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Saturday 20 September 2014

Opinion: True fans know that Harry and Hermione were not meant for each other

Published 10/02/2014 | 15:07

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Emma Watson may not look like a Hogwarts' schoolgirl but it's hard to think of anyone else who could play Hermione
Actors Rupert Grint and Emma Watson who play Ron Weasley and Hermione in the Harry Potter series of films
Actors Rupert Grint and Emma Watson who play Ron Weasley and Hermione in the Harry Potter series of films

JK Rowling recently admitted in an interview that she "regretted" not pairing Hermione with Harry. Clare Cullen explains why she, as a 'Ronmione' fan, strongly disagrees with the idea.

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I feel that there are several things wrong with J.K Rowling's latest admission that she 'regretted' Hermione marrying Ron instead of Harry.

It's clear from the outset that Ginny and Harry are meant to be together. From their first meeting, when Ginny is too nervous to talk to Harry, to when he saves her from Tom Riddle's diary to his jealousy when she dates Dean Thomas, Ginny is a fixture in Harry's life throughout the books. Placing Harry with Hermione just for the sake  of pairing the main female protagonist with the hero would be lazy - an easy, predictable end which would make no sense in context of the rest of the story.

Similarly, the Hermione-Ron relationship is a constant fixture throughout the seven books. They argue, they stop speaking to each other, they spend their summers together, they both get jealous of each others conquests. In contrast, Hermione's relationship with Harry is steady, flat even - they do not stop speaking to each other once during the seven years. Teenagers who are attracted to each other naturally have more volatile relationships. The veracity of their teenage relationship would not influence whether or not they would "need marriage counselling" as adults, as JK Rowling has claimed.

 

More importantly, changing the pairings would alter some pretty influential plot lines if you imagine that Harry married Hermione instead of Ginny, and Hermione married Harry instead of Ron. First to my mind is the entire plotline around the locket Horcrux. This locket caused the wearer to act irrationally based on buried feelings and emotions. Ron left the campsite in a jealous rage, leaving Hermione behind when the locket exacerbated his feelings of jealousy over Harry and Hermione's relationship. He then found his way back to the campsite (which was hidden by spells) thanks to the de-lighter which "showed him the way".

Ron: "I heard a voice. Your voice."

Hermione: "Pray tell me, what did it say?"

Ron: "My name. Just my name."

Were these two not in love, this would not have happened. Ron's leaving and return were essential plot points. Upon his return he saved Harry from drowning in search of the sword of Griffindor, as the locket led him to where Harry was in difficulty. Had he never left, he would have been asleep in the tent while Harry drowned.

Ron then destroyed the locket using the Sword of Griffindor. The locket, in an attempt to stop him destroying it, showed him images of Harry and Hermione together, asking him why Hermione would ever choose him over the "chosen one". His successful destroying of the locket showed massive character growth in Ron, an overcoming of his inferiority complex when it came to Harry and a mastering of his jealous streak. The way the lighter led him back by playing Hermione's voice whispering his name showed the deep connection between the two, even though neither were brave enough to act on it yet.

Lets not forget all the very cute moments that led to the grand finale of their first kiss and subsequent marriage. In the seventh book, where several wizards drink Polyjuice Potion to disguise themselves as Harry in order to safely transport him, Hermione runs to embrace Ron upon their safe landing. In the third book, Hermione holds Ron's hand while watching the Hippogriff during Magical Creatures class, causing them both to blush. In the sixth book, Hermione cries after seeing Lavender Brown kiss Ron, and send a flock of birds after Ron in a fit of rage. In the same book, when Ron is knocked out in the medical wing following the consumption of poison, he says Hermione's name in his sleep and she waits by his bedside holding his hand, thus ending their period of not-speaking (and his relationship with Lavender).

The awkward way these teens are unable to express their feelings for each other is beautifully written, and part of the reason that fans identify with 'Ronmione'. Every fleeting moment in the run up to their final admittance of their feelings is absolutely delicious in it's anticipation - waking up almost touching hands, Hermione putting her arms around Ron's neck as they watched Buckbeak be executed, Hermione asking "do you want to move closer?" and the delightful awkward moment where she has to clarify "I mean to the Shrieking Shack!"

In everyday situations, Hermione looks to make Ron happy. When being a Quidditch keeper was all that mattered to him, she helped him secure the spot by casting a jinx on his competition - something completely against her ethos. She never told Ron of this indiscretion, instead allowing him to bask in the glory of winning the spot.

In dangerous situations, Ron first looks to see if Hermione is safe. During the attack on his brother's wedding, he runs for Hermione.

Harry has no such prejudice and, in general, has a vastly different approach to Ron when looking to secure the safety of his loved one. In order to protect Ginny, he breaks up with her. In stark contrast, Ron and Hermione recognise each other's strengths and acknowledge how much they need each other.

"Leave Hermione? Are you mad? We wouldn't last one day without her!"

"Well, it was Ron's idea, really - it's brilliant"

Harry is continually attempting to leave both behind in order to continue the fight by himself. "I don't want anyone to die for me". While that's very noble, he refuses to accept that he needs help and allow input into plans, except for where he has no other option. Hermione and Harry would make a terrible team in this regard were the interpersonal politics of a non-platonic relationship brought into play.

It makes much more sense long-term for the group for the three main characters to end up with who they did. If we remove attraction as the reason for Ron and Hermione's bickering, we would be left with two people who butt heads for no reason. It would stand to reason then, that had they not fallen in love over the course of seven years, they would have drifted apart after school. Hermione would more than likely wish to spend less time with Ron and she and Harry would lift right out of the Weasleys if neither were married to one.

I feel like both Hermione and Harry need the Weasleys. Hermione's parents were great friends with the Weasleys, and Harry in particular, having lost all his relatives, would have been so lonely without the loving Weasley family to treat as his own.

I would agree that part of the reason I feel so strongly about Ron and Hermione is the way the relationship was acted so perfectly in the films, adding to the already intricate storyline of the books. I have watched the films and read the books over and over, seeing more and more of the minor yet major interactions between the two, and I adore their relationship more than any other literary couple I've ever come across.

If anything, I think JK Rowling should have made more of the Harry-Ginny relationship in the final books. Their breakup and reunion were both somewhat flat, and only her screaming of his name as Hagrid held what she thought was Harry's dead body betrayed the level of feeling between the two.

The one thing that was never flat was Hermione and Ron's relationship. From 'wingardium leviosAA' to their impassioned first kiss, to Ron shouting 'That's my girlfriend!' in the heat of battle (to which Hermione took the time out to blush) to Ron sobbing upon hearing Hermione's tortured screams at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange - their love story was real. It had all the traits of teenage love and angst - but that doesn't invalidate it. I wish JK Rowling would afford 'Ronmione' fans the courtesy of not attempting to invalidate it now.

In past interviews, JK Roweling has claimed that Ron was based on her ex-husband, Harry on her current husband, and Hermione on herself when she was younger. This could be a factor in her sudden change of heart as to who ended up together, but I don't think she should be publicly voicing these regrets and casting a doubt across the very core of the story which has enraptured millions.

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