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In the Harry Potter series, Ronald Weasley is shown to be extremely afraid of spiders, and his fear of spiders is portrayed in many scenes.

Is any reason given in the series as to why he is so afraid of spiders?

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Maybe he just has arachnophobia... –  Shevliaskovic Jun 9 at 9:49
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Er, perhaps because he's sensible? He does live in a world where giant man-eating spiders are a regular feature. –  Richard Jun 9 at 10:40
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I don't think the spiders in Hogwart's forest were a regular feature. I had the feeling they were some exotic creatures that Hagrid managed to get hold of (like he did with Fluffy and the dragon) –  user13267 Jun 9 at 13:11
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Did we see the same movie? Because in my version, I saw hundreds of giant spiders running through the underbrush. Don't care how exotic they might have been. When a spider is the size of a teacup, it is "exotic". When a spider is the size of a platter, it is "extraordinary". When a spider is the size of a Fiat, it has become "extreme" and we just need to nuke the site from orbit because it has too many goddamn spiders. –  Thaddeus Jun 11 at 7:40

3 Answers 3

up vote 45 down vote accepted

Ron mentions this during the Second Book. Fred (or George, one of the twins) transfigured his teddy bear into a giant spider, and the way it moved it's legs mentally scarred him for life.

"I just don't like the way they move ....
Hermione giggled.
"It's not funny," said Ron, fiercely. "If you must know, when I was three, Fred turned my - my teddy bear into a great big fiIthy spider because I broke his toy broomstick .... You wouldn't like them either if you'd been holding your bear and suddenly it had too many legs and. . . "
He broke off, shuddering. Hermione was obviously still trying not to laugh.

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This could instead also mean that Ron already had arachnophobia, which Fred knew of, and therefore chose to turn the teddy bear into a spider among other things, to teach Ron a lesson. –  SNag Jun 9 at 13:10
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Edited in a few other lines. It hints that it was in fact the source of his fear –  user13267 Jun 9 at 13:16
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I must say, that's pretty good transfiguration for a 5 year old –  agweber Jun 9 at 14:21
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@agweber Especially looking at Ron's own attempt at magic at age 10. Apparently the twins were child prodigies...that went on to use their talents for the best pranks ever. –  Zibbobz Jun 9 at 16:00

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 12-year old Ron Weasley tells Harry and Hermione that his arachnophobia, or intense fear of spiders, is rooted in an event that happened when he was only three years old. He tells his friends that his brother turned his teddy bear into a spider, which terrified him to no end.

This passage can be analyzed in a psychoanalytic way because Ron’s anxieties over spiders stemmed from an uncanny experience. Although magic is uncanny to most people, magic is the norm for Ron’s family, so it’s not the magic that upset him. The younger version of Ron Weasley became upset because his teddy bear, which was obviously a source of comfort for him, became something that he feared. The traumatic event from his childhood resulted into his petrifying fear of spiders in his young adult life, which means that for Ron, the uncanny turned something that was once familiar into something that brought about feelings of fear and anxiety.

http://eskonce15.voices.wooster.edu/psychoanalytic-view-of-ron-weasleys-fear-of-spiders-aka-ellen-does-two-harry-potter-posts-in-a-row/

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Ron's fear of spiders developed when Fred turned his teddy into a spider. Maybe there was no arachnophobia before that.

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This isn't wrong, but this has been covered in much more detail in the other answers. –  phantom42 Jun 10 at 12:55

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