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Point/Counterpoint: Should Harry Potter and Hermione have gotten together?

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 07, 2014 5:00 AM

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Author J.K. Rowling made headlines this week when she said she thought Hermione Granger should have married Harry Potter, not Ron Weasley? Did she make a mistake or get it right the first time?

She made a huge mistake

It takes a remarkable degree of humility to admit that you screwed up the greatest series of young-adult novels ever written.

J.K. Rowling’s admission that her decision to “ship” Ron and Hermione was patently absurd felt to me like a vindication of my most deeply held Harry-Potter-related frustration. The Ron-Hermione love connection seemed like a deliberate, stubborn backlash against the throngs of fans — of whom I readily admit having been one — pining for the day when Harry and Hermione would inevitably fall in love.

The inescapable truth: Harry and Hermione should have gotten together. The emotional connection between Harry and Hermione — developed by growing up together and navigating a bunch of harrowing shared experiences — was far greater than the one between Ron and Hermione. Because the series’ narration follows Harry so closely, we saw him get close to Hermione.

But instead of getting the pleasure of watching Harry and Hermione’s relationship develop during their weird and sad adolescence, we were instead asked to suspend our disbelief as she implausibly fell for Ron off-screen.

Ultimately, we were left with two shoehorned relationships (Ron and Hermione, Harry and Ginny Weasley) that didn’t make a lot of sense, our hero relegated to third-wheel status.

I also take exception to the idea that Hermione and Ron were “right for each other.” The argument is based on the supposition that opposites attract and that Ron would somehow counterbalance Hermione’s high-strung alpha-femaleness. But Ron was, in many ways, more neurotic and high-strung than Hermione. He was horribly self-conscious, often oblivious, jealous, prone to both accidents and fits of petulance, a poor wizard, and a poor student.

He lacked not only the intellect and wit to keep up with Hermione but also the emotional maturity. Hermione, whose singularly captivating brand of nit-picky brilliance, strength, and her tendency to occasionally break down made the fact that she was fictional absolutely devastating; she deserved so much better.

Enter Harry, literally the only dude in the wizarding world with a résumé strong enough to land Hermione.

All along, the story belonged to Harry and Hermione — consider how often Ron wound up in the hospital ward when bad stuff started to go down, and you’ll see what I mean. Sadly, Rowling didn’t have the guts to make the obvious choice, and we are all worse off for it.

I applaud her, at least, for admitting her mistake.

— Zach Tilly

Ron & Hermione 4ever

I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a toned-down Hermione. That being said, my personality lends itself to the need to surround myself with people who calm me down — basically variations of Ron Weasley.

Naturally, when I read that J.K. Rowling recently admitted her regret for writing Hermione and Ron’s romance into fruition, I was beside myself.

It would have been “easy” to put Hermione with Harry. In real-life terms, they would be a total power couple, the kind you secretly cyber-stalk while simultaneously wanting to block all of their social-network activity because they’re so annoyingly perfect.

Rowling mused that Ron would not have been able to make Hermione happy, and they probably would have would up in couples’ counseling. Although it may be true that Ron might not be able to offer up the type of intellectual stimulation that Hermione often seeks, couldn’t one also argue that Hermione and Harry could end up in couples’ counseling as well, because Harry’s fame would be so freaking stifling for Hermione?

Hermione is the kind of girl who would want to be known for success on her own terms. Instead, with Harry, she would live in the constant shadow of Harry and his scar and blah blah blah.

That Rowling regrets pairing Hermione with Ron is also troubling because, if you want to go there, it seems to have class implications. Everyone remembers Ron’s awkward ugly sweaters (which in real life a girl would probably love because she could just steal them and wear them with leggings and boots), while other Hogwarts pupils donned expensive swag.

Hermione and Harry had a lot of common ground when it comes to the time they spent dwelling in the muggle world, but both of their hearts lie in wizardry. It makes sense that each wound up with a Weasley. As weird as it was when Harry started getting with his best friend’s younger sister, it was a realistically and charmingly sad way to signify that the trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione was growing up.

Hermione and Harry could have worked no more or less than Hermione and Ron presumably do. It seems to come down to who allowed Hermione to be the person she wants to be … and with Ron she isn’t forced to play the sideshow. And Ron doesn’t care.

— Brianne Richson


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