If you have been following me on any of my social media accounts, then you are well aware that I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. When I combined that with the fact that one of my most popular blog posts is the one on Severus Snape it was easy to decide on a topic for my first blogging series: The Characters of Harry Potter. There are way too many characters for me to write about them all, so I have decided to limit it to four. Now on with today’s post.
I love Ron. I’m just going to state that from the get go. I entered the Potter fandom relatively late (after Order of the Phoenix the book had just come out), but for the past 8 years I have been heavily immersed in that online world. I am very frequently left speechless by the reactions I see towards Ron. There is an enormous camp of people who idolize him, but there is also a not so small group of people who genuinely – to put it mildly – don’t like him.
There are several complaints that I see pop up most frequently: One, that Ron serves no real purpose to the story other than comic relief. Two, that Ron is the most immature member of the trio and it gets annoying. Three, that Ron is frequently touted as representing loyalty among the trio, yet he is the one who abandons Harry on two separate occasions.
What’s interesting, is that reasons two and three are part of why I love Ron so much. Those same two things also speak to what I believe a large part of his purpose in the books actually is.
Ron is just an ordinary guy.
JK Rowling is better than most authors at creating multi-layered, flawed characters. I challenge anyone to find a character from Harry Potter who is a too perfect “Mary Sue” or whatever the male equivalent is. I really don’t think one exists. BUT, where the main characters are concerned, almost all of them also have a part that is better than, extraordinary. This is why Ron is such a relatable character to so many. He is just an average, ordinary guy who is trying to be the best friend he knows how to be to someone who is anything but ordinary.
I still remember the first time I read through each book. When Ron unfairly blamed Harry in Goblet of Fire I was just as upset and frustrated as Harry was. In Deathly Hallows when Ron left Harry and Hermione on the hunt for Horcruxes I felt the hurt and betrayal just as acutely as they did. Those two actions were incredibly selfish. They were also incredibly normal.
I don’t know about you, but when I was in high school friends got in fights with each other all the time. We would stop talking to each other over the most trivial of things. Jealousy born of insecurity causes people to do all kinds of crazy things they normally wouldn’t, especially during the volatile teenage years. And that’s just in our normal, ordinary world and friendships. Now imagine being best friends with someone who lives under the constant threat and attention inherent when the most evil person to live in hundreds of years is after him. I’m impressed Ron and Harry didn’t get into fights more often.
The thing that I admire so much about Ron is that, yes he makes mistakes, but he also learns from those mistakes and will admit he was wrong. He did that in both Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows. One of the hardest things in the world to do is let go of stubborn anger, admit you were wrong, and ask for forgiveness. The bigger the mistake, the harder this is to do. That Ron is able to do this with such big mess ups shows tremendous growth, even maturity, in his character as well as the depth of his love for his best friend. In fact, I believe that Ron’s character shows more growth over the course of the series than almost any other.
Throughout the books Ron reacts to things in ways that I could imagine any number of guys I knew in high school – or even myself – reacting. He has very little filter present between his brain and his mouth, which causes him to say things that are often rude or insensitive. I think that most of the time he is oblivious to the fact that this is how he comes across and that in his heart he truly does care about those around him.
With the exception of the two times mentioned previously, he ALWAYS stood up for Harry. In Prisoner of Azkaban he could hardly move from his broken leg, yet he still boldly declared “If you want to kill Harry, you’ll have to kill us, too” to Sirius Black (249*). In Order of the Phoenix when the whole school thought Harry was an attention seeking liar, Ron stood up for him even when it was a friend making the accusations (197-198). There are many more examples sprinkled throughout, but these are just two that have always stood out to me.
I can not imagine the Harry Potter books without Ron. He adds so much more than much needed comic relief. He adds heart and an element of relatability to a story that lives in the realm of the fantastical. He is flawed, ordinary, fallible. As my friend Maria Gonzalez said, “We can’t all be ‘the brightest witch of our age’ or ‘the boy who lived’. Ron represents the normal people.”
What do you think? Do you like Ron or think that he is an immature git (to use one of his favorite words)? What are some of your favorite Ron moments? Let me know in the comments!
Be sure to check back for the next installment in my series; I will be discussing Hermione.
*Page numbers are from the UK editions.