As a little girl, I identified with Hermione, dressing up as her for Halloween for two years. I’d beam when people would tell me I look a lot like her (not Emma Watson but Hermione the character) because of my bushy hair (which I used to detest before the comparison). I still do identify with Hermione but now also with Ron which is why they are two of my favourite characters.
I cannot fathom the palpable hatred directed at Ron nor do I understand the unquestioning admiration Hermione seems to receive. I suppose it’s the movies’ fault. Both characters are well fleshed out in the books but less so in the film adaptations.
For a book reader, it is easy to see that the films have dissected Ron’s character, surgically removed his good traits and transplanted them into Hermione’s character which sadly, destroyed both of them, yet Ron more than Hermione in the end. While Hermione Granger is the shining epitome of perfection stood atop a pedestal, Ron is made to look like someone who is fit for nothing better than to clean said pedestal, which is infuriating. Why fix something that isn’t broken? (Yes, that question is directed at Kloves more than anyone else.)
The fact of the matter is that Ron was never meant to be a sidekick, only good for a few one-liners and comic relief. He was much more than that in the books. Yes, Ron is funny, but in the books we laugh with Ron while in the movies we laugh at him. He’s not the slap stick comedian we’ve seen on screen (and I mean no offense to Rupert Grint, he does so well with what little he’s given), he’s witty, subtle and sarcastic, one of my main reasons for liking him so much.
Not only this, but he is very real. He’s poor and has an inferiority complex, but also kind, observant and quite intelligent, though appearing dumb in the movies. (It would surprise people to know that he’s better than Harry in academics.) In the first film when entrapped by Devil’s Snare he is an absolute wreck while in the book he is reasonably still and tells Hermione to conjure up flames while Harry struggles more and more. In the second book, it was Harry who asked Moaning Myrtle insensitively how a throwing a book can hurt her it’d just go right through her while Ron was given that line in the films. Why? Because Ron was backed into the sidekick corner and left there.
Movie-viewers missed out on a wonderful transformation which is the saddest of all. His growth over the series is demonstrative of the fact that heroes can make mistakes and learn from them instead of being always in the right. The same boy who started off indifferent to elf rights became the boy who suggested to save the house elves when everyone else forgot, and gave his own clothes and socks for Dobby to be buried in. That is growth.
Besides, one of my main reasons for enjoying Harry Potter so much was Harry and Ron’s friendship. Yes, we all seem to debate over who Hermione should have ended up with but I was always here for Harry and Ron which, unfortunately, wasn’t well portrayed in the films. There’s a reason why Ron is the one person in the world Harry would miss most. He was his very first friend, the closest thing Harry had to family, never thinking twice to offer his room and food and everything he had to Harry, which was pretty much all he had.
Ron was the one, who was in blinding pain and stood up on his broken leg to fiercely defend his best friend from a serial killer in PoA.
“No, Harry!” Hermione gasped in a petrified whisper; Ron, however, spoke to Black.
“If you want to kill Harry, you’ll have to kill us, too!” he said fiercely, though the effort of standing up had drained him of still more colour, and he swayed slightly as he spoke.
Something flickered in Black’s shadowed eyes.
“Lie down, “ he said quietly to Ron. “You will damage that leg even more.”
“Did you hear me?” Ron said weakly, though he was clinging painfully to Harry to stay upright. “You’ll have to kill all three of us!”
(Infuriatingly, this entire line was given to Hermione while Ron was a blubbering mess in the background, while in the books Hermione is the one who was terrified.)
While many criticise Ron for leaving Harry and Hermione in DH, I think what is often overlooked is the gravity of his departure. Ron is loyal (his Patronus is a Jack-Russell terrier, for god’s sake) and this isn’t shown much in the films which is why it didn’t have the same impact. He is the one who always defends Harry and Hermione from other people.
In CoS, he is ready to kill Malfoy for wanting the Heir of Slytherin to attack Hermione.
“I’m quite surprised the Mudbloods haven’t all packed their bags by now,” Malfoy went on. “Bet you five Galleons the next one dies. Pity it wasn’t Granger…”
The bell rang at that moment, which was lucky; at Malfoy’s last words, Ron had leapt off his stool, and in the scramble to collect bags and books, his attempts to reach Malfoy went unnoticed.
“Let me at him,” Ron growled, as Harry and Dean hung onto his arms. “ I don’t care, I don’t need my wand, I’m going to kill him with my bare hands-”
Not to mention when he shouts at Snape, their scariest professor, in Hermione’s defense and gets detention (scrubbing bed pans) for it.
“That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger,” said Snape coolly. “Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all.”
Hermione went very red, put down he rhand and stared at the floor with her eyes full of tears….Ron, who told Hermione she was a know-it-all at least twice a week, said loudly, “You asked us a question and she knows the answer! Why ask if you don’t want to be told?”
The class knew instantly he’d gone too far…
In the movies, after Snape snaps at Hermione, Ron just says “He’s got a point, you know.” which he would NEVER say. I think Ron would rather face a spider than agree with Snape.
These are just a few instances of how the movies have mucked up his character and slowly, as Ron fan, it kills you.
Book Ron is that friend who would defend you no matter what. To desert people whose side he’s unfailingly on shows just how the Horcrux impacted him. Ron wasn’t a spoiled brat or cowardly, he was dealing with his insecurities and as soon as he left, he said he wanted to come back. We often forget that we fight with our friends and some of them actually walk out on us, never to return but the ones that come back are true. And Ron is nothing if not a true friend. He’s the sort of person you want in your corner, always good to be around, even when not doing anything in particular.
Overall, I think the movies outstripped movie Ron of a lot of character points and this makes me feel bad for Rupert Grint who really likes the character he plays. He said it himself, “But, the truth is that Ron is my hero. He’s always there for his friends – sometimes belligerently, but there nevertheless. And no matter how scared he may be, he will put aside his fears to support and protect the people he loves. To me, that represents true courage.”
Too bad we never got to see him play the real Ron, it would have been fantastic.
(I have a lot more to say about this issue and I tend to rant a lot about book Ron vs. movie Ron but this pretty much sums it all up.)