of, the one who has to make due with second-hand wands and books that fall apart, the one who’s a fairly average person surrounded by prodigies and talented genius, who never catches up to the people around him no matter what he does, whose lot in life is to be mocked, forgotten and brushed aside.

And yet, let’s face it… Ron is the person we WOULD be if we were in the wizarding world. We might tell ourselves that we’d be a much cooler version of Harry who doesn’t take crap from anyone, or a prettier version of Hermione, who gets everyone’s respect, but deep down I think we all suspect and fear that we would be Ron, unimportant and overlooked, and the most we could hope for would be some small moments of personal triumph or at least get a few laughs from the audience before the important people, the ones who mattered, took over and saved the day by themselves.