Title: More Than Meets The Eye
Pairing: Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley
Author: Celestine de Karamel
Spoilers: all five Harry Potter books
Harry and Ginny: More Than Meets the Eye
A/N: Throughout the essay, I will use the following abbreviations: PS (Philosopher’s Stone), CoS (Chamber of Secrets), PoA (Prisoner of Azkaban), GoF (Goblet of Fire) and OotP (Order of the Phoenix)
Is it really necessary to introduce Harry Potter? This English teenage wizard is the hero of JK Rowling’s immensely popular series, and pupil at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As this point in the series, he doesn’t have a girlfriend, and heated debate is rampant among fans who want predict who his girlfriend will be. Many say that Hermione, one of Harry’s two best friends, will be his love interest. Others argue the case for Luna Lovegood, a character introduced in the most recent instalment of the series. Still others debate in favour of other characters or argue that Harry will be paired with no one at all. We H/G shippers, however, have a very different take on things.
Ginevra (Ginny) Weasley is pretty much an unknown for those who haven’t read the series: she’s Ron’s little sister, a year younger than Harry and his friends, and also attending Hogwarts. In the first five books, she has had minimal page time, far less than Hermione, and even less than Cho Chang, Harry’s first crush. So why would anyone give H/G a second thought? This is what I’ll try to explain in this essay.
What makes Ginny special?
1)Like all the Weasleys, Ginny has bright red hair. Like Hermione, she has brown eyes. However, in the text, she is always described with vivid adjectives that make her stand out from the others:
“Harry just caught sight of a pair of bright brown eyes staring at him before [the door] closed with a snap.” – CoS
“She nodded, blushing to the roots of her flaming hair…” - CoS
“A door opened and a long mane of red hair appeared. ‘Oh hello, Harry!’ said Ron’s younger sister, Ginny, brightly.” – OotP
“Ginny was curled like a cat on her chair, but her eyes were open; Harry could see them reflecting the firelight.” – OotP
Emphasis mine. Ginny’s voice is also described as “soothing”, “cool” and “quiet” at one point or another.
These adjectives are much more poetic than the ones used for Hermione (who has “a large quantity of bushy hair”, “prominent front teeth” and a “shrill voice”) or Luna (with her “protuberant eyes” and “dirty blond hair”). H/Gers are particularly fond of the last quote, which I will get back to later.
2) Ginny is a Gryffindor and a Leo (born on August 11th ), just like Harry (born on July 31st).
3) Ginny is the seventh child of Molly and Arthur Weasley, and Rowling has told us she was the first girl in the Weasley family for several generations. She has also said she created Ron before giving him brothers and a sister. But why give Ron a sister at all when he already has five brothers… especially a sister who has a crush on Harry?
*Ginny’s character in the first five books
Philosopher’s Stone: glimpses of Ginny
In PS Ginny isn’t old enough yet to go to Hogwarts but accompanies her brothers to King’s Cross Station along with their mother. Even though they don’t speak to each other, Ginny is the first young witch Harry ever meets up close: she wants to see the famous “Boy-Who-Lived”, and he watches her run after the train when it leaves. She makes another appearance at the end, again at the train station, telling her mother excitedly that Harry has returned.
Chamber of Secrets: Ginny and her crush
In this book, Harry spends some time at The Burrow during the summer, and by now, Ginny’s crush on him is apparent. She blushes, stammers, drops things whenever he’s around, and even sends him a singing Valentine. The reader can’t help but be amused at this display of affection by such a young girl, and also sympathetic when he realises Harry doesn’t return these feelings. Yet at the end of the book, Harry risks his life to save Ginny from certain death, and though he barely knows her, fears that she’ll be expelled for what she did while possessed by Tom Riddle.
“He had so far avoided mentioning Riddle’s diary -- or Ginny. She was standing with her head against Mrs. Weasley’s shoulder, and tears were still coursing silently down her cheeks. What if they expelled her? Harry thought in panic.”- CoS
Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire: invisible Ginny
In these books, Ginny hardly appears at all, but whenever she does, romance is mentioned. In PoA, she brings Harry a singing get-well card after his Quidditch accident, blushing furiously. In GoF, we are reminded that Ginny still has a crush on Harry:
“Both of them smiled at Harry, who grinned back, which made Ginny go scarlet -- she had been very taken with Harry ever since his first visit to The Burrow.” – GoF
She also appears when the boys need dates for the Yule Ball – looking put out when Harry mentions asking Cho, and narrowly missing a chance to attend the ball with Harry herself. When it turns out that she’s already accepted Neville’s invitation to the ball, she leaves the common room in a very dejected manner with her head bowed.
Order of the Phoenix: Ginny transformed
OotP counts Ginny finest moments yet, offering a completely different version of the “little girl” Ginny seemed doomed to remain. She no longer blushes or stammers around Harry, and Hermione says she’s “given up” on him. She has a boyfriend, a fifth-year Ravenclaw, seems to get along best with the twins and the mischievous Tonks, proves to be a good Quidditch player when she replaces Harry on the Quidditch team, casts impressive spells… and deals with Harry’s issues in a way no one else does. Ginny knows when to put him back into his place:
"We wanted to talk to you, Harry,” said Ginny, “but as you’ve been hiding ever since we got back-"
“I didn’t want anyone to talk to me,” said Harry, who was feeling more and more nettled.
“Well, that was a bit stupid of you,” said Ginny angrily, “seeing as you don’t know anyone but me who’s been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels.”
Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he turned on the spot to face her.
“I forgot,” he said.
“Lucky you,” said Ginny coolly.
“I’m sorry,” Harry said, and he meant it. “So…so do you think I’m being possessed, then?”- OotP
She also knows how to make him feel better:
““I wish I could talk to Sirius,” he muttered. “But I know I can’t.”
More to give himself something to do than because he really wanted any, Harry unwrapped his Easter egg , broke off a large bit, and put it into his mouth.
“Well,” said Ginny slowly, helping herself to a bit of egg too, “if you really want to talk to Sirius, I expect we could think of a way to do it…”
“Come on,” said Harry hopelessly. “With Umbridge policing the fires and reading all our mail?”
“The thing about growing up with Fred and George,” said Ginny thoughtfully, “is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
Harry looked at her. Perhaps it was the effect of the chocolate - Lupin had always advised eating some after encounters with Dementors - or simply because he had finally spoken aloud the wish that had been burning inside him for a week, but he felt a bit more hopeful…” - OotP
Ginny is obviously growing up to be an important character, and Harry is slowly coming to realisation that she isn’t just “Ron’s little sister”. By the end of the book, she has also broken up with Michael Corner, who is dating none other than Cho Chang, Harry’s former love interest. Coincidence?
Why would Ginny and Harry be suited?
Ginny’s character development in OotP wasn’t unanimously praised amongst the fans, and the H/G is more controversial than ever because it stands as a main opponent to Harry/Hermione. The following are opinions about H/G we’ve been faced with a number of times.
Common opinion number 1: “Ginny’s feelings for Harry were nothing more than a schoolgirl crush!”
JK used Ginny’s crush on Harry in the plot of CoS, but there was no reason for her to prolong it in books 3 and 4. All in all, it lasted a good three years. Taking the length of time into account, can one really say that it was superficial, and that Ginny was no more than a fan girl? Besides, Ginny never tried to impose herself to Harry – the singing Valentine and get-well card were clumsy tokens of affection, but she never followed him around like Colin Creevey, Harry’s biggest fan, does.
Common opinion number 2: “Ginny is over Harry, so they’ll never get into a romantic relationship!”
As H/Gers have often pointed out, there is a big difference between “getting over” someone and “giving up” on him – and “giving up” is the phrasing Rowling used through Hermione. Ginny was merely tired of waiting for Harry to notice her, and that this was a necessary development in order for Harry to change his opinion about her and see her in a different light. Also, the classic pattern of “not knowing what you have until you lose it” is just too irresistible, in our opinion, to pass up.
Common opinion number 3: “Harry doesn’t care about Ginny!”
Harry’s mind in the first four books seems to be solely taken up by his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, his quest to defeat Voldemort, and to a lesser degree, other characters like his godfather Sirius or his love interest, Cho Chang. Ginny is always present, however, and in OotP, she gains importance in his eyes and consequently, in the eyes of the reader as well. Harry notices how her attitude towards him has changed:
“Harry, whose head was still full of Cho’s parting wave, did not find this subject quite as interesting as Ron (...) but it did bring something home to him that until now he had not really registered.
“So that’s why she talks now?” he asked Hermione. “She never used to talk in front of me.”” – OotP
Furthermore, he is impressed by the way she casts spells at a D.A meeting, and by the way she plays Quidditch. He opens up to her about his worries after she comes to him in the Library, even though he hid those same worries from Ron and Hermione. Also, we can guess that he is starting to find Ginny attractive. The “firelight” quote I mentioned earlier is quite relevant: to see firelight reflected in Ginny’s eyes, Harry must be looking at her very attentively. Also, if Ginny was dating an older boy for several months while none of the trio has had a lasting relationship, we can guess that she is indeed a charming girl.
Common opinion number 4: “Ginny can’t be right for Harry: she’s a terrible flirt!”
Note: “terrible flirt” is an extremely mild way to express what’s been said about Ginny. This assertion is pretty ridiculous: just because Ginny dates Michael, and tells Ron she’s interested in Dean Thomas at the end of the book after they broke up (possibly to bug her brother and make him shut up more than anything else), some people say that Ginny is easy. That’s denying Rowling the right to be realistic: many fifteen-year-old girls have had more than one boyfriend with whom they hang out and perhaps engage in a bit of snogging in real life, and that certainly doesn’t make them tramps. A relationship that lasted for over a year, in fact, is practically aeons in terms of teenage romance.
Common opinion number 5: “Ginny doesn’t understand Harry the way Hermione does!”
Hermione, though she is one of Harry’s best friends, sometimes fails to understand him on deep issues, and this results with Harry getting annoyed with her and hiding things from her. In OotP, he resists telling Hermione about his desire to talk to Sirius but opens up to Ginny. The girls have very different reactions: Hermione dismisses the idea as ridiculous and dangerous, while Ginny gives him hope that he will be able to do so.
The fact that Harry and Ginny have both been possessed in one way or another by Voldemort is also very important. Ginny can understand the pain Harry is going through, and his feeling of being “dirty and soiled” is probably something she is familiar with. H/Gers expect much interaction between Harry and Ginny in future books on these grounds after JK reminded us that Ginny is still affected by her possession (see excerpt above).
Common opinion number 6: “Ginny, like Cho, will be jealous of Harry’s relationship with Hermione!”
Ginny, on the contrary, is the only girl who will accept Harry’s relationship with Hermione without misinterpreting it or blowing it out of proportion. She is good friends with Hermione: the books show that the girls tell each other secrets they don’t tell the boys. Thus Ginny probably knows how Hermione feels towards Harry and Ron (very differently, in my opinion!). Not only will Ginny not be jealous of Hermione, but there are hints that Hermione, like Ron, would like to see something developing between the two. Speaking to Harry and Ginny while they’re arguing, she says the following:
“Maybe you’re taking it in turns to look, but keep missing each other,” Hermione suggested, the corners of her mouth twitching.
It was suggested to me that this ambiguous remark might be a metaphor for how Harry and Ginny’s relationship will evolve over the course of the series: Ginny spent book 1 through 4 looking at Harry, and now things may be turning around. We can hope that by the end of book seven we’ll see them finally looking at each other.
Common opinion number 7: “Ginny’s character development in OotP was unnatural and/or linked with Voldemort’s return!”
That kind of argument makes us laugh more than anything else. Rowling herself has told us that “Ginny always had a forceful personality,” and there is one particular hint in CoS which shows that Ginny has indeed lots of guts and character.
“"Famous Harry Potter," said Malfoy. “Can’t even go into a bookshop without making the front page.”
“Leave him alone, he didn’t want all that!” said Ginny. It was the first time she had spoken in front of Harry. She was glaring at Malfoy.
“Potter, you’ve got yourself a girlfriend!” drawled Malfoy.”- CoS
Ginny, before even going to Hogwarts, stands up to Malfoy – an older kid, whose wealthy and influential family (And she certainly knew who the Malfoys were. Ron did before having any interaction with Draco.) despises hers – to defend Harry. Three years later, in OotP, she hexes him with a powerful Bat-Bogey spell thus helping her friends to break out of Umbridge’s office and join Harry and Hermione in the forest. The true Ginny is finally revealed to the readers in OotP, but as the H/Gers suspected, she’s been there all along.
Common opinion number 8: “H/G is too fluffy and cliché!”
How so? On the contrary, Harry and Ginny are both complex characters who have lived through painful experiences. Their relationship would’ve been cliché and fluffy if Harry had reciprocated Ginny’s feelings from the start. Now, it’s going to develop into the epitome of teenage angst, rendered even more complicated with the main plot. And just because it doesn’t follow the pattern of a love triangle and will be most likely paired with R/Hr, that doesn’t mean there will be “One Big Happy Weasley Family” at the end of the series. It’s likely the Weasley family will lose some of its members during the war: Arthur came near to dying in OotP, and they’ve already lost Percy to their cause. A little love between Harry and Ginny will not turn the series into a mush-fest. Perhaps within the realms of fan fiction this has happened, but J. K. Rowling is at the helm of this ship, not some fan.
The appeal of H/G
Besides the fact that we believe Rowling will eventually go with an H/G pairing in the books, there are a lot of reasons why we like to read, write and discuss Harry and Ginny together.
Recurrent hints of romance
The interaction between Harry and Ginny is scattered around the books as a constant reminder that love is in the air. As fellow shipper Ashwinder puts it in one of her essays (an essay which is not posted anywhere…):
In Prisoner of Azkaban, Ginny comes close to accidentally sitting in Harry’s lap on the train to school, while in Goblet of Fire, he comes close to attending the Yule Ball with Ginny. It’s almost as if the author is dangling the idea of Harry and Ginny in a romantic situation in front of the reader’s eye.
In OotP, this is more striking than ever. Ginny has given up on Harry, but is still associated with romance because of her relationship with Michael. At the end of the book, Ron tells Harry he needs a more “cheerful” girlfriend than Cho, and Ginny that she’s should chose “someone better” than Michael next time, giving Harry “an oddly furtive look”. Why remind the reader of the possibility of H/G just before the closing scene, if not to use it later on?
Immediate symbolism the average reader can pick up
The symbolism inherent to H/G is quite easy to pick up by the average reader. In CoS, Harry rescuing Ginny by slaying the basilisk is a direct allusion to the knight slaying the dragon to save his damsel. In OotP, Ginny gives Harry a chocolate egg when they are sitting together in the Library – the chocolate is something that has always made Harry feel good, and the egg represents fertility and abundance. Later in the book, after Harry has a falling out with Cho, his long-time crush, Ginny catches the Snitch “right from under her nose” during a Quidditch game, enabling Gryffindor to win the cup: even the youngest readers can pick up the allusion made to Harry’s heart here.
Harry and Ginny, an inspiration for fanart and fanfiction
It’s fairly easy to find good H/G fanfiction where both the characters stick to the personality they have in the books. Because they both have a strong temper and are troubled souls, they are very interesting to write and to read. From an aesthetic point of view, they also go very well together. Harry has black hair and green eyes that contrasts nicely with Ginny’s fiery red hair and dark eyes. Possible fanart themes are numerous: the Chamber scene, the Library scene, Quidditch scenes, Burrow scenes, etc.
Harry and Ginny, two characters JK Rowling loves
Rowling surely wants what’s best for the hero of her stories: although he will go through very hard times, she won’t pair him with an inadequate girlfriend on top of it all. She has clearly stated that Ginny is on her “favourite character” list, and seems to be setting up the story so that Harry and Ginny spend an increasing amount of time together. She cleverly made Ron and Hermione prefects, while it’s likely Harry and Ginny will never be prefects themselves but are on the same Quidditch team.
In interviews, Rowling has given hints pointing towards H/G. When someone asked if Harry would notice Ginny eventually, she replied: “You’ll see… poor Ginny, eh?” What’s even more interesting, though, is that she mentions Ginny’s feelings without being asked about them. When asked to talk about the three main characters in her books (Harry, Ron and Hermione) she had the following to say:
"I would say Harry has flaws and failings. He was too proud [in the fourth book] to talk to Ron about what was bothering them both. Harry was walking around thinking, 'I'm the one with all the problems,' and he did have a lot of problems, but Ron had been a faithful friend for three years, and I would have cut Ron a little more slack. And what about Ginny [Ron's younger sister]? Poor Ginny, languishing in love for Harry, and he's merrily asking out other girls right under her nose! But that's just a boy thing."
Harry and Ginny complete each other perfectly
Harry’s deepest desire, as seen in the Mirror of Erised in PS, is to have a family; Ginny has more family than she can handle. Harry has had to grow up too quickly; Ginny is tired of being seen as a little girl by her brothers and parents. Harry has been raised in a Muggle family and is a half-blooded wizard; Ginny doesn’t know anything about the Muggle world, and is a pure-blood witch. As you can see, the two of them complete each other perfectly – but what’s more is that they have many things in common that will bring them closer, like being on the same Quidditch team, and fighting in the ranks of those who oppose Voldemort.
Finally, Harry and Ginny are both representative of the overall theme of the book: the battle between a mortal wizard boy and an immortal Dark Lord, a David-and-Goliath type battle. In OotP, Fred and George tell Harry that “size is no guarantee of power”, using Ginny and her Bat-Bogey hexes as an example. Ginny, the last kid in a large family and the only girl in a clan of six brothers, and Harry, the orphan boy with his insecurities and fears, will naturally find each other and prove to the world that there really is more to them than meets the eye.
Some H/G Fan Sites:
These two sites are the biggest H/G sites on the web, complete with forums, fanfiction, fanart, webrings, galleries, downloads, excellent essays, and more. You will also find more links to other H/G sites there, but they are a good place to start.
Some H/G Fanfiction sites:
The Broom Cupboard (NC-17 fiction)
The Firelight (includes a NC-17 section)
Checkmated (mostly R/Hr, but hosts some excellent H/G stories)
Some H/G LJ Communities:
Got Chocolate? (for spanish speaking fans)
Some H/G fanfiction recommendations:
There are a lot of excellent H/G fics out there and excellent authors; here are some of my favourites I think everyone will enjoy, as they explore the H/G ship in different ways.
Forgive me for not linking them, but you'll find most on the sites I listed (and some will require
Save Me by SaraEK (NC-17)
War and Passion by RedBlaze (NC-17)
Ginny’s Gift by Ashwinder (R)
The Long Road Home by Ashwinder (R)
Naked Quidditch Match by Anya (PG-13)
The Heat Series by Jane (PG-13)
Muileach by Starbuckx (PG-13, WIP)
17, Clumsy and Shy by Velvethope (NC-17)
The Get-Well Card by Miss Snuffles (G)
Miss Hogwarts by JennaMae (PG-13)
The Latin Series by Englishflower (R)
Red by Vivica Dawn (NC-17)
Bedknobs and Broomsticks by Syn (NC-17)
This Definitely Isn’t Quidditch by Syn (NC-17)
Selling Secrets by Setissma (R)
A Mighty Paradox by Emmyjean (PG)
Many thanks go to tartanboxers for her help and support, and to all my fellow shippers.