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What went wrong with Harry Potter and Cho Chang?

We take a look at the relationship that went down quicker than a Wronski Feint.

Harry teaches Cho how to cast a Patronus during time with Dumbledore's Army.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

You couldn’t help but root for Harry Potter and Cho Chang at the beginning. After all, Harry had sort of fancied her since they played Quidditch against each other in Prisoner of Azkaban, was totally infatuated in Goblet of Fire, finally falling into a relationship in Order of the Phoenix. But after three novels of build-up, their relationship hit the deck like Neville in a Body-Bind curse. So what went wrong? Here’s why ‘Charry’ fizzled out so quickly… In fact, too quickly to even warrant that portmanteau.

Cho defended Marietta Edgecombe, destroyer of awesome clubs

Dumbledore’s Army was Harry’s safe space during a terrible year of Voldemort visions, the reign of Professor Umbridge, and being vilified by the media, so the fact that Cho’s friend Marietta destroyed that by betraying them to Umbridge was a terrible move – made even worse by Cho’s attempts to defend her and reproach Hermione for cursing her with ‘SNEAK’-patterned pimples.

Even if you are Cho’s number one fan, this one is hard to get past. Sure, she gets points for loyalty to her friend, but what about loyalty to defending Hogwarts? Also, the fact Harry, constantly angry in his fifth year, couldn’t see Cho’s point of view, made for an almighty clash that pretty much obliterated the entire relationship.

‘Oh, no,’ said Cho hurriedly. ‘No, it was only... well, I just wanted to say... Harry, I never dreamed Marietta would tell...’
‘Yeah, well,’ said Harry moodily. He did feel Cho might have chosen her friends a bit more carefully; it was small consolation that the last he had heard, Marietta was still up in the hospital wing and Madam Pomfrey had not been able to make the slightest improvement to her pimples.
‘She's a lovely person really,’ said Cho. ‘She just made a mistake –’
Harry looked at her incredulously.
‘A lovely person who made a mistake? She sold us all out, including you!’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Illustration of Marietta Edgecombe from the Dumbledore's Army infographic
Marietta Edgecombe. © JKR/Pottermore Ltd.™ Warner Bros.

Harry was in major awkward teenager mode

Like any first date, we can all get a bit tongue-tied, and Harry was no different. Although he clearly wanted to connect with his Ravenclaw crush, the Boy Who Lived was also the Boy Who Failed At Keeping Conversation Flowing, mostly because he couldn’t think of anything to talk to her about – apart from Quidditch.

For heaven’s sake Harry, you went to the same school! You had almost every single part of your daily routine in common! You were both MAGIC. Surely that would have been a good starting point, right? But alas, Harry was simply too young and too speechless. We’ve all been there, right?

Cho took Harry to a pressure-inducing venue

Cho, we appreciate that it was Valentine’s Day and you wanted to be romantic, but Madam Puddifoot’s teashop was a bit overboard, complete with saccharine décor and a French-kissing Roger Davies. As such, the surrounding atmosphere lifted Harry completely out of his comfort zone, and the whole date just got a bit forced. The cherubs probably didn’t help.

© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Cho was not in the right state of mind emotionally

Of course, it wasn’t Cho’s fault that her first love, Cedric Diggory, died at the end of the last school year. But perhaps it was a little too early for her to move forward? Poor Cho clearly struggled to get to grips with her budding relationship with Harry, as she was still too caught up in the horrific events of the Triwizard Tournament. We think Hermione put it rather well:

‘Well, obviously, she’s feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she’s feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can’t work out who she likes best. Then she’ll be feeling guilty, thinking it’s an insult to Cedric’s memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she’ll be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably can’t work out what her feelings towards Harry are, anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that’s all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she’s afraid she’s going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she’s been flying so badly.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

It’s not surprising that Ron’s reply to this was: ‘One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.’

Cho Chang in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry wasn’t in a great place either

Harry didn’t want to talk about the events of the third task just as much as Cho desperately wanted to. In fact, he went out of his way to avoid the discussion, even though it was clearly important to Cho that they talk about it.

‘Women!’ he muttered angrily, sloshing down the rain-washed street with his hands in his pockets. ‘What did she want to talk about Cedric for, anyway? Why does she always want to drag up a subject that makes her act like a human hosepipe?’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry wasn’t very considerate of Cho’s feelings

Harry. We know you meant nothing by it, but you shouldn’t have kept mentioning your female best friend who knows you better than anyone in every other conversation with Cho. Although it was entirely innocent, it seemed ridiculous that Harry wouldn’t consider for a second that Cho would get a little jealous of Hermione, especially when he cut a date short to hang out with her.

They couldn’t have a laugh with each other

Laughter is the key to every relationship, and yet Harry and Cho didn’t just have zero chemistry, they also seemed to be unhappy, insecure or awkward in each other’s presence almost all of the time. The only time they seemed to be able to chat away was when they were talking about Quidditch, but knowledge about a broomstick sport does not a romantic relationship make! Even their first kiss was pretty much a traumatic experience for Harry.

‘'Well?’ Ron said finally, looking up at Harry. ‘How was it?’
Harry considered it for a moment.
‘Wet,’ he said truthfully.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Perhaps in a parallel wizarding world, one where Harry gathered the courage to ask Cho to the Yule Ball before Cedric got in there first, this relationship would have been entirely different. Harry would have taken Cho to the ball, they’d have started dating, and the most pressing issue in their relationship would have been having to compete in Quidditch against each other. Instead, circumstances meant that Harry and Cho’s relationship never quite took off, which is a shame. But if Harry and Cho had made it work, then we would’ve been deprived of Harry and Ginny – so maybe things do happen for a reason.