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This question had me thinking how different really is Ginny from Romilda Vane regarding her feelings for Harry.

When Ginny is introduced in the second book it is evident that for her Harry is a hero, and she has a crush on him. She even sends him the famous frog valentine card, to Harry's horror. Saving her life in the Chamber of Secrets probably only intensified her infatuation. Later, listening to Hermione's advice, Ginny does try to take her mind off Harry and dates other guys:

“I never really gave up on you,” she said. “Not really. I always hoped… Hermione told me to get on with life, maybe go out with some other people, relax a bit around you because I never used to be able to talk if you were in the room, remember?"
~The White Tomb - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

But, it seems to me, all her romantic relationships were unsuccessful as the boys she dated were being compared to Harry and found inferior.

She even says Harry being a hero is why she likes him:

“But you’ve been too busy saving the wizarding world,” said Ginny, half-laughing. “Well… I can’t say I’m surprised. I knew this would happen in the end. I knew you wouldn’t be happy unless you were hunting Voldemort. Maybe that’s why I like you so much.”
~The White Tomb - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

I wonder if she'd have fallen in love with him if he was just a regular guy? (For example what if Voldemort had chosen Neville instead of Harry as his nemesis?)

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    After reading the answers, I honestly don't think we can say. I'm not even sure we can say why Harry ended up feeling the way he did about Ginny, and the series was from his POV – T.E.D. Aug 4 '17 at 22:47
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No, Ginny's love is based on being very good friends after her infatuation, and a lot of it happens off-page/screen. It's only really mentioned in passing by JKR - them hanging out all summer of GoF, OotP and HBP, Dumbledore's Army, and (after they get together) time spent just hanging out, all of which happens kind of fast in a "he spent every second he wasn't studying with Ginny" kind of way.

This quote makes me believe she had distanced herself before the relationship:

'But, said Ron, following Hermione along a row of quills in copper pots, 'I thought Ginny fancied Harry!'

Hermione looked at him rather pityingly and shook her head. 'Ginny used to fancy Harry, but she gave up on him months ago. Not that she doesn't like you, of course,' she added kindly to Harry while she examined a long black and gold quill.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 225

Though they did spend a lot of time with one another over the summer.

"Right," said Harry. He felt a strange twinge of annoyance as she walked away, her long red hair dancing behind her; he had become so used to her presence over the summer that he had almost forgotten that Ginny did not hang around with him, Ron, and Hermione while at school.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 116

It does say she doesn't normally hang around with them at school, but it also underlines the amount of time they spent together over the summer (and a bit of Harry starting to like her)

Yet Harry could not help himself talking to Ginny, laughing with her, walking back from practice with her

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 449

I don't think unsuccessful romantic relationships really showed that she rejected them for Harry either. Most everybody has unsuccessful relationships, and that's how people generally are able to come to the conclusion that someone is right for them. For a really dumb example: if you haven't had an ex-girlfriend that was obsessed with horses, how do you know you don't like girls obsessed with horses?

In your second quote, she's not saying she likes him because he's a hero but rather because he feels he has a responsibility to help people. Basically he feels that if he can do something, he should do something. Which is another way for JKR to make Harry into an altruistic good guy, and it's a decent reason to like someone -- because they are nice and selfless.

In conclusion, they actually spent a massive amount of time together off-page because it wasn't important to the core story, and we only get glimpses of their romance. They became very close, like Ron and Hermione, before the end of the books. Let's not forget she agreed to marry him and stay with him. 19 years later in the epilogue scene, prophecy fulfilled, he's really just another auror -- albeit a very talented one.

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    "If you haven't had an ex-girlfriend that was obsessed with horses, how do you know you don't like girls obsessed with horses?" By hanging out with them as friends and thinking "Gosh, I just can't even with all the horse-talk around here." But +1 anyway :) – MissMonicaE Aug 4 '17 at 13:10
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    I think youre right about G liking him because he is altruistic and self-sacrifising. About them being friends - isnt it strange that they spend so much time since GoF offpage and she 'basically become one of the group' as you wrote, but they practically never hang out together in school and she never did became one of the group, not really. – user68762 Aug 4 '17 at 13:21
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    @WraithLeader LIKING HORSES IS NORMAL – MissMonicaE Aug 4 '17 at 13:36
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    Just an aside, floating around the cyberverse is a quote from JKR that talks about how she realized after she finished the book that Hermione and Harry should have ended up together, but that when she started the books she had decided who married who. So she forced the characters into their marriage rather than let them decide for themselves. – theinvisibleduck Aug 4 '17 at 13:51
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    @WraithLeader "they keep this veneer of being normal". That's why I like Facebook as I've yet to see a girl obsessed with horses who could keep from making them the subject of every second post on their wall :) – Philbo Aug 4 '17 at 15:29
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Ginny was indeed infatuated with Harry from the beginning because of hero worship...

She only knew Harry as "that famous guy who killed You-Know-Who" while growing up. She had not actually met him until Philosopher's Stone, where she begs her mother to let her see Harry.

"Oh, Mom, can I go on the train and see him, Mom, eh please...."

In Chamber of Secrets,

“Ginny,” said Ron in an undertone to Harry. “My sister. She’s been talking about you all summer.”

Harry heard from Hogwarts one sunny morning about a week after he had arrived at the Burrow. He and Ron went down to breakfast to find Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Ginny already sitting at the kitchen table. The moment she saw Harry, Ginny acciden- tally knocked her porridge bowl to the floor with a loud clatter. Ginny seemed very prone to knocking things over whenever Harry entered a room. She dived under the table to retrieve the bowl and emerged with her face glowing like the setting sun. Pretending he hadn’t noticed this, Harry sat down and took the toast Mrs. Weasley offered him.

Finally, there's an explicit mention of Ginny's love for Harry in Goblet of Fire:

Then two girls appeared in the kitchen doorway behind Mrs. Weasley. One, with very bushy brown hair and rather large front teeth, was Harry’s and Ron’s friend, Hermione Granger. The other, who was small and red- haired, was Ron’s younger sister, Ginny. Both of them smiled at Harry, who grinned back, which made Ginny go scarlet — she had been very taken with Harry ever since his first visit to the Burrow.

The first two quotes show that Ginny Weasley was infatuated with Harry Potter because of his fame in the Wizarding World.

...but after getting to know him better following the Chamber of Secrets incident, she loves him for a different reason

Later on in Chamber of Secrets we learn that Harry saves Ginny's life, and Ginny recognises this. Eventually, she doesn't just love Harry only because of his heroic actions, but for his character and selflessness.

This newfound reason to love Harry is strengthened by the increase in interaction with him. Per your first quote, Ginny begins to spend more time with Harry. It's very likely that she learnt more about Harry during this time.

Precisely from your other quote:

But you’ve been too busy saving the wizarding world,” said Ginny, half-laughing. “Well… I can’t say I’m surprised. I knew this would happen in the end. I knew you wouldn’t be happy unless you were hunting Voldemort. Maybe that’s why I like you so much.”

She doesn't like him only because he's a hero, but because of his selfless character and traits (as she got to know him better afterwards). Though her love for Harry did start off as an infatuation because of how famous he was, this later changed as the series progressed.

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    But 'happy' that's a very stange word to chose in this context, don't you think? I still don't get it, is she implying that he is in for the excitement and adrenaline? – user68762 Aug 4 '17 at 13:33
  • @Nahiri Ginny Weasley knew Harry wanted to save the Wizarding World, and in the process avenge his parents and countless others by finishing off Voldemort, therefore she made that statement - she liked him because of his courage, bravery and selflessness to do what was right, even though the odds seemed drastically against him. – Mat Cauthon Aug 4 '17 at 13:38
  • I thought of those quotes too - particularly the first one. You surely mean 'Mum', however. Fine, American publishers felt the need to change some words lest the Americans get confused (good example 'jumper'/'sweater'). But they also mutilated even the spelling. Rowling however insisted they didn't change Mum to Mom. I'm glad she did that. – Pryftan Aug 5 '17 at 22:30

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