I was just considering some of the slightly silly and immature things that Ron says in the books. Particularly, him being slightly slower to grasp plot points or realise things compared to Harry stuck out to me. When Hermione (as it is usually Hermione) exposits plot points, Harry and Ron both listen, and usually it is Ron who struggles more with plot points. This is probably to distinguish him as a character, and/or for comic relief in the trio ensemble.

However, when I thought about Ron in the earlier books, he seemed a lot more capable. Perhaps this is simply due to his relative knowledge of the wizarding world compared to Harry, through whom Rowling shows us the world.

Am I right in thinking that Ron was originally portrayed as more intelligent, but became more of a silly/comedy character as the series progressed?

Postscript: in the Deathly Hallows, Ron seems to lose a lot of this silliness and become much more of a mature character. This might be explicable as a result of his leaving and later return, ageing, or both.

(Related question: Why was Ron more affected by the Veela than Harry was?)

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    what do you mean that Ron "struggles with plot points?" - one thing to keep in mind is the reader only has insight into Harry's mind. We don't really know what Ron is thinking
    – NKCampbell
    Feb 12, 2018 at 14:57
  • I think Ron had the same intelligence throughout. I never got the impression that his intelligence regressed. Feb 12, 2018 at 15:01
  • Can you give an example of where you think Ron's being slow? Feb 13, 2018 at 0:55
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    @Grandpa2390 if you don't increase in intelligence at the same rate as Harry and Hermione, you're becoming less intelligent (relatively speaking) Feb 17, 2018 at 16:51
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    @marcellothearcane you make a good point. That Ron doesn't become less intelligent, but perhaps he just doesn't grow. As if Ron is stuck at a 11 year old level. I think he does progress (particularly in the latter part of the last book lol). but it does seem like his maturity (if not his intelligence) lags behind Harry and Hermione. To be fair, J.K. Rowling has noted this herself, I think, when she spoke of her regret in forcing Ron and Hermione together. Ron lacks the maturity for a relationship with Hermione she says. This lack of maturity and growth is annoying in the last book. Feb 20, 2018 at 3:54

2 Answers 2


From the wikia you can see that he always was intented to be more immature than the others:

Ron was a very funny person, but often emotionally immature, and insensitive. He had a sardonic, wisecracking sense of humour that often brought his friends laughter and relaxation. However, as Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood pointed out, his humour could occasionally be hurtful, even if unintentionally.[34] Hermione was frequently frustrated with Ron's immaturity, once commenting that he had the "emotional range of a teaspoon". During his time searching for Voldemort's Horcruxes with Harry and Hermione, Ron matured greatly, and even took to leading the trio when Harry temporarily fell into a depressive mood.

In a pottermore article about Ron:

He may have brought the much-needed comic relief, but he also brought so much more.
To begin with, Ron was an occasionally insensitive, insecure and mildly jealous 11-year-old. By the end of the story, he’d matured into a man who knew his own worth, stuck up for those who didn’t have a voice, and learnt that he had no reason to be jealous of Harry.
Standing next to Harry and Hermione, it’s easy to see how Ron might have felt underestimated; Harry was often seen as the brave one, Hermione as the clever one, and Ron as the funny one.

Here's an article where JKR speaks about marriage:

The truth is that in my younger days, I dated Ron more than once. Ron is funny, very funny; he's insensitive. There's a lot of immaturity about Ron, and that's where a lot of the humour comes from.

Here's another interview (translation of dutch interview):

Who would you rather have as a son, Harry or Ron? “I’ll take them both! I adore Ron. Ron is the most immature of the three main characters, but in part seven he grows up. He was never strong footed, people see him mostly as Harry’s friend; his mother had actually wanted a girl and in the last book he finally has to acknowledge his weaknesses. But it’s exactly that which makes Ron a man. The others also have such a moment where they truly grow up. Harry when he reacts so fiercely against his former professor Lupin who decides to abandon his family. Hermione when she is forced to choose between Harry and Ron. Hermione never strays of the path; she always keeps her attention focused on the job that must be done.

And he was really insecure about his abilities and he was kind of hard in himself because:

Ron was also prone to insecurity about his abilities, when compared to his older siblings and to his famous best friend. When he felt insecure or embarrassed, it was noted that his ears turned red. This became his tell-tale sign of his anger and embarrassment.[28] He felt as if he was consistently overshadowed by the legacy of his older brothers and the fame of Harry; this lead to a feeling of being "second-best".

From Pottermore:

He was the second-youngest child in a whopping-great family, and the least academically accomplished of his friendship group (yup, Harry got better marks even if they both copied Hermione). Plus, with the whole ‘my best mate is the Boy Who Lived’ deal, life could sometimes seem a bit of a bummer to Ron.


His inner struggle, as Dumbledore explained, was revealed by the Mirror of Erised The usually-cheeky Ron’s true insecurities about the achievements of his siblings were revealed when he looked into the one place that showed your heart’s desires – and saw himself, a success, and standing alone.

Fred and George mocking him didn't help either. They stopped only when he started playing quidditch.

He was also lazy:

Ron was also a person who liked to do things the easy way, as he did not like to work hard. This quality was reflected in his first year when he just picked up books from the Hogwarts Library shelves randomly when finding out about Nicolas Flamel. He also had a tendency to make up predictions for his Divination homework, and frequently copied most of his homework from Hermione Granger.

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    I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but do you have a more conclusive/reputable source than a wikia written by fans? The passages you cite do not necessarily reflect the intentions of JKR or anyone actually involved with the books.
    – phantom42
    Feb 12, 2018 at 15:20
  • @phantom42 added some articles from pottermore and interviews. I found nothing else for now. But I think in the wikia they did a great job in the analysis of the character based on the books. Have a nice day :)
    – m1f0lk
    Feb 12, 2018 at 16:16
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    Just to let you know, the pottermore "features" are not written by JKR, and while better than the wikia they're not canonical.
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 12, 2018 at 16:19
  • Didn't know about that @Edlothiad ! Sorry ! and thank you :D !
    – m1f0lk
    Feb 12, 2018 at 16:20
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    We live and we learn! The books are by far the best sources for canonical statements! Followed by the interviews. And then god knows what, you'd have to ask the experts.
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 12, 2018 at 16:22

It has less to do with intelligence, and a lot to do with normal human behavior. Consider the age range the gang is portrayed in. A large part of the series takes place as they go through puberty and early adolescence.

For a large chunk of the story, Ron is basically a middle school (as we know it here in the US) boy. Hormones are going nuts. Girls are now a thing. Ron comes from a large family, and while they are very loving, attention is limited. Combine this with hormones, and you have a surefire cocktail for acting out.

At that age, teenage boys can appear to be the stupidest creatures on the planet, regardless of their actual intelligence. They say and do things that are baffling to just about anyone else. It gets worse when they are around their friends, and worse still when there is a girl around.

This is borne out by the change in behavior near the end of the series as he grows out of it, becoming more mature, accelerated by the horrific things happening around him.

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