In honor of Ginny’s birthday, I have decided to analyze her character within the books. Feel free to comment on anything you find interesting, agree with, or disagree with:
Vivacious, charming, funny, brave. These are all adjectives that Slughorn uses to describe Lily Potter, but they could just as easily refer to Ginny Weasley.
Lily and Ginny have very similar personalities. They both arrive at Hogwarts feeling estranged from their home life, teased and ignored by elder siblings. In response, both place their faith and confidence in men or boys with dark reputations, Lily with Snape and Ginny with Tom Riddle. They are not, however, ever tempted to join the Dark Arts themselves. As Ginny and Lily make friends at Hogwarts they exhibit a fierce loyalty, even when their friends are unusual and unpopular. Ginny tells off boys for calling Luna “loony,” and Lily stands up to James and his friends when they try to tease Snape. As Dumbledore said in the Sorcerer’s Stone, “it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Both Lily and Ginny possess this type of bravery. Lily is frank with Snape about her dislike for his Death Eater friends, and cuts him off completely when he calls her Mudblood. Ginny stands up to Harry when he tells her she can’t come to the Department of Mysteries, and never lets her brothers be rude to her.
Both Lily and Ginny show a type of passionate determination and loyalty that attracts them to Horace Slughorn and his Slug Club. Neither have the correct background or parentage to originally be of interest to him, yet he finds them nevertheless, based solely on their abilities and personalities. Ginny and Lily even look alike. Ginny has long red hair, and Lily is described as having “thick, dark red hair that fell to her shoulders” (Snape’s Worst Memory, OOTP).
Despite her many similarities to Lily, Ginny deserves to be examined in her own right as well. Harry seems to enjoy dating girls, like Ginny and Cho, who are talented at Quidditch. Other than that, however, Ginny has very little in common with Cho. Harry is not very adept at reading girls’ emotions, and he is not suited to understand Cho’s tears and the complexities of her feelings. He and Ginny, however, have a similar way of expressing emotion, and therefore are able to connect at a deeper level. When Harry needs to break up with Ginny at the end of Half Blood Prince he looks into her eyes and says that “he knew at that moment they understood each other perfectly, and that when he told her what he was going to do now, she would…accept his decision, because she would not have expected anything less of him” (The White Tomb, HBP). Cho and Harry are never on the same page, theirs is a story of missed connections, unrealistic expectations, and ultimately, disappointment. Harry always finds Cho’s tears baffling, and he says “that was one of the many wonderful things about Ginny, she was rarely weepy. He had sometimes thought that having six brothers must have toughened her up” (The Will of Albus Dumbledore, DH).
From experience with her brothers, Ginny has an understanding of boys that helps her connect with Harry not only on a romantic level, but also as a friend. Unlike Cho, who is always surrounded by groups of giggling girls, Ginny spends most of her time with boys and doesn’t seem to have any girl friends besides Hermione and Luna. In fact, there isn’t a single girl in Ginny’s year in Gryffindor who is mentioned by name. The only time we meet the girls in her dormitory is in Order of the Phoenix when Ron tries to ascend to the girl’s dormitory. As Ron regains his footing, “two fourth-year girls came zooming gleefully down the stone slide” (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four, OOTP). Strangely enough, despite the fact that Ginny is charismatic, popular, and often described with her friends, we aren’t given any sense of who they are. We only see her with her boyfriends or on the Quidditch team.
Ginny, however, is utterly devoted to the friends and family that we do see. Although originally too scared to even talk when Harry was in the room, when Ginny shows Harry her true self he realizes that they work perfectly together, first as friends, then as life-long partners.