No Go For Cho?

by Andrew Lee

No holding hands while riding their brooms into the sunset, no romantic walks in Hogsmeade, no secret owl messages during the summer, no adventures together…

Sadly, it appears as if the romantic subplot between Harry Potter and Cho Chang is at an end. It also appears that there will be no happy storybook ending for the duo either. Cho’s rapidly approaching graduation means that Harry will likely spend most of seventh year without Cho (unless she appears during Hogsmeade trips/holidays). Also, Harry felt at the end of Order of the Phoenix, that he no longer wanted to impress Cho; that feeling was a part of a time long gone (perhaps he’s trying not to act like James and how he tried to impress Lily, or maybe Harry just wanted someone to like him for who he is). Either way, time is running out.

Mind you, I always thought that Cho Chang was meant to show us the inner workings of Ravenclaw. I always though that her character would have given us a better understanding of what makes their members different from the Gryffindor and Slytherin houses. Maybe (if they did begin dating), and I mean maybe, she would invite him to see the Ravenclaw common room sometime (as we already got to see the Slytherin one). But, I guess that means the mysterious Ravenclaws will remain just that: a mystery.

But the question remains: what went wrong? And can their relationship be saved?

 A Quick Recap

First, a quick recap of the relationship. Cho Chang did not appear until Prisoner of Azkaban during the Ravenclaw/Gryffindor Quidditch match. Both Harry and Cho are competent seekers and good players. While Harry benefited from his superior Firebolt, Cho still managed to stick with him to the end of the match. Since the match, Harry held an admiration for Cho, and her mere appearance has always made happy and occasionally clumsy. In Goblet of Fire, Harry tried to get to know Cho better by taking her out to the Yule Ball, but Cedric Diggory managed to steal her heart. With Diggory’s death at the end of the novel, Harry couldn’t even face Cho after what happened.

Surprisingly, in Order of the Phoenix it is Cho Chang who made the first move by seeking Harry out on the train ride to Hogwarts. Unfortunately for Harry, being covered in stinksap isn’t really great conversational material. After a few more attempts of conversation, the pair finally talked alone in the owlery. From that point, their relationship took off as Cho attended Harry’s DA lessons. The two finally shared their first really intimate moment just before Christmas break with their first kiss, and Harry was as happy as can be (mind you, that night he got the shock of a lifetime with You-Know-Who fiddling with his mind).

Now comes Valentine’s Day. In theory the trip to Hogsmeade would have sealed them together as a couple, but the trip pretty much ended in disaster for them. On one side we have Cho, with her constant harping about Cedric. And on the other we have Harry, saying he needs to meet Hermione in the most tactless way. Cho stormed off, and Harry was left bewildered and angered. Cho attempted to reconcile with Harry after his interview was published in the Quibbler. But, the clear sign of the end of their relationship, well at least for this novel (I hope), was when her friend Marietta tells Umbridge about the DA meetings. Shortly after that, Harry pretty much snapped at Cho.

The question is who contributed more to the end of this romance? Was it Cho, with her constant crying and harping about Cedric? Or was it Harry, with his brashness and pent-up anger?

 It Was Cho’s Fault

Cho’s emotions really affected her relationship with Harry. It was mentioned that she was constantly crying, and it was really affecting her life. Her Quidditch game started to slip as a result, and threats to throw her off the team didn’t help. Her constant sadness was probably over Cedric’s death, but it hurt Harry just as bad, if not more (as he seen the murder). Repeatedly bringing up Cedric during their conversations hurt Harry. He wasn’t prepared to talk about it; though, when he gave the interview, Cho did seem ready to forgive him for the Valentine’s Day disaster.

Her roundabout ways of talking to him confused Harry to no end and created a lot of misinterpretations. Cho’s attempts to show how much she really liked and needed Harry came off as misdirected and even confusing to Harry’s already racing mind. Cho might have appeared too needy to Harry or even desperate to have him accept her.

Cho should have noticed that this was one of Harry’s worse years ever. And, while he was happy being with Cho, she was making him feel miserable at the same time. After all, she was still her team’s seeker. She was a popular student. She didn’t have to deal with the nightmarish dreams. If she made an effort to let Harry make his feelings known to her as much as she tried to him… things might have turned out differently.

 It Was Harry’s Fault

Cho’s sadness due to Cedric’s death lasted throughout the year. The thing Harry was missing is that Cho was really seeking closure for her relationship with Cedric. If Harry had realized this instead of thinking Cho was trying to bring up how Cedric was a better boyfriend (or something similar to that), they could have overcome their emotions together. The reality is that Harry and Cho were feeling strong emotions, and both needed closure on Cedric’s death. Things might have turned out differently if Harry told Cho his story in the coffee shop.

If there was one thing worse than Cho’s constant sadness, it was Harry’s short fuse. His anger over not understanding situations really hurt Cho’s feelings a lot. Cho tried to give Harry one last chance to work things out; however, she chose to do this after her friend Marietta ruined the DA. As a result, Harry snapped at Cho; though, he had a right to, as Marietta ruined his favorite activity since Quidditch.

The largest problem that contributed to the end of their relationship was Harry not understanding what Cho was feeling or thinking. Thus, when Harry said he needed to meet Hermione, he didn’t understand that Cho was jealous. Like Hermione told him afterwards, Harry should have emphasized that it was business or that she forced him into doing it.

When Cho reappeared after the Marietta incident, she was looking for Harry to accept an apology. Instead, it degraded into a fight over the type of friends Cho had, ending with Harry insulting Cho about her constant bouts of crying. It was a hurtful thing to say; understandably, Harry was upset, but he shouldn’t have turned an issue about Cho’s friend into an attack on Cho herself.

Perhaps A Happy Ending?

Now, if something drastic happens in the sixth novel, it is possible that Harry Potter and Cho Chang may have a happy ending after all. She did actively seek Harry in this book, so it is possible she will want to try again in the next book. Maybe a secret letter? An omen? Anything?

Ironically, with Voldemort peering into Harry’s mind, it wouldn’t be surprising if Voldemort (or a Death Eater) were to use the Harry Potter and Cho Chang relationship to his advantage (i.e., cursing Cho, pretending to be Cho). The problem is, if Cho were to come on too strongly towards Harry in the next book, I think the reader could see straight through it.

Look, while Harry isn’t going to try to impress Cho Chang anymore, he may still try to get together with her. Maybe he’ll open up and make an effort to understand her. Maybe Cho really does love Harry and will attempt to reconcile with him. It could be that what Harry says is true and that Cho Chang belongs to a past long gone. For Harry is growing up, and it is fitting that the mysteries of Cho (and women) lie in the house of mystery: Ravenclaw.

Though, if things don’t work out in the end I suppose Harry could start dating Moaning Myrtle … or Luna Lovegood.