Although the “Harry Potter” book series technically ended in 2007 with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” J.K. Rowling seems to insist on looking back and altering her opinions on what she has already written. What Rowling said this past weekend truly caused a flurry within the Harry Potter fandom, with arguments being thrown across the Internet and friendships being torn apart by the latest revelation Rowling spilled out.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably heard of her newest regret: allowing Ron and Hermione to end up happily ever after. According to Rowling in an interview with Emma Watson, the actress who played Hermione in the films, “Hermione should have wed Harry” and not Ron. Rowling has suggested alternate storylines before in interviews: In 2012, she even admitted she almost killed Ron mid-series! So why does Rowling feel this is OK to do to us readers? Why must she go back and play with our feelings? Sam Reed, one of my co-facilitators for the DeCal “The Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” said, “No amount of regret can go back and rewrite the universe that Rowling created all those years ago. These stories belong to us, (the readers,) just as much as they belong to her, because we made them live in our imaginations and our hearts for the better part of a decade.”
I have to agree with Sam here and say although Rowling did author the books, it’s a little too late for her to go back and say she completely regrets one of the most important relationships in the entire series. Hayley McVicar, another co-facilitator of mine, even looks at the epilogue in the seventh book differently. Rowling wrote it about the same time she wrote the first book, so clearly, Ron and Hermione are together 19 years into the future. Was this not the original intention?
I understand that, as an author, Rowling may have some aspects of the story she would like to have changed, but changing something so important to the line of the story is a little extreme. What if she had chosen to put Severus and Lily together? Perhaps “Harry Snape and the Philosopher’s Stone” just didn’t have the same ring to it.
I personally love that Ron and Hermione end up together in the books. I think that is something that sets Hermione apart from other heroines — she does not end up with the hero of the story. I also particularly like that her storyline with Harry never turns into anything beyond a platonic friendship, even when they are alone. So many people insist men and women cannot be friends without a “spark” happening at some point, and I was so afraid this stereotype would be perpetuated in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” after Ron leaves the mission to stop the Horcruxes and Harry and Hermione are left alone. Alec Kassin, another one of my co-facilitators, likes this point as well, saying, “[Ron and Hermione’s relationship] allowed Harry and Hermione to love each other like brother and sister, which challenges assumptions about the lack of viability of platonic relationships among opposite-gendered friends.” Although they can find comfort in each other, there is never even a note of love beyond friendship, and, let’s be real, Harry and Hermione kissing in the illusion that the Horcrux creates for Ron in the seventh movie was pretty gross.
Even though many people agree with my opinions on Ron and Hermione’s relationship, there are those who strongly believe that Harry and Hermione should have ended up together. There is not only an entire BuzzFeed article devoted to this opinion, but many people on Twitter are expressing this as well. Although he can see the merit in Ron and Hermione’s relationship, Alec is not a huge fan of Ron and thinks he may have preferred Harry and Hermione together in the end.
Another issue I have with Harry and Hermione being together is that it totally messes up the family unit we are left with at the end of the series. Think about it — if Harry ends up with Hermione, Ginny and Harry obviously cannot be together. Where does this leave the Weasleys? It leaves them kind of screwed, with no Harry, no Hermione, no Fred and, if Rowling had her way according to her interview in 2012, possibly no Ron either? That’s a pretty dark ending for the only family Harry really grows up with and loves so much.
I just don’t think Rowling could have written an ending in which the series would have ended well for as many people as possible with Harry and Hermione being together. Sam agrees with me and feels that having this family unit that readers are left with gives Harry the chance to have a brother and a sister, strengthening the bonds of family he made at Hogwarts in a way that would have been ruined if he had ended up romantically involved with one of the trio. Sure, the series by the seventh book is in no way a happy story with a happy ending, but Ron and Hermione’s relationship can be seen as a light in the darkness, a window to when everything was bright and happy in the first few books.
Ron and Hermione’s relationship keeps hope alive in the readers, and Harry and Ginny’s relationship, in a way, does the same. I think Hayley puts it best when she simply told me that she is dazed and confused… (and wants answers.”
Honestly, at the end of the day, if Hermione were to end up with anyone else other than Ron, wouldn’t she have ended up with Viktor Krum? Mischief managed.
Megan Grint is a senior at UC Berkeley. She facilitates “The Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter” DeCal with Sam (Samara) Reed, Hayley McVicar and Alec Kassin.