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Why the Harry Potter franchise Ron Weasley failed

Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), best friend of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), is vital to the story…at least he is in the Harry Potter Books. In the books, Ron finds himself on his own heroic journey as he helps his best friend defeat the most powerful wizard of all time, but the movies essentially fail when it comes to Ron – and the entire Weasley family for that matter. but it’s most notable in Ron, the character closest to Harry. While never failing to show Harry’s brilliance as a wizard or Hermione’s wisdom well beyond their years, the films consistently refuse to show Ron who he is and what qualities made his friendship with Harry so special, which later comes at a cost of Hermione and Ron’s romantic relationship because Ron had become a very different person than he was in the books.

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Rupert Grint in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Image from Warner Bros.

One of the most outrageous changes from book to screen is the decision to make Ron practically nothing but Harry’s goofy, insignificant, and empty-headed sidekick. This applies in particular to Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fireand half-blood prince, but is present in all eight films. It’s disappointing because Ron isn’t anything like that in the books. Sure, he has his moments, like all teenagers (including Harry), but he’s quite intelligent. It is repeatedly said that Harry and Ron are at the same level academically, with Harry being just a bit more skilled as a wizard. Ron is very knowledgeable about the things he’s passionate about, like Quidditch or Hermione, but he’s trainable and becomes a powerful, fine wizard, able to hold his own in the final battle with the Death Eaters and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). However, the movies usually only used Ron for a quick laugh, as if using his fear of spiders for some comedic relief, or taking lightly his near-death poisoning experience with the mead in Slughorn’s office. This often reinforces the notion that Ron is lesser than Harry and Hermione, reducing his character development and hurting his relationships with the two along the way.


In which Philosopher’s Stone Book, when the three are trapped in Devil’s Snare after their near miss with Fluffy the three-headed dog, Ron helps ensure they survive. Hermione has the knowledge of the plant and its weakness, but neither she nor Harry have the instinct to use magic to start the fire to save them. Ron, on the other hand, does, prompting Hermione to use magic to start a fire to help save her. In the movie, Ron only panics because he has to be rescued by his friends. Another example of reducing Ron’s abilities is making Ron’s Quidditch skills a complete joke, even when Ron gets hit in the face with his broomstick in the first film, despite spending much of his childhood while flying to practice in the fox’s den. Anything for a quick laugh, even if it changes everything about Ron’s personality and leaves out all the traits that sorted him into Gryffindor in the first place.



This change in Ron’s character also comes at the expense of his relationship with Hermione, which later becomes a beautiful romance. The entire dynamic of their relationship changes (except in the last two films, which are the most accurate portrayals of Ron in the entire franchise). Ron is often very protective and loyal to Harry and Hermione, such as when Snape calls them a “know-it-all” and Ron stands up for them in the books and gets detention for it. In the movie, Ron says “he’s right, you know,” which ends up being the beginning of the movie where Ron isn’t worthy of Hermione. They emphasize his struggles with Hermione, and Ron often throws low punches and is able to really get under Hermione’s skin while Harry stays behind to comfort her and bridge the gap between them. An example of Ron’s cruelty is his reaction to Hermione taking Krum to the Yule Ball, which ends with Hermione crying on the stairs because she’s so hurt by how angry Ron was with her about it. In the books, Hermione storms off (and Ron isn’t that terrible with her). Although Ron is generally mean to her in the films, he’s written as a snotty jerk while Hermione is the smartest witch alive, so overall they’re just completely incompatible.


Even Ron’s most important contribution to his friendship with Harry and Hermione is almost entirely obliterated in the films, which is that he is the expert on the wizarding world, being the only one who grew up surrounded by magic. For example in Chamber of Secretsafter Draco Malfoy (tom felton) calls Hermione a “Mudblood”, the books see Ron, with Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) to help due to the snails that Ron is actively vomiting, which enlightens both Harry and Hermione as to what that word means. In the film, Hermione passes on knowledge to Harry, knowledge she would not have had given her short time in the wizarding world, while Ron sits in the background vomiting.


harry-potter-butterbeer-rupert-grint-daniel-radcliffe
Image from Warner Bros.

As underrated as Ron is in the movies, it comes at the expense of what is arguably the most important relationship in the books: Harry and Ron’s friendship. Ron is the first to see Harry for who he is. He is the first person of his age to treat Harry with respect and friendship, and the two quickly form an unbreakable bond. Likewise, Harry understands Ron and sees more in Ron than just being Another Weasley or the younger sibling of one of his many brothers. Harry never has to hide what’s going on from Ron, who is always there (with two notable exceptions) to support him. When Harry hears the basilisk through the walls of Hogwarts, Ron tells him in the book that hearing voices in the wizarding world is not a good thing (while Hermione says so in the film), but Ron also assures Harry that he believes him . As his scar hurts and he sees in Voldemort’s mind in the books, Ron is the only person who doesn’t embarrass him for allowing this connection. Hermione, like Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and others understand the gravity of the situation a little better, but are unwilling to hear Harry say he’s trying or understand the difficulty. Ron is the person closest to him, the only person who is always by his side which is why the two times Ron leaves him hurt so much, and his best friend – by far, as Harry often points out when it’s just him and Hermione.


The foundation of Harry and Ron’s friendship is rarely laid in the films, but as time goes on they become less and less believable as best friends. Hermione fills the role with Harry at practically every possible opportunity and becomes Harry’s closest confidant. Meanwhile, Ron often stays in the background during emotional moments, particularly those created just for the film, such as when Hermione comforts Harry after he learns that Sirius Black is his godfather, or when Hermione hugs Harry and offers to go with him to come as they are confronted with his inevitable death at Voldemort’s hands after learning that he is a Horcrux. Or when Harry and Hermione talk about finding the Horcruxes after Dumbledore’s death in the sixth film with Ron sitting in the background while that moment in the book has Hermione and Ron confirms to Harry that they will come with him and will do whatever they can to help. Ron isn’t allowed to have the same emotional connection to Harry as Hermione, although in the books it’s the other way around. It’s great to see Hermione’s importance emphasized in the films, but it shouldn’t have come at the expense of Ron and the importance of the trio as a whole.



Harry Potter Philosopher Stone Ron Weasley
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

In the books, Ron’s loyalty to Harry knows no bounds and vice versa. (Hermione is also very loyal to Harry, but it’s not the same.) Harry’s main concern in realizing his romantic feelings for Ginny (Bonnie Wright) Ron will respond. Harry puts off his pursuit of those feelings, even though he knows Ginny feels the same because of his loyalty to Ron. However, Ron’s loyalty is shown at other extremes. In Prisoner of Azkaban when Sirius (Gary Oldman) drags Ron to the Howling Shack and the trio learn the truth, it’s Ron. while injured with a broken leg, he exclaims that if Sirius is going to kill Harry, he must go through with it. Ron even tries to stand on his broken leg to try and defend Harry. In the movies, Hermione yells that while Ron whimpers in the corner, brushing away probably the most important moment that has happened in Ron and Harry’s friendship up to that point. As those important moments in Harry and Ron’s friendship disappear, the two times Ron turns his back on Harry (albeit temporarily) don’t have quite the same impact. In which Goblet of Fire book, when Ron stops talking to Harry after his name comes out of the fire until after the first quest, it’s due to Ron’s jealousy over his best friend once again overshadowing him, something Ron, as the youngest of six brothers, has uncountable times experienced. There’s no real reason in the movie, at least not one that’s worked out, so Ron just seems like a bad friend, and Harry’s ability to let Ron back into his life so easily doesn’t make any sense. Likewise when Ron walks in deathly Hallows, it’s because of his own insecurity and feeling that Harry and Hermione would be better off without him. This is shown a bit of Riddle’s locket before Ron destroys it, but due to Ron’s lack of exploration in the sixth previous film, it only makes him seem like a bad friend and the weakest link of the trio. The emotional impact these moments have on Harry (and Hermione) varies because the films consistently show Harry and Hermione doing well without Ron, something that is not the case in the source material.


Coming from someone whose favorite character is Hermione and who has always adored the relationship between Hermione and Harry, it’s a shame that Hermione and her friendship with Harry, which continues to develop in the films, came at Ron’s expense. The movies could easily have shown the trio as equals and used other characters for comedic relief, like the Weasley twins or Peeves the poltergeist, who despite his notoriety in the books never appears on screen. Ron didn’t have to be sacrificed for something that was already readily available in the books of other characters that circled the trio at Hogwarts and to sustain a relationship that was already special from the start. It’s a shame how horribly the movies treated Ron Weasley and made him a shell of the character he should have been.


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https://collider.com/harry-potter-movies-failed-ron-weasley/ Why the Harry Potter franchise Ron Weasley failed

Jake Nichol

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