‘Erased by Time and Blockbusters: Ron Weasley’

Emily Asher-Perrin writes in her ‘Erased by Time and Blockbusters: The Cautionary Tale of Ron Weasley‘ that the Harry Potter films have turned fandom against Harry’s best mate — and this in direct correspondence and causal line with the films departing from, distorting, and dreadfully inverting the role Ron plays in the books. She makes a more than cogent case.

I’ll make three observations along with this note to urge you to read the whole piece.

(1) Movie making from a story that was originally a short novel or screen play is necessarily a destructive act. Creative, too, after a fashion, but only in so much as blowing up a house and then re-building it with occasional reference to photographs or blueprints of the original is also ‘creative.’

(2) Serious Readers who have seen the films more than once, as a rule to which there are very few exceptions, have had their experience of the stories altered. Much in the sense that the emasculation or neutering of a dog is called ‘being altered.’

(3) The degree to which story is experienced and cherished in postmodern times as a cinema experience above all others — and without regard for what this treatment, a dumbing down to spoon-fed sense perception images from a work demanding creative imagination, does to the oral/aural as well as the reading experiences — is a measure of the imbecility of our age.

I wish I could write these points from a high mountain of separation from the phenomenon I am describing, as someone living apart from and above the tragedy  of screened images and the loss of imagined story via hijacking and brain-wipe. Articles like ‘Erased by Time and Blockbuster’ only remind me, however, how severely my life of reading has been diminished, even erased by my upbringing before boob tube and silver screen.

I haven’t seen the adaptation of Catching Fire yet, though I almost went last night. God allowing, I’ll spend the time re-reading the book instead, in resistance to the undertow of our anti-imaginative age. Hat tip to Louise!

Post-post it note: Thanks in advance for not consoling or patronizing me with assurances that I am over reacting to one screen writer’s poor choices and misinterpretation of character. I don’t want to participate in the denial of our historical period any more than I must. You, of course, are free to believe what you will. Or are we really?


  1. I read that fantastic article yesterday and I loved it. As to Catching Fire – the film actually did the books a tiny bit of justice. They even raised my opinion of Johanna. Did it ruin my perception of the book? I don’t know, since I haven’t re-read after watching the movie. But Catching Fire can’t even be compared to the original movie in terms of its faithfulness.

  2. Excellent article from Asher-Perrin: I was never big on the films (I only saw them in DVD format and fell asleep watching a couple of them!), but I did not fully appreciate how Ron’s real character and strengths were erased. Ron really was the heart of the trio. While Asher-Perrin may be technically right in saying that Harry is our avatar, Ron is the hero that most of us can emulate. After all, how many of us are marked as ‘the chosen one’ at birth, the one who will save the wizarding world; how many of us are as brilliant as Hermione, first in darn near everything?

    But Ron is Everyman: it’s never easy for him, but he learns to tame his jealousy and inferiority. Again and again, from the first book to the last, Ron triumphs over these two (very common) character flaws with courage and grace. Ron’s overarching strengths are selflessness, loyalty, loving kindness, generosity, commonsense, and humor. He has the kind of people skills and human instincts that are hard to develop outside of a large, warm family, and he is truly both Arthur and Molly’s son.

  3. A very interesting read, especially in light of the current “backlash” against Ron, this time following JKR’s comments (sigh) that Hermione “should” have ended up with Harry. Makes you wonder if JKR herself has been unduly influenced by the movie versions! (And I don’t just mean that facetiously…note that the comments she makes about Ron and Hermione come in the context of being interviewed by none other than Emma Watson.)

  4. The HP films are awful things, barely comprehensible to folks who have not read the books (I cannot tell you how many times I have had to explain things to family members unacquainted with the series). They are of poor quality, even as stand-alone cinema.

    Rupert Grint did well with the material he was given, but it is shoddy material indeed. I am saddened that JKR is not confident in her final product because of the film franchise. If they were to remake the series as a TV show in the future, I would not object.

  5. You so speak the truth. the movies emasculated Ron, right from the first one, just so they could squeeze in more “grrrrrl power” time with Hermione. In the books, it was Ron who snapped Hermione out of her hysterical panic with the Devil’s Snare and reminded her she had a WAND and could BURN it— in the movie, the scene was rewritten with RON panicking and shrieking like a schoolgirl. And every movie after that he got dumber, and more whiny and cowardly.

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