August 11 marks Ginny Weasley’s birthday! Thanks to a drab portrayal in the films, Ginny Weasley’s gotten a bad wrap through the years. But back in the day, there was a time when we all wanted to be as effortlessly awesome as Ginny Weasley.

From the ten-year-old girl running after her brothers’ train, to the grown woman who occasionally jinxes Rita Skeeter, Ginny Weasley’s the feminist hero you forgot you loved.

She’s fiery and fierce.

You don’t want to get on Ginny Weasley’s bad side: she’s got one mean Bat-Bogey Hex, and she’s not afraid to use it. Her curses are Hogwarts-renowned for their power, and her abilities are so impressive that she was even invited to join Horace Slughorn’s elite Slug Club— though she’s too laid back and self-aware to ever buy into his hype.

Devilishly charming, she might be known to have a knack for the naughty stuff, but she bests the boys at defensive spells, too. While training for Dumbledore’s Army, she makes her brother’s jealous at how quickly she picks up Harry’s Reductor Curse, and she’s able to conjure a corporeal Patronus at the age of fourteen.

She’s tenacious.

You’ve got to give it to Ginny Weasley: she sure is plucky. When her brothers refused to let her play quidditch with them as a kid because she was a girl, she took matters into her own hands and broke into the family broom shed to take turns riding on her own. And the best part is? SHE WAS NEVER CAUGHT. Her brothers didn’t find out about her secret rendezvous until eight years later—after she was selected to play on the Gryffindor quidditch team.

Ginny later grew up to become a professional quidditch player for the Holyhead Harpies, and after she retired from the team, she become the senior quidditch correspondent for the Daily Prophet. Suck on that, boys.

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She’s hilariously clever and has wit beyond measure.

Let’s be real, here: Ginny was totes Fred and George’s favorite sibling. She’s funny without ever needing to try too hard, so her humor always has a relaxing effect on those around her because she jokes not to seek validation from an audience, but rather just because she likes amusing herself. Her wit gets dished out in small, unexpected doses, and she’s clever enough to realize exactly when it’s appropriate to break the ice— ergo, when she gets a twisted sort of joy out of terrifying everyone in the Hog’s Head by doing a spot on impression of Umbridge’s cough. Also of worthy mention: she came up with the brilliant rebel name of Dumbledore’s Army for the D.A. (Seriously, Cho? The Defense Association? You’re starting a revolution, here! Get a little creative!)

She’s loyal.

Sure, she’s a Gryffindor, and they’re loyal and true and blah blah blah, whatever. But Ginny Weasley takes it to another level. In 1994, she got the chance to go to the biggest dance of the season with her FOREVER CRUSH SOULMATE, who also happened to be the hero of the wizarding world, and a Triwizard champion, and most importantly, her older brother’s super hot best friend. Harry Potter was bigger than John Stamos! But who does she go with instead? NEVILLE FREAKIN LONGBOTTOM: the geekiest guy in school whom nobody knew would grow up to be an underwear model. Because he asked her first. That, my friends, is loyalty.

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She’s compassionate and kind, a confident, effortlessly cool weirdo.

Ginny’s got it all together. She knows she’s great. She knows you know she’s great. Her inner-confidence leaves her with nothing to prove,and so she uses her status to seek out and befriend genuine people, and stick up for the little weirdos. In fact, Ginny Weasley prefers the weirdos. She CHOOSES the weirdos. Who cares what you think? She knows she’s cooler than the cool kids, anyway.

An incredible judge of character, Ginny sees the special spark in people that others often miss. When Neville gets down on himself, she ardently defends him against his own words, reminding him that he’s not nobody. And of course, she’s the one who introduced the trio to the irreplaceable, iridescent Luna Lovegood. Neville and Luna: the two dorkiest people in school—but Ginny was the first person to realize that they were also the best.

She’s gutsy and passionate.

Like most Weasley’s, Ginny runs pretty hot and cold. She thinks with her heart. She gets caught up in the moment. She takes risks.

But she also does the things the rest us wish we had the guts to do. Zacharias Smith is smack-talking Gryffindor? She runs him through with a broom. She wants to make out with Harry Potter in front of the whole school? Sure. Why not?

She knows what she wants and she ain’t got time for no scrubs.

Ginny Weasley’s in demand, yo. She’s a hot commodity, and she knows it! So if Michael Corner wants to whine about how she beat Ravenclaw at quidditch, she doesn’t have time for that. She’s got Dean Thomas on standby, anyway.

She refuses to coddle the hero.

Ginny Weasley’s going to tell it like it is, whether you like it or not. While Ron and Hermione spend Order of the Pheonix walking on eggshells around Harry, Ginny Weasley’s just like, “Bitch, please. Get over yourself.” She gives Harry some much-needed Real Talk— and instead of letting him feel sorry for himself, she rails on him for not being smart about seeking advice. He’s not the only one with burdens to bear, and he’s definitely not the only one to have experienced Voldemort’s horror. Sometimes, honesty’s the best policy when dealing with an all-caps raging wizard teen.

She bounces back because she’s brave. She’s strong. She survives. She thrives.

Her first year at Hogwarts, Ginny went through one of the most horrific traumas imaginable when she was possessed by Voldemort’s soul into potentially murdering other students. This kind of experience could have crippled even the most stable adult, but Ginny not only gets through the experience, she comes out of it stronger.

From standing up to Draco at Flourish in Blotts when she was eleven, to restarting the DA with Neville and Luna and defying Snape’s Death Eater regime, Ginny is a force to be reckoned with. Her belief manifests itself in power, and her enduring spirit is an inspiration.

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What do you love most about Ginny Weasley?

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Episode #171 – The One Where We Don’t Talk About Star Wars

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