What Fans Forget about Fleur Delacour
While most Potter fans acknowledge that the books feature many feminist themes, the fandom is guilty of leaving out many of Jo’s (badass) women when discussing these themes. Among the neglected witches is Fleur Delacour, whose heroics are often ignored in favor of Hermione and Ginny. However, I see no reason Fleur should be left off the list of kickass women – after all, she worked as hard as anyone to make sure good triumphed over evil and that the right side won. The films, unfortunately, tend to portray Fleur as shallow and weak instead of as the tough and multi-dimensional woman she is.
Fleur is introduced inGoblet of Fire as the best competitor from Beauxbatons – which is not, as the films portray, an all-girls school but co-ed – and the only female among the champions. The film portrayal is the first problem for a lot of fans: Beauxbatons seems to be the home of nothing more than simpering, weak ballerinas who are only there to look pretty; in the books, on the other hand, Beauxbatons is a school just like Hogwarts, only situated in a different country. When fans first perceive Fleur as only “the best girl” (a problematic statement in itself) instead of “the best person,” they degrade Fleur and her worth to the series.
Fleur next appears in Order of the Phoenix, where she is just out of school and already assisting the Order as best she can. The problem for most fans at this point is that Fleur seems more concerned with flirting with Bill than helping the Order’s causes, but I have to argue with you there: First, Fleur embracing her sexuality is not anti-feminist and certainly doesn’t make her a weaker character; second, Jo’s a talented enough writer that none of her characters is of singular purpose, and Fleur is no different – she’s equally invested in the success of her relationship and the Order. Fleur isn’t so different from Ginny and Hermione: all three balance dating, growing up, and dealing with the rise of Voldemort at once. The fact that Fleur believes Harry’s claim that Voldemort is back and volunteers to help after knowing him less than a year proves she’s invested in doing what’s right.
Half-Blood Prince is Fleur’s shining moment – she’s continued to work with the Order (and Bill) and puts up with the Weasleys’ constant (and totally unnecessary) harassment to do so. The Weasleys’ annoyance seems to originate in some serious misogyny: Fleur is pretty and confident, and that tends to intimidate people. Fleur’s best moment comes at the end of the book when she proves she’s not as shallow as everyone seems to think: After Bill is attacked by Fenrir Greyback, Molly assumes Fleur will give up on him, but Fleur responds with courage and pride. This moment opposes everything people wrongly assume about Fleur: She values bravery and spirit much more than appearances, just as much as any Gryffindor. Of course, this moment doesn’t appear in the films, so it is often ignored by fans.
And of course, Deathly Hallows cements that Fleur is about as badass as they come. She’s part of the group that risks their lives to make Harry safe and assists in the Battle of Hogwarts, at risk to her own life. However, her greatest moment comes before the battle: Despite the fact that the trio is the most wanted people in Britain, Fleur doesn’t hesitate in allowing them to stay in her home – certainly, she doesn’t put her safety before doing what’s right. What’s confusing is that this scene is in the films, and people still seem to forget how much Fleur sacrificed and risked to keep Harry safe, especially considering they aren’t friends or family – Fleur simply believes it’s the least she can do for Harry after he saved her sister. And what isn’t awesome about that?
In short, Fleur proves in every book that she is a worthy member of the Order, is a good wife to Bill, and certainly deserves a place among the other women in the series as an excellent fictional feminist.