In Harry Potter, Cho Chang’s film iteration featured many changes from the books. And it could be argued her film version deserved much better.
The Harry Potter franchise has shown time and again why it’s so beloved as both a written and visual medium, thanks to its characters. While there are outright heroes littered throughout the story, there are also ordinary people with no preordained destiny, just trying to make the right choices for themselves and others around them. And with the setting of a magical school that taught kids through their most formative years, drama is bound to turn up. Sadly, drama is exactly what gave a character like Cho Chang a bad rap in the films.
In the books and the movies, Cho was Harry’s first girlfriend, one of the few prominent Ravenclaws like Luna Lovegood and a member of Dumbledore’s Army. Similarly to Harry, she was also a Seeker for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. While her character is one that had faced many difficult choices in her latter years at Hogwarts, she was still one to take a stand when the time came and do the right thing rather than cower. But one event fundamentally changed her characterization when compared to the novelization.
Did Cho Chang Betray Dumbledore’s Army in the Harry Potter Books?
In the Harry Potter films, Cho Chang was a loyal member of Dumbledore’s Army. This group was designed to do what the Ministry of Magic would no longer allow at Hogwart-s safely practice Defense Against the Dark Arts. It showed that characters like Harry were adept at teaching others and helped ensure the children could protect themselves now that Lord Voldemort had returned. But because the Ministry, mainly their appointed Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Delores Umbridge, was adamant about finding where they trained, she targeted Cho, using a serum that forced her to out her friends against her will.
The act effectively severed the ties between her and Harry, who were dating, and made her an outcast. But in the book, Cho acted more in the best interest of her friend, Marietta Edgecombe, who was the one that exposed the army in the books. When Hermione learned of the betrayal, she activated a charm that caused the word “sneak” to be written on Marietta’s cheek using purple pustules. It was a cruel trick that Cho disagreed with, and she left Harry and sided with her friend, who was just as much of a victim.
Cho Chang Deserved More Recognition for Her Actions
Cho’s relationship with Harry wasn’t destined to go far even without the events of Dumbledore’s Army and its exposure. Their relationship was strained as Cho still felt great sadness for the loss of Cedric Diggory and also felt jealousy over how close Harry and Hermione were. There was also the fact that Harry sided with his friends when the group was outed, forcing Cho to side with hers. And with the typical teenage drama that dooms most couples at this time, it’s hard to blame Cho for what had happened, especially in the films, where she was forced to betray her friends against her will.
In reality, Cho’s choices in the books showed a higher level of maturity on her part, as her friend had equally done nothing wrong and didn’t deserve the punishment she got. This loyalty and maturity also shined as Cho later appeared during the Battle of Hogwarts. But what made her appearance so important was that she had already graduated and had no reason to risk her life. Ultimately, Cho Chang was no different than the many other innocents manipulated to act a certain way by those much more sinister than them. That said, se had shown that she was more than an act that didn’t define her and proved that she deserved far better than she got.