What’s wrong with Ginny?
Wed 17 July 2019
For me the main idea of everything written (originally I have this from an excellent book by Walter Kerr “How Not to Write a Play”) is that the plot (and character development and many other things in any literary work) is about a character moving from point A to point B. That’s all the play (novel, short story) is about! Why did she move from A to B? What were the obstacles on the way? How did she overcame them? Actually points A and B are not so important as the travel between them.
One of the most horrible sins of every literary work is when in the first act of a drama the character (let’s say Draco Malfoy or Severus Snape) is in point A (marked Death Eater believing honestly in the pureblood ideals), and in the second act he is in point B (member of the Order of Phoenix fighting pureblood mentality). Change happened sometime during the intermission. That’s completely and absolutely wrong! The most important part, the only part we are interested in, is how he changed. What moved him to leave the Voldemort’s camp? Was it difficult? What obstacles he had to overcome? What precious things he had to sacrifice and leave behind? This is for example problem of most stories with Severus Snape as the main character. In books we have rather horrible person persecuting Harry just because he looks like his dad. Then suddenly in the story he is fair, a bit hurt by the nasty Dumbledore, smart guy who is the best friend with Harry without much problems. WHAT? How did they get there? Why Severus changed his attitude towards Harry? How did Harry struggle to accept this change? etc. The story in this area I rather like (“Becoming Harriet” by Teao; another problem is that amount of smut is so big that it hurts the narrative) is exactly with this problem. Suddenly without any transition, Snape is the only professor who was always honest with Harry (WHAT?), desperately hoping for just treatment for his Slytherins, etc., and Harry (well, Harriet, it is a gender bending story) accepts it immediately without any objections (WHAT?).
The similar thing happened to Ginny in the books. She starts as a very shy girl with her elbow in the butter dish when seeing Harry, then she is a damsel in distress (OK, that part is covered, that’s what COS is about), princess saved by her knight in (not so much) shining armour from a dragon, and then … she is completely forgotten. Suddenly she shows up two and half books later as a self-confident sport-loving most pretty girl well prepared to be the girl for Harry (and there is not much else for her goals in life apparently). We are told, that Hermione had told her (behind the scenes, we don’t even know when that conversation happened) to date around to get a confidence (pretty stupid idea, if I may say so) and somewhere behind the scenes (aside from one scene when Harry and Ron found her kissing somebody, we don’t even know anything about that process) she changes. There is a hint to something in my beloved line ‘“Lucky you,” said Ginny coolly.’, but it has never been developed into proper substory (which is huge mistake, IMHO). That’s COMPLETELY WRONG! We are interested in the process how a girl, who was shy and horribly abused by Tom Riddle (emotionally, physically, perhaps even otherwise), changes into the fiery Ginny we all know and love. We don’t know and we are never told.
Difference between Luna and Ginny is interesting. The story arch we are here following is not actually change in Luna herself (she is mostly the same all time she is present), but the journey is Harry’s (and ours) discovery who she is. He first thinks (with everybody else including Hermione) she is just Loony, crazy girl spitting out nonsense. And gradually he finds out she is actually rather smart, shockingly honest, and absolutely faithful to her friends, so he ends to take her to the Slughorn’s party, and she then follows the group to the Department of Mysteries and co-leads the Dumbledore Army during DH (another horribly situation where everything interesting with Ginny happens somewhere in background). However, given Luna is not the main heroine of the story (contrary to Ginny, who should be the one), it is possibly easier to forgive her disappearance in the background, when she is not needed for the main storyline.