While many Harry Potter characters went on extreme journeys during the seven books, Ginny, arguably, grew the most. Though Ron’s little sister was never part of the ‘fab three’, she was always very close to Harry, Ron and Hermione, and not just because she was related to Ron and eventually romantically linked to Harry. From the little girl who so desperately wanted to go to Hogwarts in Philosopher’s Stone, to the fierce dueller and wisecracking Quidditch hero she became, Ginny really shone with every new page we flipped.
The first time Harry, and we as readers, met Ginny was, of course, on platform nine and three-quarters, seeing off her older brothers going to Hogwarts. Though Ginny, only a young girl at this point, was devastated as the Hogwarts Express took her brothers away, we could already see glimpses of the confident witch she’d become: already eager to go to school, Ginny asked her mother if she could go this year with everyone else, and voiced a bold, if slightly insensitive, curiosity to get on the train.
According to Ron, Ginny usually ‘never shut up’, but because we see the books from Harry’s perspective, Ginny seemed like a cripplingly shy person during Chamber of Secrets. Except, she wasn’t ever really shy, she just had a pesky new crush. It was a theme that continued for the whole year, with Ginny intentionally avoiding Harry as much as possible, apart from a slightly cringe-inducing Valentines poem. Ah, fresh pickled toads.
As if things couldn’t get worse, Ginny’s pre-teen insecurities were then harnessed by Tom Riddle’s diary – a mysterious book Ginny thought she could confide in about her first-year woes. Sadly not. Lord Voldemort lived inside those pages, and Ginny was eventually possessed as the Dark wizard began to absorb her strength, control her into opening the Chamber of Secrets, and nearly killed her.
The event, though undeniably traumatic, was a pivotal point in Ginny’s life. Instead of retreating into herself, as would be understandable after something like that, she overcame it, and from that point on Ginny’s confidence steadily grew. She pushed herself to remain cheerful and socially active, even though she later admitted to Harry that the horrific experience had never left her.
By Prisoner of Azkaban, Ginny had got a little bit older and wiser, and eventually found her voice. As for Harry, with each passing year, her crush softened and she was able to hold more normal conversations with him. But Ginny’s growth was for herself, not just for Harry. When the Order of the Phoenix reformed upon Voldemort’s return, Ginny immediately began conspiring with Fred and George to learn about the Order’s activities and help the effort, even though she wasn’t of age (when she was banished from a meeting in the kitchen she could be heard ‘raging and storming at her mother all the way up the stairs’).
As her self-confidence grew, Ginny’s taste for independence grew with it, mixed with a rebellious streak no doubt encouraged by Fred and George. She also started dating a few lads from Harry’s year, including Michael Corner and Dean Thomas, and remained entirely unperturbed at Ron’s objections to her having boyfriends at all. In fact, Ginny was suddenly a lot more cavalier about things. And if someone crossed her – that’s what Bat Bogey-Hexes are for.
And it wasn’t just the Bat Bogey-Hexes. When the DA was formed, Ginny was a huge part of it. In fact, she even came up with the name, ‘Dumbledore’s Army’, noting that it must be the Ministry’s worst fear.
Ginny was always a highly capable witch to boot, used by her brother George as evidence that ‘size is no guarantee of power’. Ginny performed well at every DA meeting, excelling next to her peers, and fought older, more experienced Death Eaters without hesitation, both at the Department of Mysteries and the Battle of Hogwarts – and survived every time.
Ginny remained not only emotionally open as she grew up, but emotionally practical too. She was the first of Harry’s social group to befriend and accept Luna Lovegood, for example, but at the same time was the only one who treated Harry with active compassion rather than passive sympathy. She acknowledged the traumatic events in his past but pushed him to deal with them rather than shutting his friends out, as with the case of Harry’s possession by Voldemort. Ginny pointed out it was ‘stupid’ of Harry to avoid talking to them, and her especially, as she was the only person he knew who’d been possessed previously.
Ginny Weasley’s growth over the series was nothing short of inspirational. She grew from being too timid to even be in the same room as Harry, let alone speak to him, into a strong, confident, brave woman with her own considerable talents. An ace on a broom, a troublemaker, a warrior. Harry lucked out, to be honest.