Ginny Weasley gets a lot of hate in the fandom, and given that we so often criticize those who don’t read the books, I have to wonder why. Although the film franchise did not do the youngest Weasley justice, anyone who read the books knows Ginny is one fierce lady. She is possessed by Voldemort when she is only eleven – Harry can’t handle that at seventeen! She also stands up to Harry when he’s angsting in Order of the Phoenix, reminding him that she understands what it’s like to be possessed and chastises him for acting like a victim. Ginny also says one of my favorite quotes in the series: “Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve,” a lesson she learns from her older twin brothers and one she actually lives by. When the trio drop out of school, Ginny is the one to restart Dumbledore’s Army and steals the sword of Gryffindor from Snape. Ginny Weasley is nothing less than audacious. She’s actually willing to fight the Death Eaters against her mother’s will when she’s only sixteen, and I, for one, would not have risked my life at that age, even for Harry Potter.
One of my favorite things about Ginny is her bravery in everyday situations. Although she started out timid and shy (the youngest of seven children and suddenly hanging out with the famous and adorable Harry Potter? I’d be anxious, too!), Ginny really blossomed after her encounter with Voldemort’s Horcrux in Chamber of Secrets. Instead of hiding away from the danger she was exposed to, she takes more of a “life is short” perspective and tries to have as normal an education as she can – until Goblet of Fire happens, and she helps Harry, without hesitation. Ginny is an incredibly loyal friend to Harry, without building her entire existence around him like far too many fictional heroines.
Perhaps the dislike for Ginny comes from the fact that, while befriending outcasts and fighting against evil, Ginny is also a normal teenage girl. She has lots of friends, dates different boys, and plays Quidditch. Ginny sort of seems like the kind of person I might hate in high school. But Ginny is also clever, brave, and a champion of the underdog. She stands up for herself and her friends. She’s really a shining example of a Gryffindor and feminist, too. It takes a Gryffindor to defy the rules and do what’s right, even when everyone tells you no; it’s truly a marker of feminism for a young woman to own her sexuality and defend herself when she is criticized. For that reason, I think each of us should aspire to be a little more like Ginny: a little smarter, or more daring, or a little more willing to make her own choices.