With only a natural redhead population of two percent, it’s no secret why the world is obsessed with this rare hair phenomenon. To show your appreciation to the redheads in your life, give them a kiss on January 20 to commemorate Kiss A Ginger Day!
To celebrate, we’re brightening your day—and your screen—with some of our favorite, fiery literary gingers.
The youngest son from fiction’s most iconic ginger family, Ron Weasley is the heart of the Harry Potter golden trio. Though the entire Weasley family is vital to Harry Potter’s success in his long-term battle against Voldemort, no one is more important to him than Ron. Described to have flaming red hair and freckles, Harry and Ron become fast and lasting friends at the beginning of the series. Ron isn’t very confident in himself, and though he isn’t famous like Harry or book-smart like Hermione, Ron Weasley brings his own talents to their group. He is a determined, witty, and loyal character, and it’s evident from the first book that Harry and Hermione would be lost without him.
Daring, day-dreaming, and dramatic nearly to a fault, Anne Shirley is the protagonist of the beloved series, Anne of Green Gables. She’s a courageous and rambunctious orphan who finds a new home with two adult siblings—though she manages to find quite a lot of trouble along the way. Though Anne has a lot of legitimate struggles in her life, she humorously finds the most tragedy in what a reader would think trivial in comparison. Though she’s one of the most memorable redheads in all of literature, Anne would probably give away her greatest possessions to ditch her ginger locks.
“Yes, it’s red,” [Anne] said resignedly. “Now you see why I can’t be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don’t mind the other things so much—the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. . . . But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. . . . But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow.”
First appearing in 1930, Nancy Drew started out as simply the female counterpart to the Hardy Boys, but eventually earned her spot as one of the most iconic literary sleuths—and literary gingers! Nancy’s hair color is famously inconsistent, changing from book to book and decade to decade. In the original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, the sharp and multi-talented teenage detective’s hair color changed from blonde to strawberry-blonde over the years, her most iconic shade being titian-red. Nancy broke barriers, surpassing the convention of the passive, emotional, and timid female archetypes of the time and went on to represent girl-power over. Seventy years later, the spirit of this ginger sleuthing queen is still inspiring young women.
When it comes to free spirits, Pippi Longstocking is in a league of her own. The sassy, independent nine-year-old made her literary debut in 1945, and she won hearts with her red braids and her big heart. Pippi has superhuman strength but she never uses her power for her own gain. Pippi moves to Villa Villekulla with a suitcase of gold coins and her monkey, Mr. Nilsson. Her widower father is off being a swashbuckling pirate captain, but Pippi is happy in her independence. Despite everyone around her saying she needs to conform, Pippi refuses to quash her wild side. This literary ginger remains a role model for children to be generous and self-assured.
Originally written in French, The Adventures of Tintin was a series of twenty-four album comic series that gained intense popularity around the world, published in 70 languages. Tintin pushed the boundaries of genre, dabbling in fantasy, political satire, mysteries, adventure, slapstick, and more. Undeniably a true redhead with his carrot-top and pink cheeks, Tintin is an investigative journalist that captured hearts and imaginations in radio, television, theatre, and film. His mild-mannered personality isn’t stereotypical for a ginger, which makes him a breath of fresh air.
In an old house in Paris
That was covered in vines
Lived twelve little girls
In two straight lines.
That’s the rhyme that opens each of the books in the Madeline series. Seven-year-old Madeline lives in a boarding school under the tutelage of Miss Clavel. Not only is she the only redhead in her class—she continues to stand out from the crowd with her bravery. Never one to dull down her vivacious personality, Madeline speaks to everyone as if she too were an adult. Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline has been adapted into television, film, and even video games. No matter where she is, this little redhead always manages to find an adventure, big and small.
Throughout A Song of Ice and Fire, Sansa Stark proves herself to be more than what meets the eye. The eldest daughter in House Stark is described to be beautiful, with high cheekbones, blue eyes. Her mother said of Sansa’s hair: “She had auburn hair, lighter than mine, and so thick and soft . . . the red in it would catch the light of the torches and shine like copper.” In the beginning of the series, Sansa is only preoccupied with the life she believes her beauty and social standing affords her. She dreams of fanciful fantasies of romance, chivalry, and becoming a queen. But when her betrothal to a cruel and murderous prince turns ugly and she witnesses her father beheaded, Sansa’s heart hardens. Throughout the series, in the face of a darkening world, Sansa learns that she must claim her own power.
Before our favorite wild teacher had her own television show, The Magic School Bus was a series of children’s science books. Since 1985, “The Friz” has been delighting children with fact-filled adventures—in space, on the ocean floor, inside the human body, and even through a beehive! Ms. Frizzle appearance has always been unapologetically eccentric. Though her patterned dresses, kooky earrings, and pet lizard are all unmistakably iconic, Ms. Frizzle’s main identifier is her wild, frizzy red hair. She continues to be a beloved character, a representation of how fun learning can be. As she always says: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”