This post was written in response to the Miami Book Examiner’s defense of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley as one of the five most romantic literary couples.
Point One: Great literary romances develop in a believable way.
The Book Examiner would have you believe that because J.K. Rowling had seven books to write a romance (which Harry Potter is not), that the love story between Harry and Ginny developed naturally over time. To that I say prove it! What I read was not a realistic love story. I repeat, Harry Potter is not a love story at all! Even so… the “romance” between Harry and Ginny is not a good one let alone a great one.
Ginny is all but ignored as the younger sister to Ron Weasley until book five. In Order of the Phoenix she joins the secret DA club in order to learn how to defend herself when the Ministry was determined to make sure that the children did not know how to defend themselves. The same could be said of Cho, Luna, Hermione, and half a dozen other girls ranging from the Gryffindor Quidditch team to rival housemates.
Then Harry gets a green-eyed monster in his stomach in book six and acts completely out of character for the whole book; not just when he’s around Ginny. Considering Rowling’s history of introducing little seeds in one book that explode into a major plot points in another, I figured it was the Amortentia potion at work.
Amortentia is the most powerful love potion in the wizarding world and was used throughout Half-Blood Prince to show how it influenced Voldemort’s life. It made sense for JKR to use it as an influence on Harry’s life as she has manipulated several similarities of the same ilk. (Unless there is a book eight that proves this interpretation of the sixth book to be true, Harry/Ginny can’t be explained away as a the case of Amortentia. That leaves just bad writing.
Then in Deathly Hallows, book seven, Harry and Ginny are separated and exchange no communication until the night of battle at Hogwarts at the end of all the major action. Yet despite all this we’re supposed to believe that by the end of the story they are happily married seventeen years later with three kids. Riiiiight.
In short, the romance is too forced and too quick to feel real, despite there being seven books.
Point Two: Great literary romances are based on a mutual admiration and respect for the partner’s strengths and talents.
admired feared Ginny’s bat boogey hex, but that spell is not the stuff of romance. This is the only spell I can remember Harry thinking about when he thinks on Ginny’s skills. This just seems ridiculously underdeveloped to me. Give me something more to go on.
I feel Harry had more respect for Hermione’s brains and puzzle solving skills. In fact, Hermione shows the most strengths and talents in the entire series and by this reasoning alone she should have been Harry’s match. After all the smart and witty Elizabeth Bennet fell in love with the popular and wealthy Mr. Darcy. Hermione and Harry play those roles far more convincingly than Ginny and Harry, even though Ginny is from a poor family with multiple siblings.
Heck, Harry greatly respected Luna even if he thought she was sometimes a little weird. He even took her on a date! Why not Luna over Ginny? Luna would have been a great candidate. She shared loss with Harry, and like Harry knew what it was to be lonely. She also admired him for his own worth not because of the Boy-Who-Lived nonsense Ginny was always going on about in the earlier novels. These two share several intimate moments of more emotional depth and discourse than Harry and Ginny. Luna is there for Harry when others are not. Shouldn’t this mean Luna is Harry’s romantic match?
Point Three: Great literary romances are willingly sacrificial.
What did Ginny sacrifice? Or Harry for that matter when it came to the relationship? Don’t say they stayed apart from each other so he could focus on saving the world, or so that she’d be safe. He was willing to take the help of his two closest and dearest friends. Plus, as we all know, Hogwarts was not safe that year.
In addition, for those that read Deathly Hallows you know the ending and the huge sacrifice Harry made. Is it not true of Harry’s character that he would have made it whether or not Ginny even existed? Or Hermione? Or Luna? So again, how can Harry/Ginny be a great romance if this is true about Harry’s character regardless of romantic entanglements?
Point Four: Great literary romances feature a well-matched pair.
How are Harry and Ginny a well-matched pair? She’s his number one fangirl and he’s the savior of the wizarding world. Her talents are limited. JKR built up the history behind the magical meaning of number seven, but never gave the 7th Weasley child anything to make her unique, except perhaps making her the only female sibling in the bunch.
Hermione was the smartest witch of the age, Cho the lovliest, and Luna the most unique. Ginny can’t even stand on her own two feet and say she was a challenge to Harry on the Quidditch Pitch because it was Cho, not Ginny, who battled Harry in game matches. Are they simply a well-matched pair because together they look like his parents? Hmm….. I think not.
Point Five: Great literary romances celebrate the steadfast and unwavering love of the underdog.
Of the girls: Hermione, Ginny, Cho, and Luna, only Hermione and Luna can be considered underdogs because Ginny and Cho were exceedingly popular in their years. Ginny can’t be acknowledged as the underdog just because of her super fan crush on Harry and a few elbows in butter dishes. Think about it in real life terms. If Ginny’s crush means she is Harry Potter’s true love then that would mean every fan girl of Daniel Radcliffe or Robert Pattinson stands a chance of marrying their chosen actor. Get real. Harry is uncomfortable with fame and would not like a clingy fan girl around.
Now onto the other candidates.
Hermione was ostracized originally because of her intelligence and showy talent. She had absolutely no friends until Ron’s callousness sends her to the girls’ toilets and into the path of a giant troll. Isn’t that more like an underdog to you? But then Hermione is extremely smart and is at the top of all her classes, so is she really an underdog?
Now, Luna Lovegood is a true underdog. She was seen as an oddball for her appearance, speech, and beliefs. She helps her kooky father run a magazine widely believed to be full of crock. The girl wears lion heads on her head, radishes in her ears, sparkly layered dresses, and more. She talks about Rotfang conspiracies, heliopaths in the Department of Mysteries, wrackspurts, things nobody else sees or believes.
Other students constantly pick on her. They steal her things, hide her shoes, poke fun of her in every way that they can. Even students from her own house. Until Order Of The Phoenix, she didn’t have any friends other than Ginny. Despite all resistance and ill-will she continued to march to her own drum with a very sweet, forgiving, and sincere attitude. Doesn’t that make Luna worthy of Harry Potter’s heart? I would think so.
Harry and Ginny never stood a chance against literary romantic couples. Not only because of those reasons listed above, but also because Harry and Ginny had no real on page romance. Rowling condensed everything about their courtship to a few paragraphs where Harry reminisced in Half-Blood Prince that the time spent with Ginny didn’t even seem like his own life. Their total time on page is less than 2% of the whole series. Clearly, Harry and Ginny aren’t the most romantic literary couple of the age. I wouldn’t even classify them as a romantic pairing. Rowling’s best romance was the one she didn’t expressly show us, but told us about through other characters, and that was the James Potter, Lily Evans, and Severus Snape love triangle. It’s hard to get that sort of perspective when the main character is the romance lead.
Do you agree? What are your thoughts?