ABSTRACT: The following essay was written by me in defense of Ron Weasley.
We all know the famous boy wizard, Harry Potter. Even those who haven't read the books or seen the movies have some idea of who he is or what he represents, if only by word of mouth. And of course they would, because unless they've been living under a rock on a remote island for the past 14 years they have certainly been exposed to the incredible amount of media attention this franchise has been getting.
But mention Ron Weasley, and even those who have seen a few Potter movies here and there draw a blank for a while. Hermione is certainly remembered, even falsely assumed to be Harry's girlfriend! Then why does the mention of Potter's faithful and loyal friend make people scrunch up their faces in confusion? And those who know who he is (or think they know because they have watched all the movies) accuse him of being a coward. To me, this seems to be becoming a highly frustrating trend. I am a proud Ron Weasley fan. And I am sick of people looking at me like I have a few loose screws in my head just because I happen to think he is awfully amazing. Wicked. Brilliant.
Ronald Weasley is a highly misunderstood character, primarily, I suppose, due to the movies. In my opinion, those who haven't read the books make untrue presumptions about the characters and because the movies can't possibly show everything written in the books, the viewers only get half the information and form incorrect hypotheses for the rest. Don't get me wrong, I think Rupert Grint is an excellent actor. In fact, he has made me fall in love with Ron even more than I already was. But the screenplays have reduced him to nothing more than the occasional comic relief.
I agree that Ron is indeed the first to get scared in a situation, but doesn't he always overcome it and stand right there with his friends in the thick of it all despite his fear? And isn't that what bravery is all about? It takes courage to face your fears, and while Harry walks right into danger, fearless, it takes a little more effort on Ron's part sometimes, but he does it all the same! How many of us would be Harry Potters in the face of danger? I think it's a far more commendable feat to fully realize the danger and still be brave, than to not consider the danger at all. Ron does this, yet he always comes through when it's required.
Equally admirable is the fact that Hogwarts' resident know-it-all, Hermione Granger, instead of making the 'obvious' choice, falls for the frustrating and lazy best friend. But let's not go off on this tangent for I'm afraid I won't be able to stop once I start talking about those two.
Back to Ron - no one can argue that he lacks intelligence. Well, they can, but they would be wrong! Although both Ron and Harry appear to be slow-witted buffoons next to Hermione, Ron has certainly proven that he possesses a brilliant mind of his own (a fact admitted by Hermione herself in the last book). His quick wits in the second half of Deathly Hallows aside, the bloke is a Chess Champion! He beat McGonagall's chess set! If that doesn't represent a shrewd, astute mind, I don't know what does. Besides, evidences of his sensible and practical personality is sprinkled generously throughout the series, cleverly disguised as intelligent humor.
It is undisputed that Ron was extra-ordinarily witty, but he has always been shown as the most pragmatic of the lot. Even Hermione has been known to lose her mind occasionally when under stress, but Ron is always there to keep them grounded. Example:
Pg 222, Sorcerer's Stone:
"Yes -- of course -- but there's no wood!" Hermione cried, wringing her hands.
"HAVE YOU GONE MAD?" Ron bellowed. "ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?"
Pg 548, Deathly Hallows:
"You sound like Hagrid," said Ron, "It's a dragon, Hermione, it can look after itself. It's us we need to worry about."
"What do you mean?"
"Well I don't know how to break this to you," said Ron, "but I think they might have noticed we broke into Gringotts."
He has also always stood up for his friends and family (sometimes even on a broken leg!), showing determination and courage, something that the movies have conveniently forgot. He may let his jealousy and insecurities get the better of him sometimes, but what matters is that he does the right thing when when his friends and loved ones are in danger. He came back in that crucial scene in Deathly Hallows, and he should be recognized and he does deserve to get 'the girl.' He is brave and gallant and has every right to be a Gryffindor. You see, the Sorting Hat is never wrong.