Let’s talk about how Cho cried in History of Magic (under Binns’ slow drone), in bathroom stalls (Myrtle peeked and this was sometimes enough to startle Cho into wet giggles), in her four poster (silencing charms tossed up around her, but Marietta crept over anyway, rolled her eyes and gave her some chocolate), behind the greenhouses, in the Forest, over homework and letters home.
Cho cried and she survived Pansy Parkinson’s cruel jabs about a dead boy. She wept and she passed all her classes, kept up with Quidditch, watched fairweather friends scatter in the cold wind. She got very good at wordlessly summoning tissues and she joined the DA against her parents’ wishes.
They had told her to behave, begged her, ordered her, as the threatening darknesses of the world clung close even inside Hogwarts, and Cho walked out to the little pub in Hogsmeade and wrote her name down on Hermione’s list.
I hope someone in the DA told Cho that she ought to have been in Gryffindor.
I hope she laughed at them, hard.
Integrity. Truth. Honor. Dedication. These were the tenets of her House, of the blue and the bronze, the eagle called raven (called nerd, called stuck-up, called so many things that were not their names). Bravery was only one way to be a hero.
I hope Luna drifted into Cho’s orbit and Cho into hers. I hope Luna sent paper airplanes over the bathroom stall when Cho was crying in there and took her out to see thestrals.
Maybe Cho squeaked at first sight of her first thestral, because of her mother’s horror stories, or simply because she wore her reactions on her sleeve. But I hope she froze herself before she ran. I hope Cho held her breath and let her heart calm down. I hope she thought they were beautiful, in the end, these bony creatures who only appear for the grieving.
They are not creatures of death, these skeletal horses and their sweet tempers. They are creatures of life. They are for the ones who have been left behind.
I hope Cho believed her when Luna touched a pinky to her cheek and told her solemnly that tears are gifts. “They feed blibbering grackles,” Luna explained, and told Cho how very generous of her it was to share so many.
Cho was one of the few DA members to produce a corporeal Patronus. Hers was a swan, an emblem of grace, of beauty, of lovers, a bird with dense muscle and a terrible temper who is romanticized to be sweet and useless. They’ll mob you, swans do, if you get too close to their nests. They have teeth.
What sort of happy thought did it take to make a silver swan to defend her from bad dreams? Dementors are despair, they are grief, the kind of grief that steals your soul before it kills you.
Cho’s was not that kind of grief. Hers was the grief of the living. She was flying and learning and loving and, yes, crying. Cedric was not. Her pretty world, at fifteen, had been shattered. It was darker than anyone had ever warned her of, but she was growing into it. She was growing up. Sometimes that takes tears.
Mourning is not selfless. We do not weep for the dead. We weep for the living—what could have been and the tragedy that is. We weep because our hearts are breaking. It is not selfless but neither are we. We are selves.