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Friending, Cho - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Friending, Cho
I really have to find a good way to organize my f-list, especially now that--right after I determined I needed to pare it down--I went wild over at the Friending Frenzy and added quite a few. It's getting hard to separate between RL and online (and online, among HP, SW, etc). Maybe just aphabetically? With a special category for old, old friends, because I have a feeling I'm missing posts from friends I have outside of fandom, since they rarely seem to get reported in the fandom newsletters for some reason, and my f-list moves very quickly.

One person I friended yesterday (dreamer_marie) has a no Cho-bashing rule (or Ginny, Tonks, or JK, which I also agree with). I answered without thinking about it--yay to the no bashing. Now, of course you all know that I don't bash Ginny, Tonks, or JKR, but I don't think I've ever sat down and contemplated the Cho question particularly deeply.

As a character in an epic fantasy, Cho doesn't interest me, because Cho is not remotely interested in being a character in an epic fantasy. She was also--and I think it's pretty obvious in the text--an absolutely horrible match for Harry. But I have to go with Harry's assessment that she probably would have been perfectly fine with someone else, and he was no prize in that ship, either. She's not a strong, tough girl who does well under great pressure.

That said, in OotP, she comes off as a very, very real girl. She was in pain and cried a lot. She stuck by a friend who had stuck by her, even though the friend did something quite nasty, and she was able to see nuances--unlike Harry, she is willing to believe that Marietta may have reasons for doing what she did, even though she disagrees with it. That shows some strength of character, even if it's in a way that's negative to the storyline: Cho doesn't place her boyfriend's priorities above her best friend's. Now, it can be argued that Harry's priorities in this situation are life-or-death (quite literally), but Cho isn't necessary to that. She has a grudge because of Cedric, which will probably keep her in play, but she's not invested in the organized fight, which was what the DA was part of.

She's a pretty, popular girl who appears to have been uninterested in the war until the death of someone she cared about, but JKR doesn't write her as vapid or surface; she's just someone with priorities way outside of the story... priorities, in fact, that are rather close to fanon priorities--who will be loved by whom, what does it mean to love someone and lose him, and so on. I'm actually surprised she's not written more, for precisely that reason; she seems tailor-made for romantic angst.

I find that Cho is someone I have little personal connection to--questions of romance and so on don't tend to interest me overmuch--but she does come off as real and worthy of at least some degree of sympathy.

So, yeah--I'm against Cho-bashing. She's not perfect, but she doesn't deserve to be villified.

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62 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
prettyveela From: prettyveela Date: October 25th, 2005 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree that Cho doesn't interest me like say, Snape, but yeah she doesn't deserve the crap she's been getting. I predict it will be even worse when the GoF movie comes out. :\
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2005 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
:Chris Chambers icon love:

Yeah, she doesn't fascinate me, but the jealous outpourings against her? Please.
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: October 25th, 2005 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most of the Cho-bashing i've seen is in H/G fics where she's the evil other woman trying to steal Harry back from Ginny. Which makes no sense for her and Harry's characters.

I think Harry is justified in dropping Cho for supporting Marietta. But I agree, she deserves sympathy rather than vilification.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2005 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Right--there is a place to be sympathetic to someone you disagree with!

And I really doubt that Cho would try to steal Harry back. They didn't exactly have a grand relationship.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: October 25th, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay to that! The reason why I hate Cho bashing is that most people comment on her crying and say "oh! She's such a cry-baby, she doesn't deserve Harry." The fact is that Cho was suffering from an awful depression and I know what it is like. I also knew someone in real life who was depressed and had to suffer from a lot of bashing, both to her face and behind her back, because of that. Nevermind that she'd had the most awful chilhood I'd ever heard of, nevermind she was doing an internship that was not paid, the fact that she was unable to show up before 12 AM was inexcusable. I was very angry about that and had to spend a lot of time defending her and comforting her. Cho-bashing reminds me of that, and I think the people who indulge in it are awful and/or immature.
Much the same goes for Tonks, who's obviously very depressed in HBP and still does her best. Anyone who can't aknowledge that deserves to be called some words I only know in French.
Ginny is a character I really like. I don't see how people can say that her characterization is bad. It's subtle and it's very good, I think. There's also the fact that she had to suffer something with comes very close to rape. She gets over it. She had an ugly crush on someone who didn't really notice her. She gets the guy. Ginny is someone I want to look like. Bash her, and I'll feel you're bashing me, or at least my ideal vision of me.
As for JKR-bashing, come on. She's Goddess. You don't bash Goddess or she will smite you with refusal to sail or sink your ship, and you'll spend your time in hell till book seven. After that, she'll obliterate you in the last chapter by telling you that Remus and Tonks got married and Hermione and Ron got married and Harry and Ginny got married and lived happily ever after.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah. I like to smack people over the head for kvetching about Tonks in HBP. If I had to deal with all things she's dealing with as an Auror, an Order member, and a Black, and then threw in the man I loved being away and incommunicado on a dangerous mission... dude, I'd be a little puddle of goo. Getting my hair to turn pink wouldn't be a top priority. Another thing about Tonks is that quite a lot of what we see in HBP is attributable to more than depression--she's also grown up a lot after being wounded badly in battle.
cyndisuesue From: cyndisuesue Date: October 25th, 2005 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always seen the Cho- bashing as a sign of immaturity of the reader. She's never really been on my radar much. A nice looking plot point to move Harry along. Teach him a few of life's lessons and onwards towards the future.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2005 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
She's not high on my radar, either, which is probably why it took so long for me to post much about her one way or the other. Why hate the poor girl?
drakyndra From: drakyndra Date: October 25th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Speaking of flists, you went and friended me back. That's...so random. You have no idea who I am! You're this whole BNF, and I'm just some random.

And I agree about the Cho-bashing. Though she's far from my favourite character, she gets a lot of undeserved hate, just for daring to be Harry's crush.

And I feel really sorry for Katie Leung. She's going to be treated horribly, I just know it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2005 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're this whole BNF, and I'm just some random.

LOL! I'm no BNF, just a fast writer who talks a lot.

And I feel really sorry for Katie Leung. She's going to be treated horribly, I just know it.

I love fandom--honestly, truly--but the whack-jobs on the fringes who really will be horrible to KL make me want to scream. Even if you must absolutely bash the character, for G-d's sake, Katie Leung is a kid hired to play a part.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
nentari From: nentari Date: October 25th, 2005 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for your insight. I hate character bashing in any forms (even when I dislike a character, I hate seeing him/her being bashed), so I loved to read your viewpoints on Cho.
I've never felt that much connection with Cho for the same reasons you've stated, but I've always liked the fact that she has real human emotions - and this is even more true in OotP. She might make the wrong decisions (well, in Harry's perspective, that is, which doesn't necessarily mean it's the right perspective), but I can understand her reasons and accept them.
dangermousie From: dangermousie Date: October 25th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't like or dislike Cho. I find her shallow and drama queenish, but then, so are many a 15 year old. She'd make a nice enough girlfriend (as you pointed out) to someone, especially when she matures, just not to Harry. She is an added stressor, not an opportunity for Harry to relax.

I do think there is a difference between saying "I don't like Cho because ___" and provide a reasoned argument, and the bizarre stuff I saw after book 4, the badly spelled gist of which was "Cho sucks because she stole Harry who is mine OMG."
funwithrage From: funwithrage Date: October 27th, 2005 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, pretty much. I mean, if I were to write a TVWoP-style recap of fifth-through-sixth-season "Buffy," for example, the phrase "...shut up, Dawn....' would appear approximately sixty squillion times. Pretty much the same is true for OOtP and Cho. (I don't think depression excuses using other people as unpaid therapists nor being irrational and jealous and touchy; I don't think that unconditional loyalty is always a virtue; and, while I don't find her unrealistic, I know many real people I want to smack. And now you know.)


However, "I dislike this character because she interrupts the slash pairing in my head/she dates the male I want/bleah!" is lame. As is writing hatefic, as is posting lists about why/how characters should die, as is jumping on every post that mentions them in order to gnash your teeth. Do I like Cho? Nope. If someone asks why, or presents arguments for sympathizing, will I give my reasons? Yep. But overall, she's a tiny little percent of the book, and my taste is not a universal standard, and I can deal.


shake_n_shimmy From: shake_n_shimmy Date: October 25th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I was reading OoTP, I never disliked Cho. I just thought she was too messed up emotionally to be attempting to go into a new relationship, especially with Harry, who was so involved with the--er--literal death of her last one!

I joined my first RP after reading OoTP, and on the OOC board was my first look into the HP fandom, and I was sorta scared. I was the only one defending Cho on the board, where everyone else was like "NUUUU SHE'S A WHINEY BABYYY!!111!" and I was like "Hmmm, okay--must be some intelligent life out there somewhere..." So, maybe Cho's the reason why I'm quite aware of everything going on in the fandom (mostly a lurker, of course :P), she was my reason for venturing out into the unknown :D
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: October 25th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're right, of course. I don't think about Cho that much. Harry's outgrown her, and so I don't really pay attention to her any more. But when I do, I feel sorry for her. I don't think she's a girl I would have had much in common with, but I wouldn't have disliked her immensely, either. She's been through a lot, and her story is almost entirely unrelated to the one we are reading. She's only tangentially connected to Harry & Co.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: October 25th, 2005 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always had a lot of respect for the way Cho stands up for Marietta, practically at the cost of all the other friendships in the DA. Like you said, it's negative to the story line and Harry's arc, but it took some actual guts. Loyalty is always a worthwhile trait, no matter the guise. [Which is actually interesting when you contrast Cho/Harry/Marietta in Bk 5 with Ginny/Harry/Ron+Hermione in Bk 6. Not bashing, just noticing the differences.] Cho's good enough at Quidditch to be almost classified as a tomboy. And she's brave.

I won't entirely classify Cho as overly concerned with romance. I'm not sure if she's ever shown any interest in any romance other than hers - or Harry's. She was certainly not perceptive enough to see the sparks between Harry and Ginny. Apparently, her first boyfriend was Cedric at 15 - which is actually restrained compared to Hermione at 14 with Krum, or Ginny at 13, with Michael.

I've never gone out with a guy that was murdered by a vicious serial killer and I think Cho's odd crying here and there was not only very realistic, but even dignified. A lot of people won't have been able to go back to the same school.

Not that I think Cho/Harry in Bk 5 failed because of Harry. I think it failed because it had rebound written all over. She practically told him [on Valentine's Day] that she went out with him because he was there at Cedric's death and she saw him (Harry) as someone who understood what she was going through. Harry's very predictable reaction to being used as a human cry-blanket, actually shows how little Cho knew about boys/romance etc.

I'm not sure I would have had a lot in common with Cho. She's good at sports: I'm a klutz. Pretty enough to have caught the eye of 'He-Who-Would-Have-Been-HeadBoy'. I don't think I would have had the guts to go back to Hogwarts 6th year. Between my boyfriend being brutally murdered and me becoming the subject of some twisted fame, I would probably have asked my parents for a transfer. And I'm not sure I would have stuck by Marietta. Not because she was right or wrong but simply because I would never have been able to live with the unpopularity it cost me.
From: andra_dodger Date: October 25th, 2005 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you about Cho. I do think about her character sometimes, but it's always in the context of "if this were a different sort of book..." She is a very human character, and her relationship with Harry was very realistic given Harry's limited romantic experience and Cedric's recent death; I just can't imagine her as part of the epic fight against evil.
I think people who hate Cho (or worse KL) either can't understand the effects of grief or are jealous that a character they don't personally identify with attracts Harry/DR's romantic interest. This also seems to be what motivates some Ginny hate. Girls identify with bookish Hermione and not sporty, popular Ginny and so they think Hermione should get the hero.
mafdet From: mafdet Date: October 25th, 2005 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I get annoyed with Cho, but I don't hate her. I feel sorry for her. I see her as a nice, pretty girl who has everything going for her - Seeker on her House Quidditch team, she's popular, she has a boyfriend most girls would envy her for - and then her boyfriend dies and her playing suffers and she loses her friends and it's hard for her to deal with that, because she's led a charmed life for the most part. In a way, she's out of her depth.

No, Cho wasn't the right girl for Harry, but I'd say that Mr. Potter wasn't exactly Sir Galahad either. He was a bumbling doofus much of the time in their relationship. Cho and Harry were not right for each other. And I think that Cho didn't need a new boyfriend as much as she needed a good friend, but a lot of teenagers think they need romance when they really need friends. At least Cho was smart enough to realize that Roger "Sir Snogsalot" Davies was not going to be ideal boyfriend material.

I do wish Cho hadn't sided with Marietta, who I think is an awful person, a quisling and a rotten friend who doesn't deserve Cho's loyalty. All kinds of bad things could have happened to Cho thanks to her dear friend. But I think this goes to show that Cho does need friends and is loyal to them. At any rate, I can't blame Harry for being angry that Cho sided with Marietta, because Marietta really did do a bad thing.
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: October 26th, 2005 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
because she's led a charmed life for the most part. In a way, she's out of her depth.

Very insightful. Even someone who hasn't led a charmed life would have trouble dealing with something this big - Harry did, after all - but he'd already developed some coping skills.

I do wish Cho hadn't sided with Marietta, who I think is an awful person, a quisling and a rotten friend who doesn't deserve Cho's loyalty.

I could not agree more. I have sympathy for Cho, but not a drop for Marietta, and I think it's a shame Cho doesn't understand the magnitude of Marietta's betrayal.

I don't dislike Cho, but I don't really like her either. I think she's a tad manipulative, and she seems to enjoy the drama of her misfortune too much. I think that huge scene in Madam Puddifoot's happened in part because she was so aware of how she would appear to everyone around her.
dsbs From: dsbs Date: October 25th, 2005 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.

I've always thought Cho was a realistic character and was horrified at the immense amount of hatred she got from everywhere. I'd say more, really, but I'm still not done the work from yesterday :/
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: October 25th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
What really pisses me off is that some people have taken this to the point where Katie Leung is being bashed. I cannot imagine how much that must hurt her.

Cho was a confused teenager, not an evil, vile person. And I didn't get the Cho hate pre-OoTP at *all.*

spookykat From: spookykat Date: October 25th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think ANY character deserves to be villified. Especially when the character in question is not a villain in the first place. And I don't understand why people tend to villify characters like Dumbledore and Snape, who are neither perfect angels or raging devils at all in canon?? Like you, I can't identify with Cho, but that doesn't make her a bad person. That just makes her a hard character to write fanfic-wise.

I think that Cho's entire purpose for being a part of the story at all was being Harry's Absolutely Horrible Match (tm). On the surface, Harry and Cho have two things in common: they're both on Quidditch teams and they are both trying to deal with the death of Cedric. The big difference between Harry and Cho in the latter's regard is that for Harry, I think Cedric's death is the first time Voldemort's quest for eternal life at his expense is personal. Not to say that loosing his parents aren't personal, but this is the first time Voldemort's killed someone he knows.

As for Cho, however, Cedric was her boyfriend. You can't get more personal than that. This can add to the things that Harry and Cho had in common. However, unlike Harry, I don't think she really connects Cedric's death with Voldemort's activities.

Therefore, the way in which they deal with Cedric's death is going to be very very different. Harry deals with it by being pro-active in the fight against Voldemort. Cho deals with it by being Little Miss Emo Queen.

I think that Harry liked Cho in the first place because she was Little Miss Unattainable. She was a safe crush, because as long as she was with Cedric, she couldn't be his. But then, lo and behold, she does show an interest in him, and all of a sudden, he really doesn't know what to do. EVERYTHING he attempts to do with this girl to build a relationship with her is tainted by Cedric (and not on his part). Every time he tries to make a move on her, she's by all appearances okay with that, but then she bursts into tears.

She's definitely portrayed as someone who can't handle adventure and life-threatening circumstances that being Harry's significant other seems to lend itself to. But I can't help but wonder if we'll see more of Cho in book 7, only this time as someone who's taken a stand one way or the other.

Hmmm...this may be an entry later...

~SK
akashasheiress From: akashasheiress Date: October 25th, 2005 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Word, big fat word!

I think JKR herself would tell us that we're supposed to feel sorry for Cho, considering she herself has experienced both depression and the loss of a loved one (so have I, so I tend to get pretty defensive of Cho as well).
vytresna From: vytresna Date: October 25th, 2005 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't bash Ginny, per sez, but I just don't find the transition from GoF Ginny to OotP Ginny particularly believable.
emmagrant01 From: emmagrant01 Date: October 26th, 2005 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)
The level of Cho-hate in this fandom really stuns me, I have to say. I'm using Cho in a (WIP) fic of mine, and the reaction to her has really stunned me. People are so willing to hate her and to blame her for things beyond her control, and I'm really struggling not to let that influence my writing. It's hard, because I'm not sure where the vitriole against her comes from.

Someone recently commented that they didn't believe she could be an Auror (as she is in the fic) and be as girly as I'm portraying her. So the thing is, there's a few scenes in which she's being all girly and dreamy about Harry, and this is somehow supposed to be a sign that the woman is not Auror material. That blows my mind, to be honest. I mean, I consider myself a pretty serious career woman, but I have my girly moments over shoes and certain actors and geez, fandom. I don't see those things as contradictory. I can be a girly girl and a serious woman at the same time. I'm not sure why this shouldn't be true for fictional women as well.

But the larger issue seems to be (IMO, at least) that Cho represents that girl we loved to hate in high school, the beautiful one who was also smart and popular and class president and on the honor roll and got the great guys. SOmetimes I think people take out their bitterness at that girl's success on Cho, who seems to be that girl at Hogwarts.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2005 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't write Cho particulararly, except that short piece I did on a challenge, so the main exposure I've had has been the shocking level of vitriol thrown at Katie Leung, much of it actively racist.

I think you have a good point about Cho as a high school alpha girl substitute, though JKR is very careful to show her being nice, and being gentle with Harry's crush in GoF, so she really doesn't fit the type.
terredancer From: terredancer Date: October 26th, 2005 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I've never understood the bashing of Cho.

In my own way, I actually sort of like her and find her interesting. One of the first stories I tried (and failed) to write was about Cho. And now that I think about it, the way she wound up being in OotP was about what I expected. Not the thing with Harry, but the crying. So I didn't think it was a big deal.

I like the fact that she's not perfect. I like the fact that she's very real.

Just... rebounding with Harry was a bad idea for her. Hell, rebounding period was a bad idea for her.
tiferet From: tiferet Date: October 26th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Pay attention, you won't hear this from me very often, but...

WORD.
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: October 27th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
::iconLOVE::

*presses 1*

(Am still slightly pissed off at Ron's portrayal in HBP...)
euphory From: euphory Date: October 26th, 2005 01:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I totally agree with you. Amazing how Cho got all the bashing for being a real girl, where as Ginny Sue or Hermione can basically do anything they want and still come off easily. She's just an easy target. Being a really minor character and Harry's first crush and Raveclaw (a house of no interest) and Asian, it's just easy to get away to bash her, whereas Hermione-bashing or Ginny-bashing would arouse strong reactions from their fans.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2005 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, Ginny gets a lot of crap for it--the Ginny bashing out there makes Cho bashing look mild.
sea_of_tethys From: sea_of_tethys Date: October 26th, 2005 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Amen. I think people are really hard on her - most teenage girls wouldn't deal too well with their boyfriend's murder. You might not relate to her, but she's really not a bad person.
amanuensis1 From: amanuensis1 Date: October 26th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't get the Cho hate. I never have. I liked her when Harry liked her, and when she and Harry split with the air of "not to be" I felt the same way Harry did, that it was like something in the past without any painful memories of it. I suspect when I go to see GoF as a movie I'll be fond of Cho all over again.
greyashowl From: greyashowl Date: October 27th, 2005 10:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I never really noticed the Cho bashing (was this before or after OotP). I just see her as pretty much a transition (for Harry) character, she played her role and now it is time to move on. What is there to hate?
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