SPOILER ALERT: If you’re reading this, please ensure you’ve read the books first (or, at the very least, seen the films). If you haven’t done either of these things, 1. You need to get out of this article, and 2.) We need to talk. I’ll need a case of butterbeer and an entire day to lecture you on why your life is incomplete.
This week, JK Rowling pissed off tons of die-hard Harry Potter fans by proclaiming that she regretted putting Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley together:
"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."
From this, many fans are inferring that Hermione should’ve instead ended up with Harry. Personally, I’m not confident enough to believe that’s what she meant, because as far as I can tell, she hasn’t outright said it. However, for the purposes of this article, I’m taking it as gospel, because Stephen Colbert told me to, with illustrations. And he can do no wrong.
Let me preface by saying I don’t dislike Ron. In fact, I like him — I feel like his character is very realistic and honest, and reflects a lot of human emotion that many people are generally afraid to put on display. I think, in the short term, Ron and Hermione were actually a good match: They played off each other’s strengths and weaknesses, shared a second fiddle to Harry, and battled raging teenage hormones, all while fighting alongside each other in the Second Wizarding War.
Many fans are fighting back with statements like, “Ron needed Hermione to keep him grounded.” And while this could be true for Ron, Hermione isn’t exactly the type of heroine who exists to keep a man in check. She is her own person and didn’t let anyone stand in the way of her goals (SPEW, anyone?).
I’m with JKR on this one when I say Ron and Hermione wouldn’t have lasted in the long term — at least, not happily. Here’s why I think Harry would’ve ultimately made a better match for Hermione:
Ron has been overshadowed his entire life, while Harry is ready to pretend this stuff didn’t happen.
Let’s be real: Any man who ends up with overachieving Hermione is basically signing a contract stating I agree to hand over the spotlight most if not all of the time, for the rest of my life.
Do we really think Ron is going to be okay with this after spending his first 18 years overshadowed by six siblings? I think this is a recipe for disaster, and as much as I don’t think Ron and Hermione make an ideal couple, I do think Ron deserves his time in the limelight -- particularly after what he saw in The Mirror of Erised and how awesome his siblings ended up (except for Fred, but to his credit, he was pretty badass before he bit it). I mean, let’s recap here:
•One is a banker werewolf married to badass French woman who’s a quarter Veela.
•One is too busy wrangling dragons to be bothered with women or literally anything else.
•One becomes a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Magic.
•One runs a joke shop and marries his dead twin’s ex-girlfriend. (They name one of their kids after him, don’t worry, it’s totally not weird. And I’m sure his wife never calls him Fred in bed.)
•One becomes a professional Quidditch player and marries Harry Freaking Potter
It only gets harder for Ron to stand out, which sucks because he’s actually smart and generally cool.
On the flip side, Harry is totally done with people treating him like a big deal. In the epilogue, his kids have no idea why people on Platform 9 ¾ are staring at him, because their dad never explained his 90s shenanigans to his young children. This is the perfect situation for Hermione to take the reins and a lot of the attention for her accomplishments that she may have craved as a teenager while Harry, reluctantly, received all the credit.
Listening isn’t Ron’s strong suit, while Harry would usually rather listen than talk.
Ron gives Hermione perfume for Christmas one year, which begs the question: WTF?
We’re talking about a girl who does her hair a total of once in the entire six-and-a-half-year span of the series, and you think she wants perfume? It’s a nice gesture, but Harry gets her New Theory of Numerology, a book she’d been wanting for ages. Harry and Hermione also have countless deep conversations and shared wordless moments, while Ron is oblivious a lot of the time. I could list examples, but you could read this awesome fan essay instead and I could stay within my word-count limit.
Ron is kind of a dick to Hermione.
Let’s not forget how many insults Ron hurls at Hermione. Yes, this is kindergarten speak for “I like you,” but after a certain point, it’s not cute anymore. I can’t even recall how many times he made her cry, while Harry was all, “Dude, give her a break.” And yes, Hermione sends canaries at Ron and Lavender and has her own share of anger issues, so she is not a saint either, but an abusive relationship from the start isn’t exactly healthy. Also, Ron LEFT HER IN THE FOREST. Not cool, man. Not cool.
JK Rowling herself has said the character she relates to most is Hermione, and that she dated a lot of Rons but ultimately “married Harry Potter.”
In the past, JK Rowling has likened herself to Hermione multiple times:
"I have often said that Hermione is a bit like me when I was younger…I think I was seen by other people as a right little know-it-all, but I hope that it is clear that underneath Hermione's swottiness there is a lot of insecurity and a great fear of failure (as shown by her Boggart in Prisoner of Azkaban)."
She also said this:
"…in my younger days, I dated Ron more than once…he's fun to write, but not so much fun to date." And once she had learned her lesson, Rowling said, "I married Harry Potter," referring to her second husband, Neil Murray. “I married a very good person and a gutsy person. And that's who Harry is."
As humans, we grow so much in our twenties that who we’re with as teenagers usually doesn’t turn out to be the same person we end up marrying -- the initial attraction usually doesn’t take you as far as you think it might, and people tend to grow apart as they mature. And as someone who, personally, was engaged to a Ron whom I dated in my early twenties and is now engaged to a Harry at almost 29, I can confidently say this is the truth -- at least for me, who can very much relate to Hermione’s personality.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that all three characters could’ve married outside their trio circle and just remained lifelong friends. I would’ve been down for a Harry/Luna romance, given the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and maybe even a Draco/Hermione direction, if Draco had turned for the better more concretely and earlier in the series (but I also believe Hermione has a lot more Slytherin in her than we’re led to believe). I even could’ve gotten onboard a Ron/Luna crazy train.
Had Ginny been better developed, I may have been a little more open to the fate of her and Harry -- I mean, we barely get a glimpse of what happens during the summer of 1996 when Harry starts falling for her, which I feel is a big mistake considering Harry went barely noticing Ginny all the way through OotP to being borderline obsessed with her in Half-Blood Prince. And the development of their relationship is even worse in the films, so from where I’m standing, Ginny marrying Harry is the equivalent of me marrying my preteen crushes, like Jonathan Taylor Thomas or Rider Strong. Or Norm MacDonald.
I also don’t think the romantic relationships are the focal point of the series, but I can’t help myself. Obviously.
xojane readers, what do you think? Should Harry and Hermione have ended up together? Share your HP OTPs (even if they’re Peeves/Giant Squid or Madam Pince/Filch).