The Most Gryffindor-y Gryffindors That Ever Were
Rereading this scene from CS and it kind of blew me away.
Next moment, [Harry] was standing alone, gazing at a solid wall of broken rock.
“Ron!” he shouted. “Are you okay? Ron!”
“I’m here!“ came Ron’s muffled voice from behind the rockfall. "I’m okay — this git’s not, though — he got blasted by the wand —”
There was a dull thud and a loud “ow!” It sounded as though Ron had just kicked Lockhart in the shins.
“What now?” Ron’s voice said, sounding desperate. “We can’t get through — it’ll take ages…”
Harry looked up at the tunnel ceiling. Huge cracks had appeared in it. He had never tried to break apart anything as large as these rocks by magic, and now didn’t seem a good moment to try — what if the whole tunnel caved in?
There was another thud and another “ow!” from behind the rocks. They were wasting time. Ginny had already been in the Chamber of Secrets for hours…Harry knew there was only one thing to do.
“Wait there,” he called to Ron. “Wait with Lockhart. I’ll go on… If I’m not back in an hour…”
There was a very pregnant pause.
“I’ll try and shift some of this rock,” said Ron, who seemed to be trying to keep his voice steady. “So you can — can get back through. And, Harry —”
“See you in a bit,” said Harry, trying to inject some confidence into his shaking voice.
And he set off alone past the giant snake skin.
That’s pretty heavy for a pair of 12-year-olds.
Both of them know that Ginny is probably dead.
Earlier in the scene, Ron had asked Harry if he thought there was “any chance at all she’s not — you know—,” and Harry privately couldn’t see how she could be alive.
Obviously, Harry is being extraordinarily brave. He knows what needs to be done, and he knows that he’s the only one who can do it. He can’t not try, not when there’s the “faintest wildest chance” that Ginny is still alive. And while it’s not the last time Harry will have to go it alone or confront the reality that he might not come back, I think it’s the closest he comes to actually having the “if I don’t come back” conversation.
But Ron deserves credit too.
There’s no question in my mind that Ron wanted to be on the other side of that barrier with his best friend. He was the one who suggested they stop moping in the common room and go to Lockhart’s office to tell him what they know.
For a Gryffindor like Ron, fighting the basilisk is infinitely preferable to playing the waiting game. If Harry and Ginny had died, imagine how Ron would have felt. He would have spent the rest of his life grieving for them and feeling guilty that he didn’t go along with them. *If I had gone with them, maybe Harry and I could have fought off the basilisk. Maybe we would have been able to save Ginny.* In some ways, I think he would prefer to die along with them then be the only man left standing.
So he could have said, “No, let’s try to move some of this rock so I can come too!” He could have refused to let Harry go alone or argued for his right to come because Ginny was his sister.
But Ron knows as well as Harry that the clock is ticking. Delaying might give Ron peace of mind and allow him to be part of the action, but every minute they spend trying to free Ron lowers Ginny’s chances. It would be selfish of Ron to try to come with Harry.
He knows they don’t have time to find a way through the rocks right then, he doesn’t have a working wand, and they’ve got Lockhart to worry about. He knows that if Harry/Ginny make it back, they’re going to need to get through to the other side.
So he stays behind. Ron’s going to spend an indeterminate amount of time heaving rocks out of the way, babysitting a lunatic professor, and praying that his sister and his best friend aren’t dead. It’s not exciting, cool, or heroic as Harry’s actions. But in some ways, it’s just as brave.
TL;DR: Ron/Harry are so fucking amazing, and the most Gryffindor Gryffindors there ever were.