One of the only great failures of the, in general, pretty great Harry Potterfilms is the diminished role of Ron Weasley’s character. What started as a scene-stealing comedic main role in the first few family-friendly films slowly transitioned into more and more of a background player as the franchise progressed with the occasional character moment.
For fans who have watched the movies, but not read the books, Ron Weasley’s role in the defeat of the Dark Lord and in the Golden Trio friendship might seem small compared to Hermione. This is at least partially because many of Ron’s biggest book moments — both in the fight of Light vs. Evil and in the interpersonal life of Harry — were given to Hermione in the movies.
In general, Hermione’s role in the Golden Trio — and in the franchise in general — was emphasized over Ron’s, which is not the case in the book series where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all well-developed characters with lots to do. This subtle shifting of character traits and character moments from Ron to Hermione for the movies led to a flattening of Movie Ron Weasley’s character, one of the most subtly complex and heroic characters in the book.
Book Ron Weasley was a boy constantly being overshadowed by his siblings and friends — a kid who was often overcome by jealousy, but who never let that jealousy get in the way of being there for his family and friends. This rough arc comes through in the films, but leaves out much of the nuance of the character: Ron’s wit and humor, strategic mind, often times cool head in high-stakes situations (spiders, aside), knowledge about the wizarding world, ability to overcome learned prejudices, and his role as Harry’s confidante throughout the series.
In honor of the character and the actor who played him (after all, today is Grint’s 28th birthday), we’re taking the time to recognize Rupert Grint’s Ron Weasley. Despite the diminished role of Ron in the films, here are 10 scenes the Ron we know and love from the book comes through in the script adaptation through Grint’s performance…
Meet Ron Weasley. (Sorceror’s Stone)
“I’m all set…”
The first Harry Potterfilm is a relatively straight-forward adaptation of the book and one somewhat limited by the ages of its very young lead cast. Despite that fact, Rupert Grint shines as the latest Weasley to make it to Hogwarts — immediately befriending Harry on the train tot he wizarding school. From Grint’s totally-not-chill reaction to Harry’s famous scar to his much more subtle “I’m all set” when the Trolley Witch stops by the compartment, we get the measure of this kid.
Ron sacrifices himself. (Sorceror’s Stone)
“Do you wanna stop Snape from getting that stone or not?”
Ron gets one of his best, early hero moments in Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone— demonstrating his skill at wizard chess in the high-stakes game waiting for Ron, Harry, and Hermione in their quest to stop Quirrell get the Sorceror’s Tone and then sacrificing himself to win the game. Grint is in his element here, demonstrating just how much command he could have over the screen when given the opportunity.
Ron Weasley vs. Spiders. (Chamber of Secrets)
“Can we panic now?”
It tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Ron Weasley that — when faced with one of his greatest fears (spiders) — he still follows his best friend into danger. Rupert Grint is consistently one of the best parts of the often underappreciated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secretsfilm. His comic timing in this film is top notch, but it doesn’t undercut his loyal actions: Stealing his dad’s car to save Harry from the Dursleys, driving them both to school when they can’t get through Platform 9 and 3/4, and facing off against Aragog by his best friend’s side. Because, for Ron, there is no other choice but friendship.
Ron figures it all out. (Prisoner of Azkaban)
“You don’t think that Grim thing has anything to do with Sirius Black, do you?”
Sadly, one of Ron’s most heroic moments from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban— his broken-legged insistence that Sirius Black will have to go through he and Hermione to get to Harry — is given to Hermione in the film. Still, Ron gets some good moments in what is often considered the best of the Harry Potter films.
These moments often come in subtler ways, such as the above scene when Ron not only theorizes that the Grim he saw in his teacup might have something to do with Sirius Black (it does) or wonders if Hermione is literally taking two classes at the same time (she is). Ron often cleverly figures things out before the ultimate reveal, but is often convinced — like he is in this scene — that he must be mistaken. Go with your gut, Ronald.
Ron and Harry make up. (Goblet of Fire)
“I suppose I was a bit distraught.”
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,Ron and Harry get into a massive fight when Ron doesn’t believe that Harry didn’t put his name in to be a Triziward Champion. In the above scene, Ron kind of, sort of apologizes to his best friend, revealing that — even when they weren’t speaking to one another — he made sure that Harry was warned about the dragons in the tournament. (Well, kind of.) Even when Ron was so jealous of Harry’s place in the spotlight that he wasn’t talking to him, he still wanted his best friend to stay safe and, perhaps, to win.
Ron, Hermione, and Harry talks about Cho Chang. (Order of the Phoenix)
“That bad at it, are you?”
Because of the nature of film adaptation, the book scenes involving Harry, Ron, and Hermione — or any combination thereof — just sitting around, chatting about the interpersonal dynamics of their lives were often missing from the movies. However, we do get this conversation about Harry’s first kiss with Cho Chang and how Cho is doing in general, following the death of Cedric Diggory in the previous film. Ron is pretty great here, relying on his trademark humor to put Harry at ease — something he does again and again to try to normalize even the most messed up of situations in the book series.
Ron tries out for the Quidditch team. (Half-Blood Prince)
“You’ve got more of a Beater’s build, don’t you think?”
Is there anything more adorable than Ron Weasley awkwardly trying out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team? He literally stops one of the shots with his head. As much fun as it is to see Ron finally get the confidence to stop the quaffle with other parts of his body and finally get his spot in the Quidditch spotlight in the later part of the above Quidditch montage, for me, that insecure Ron Weasley is such an easy, relatable character to love.
Ron convinces Harry to stay. (Deathly Hallows, Part 1)
“You may be the Chosen One, mate, but this is a whole lot bigger than that.”
This is one of those Ron Talks Some Sense Into Harry scenes we get so much of in the books, but that are often cut from the films. Ron might not be as highly logical as Hermione or as much of a stubborn leader as Harry, but he has a way with people — especially with Harry. In this scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1,we see Ron trying several different tactics to keep Harry from running off on his own. Because, if there is anything Ron has learned from being part of a giant family, it’s that everything is easier when you have people to depend on.
Ron leaves. (Deathly Hallows, Part 1)
“You have no family.”
This is one of the most emotional scenes in the entire film frachise and book series. It shows a Horcrux-influenced Ron make the decision to leave Harry and Hermione after months of looking for the Horcruxes.
In this scene, Ron gives voice to his most hurtful (and probably at least partially honest) thoughts, telling Harry that he can’t understand his emotional state because he doesn’t have a family to worry about back home. It is cold and it is hurtful and it is so very unlike Ron Weasley, who shares his family — a treasure he has in abundance — with Harry and Hermione throughout the books and films without complaint.
Grint shines in this scene, making us believe that the tired and scared Ron might say think these things in his worst moments and, even more horrifying, say them aloud when wearing the Horcrux. Much of that is done to his performance in this specific scene, while some of it is down to his performance in the montage leading up to it, to everything that has come before…
Ron comes back. (Deathly Hallows, Part 1)
“[Dumbledore] must have known I’d want to leave you.” “No, he must have known you would always want to come back.”
Ron gets his moment of salvation when he rescues Harry from drowning, retrieves the sword of Gryffindor, and destroys a Horcrux with it, but his true moment of salvation comes in his very Ron-like apology to Hermione. He explains that he immediately regretted leaving the group, but, by then, it was too late. When Ron tells Hermione how Dumbledore’s Illuminator brought him back to his friends when they most needed it, this is the Ron Weasley we know and love from the books.