Ever since I read, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” for the first time in 2000, Ronald Bilius Weasley has always been my favorite character. You could even say that I had a slight crush on him growing up.
Now mind you, I was an 11-year-old girl then who, like any Potter-fanatic, dreamed of getting her Hogwarts acceptance letter someday.
I would spend hours reading and re-reading the books. Then I would go online to Potter forums and fan fiction websites to read some more. I could summarize story lines, recite facts and my favorite quotes from memory. I literally grew up with Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione Granger and even quietly celebrated their respective birthdays. So you see I was, and still am, quite invested.
But out of all the people in the Potter-verse, I have always had a soft spot for Ron.
Yes, Harry was a true hero for many and Hermione a role model for many young girls like me.
Yet there was something about Ron that I related to and I admired, besides the fact that his birthday, March 1, is a day before mine. He was the steadfast, loyal, charming friend who was always overshadowed by his family and his best friends. Yet he was the one to cut the tension, make Harry relax and provide a balance to Hermione.
To me he seemed the most real out of the trio, someone I could expect to bump into at the grocery store and have a conversation with (not that Ron would ever want to step into a Muggle store).
So you can imagine my shock when I read this headline a few days ago: “J.K. Rowling almost killed off Ron Weasley.”
In a recently released interview from the DVD and Blu-ray edition of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” Rowling brought up the possibility when talking to Daniel Radcliffe.
“Midway through the series … I did seriously consider killing Ron” she said.
Mid-series? That would mean no Ron in "Order of the Phoenix" "Half-Blood Prince" and "Deathly Hallows."
Harry would have been positively depressed. He would be moping around much more than he already was. While this would have been a glimmer of hope for Harry/Hermione shippers, I just can’t picture them moving on without him. If you remember how upset Hermione was when Ron and Lavender Brown got together, then it is safe to say that she would be devastated if he died.
I wasn’t the only one of course. When the news did come out, many fans took to the comments section and forums to express their disbelief.
One user, under the name Rupert-Grint-Fan, posted on a SnitchSeeker.com forum, saying, “If Ron died, I’d rip the darn book in half.”
Clearly Rowling ruffled some feathers with that confession. Apparently it’s not the first time fans have requested her not to kill Ron.
“Mostly they [kids] are really worried about Ron,” Rowling said in 2000, “As if I'm going to kill Harry's best friend. What I find interesting is only once has anyone said to me, ‘Don't kill Hermione.’”
Indeed to many readers, Ron is seen as the weakest, skills-wise, among the trio and the least likely to survive, therefore the most dispensable.
Believe it or not, the possibility of Ron dying has been a hot topic of discussion for years. In 2006 on The Leaky Lounge, a part of The Leaky Cauldron website which is a Potter fan site and blog, one forum thread explored this extensively.
A poster called Wimsey argued, "Ron brings no skills to the table. That bodes ill for him because if Ron does not serve plot, then he has to serve theme or story: and that Ron dying to let Harry and Hermione carry onwards would do that."
In response, user Gam46140 said, “Why should Ron die? True he has no significant magical powers. His greatest power is being a truly loyal friend. How can you kill a guy like that off? … Besides, his relationship with Hermione has taken years to develop. He deserves a payoff for his patience.”
That is the key word that Ron fans have often used to defend him. Sure Ron’s humor and quick wit adds to the trio’s dynamic and hilarity in the books (“I want to fix that in memory forever… Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret”). But Harry chose Ron as his friend for his dependability, not because he can make him laugh.
It was Ron’s loyalty in the “Prisoner of Azkaban” that made him stand up to Sirius Black and say, "If you want to kill Harry you'll have to kill us too," a line that was unfortunately given to Emma Watson’s Hermione in the movie.
In fact, most fans of the book are dissatisfied with how the movies’ directors have approached Ron’s character. They almost unanimously agree that the mainstream perception of Ron as just the funny and whimpering sidekick is definitely not canon.
That’s just it. Ron is not the so-called sidekick. He never was. Along with Hermione, Ron has played an important role in Harry’s various confrontations with Lord Voldemort.
Ron sacrificed himself during the chess game in “Philosopher’s Stone” so that Harry could retrieve the stone. Instead of hanging back and waiting for Harry to rescue his sister, Ginny, from the “Chamber of Secrets,” Ron went with him. He was part of Dumbledore’s Army and was with Harry in the Department of Mysteries in the “Order of the Phoenix.” Ron fought against the Death Eaters who invaded Hogwarts in “Half-Blood Prince,” destroyed two Horcruxes and fought in the Battle of Hogwarts in “Deathly Hallows.”
Ron’s steadiness as a friend also hits closer to home for Rowling. In a 2001 interview, she said that one of her best friends, Sean Harris, was an influence on Ron’s character.
“Ron owes a fair bit to Sean … He's always there when you need him, that's Ron Weasley!” she said.
Rowling also said that Sean and his Ford Anglia represented freedom to her, which could explain the same sense of happiness that Harry felt when he was with Ron and the Weasley family.
Other fans have also said that Ron reminds them of a loved one or someone they have met. Jenny Dolfen, an illustrator and teacher from Germany whose artwork of Ron is featured in this story, said that her mental image of Ron was based on some of the boys she met while teaching in the UK, making him appear all the more real to her.
“Ron’s always been very clear in my imagination, a fusion of several students I met in my assistant year,” she said, “I could just picture him as one of the boys I’d met there. He talked exactly like them, he was funny, he was bright, he was friendly, and sometimes a bit goofy. He’s my favorite character in the series - even more so than Harry.”
This is not to say that those who point out Ron’s flaws are wrong. He was often mean to Hermione, especially about her going to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum and he did overreact to Harry becoming the fourth Triwizard champion. But Ron did grow up in the shadow of his brothers so it’s not surprising that he can be insecure and jealous. His imperfections make him all the more real, someone a regular person can relate to.
As one user, Calamity Jamie, summarized on another Leaky Lounge forum thread: “Ron is the heart of this trio (Harry the soul and Hermoine the brains).”
And that is why I’ll always sing, “Weasley is our King.”