It seems that every Harry Potter fan has an opinion about Harry's best friend, Ron Weasley. Throughout the series I personally would describe him as immature (what teenage boy isn't?), insecure, lovable, loyal, hot-tempered, and protective. Is his behavior deplorable at times? Absolutely, but, again, when harboring judgment one must consider his youth: Not every teenage boy is as emotionally mature as Harry; quite the contrary, I would argue that Harry is the exception rather than the rule.
More so than in any previous novel, Deathly Hallows was a learning curve for Ron: He was forced to face his insecurities and his feelings of inadequacy head-on, and to gather the courage to go after the girl he'd been in love with for years despite those inadequacies.
Which leads me to the subject of this blog: The villainization & the angelification ( I just made that up) of Ron in HP fanfiction.
This Ron, often portrayed by opponents of the Ron/Hermione pairing (I've seen it quite a bit in Hermione/Snape fics), is blatantly stupid, callous, and incapable of learning from his mistakes. In short, all of the negative qualities that Ron demonstrated in the series are emphasized to the extreme while his positive qualities are entirely omitted.
For example, what got me thinking about this topic was a fic that I recently quit (I rather enjoyed it for a while) that had Ron using Hermione for schoolwork (I'd like to emphasize that this fic takes place AFTER the events in Deathly Hallows), pretending to date Hermione, and all the while he's still seeing Lavender Brown.
Yes, this is a Snape/Hermione fic that I'm talking about (Snape survived Nagini's bite.). Although I'm a canon girl at heart, I happen to love Snape, and there aren't a lot of good Snape/Other Character fics that I've been able to find, so I dip into the world of SS/HG on occasion. That doesn't mean, however, that I hate Ron and the Ron/Hermione pairing and wish to see Ron written as a cold, callous moron.
Upon questioning the author about her decision to write off Ron in this manner rather than finding a respectful way of dealing with the "Ron issue," she admitted that she had no excuse other than the fact she simply doesn't like Ron.
Fair enough, I suppose. As the author, she has that right, just as I have the right as a reader not to read any further.
This Ron is "Devil" Ron's polar opposite: He's brave, take-charge, intelligent, considerate, and a sex-god to boot (Hey, I'm not complaining there). He always says the right thing. He's exceedingly romantic and places Hermione's needs before his own. He changes diapers without complaint. He cooks (and likes it). He picks up after himself without having to be nagged by his wife. He never whines or picks fights.
In short, this Ron Weasley is the Ideal Man. Don't we all want our own Ron Weasley?
It's too bad that he isn't Ron. Not really, anyway. He's an idealized version of Ron where all of his flaws are removed and all of his good qualities are enhanced to the extreme.
Am I saying that I think that Ron is incapable of maturing? Of course not, but I still want Ron to be Ron: I want him to curse and to be sarcastic, to talk with his mouth full, to disagree with Hermione (after all, arguing is what they do), to not always make the bed or pick his clothing off the floor, to not always be considerate. (Coming from someone who's been married for five-and-a-half years, I can tell you that marriage and children aren't all roses-and-sunshine like some of these fanfic authors would have you believe.)
C'mon, people, there's room for middle ground here. I'm not saying that my own characterizations are perfect or that everyone would agree with them, but I try to keep it realistic, as we all should. ;)
Also, I'm sure that the same thing could be said about the portrayal of other characters, but since I mostly read R/Hr & SS/HG, I chose to write about Ron because I've noticed this extreme spectrum about him in particular.
Note: I borrowed the above photos from RupertGrintGallery.com.