Author’s Note: In light of J. K. Rowling’s recent intolerant stance towards the transgender community, I want to make it clear that this post is in no way an endorsement of that stance. Harry Potter is a fandom that belongs to its readers, so despite the opinions of its author, it can still be enjoyed by readers who disagree in every way.
As a lifelong bookworm, I’ve learned a lot about how to be a person from books. Book characters were my role models, and the person I am today was majorly shaped by these characters. Recently, I’ve taken time to reflect on these characters who have influenced me so deeply, especially the female characters, because they are the ones who taught me what it looks like to be a badass woman. Through this process, the women that really stand out are the women of Harry Potter, partly because they were some of my earliest influences, and partly because they’re just so damn badass. So, without further ado, these are the qualities of being a strong, badass woman, according to the ladies of Harry Potter…
Hermione Granger taught me that a woman is not afraid to be smart. I grew up a major nerd — books and reading and learning were my life, but I was surrounded by people who told me that I was boring or pretentious because of it. Hermione showed me that it’s okay for girls to be smart and it’s okay to show it off. Being smart didn’t make her less badass, it made her more badass, and we love her for it.
Ginny Weasley taught me that a woman is confident in herself. Ginny doesn’t pull any punches and she waits around for no one. When Harry doesn’t love her back, she moves on and dates other guys. She holds her own against her six older brothers. She’s proficient in the Bat-Bogey Hex, which she uses on several men who irritate her, including Draco Malfoy. She’s a brave, strong badass in every way, and she knows it.
Luna Lovegood taught me that a woman is kind, even to those who aren’t kind to her. The lovely students at Hogwarts are pretty awful to Luna, calling her “Loony Lovegood” and largely ignoring her. Even Ron has been known to make fun of her, yet she is never cruel in return. She’s incredibly loyal to her friends when she has them. She believes in Harry when most people don’t and is one of the first to join Dumbledore’s Army. She shows all creatures respect, even calling Dobby “sir” in Book Seven.
Molly Weasley taught me that a woman is fiercely protective. Throughout the entire series, Molly makes it clear that she will do anything to protect and care for her children, including Harry, who she basically adopts. One of the most epic scenes in the entire series is in Book Seven, where Bellatrix almost hurts Ginny while dueling, and Molly cries, “Not my daughter, you bitch!” and completely annihilates her. Now that’s a great mom, right there.
Fleur Delacor taught me that a woman cares about the inside, not the outside. There are so many things that make Fleur a badass, but the scene that really sticks out is after her fiance, Bill, loses his ear. Molly assumes Fleur won’t want to marry Bill anymore, now that he’s less attractive, and Fleur exclaims, “What do I care how he looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave!” Fleur shows us that she really cares about what matters, what’s on the inside.
Minerva McGonagall taught me that a woman stands her ground. McGonagall takes no shit from Dolores Umbridge, Argus Filch, or anyone else who tries to get in her way and keep her from doing her job. She puts her students’ well-being above all else, but she always knows best, and when someone tries to stand in her way, she obliterates them with sass. One of my all-time favorite scenes is when Umbridge tries to tell Harry he can’t be an Auror because he’s failing Defense Against the Dark Arts, McGongall says, “He has achieved high marks in all Defense Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher.” (Basically, not you, Umbridge). Boom, roasted.