Hello Lovely Readers,
As you have not doubt seen by now, there has been quiet a ruckus raised over some comments that JK Rowling has said about the relationship of Hermione and Ron. Below are just a handful of examples of the story, just click to see each one.
I highly suggest you check a couple of these out, even though they almost all say the same thing. What is important is what is missing from these reports. While there are actual quotes from Rowling (being interviewed by Emma Watson who portrayed Hermione in the films) saying that she made a mistake with Hermione and Ron ending up together, there are no actual quotes saying that Hermione should have been with Harry instead (like so many of the articles are saying). While the full interview has not been released yet (it will be in Wonderland magazine where Watson is a guest editor), and there may be more that Rowling said, so far the evidence of this second sentiment hasn’t been proved.
Now this is a topic Frances and I have discussed on many occasions, and I know I have rather strong opinions on the ending of the Harry Potter Series. One of my biggest complaints was about the couples, and that everyone ended up with whoever was essentially their High School sweetheart. Now in bygone eras, this was certainly more the case, but honestly it is very rare now to see people in lasting relationships from high school, while marriages and kids happen, so to do divorces. So I have complaints about all the main couples. However, I have always had an issue with Hermione and Ron ending up together, and I am happy to hear Rowling’s explanation.
Rowling in the articles admits that she let a wish/vision from the beginning of the series cloud her judgment, and with time and space from the project she can see the mismatch. At the very least she admits they would need marriage counseling. I think that is rather brave of her to say that she made a mistake, and the reason behind it makes her even more human, at least to my eyes. As someone who would love to do more creative writing, I understand that sometimes time and space are needed, and those were in really short supply for Rowling by the end of the series, as publishers and fans demanded an ending.
One other thing that I think this whole brouhaha shows is the dangers of epilogues. Once an author has released their story out into the world, it is hopefully read by readers. Some of these people will love the story, but for very different reasons, and they will interpret it very different. After the story ends, the readers usually have opinions about what happens, or what should happen with the characters and plot after. The trouble with epilogues is that they confine this imagining. While Rowling wanted to leave us all with the knowledge that the great war had actually changed things, and that people were able to move on, she also severely restricted the fans. An epilogue that is close to the end of the story in time is easier, it adds fewer constraints to the characters lives after the main story. However, by setting the epilogue 19 years in the future, all readers (those who honor the epilogue, which I do not) then have a set point in 19 years where the characters end up. This is a lot harder for readers and fans, especially when they disagree with the author about things (especially romantic pairings). I think if Rowling had set the epilogue only a year or two later after the defeat of Voldemort, and Hermione and Ron were dating, that would have been fine, as there is no constraint for how long that relationship has to last (which is useful for those who dislike the pairing).
So I thought I would also add briefly why this pairing has always bothered me and my thoughts on Hermione and Harry. My main issue with the Harry Potter Series has always been that I haven’t ever really liked Ron. I know this is rather shocking to some, but I have never liked him, and I especially didn’t like how he treated his friends. In almost every book there is a point where Ron stops talking to one of his friends, usually Hermione (although notably Harry in the fifth book). Ron has trouble taking other people’s feelings into consideration, and is prone to extreme jealousy, and when that flares will say some really hurtful things. For me personally I also have trouble with his attitude towards school, but I am a bit like Hermione about learning. However, there is never anything that Ron really seems to become passionate about, except maybe the Chudley Cannons. But every other character seems to find something that they find interesting and seek to better themselves in that area and most of them try to find jobs in those areas (Harry with Defense Against the Dark Arts and Quidditch, Neville with herbology, Luna with mystical/made up creatures, the twins with their joke shop, etc.). He never seems to grow up.
So with Ron being my least favorite character and Hermione being one of my favorites (and the one I identified with most) I was never going to like them together. While I enjoy some opposites attract stories, it just doesn’t feel like it would last or work here. Hermione is one of the brightest witches and love learning for the sake of learning, and only passably knows quidditch. However, Ron seems allergic to book learning and seems only to come alive when talking about qudditch. Which combined leaves me wondering what they talk about. Hermione, I can imagine listening about qudditch, but nothing in Ron’s previous behaviors lends itself to being happy for Hermione for her future accolades and awards, nor can I see him pretending to be interested in what she is saying about something she recently read. Most of all I remember when Ron walked out on Harry and Hermione, and I can’t imagine that Hermione would be able to forget that. If he walked away when the whole world was at stake, what is to say he wouldn’t walk away again? How can a relationship last through the aftermath of a war, the burying of friends and loved ones, a young marriage, kids and separate careers, and yet these two have trouble even talking/being around each other for a full school year?
Now as for Harry and Hermione, I have always said that I think Hermione was a better friend to Harry in all the books than Ron was. There were times where Harry and Hermione were mad at each other, but in the end they both understood why the other one had done what they did, and they were willing to admit they were wrong. When things get tough, they band together (think fourth and seventh books). Harry will at least pretend to be interested in what Hermione is saying and try to follow her example for learning. Hermione also tries to follow Harry’s example and relax a bit. Most of all they give each other the emotional support they need, whether that is keeping Harry’s ego in check, or building up Hermione’s (honestly I loved the awkward dance in the second to last movie because it was just a nice friendship moment to get Hermione to smile again) . In the end when Harry tries to sacrifice himself, Hermione understands and tries to immediately offer what support she can. Does that mean I want them to end up together, not really. I don’t think any of them needs to end up with people we know. There are plenty of witches and wizards out there, and plenty of muggles as well. Buzzfeed has a great collection of reasons why they would be a better couple, but in the end I think this just proves they are just great friends.
What do you guys think about all of this? Do you agree with JK Rowling’s new statements? Who would you have liked to see be paired up at the end?
Until next time,
See the update on the Hermione and Ron relationship debate here.