I love feminist Ginny Weasley. I know I’ve talked about how much I love her before, but while I was reading HBP, I was reminded of what a good feminist character she is. She doesn’t let her brothers push in on her social life – she soundly tells Fred & George to mind their own business, and straight up puts Ron back into his place when he tries to butt in. It’s very clear that she’s the only one in charge of who she dates and she’s not going to put up with her brothers trying to get involved.
When Harry breaks up with her for “her own good”, she’s obviously not happy about it, but she agrees with his reasoning (it’s not his decision alone!) and she doesn’t let it stop her from going about her life. Rather than simply hanging around waiting for Harry to return and pick her up like a lost piece of luggage, she teams up with Neville to reactivate the DA and fight against the Death Eater’s reign at Hogwarts.
In pretty much every conceivable way, Ginny Weasley is a girl – growing into a woman – who lives on her own terms and refuses to allow other people’s expectations of her bring her down; the expectation of her brothers that she’ll date at a pace that’s comfortable for them, or the expectation that she’ll be an easy target because she’s a girl are disabused with the same casual confidence. I just honestly love her so much, and she’s the girl who I wish I was at her age (mixed with a little Hermione, though).
Molly Weasley is the type of mother I want to be, not only because she fucking rocks at being a mother, but because she rocks at life. Here are the facts:
- Molly Weasley was sorted into Gryffindor House during her time at Hogwarts, meaning she is brave af
- Canonically, she fell in love with Arthur when he showed her a working circuit board, which shows a decent level of intelligence as well as a recognition of passion
- While it’s suspected that she wasn’t an active member of the Order during the first Wizarding War (due to being busy birthing and raising seven children in eleven years no I’m never going to let that go), she was obviously involved in SOME way – she clearly inherited her brother’s possessions, and she obviously knew many of the members when the Order re-formed during the second Wizarding War.
- She is more than likely the creator of her infamous clock that shows where any particular Weasley is at any particular time. Why do I say this? Well, because it featured her particular family, and I would imagine that changing the spell or charm on it to add or remove people would be fairly complex, so I doubt that she got it from anyone else. Also, Dumbledore himself mentioned that he had never seen anything like it, which further strengthens my argument that she made it for herself. That is not some Lumos-level spell. It’s serious magic (with serious implications, now that I’m giving it some thought, but that’s for another time), and it absolutely suggests that Molly is pretty talented.
- She kills Bellatrix Lestrange. Bellatrix is known to be a talented witch as well as a very talented deulist; many other talented witches and wizards had fallen before her, and it was Molly Weasley who took her down.
In other words, JK spent several books showing us motherly Molly, domestic Molly, stay-at-home-mom-and-wife Molly, and then slowly snuck in references to the idea that she did these things – became this person – because that’s what she wanted to do, and the life she wanted to lead; but that she was completely and utterly badass at heart and being a wife and mother did not diminish that at all.
Don’t ever discount the housewives; they’re probably there because they want to be.
Molly Weasley is totally my hero. I touched on this a little bit before, but as I’m re-reading the series (I’m currently a couple of chapters into HBP) it’s really hitting home for me that Molly Weasley is who I want to be when I grow up. Or at least, part of who I want to be. Specifically, Molly Weasley is exactly the type of mother I want to be.
Molly Weasley is so good at being a mother. First of all, the sheer number of children she has is impressive. I have one set of twins and I’m overwhelmed some days – imagine if those twins came when I already had three? And then to have two more after the fact? Insanity. That’s just…that’s so many children. So many diapers, and bottles, and hours attached to a breast pump, and so many times saying the same thing over and over….the mere thought of the parenting ability that went into having seven kids 11 and under boggles my mind.
And she did a good job of it, too. First of all, her children grew up to be incredibly successful. When we meet the Weasley family, Bill and Charlie are already successful in their fields (curse-breaker and dragon-wrangler, respectively); by GoF Percy has gotten a position in the Minstry of Magic; after OotP Fred and George opened their own shop in Diagon Alley and did a booming business despite the atmosphere of fear created by Voldemort’s return; and after the series ended it’s canon that Ron joined the Ministry and later moved to help George and Ginny had a stint as a professional Quidditch player. To have all 7 of her children grow to be so determined and ambitious – and to achieve their goals so spectacularly – tells a great deal about her parenting and the environment in which they all grew up.
It’s also incredible to me how matter-of-factly she opened her home and her family to Harry & Hermione. This is a family that has – seriously, I cannot stress this enough – SEVEN children, and canonically struggled financially to raise those children. But she opened her home to Harry & Hermione, for no other reason than her son (Ron) told her that they didn’t have anybody (in the Wizarding World in Hermione’s case and in the entire world in Harry’s). She opened her home to them, fed them, did their laundry and assisted in their packing, chauffeured them to get their school books and get to school (in GoF I think she even goes BY HERSELF to get everyone’s stuff so they can all enjoy the Quidditch World Cup). By all accounts she IS their parent, their mother, in the Wizarding world. And she didn’t have to be. She could have been polite but distant on the platform, maybe asked after their health when Ron came home for the holidays, but kept herself well out of their lives and focused on her own children. But she didn’t do that, because she was too good of a mother not to want to reach out and help children who needed it.
And that’s exactly the kind of parent I want to be – the kind where when my kids bring home a friend who needs help, they know that I’ll be there to provide it. Even if it’s inconvenient or difficult. Because every child deserves a parent who’s willing to do the hard and inconvenient things for them.
I’ve started this post three times now, and still cannot find the words to accurately encapsulate my love for Minerva McGonagall. I’m apparently incapable of listing the various reasons I love McGonagall in paragraph form, so let’s try a simple list:
- McGonagall takes absolutely no shit, yet somehow manages to sidestep the cold-hearted bitch stereotype. She obviously cares deeply for her students and peers, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to let anyone walk all over her or irritate her with their nonsense. She does not care if you are the Ministry-appointed High Inquisitor, a professor or a student, she has absolutely no patience with your shenanigans.
- McGonagall is an absolute bad ass. This is related to her habit of not taking any shit (as seen above), but here I’m specifically talking about magically. You need to be an INCREDIBLY powerful witch or wizard to become an Anamagius, and she obviously did that. And, I mean, Dumbledore is generally acknowledged as the most powerful wizard of modern times. I doubt he chose a weakling as his second in command.
- Speaking of being second in command, she must have been seriously the most efficient person in the entire world Rowling created. Full time professor, Head of Gryffindor House, Deputy Headmistress…she was very clearly running the school while Dumbledore was off being Dumbledore. He couldn’t be trusted to run the school. Minerva could be.
- Despite the above, McGonagall was super maternal and motherly to her students. She had no children of her own, which may have had something to do with it (or not, what do I know). But while she was stern and suffered no fools, it was very clear that she enjoyed her students and her teaching.
Actually, that’s pretty much it. Those four traits really round out why I love her – and why I want to be her when I grow up. She’s talented, accomplished, good at her job, and has no patience for nonsense. When I grow up I want to be Minerva McGonagall
One of the things that I love about JK is how many wonderful female characters she includes in her books. They’re all real, fully realized characters, not just stereotypes that exist to prop up the “real” characters (aka the males). Rowling’s women are just as fleshed out and important as her male characters. And this is why I’m so incredibly happy that Rowling included this bitch in her world:
I mean, just to clarify, I hate her. Just as much as anyone else does, I assure you. But she provides a balance that was totally necessary for the purposes of Rowling’s world. Don’t believe me? WELL:
1) On a totally non-gendered level, she’s one of the few people who we saw being evil and dickish a terrible WITHOUT also being a Death Eater. Snape may sneak in on a technicallity, but most people explain away his dickish behavior with the fact that he was undercover and PRETENDING to be a Death Eater (never mind that the Death Eaters were considered disbanded & in hiding till GoF / OooP). Fudge is pretty terrible as well, but he’s generally considered to have been simply weak and afraid, not actively terrible. Umbridge is terrible on purpose, and clearly taking advantage of the culture of fear in the wizarding world to enhance her position and grab power. Gross.
2) She’s one of only 3 evil women in the series. The Death Eaters are OVERWHELMINGLY male – there are only TWO female Death Eaters (that I can think of, let me know if I’m wrong of course) – Bellatrix and Alecto Carrow. Alecto has barely any characterization, outside of the obvious evil-ness that’s to be expected of a Death Eater. She and her brother Amycus are basically one character. Bellatrix needs a lot of going into, and I will give her a whole post, but she’s openly insane, does what she does because of a man, and has been mostly stripped of her femininity.
Umbridge is EXTREMELY feminine – in your face, in fact. She’s not particularly attractive, but she loves pink and frills and kittens and everything about her screams I’M A WOMAN THEREFORE I AM HARMLESS LOOK AT ALL THE SILLY THINGS I LOVE. And then she turns out to be the most evil bitch in the entire series (yeah, I said it. Nobody else comes close). JK uses her to show that evil is not a masculine trait, and that being a woman does not automatically make you better or more moral than men (ahem, people who insist the world would be a better place with women in charge). She represents the evils of bureaucracy, and she does it wearing pink suits and bows in her hair. Once again, JK created a REAL character, who does not fit into any boxes (beurocrat = overly efficient and not interested in frivilous things, feminine woman = inefficient and unintelligent). As much as I hate Umbridge and take a perverse pleasure in her fate, I am incredibly glad that JK chose to include her.
This post is not about Harry Potter. I do, on occasion, think of other things. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled HP fest shortly.
The story of Setalle Anan breaks my heart. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT SETALLE ANAN.
Setalle Anan was an Aes Sedai who was burned out. That means she lost her ability to channel the One Power, probably due to drawing too much upon herself or while studying ter’angreal. Understand this – being burned out (or stilled, or gentled, or whatever you want to call it) is the WORST POSSIBLE THING that can happen to a channeler in this universe. Multiple characters who have the ability consider the fact that they’d rather die than lose their ability. Several characters vomit at the suggestion that it could happen to them, or upon seeing it happen to one of their associates. IT’S A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE FATE. And when it happened to Setalle, the White Tower simply put her out and expected her to crawl into a corner and die quietly.
The White Tower is an organization that is well known for meddling and manipulation. It’s mentioned by a few characters through the series that once a woman has ties to the White Tower, it isn’t through with her until she’s used up. It’s generally understood that once you become attached to the Tower, it’s for life. No backsies, homie. So that’s what makes it such a GROSS BETRAYAL how they handle women who are burned out. Just…thrown out the door. Bye. Go die somewhere. But the existence of Setalle Anan suggests that they DON’T (always) just go die – they go and forge lives for themselves and try to forget that they were once among the most powerful women in the world. They just try to be…normal again, after having been extraordinary.
It makes me so incredibly sad to think of the dozens – hundreds? – of women who had dedicated their lives to this organization, were INJURED in its service, and then tossed aside like worthless garbage because they were lacking the ability they once had. Their brains were the same; their memories intact – but they were simply tossed aside like so much refuse because of what they no longer had. Breaks my heart.
OK, OK, I know I already discussed Ginny, and I promise, I will go back to spewing my opinions on EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER. In the HP universe shortly. However. There is something that must be said before I do.
THIS IS PATENTLY ABSURD
Everyone else makes sense. Just look at Ginny.
I don’t know if maybe people are getting confused between Ginny and Amy Pond, from Doctor Who (another allegedly badass redhead, whose storyline involves her and her husband being separated for like thousands of years at a time but waiting for each other. Or something. Doctor Who is confusing and I haven’t watched Matt Smith’s episodes yet). Or maybe if they’re just focusing on her saying in DH that she never really gave up on Harry. Or maybe it has something to do with book Ginny vs. movie Ginny (I’m not super well versed in the movies, but I remember that while Bonnie Wright is lovely the character lost a lot of personality). I don’t know. REGARDLESS, these people are stupid.
Because Ginny’s WHOLE SCHTICK was that she DIDN’T hang around waiting for Harry Potter. She focused on Quidditch and her school work and getting over being traumatized after being possessed by a Horcrux. She got over her crush and dated other guys who DID notice her and DID think she was awesome. She fought in and helped lead Dumbledore’s Army. What she did NOT do – because she is not Bella from Twilight and therefore doesn’t suck – is sit around WAITING for Harry to realize she loved him, or for him to come back after defeating Voldemort. She was entirely too awesome to hold her life up waiting around for a dude who may or may not realize her awesome.
Ginny was brave, and strong, and FUNNY (that needs capitalization because it is probably my favorite part about her), and she is not simply a toy that Harry can pick up and put down as he wishes because she’ll be waiting for him either way. Ginny Weasley is not The Girl Who Waited. She’s The Girl Who Fought.