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Most of my friends who read and adored Harry Potter as much as I did identify strongly with Hermione Granger. Don't get me wrong, Hermione is fantastic: She's smart, strong, capable, and nearly every plan the boys had would have fallen to pieces without her there. She was a hero to anyone who grew up with their nose in a book and felt a little out of place with their more athletically inclined peers.
But as much as I love, respect, and adore Hermione, my favorite girl in the series has always been Ginny Weasley. While not as front and center in the series as the members of the Golden Trio, Ginny held her own as the seventh child of Arthur and Molly, only girl in the family in generations, killer Quidditch player, and all-around certified badass.
And I'm still not over how the movies absolutely did her dirty.
We can all agree that the Harry Potter movies got a lot wrong (like, A LOT wrong), but nothing infuriates me more than the fact that they took this funny, powerful, and inspiring character and reduced her entire role to nothing more than "love interest" and sidechick. Sure, changes have to be made here and there when adapting a book to the screen, but they cut absolutely any semblance of her personality, leaving her as barely more than a glorified extra.
In her first appearance in the series (both book and film), we see her as a wide-eyed, wild-haired child, nearly speechless over the sudden appearance of the infamous Harry Potter. However, while the books took the time to develop her into the fiery, outspoken, and powerful witch she was destined to be, the movies left her to languish in the role of Harry's manic pixie dream girl.
Movie!Ginny had little to no personality of her own. She spent her brief appearances in the early films either too awestruck to speak in Harry's presence or too busy almost dying in the Chamber of Secrets. Despite being a prominent character in the later books, she was reduced to just over half an hour of screen time spread across all eight movies. Blink and you'll miss her scenes, but don't worry because she's hardly relevant to the plot outside of the second movie.
It's a damn shame, because Ginny in the books was everything I ever wanted to be when I was growing up. Book!Ginny was the younger sister of Fred and George, just as capable of pranking anyone and everyone as her mischievous older brothers were. She was the daughter of the witch who took down Bellatrix Lestrange without blinking an eye. And she was her own person, a witch who refused to let anyone tell her who she should be, who fought back against injustice, and who got what she wanted no matter what stood in her way. With her quick wit, snarky comments, and tendency to rush into things without thinking them through, she was a Gryffindor to her very core.
Ginny's first storyline had her dealing with immense amount of trauma at just 11 years old (being possessed by the soul of a powerful Dark Wizard will do that to you), and the movie failed to capture just how much it affected her. And then they failed even further when they didn't show how she worked to recover from a year of pain and terror, showing how resilient and strong she was. Ginny was the only one who could even slightly understand Harry's trauma and torment due to being linked to Voldemort, and the movies glossed right over it.
In spite of, or perhaps partly due to, her experiences in her first year, Ginny was fiercely supportive of Harry and the fight against Voldemort. She was one of the first to sign up for Dumbledore's Army, and she didn't hesitate to join Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Luna when they set off to rescue Sirius from the Department of Mysteries. Yet the movies downplay her importance. They hand off most of the heroics to Neville, ignoring the fact that Ginny was his co-conspirator when it came to leading a secret resistance from inside of Hogwarts. Sure, he was the one who went toe to toe with the Carrows. Still, Ginny was the one who couldn't return to Hogwarts after Easter because she was instrumental in drumming up support for Harry and openly recruiting for Dumbledore's Army. She was the one who rushed back to Hogwarts against her parents' wishes because there was no way she could sit back and watch while everyone she cared about fought for what they believed in.
And don't even get me started on her romantic role in the movies. Movie!Ginny is quiet and shy, only popping up to speak when we need to be reminded that Harry has a love interest waiting in the wings. Sure, Ginny has a crush on Harry in both the books and the movies (and totally snags her man in the end), but Book!Ginny would never sit around waiting for someone to recognize her awesomeness. She dates other guys, pursues her own interests, and even calls Harry out when he's ridiculous (which, let's face it, is far too often).
Book!Ginny is her own fully developed person, she knows who she is and what she wants. In the books, Ginny is equal to Harry, someone who has dealt with her own share of trauma and comes out the other side a better, stronger person, which is why they work. She doesn't need to change who she is or make herself less for anyone.
Ginny Weasley is so much more than a sidechick or a love interest, and the movies absolutely should have given her a chance to shine as brightly as the books did.