Seven Times Hermione Granger Took Ron Weasley’s Lines in the Movies
When a book is adapted into a movie, it’s guaranteed to lose some things during the process of translation. Characters are modified or dropped, plot lines are squished together because of time, etc., etc. Screenwriters, producers, and directors are all at the mercy of the viewing audience – they must deliver a piece of work that can be enjoyed on its own merits, that can be understood and digested by those who are freshly new to the material as well as those who are avid fans of the original source material, while at the same time not doing a disservice to those same fans by cobblestone-ing a world from literal scratch.
I get it. However, one of the biggest pet peeves I have with the entire Harry Potter movie series is the shaft the writers and producers have given Ron Weasley. I have to admit, I’m a bit biased, as a Ron fangirl, but people who’ve only watched the movies do not understand how important a role Ron plays as best friend to Harry as well as significant member of the trio. If we were to strictly go off movieverse only, then we would see Ron simply as an annoying, comedic sidekick, a cockblock to the burgeoning relationship between Harry and Hermione. Movie-Ron is not Harry’s confidant, his guide into the bemusing world of magic, his closest friend who keeps Harry tethered to the nearest thing to a family he knows.
Instead, the movies pigeonhole Hermione into that role. In the books, she’s a Muggle-born who exists as both Harry’s equal in terms of being completely new to the traditions and unspoken rules of the wizarding world and the unofficial leader of the trio, consistently saving the boys’ butts because she’s the HBIC. And while it’s true that Hermione is Harry’s close friend, and she offers a lifeline to him during Ron and Harry’s broken friendship during GoF… COME. ON.
Harry needs both Ron and Hermione in his life; together, Ron and Hermione allow Harry to be a fully functioning, more-than-adequately happy human being. By ripping the dialogue out of book-Ron’s mouth and shoving them into movie-Hermione’s does nothing except satisfy Harry/Hermione shippers and destroy any character building on Ron’s part.
Instead of compiling a neverending list of grievances, I’ve put together a short one, going movie by movie, of the seven (most obvious) times movie-Hermione (through no fault of her own) took book-Ron’s lines.
*Quotes from books have been modified.
1. Sorcerer’s Stone
Hermione: Stop moving! I know what this is – it’s Devil’s Snare!
Ron: Oh, I’m so glad we know what it’s called, that’s a great help.
Hermione: Shut up, I’m trying to remember how to kill it! What did Professor Sprout say? – it likes the dark and the damp –
Harry: So light a fire!
Hermione: Yes – of course – but there’s no wood!
Ron: HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?
Hermione: Stop moving, both of you. This is Devil’s Snare! You have to relax. If you don’t, it’ll only kill you faster!
Ron: Kill us faster?! Oh, now I can relax!
As 11-year-olds, none of the three could be faulted for freaking out under pressure, under the imminent promise of death by Devil’s Snare. HOWEVER. By this subtle change – placing Ron in total damsel-in-distress mode – the viewers have already eliminated Ron as a hero. In the book, no matter what situation, Ron can always depend on his natural-born wizarding instinct. In the movie, it doesn’t matter that Ron is a wizard. All that matters is that Ron has lesser skill in conducting magic than Hermione does.
2. Chamber of Secrets
Harry: Malfoy called Hermione something – it must’ve been really bad, because everyone went wild.
Ron: It was bad. Malfoy called her ‘Mudblood,’ Hagrid –
Hermione: But I don’t know what it means. I could tell it was really rude, of course –
Ron: It’s about the most insulting thing he could think of. Mudblood’s a really foul name for someone who is Muggle-born – you know, non-magic parents. It’s a disgusting thing to call someone. Dirty blood, see. Common blood. It’s ridiculous.
Hermione: He called me a Mudblood.
Harry: What’s a Mudblood?
Hermione: It means dirty blood. Mudblood’s a really foul name for someone who’s Muggle-born. Someone with non-magic parents. Someone like me. It’s not a term one usually hears in civilized conversation.
Both Hermione and Harry are unfamiliar with things in the wizarding world that aren’t explicitly explained in textbooks, things like classicism. Ron, a pure-blood who is equally mystified by the customs of the Muggle world, bridges that gap and helps explain certain scenarios like this one. How on earth would Hermione know anything about awful slurs like “Mudblood”? She is 12 years old and up to this point, has been safely ensconced in a world whose troubles and mysteries could easily be solved with research, luck, and skill. From whom, or where, could she have discovered the degrading meaning behind Malfoy’s insult?
3. Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry & Hermione: Professor, Black’s telling the truth – we saw Pettigrew – he [Pettigrew] escaped when Professor Lupin turned into a werewolf – he’s [Pettigrew’s] a rat – Pettigrew’s front paw, I mean, finger, he cut it off – Pettigrew attacked Ron, it wasn’t Sirius –
Hermione: Headmaster, you’ve got to stop them! They’ve got the wrong man!
Harry: It’s true, sir! Sirius is innocent!
Ron: It’s Scabbers who did it. He’s my rat, sir. Well, he’s not really a rat. Well, he
was a rat, he was my brother’s Percy’s rat, but then they gave him an owl, and I got –
Hermione: The point is, we know the truth. Please believe us.
In this case, the movie gave Ron lines in this scene, whereas the book didn’t. However, the lines that Ron said further diminished the viewer’s ability to see him as anything more than a comedic sidekick. In the movie scene, Ron is discombobulated and well, stupid, blabbering on about his rat and Pettigrew. Hermione gives him an exasperating look and turns to firmly, and coherently, tell Dumbledore that Snape is lying. In the book, Ron is not even in this scene; he’s recovering from his leg wound. Why insert him, acting like a fool, into this scene at all? There’s nothing to be gained here, except snickering at a hapless Ron.
4. Goblet of Fire
Ron: Why did I do it? I don’t know what made me do it!
Ginny: He – er – just asked Fleur Delacour to go to the ball with him.
Harry: You what?
Ron: I don’t know what made me do it! What was I playing at? There were people – all around – I’ve gone mad – everyone watching! I was just walking past her in the entrance hall – she was standing there talking to Diggory – and it sort of came over me – and I asked her!
Ginny: It’s okay, Ron. It’s alright. It doesn’t matter.
Harry: What happened to you?
Ginny: He just asked Fleur Delacour out.
Harry: What did she say?
Hermione: She said yes?
Ron: Don’t be silly. There she was, just walking by… you know how I like it when they walk… I couldn’t help it! It just sort of slipped out.
Ginny: Actually, he sort of screamed at her. It was a bit frightening.
This scene is also a modification, rather than a total bunging of Ron’s lines. However, Ron’s agency is completely stripped away – even though Ginny and Hermione’s secondhand input here is hilarious, Ron is once again reduced to the funny sidekick, a buffoon who mirrors Harry’s own attempts at opposite gender interaction but as a way to help move the “teenagers stumbling over hormones” story along. This scene also neatly sidesteps the acknowledgement that Fleur is part Veela, an interesting and significant trivia bit that is never actually acknowledged throughout the entire movie series.
5. Order of the Phoenix
Ron: We told Dumbledore we wanted to tell you what was going on. We did, mate. But he’s really busy now, we’ve only seen him twice since we came here and he didn’t have much time, he just made us swear not to tell you important stuff when we wrote, he said the owls might be intercepted.
Harry: You couldn’t have put this in a letter, I suppose. I’ve gone all summer without a scrap of news.
Ron: We wanted to tell you, mate. Really, we did. Only –
Hermione: Only Dumbledore made us swear that we wouldn’t tell you anything.
One of the biggest themes throughout the entire book series is Harry and Ron’s friendship, cemented since that fateful day both 11-year-olds sat in the same train compartment. One of the biggest missteps the movies continually makes is to brush aside that friendship. It may seem inconsequential that Hermione, not Ron, is the one who admits that Dumbledore made her and Ron swear not to tell Harry anything over the summer. However, by doing so, the directors are making it clear that Hermione is Harry’s right-hand (wo)man, his trusted confidant, the one who breaks the hard news to Harry, the one who snaps him out of his self-serving stupor. And what happens to Ron, in this case? He’s basically a stand-in. He’s got no personality, he’s got no voice, he’s got none of the qualities that make Ron the book character so damn interesting.
6. Half-Blood Prince
Harry: I’m not coming back even if it does reopen.
Hermione: I knew you were going to say that. But then what will you do?
Ron: We’ll be there, Harry. At your aunt and uncle’s house. And then we’ll go with you wherever you’re going.
Harry: No –
Hermione: You said to us once before, that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We’ve had time, haven’t we?
Ron: We’re with you whatever happens.
Harry: I’m not coming back, Hermione. I’ve got to finish whatever Dumbledore started, and I don’t know where that’ll lead me, but I’ll let you and Ron know where I am, when I can.
Hermione: I’ve always admired your courage, Harry, but sometimes you can be really thick. You don’t really thick you’re going to be able to find all those Horcruxes by yourself, do you? You need us, Harry.
Sigh. Once again, the movie wipes out any indication that the Harry-Ron-Hermione trio is an actual trio, one that is made up of supportive and equal partners. Granted, Rupert Grint was recovering from swine flu during the shooting of this last scene, so there’s a reason why it seemed so awkward and stilted. Because it was. However, that is absolutely no excuse why Ron was rendered essentially speechless for the last ten-odd minutes of the film. The reassuring camaraderie that seeps through the last pages of the book, after Dumbledore’s somber funeral, is extinguished in the film version. Instead of Harry’s two best friends comforting Harry, gently letting him know that they are with him, through thick and thin, it’s just Hermione, in a thinly veiled Harry/Hermione scene, admonishing Harry at his inability to let others help him in need.
7. Deathly Hallows
Ron: We thought you knew what you were doing! We thought Dumbledore had told you what to do, we thought you had a real plan!
Hermione: Ron! Take off the locket, Ron. Please take it off. You wouldn’t be talking like this if you hadn’t been wearing it all day.
Harry: Leave the Horcrux.
Ron: What are you doing?
Hermione: What do you mean?
Ron: Are you staying, or what?
Hermione: I – Yes – yes, I’m staying. Ron, we said we’d go with Harry, we said we’d help –
Ron: I get it. You choose him.
Hermione: Ron, no – please – come back, come back!
Ron: You don’t know why I listen to the radio, do you? To make sure I don’t hear Ginny’s name. Or Fred, or George, or Mum.
Harry: You think I’m not listening too? You think I don’t know how this feels?
Ron: No, you don’t know how it feels! Your parents are dead! You have no family!
Harry: Fine then, go! Go then!
Ron: [to Hermione] And you? Are you coming or are you staying? Fine. I get it. I saw you two the other night.
Hermione: Ron, that’s – that’s nothing!
Because of time restraints, the last three movies can’t help but ramp up tension to compensate for merged or dropped plotlines. In this scene, tension is definitely at an all-time high, and some language has been changed so that the audience realizes just how ragged the three characters are at this point in the film. HOWEVER. Damn Steve Kloves and his Harry/Hermione shipper heart. By having Hermione stammer, voice breaking, that Ron seeing the two of them with their heads together, trying to figure out where the next Horcrux would be, was not the romantic scenario he imagines, the audience can’t help wonder “…maybe?” Ron looks cuckolded and paranoid, Hermione looks helpless, and Harry looks righteous, which are feelings that aren’t appropriate for this particular scene. This is a scene in which a friendship splinters, in which the quest is questioned, in which allegiances must be drawn. The movie viewer who has not read the book doesn’t realize that’s the point of this scene. He or she simply sees a scene that pits these three characters into a one-dimensional love triangle, which is unfortunate.
What do you guys think? Have I egregiously missed another instance where Hermione took Ron’s lines in the movies? Sound off in the comments below!