Ginny: The Canon Mary Sue

Wednesday, May 02nd, 2012 | Author: Heather

While the boys are away having fun in Brazil, I figured I would take this opportunity for a little girl  talk. If you recall, Hollie discussed Ginny Weasley last year in her summer series and I thought I would take a shot at her, as well.

Ginny is one of the few polarizing characters in the Harry Potter series, with Snape being the other notable example. If you ask ten different people how they feel about Neville Longbottom or Mr. Dursley, the answers you get will be along the same lines with ridiculous amounts of love for Neville and distaste at the thought of Uncle Vernon. Ginny will get a diverse response.

On the surface, Ginny seems like a perfectly fine and strong, female character. She’s tough, she’s a skilled witch, she’s vivacious, and she’s hot. All good qualities, right? So why do I sigh and roll my eyes at the thought of her?

Well for starters, she’s wonderful. I think that’s the main reason I have never gotten along with her. Now before you say anything, I’m not being catty and hating the popular girl because she has what I don’t. Hermione’s smarter than me, Fleur is more alluring, Katie Bell’s more athletic, and I love them all. But when it comes to Ginny it’s almost as if she’s too perfect. Like Jo put a Mary Sue right into the middle of canon who just happens to be the perfect woman for Harry to fall for.

I have racked my mind for a flaw in Ginny, but the only one she seems to have is that she lacks one. From a literary point of view- and I’m sure Hollie will agree with me- this is an awful harmartia that no one can relate to. When was the last time you were kvetching with your friends and one of them said “Ugh! You guys are so lucky. I wish I had a flaw!” If someone said that to you ,you’d get angry, right? Well I’m getting angry at Ginny.

This brings me to my next complaint. Ginny is not a fleshed out character. Her perfection makes her appear one-sided. We don’t really get to know her until Half-Blood Prince and even then it’s not a very thorough characterization. My theory is that Jo was really, really close to finishing HBP when someone asked her about Harry’s love life. Suddenly, Jo realized that she had forgotten to write into the books a love interest for Harry so she grabbed the closest available character and said “ENCHANT HARRY POTTER WITH YOUR FEMININE CHARMS!!!!!!!!!!!” (In my mind J.K. Rowling shouts at the pages of her manuscripts. I dare you to prove me otherwise.)

Ginny’s development seems crammed into one book and it’s not gradual or subtle at all. It’s unrealistic. Yes I understand that we’re seeing her from Harry’s point of view and he suddenly saw her as a woman and not just as Ron’s kid sister. Yes I understand that Jo was preoccupied with Voldemort. And yes I understand the difference between xylem and phloem. (Oh sorry. I probably shouldn’t write blog posts in biology class.) But doesn’t it bother anyone else how Ginny magically transforms from an awkward pre-teen with a tendency to blush to a fiery, mature woman while no one was looking? As a fiery, mature woman myself I can assure you that this is not how growing up happens. Did Ginny use a potion or something? If she did someone should have told 13-year-old Heather about it.

All in all, I just wish that we had a chance to know Ginny outside of what she was to Harry. As her own character with her own motivations and her own personality and her own reactions. The other female characters have lives beyond Harry, but Ginny seems limited. It’s really too bad because I feel if I saw less of “flawless, exceptional Ginny” and more of “vulnerable, relatable Ginny” I could really like her. But unfortunately we’re left not with a strong woman like Molly Weasley or Professoer McGonagall, but with the empty idea of one.

Category: Books, Canon
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  1. Georgina says:

    I totally agree! Whilst I love Hermione’s brains and I love Mrs Weasley’s strength & dedication I have just never liked Ginny. I never really knew why until you mentioned the perfection thing – and I really think that the fact she develops “behind closed doors” and we that don’t see her mature might factor into my dislike of her. She goes from running away and giggling at Harry to going out with another guy to make him jealous! I liked Ginny and Hermione’s subtle friendship, but this just took it too far for me.
    Great post, about to listen to the new podcast which’ll be great!
    - Georgina, 14, The UK

  2. Eric Harris says:

    I know you were saying this should be a girls talk thing, but I wanted to chime in on this too! I was actually going through the movies and books recently and had this pop up into my mind a couple times. Ginny is such an interesting character, and as you said can be very polarizing. I find myself constantly being let down by the character, or maybe I’m let down by Jo. Ginny at first is just kind of there, then like you mentioned just kind of comes out of nowhere. You’re under the impression that she’s a really cool character, and yet she is used so rarely. I think this also goes along with her relationship to Harry. Like you said it seems like Jo just kind of forgot about it and threw it in. Even Harry’s feelings for her seem so out of place. After being basically in love with Cho, he realizes that it’s not going to work out and all of a sudden switches gears to Ginny. I think the moments between Harry and Ginny were really lacking, especially since both characters are very interesting in their own ways and more moments would have made it seem more real. About Ginny being the perfect character, while I can understand why it’s annoying(and it is), I can understand why it’s that way. From what it seems, at least to me, the story and characters are all revealed to us through Harry’s eyes. What he thinks, we think. It almost seemed the same way with Cho at first. Harry was so in love with her, that he didn’t see anything wrong with her until the end. Once negative things were seen by Harry, we noticed them as well and realized Cho wasn’t that great. I think the same happened with Ginny. Harry was around her so little in the books, and so what little we knew about Ginny through Harry’s eyes made it seem as though she was perfect, because that’s how he felt.
    -Eric Harris

  3. ella says:

    I always thought Ginny and Harry’s relationship in the last couple of books mirrored that of James and Lily’s after they got over their differences, if nothing else because of how the characters are described as looking fairly alike. Come to think of it, Lily isn’t really described as having any real flaws either.

    Anyway, I always liked hot older Ginny, and how Harry reacted to her, but within that dynamic I related more to him than her, probably because I’m gay.. I don’t know if I’m being a good feminist in this, because I get that it’s problematic to put a character on a piedestal like they do with her but I personally preferred the book’s treatment of Ginny to that of Cho.

  4. Michelle says:

    Hmm I actually never thought about it that way or took a second thought of how mature Ginny became at the end of the series, but I personally have always seen Ginny as one of the rebellious characters trying to get out of the shadows and watchful eye of her family. When she had her open displayed relationship with Michael Corner and Dean Thomas it was obvious she had hit that hormonic teenage stage, and you cant forget in CoS when JK showed the “cute crush” on Harry. But I guess, as you pointed out, since the stories where more focused on Voldemort and Harry there was no time to show the blossoming of the mature “flawless” Ginny.

  5. Allan says:

    I get what you’r saying thinking that Ginny came out of nowhere. But I think that Book 5 is where Ginny is most portayed as a compelling character in her own right. On the Hogwarts Express where we learn she has friends in Neville & Luna. When Harry is first worried about being possessed it’s Ginny who is able to reassure him with her experiences of possession. When Harry learns how his father tormented Snape and has to talk to Sirius & Remus about it, it’s Ginny who helps him with a straightforward solution to his problems.

    In Book 5, she’s the character who gets Harry and I think that’s really all that’s required to be a good partner. I never got a senese that she was perfect, only that Harry was into her. This is an adventure series and she just doesn’t go along on the adventures, so she isn’t that fleshed out.

    I don’t mean to sound mean. I just thought someone should defend her.

  6. Jessica says:

    I agree that Ginny is not flushed out, and wish that she would have been, but is it possible that part of the reason we don’t see as much of her is because she is not in the same year as the trio? So much of the series revolves around the three of them, and everyone else is just a periphery. Even characters like Fred and George are still somewhat of a periphery, and I think part of that has to do with the fact that they aren’t in the same year as the trio, so they don’t have as much to do with Harry’s “day to day”.

  7. Marcel says:

    Jessica, I only sort of agree with what you said. Yes, she is a year below Harry but so is Luna. I feel like we got to know a lot more about Luna and what makes her tick than we do about Ginny. But I do like Ginny. I wish we could have gotten to know her better, but while reading I was putting myself in Harry’s position, obviously. As a boy, I could not help rooting for him to get the girl. And don’t all guys dream of ending up with a loving, loyal and hot gal?