[#PotterheadJuly] In Defense of Cho Chang

18:27 Cilla P 17 Comments



Cho Chang, best known as the first girl who caught Harry Potter's eyes or one half of Harry Potter's first (disastrous) romantic relationship. Most of the Potter fans I've talked to either don't care much about her, or find her annoying - an obstacle in the way of Harry's true soulmate. The fact that she had chosen Cedric first and couldn't seem to forget him probably didn't help. I have always had a soft spot for Cho, however, and I believe she has more depth than what we've gotten to see.


My recent re-read of The Prisoner of Azkaban reminded me that our first glimpse of Cho Chang was not (as the movie had it) a random encounter on the train. Harry first paid attention to her during a Quidditch game. Of course, he thought she was very pretty, but that wasn't all he saw. She was a Seeker on the Ravenclaw team, the only girl on the team. Harry thought this must mean she was an excellent flyer, and he was right; Cho proceeded to be a real competition for him. 

Then she (very gently) turned him down, because Harry wasn't the only one who had noticed her. Cedric Diggory did too. Now, it could be that she was just that pretty. I'm sure there were dozens of pretty girls in the castle though; why did a Hogwarts' champion choose her? We'll never know, unfortunately, but I think there has to be more to her. 

I was a teenager myself when I read Order of the Phoenix for the first time, and like Harry, I couldn't quite understand what Cho was going through. Her (probably first) boyfriend died suddenly and in mysterious circumstances. She was interested in another boy who might or might not have contributed to the boyfriend's tragic death. She wanted to avenge Cedric by fighting against Voldemort, but doing so means going against her parent's wishes. Not to mention she had to start thinking about her life after Hogwarts. What sixteen year old will remain emotionally stable through all of that? I wouldn't have. 

Cho's biggest fault, perhaps, was her loyalty to Marietta Edgecombe after she has betrayed Dumbledore's Army. Yes, even I thought this was rather indefensible. It could be argued, however, that it indicated a loyalty that was fierce to a fault. Another point to support that argument would be that, despite her fallout with Harry and the group, she came back for the DA in the Battle of Hogwarts.

All in all, Cho Chang was an emotional mess and made bad choices, but she also had to deal with grief and a world that was choosing sides in a war. She may not be Harry Potter's soulmate, but like any fictional or real girl, she shouldn't be solely defined by a failed romance at sixteen. 


What do you think of Cho Chang? 
If you were in her shoes in Order of the Phoenix, would you have made the same choices?

17 comments:

  1. I like Cho, and I always thought that she did really like Harry more than Cedric. Cedric just got to her first, and he was a school champion, so how could she resist. I think it's interesting that both Cedric and Harry like her because they know her from quidditch. I think that drew both of them to her (along with her beauty). I don't think she and Cedric really dated, they just went to the ball together. And of course watching him die would be traumatic. I knew a couple of people who died when I was younger, and even though I didn't know them, it still hits you hard at that age. I can't imagine having actually dated someone who died so suddenly.

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    1. Oh man, if Cedric Diggory asked me to the ball, I certainly wouldn't say no. I agree - I think she must be a pretty fantastic Quidditch player to steal the attention of two Captains (though Harry wasn't a captain at the time).

      That's interesting! I always imagined that they dated afterwards, mostly because she joined the DA in his memory. You have a good point though, it might be that they only went to the ball together, but it would have still shaken her.

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  2. Yes! I like Cho too, I even like that she stuck up for Marietta. That 'sneak' pimples thing was horrible, the poor girl had a harsh enough punishment without her friends abandoning her too. And I like that Cho was nice to Harry in the years when opinion was most against him, she obviously liked him for himself, rather than the persona or whatever. And Harry was a terrible boyfriend, bless him. Great post :)

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    1. I like that she stuck up for Marietta too, though Marietta's action did put the DA in serious trouble. Yes, I agree! And he really was clueless as a boyfriend, haha. Thanks, Catherine! :)

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  3. I completely agree with you! I think Cho definitely deserves more credit. There was absolutely no way Cho could have made it through the entire series without making mistakes, especially since she was put through tons of trauma and pressure. To me, Cho's choices were what made her more relatable!

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    1. Yes, she definitely does! I think she's an interesting character on her own, but unfortunately her story doesn't quite line up with Harry's.

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  4. I really loved Cho when I was really young and first read the books, but then, as I got older, I kind of...forgot about her I guess. I don't know what other word would describe it. I was just more interested in the other characters.

    That being said, I do like Cho. She just doesn't stand out to me much, and I think a lot of that has to do with how little she's in the story after her and Harry break up. Actually, I would have appreciated her being around more when they were dating too. I think a lot more people appreciate her if we'd gotten more characterization for her.

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    1. Agreed! I think we didn't get a lot of characterisation for her, which is understandable given her part in Harry's life was pretty brief. Mainly it annoys me when people write her off as 'annoying' from what little we see of her from Harry's point of view.

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  5. Honestly? I kinda liked her. She's really nice and loyal to her friends, and also Harry. I get why she cries a lot during her time with Harry. I mean, my first boyfriend, whom I went to the ball with, died in a "mysterious" circumstances, with the only eye witness is the boy I'm dating now. If I were her, I wouldn't be able to look at Harry without remembering Cedric. As why she defend her friend, even though it's wrong, I think it because she understands how hard it is to choose between family or friends. Not everyone is as brave as Gryffindor, or Ron, whose family publicly against Umbridge. Yes, she puts her loyalty on the wrong person, but can you blame her? Her family is also against her fighting to avenge Cedric. So yeah, she's not my favorite character, but I think she's pretty nice :)

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

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    1. Yess exactly! :D I think she was in a difficult spot all around in Order of the Phoenix, and unfortunately that was the time Harry got to know her best.

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  6. I remember reading HP5 and feeling really sorry for her after what happened with her friend. She was giving Marietta the benefit of the doubt and I don't think that's fair to judge her for it. I don't think Harry would have done any differently if it was Ron or Hermione. It was a really emotional time for her and Harry as well, so the timing was just off to begin with. Interesting post!

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    1. That's a good point! The timing was definitely against them, which makes me wonder if they would have made it work under different circumstances. Ah well, I guess Harry belongs with Ginny in the end. Thanks, Alicia!

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  7. I never really got that interested in Cho as a person (I was one of those people who found her distracting) but I think all of your arguments were fair. Obviously, Cho had a lot to her that made Harry and other value her as a girl/friend. I think ultimately her story shows that we can't always draw the lines between right and wrong so easily. She had her own fair share of screwing up, but her emotions and the trauma she faced make it so we can't automatically condemn her for her behavior.

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    1. Yess, what you said about her story is perfect! :D In the grand scheme of Harry's life, she was just passing by, but she's still quite a complex character. It's one reason I love the series so much. :D

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  8. I like how you wrapped up the argument- about no one being judged solely on a failed romance at 16. Super good point- I still don't love her but I totally see where you're coming from!!

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Thanks for reading! It makes my day to hear your thoughts and I will respond asap. :)