Who else had the right to call him Tom Riddle?
It was the timeless story: Evil villain tries to kill boy, boy sacrifices himself to save everyone else, boy wakes up in Kings Cross purgatory with his dead Headmaster, boy returns to save the day and kill the Big Bad once and for all.
But what if it hasn’t gone that way? What if everything had happened the way J.K. Rowling wrote, except that Harry didn’t wake up again after Voldemort killed him in the Forbidden Forest? Who would have been the one to finish Voldemort off?
Tumblr user mamodork has a fantastic idea for how it would have all gone down in those circumstances:
Okay but a Harry Potter AU where Harry isn’t able to come back at the end of Deathly Hallows. He succeeded in leaving Voldemort almost mortal once again, but he’s not around to kill him anymore. So as the battle rages on, it’s up to the survivors to end Voldemort once and for all.
Neville takes out Nagini and strips away Voldy’s last protection.
Molly takes out Bellatrix and strips away Voldy’s last lieutenant.
His rage is boundlesss, but his curses can’t hold.
And into the void steps Ginny. The first Weasley daughter in over a century, the seventh child of a seventh child, the girl more familiar with the inner workings of Voldemort’s soul than anyone else alive. Protected by Harry’s sacrifice, fearless and burning with righteous fury, she takes the stage.
And at long last, Ginevra Weasley has her triumph over Tom Riddle.
Why Ginny Weasley could have defeated Voldemort:
She had history with Tom Riddle
If you think about it, this theory actually makes perfect sense. After Harry (and Dumbledore), Ginny would be the only person left alive who had ever had a close relationship with Voldemort. We know that the connection between Harry and Voldemort went both ways, thanks to the fragment of Voldemort’s soul attached to Harry’s, but Ginny being possessed by Tom Riddle in Chamber of Secrets would have also given her unique insight into Voldemort’s character.
Harry caught glimpses of Tom Riddle in the Pensieve, but Ginny spent a year with him. Yes, she was being manipulated and abused during that period, but don’t we think that would give her an understanding of his character that perhaps not even Harry had?
She had a talent for dueling
J.K. Rowling called Ginny a “gifted witch” who did “some pretty impressive stuff here and there.” There is evidence throughout the Harry Potter series that Ginny could more than hold her own in a duel. In Order of the Phoenix she overpowered Draco Malfoy in Umbridge’s office, and held her own in the Department of Mysteries. Her Bat Bogey Hex against Zacharias Smith was so impressive that it inspired Slughorn to recruit her into his Slug Club (thanks to Ron’s exclusion, we know that he didn’t choose her for her pedigree, so that must have been one powerful spell).
It’s worth noting that Malfoy and Smith were the year above Ginny and should therefore have been more magically advanced, yet Ginny trounced them. Even George Weasley noted his sister’s skill with a wand, telling Harry, “Size is no guarantee of power, look at Ginny.” If the twins were even a little intimidated, then she must be doing something right.
She was protected by Harry’s sacrifice
Harry Potter died to protect everyone, but only one person was on his mind when he did: Ginny. Indeed, Ginny was the very last person Harry thought of before he sacrificed himself. As J.K. Rowling wrote, “Harry thought inexplicably of Ginny, and her blazing look, and the feel of her lips on his–” Is it coincidence that out of everyone who was fighting alongside him, in that moment Harry could only think of the girl he loved?
When Voldemort tried to burn Neville alive, we saw that his spells simply wouldn’t hold on the fighters of Hogwarts. But we also know how complicated sacrificial magic and love magic were in the world of Harry Potter. It would not be surprising to us if Harry thinking of Ginny in that moment somehow meant that his protection of her specifically was amplified, giving her a special and increased protection against Voldemort that no one else had.
She had a big score to settle
More than anything else, Ginny had a right to face Voldemort. Yes, everyone’s lives had been damaged by Voldemort in some way. But no one else had been violated in the way Ginny had been, or had suffered through that trauma. Tom Riddle tried to take everything Ginny was, and almost killed her in the process.
Ginny would be fighting for the boy she loved, and for the brother she lost. But more than that, she would fight for herself. For the 11-year-old girl who was exploited by a boy whom she trusted with her deepest fears and secrets. For the teenager who somehow managed to piece herself back together after such a trauma. For the young woman who did not let herself be defined by this assault, but who also never ever forgot it. For the woman who made herself a fighter, so that no one would ever take advantage of her again.
Yes, Ginny Weasley certainly had the right to battle Voldemort. After Harry, she might be the only other person alive with the right to call him Tom Riddle.
If Harry had died in Deathly Hallows, then this would no longer be the story of the Boy Who Lived. But it would be the triumph of the Girl Who Survived. And we are so on board with that.