Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
by J.K. Rowling
House: Gryffindor, 6th Year, Prefect
Ron, or Won-Won, as we like to call him, has quite a year at Hogwarts. Why? Well, for starters, he gets his first girlfriend, Lavender Brown. He also becomes the Keeper on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and he begins learning how to Apparate (which is kind of like learning how to drive). And lastly, he begins to realize that he has feelings for a certain lady named Hermione Granger (gasp). Lots of growing up happens in between his classes.
But Ron endures a bumpy ride in his sixth year. His friends, Harry and Hermione, seem to be excelling in ways that he cannot. Watching them do well in class and receive invitations to Slughorn's private parties makes Ron feel deeply the pangs of jealousy, and makes him feel a wee bit left out. He lets his angst out in the most tactful of ways: "'Slug Club,' repeated Ron with a sneer worthy of Malfoy. 'It's pathetic. Well, I hope you enjoy your party. Why don't you try hooking up with McLaggen, then Slughorn can make you King and Queen Slug–" (14.22).
Oh, Won-Won, you do know how to romance a lady. Instead of admitting his jealousy at the fact that Hermione chose to take his mortal enemy (McLaggen competed with him for a chance to be Quidditch Keeper) to a party he was never invited to, Ron chooses instead to mock her and to make sure she feels really terrible. He's still learning how to be a good friend, and he's learning about what it means to have feelings for someone. Ron and Hermione spend a lot of time trying to hurt one another's feelings in creative ways before they realize that they don't need to do that anymore. Ron seems to struggle with social pressures, and, ultimately, doesn't haven't much confidence in himself.
Fortunately for Ron, he has a good friend named Harry Potter. After a particularly dismal Quidditch practice in which Ron seems to maim or insult every one of his teammates, ensuring that everyone on the team become tense with anger, he woefully tells Harry, "I resign. I'm pathetic" (14.99). Harry won't allow his friend to resign. Instead, he pretends to lace Ron's pumpkin juice with a good luck potion. Thinking that he is under the influence of magic, Ron has the best game of his life against Slytherin, leading the team to victory. When Harry reveals that there was actually no good luck potion involved at all, Ron realizes for the first time just how much he is capable of when he has confidence. He learns a very important lesson – let's just hope he doesn't forget.
At heart, Ron is a great and loyal friend to Harry. He helps Harry think through conundrums and mysteries, he gives honest feedback, and he doesn't laugh at Harry's theories. He respects Harry. As for Hermione, well, let's just say Ron respects her a lot and gets better and better at knowing how to convey that respect.