J.K. Rowling, author of the best selling book series in the history of the world, has said that one of her romantic pairings at the end the Harry Potter series may have been a mistake. That’s right, she feels that Ron and Hermione getting together wouldn’t really work in the long run. But then what would?
In an interview with Wonderland magazine, previewed by the Sunday Times, Rowling goes so far as to say that Ron and Hermione probably would have ended up in marriage counseling. So why did Ron and Hermione end up tying the knot in the books? Let’s let the author use her own words, “For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”
Rowling also acknowledges that this statement will probably anger many of her fans, but messing with the final romantic pairings of the major characters of any book series is going to anger some of the fans. An author is allowed to feel however she wants about her characters, though. Imagine how well she knows those characters. We all feel like we know those characters and all we did was read the books.
With that small sentence due to the author’s final say in all things her universe, let’s start tearing this shit apart. Most articles are going to let all the discussion, flaming and madness happen in the comments section. I’m not going to do that here. Fuck it, I say, let’s wade in until our chins are bobbing at the waterline.
With this statement, I can definitely look back on the last book and see Rowling fighting with herself over who Hermione chooses, who she’ll be happier with. That tension and back and forth seemed natural to me. The situation was dire, Harry needed comfort and Ron was too insecure to ask for the solidity from Hermione that he needed. Considering the ages of the characters maybe Harry is angling for something a little deeper, but the relationship between Ron and Hermione seemed inevitable. Perhaps that comes down to good writing more than anything. Any awkwardness was placed on the age of the characters, not on the ambivalence of the writer.
Now, is 18-year-old-and-just-been-through-a-war Ron a dude who seems to have it together? Has he overcome his insecurities and communication issues to a point where he seems like a good marriage prospect for someone like Hermione? When I put it that way Rowling’s misgivings make a little more sense. Maybe Ron and Hermione’s differences are deeper than “opposites attract.” Maybe Hermione needs something else. Maybe Ron just isn’t going to grow up into someone that will be able to keep up with Hermione. She’s something of a force of nature.
Okay, so I can see that Ron and Hermione might have problems, but do Harry and Hermione make any more sense? If Rowling set out writing with the intent to put Ron and Hermione together it makes sense that their relationship simply doesn’t seem to naturally end in marriage. The relationship simply isn’t written very romantically. There are hints and gestures, but they come off more as adolescents stumbling through the first stirrings of looking at the opposite sex more than falling in love, or even a crush.
Following that train of logic would alter the characters and their relationships so badly that we may as well imagine a universe where Harry and Hagrid are sneaking off for midnight make-outs. Yes, I am sure there’s a fanfic about that. No, I do not need a link or copy. If we’re to re-write the whole series, even keeping basic characters intact, we can do anything we want. Harry and Hermione seems fairly obvious, so from a meta-perspective I think putting Ron and Hermione together works. It’s reasonably believable without being mind-numbingly obvious.
I believe Ron is 17 by the end of the series, and any of us that hasn’t grown significantly from how we were at 17 are failed human beings. We don’t see what happens to Ron, or Hermione, between the end of a WAR and ushering their children off to their first year at Hogwarts. I respect that the author would like to change it, but I have no real problem with the pairing.
If you’re going to change Hermione’s fate though, put her with Neville. I think Harry and Hermione is an obvious pairing that would take away immensely from the narrative and I prefer that they weren’t together. But, do you know who I really object to as a couple? Ginny and Harry.
The whole thing seems lazy and incestuous. Probably somebody from the inner trinity needs to end up with Hermione. One could stretch for Victor Krum, but it would be a stretch. Harry has a few female relationships with romantic potential. Ginny Weasley is a little girl who has a crush on him. He certainly begins to admire her strength, and she certainly grows out of being the annoying little sister with a crush. They really don’t have much to go on, though. I can’t recall a single moment of serious connection between them that made that ending feel natural to me. It felt like a way to keep it all in the family, rather than being true to either character.
Harry has one canonical romance besides Ginny, and one relationship that I think could have become a deep and wonderful romance. I think the Cho Chang relationship is both realistic and perfectly serves its purpose. She’s pretty and intense and a little confusing. She’s from Ravenclaw, so maybe Harry is stepping out of the house structure and rebelling a little. they’re both young and the whole thing ends in confusion and acrimony, but they both grow up and move on. Sure, it’s a bit awkward, but eventually it’s just fine.
It’s a fine blueprint for young people’s first go at having a relationship. It frees up both Harry and Cho to have deeper, more mature relationships later and you feel like they’ve both grown from the experience. It’s even a nice example of how dating doesn’t have to totally ruin any possibility of a friendly relationship down the line. It totally works, but only if it ends.
The female character who shows a unique and personal understanding of Mr. Harry Potter is Luna Lovegood. They have a few really good moments where Luna shows that she gets it in a way that no other character does. They both have an understanding of tragedy, Luna having actually watched her mother die. If anything keeps them apart it seems to be that Harry is shallow and lazy.
He’s unwilling to pursue a girl who might take a little bit of effort, who isn’t openly flirty with him. She’s as strong and determined as any other character in the Potter universe and has a perspective that proves both valuable and insightful. What better romantic match than a girl who knows Harry and understands at least some of his past experience. And I’m not just drawing a superficial comparison. She demonstrates on a few occasions that she and Harry can communicate on a level that he can’t with anybody else.
It’s a pairing that feels more immediate than the Ginny pairing, and it doesn’t require rewriting any events. Their interactions might need some tone adjustment, but I don’t think you’d need to massively alter the facts of the books in order to get the two of them together. They just need to take a little more action on the connection they already have.
So, if we’re gonna start mucking about with marriages at the end of the Harry Potter series, I really don’t think it’s Ron and Hermione that that need to be examined. They may not be ideal, but they’re far from unbelievable. If any relationship deserves a little rethink it’s Harry and Ginny, and I think there are better options than Hermione.
Oh, and the interviewer for this article? Emma Watson.