EriseD and a dna DesirE, or, Ronald Weasley and the Tandem Jungian Bicycle
Ronald Weasley — paragon of passion? Come on. Get real. Pur-lease– About the only times we see Ron’s passions are when he’s a) trying to impress veela by doing something stupid, or b) trying to beat up normal girls in a couple of verbal fights, right? OK, he defends Hermione by cursing himself with slugs, and he tries to impress Moody/Crouch Jr. with ideas about catching potential Dark wizards, too. And there’s also the painful memory of the short Won-Won/Lav-Lav gag-gag me-me ship. What’s my point?
Ron has his own Hero’s Journey to fulfill, even whilst the Famous Harry Potter travels through the Hogwarts standard seven years (hence tandem). In fact, Ron has gone nearly as far as Harry in his own story, but in a different way, and taking his own time to get there. I believe his journey, by the way, is written in Ron’s inky DNA. Test me and see.
Since the HP series is a many-layered thing, please go with it; my aim is to point out Ron’s path, not figure out the intricacies of JKR’s plot-setting.
Ron Tells His Passions — The Hero’s Birth
Harry’s birth is infamous, now with the disclosure of Order of the Phoenix. But his Hero’s Birth is Voldemort’s first personal attack on him.
Ron gets his Hero’s Birth 10 years and nearly two months after Harry. Ron’s desires were revealed (born in his head?) by the Mirror of Erised. Late one night on winter term break, during the Year of the Stone, Ron stands in front of the Mr. Erised and exclaims he cannot see Harry’s parents. Let us revisit what he does see:
I’m alone — but I’m different — I look older — and I’m head boy! I am — I’m wearing the badge like Bill used to — and I’m holding the house cup and the Quidditch cup — I’m Quidditch captain, too!
–PS/SS, Mirror of Erised, pg. 211, U.S. edition
Ron’s birth as a Hero occurs here, in front of the mirror. All of Ron’s deepest desires are made plain to him, probably for the first conscious time. Lets face it, Ron’s character is not too reflective. Reflective or not, however, Ron’s desires are written in the DNA of every cell in his body. JKR is penning them just as well as she is Harry’s.
Sir Ronald Weasley — The Hero’s Call to Adventure
Harry’s call to adventure happened at 12:00 a.m., 31 July, Year of the Stone. A half-giant who broke down my door would be a pretty big call to me.
Ron’s call to adventure suddenly occurs to him later during the Year of the Stone. On the floor of the chess board, he takes up the call to adventure in true Hero style: he leads the way! Valiantly and brutally, Ron commands his troops so the trio may take possession of the next door. He answers the final call with a forceful, fateful reminder to Harry that its Harry, not himself, who has to stop Snape, and sacrifices himself for the good of all. Ron wears the mantle of Hero for the first time as a knight, and the queen crushes him.
Ron Weasley and the Eight-Legged Teddy — A Hero’s Helper?
Harry’s helpers are many and varied: Hagrid, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Gred and Forge (see SS/PS), Ginny, Neville, and later Luna.
Ron, however, pretty much comes up short. Harry and Hermione play the Helpers for him. Dumbledore’s comment on Ron’s Erised desirE revelation (pardon my opinion) is pretty lame: ”Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of all of them” (pg. 213). Now, who can argue with Dumbledore? Least of all, me. But I would like to add to his statement.
I see Ron’s very first real Hero’s Helper in the midst of Aragog’s extended family (CoS). Ron gets to face his fear here, and he does it with Harry, Fang and Aragog. Ron stares his fear in the face, hates it, and comes out alive. Why is Aragog a helper? Because after that scene, I say Ron believes, for the first time, he really can face his life. It is with a steely Eastwood resolve when Ron points his wand at Lockhart, forcing the faker forward into the foul pit. Where did this resolve come from? The birth. It was strengthened by Aragog.
Metal Rides on Wood — Ron’s Amulets
Harry’s amulets are his scar, his firebolt (any coincidence, by the way, that Harry’s broom is a firebolt, and his scar is a lightning bolt?), his wand, his inherited Invisibility Cloak, Godric Gryffindor’s sword (which, I believe, is the Series Amulet, but that’s another editorial)
Ronald Weasley gets his own amulets. Dumbledore gives him his first one, in the form of a prefect’s badge. Until now, Ron’s achievements have been overshadowed by his brothers’ deeds. His achievements have gone unnoticed by his parents until the Phoenix Year. This is evident by Mrs. Weasley’s exclamation of disbelief at Ron’s prefect badge (status?). Strangely enough, Ron doesn’t get rewarded by his parents (OK: verbal praise, for helping Harry to save Ginny from Riddle/Voldemorts memory, CoS) until he is made a prefect. We know this because he doesn’t come to Diagon Alley in PoA for anything new but what’s on the school list.
The prefect’s badge is the first glimmer of hope for Ron. Ron’s dream fulfillment of being Head Boy (like Bill, not Percy) is that much closer; the badge shows Ron he is of a Hero’s moral and spiritual fiber, a caliber of which Dumbledore needs on Hogwarts prefect team. The Badge Amulet gives way for his mother to recognize him as a hero; to her, Ron has undergone a rite of passage. She bestows upon him the new Cleansweep Amulet. These amulets enable him to pass over the Hero’s Threshold.
Sir Ron Nothing! It’s King Weasley! — The Hero’s Threshold Crossing
Harry’s threshold in the HP saga is, as I see it, in June of the Year of Snuffles’ Freedom. Harry shouts Expecto Patronum, and becomes a man in his own eyes for the first time.
Ronald’s threshold is a three-part event. He turns the knob on the doorway to hero-dom when he tries out for and successfully makes the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He attempts a crossing twice with lamentable results. No one laments more than he. But, as they say, the third times the charm, and Ron is borne on the shoulders of his fans for the first time. He is his own man, and he knows it. He has been tested, and found not to be a knight, but King.
Get It Harry? We Saw Uranus, ha, ha, ha — The Hero’s Tests and Helpers
Harr’ys tests? Um, lets see *cough*TriwizardTournament*cough*…Harry’s helpers? Dumbledore’s Army. Harry thinks so himself: if he didn’t have the D.A. in Phoenix Year, he would have dropped his schooling and gone to live with the Muggles. (Or the year of his Rebirth as a Hero — I believe Harry went through all the other things, including a new threshold, and a new Amulet stage, in the Half-Blood Prince again, yet strangely in reverse order — yet again, another editorial!)
Ron’s tests began in Phoenix Year when he saddled up on what he could not see, to go where he had never been, to fight a fight he couldn’t possibly win. He came out of the first test okay. Wounded, but okay.
The following year, his tests were several. He had to become a man in his own eyes. What is more daunting to a 16-year-old boy than a first-ever kiss? Though not pleasant to look at or even to be within earshot, it is obvious to anyone he passes the kiss test. Again. And again. And again. Ad nauseum. Also, theres the tiny detail of Harry saving his life with a bezoar after a harrowing ordeal with a misplaced love potion.
Yet on a more Erised-DNA level, Ron shows his colors on the Quidditch pitch. In the first of his two Quidditch games that year, Ron plays exquisitely. He thought he had taken a good-luck potion. He actually took a placebo and performed immaculate saves. After the game, he learns it wasn’t Felix, but himself! And in his last game, he let in 14 goals, but Gryffindor’s score was 310 points above their opponent (450-140). Do the math, thats 30 goals to the opponents 14! Ron only let in 46% of the opposing keeper’s tally, meaning he saved 114% more goals (assuming an equal number of shots were taken)! What more effective way to prove to yourself and your house-mates that you are a man of superb caliber?
Ron’s helpers will be the Gryffindor Quidditch team, because Ron is the only one who can be captain. Pardon me waxing scientific, but let’s enumerate the members and reasons:
- Harry has said he will not attend Hogwarts the following year. Even if he did, I don’t think he’d be Seeker. It’s just not a passion of his anymore. Furthermore, he’s great at Seeking but he sucks at strategy, as he couldn’t ever figure out Wood’s graphs or plays. Even Hermione keeps up on the plays better than Harry, because she yells at him to turn his Omnioculars back to normal speed at the World Cup. Grandly, I think his sentiment comes from his private realization that Fawkes has left Hogwarts as sure as Dumbledore has, and he wants to leave, too. What near 17-year-old who loses a parent-figure like that doesn’t wish to leave the place their loved one dies? It is too painful for youth to bear alone, too painful to put into words or meaning.
- Ginny will remain on the team as a Chaser. Ginny tried chaser — not a very convincing argument for strategic prowess can follow that statement. She was extraordinary — scoring 4 of 6 goals the first match of year 6. But as any one high school basketball game could show, talent bears no witness to mental ability or strategy. Harry is another example of this.
- The Beaters are okay, but not to Fred and George’s quality. I think to be Captain you have to have the brains and the braun, the will and the without, but I don’t think they;ve got it.
- Ron said he would follow Harry, but if Molly has anything to say about it, and she may, Ron may end up on Hogwarts’ roll again. If he does, look to the trophy staying in Gryffindor house under his leadership: Ron will be keeper. Ron’s been studying Quidditch for going on two decades (see any chapter in any book when Harry enters Ron’s bedroom at the Burrow for evidence). Ron is an incredible strategist at Wizard’s Chess; it naturally follows that he’d be an incredible strategist at wizard sport, a sport he undoubtably loves.
Foreseen and Unforeseen — The Rest is Yet to Come
Ron’s Heros archetypal journey has begun, and is well underway.
IF HE RETURNS TO HOGWARTS: I believe his climax/final battle will be in book 7, where he gets his crack at becoming Head Boy and winning both the house and the Quidditch cups. And here we are, back at the beginning. Erised desirE. And in the mean time, helping Harry between Quidditch practices, NEWT preparation, and a mollycoddling mother.
IF HE DOES NOT RETURN TO HOGWARTS: Ron will prove invaluable to Harry as a right-wing man. Hermione has the brains and logic and cleverness; Harry has the guts and wherewithal to act. Ron will be Harry’s strategist and leader.
So, I rest assured that Ron will stick around to Harry’s final battle, and I hope to my sou’ls depth that he isnt one to die there. Even if Ron does join Harry out in the world (doesn’t return to Hogwarts), and if he does live through the last book, Ron’s Hero’s Return will be to the Burrow for a short while. I believe Ron will use the Elixir of Leadership and Quidditch Prowess to go on to take the Chudley Cannons onto a greatness they haven’t seen in centuries.
P.S. For those who didn’t catch it, spell this editorial’s title back-to-front. Its the same. I don’t think Harry is the *only one* for whom JKR penned Erised’s writing.