Madam Puddifoot’s: What’s Life Without a Little Romance?
by Kelly Kearney
The following is meant to explore the character of Ginny, just a small bit, and to scrape the surface of her character and her importance in the Harry Potter universe – I’m breaking her down by book, in order, and will just touch on the basics – Rowling hasn’t let us get too deep into her character just yet, but what we do know of her, so far, is very positive:
When little Ginny Weasley is first introduced to us in Sorcerer’s Stone, she’s obviously starstruck with Harry, because he’s “The Boy Who Lived”, and that is all she knows of him. No, they do not interact on the train platform, other than to see each other for the first time. However, this is a significant scene because of the single fact that J.K. Rowling considers the King’s Cross Station to be a very romantic place:
For me, King’s Cross is a very, very romantic place. Probably the most romantic station purely because my parents met there. So that’s always been part of my childhood folklore. My dad had just joined the Navy, my mum had just joined the W.R.E.N.S. They were both traveling up to Abroath in Scotland from London and they met on the train pulling out of Kings Cross. So, um, I wanted Harry to go to Hogwarts by train; I just love trains, I’m a bit nerdy like that. Obviously it had to be from King’s Cross.
– J.K. Rowling, HP Lexicon
Harry does not meet nor see Hermione (nor does he describe any other girl) in the station. He meets Hermione later, on the actual train. The station itself is what’s important, and what Rowling is pointing to.
The future lovers first see each other in the very station that Rowling considers a “very, very romantic place,” where her own parents first met. A relevant clue to the HMS Chocolate. (Some Harmonians like to point out that Hermione first kisses Harry on the cheek in the same station. While this is true, it also takes place at the end of Goblet of Fire, just after Harry has witnessed the death of Cedric Diggory, and faced off with Voldemort.)
Harry’s childhood, at this point, is officially over. He is moving into adulthood, as is Ron, as is Hermione. Hermione and Harry are very comfortable with each other in their friendship, and in physical proximity to each other, because there are no underlying romantic or awkward feelings between them. Hermione’s kiss on the cheek, “something she had never done before,” represents them moving away from their childhood, and into a more adult friendship. Little boys don’t like little girls kissing them on the cheeks; girls are gross! And little girls don’t like to kiss little boys on the cheeks; boys have cooties! Harry and Hermione are growing up.
Had Harry contemplated that kiss or even given it a second thought, or had Hermione kissed him lightly on the lips, then we could wonder whether or not it was a hint to a possible romance. But he doesn’t, and she only kisses him on the cheek (and is comfortable doing so), as girl friends do to their guy friends, all day long.
From this scene in SS, we also see Ginny running after the train and waving her brothers off to school. Of course, the train just also happens to be carrying Harry.
The train began to move. Harry saw the boys’ mother waving and their sister, half laughing, half crying, running to keep up with the train until it gathered too much speed, then she fell back and waved.
Harry watched the girl and her mother disappear as the train rounded the corner.
– SS, “Platform 9 3/4”
Harry just happens to watch Ginny and her mother, all the way along until the train rounds a corner and they fall out of his sight. Rowling chooses to impart that tidbit to us for a reason. This is foreshadowing of how Ginny and Molly will become very important people in his life later on. Molly, we already have her role pretty well figured out…surrogate mother, perhaps future mother-in-law? Ginny – future wife?
What’s important is that Harry did not have to watch Ginny running after the train as it moved away. He could have watched the other passing scenery the whole way out of the station. But Rowling worded it specifically so that he was seeing Ginny chasing after his train until she disappeared from his sight. Subtle, romantic symbolism. Another clue.
In Chamber of Secrets, Rowling keeps Ginny on the back-burner. Her introduction scene is brief, but there are some very sweet hints early on:
On the third landing, a door stood ajar. Harry just caught sight of a pair of bright brown eyes staring at him before it closed with a snap.
“Ginny,” said Ron. “You don’t know how weird it is for her to be this shy. She never shuts up normally.”
– CoS, “The Burrow”
The moment she saw Harry, Ginny accidentally knocked her porridge bowl to the floor with a loud clatter. Ginny seemed very prone to knocking things over whenever Harry entered a room. She dived under the table to retrieve the bowl and emerged with her face glowing like the setting sun. Pretending he hadn’t noticed this, Harry sat down and took the toast Mrs. Weasley offered him.
“Oh, are you starting at Hogwarts this year?” Harry asked Ginny.
She nodded, blushing to the roots of her flaming hair, and put her elbow in the butter dish. Fortunately no one saw this except Harry, because just then Ron’s elder brother Percy walked in.
– CoS, “At Flourish and Blotts”
These scenes are simply adorable. Little Ginny has a crush. An 11-year-old, schoolgirl crush. And Harry is sweet enough toward her – he doesn’t tease or draw attention to her putting her elbow in butter, and he graciously “pretends not to notice” her embarrassment as she emerges from under the table.
Something else that is important is the wording that Rowling chooses for Harry to describe Ginny in those scenes. Harry imparts to us that her hair is ‘flaming’, her face is ‘glowing’, and she has ‘bright brown eyes’. Subtle words, and words that could easily have been left out – but they are there for a reason, so they must be important and necessary.
Harry himself is only 12 years old at this point, and Ginny is merely 11. He’s not thinking about ‘things like that’ where girls are concerned. But the seeds of Ginny’s appearance in Harry’s eyes are planted, and Harry seems to think rather favorably of them. “Flaming hair” and a “glowing face” are much better descriptions than “bushy-haired” and “large-toothed”, or “straggly-haired” with “protuberant eyes”. Perhaps Harry sees Ginny as more attractive than, say, Hermione or Luna? This is not to say that Harry finds those other girls ugly; he just uses much more flattering words to describe Ginny, and on some subconscious level, Harry finds her appearance pleasing to the eye. Another clue from CoS, “At Flourish and Blotts”:
“Famous Harry Potter,” said Malfoy. “Can’t even go into a bookshop without making the front page.”
“Leave him alone, he didn’t want all that!” said Ginny. It was the first time she had spoken in front of Harry. She was glaring at Malfoy.
“Potter, you’ve got yourself a girlfriend!” drawled Malfoy. Ginny went scarlet as Ron and Hermione fought their way over, both clutching stacks of Lockhart’s books.
Two important things here. The use of the word ‘girlfriend’ is rather obvious foreshadowing, but Ginny’s reaction to Malfoy is also important. The ‘first time she speaks’ in front of Harry is at a time when Harry is threatened; she immediately forgets to be shy, she gets angry and she stands up for him against an older, larger, and very nasty Draco Malfoy. Even at age 11, Ginny is showing some inner strength and guts.
Nearer the end of CoS, after the “Prince rescues the Princess from the Chamber”, Harry is quite reluctant to ‘rat Ginny out’, either in front of her brother, or her parents. He’s compassionate toward her, he understands that she’s been through a seriously traumatic experience and he wants to soften the blow for her, as well as keep her from getting into trouble or being expelled.
“How come you’ve got a sword?” said Ron, gaping at the glittering weapon in Harry’s hand.
“I’ll explain when we get out of here,” said Harry with a sideways glance at Ginny, who was crying harder than ever.
“Later,” Harry said shortly. He didn’t think it was a good idea to tell Ron yet whod been opening the Chamber, not in front of Ginny, anyway.
– CoS, “The Heir of Slytherin”
So Harry, his voice now growing hoarse from all this talking, told them about Fawkes’s timely arrival and about the Sorting Hat giving him the sword. But then he faltered. He had so far avoided mentioning Riddle’s diary – or Ginny. She was standing with her head against Mrs. Weasley’s shoulder, and tears were still coursing silently down her cheeks. What if they expelled her? Harry thought in panic. Riddle’s diary didn’t work anymore… How could they prove it had been he who’d made her do it all?
It seems that Harry has already developed a bit of a protective streak for little Ginny, and he barely knows her at all. It’s ‘Dumbledore to the rescue’ at the end of that scene, fortunately…but Harry was still reluctant to make things worse for her or say anything that would get her into trouble.
So in CoS, though they’ve barely said 10 sentences amongst themselves, we see both Harry and Ginny showing inclinations of protectiveness toward each other. Ginny facing off with Malfoy, and Harry withholding “unnecessary” information about her involvement with the diary.
Rowling keeps Ginny firmly on the back-burner during Prisoner of Azkaban. Her introduction scene is similar to the CoS introduction…more blushing and avoiding Harry’s eyes.
Ginny, who had always been very taken with Harry, seemed even more heartily embarrassed than usual when she saw him, perhaps because he had saved her life during their previous year at Hogwarts. She went very red and muttered “hello” without looking at him.
– PoA, “The Leaky Cauldron”
Yes indeed, I believe Harry perceived that correctly. Ginny’s “Knight In Shining Armor” just so happens to be the famous Harry Potter, whom she has been crushing on for the past 1½ to 2 years. Devastatingly embarrassing for her. But Rowling does also take this opportunity to remind the reader of Ginny’s little crush in that Ginny once again goes ‘very red’. But Rowling does allow them to share a cutesy little moment as well:
Percy and Ginny suddenly appeared behind Harry. They were panting and had apparently taken the barrier at a run.
“Ah, there’s Penelope!” said Percy, smoothing his hair and going pink again. Ginny caught Harry’s eye, and they both turned away to hide their laughter as Percy strode over to a girl with long, curly hair, walking with his chest thrown out so that she couldn’t miss his shiny badge.
– PoA, “The Dementor”
And once again, in Ginny’s GoF introduction scene, Rowling reminds us of the crush – but also gives us some significant, subtle developments in her character:
Then two girls appeared in the kitchen doorway behind Mrs. Weasley. One, with very bushy brown hair and rather large front teeth, was Harry’s and Ron’s friend, Hermione Granger. The other, who was small and red-haired, was Ron’s younger sister, Ginny. Both of them smiled at Harry, who grinned back, which made Ginny go scarlet – she had been very taken with Harry ever since his first visit to the Burrow.
“Er – why are you calling that owl Pig?” Harry asked Ron.
“Because he’s being stupid,” said Ginny. “Its proper name is Pigwidgeon.”
– GoF, “Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes”
Ginny manages to meet Harry’s eyes and give him a smile, and then she even speaks up to him after Harry had asked Ron a question. Yes, she still blushes a bit around him, but Ginny is starting to mature. She is able to look directly at him and is able to speak directly to him. Progress. We also get a little hint from this chapter that Ginny is very modern and quite a ‘hip’ girl:
“And your hair’s getting silly, dear,” said Mrs. Weasley, fingering her wand lovingly. “I wish you’d let me give it a trim…”
“I like it,” said Ginny, who was sitting beside Bill. “You’re so old-fashioned, Mum. Anyway, it’s nowhere near as long as Professor Dumbledore’s…”
– GoF, “Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes”
Rowling then reverts Ginny, once again, to the back-burner for most of GoF. She’s mentioned here and there, but nothing overly important, until she’s brought up rather prominently during Ron’s revelation before the Yule Ball.
“…but she was wasting her time. He’s going with Cho Chang.”
Ron looked up.
“I asked her to go with me just now,” Harry said dully, “and she told me.”
Ginny had suddenly stopped smiling.
– GoF, “The Unexpected Task”
Poor little Ginny must be heartbroken here. She learns that Harry has a torch for another girl. Rowling even gives her a line all to herself, to show us her reaction to this news. She then gets annoyed with the boys and sticks up for Hermione as the pair of them are laughing about the idea of Neville asking Hermione out, and she is able to promptly put them in their places and ‘shut them up’. And even further, she then defends Hermione, and keeps her secret, refusing to tell the boys who her date is. Ginny is a good friend to have – she’ll loyally stick up for you behind your back, and she can keep a secret. Very important aspects of her character:
“Shes lying,” said Ron flatly, watching her go.
“She’s not,” said Ginny quietly.
“Who is it then?” said Ron sharply.
“I’m not telling you, it’s her business,” said Ginny.
“Right,” said Ron, who looked extremely put out, “this is getting stupid. Ginny, you can go with Harry, and I’ll just-”
“I can’t,” said Ginny, and she went scarlet too. “I’m going with – with Neville. He asked me when Hermione said no, and I thought…well…I’m not going to be able to go otherwise, I’m not in fourth year.” She looked extremely miserable. “I think I’ll go and have dinner,” she said, and she got up and walked off to the portrait hole, her head bowed.
What lousy timing; no wonder she looked so miserable! Here was an opportunity for her to attend the Yule Ball on Harry’s arm, but she had already accepted Neville’s invitation. It was, however, very noble of her to not jump at the chance to go with Harry and cancel on Neville.
After that, she disappears again. Rowling is purposefully keeping her in the background just enough…until she’s ready to bring her forward. Order of the Phoenix is where Ginny really starts to come into view as a potentially Very Important Person in Harry’s future, and this book is where we get a majority of our clues for their possible, pending romance. Rowling has planted the seeds, subtly, through the first four books, and they begin to sprout in Book 5.
A door opened and a long mane of red hair appeared.
“Oh hello, Harry!” said Ron’s younger sister, Ginny, brightly. “I thought I heard your voice.”
Turning to Fred and George she said “It’s no go with the Extendable Ears, she’s gone and put an Imperturbable Charm on the kitchen door.”
– OotP, “Number Twelve Grimmauld Place”
This is a VERY different introduction. She doesn’t blush, and she greets Harry ‘brightly’ and straightforwardly. Even more progress, and a hint that Ginny is maturing. But most importantly, Rowling has Harry relay two things to us. One, the ‘long mane of red hair’…again, a much nicer description than ‘bushy’ or ‘straggly haired’…Harry is again describing Ginny in a flattering way.
By now, Harry has made it clear to us that he’s smitten with Cho Chang, and has been since PoA. Therefore, he is not going to notice any other girl until the Cho-Colored Glasses come off. But we can easily speculate that, subconsciously, Harry does find Ginny’s appearance appealing. This is why Rowling has him use flattering words and phrases as he is describing Ginny for us…even though his attention might (for now) be elsewhere, Ginny is not an unpleasant sight to him.
Two, Rowling reiterates ‘Rons younger sister’. This is not the first time Harry has referred to Ginny as such, and up until now, this is how Harry views her. She is, simply, Ron’s younger sister to him. Viewing her as anything else has not yet occurred to Harry. He doesn’t really know her all that well at this point, so it’s still perfectly natural for him to view her as such. Although, that stands to change significantly, and in the very near future Ginny shows us early on that shes ready and willing to stick up for good people.
“….You’re Harry Potter,” she added.
“I know I am,” said Harry.
Neville chuckled. Luna turned her pale eyes upon him instead.
“And I don’t know who you are.”
“I’m nobody,” said Neville hurriedly.
“No you’re not,” said Ginny sharply. “Neville Longbottom – Luna Lovegood. Luna’s in my year, but in Ravenclaw.”
– OotP, “Luna Lovegood”
Ginny is telling Neville to stand up and be counted and that he’s worthwhile and ‘somebody’. She shows encouragement and compassion toward her friends.
One of the most important things we learn in OotP is that Ginny’s schoolgirl crush on Harry is over. Hermione confirms this for us, and Rowling words the paragraph in an interesting way:
“But,” said Ron, following Hermione along a row of quills in copper pots, “I thought Ginny fancied Harry!”
Hermione looked at him rather pityingly and shook her head.
“Ginny used to fancy Harry, but she gave up on him months ago. Not that she doesn’t like you, of course,” she added kindly to Harry while she examined a long black-and-gold quill.
Harry, whose head was still full of Cho’s parting wave, did not find this subject quite as interesting as Ron, who was positively quivering with indignation, but it did bring something home to him that until now he had not really registered.
“So that’s why she talks now?” he asked Hermione. “She never used to talk in front of me.”
“Exactly,” said Hermione.
– OotP, “In The Hog’s Head”
And now we’re getting somewhere. Ginny is growing up and has grown out of her crush, and she is getting into more mature relationships with boys. She has a real boyfriend now and is comfortable with Harry as a friend. And it should be incredibly important that Harry and Ginny become friends first, as that is a strong basis for any relationship.
The fact that Ginny once gave Harry a singing card, or wrote a love poem for him, obviously offers her no embarrassment at all. She accepted her crush for exactly what it was, and now that it’s over, she can be comfortable and ‘herself’ in Harry’s presence. She’s growing into a strong-willed and confident girl.
Another interesting thing about that passage is that Harry, ‘whose head was still full of Cho‘, does not find the discussion about Ginny and her boyfriend interesting because he is distracted by Cho; but he does still have a realization about Ginny, in that she can now speak to Harry. However, Rowling has got to let the Harry/Cho dynamic run its course and get Cho out of the way before Harry will be able to see a clear path to Ginny. And it’s also important that Ginny is not sitting around pining for or waiting on him…she’s out there dating other boys, and gaining valuable experience about the opposite sex.
Little Ginny also has quite a clever and witty sense of humor, it seems:
“Hem, hem,” said Ginny in such a good imitation of Professor Umbridge that several people looked around in alarm and then laughed. “Weren’t we trying to decide how often we’re going to meet and get Defense lessons?”
– OotP, “In the Hog’s Head”
For the casual reader and Chocolate supporter, Cho might just represent Ginny’s competition. A small Ginny vs. Cho clue # 1:
“I was thinking,” said Hermione, frowning at Fred, “more of a name that didn’t tell everyone what we were up to, so we can refer to it safely outside meetings.”
“The Defense Association?” said Cho. “The D.A. for short, so nobody knows what we’re talking about?”
“Yeah, the D.A.’s good,” said Ginny. “Only let’s make it stand for Dumbledore’s Army because that’s the Ministry’s worst fear, isn’t it?”
There was a good deal of appreciative murmuring and laughter at this.
– OotP, “Dumbledore’s Army”
Score one for Ginny.
Harry again makes note of Ginny’s appearance as they are waiting on news about Arthur in Grimmauld Place:
Fred fell into a doze, his head sagging sideways onto his shoulder. Ginny was curled like a cat on her chair, but her eyes were open; Harry could see them reflecting the firelight.
– OotP, “St. Mungo’s Hospital For Magical Maladies and Injuries”
Even in a serious and tense situation such as this – Arthur attacked, and not knowing whether he’ll live or die – Harry takes the time to describe Ginny’s eyes to us, ‘reflecting the firelight’. This means that Harry is looking closely. In other circumstances, this could raise a Romantic-At-Heart’s eyebrow. A most flattering description, not to mention the possibility of implied romantic undertones. But their attention is focused on Arthur right now, so the full meaning of ‘firelight in her eyes’ of course remains unrealized.
A very big scene for Ginny comes during Christmas at Grimmauld Place. After Arthur is attacked, Harry is worried that he’s being possessed by Voldemort. When Hermione confronts him about hiding from everyone, Harry looks at Ginny and Ron angrily. Ron looks away and cannot meet Harry’s eyes, however, she stares him right down rather unapologetically, and almost as if she’s daring him to contradict or deny what Hermione had said. Rowling points out Ron and Ginny’s very different reactions to Harry’s anger for a good reason.
“We wanted to talk to you, Harry,” said Ginny, “but as you’ve been hiding ever since we got back-”
“I didn’t want anyone to talk to me,” said Harry, who was feeling more and more nettled.
“Well, that was a bit stupid of you,” said Ginny angrily, “seeing as you don’t know anyone but me who’s been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels.”
Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he turned on the spot to face her.
“I forgot,” he said.
“Lucky you,” said Ginny coolly.
“I’m sorry,” Harry said, and he meant it. “So…so do you think I’m being possessed, then?”
Ginny is growing up nicely. This girl stands right up to Harry, tells him he’s being stupid (and she’s right), and she has no trouble getting angry and in his face. She’s assertive and does not back down from him when he’s in a sulk and having a ‘poor, pitiful me’ attack.
And then she switches gears, just as quickly, setting back into her ‘cool’ demeanor. ‘Coolly’ is a word that Rowling uses more than once for Ginny, and in this particular scene, Rowling is showing us that Ginny is well in command of her emotions. Harry ticks her off, she retorts ‘angrily’, and once her point is made, Harry apologizes and means it, she lets go of the anger and helps him find an answer to his question.
Harry, as much as I love him, does seem a bit self-centered from time to time, and this scene is a good example of that. He should have remembered Ginny’s encounter with Tom Riddle, but as he has not spent much time with her, and has not much considered Ginny at all to this point, the fact that he forgot isn’t a huge surprise. Disappointing, yes…but not surprising.
“Then You-Know-Who hasn’t ever possessed you,” said Ginny simply. “When he did it to me, I couldn’t remember what I’d been doing for hours at a time. I’d find myself somewhere and not know how I got there.”
Harry hardly dared believe her, yet his heart was lightening almost in spite of himself.
I’m not the weapon after all, thought Harry. His heart swelled with happiness and relief, and he felt like joining in as they heard Sirius tramping past their door…
– OotP, “Christmas on the Closed Ward”
Ginny and Harry have more in common than he remembered, as they have both had close encounters with Voldemort. His heart was ‘lightening’ and ‘swelling with happiness and relief’, all because of the knowledge Ginny imparted to him.
Oh, and also, Rowling specifically mentions Harry’s heart, by name, twice in that scene. His lighter, happy heart – due to Ginny. Nice.
There are other ways as well of Ginny showing us that she is full of surprises. Harry ‘gaped’ when he learned that she was the new Gryffindor Seeker. And she’s even pulled the wool over the twins’ eyes for some eight years:
“Come on, Ginny’s not bad,” said George fairly, sitting down next to Fred. “Actually, I don’t know how she got so good, seeing how we never let her play with us…”
“She’s been breaking into your broom shed in the garden since the age of six and taking each of your brooms out in turn when you weren’t looking,” said Hermione from behind her tottering pile of Ancient Rune books.
“Oh,” said George, looking mildly impressed. “Well – that’d explain it.”
– OotP, “Seen and Unforeseen”
Wow. She’s even surprising and impressing the twins, who are Masters of Surprise!
The miracle was that Gryffindor only lost by ten points: Ginny managed to snatch the Snitch from right under Hufflepuff Seeker Summerby’s nose, so that the final score was two hundred and forty versus two hundred and thirty.
“Good catch,” Harry told Ginny back in the common room, where the atmosphere closely resembled that of a particularly dismal funeral.
“I was lucky,” she shrugged. “It wasn’t a very fast Snitch and Summerby’s got a cold, he sneezed and closed his eyes at exactly the wrong moment. Anyway, once you’re back on the team…”
A nice compliment from Harry. And then a bit later:
Harry got into bed, thinking about the match. It had been immensely frustrating watching from the sidelines. He was quite impressed by Ginny’s performance but he felt that if he had been playing he could have caught the Snitch sooner. There had been a moment when it had been fluttering near Kirke’s ankle; if she hadn’t hesitated, she might have been able to scrape a win for Gryffindor…
Reiterating his praise of Ginny’s performance. But not too much praise, as he himself, of course, could have done better than a girl…
Also, we have Rowling giving Harry and Ginny something else in common. Their mutual love of, and abilities at, Quidditch.
Another important scene between Harry and Ginny comes just after Harry has seen “Snape’s Worst Memory” in the Pensieve. This memory showed him that his father might have been a bit of an arrogant, bullying prat in his teen years. Harry holds his father on a shining pedestal, and simply doesn’t want to believe this of him. Talking to Sirius would ease his mind, but as Umbridge is watching the fires and frisking the owls, communication seems impossible.
As he’s sulking in the library, Ginny enters, “looking very windswept”. This is an unbelievably flattering description, and Harry’s taking note of Ginny’s appearance yet again. Never mind the fact that ‘windswept’ is a word often used to describe supermodels during a photo shoot, walking into the wind along a beach somewhere!
Ginny perceives quickly that something is bothering Harry. She assumes it is Cho-troubles, which is a very mature and astute observation on Ginny’s part, as Harry and Cho are fighting at that moment, and Ginny knows that they are a couple. However, when Harry opens up to her, Ginny listens:
“I wish I could talk to Sirius,” he muttered. “But I know I can’t.”
More to give himself something to do than because he really wanted any, Harry unwrapped his Easter egg, broke off a large bit, and put it into his mouth.
“Well,” said Ginny slowly, helping herself to a bit of egg too, “if you really want to talk to Sirius, I expect we could think of a way to do it…”
“Come on,” said Harry hopelessly. “With Umbridge policing the fires and reading all our mail?”
“The thing about growing up with Fred and George,” said Ginny thoughtfully, “is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
Harry looked at her. Perhaps it was the effect of the chocolate – Lupin had always advised eating some after encounters with dementors – or simply because he had finally spoken aloud the wish that had been burning inside him for a week, but he felt a bit more hopeful…
– OotP, “Career Advice”
…and she helps. Now, I know some folks believe that Ginny is being reckless in this scene, but I heartily disagree. Rowling uses the words ‘slowly’ and ‘thoughtfully’ to describe Ginny’s musing, which implies that Ginny is thinking it through carefully. She listens to Harry’s problem, and she begins to work out a possible solution. Rowling is telling us that she is a clever and resourceful girl. Harry knows full well the risk of defying Umbridge and contacting Sirius, he even states it to Ginny. But she knows a way to help Harry, by going to the twins. So she does.
And for the second time, Ginny gives Harry a lift. First with the ‘lightening of his heart’, and now she is instilling a ‘hopeful’ feeling in him. Perhaps it is the effect of the chocolate…but perhaps not. When Lupin gives Harry chocolate after the encounter with the dementor in PoA, Harry feels ‘warmth’ spreading through him. Not ‘hopefulness’.
Another interesting thing about that passage is that Harry had been moping around for a week, not voicing his thoughts or concerns to anyone, not even to his two best and closest friends. We know from canon that, on several occasions, Harry has hidden things from both Ron and Hermione; and he’s even lied to Hermione before, in order to avoid a confrontation or hearing her nag him. But he opens up to Ginny and tells her what he’s thinking, with no prompting at all on her part.
A small Ginny vs. Cho clue, # 2:
“Yeah,” said Ron slowly, savoring the words, “we won. Did you see the look on Chang’s face when Ginny got the Snitch right out from under her nose?”
– OotP, “O.W.L.S.”
GO GINNY!!! Rowling then gives us another example of Ginny being able to stand up to Harry:
The classroom door opened. Harry, Ron and Hermione whipped around. Ginny walked in, looking curious, followed by Luna, who as usual looked as though she had drifted in accidentally.
“Hi,” said Ginny uncertainly. “We recognized Harry’s voice – what are you yelling about?”
“Never you mind,” said Harry roughly.
Ginny raised her eyebrows.
“There’s no need to take that tone with me,” she said coolly. “I was only wondering whether I could help.”
Again with the ‘cool’ness in the face of Harry’s anger. This girl will most definitely be able to handle him when hes in one of his tempers.
And Ginny is most helpful in the following scene as well. The twins have taught her well. She uses one of their ideas to divert traffic away from Umbridge’s office, and is very convincing and manages to keep the corridor clear for Harry to get in. Unfortunately, they are outnumbered, but Malfoy gets his when he takes hold of Ginny…her curse is “the best”, according to Neville, and she takes out the little ferret with a Bat-Bogey Hex. Would love to have seen that!
We, unfortunately, don’t get to see much of ‘Ginny in action’ in the Department of Mysteries. Rowling chose to split her apart from Harry, and I’m betting there’s a good reason for it. She seems to hold her own, despite the twisted ankle, and who knows what curses she might have hit which Death Eaters with? But she survived against the Death Eaters without Harry’s help, we can know that much.
Another rather obvious hint comes in the final chapter, as Ron and Hermione are questioning Harry about his now-dissolved relationship with Cho. It is Ginny that informs them that Cho has moved on to Michael Corner, who is coincidentally Ginny’s own ex.
“Who’s she with now anyway?” Ron asked Hermione, but it was Ginny who answered.
“Michael Corner,” she said.
“Michael- but-” said Ron, craning around in his seat to stare at her. “But you were going out with him!”
“Not anymore,” said Ginny resolutely. “He didn’t like Gryffindor beating Ravenclaw at Quidditch and got really sulky, so I ditched him and he ran off to comfort Cho instead.” She scratched her nose absently with the end of her quill, turned The Quibbler upside down and began marking her answers. Ron looked highly delighted.
“Well, I always thought he was a bit of an idiot,” he said, prodding his queen forward toward Harry’s quivering castle. “Good for you. Just choose someone – better – next time.”
He cast Harry an oddly furtive look as he said it.
– OotP, “The Second War Begins”
‘Furtive’, of course, means ‘stealthy’ or ‘underhanded’. Perhaps Ron has some match-making intentions, here? He sees that Harry is now over Cho, and with Michael also out of the way, he assumes that Ginny is single as well. He’s openly giving Harry and Ginny his blessing when he casts the look at Harry. Foreshadowing at its finest? (Editor’s note: Rowling’s description of Ron’s chess move, see above quote, may also mean something. We know how sly she can be. Ron’s queen=Ginny, Harry’s quivering castle=our hesitant Harry.)
Rowling seems to think very highly of Ginny’s character, she’s made her into a very strong girl and is pushing her more into the forefront, slowly but surely. Ginny is clever and resourceful, self-assured and confident, kind, loyal, and sticks up for her friends; she’s quick-witted, temperamental if provoked, can be trusted with a secret, can face-off with Harry and put him in his place, as well as be equally calm in the face of his temper, and can think things through and work toward solutions in a “thoughtful” manner. She possesses lots of qualities that Harry will need in a partner.
Rowling’s own descriptions of Ginny (through Harry’s eyes), her use of certain words in certain situations, and the clues that she has planted from Book 1, strongly point to a Harry/Ginny romance, and to Ginny being a more important character in the future.
Rowling has let the Harry/Cho dynamic run its course, and it’s now over. Harry’s path is clear to the next girl. He’ll have a lot to deal with in Book 6, with Sirius’s death and the newly learned Prophecy looming…but as Rowling herself has said, “What’s life without a little romance?” And it certainly seems that she herself expects bigger and better things for Harry and Ginny…
Question: Will Harry ever notice the long-suffering Ginny Weasley?
Rowling: You’ll see…poor Ginny, eh?
– From the BBC “Red Nose Day” Online Chat Transcript © BBC, March 12, 2001