Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
Continuing on from Part One where I discussed Cho Chang, the Luna v Hermione beef, relating to Hermione and introduced a Harry Potter themed drinking game! Today’s menu consists of whether Ginny Weasley was a well-developed character, that racist comment made by Pansy Parkinson, Zacharias Smith and his Sheldon Cooper-ness and why Harry not opening Sirius’s gift was lazy writing!
5. GINNY WEASLEY WAS A WELL-DEVELOPED CHARACTER
Yeah, sure, you could argue that the build-up to the Ginny Weasley we see in the Half-Blood Prince wasn’t extensively explored, that she was a background character from Book One to Book Five. But I disagree. The trio take centre stage so much so that other characters easily fall into the category of background character minus a few who are essential to plot development e.g. Dumbledore, Sirius, etc. The trio usually only mingle with each other, and they are a year above Ginny, so the chances of the trio frequently interacting with Ginny would be low. There simply weren’t many opportunites to delve deeper into Ginny Weasley in the first four books, but the Order of the Phoenix develops the foundation of her character growth.
Many fans do not find Ginny Weasley’s transformation from a fan girl to the cool, pretty and popular girl realistic. Again, I disagree. Imagine if you’re a teenager and you meet your celebrity crush and he becomes your brother’s best friend; you stammer, you blush, you freeze, and this continues for a long while, for years even. But eventually you get over it. You get to know your crush as a person and no longer as a celebrity. You gradually calm down and return to your normal self. Moreover, Ginny grew up around Fred and George, most of her brothers are into sports, her family are a daring and outspoken bunch, it would be only natural for Ginny to be very similar to the other Weasley’s we know and love once she grew out of her fan girl phase.
In the Order of the Phoenix, Ginny slowly comes out of her shell, and her and Harry bond through their own shared traumatic experience of being possessed by Voldemort and develop a friendship. The more her character is explored in the Order of the Phoenix, the more I discovered that Ginny has Fred and George’s wit *hem hem*, daring and optimism. Ginny and Harry don’t magically and suddenly develop a friendship, but they do so through increased exposure to each other through the DA and the Order of the Phoenix. Rereading the Order of the Phoenix made me recognise the development of the bond between Harry and Ginny.
Teenagers grow up, and Ginny hit the puberty jackpot – gaining self-confidence, and this is brought to our attention in the Order of the Phoenix and to the fore in the Half-Blood Prince.
6. PANSY PARKINSON AND THAT RACIST COMMENT
Whilst watching the Gryffindor Quidditch team train on the pitch from the stands, Pansy Parkinson mocks Angelina Johnson’s braided hair: “Hey, Johnson, what’s with that hairstyle, anyway? Why would anyone want to look like they’ve got worms coming out of their head?” (P. 269 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). Angelina Johnson is black, so we may assume, with high probability, that she is referring to Angelina Johnson’s cornrow braids, so this is blatant racism.
Blood elitism is an overarching theme in the Harry Potter series, but the wizarding universe isn’t exempt from cultural racism either. Racism is everywhere. What mostly surprised me is that nobody thought to report Pansy Parkinson to Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore or Snape. Many other discriminatory comments made by several characters at Hogwarts is frequently swept under the rug though it elicits an initial angry reaction. Nothing much is done to counter discrimination or to discipline those who make discriminatory comments at Hogwarts or the Ministry of Magic.
I didn’t pick up on this when I first read the Order of the Phoenix, so this thoroughly shocked me.
7. ZACHARIAS SMITH IS SHELDON COOPER
This guy. My guy. My guy will say anything with no thought to how it will be received. No. 1 truth-teller. So unbelievably, wonderfully, tactlessly and obliviously blunt. Oh, he doesn’t intend to be rude at all either. I can’t help but like him and I really wish that we had got to see more of him throughout the series because he had me chuckling.
Quite a lot of characters can’t stand him, especially Gryffindor students, but I’m sure that if we read the Harry Potter series alongside watching The Big Bang Theory then we would have been much more sympathetic towards Zacharias Smith. Look at all this fabulosity:
“You take remedial Potions?” asked Zacharias Smith superciliously, having cornered Harry in the Entrance Hall after lunch. “Good Lord, you must be terrible. Snape doesn’t usually give extra lessons, does he?”
I honestly don’t see any malicious intentions, just straight up Sheldon Cooper-ness. I would love to see a day in the life of Zacharias Smith being unintentionally rude to people. As long as I’m not the recipient, of course.
8. HARRY WOULD HAVE DEFINITELY OPENED SIRIUS’S GIFT
Harry dismissing the present Sirius gifted him felt too contrived. When Sirius Black gifts Harry the two-way mirror – you know the one Harry could have used to find out that Sirius is at Grimmauld Place and not at the Ministry of Magic – Harry dismisses opening the present, not thinking too much of it, but he opens all the other presents he receives and now he’s suddenly not opening the present he receives from Sirius? Yeah, stinks of lazy writing. I had to laugh and: *eye-roll on loop.*
What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? Why do you or do you not think Ginny’s transformation was well-developed? Are you a fan of Ginny Weasley? Should Hogwarts have done more to protect students from discrimination? What unintentionally rude comments have you heard?
Air your grievances, I mean, let me know in the comments!
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