'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1' Goes Sexy

PHOTO Emma Watson as Hermione Granger and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley are shown in a scene from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--Part I."
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Talk about a silver lining.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1," which opens today, has a big one. And it exudes sex.

With one compelling visual that may equally thrill and shock rabid Hogwarts fans, sex has become part of the equation in the Harry Potter movie legacy.

The focal point of all that angst is Harry's longtime sidekick, Ron Weasley.

Ron Weasley? Don't be so surprised.

"There are a lot of teenyboppers who think Rupert Grint, who plays Ron, is terribly sexy," said Gregory Bassham, a professor of philosophy at King's College, in Wilkes-Barre, Penn., and editor of "The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles" (Wiley, 2010).

The vision witnessed by Ron leads him to visualize his worst fears," said Bassham.

Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

What Ron sees is Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) embracing, looking as though they're beyond the affectionate snogging stage. The two characters' skins radiate a slick, silvery glow, akin to the bronzed look on a model on the cover of a fashion magazine. In the segment, both Harry and Hermione's burnished physicality exudes an otherworldly and even slightly diabolical togetherness. As if that's not enough, Ron hears Hermione's apparition whispering to him, preying on his fears.

"In all probability, the image feeds Ron's insecurity, despair and jealousy," said Bassham.

Jealousy is an emotion Ron knows well. "For years, Ron has been chronically jealous of Harry. who's famous, rich and glamorous, with all the girls crazy about him," said Bassham. "We've seen, over several books, that Ron lacks confidence. And he's always suspected that Harry has this thing for Hermione."

"There's also the issue of inferiority," said Anne Collins Smith, a professor of philosophy and classical studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. "Ron is the middle child, overshadowed by his older brothers, and by Harry, who's The Boy Who Lived."

Smith, whose essays in "The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy" explore feminism and the power of love, also said Ron may feel that Hermione sees Harry as more attractive.

"It's only in the sixth book of the series, 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,' that Ron realizes that he loves Hermione," she said. "And if Hermione goes off with Harry, then Ron will lose Harry too. The vision is a vivid expression of Ron's nightmare that he might lose both of them."

Harry Potter and the Sexy Subplot

Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

The setting that frames Ron's vision doesn't help his psychological state.

Now that Harry has turned 17, his mother's protective spell can no longer help him. So the trio – Harry, Ron and Hermione – head to a desolate hiding place to avoid pursuit and ambush by Voldemort. Also on their agenda is to find and destroy several horcruxes, which are objects that contain bits of Voldemort's soul and are therefore linked to the Dark Lord's survival.

"Ron is very discouraged over what he perceives to be a suicide mission," said Bassham. "It's cold and rainy, and they're hungry. And, as Harry and Hermione go off to strategize, Ron feels very left out."

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