I don’t even have a good political/social justice reason to be writing this: I just have many emotions about works of fiction written for children. And as a disclaimer, I do still love Rowling and her work, she’s lovely to her fans, she’s a good egg; I’m just a little cranky.
Spoilers for everything, obviously.
So, in case you haven’t heard, J.K. Rowling said in an interview that she regrets pairing up Ron and Hermione, and that Hermione should have ended up with Harry, and that Hermione and Ron would have needed relationship counseling. LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS IN A LIST I LOVE LISTS LET’S DO A LIST
1. Goddamn do I hate when authors just change things in interviews
This is a huge pet peeve of mine, and while it doesn’t happen all that frequently, I really get quite frustrated when authors (especially years after their books have been published) decide to say that something else has happened. This is not to say that I care if an author clarifies something they obscured or hinted at in their books (GRRM confirming that Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell were in a relationship, for example, or even “outing” Dumbledore); that’s totally fair game. But you get a certain amount of pages to tell a story. You’ve laid it out. You’ve told it. And now, you’re okay with throwing a huge wrench into a story we know and love simply because you’ve thought about it for a while? It also makes me think that you are doing this for publicity’s sake only or some other very selfish reason. This most likely sounds silly to you (“um, Christina, it’s fiction, calm down”) but this stuff matters to me.
2. What the hell was the point of like a quarter of book 7 then, dammit
Ron is not a good dude to Hermione for most of the series, and it is certainly a bit of idiocy that seems to be commonplace in kids and teenagers. While I’m not excusing his behavior, it was completely wonderful for me to watch two people who clearly love each other actually figuring out that they DO in Deathly Hallows. Mostly, Ron realizes that just being vaguely jealous in her direction is not gonna work, and starts to get his act together. Ron’s return after he abandons Harry and Hermione is a great moment, especially since Hermione is her typical amazing self and is not all “awww yay you’re back!” She’s super mad at him for a while, and comes to forgive him, and Ron’s line “all’s fair in love and war, and this is a little of both” is one of my favorites in the whole series. His reactions as she’s being tortured at Malfoy Manor are heart-wrenchingly realistic and were physically painful for me to read.
My favorite interactions occurred even later in the book, during the Battle of Hogwarts. Hermione’s reaction to Ron being able to get into the Chamber of Secrets is adorable and genuine on its own, but you obviously know which specific interaction I’m referring to. Ron’s statement that they need to get the house elves out is his best line. He’s not doing this to impress Hermione; they’re in the middle of a battle. He’s seen Dobby die for him and his friends, and he can’t bear to let that happen again. He’s grown up and matured and gets it, and Hermione recognizes this when she kisses him.
Alllllll this stuff is in there. It didn’t feel forced. It didn’t feel weird. And we watched Ron awkwardly and realistically be a jealous punk towards her for 6 books before, only to culminate in this amazing, well-thought-out change. And of COURSE they’re still going to have to work at their relationship. That doesn’t invalidate it. Rowling mentions that they’d need counseling like it’s a joke and that relationships are easy if they’re valid. So…all of that effort was wrong, was it? Forced? Wish fulfillment? I call it a stunning example of character and relationship evolution that demonstrates real-world relationships with problems but SURE WHATEVER YOU WANT
3. Can we seriously let people have serious loving friendships without making them date
I get incredibly frustrated when fans of characters decide that since two characters care deeply for one another, they must inevitably have a sexual relationship as well. It is incredibly disrespectful of both the story and real-life examples of friends who would die to protect each other without the guarantee of sex to motivate them. It’s the equivalent of having an opposite sex friend between the ages of 8 and 17 and having someone say “ooohhh you LIKE them, don’t you??? ;);)” Just stop it.
Harry and Hermione are in a wonderful, respectful, loving friendship and do not date. They spend a good portion of the series just being like “yo, Wizarding World, we’re not dating, can you leave now byyyye” The anger I feel for this is similar to people who have decided that Sherlock and Watson are dating as well. While I understand the Sherlock fans a bit more (the director of the series does seem to be screwing with the fans based on the number of intense gazes John and Sherlock share), it is the same general problem. You can’t possibly feel strongly for someone unless there’s sex involved? Not buying it, never buying it.
And, perhaps most importantly
4. Hermione is a heroine with her own hopes and dreams and is not just the girl the hero gets as a reward for a job well done
I have so many emotions about Hermione I basically could write a whole post just devoted to them. She was one of my first characters that I genuinely looked up to, because she was smart and brave, but Rowling also let her be very emotional. Book 7 especially is basically a practical course in “Hermione’s the best haters to the left” and she saves everyone over and over again. There are days I wish the series was written from her perspective. There are days where I still want to be her. When someone on Twitter referred to her as “Mrs. Weasley,” Emma Watson jumped in and said, “actually, I think Hermione would have kept her name.” Hermione Granger is the queen of everything.
She is NOT the prize for Harry at the end. She is not the prize for Ron at the end. She’s the most talented, compassionate, wonderful nerdgirl in the entire universe and to act like she was the Cute Female Friend who existed to be paired with one of the important dude-characters is just all levels of unacceptable.
To sum up: yep, I guess #TeamRon but really #TeamHermione and #TeamDon’tChangeThingsAroundDammit and extra specially #TeamTooEmotionalToLive