GINEVRA AND THE BOY WHO LIVED.
Not everyone knew that Ginny and Ginevra were two different people. The boys, that is, her brothers and her Dad, thought that when Ginny yelled at them for calling her Ginevra that it was because she did not like the name, but that was not true at all. Ginevra was a wonderful name, but it was not her name, not when she was at home doing ordinary things and being Ginny it wasn't. Then it was so very not Ginny's name and calling her Ginevra just insulted the truly amazingly awesome Ginevra.
Charlie knew and understood; he was the only one of the boys who did. He was the very best brother in the world, and was jolly awesome himself, and that was even before he went to look after the dragons. Mummy knew too. Well, of course Mummy knew; she understood that when she made up bedtime stories for Ginny that they all had to be about Ginevra, Ginevra and the Boy Who Lived of course, not about Ginny and Harry, who were probably both just pretty ordinary people really, when they weren't being Ginevra and the Boy Who Lived that is.
Ginevra had a wonderful life full of amazing adventures. Mounted on pure white Abraxans she and the Boy Who Lived flew around the country, even the whole world, doing good deeds, and, just like King Arthur's knights, rescuing damsels in distress on most nights and sometimes even during the day as well if Ginny was daydreaming. Sometimes they rescued boys in distress too, which Ginevra much preferred because most of the distressed maidens were very beautiful — even when they cried — and had long blonde or black shiny tresses, not ginger hair like she had. It was a bit difficult not to be jealous of them sometimes, though of course the Boy Who Lived never seemed to notice how gorgeous they were and had eyes only for Ginevra, despite her red hair, and despite what Ron used to say about her red hair too, as if he didn't have red hair too! The thing was though, even though Ginevra was a very confident person, even she was always just a tiny little bit afraid that one day The Boy Who Lived might notice how beautiful the damsels were...
Ginevra, like Ginny, had six older brothers, but they were all in awe of her, of how amazing and fabulously awesome she was; every one of them was, not just Charlie. They never ever teased her, that would have been like teasing the queen, the queen of the fairies even, or even like teasing King Arthur's queen, Guinevere. And, you know, Ginevra was the Italian way of saying Guinevere, so that just showed you how truly awesome Ginevra really was.
Teasing Ginevra just wasn't done; her brothers would never have dared to do it, or even ever thought of doing it in the first place. Well, even if they had thought of it and dared to tease her, Ginevra would have just waved her wand and turned them into mice or slugs or something, or even just done it without any wand at all. That is how jolly amazing and awesome she was!
Ginny was, sometimes, a tiny little bit awesome herself too, or at least Mummy, Daddy and Charlie seemed to think so, and she thought that even Bill suspected it sometimes, but the rest of the boys didn't know it. She had to keep telling them that she was just as good as they were; probably they kept forgetting because they, especially Ron, didn't really believe it, so she had to keep reminding them on a daily basis.
Charlie was a great brother. One day, Ginny had been about five at the time, she had been reading the Muggle story books that Daddy had brought home years ago for Bill when he was little, and she had been feeling very sad and really really awful - the very opposite of the awesome full of awe sort of awful I mean, Charlie had found her huddled in the alcove behind the ugly statue of Merlin on the second floor landing. He had sat down beside her, put his arm around her and asked what was wrong.
"I'm not crying!"
"Gosh, I know that! Of course you're not. . . You do look a bit sad though. Why don't you tell me what is worrying my best sister?"
"I'm not a boy!"
"No, I have noticed that. Why, even Dad has noticed that, and you know how absent minded he is. It was one of the first things we all noticed about you when you were born. Dad said 'Oh Merlin! It's a girl! I don't bloody believe it!' We could all hardly believe how lucky we were to get one at last. And it has turned out to be one of the many very best things about you really. Why would you want to be a boy, an ordinary old boy?"
"But if I was a boy I'd be a seventh son of a seventh son! You know how wonderful that is! You must all have been so disappointed when I turned out to be a girl!"
"Ginny, Ginny, Ginny my love, where do I start? There are so many things wrong with what you are thinking that I hardly know what to tell you first. I know very well that you have been able to read since you were four, it wasn't not just the pictures in the Prophet, Quibbler and Witches' Weekly you looked at every day, and this just proves it; you've been reading those books Dad once gave Bill haven't you? They are Muggle stories, you do know that? Now, Muggles, while possibly almost as clever as Dad always says they are, don't know about real magic like we do, so they make up stories about it; stories that get it all wrong, or mostly wrong anyway. One of the things they get wrong is that the seventh son of a seventh son is extra special; he really isn't. In any case, Dad was not a seventh son, he only had two brothers, so you wouldn't have been the seventh son of a seventh son even if you had been a boy . What made you think he had six?"
"Really? He only had two older brothers? I thought Mummy said he had six. I heard her telling someone that he had six brothers, I'm sure I did."
"No, I don't think Mum would have said that because it's just not true. . . but I think Dad's great grandfather or great great grandfather or maybe even more greats grandfather, may have had six or seven boys. It stands to reason that at least one great grandfather had about that many or probably more, because most families used to have lots of children in those days, especially us Weasleys, and all we Weasleys ever had were boys. Perhaps you heard Mum tell someone that and thought she was talking about Dad."
"So they weren't upset I was a girl? Not at all?"
"Upset? I'll say not! They were amazed, absolutely gobsmacked and delighted is what they were, what we all were. I certainly was, even though I was only nine. I thought you were very ugly, very red and wrinkly, but I'd seen Perce, Gred and Forge and even Ron when they were new-born, so I knew you soon grow out if it; even Ron did to a certain extent, so I was sure that the first Weasley female in generations would too.
"Oh Charlie! . . . But why? Why were you all surprised I was a girl?"
"Well, witches are extra special anyway, and, like I just said, us Weasleys hadn't had a witch for generations. Your being a girl was a miracle. Why do you think Mum and Dad kept on having so many of us? It was because they were hoping and hoping that the next one might be a girl. That's why they never had any more after you; they had had their miracle and didn't want to risk having another ordinary run-of-the-mill boy."
"But boys are the special ones Ron says. He says that girls don't understand nothing because we are just girls. He says our ogicals are sick too."
"I'm not sure what you mean. What are ogicals?"
"You know, when your ogical gets sick. He says we have ill ogicals."
"Ah. I see what he meant. Well he was quite wrong. Absolutely, awesomely and extremely wrong, wrong, wrong. And if anyone is illogical then it is probably Ron himself."
"Why is Ron's ogical sick?"
"Did he actually say that girls 'don't understand nothing,' exactly those words? Yes? Then what he actually said, although he did not know it, was that they understand something. . . because if you don't understand nothing you must understand something, and, although again he didn't know it, he was right; witches do understand something and what they understand is something very important and something us wizards sometimes don't understand at all, and that is that girls are the most amazing things in the world."
"Well, I know Ginevra is jolly amazing of course, but even she is not quite so amazing as the Boy Who Lived, and, well, I'll tell you a secret, she isn't really real. I used to think she was when I was little, but now I'm big I know. . . Don't tell Mummy though, as I don't think she knows that I know that yet. Anyway, that's Ginevra, I'm just Ginny."
"And that is what I've been trying to tell you; forget about Ginevra for a minute, 'just Ginny' is amazing all by herself. First of all because she is a girl and not just any witch, but that rarest of all magical beings, a Weasley witch, second because she is a powerful witch, third because she is so intelligent, forth because she is so kind, fifth because she is so intuitive, sixth because she is so imaginative and, the magical seventh, because has an amazing personality. Not only that, you are very pretty too, and where boys are concerned that, just by itself, is going to make you awesomely popular when you grow up. When they find out all the other special things about you as well, they will all fall head over heels in love with you. All us Weasley males will have to drive them off with bludgers and sit on guard with our wands out ready to defend you. Gosh, Dad will be getting so many betrothal requests for you that we will have to all move to France or even as far away as Australia, to get away from all the owls."
"You are so silly Charlie!"
"Not at all, just you wait and see."
"Ron says that the Boy Who Lived would not ever even marry Ginevra though."
""It seems to me that our Ronnykins says far too much, and most of it about things he knows nothing about."
"But he does Charlie! He knows about Ginevra and the Boy Who Lived cos he has heard some of the bedtime stories too, and he says they are all stupid, silly stories for silly little girls."
"And what is his reason for saying that the Boy would not marry Ginevra? I strongly suspect that he doesn't even have a reason."
"Yes, but he does. He says that The Boy Who Lived's Mum had red hair so he couldn't marry someone with red hair because that would be the same as marrying his own Mum, and that'd be gross. And I asked Mummy and she said that Harry's mother did have red hair just like me and Ginevra!"
"Oh Ginny, that is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Does Ron think that people who have the same hair colour are all the same as each other? Are all virtually the same people? That would mean that everyone with a blonde haired mother or father couldn't marry a blonde girl or boy. The same would apply for all brown, black and mousy haired mothers or fathers, their sons and daughters could not marry brown, black or mousy haired witches or wizards . You can see what nonsense that is can't you?"
"I suppose. Maybe."
"Not convinced yet? Well then, what about all the people who live in places like China, India, Italy or even Sweden, all the many countries where almost everyone has the same coloured hair? If Ron was right they would all have to travel abroad to find bond mates. And what about us Weasleys? Do you think that Bill, Percy, Fred, George, Dad, Ron and I are all the same people, that we are all exactly like each other? We all have red hair remember."
"No! No I don't! You are all quite different, very different! Even the twins are not exactly alike. . . well, they want us to think they are just to confuse us, especially to confuse Mum, but they're not really. It is stupid. Ron is so stupid to think that. That'd mean that none of us could marry anyone who happened to have red hair. Ron is very stupid sometimes, so I should have known he was just being an idiot again."
"Something to keep in mind at all times when listening to our youngest brother's ideas perhaps."
"He is very good at chess though, even though he is only six, so he can't be all stupid; you have to be quite brainy for that, so I suppose he just comes all over stupid sometimes... all the times when he is not playing chess acksually, and we shall just have to make 'lowances for it."
"I agree; that does sound as if it would be the kindest thing for us to do. Just remember though, all us boys are stupid at times. It comes from being so much in awe of all you witches, so we have to pretend that we are just as good or even better than you are, or we would despise ourselves."
"Um. . . Mummy says that most boys never grow up and that they have 'fragglygos' so us girls have to let them pretend that they are grown up even when they aren't very much grown up at all."
"Does she now? That is a rather old fashioned of Mum, I haven't noticed any of the girls at school thinking they have to humour us, but there is a bit of truth in it. I have a touch of the old fragglygos myself at times."
"She says that you are grown up though Charlie, and she's right too; I think you're the most grown up person in the whole house. . . . 'cept when you are being silly, but you only act silly to cheer me up, so I 'preciate it. So I don't think you've got the fragglygos at all really."
"That's nice Gin-gin, I 'preciate you too. I think almost everyone has a fragile ego to a certain extent though."
"Yes, sister mine?"
"Why did you say I was a strong witch? I'm not even old enough to get a Hogwarts' letter yet. I might not even get one."
"Ginny-gin-gin, it's you who is being silly again now and is getting the dreaded fragglygos. Any baby who floats toys to her cot, and lots of other things as well, things that no baby should ever have in her cot more often than not, is very very magical, and what about tripping the two boys who were fighting with Ron in the playground? Percy told me all about that, and he said it definitely wasn't him who was making their shoelaces keep tying themselves together, even though he would have liked it to have been. What about the blue bathing suit that changed into a green bikini that day at the beach? Any witch with the accidental, well, so-called 'accidental' magic you have displayed is quite a witch. You my dear sister, are a strong witch, no doubt about that."
"Oh. Good then. . . I do feel a lot better now. 'Specially now you've told me that I wouldn't have been a seventh son of a seventh son even if I'd been a boy. You've made me feel good. You're the bestest ever brother."
"That's what all boys are for really, to make their witches feel good about themselves."
"Better tell that to Ron!"
"Indeed. I had better do just that. . . There is something I perhaps should mention to you that we haven't talked about yet. I know you understand that your Ginevra alter-ego is a sort of made-up fairy-tale person, why, you told me that yourself just a few minutes ago, but I'm not sure if you realise that the Boy Who Lived must be rather like that too? No six year old boy could do all the things the stories in the books tell you, nor all the things in the stories Mum and you make up either. I think that you are now old enough to understand that you and Ginevra, that is, Ginny and Ginevra, are probably much the same to each other as Harry Potter and the Boy Who Lived are to each other."
"But I do know that really, sort of anyway. Mummy always tells me that all the stories are just made up, though I didn't really believe herwhen I was little, but I do now I'm big. . . Mummy said no one really knows what he is like now. .. but. . . but Harry Potter must have really been the Boy Who Lived when he was a baby and didn't die like everyone else would have, mustn't he?"
"That's true. He must be a very unusual wizard. But Mum is right, no one really knows if there is anything else special about him apart from that. . . He is only a year older than you are you know, so you'll see him when you go to Hogwarts and be able to make up your mind what he's really like. He might even be very conceited and unpleasant if he has been as spoiled as I expect he has been."
"No! He wouldn't be! . . . Oh, okay, well I s'pose he might be, just a little bit spoiled. It is very hard not to get spoiled if you are spoiled by everyone you know. There's a girl at school like that; she acts spoiled, but it's her parents' fault because they never ever say 'no' to her. Underneath she's quite nice really."
"Very true and mature of you, O' perspicacious sister of mine."
"What does perspicshus mean?"
"It means a ready insight into and understanding of things."
"What does 'ready insight' mean?"
"I've seen you pretend to look at the pictures in Dad's illustrated dictionary. Go and look it up by yourself. And why on Earth do you keep on pretending that you can't read yet?"
"Ron can't read very well yet and he's older'n me."
Not in most ways he isn't. Anyway, I told you you were kind, but you're being too kind. It would be better to show Ron how far ahead you are; he might respect you more then, and it might be just the prod he needs to try harder himself. It's called being cruel to be kind."
"Oh, alright Charlie. I won't hide it anymore. I think everyone 'cept Ron has a 'spicion of it anyway."
CHAPTER THE SECOND
Yep, you're right; I was a complete Boy Who Lived fan-girl when I was very young, me and Luna both. We used to play a game that consisted of one or the other of us getting married to him, with whichever one of us wasn't the bride being the Boy Who Lived groom. Of course when I got to be ten and almost old enough to go to Hogwarts I had completely a matured beyond all the fan-girl worship. Yeah, right.
I did truly think I had though. We did not play the wedding game anymore, and hadn't for a couple of years. When we saw Ron off on the Express for his first year I saw The Boy Who Lived in the flesh for the first time. I had known he would probably be going for his first year too of course, because he was about the same age as Ron, and I had thought that while it would be jolly nice to see him, Harry Potter or Boy Who Lived or whatever, I hadn't thought it would affect me all that much. It would just be a bit of extra excitement to see someone so famous, and if we were introduced, which was highly unlikely anyway, I'd just say 'how do you do Harry Potter' really politely and that would be that. Perhaps, at most, I might add a polite and ladylike enquiry as to whether he was excited to be going to Hogwarts for the first time, or even mention the weather.
I really did not know! I really had thought that I was over it.
He was definitely being 'just' Harry Potter at the time; the only thing at all Boy Who Lived about him was the scar, and you couldn't even see that very well. He was quite a lot smaller than I thought he'd be, thinner too, and he had really baggy old clothes on that I thought he must have got from a jumble sale, so, from a looks point of view he hardly even qualified to be Harry Potter, let alone the incredibly famous Harry Potter, Boy Who Lived that Ginevra had enjoyed all those imaginary adventures with.
But the eyes, oh Merlin, the Avada Kedavra green eyes. No one in the world has eyes that colour. Well, he has of course, but no one else I had ever seen or even heard of. They killing-cursed me alright, they AK'd me dead, well, not really of course, but almost as good as.
Once he turned them on me I lost all power of speech, my chest and stomach hurt and I felt as if I was choking and would never be able to draw a proper breath again. I stumbled back and half hid at the side of my mother. Yes, you can laugh; it's true, I behaved just like a terminally shy two year old who had to hide behind her mother's robes. I was absolutely mortified, but just couldn't seem to get control of myself again. He must have thought I was a complete idiot. . . which I was. Even so, he was kind, smiled at me and even gave me a little wave. I imagined that he must have had a lot of training and practice at how to behave with his fans, and he didn't seem big-headed at all, quite the opposite, even a bit nervous actually, though really he couldn't have been of course, or that's what I thought at the time.
That afternoon, directly Mum and I got home, I was still feeling utterly embarrassed at how I'd acted (even now the thought of it makes still me squirm) so ran up to my bedroom. On the second landing Charlie was waiting for me, so I came to an abrupt halt.
"When did you get home? I didn't even know you were coming home!"
He grinned and held his arms out and I rushed into them. Charlie is the only one I like to hug as I'm normally not a touchy-feely sort of person at all. With Charlie it's different though. He is definitely the best brother I have and always has been.
"So, did you see the mighty Harry Potter at Kings Cross? Did he live up to your expectations?"
I burst into tears. "Yes, no, I don't know. Yes he did, sort of. He's really small and wears awful clothes!"
It was not until a year later when I started Hogwarts myself, that I saw Harry again. Surprisingly, my brother Ron had chummed up with him right from the start of their year. He's my own brother, and I love him dearly, well some of the time I do, but even I was a bit surprised that The Boy Who Lived had made a friend of him. Ron is well intentioned but he is also not all that bright except for chess. Though Mum says he probably would be if he ever bothered to apply himself to anything but chess and Quidditch.
Ron hardly ever wrote to me, but when he did, Harry and what they got up to together was usually the main things he wrote about. The twins were very taken with him too, which pleased me at the time but with hindsight should have rung a warning bell or two.
You may have heard about my first year at Hogwarts, or rather, you may have heard about Harry's second year and a few rumours about him having killed a basilisk, but you probably haven't heard how I was involved in it as the Headmaster and my parents tried to keep that quiet, and I definitely told no-one about it, well, apart from Charlie later on. Harry and Ron knew of course but Harry is not the type of person to brag. Dad reassured me by telling me that Ron would say nothing either as he had done something to make sure that Ron never spoke a word of it; he would not tell me what.
You see, the horrid truth is that unlike in the imaginary adventures I'd had as Ginevra with The Boy Who Lived, I had not been heroic at all, quite the opposite, I had been the pathetic damsel in distress that Harry had had to rescue. Of all the nightmarish things that had haunted me later, my being so idiotic as to trust the diary, my possession by Voldemort, my killing of the roosters, my nearly dying myself, none of them distressed me quite as much as the knowledge that Harry had seen me as such a weepy little wimp. No-one really understood how that had affected me; even Charlie had found it difficult to believe at first that that aspect of it was what I had nightmares about. That was not how I wanted Harry to think of me! Okay, being rescued by my hero was pretty awesome, but it should never have been necessary had I been the heroine I used to fantasise about.
Yeah, about the 'rescued by my hero' bit; that did not help me at all. The year before, after reading Ron's letters home, I'd started to realise that the real Harry Potter was really as different from The Boy Who Lived as Charlie had once said he probably would be. At first Ron had been dazzled by meeting and being befriended by the famous Harry Potter but as time went on his letters started to reveal the real Harry underneath all the hype. This Harry was shy, thin, not particularly powerful, a mediocre student, but a very good friend.
When I started Hogwarts myself I'd also soon realised something that it seemed Ron had not yet realised despite knowing Harry for a whole year longer than I had; that Harry did not want all the fame and hated being either hated or adored just because he was the Boy Who etc. The real Harry Potter was someone I liked very much indeed, a bit too much. Yes, rather too much; in my defence I was only eleven, but I'm still trying to forget about the embarrassing Valentine's poem I sent him, and no, sorry, I'm not, definitely not, going to write it out for you here, that would only refresh your memory of it.
Then he had to go and kill a sixty foot long basilisk and rescue me from Voldemort, and prove that he really was some sort of fairy-tale hero after all. Nice, kind, everyday Harry had proved himself worthy of having a heroic Boy Who Lived alter-ego, but my Ginevra had failed me completely and I'd just proved myself to be just Ginny, and a wimpish version of Ginny at that.
I was flung back into all the old hero worship of little Ginny Weasley for the amazing Boy Who Lived. In my defence, I was only eleven, but still, a weak little fan girl was not what Harry needed or deserved; besides he had enough of those already.
Well, the rest of my story you all know, I did grow up in the end, as most people do, and Harry managed to survive against all odds and grow up too, and then, the most unbelievable thing; he fell in love with ordinary old Ginny. As for me, I never stopped loving him, ordinary Harry and amazing not quite real alter-ego Harry both. We married and I discovered the most amazing thing about him, more amazing than any of the other amazing things about him; yes it was more wonderful than any of the Boy Who Lived and Ginevra stories I used to daydream about; it was his capacity for love, and that he loved me in the 'happy ever after' way of all the best old fairy tales.