|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Major Event|
|Harry Potter Relationships|
|Time Period||Throughout the series|
|Important Characters||Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Cho Chang|
Harry's first romantic experience is Ginny Weasley, who is enthralled with him, although he does not yet reciprocate her feelings. Harry soon notices Cho Chang, the pretty Ravenclaw Quidditch Seeker. Harry is too shy to express his interest in her, although she seems to notice him. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry finally works up the courage to invite her to the Yule Ball. Unfortunately, she has already been asked by Cedric Diggory, a student in Hufflepuff.
Harry competes with Cedric for Cho's attention, at least in his own mind, until Cedric's tragic death during the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Cho renews her interest in Harry, but as she is still grieving, and unable to move past Cedric's death, she and Harry abruptly end their brief relationship. Harry is again unattached and remains so until Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when he begins noticing Ginny Weasley who is then dating someone else. Near the end of the year, they finally get together. Unfortunately for Ginny, Harry ends their relationship to try and protect her from Voldemort. In the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it becomes apparent that they still have the kernel of a relationship going on, and although they are separated for the duration of the book, it is made clear the feelings remain. They re-unite near the end of the book, and in the epilogue it is revealed that they have married and three children.
Ginny Weasley first sees Harry in King's Cross train station as Harry and the Weasley boys (Ron, Percy, and the twins) are preparing to leave for Hogwarts. Excited about being close to the famous Harry Potter, she demands to go over and see him. Harry is most relieved when Mrs. Weasley forbids it, saying that Ginny has already seen him and he isn't something to be goggled at like in a zoo.
Ginny is thrilled again when he returns from Hogwarts, excitedly jumping up and down at seeing him, though he does not seem to be paying much attention to her.
Ginny's enthrallment with Harry seems to have grown, as she is uncharacteristically nervous and quiet while he is staying at The Burrow. When Draco Malfoy insults Harry in Flourish and Blotts, Ginny leaps to his defence. She later sends him a musical Valentine, which results in embarrassment for both of them. At Hogwarts, she seems particularly emotionally fragile when Harry is nearby, although that may partially be from her manipulation by Tom Riddle's diary. When she tries unburdening herself to Harry about what has been happening with the diary, Percy barges in, interrupting her. Finally, as Ginny lies near death in the Chamber of Secrets, Harry destroys Riddle's diary, restoring her life force, and, with assistance from Fawkes, rescues her.
The rescue from the Chamber of Secrets changes the dynamic between Harry and Ginny. On meeting Harry again in the Leaky Cauldron, Ginny blushes and avoids looking at him; however, over the coming days and school year, she gradually loses her shyness and becomes her normal self. Having seen Harry faint in the Dementor's presence on the Hogwarts Express may have reassured her as to Harry's fallibility; there was a definite concern that, as Harry had heroically rescued her from the Chamber of Secrets, she might start seeing him as a hero rather than a person. She later makes him a singing Get Well Soon card indicating her feelings for him are still very much active.
At the House Quidditch match, Harry is introduced to Cho Chang, the Ravenclaw Seeker. "She smiled at Harry as the teams faced each other behind their captains, and he felt a slight jolt in the region of his stomach that he didn't think had anything to do with nerves." Whatever feelings he has for Cho may have been enhanced when she is able to outfly him, at least once, although she is mounted on a lesser broom.
Possibly hoping to connect, or reconnect, with Cho Chang, Harry remains unattached. He invites her to the Yule Ball, but she is already going with Cedric Diggory, although she seems to genuinely regret declining his invitation. At Ron's suggestion, Harry asked Ginny, but she had already accepted an invitation from Neville. Out of desperation he then asked Parvati Patil, who accepted, but it is clear to the reader that neither Harry nor Parvati was pleased with the "date."
Meanwhile, it appears to some, most notably Colin Creevey, that Harry spends too much time with Hermione for it to be strictly friendship. Rita Skeeter publishes a scurrilous story in Witch Weekly suggesting that Hermione is keeping not only Harry, but also Viktor Krum as lovers, although she hints Hermione must be using illegal love potions. Harry and Hermione are both greatly amused, although Harry has to explain to Viktor Krum, and later to Mrs. Weasley, that Hermione is not, and has never been, his girlfriend.
Some readers were as mistaken, some quite obtusely, as Colin Creevey and Rita Skeeter. One group, referred to as "shippers" (apparently derived from "relationship") believed, prior to the publication of the final book, that Harry and Hermione would ultimately be together. However, J.K. Rowling stated in interviews, given between the publication of the fifth and seventh books, that she has dropped "anvil-sized hints" from at least the fourth book on that Hermione and Ron would link up; see the entries for Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger for details on those hints.
Harry and Cho begin a tentative romance. Harry is ecstatic, but before long realizes things are not as he imagined. Cho is still emotionally fragile following Cedric Diggory's death. Although she initially seemed ready to move on, it is soon apparent she is not, and Harry is unable to understand or cope with her grief. Nearly any casual comment or unintentional action on his part results in Cho overreacting and breaking down into tears.
Cho also misunderstands Harry' platonic relationship with Hermione, and their fragile bond suffers further when Harry excuses himself during a Valentine's Day date in Hogsmeade to meet Hermione. Harry, already made uneasy by the atmosphere in Madam Puddifoot's Tearoom, is unable to convince Cho that the meeting is innocent, partly because he is unaware what it is; he only knows that Hermione insisted he be there. Unfortunately, he is unable to articulate this in a way that prevents Cho from becoming upset, though Hermione coaches him in this later. The meeting is actually to arrange for Rita Skeeter to interview Harry. Hermione has "persuaded" Skeeter to write a truthful story about Cedric's death that will be published in The Quibbler.
After the article appears, Cho approaches Harry and tells him he is brave to have given that interview, and it appears the rift may be patched up between them. But their relationship falls apart again when Cho's friend, Marietta Edgecombe, betrays Dumbledore's Army to Professor Umbridge. Cho says she feels badly about what Marietta did, but she justifies her actions, saying that Marietta's parents work for the Ministry. She is also angry at Hermione for jinxing her friend. For Harry, there is no excuse for betraying the group, and he points out that Ron's dad also works for the Ministry but he had not betrayed the DA. When Harry warns Cho against crying again, she angrily stomps off, and their relationship has ended.
At the Quidditch Final, which Gryffindor is playing against Ravenclaw, Harry sees Cho on the field, but is unsure what he feels for her, except that he doesn't want any more fights. The sight of her talking animatedly with Roger Davies, who Cho had mentioned previously as being one who had asked her out, does not affect Harry's feelings.
On the Hogwarts Express at the end of the year, Cho walks past the compartment in which Harry, Ron, and Ginny are sitting. Ron asks what was happening with him and Cho, and Harry finds that, in fact, he no longer has any real feeling for her. A comment made at this point suggests that Ron is anticipating a match-up between Harry and Ginny.
While Harry apparently remains unattached, many girls are interested in him. Rather to his surprise, Romilda Vane asks him to join her group on the Hogwarts Express as they head to school. When he mentions this to Hermione later, she points out that since the re-appearance of Lord Voldemort, the Daily Prophet has effectively made him once again the darling of the Wizarding World by naming him the Chosen One. It doesn't hurt, she adds, that Harry has grown about a foot over the summer. At this time he is finding himself wanting to be more in Ginny's company though has not yet realized why that is.
In his first Potions class, Harry detects a familiar floral scent coming off the Amortentia potion, a potion which smells, according to Hermione, like the favorite scents of the subject when it is made correctly. Although very shortly after this, the floral scent is identified as one Ginny uses, Harry doesn't immediately connect the two facts.
Professor Slughorn is restarting his "Slug club", a periodic party that Slughorn, an inveterate glory-seeker, holds to gather together all of the more famous students. Harry, of course, would be the true jewel in the crown, but despite his having been invited to all the Slug Club parties, Harry has carefully avoided attending any of them, up until Christmas. There is considerable angling in the student body for an invitation to the Slug Club Christmas party; Hermione reveals that some girls are plotting ways to get Harry to take a love potion, and she warns Harry to watch what he eats and drinks. Shortly after this, Harry carefully turns down an offer from Romilda Vane to share a Gillywater, and accepts (because he doesn't see a way out of it), a box of Chocolate Cauldrons with Firewhisky centers, which he takes up to his dorm and carefully sets aside. He does eventually invite Luna Lovegood to the Christmas Slug Club party, because he has to invite someone.
Harry realizes his feelings for Ginny when he sees her kissing Dean and becomes jealous. He keeps his emotions hidden, however, largely because he witnessed Ron's anger at Dean for taking liberties with Ginny. Harry feels his friendship with Ron is too valuable to imperil by making a play for Ginny. He spends much of the year battling his feelings on this matter, secretly wishing for Ginny and Dean to break up.
Harry has been instructed by Professor Dumbledore to retrieve a memory from Professor Slughorn; finding no other way to do this, he takes some Felix Felicis potion. Hidden under his Invisibility Cloak, he knocks into Ginny in such a way that she thinks Dean deliberately shoved her; luckily (as is always the case with Felix Felicis), this prompts Ginny to break up with Dean.
During the victory party after the Quidditch final, Harry, caught up in the excitement, seizes the opportunity to kiss Ginny in front of the entire Gryffindor Common room. Fortunately for Harry, Ron gives his approval, although he warns Harry to avoid openly kissing his sister. They soon become a couple, laughing at how everyone is now talking about them. Hermione is also pleased they have gotten together. Ginny later tells him that she had never truly given up on him and explains how Hermione helped her overcome her shyness around Harry and to just be herself. The couple's happiness is short-lived, however. After Dumbledore's funeral, Harry regretfully and sadly ends their relationship, telling Ginny that if Voldemort learns about their romance, he will use her to get to him, just as he did with his godfather, Sirius Black. Ginny is devastated, but she accepts Harry's reasoning.
Saying that a relationship is over does not make it end, as Harry finds out. Staying at The Burrow between his escape from Privet Drive and setting out on his mission, he is of course in the same house with Ginny, and occasionally is set to perform some task alongside her in preparation for Bill and Fleur's wedding. It is during one of these shared tasks that Harry lets slip that his mission may involve killing Voldemort, a revelation that leaves Ginny looking rather shaken, despite Harry's trying to make it into a joke.
Knowing that he will shortly have to leave on this mission, and that she will not be able to travel with him, on his birthday Ginny invites Harry into her room and, saying that she has to give him something to remember in case he happens upon any Veela on the way, kisses him passionately. They are interrupted by Ron, who later accuses Harry of leading his sister on after he had broken up with her. Harry, deciding that it is useless to protest that it had been Ginny's idea, and feeling guilty about the episode, promises that it has ended. He is somewhat hard-pressed to keep his promise, as he keeps looking at her over that day and the next, sharing a glance and a private amusement, before he realizes that he isn't supposed to. He also finds it hard to control his jealousy during the wedding reception when Viktor Krum asks about Ginny's availability; Harry claims she has a big boyfriend already, to warn him off.
When the Ministry falls and Harry, Ron, and Hermione run, Harry is extremely worried about Ginny; with the defences fallen, the Weasley house is no longer safe, and Harry is afraid that Death Eaters may have injured her as they interrogate the Weasley family about Harry's whereabouts. Harry is as relieved as Ron when Arthur Weasley's Patronus brings them word that the family is all right.
After possibly revealing Grimmauld Place to a Death Eater, the Trio take to the countryside, camping in various places around England. At one point, a second party passes by the tent that Harry is sharing with Ron and Hermione. This second party mentions that Ginny, Neville, and Luna had been caught sneaking into the Headmaster's office to steal the Sword of Gryffindor, and had been punished severely. Harry is very worried about what punishment Ginny might have received, until he speaks with the portrait of Phineas Nigellus, and learns that her punishment had been to work in the Forbidden Forest with "that half-breed oaf," Hagrid.
After Ron leaves the party, Harry periodically brings out the Marauder's Map, initially looking for the little dot that represents Ron to reappear on the map. This would have shown that, protected by his Pure Blood status, Ron had safely resumed his normal life. As time passes and Ron does not reappear, Harry starts studying the map by wandlight at night, watching the dot that represents Ginny at Hogwarts. He wonders what she is doing, and whether she knows he is thinking about her.
Ginny is present at the Battle of Hogwarts; much to Harry's dismay, she demands to join in the fighting. In the Room of Requirement, before the battle, Harry mentions that he may be looking for Ravenclaw's lost diadem. Cho Chang, who has returned with the rest of Dumbledore's Army, mentions that there is a statue of Ravenclaw, with the Diadem, in the Ravenclaw house common room and offers to take Harry there. Ginny vetoes that and volunteers Luna Lovegood in Cho's place.
After the first battle, Harry heads off to the Forbidden Forest to meet Voldemort and his doom; as he does so, he passes Ginny on the grounds, aiding a fallen student. He wants to stop and speak with her, but knows that if he does, he won't be able to continue; but he believes that she looks up as he walks past, despite his being under his Invisibility Cloak.
Ginny's kiss is the last thing Harry thinks about before Voldemort casts the killing curse.
After the final battle is finished, Harry looks over at Ginny, who is leaning her head on her mother in exhaustion. Harry thinks to himself that he will want to talk with Ginny, but that it can wait; he will have all the time in the world to speak with her, he will leave her this time to recover.
In the Epilogue, Harry and Ginny are married and have three children, James Sirius, Albus Severus, and Lily Luna.
While Harry is convinced by Ron and Hermione to start teaching proper Defence Against the Dark Arts, he is more than slightly taken aback to discover that there are at least two dozen students at the organizational meeting. One of the things that convinces him to take on this large group is the presence of Cho Chang. The relationship with Cho, to a certain extent, sustains him in his efforts to keep the DA meetings occurring.
By the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry knows that anyone he is close to, his friends, his loves, or his relatives, will become Voldemort's targets. To protect Ginny, he reluctantly tries to end their relationship. Unless Voldemort can be killed, Harry knows he faces a lonely life with few friends or loved ones to support him. When the relationship continues, Harry finds some strength in studying the Marauder's Map to find out what Ginny is doing at the school.
As mentioned, in the epilogue we discover that Harry has married Ginny, and so has created the family he has always wanted.
By the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix it is apparent Harry is unprepared for a mature relationship, as is only to be expected for a fifteen-year old. His attachment to Cho Chang, in retrospect, seems ill-advised; he was unable to provide what she needed emotionally, and she was unprepared for his inability to give it. Also, Cho is a year older than Harry, and girls generally mature more rapidly than boys at this age.
One could wonder just what Cho saw in Harry. After the events in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, her interest in Harry mainly seems to be that he was present at Cedric's death and can provide her information about it; however, Cho was interested in Harry a year earlier, at least after the Goblet selected him as a Champion. She does seem genuinely sorry that Harry's attempt to ask her to the Yule Ball was pre-empted by Cedric. It is uncertain why, though it may have more to do with an attraction to Harry's fame as 'the Boy who Lived,' rather than an interest in Harry himself.
Harry's slowly-building interest in Ginny Weasley, starting in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is not entirely unheralded. Harry always treats Ginny with great consideration. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he tactfully pretends not to notice when she overturns her porridge at breakfast. Harry also fears she will be held responsible and punished for everything that happened during that year. We feel his relief as keenly as hers when Dumbledore says, "There will be no punishment. Older and wiser wizards than she have been hoodwinked by Lord Voldemort." And it is revealed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that she and Harry share an understanding of how Voldemort mentally affects his victims, an experience that cannot be understood by either Ron or Hermione.
Harry's inner turmoil during Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is an excellent depiction of his current state of mind. He and Ron, returning from the Quidditch pitch, run into Ginny and Dean Thomas "snogging" (kissing) in a hidden corner. Ron flares angrily at Dean, continuing the quarrel with Ginny once Dean has departed. By now, Harry recognizes his own feelings for Ginny and is jealous of Dean. However, he believes that if Ron is this upset at Dean, it is likely he would be equally upset with Harry, should he seek to replace Dean in Ginny's affections. It is this latter fear over losing Ron's friendship that prevents him from taking action after Ginny and Dean break up. It is noteworthy that Ron's anger at Dean decreased once he (Ron) hooked up with Lavender. Harry might have considered pursuing Ginny if Ron had continued in that relationship. However, Ron and Lavender break up at very nearly the same time that Ginny dumps Dean, which probably leaves Harry worried that Ginny has been placed under Ron's brotherly microscope once again. We can only guess that this accounts for Harry's delay in courting Ginny. We note that when Harry takes a chance and kisses Ginny in full view of the common room, he does check immediately to see if Ron approves.
- What are the main things that Harry and Ginny have in common?
At the end of book 6, Harry shows his concern for Ginny's well-being by, apparently paradoxically, ending their relationship. He knows Voldemort often fells his victims by targeting their friends and loved ones, just as he did with Harry's godfather, Sirius Black. Ginny sees Harry's decision to end their relationship to protect her as being noble, but she also believes it is the incorrect way to handle the situation. Even at that point, it seems unlikely their relationship has truly ended, despite Harry's saying it has. And of course, we see in the next book that the relationship is still in force, no matter what Harry and Ron believe. A more mature reader may realize that Harry's nominally ending the relationship will not significantly change anything, and will also realize that the reason Voldemort was able to use Sirius against Harry was the lack of communication between Sirius and Harry. If Harry had remembered the mirror, and had contacted Sirius directly instead of relying on the broken reed that was Kreacher, he would have known that Sirius was in no danger. In light of this fact, if Harry truly wants to keep Ginny safe, the best place for her is, if not at his side, certainly within a moment's contact. As it is, Ginny would make an admirable weapon to use against Harry, if Voldemort knew about her. As proof of this, we need look no further than Harry's reaction when he learns Ginny, at Hogwarts, was "punished cruelly" for attempting to steal the Sword of Gryffindor from the Headmaster's office.
One of the main strengths of this work is the realism of the actions and expressed feelings of the characters. Harry's romantic career, with its false starts, anticipation, disappointments, and eventual completion, feels realistic to the reader, despite its being, in retrospect, almost amazingly easy for Harry. Unlike many of us, Harry never can say that his relationships are "complicated." Despite this, we feel that what Harry is experiencing is realistic. Part of this is that it is an integral part of Harry's life, as is his quest to conquer Voldemort; it is neither dismissed as unimportant to the story line, nor tacked on in a misguided attempt to make us feel that the character is well-rounded. Further, the exposition of Harry's inner monologue concerning possible repercussions in his relationship with Ron are critical, in that they allow us to see that Harry is profoundly affected by his feelings for Ginny, and by his friendship with Ron, and we see the essential conflict that Harry experiences. As unlikely as it is that relationships could work out so neatly in the real world, with the lack of remorse on either side after the break-up with Cho, and Ginny's break-up with Dean being so neatly timed, we still feel that Harry's romantic life is realistic, and this greatly enhances our belief in his character and our involvement in the story.