In the world of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger is the one that got away … for the books’ number one champion, that is.
Though I treasured J.K. Rowling’s incomparable series from middle school until my second year of college, I was ready to move on from the franchise a long time ago, so when the author keeps popping up in the news to discuss what we didn’t know or what she should have done with the story, it feels a little unnecessary, and honestly, I worry the old favorite of mine has become an itch that won’t go away with all these delayed talks on its creation.
Yet everyone’s buzzing about Rowling’s recent interview revealing the Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger pairing was a mistake. Hermione, a plucky, highly intelligent female wizard, should have wound up with Harry Potter, the leading man. Rowling says this is how she intended for the story to play out:
“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. 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.”
Many of us rooted for Harry and Hermione to get together from the start, and Rowling worries her confession has upset a lot of fans who are probably thinking, “I told you so”:
“I know, I’m sorry. I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”
To be honest, we all would have been perfectly OK to not know, and as much as I cherish the books, this isn’t the best way to keep their spirit alive. It almost seems like a way to maintain relevance all these years after the novels and movies are done being made and new franchises are coming out.
From my standpoint, it would have seemed too obvious for Harry and Hermione to date. There’s also something special about the complex relationship between Hermione and Ron, two completely different people. Hermione is ambitious, prompt, sharp and always on the money whereas Ron is painted as the dopey accident-prone ginger with no money and a ton of siblings. He has the big loving family, but you never really hear about her home life. She’s more book smart, he’s more street smart. Harry, on the other hand, falls somewhere in the middle, having lost his parents as a baby and also struggled when he first got to Hogwarts. Ron and Hermione balance each other out as many polar opposites do.
Taking romance out of the equation, Harry Potter isn’t a story driven by who belongs with whom. It’s a book about many things, and the love aspect is a very small part of the plot. While Rowling is the writer and should be able to talk about her work however she’d like, Harry Potter means something different to every single person who reads or watches it. There’s no use trying to alter these memories so many years after the fact or for new people who haven’t had the chance to experience the series yet. Let’s honor it for what it was, not for what it could have been.
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