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The chapter that made us fall in love with… Ron Weasley

It was a glorious moment when Ron returned to his friends and destroyed the Horcrux. It also proved that his emotional range was, in fact, far beyond that of a teaspoon.

Ron saves Harry from the ice lake.
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With his hand-me-down robes and his sad old pet rat, Ron was never going to be the most popular boy at Hogwarts. His fortunes changed when he befriended Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, though admittedly it did take him some time to warm to the latter.

While some people will tag along with the in-crowd for their own protection (Peter Pettigrew springs to mind) and others might collect notable acquaintances for name-dropping purposes (Slug Club, anyone?), Ron’s intentions were always pure. He valued friendship, not glory, and became the heart of a loving and supportive group.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

But while Hermione was dubbed ‘the cleverest witch in her year’ and Harry was the Boy Who Lived, Ron often fell in their shadow. Ron tried his best not to let it get him down, but cracks began to show. He became bitter towards Harry when he was selected for the Triwizard Tournament and was rude to Hermione at the Yule Ball. His behaviour sprang from his insecurities, which hindered him in other ways. Take Quidditch, for example. Unless ‘tricked’ into feeling confident, Ron would buckle under pressure and play poorly, despite showing himself to be a highly talented Keeper.

But there would come a moment when Ron would face his fears and prove that Weasley really was our king.

Patronus illustration of the Silver Doe in the forest
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

The Silver Doe

Then a voice hissed from out of the Horcrux.
‘I have seen your heart, and it is mine.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Ron’s struggles finally hit breaking point while the trio were on the run. It was easy to get annoyed with him – while everyone suffered the strain of fugitive life, Ron complained more frequently and loudly than anyone. Eventually, in a shocking move, he abandoned his friends.

While Ron seemed completely unreasonable, we didn’t understand what was happening in his head. Encased in the locket, Voldemort’s soul fragment had been eating away at his mind, whispering terrible thoughts that he couldn’t dismiss.

As much as Mrs Weasley loved each of her children equally, Ron couldn’t help but feel insignificant. His older brothers were all special in their own ways while Ginny was both the only girl and the baby of the family. This led to Ron’s tragic assumption that, as ‘boy number six’, he must have come as a disappointment. With little enough room at The Burrow already, Ron always felt in danger of being squeezed out.

The Weasley's in school uniform
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

He also couldn’t help but notice the way his mother doted on Harry:

‘Your mother confessed,’ sneered Riddle-Harry, while Riddle-Hermione jeered, ‘that she would have preferred me as a son, would be glad to exchange …’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

These insecurities intensified when Ron and his friends were left holding the Horcrux. Ron’s romantic feelings for Hermione had grown too strong for even him to ignore, while his worry that she preferred Harry went into overdrive. Every time Ron saw Harry and Hermione together, it would validate his jealousy, spurring agony and madness that he tried to keep bottled up. Eventually these anxieties overwhelmed Ron and he became convinced his friends would be better off without him.

‘Who wouldn’t prefer him, what woman would take you? You are nothing, nothing, nothing to him,’ crooned Riddle-Hermione.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Just like the Dementors affected Harry more than those around him, the locket had a unique power over Ron. It was only fitting that he would be the one to finish it off.

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‘Are – you – mental?’
Nothing but the shock of hearing that voice could have given Harry the strength to get up. Shivering violently, he staggered to his feet. There before him stood Ron, fully dressed but drenched to the skin, his hair plastered to his face, the sword of Gryffindor in one hand and the Horcrux dangling from its broken chain in the other.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Ron’s return saw him retrieving the sword of Gryffindor and saving Harry’s life in one fell swoop. But the real act of heroism came when the locket was opened and he had to face what was inside. When he did, we finally realised the pressures and the anxieties that Ron had been carrying with him all along. It was a cathartic rather than triumphant moment that we shared with Ron as he smashed the locket and destroyed the Horcrux.

The sword clanged as Ron dropped it. He had sunk to his knees, his head in his arms. He was shaking, but not, Harry realised, from cold.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Ron might have been the joker of the group, but his easygoing demeanour masked someone who was constantly fighting off insecurities. He did this because he valued his friends far too dearly to succumb to jealousy. While he was normally strong enough to put those negative thoughts aside and continue with the task at hand, there were times when he just couldn’t ignore the torment. Those were the moments when his courage was truly tested.

Ron holding up the destroyed locket Horcrux.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

Why it matters

Standing next to ‘the cleverest witch of her age’ and the Boy Who Lived would leave most people feeling insignificant. Sadly for Ron, this experience was nothing new. For years he watched his older brothers excel at school, become Quidditch stars and travel the globe in pursuit of some enviable careers – seriously, who wouldn’t want something like ‘dragon keeper’ as a job title? All their accomplishments left their little brother in the dark. No matter what Ron achieved, another Weasley had already done it. We saw it in Ron’s eyes when he peered into the Mirror of Erised, finally standing tall and alone above his peers and his family, yearning for his own ‘moment’.

In ‘The Silver Doe', Ron finally got it. He realised you don’t have to be the Chosen One to be a hero. Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is to own our mistakes, go to a friend and say ‘Sorry.’ And often, the hardest battles are the ones we fight within our own minds. For this, we respected Ron more than ever: the boy who lived through so many insecurities to become the man we knew he could be.

Ron flying Harry's Firebolt from the Prisoner of Azkaban
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

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