Ron is NOT an Idiot
by Berylla Chubb
After I first read the Harry Potter books, I joined the online community (mainly here at MuggleNet) and I have never stopped being amazed. The wealth of inspiration that J.K. Rowling has created with her books, especially in fan-fiction, continues to astound me. However, as I dived headfirst into the sea of theories and possible scenarios, I noticed a trend that had developed that I found a little disturbing. In many of the writings I’ve seen, one character, Ron, is continually portrayed as a lazy idiot who makes bad grades, never understands anything that’s going on, and has the manners and personality of a troll.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are several humorous moments in canon that happen at Ron’s expense and give some credence to this idea. When we first see Ron at King’s Cross, his dear mother chooses that moment to clean dirt off his nose in front of his teasing brothers and all of his future classmates. Later he tries to perform what turns out to be a bogus spell on his pet rat and makes himself look silly. In COS, Ron suffers through the entire year with a broken wand that leads to some comical moments, the most memorable one being the slug-vomiting incident on the Quidditch field. In POA, he learns that the rat he’s grown so close to for the past three years is actually the Death Eater who betrayed his best friend’s family to Voldemort. To replace the rat, he gets a hyperactive tennis ball of an owl. In GOF, Ron makes a fool of himself in front of every veela (and part-veela) he meets, and is extremely slow on the uptake about his growing affection for Hermione. In OOTP, he’s a terrible disciplinarian as prefect, plays horrible Quidditch and whines constantly about it, and also gets hit with a spell at the Ministry of Magic that makes him loopy. Finally, in HBP he continues to act like a fool in front of Fleur and then makes the ultimate mistake of becoming Lavender’s boyfriend, “Won-Won.” As a result, Hermione attacks him with a flock of canaries. Then, on his birthday, he unwittingly eats Harry’s love potion-spiked Chocolate Cauldrons and later gets poisoned.
The movies don’t help his case either. As many HP fans have noticed, Hermione gets most of Ron’s good lines. During the Devil’s Snare scene in SS, Ron is the one who freaks out instead of Hermione. In COS, Hermione educates Harry on what Mudbloods are, how bad it is to hear voices no one else does, and what it means to be a Parselmouth, despite the fact that Ron does these things in the book. Then, in POA, Ron continually freaks throughout the movie as he keeps noticing Hermione disappearing and reappearing thanks to her Time-Turner (though to his credit, he’s the only one who realizes something’s going on). Hermione also gets Ron’s big line, “If you kill him you’ll have to kill us too.” (By the way, I am currently taking bets that, in the GOF movie, Hermione educates Harry about the personality of giants instead of Ron.)
However, despite all this evidence to the contrary, Ron is not that bad. As the pureblood of the group, he continually provides much of the practical knowledge Harry needs to survive in the wizarding world. He is the chess champion of the group in SS/PS, and when clever Hermione freaks during the Devil’s Snare incident, Ron (and Harry) find the solution. In COS, Ron is truly upset when it appears that Ginny might be dead and valiantly stands by Harry when they insist upon rescuing her. (It’s also noteworthy that, despite all the comical incidents associated with it, Ron’s broken wand ultimately saves them from Lockhart.) In POA, of course, Ron stands up to Sirius when it looks like Harry is about to be murdered. In GOF, as mentioned before, Ron tells Harry all about the prejudice that Hagrid must be going through as a half-giant. In OOTP, despite everyone’s impression that Ron is a bad student, he makes prefect. True, Dumbledore implied that Harry would’ve been a better choice under peaceful circumstances, but that still leaves four other eligible candidates to choose from, and he chose Ron. Furthermore, in HBP he gets almost the same O.W.L. results as Harry does and continues to have the same ambition Harry has to become an Auror.
Ron is not an idiot. Granted, he has his humorous moments, which have gradually developed into a rather unsavory reputation. Ultimately though, he has common-sense, is a loyal friend, and is a powerful ally for Harry to have on his side. And if I still haven’t convinced you yet, I’ll leave with this last thought — if Ron is that much of a buffoon, what can Hermione see in him?