JK Rowling Regrets Pairing Ron and Hermoine?!

Posted Monday, February 3rd, 2014 10:00 am GMT -5 by

Ron und Hermione Hunting Horcrux

February 1st, 2014 may not be known as the day the internet exploded, but it will certainly be known as the day Potterheads still proved they were a fandom to be reckoned with.

If you’ve been off your Tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter this weekend, the hullaballoo that is bringing old rivalries against one another is an interview  for the magazine ‘Wonderland’ between Emma Watson and JK Rowling about Hermoine’s character. The full article will be released on Thursday but The British Sunday Times did publish exerpts. As such, this is a comment more on the current fandom reaction, than it is on the actual meat of the interview.

So what’s so controversial? Rowling stated that she regretted the Ron/Hermoine pairing, dismissed it as wish fulfillment on her part, and then said she wished she had put Hermoine with Harry.

I have so many problems with this, it’s hard to even know where to begin. So, I’ll just start with one my most base exceptions and work my way from there.

First, it needs to be said that Hermoine is a strong female character that shouldn’t have to be paired off with anyone. I would have been just as happy if she married an unknown character that shared her interests or chose not to be married at all. She doesn’t need to be a part of a couple to have a complete story line.

That being said, it’s obvious that Rowling felt she needed to be paired off and that she needed to be with Harry. That really irks me. When you pair off a main female character with the protagonist, said female character inevitably becomes “the girlfriend” and nothing more. The beauty of Ron and Hermoine’s relationship was it allowed Hermoine as a character to have agency in the storyline. If she ended up with Harry, you can bet that all of her story lines would be sublimated to Harry’s, as opposed to complimenting them.

But both of those objections pale in comparison to my final one, which is having Ron and Hermoine together taught a lesson that is often ignored in young adult fiction: the importance of a platonic friendship. Too often young people are taught that the only meaningful relationship between men and women is romantic, and the friendship between Hermoine and Harry countered that in a very real and believable way. It was probably one of the most important moments in my development when I finally read a popular book that understood this concept. I realized that it was possible, no matter what all the young adult fiction said.

Really, though, for all the things to regret, Rowling says it’s the Ron/Hermoine pairing? It’s not the hideous epilogue or the fact that she never actually wrote Dumbledore as gay? Or implying and then joking about Umbridge being raped by Centaurs?

Or maybe instead of regretting the pairing, she could regret that she made Ron the jerk that pretty much gaurantees he and Hermoine would need couples counseling? Ah, well, she was going to kill him off, so this is a step up.

Still, as a devout Potterhead, I’m pretty disappointed. I don’t know if it’s a PR move to reignite the shipping wars and get attention back on ‘Harry Potter’ (there two new books in the universe coming out and a new movie franchise), or if she’s had it on her chest for a long time and needed to say it. But, for me, more than anything else, I feel like I’ve had something very important ripped away from me.

  • Pom

    Spot on. While I have nothing in particular against Hermione and Harry being shipped together, it was SUPER important to me as a young bookish girl growing up that she WASN’T paired with Harry. While I admit I can see some chemistry and complimentary features, enough to give fanon-shippers something to work with, I was ELATED when Hermione and Harry never had anything form beyond friendship. I had so many guy friends at all ages growing up and I KNEW guys and gals could be platonic friends but everyone around me cited media to prove me wrong. Hermione was the first leading female role that didn’t get subsumed by the male protagonist’s love angst. Granted, she got with another prominent lead but she didn’t get with the “chosen one” which was a huge deal to me at the time.

    I am disappointed in Rowling. For everything that she could have regretted, she regretted not following old tropes of the hero gets the lead girl/woman? I am super glad you brought up a few of the problematic elements that Rowling should be regretting more than not following old predictable tropes.

  • Brian Orlick

    If the quality of Harry x Malfoy fanfic is any indication, Ms. Rowling has lost the sole right to determine the proper storyline for the Potterverse a long time ago. I’m just as happy to ignore her late revisionism desires as I am Lucas’.

  • Not The Only Potter Flaw

    In Rowling’s own words, the best wizard and the best witch always end up together. It was a mistake to pair Ron and Hermione and I’m glad she finally admitted it.

  • Mandy Brocklehurst

    I would like to see this whole article before fully joining the hating on JKR, but so far I have mixed feelings, on one hand I think Hermione deserves way better (but I’ve never liked Ron. Or Ginny.) and on the other hand I didn’t see/read romantic chemistry between Harry and Hermione, I really believed they were best friends.

    And I can’t help but agree that this seems like a publicity stunt.

    • disqus_Imoi7LGhwf

      A typical aspect of being a delusional, militant Harmonian IS hating Ron and Ginny, who are great characters…

  • Vicki K

    I can’t believe I’m actually wasting precious moments of my day on this issue, but for nostalgia’s sake, I’ll weigh in. Back in the day – from I think roughly 2003 or so through to 2007 – I was a very active part of the online Harry Potter fandom. I went under the pen-name of Sienna and as Sienna wrote a few very lengthy, analytical essays about why I thought JK Rowling was actually writing Harry/Hermione despite the anvils pointing to Ron/Hermione.

    Back in that day, it wasn’t Romione and Harmione. It was the HMS Pumpkin Pie, replaced by HMS Harmony (for Harmony shippers) and the HMS Heron (R/Hr).

    Arguments were made many times by both sides – both good ones and bad ones. Blood was metaphorically spilt but both ships had very active and very passionate proponents. Then there was – after the release of the Half Blood Prince – the so called Interview of Doom with Mugglenet and the whole fandom exploded.

    The Ron/Hermione camp took ample opportunity to deride, bully and punish Harmony shippers for having the gall to believe Harry/Hermione was ever possible. Many Harmony shippers truly lost their blobs and many a ‘JK Rowling has destroyed her books’ and ‘You’re not the writer I thought you were’ were passed about. For that, they were also punished by Heron’s who said that JK Rowling’s word was sacrosanct, who derided us for our disappointment and took the opportunity to throw the word delusional our way over and over again.

    So colour me surprised when all these years later the behaviour that was so derided in others (namely bashing the author) is now rearing its ugly head but on the other side of the fence. Doesn’t feel so nice – does it guys?

    So yes, okay, I’m feeling a touch of schadenfreud over this whole thing. Long after I stopped caring how the books ended up and who ended up with who, the author has been quoted as saying something that I long believed as a fan of the books – that her pre-planned plot at some point had evolved beyond itself and that the story was demanding something different than she allowed of it. That she shoehorned her original plans in anyway to the detriment of the story.

    I’m going to take the time to be fully self-satisfied about this and very happy indeed.. It is a pleasant and satisfying moment for us that the author herself has potentially switched ships. I find it most baffling that the same group of people who years ago were arguing that author’s words were gospel; and that author interviews counted as canon are now lambasting the same author for basically saying something they don’t like.

    That said, there are some fallacies of thinking in this post and I want to take the opportunity to point them out:

    “When you pair off a main female character with the protagonist, said female character inevitably becomes “the girlfriend” and nothing more. The beauty of Ron and Hermoine’s relationship was it allowed Hermoine as a character to have agency in the storyline. If she ended up with Harry, you can bet that all of her story lines would be sublimated to Harry’s, as opposed to complimenting them.”

    This is a logical fallacy. First of all, Hermione and Ron’s journey was always and almost exclusively in service to Harry’s. That’s just how it works for supporting characters. In fact, there would have been very little change to Hermione’s journey no matter who she ended up with because fundamentally her story wasn’t of who she dated, but what she did to help the Boy Who Lived. Secondly, there are very many good stories in the world were the lead female or male ends up being the significant romantic interest as well with no such sublimation of storyline or loss of agency. His Dark Materials is a most excellent example. It’s a completely unprovable assertion that being Harry’s love interest would also have led to a loss of agency on Hermione’s part. Agency is as agency does. She would have been more not less important to his journey and therefore more not less important to the story. This argument – out of all of them – is the one that makes least sense.

    “Having Ron and Hermoine together taught a lesson that is often ignored in young adult fiction: the importance of a platonic friendship.”

    If such a thing were important, then having Ron and Hermione have a platonic if often combative relationship would also have done the trick. After all, what would it matter where the platonic relationship was placed as long as it was placed somewhere?

    “More than anything else, I feel like I’ve had something very important ripped away from me.”

    Well now, this is actually what’s at the crux of people’s reactions. This over-identification with a fictional pairing is actually what the problem is. As the author, JK Rowling has the right to at any time come to a different position on what she wrote. If Ron and Hermione worked for you – then great. I think you’ll find if you open the books that the canon is still canon. For those of us who examined the issue from a different point of view, hearing the author admit that she shoehorned the Ron/Hermione romance in and that it didn’t ultimately work that well is a welcome thing. It’s also very very welcome that at long last the whole idea of ‘delusional’
    shippers can be laid to rest. There was – it turns out – something there for us
    to see. We weren’t making it up. And I for one am very happy about that.

    • Leenna

      Perfect.

  • RickJM

    Harry and Hermione as written makes no sense. They have even less in common than Ron and Hermione. Hermione is humorless and nagging. Harry can be moody and docile. Harry needs humor in his life and someone to fly with. Hermione needs someone that is going to get her to live a little and not let her boss them around.

    I can see maybe Ron from books 1-5 not being with Hermione but he really takes a turn in book 6 when he realizes doesn’t want just a physical relationship. He wants what he has with Hermione. Someone that will challenge him. Some he wants to be a better man for. And Hermione wants someone. That will push push instead of just being a yes man. She wants someone that will try hard to impress, even if its with cheap perfume. She needs someone that will get her out of the library.

    By the end of book 7, Ron is more than worthy of her. He wanted to take her place at Malfoy Manor. He thought about the elves. He’s destroyed his fear and insecurities. They share the same values.

    I honestly don’t know what Rowling is thinking. She said she hopes fans don’t get upset but she knew they would.

    In the end, Rowling’s feelings now are irrelavent. What matters is her mindset at the time she wrote the books. By the time GoF came around, she had enough experience and clout to start changing things but she didn’t. On a personal level, she wanted R/H. She couldn’t let it go. She wrote a classic odd couple, romantic comedy, Boothe/Bones pairing. It was beautiful to watch it play out. The pages came alive when R/H on screen.

    • Madison Veer

      Well said!! Thank You.

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