|sistermagpie (sistermagpie) wrote,|
@ 2005-10-21 01:47 pm UTC
|Current music:||Pauraque's GoF readthrough|
|Entry tags:||hermione, hp, meta, ron|
In his recap of chapter 23 he says :
'Viktor's just gone to get some drinks.'
Ron gave her a withering look.
'Viktor?' he said. 'Hasn't he asked you to call him Vicky yet?'
Hermione looked at him in surprise.
'What's up with you?' she said.
'If you don't know,' said Ron scathingly, 'I'm not going to tell you.' (366)
'[H]e said he'd been coming to the library every day to try and talk to me, but he hadn't been able to pluck up the courage!'
'Yeah, well -- that's his story,' said Ron nastily.
'And what's that supposed to mean?'
'Obvious, isn't it? He's Karkaroff's student, isn't he? He knows who you hang around with ... he's just trying to get closer to Harry[...]' (367)
pauraque: Goddamn! I generally like Ron, but he's such a bitch in this scene. The "If you don't know, I'm not telling you" is especially outrageous (I despise it when people say that to me), but telling his supposed friend that she only got a date because he's trying to spy on Harry? Again, I don't really get it... If the idea is that he's attracted to her, WHY is he constantly putting her down? WHY does he keep going on about how absurd it is that anyone could BE attracted to her? He honestly sounds like he's jealous of her for dating him, not jealous of him for dating her. No slash goggles required. Hermione is right to get upset.
This made me first realize that Ron does the same thing to Hermione as Arthur does to Percy. She shows up pleased with herself for having been chosen by someone and looking nice, and Ron says Viktor could never like her for herself, he just wants to get to Harry. So she's even more humiliated, because she was feeling so good the moment before.
As pauraque points out, Ron really is a bitch in this scene. I started thinking about why. We know the Weasleys, for all of Ginny's sass, are a very traditional family. All the boys are very protective of their little sister. Ron's "almost calling Ginny a slut," as angry as it makes fandom, is not just Ron almost calling Ginny a slut, it's Ron concerned that his sister will be called a slut by others for making out with people in public--think Tony Manero to Angela in Saturday Night Fever: "Are you happy now? Now you're a pig." It's ugly, but Ron's and the Twins' concern isn't just about their being stupid, it's about how they see the world working. Ron's not really wrong after all--people in fandom actually do call Ginny a slut!
That was a total tangent, written really just to point out that the Weasleys are very traditional and often unsophisticated when it comes to men and women, and this has always suited them just fine. They make a distinction between "girls like this" and "girls like that." And I think that unfortunate, ugly subtext is present in Ron's accusations of Hermione here. His anger at her and his accusations, to me, echo Molly's "scarlet woman" accusations of later on.
But I don't think that's all it is. I don't think the problem is that Ron thinks Hermione is a whore in the scene. I think it's something more about Ron. We're hit over the head with the fact that the boys don't even immediately recognize Hermione when she walks into the ball. (I'll quote pauraque here because he's funny>:
It was Hermione.
But she didn't look like Hermione at all. She had done something with her hair; it was no longer bushy, but sleek and shiny, and twisted up into an elegant knot at the back of her head. She was wearing robes made of a floaty, periwinkle-blue material, and she was holding herself differently somehow -- or maybe it was merely the absence of the twenty or so books she usually had slung over her back.
Parvati was gazing at Hermione in unflattering disbelief. She wasn't the only one, either[...] (360)
And her eyes were violet, and she was the last of the cat people, and she was secretly Sirius's daughter, and a flying unicorn Animagus, and and and!
While my first thought is to think Ron and Harry don't recognize Hermione because as described she sounds like a chaperone in her periwinkle and modest twist hair, we get that she's supposed to be suddenly pretty. We're not told she's wearing make-up, perhaps because Harry might not think of it or perhaps because, in the fine tradition of Mary Sues, Hermione does not have to wear it, but I'm assuming she is enjoying the effects make-up can give even without using it: it makes her look different.
She is different, probably even more so for Ron. Ron, I think, divides the world very clearly between one type of girl and another. This is why he gets uncomfortable when the one kind (like his sister) acts like the other kind (by making out in a hallway). In Hermione's case, though, I don't think Ron is upset by Hermione dressing in a way that suggests she's sexually available in a general way. I think her showing up as a different girl with Viktor makes him upset that she's not this girl with *him.*
I mean, from the girls' pov--certainly from Hermione's--it's very empowering and sensible to say you're not going to waste time dolling yourself up everyday. But from the boys' pov it may be more straightforward: you make an effort to look pretty for him and not for me. Ron spends time with the bushy-haired Hermione who snaps and nags. Viktor comes along and she goes to great lengths to do what Ron isn't worth--get dolled up. I would suspect that up until this moment it never occurred to Ron that she *could* look like that, because in his mind there's girls who do and girls who don't. It's all very well to demand, on principle, that a boy be less shallow, but they really do often see a huge difference depending how one is dressed.
See, there's always a lot of emphasis put on the fact that Ron never treats Hermione well--he takes her for granted, he drools over Fleur, he doesn't even notice she's a girl. But by showing up at the ball with Viktor looking like that, Hermione is doing the exact same thing as Ron, making it clear that she does not find him desirable or care about him desiring her, it's *Viktor* she desires and wishes to find her desirable. pauraque describes Ron here as telling his friend that it's absurd that anyone could be actually attracted to her, but that may not be his intention. He doesn't insult Hermione's attempt at transformation or criticize her attempt to look pretty. It's more like he's accusing her for looking pretty all along and criticizing the man she's looking pretty for--he has nefarious motives.
And Hermione continues to do this throughout the series. Angry that Ron doesn't notice her, Hermione becomes even more adamant about not going out of her way to "chase" him. *He's* supposed to notice she's attractive and show her he has. Instead he goes after Lavender-and what did Lavender do? She treated Ron like a boy! She flirted with him, batted her eyelashes, made it clear she was interested. Everyone seems to take it for granted that it's obvious Hermione likes Ron (Harry knows it, but perhaps a "real" Harry, one who isn't really a fictional construct written by a woman, would not), but really, this is the only time in canon when Hermione really suggests that she's interested in this type of thing, and it's for somebody else. It's not that unbelievable to think that Ron, upon seeing Hermione at the ball, is drawing the same line that Hermione feels Ron is drawing for Fleur: that's a person I'm interested in sexually; you do not get that kind of notice from me. Ron's "Hermione, you're a girl!" line in GoF is pointed to as an example of his cluelessness--Viktor immediately saw her as a girl. But ironically, Hermione has yet to actually do the reverse with Ron. It's Lavender who treats him like a boy, not Hermione.
With Hermione safely tucked into the same category as "sisters" for Ron, he's probably unaware of how his staring at Fleur comes off to her--he doesn't think Hermione thinks about stuff like that anyway. As far as he's concerned at that moment, any romance within the Trio is unthinkable. Then, from his pov, Hermione suddenly reveals herself to have been a "real girl" all along, only that part of her is reserved for boys other than Ron, just as Ron's attention to female beauty seems to her to be reserved for girls like Fleur.
This is the reason Ron is such a bitch in the scene. He's not just putting her down out of spite, or being insensitive. I think he sees Hermione's appearance at the ball as a rejection, a sign that Hermione withholds this from him for a reason, and he automatically falls into a clumsy defense of himself: Oh, so you're "one of those girls" for him? I'm not good enough for you? Well, I'm the one who likes you for yourself. He's just trying to get to Harry.
I think this is why JKR can drag this romance out in ways that H/G could never have been. Harry and Ginny have never been "just friends." They began their relationship as a potential couple with Ginny's crush. Not to mention the fact that Ginny has always been a potential love object, period. Throughout the series she's pursued and been pursued by males. There's no "wait, you're a girl?" moment with Ginny, because being a girl has always been her main defining feature.
p.s. So I see one comment about changing the "currents" on my flist and finally tackled S2. I felt like I had to try to keep things as close to the same as possible, but I'm still tweaking. I think I spent about 5 hours last night working on getting things almost the same, just to change that one thing!