Well, this week J.K. Rowling pretty much rocked our worlds. No, she didn’t announce a new series based in the world of wizards and muggles. We wish! Instead, Rowling made a comment that cast doubt on the happily-ever-after of two of her most beloved characters: Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. In an interview with Hermione portrayer Emma Watson, she said that she wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as “a form of wish fulfillment” and that the two characters ended up together simply because she was “clinging to the plot as [she] first imagined it.” As writers, many of us were shocked to hear Rowling talk about her Monday-morning-quarterbacking-post-publication-plot-regrets. We like to pretend we got it right! But as a reader, I was even more dismayed. Even though I am a writer and I know that the final plot of a book can go any number of ways, I still like to be immersed in the worlds other authors create. I like to live under the illusion that what I am reading is the story as it had to happen. No one is more enraged than me when Hollywood makes a movie from a book I love and changes the ending, and that’s because there’s something real about the words as they end up on the page.
So I wish Rowling had chosen not to share her second thoughts. But since she did, I have to weigh in. Because I actually agree that Ron wasn’t right for Hermione! Ron is an okay guy, but he isn’t as smart as Hermione, and he’s emotionally unstable. Remember when he flipped out and left Harry and Hermione alone to save the world from Voldemort? I think Hermione would be faced with a lifetime of wishing she had someone around who was on her intellectual and emotional level. Rowling suggested that Hermione should have ended up with Harry, but I would be sad to see that because I loved the wonderful friendship between Hermione and Harry. I loved that Rowling wrote a meaningful friendship between a boy and a girl that did not have to be romantic. They had a respectful, loving friendship that would last a lifetime, and both Hermione and Harry deserved to have a friendship like that in their lives.
A poll of my fellow Inkies revealed more problems with Hermione ending up with Harry. For example, what would have happened to the character of Ginny? We would never have had Harry and Ginny’s epic first kiss, and one more awesome strong woman would have been relegated to minor character status. The relationships between Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione also place all of our favorite characters in the same family, which we love. Some us loved the Ron/Hermione relationship because they did seem unsuited for each other—just like in real life, unexpected relationships make things interesting!
I agree with those who said that Hermione didn’t need to be married off to anyone. Getting married to someone you met at age eleven may be a common fantasy among kids who don’t know better, but Hermione deserved better than that. She deserved to have great adventures! If she chose to marry anyone, I’d like to think she’d make that choice after seeing the world as a strong single lady who owed nothing to anyone. Maybe she would have ended up with a sexy foreign wizard, someone with brains, body, pizzazz, and of course, the brave heart of a Gryffindor. Perhaps her paramour would have been Swedish or Russian or Chinese. Perhaps he would have been American and Hermione would have moved to New York, where I could have passed by her on a busy street.
Even though I can imagine all sorts of things that might have happened to Hermione, even some I would have liked better than the things that happened in the books, the reader in me has to accept that she and Ron ended up together and lived happily ever after. That’s the way Rowling wrote it, and in my book, that’s the way it has to be. Not only am I a stickler for the original words, but they did live happily ever after. What more could we want for the characters we love?
Mary G. Thompson is the author of Wuftoom and Escape from the Pipe Men!