Who’s Hermione’s true love? Who cares.

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Peter copyIt’s time for J.K. Rowling to put down her magic wand. Once again, the beloved author is bewitching the “Harry Potter” canon to the chagrin of Potterheads everywhere.

In an interview conducted by Emma Watson for Wonderland Magazine, Rowling said that she “wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment” and that, “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,” Ron and Hermione got married and started a family.

The “Harry Potter” fanbase is a passionate one, so it’s no surprise that there was a visceral reaction to Rowling’s heresy. The announcement only expanded the historically huge divide between those fans who hoped for Harry and Hermione to end up together, and those who wanted Hermione to be with Ron.

Hermione/Harry shippers – that is, those who imagine that two people, fiction or non-fictional, would be a believable couple – praised Rowling for righting what they perceived to be an egregious wrong. Hermione/Ron shippers, on the other hand, criticized Rowling for messing with the canon she established almost seven years ago.

And all of this was before the entirety of the interview was released.

The later parts of the interview reveal that Rowling qualifies the doubts she had about their relationship, saying that, “(Hermione) and Ron will be alright with a bit of counseling…they’ll probably be fine.”

However, this did little to quell the fiery opinions of the most devoted “Potter” fans. So who is really Hermione’s true love?

Who cares.

Hermione’s lover shouldn’t matter and it’s sexist to trivialize her character solely in terms of her love life. Rowling’s comments – and the subsequent backlash – highlight Hermione’s romantic life instead of celebrating the successes that she enjoyed in the series. She was the brightest witch of her age. She excelled academically and was determined to return to Hogwarts to finish her educated. She even overcame the prejudice she faced as a Muggle-born.

All of this is voided with Rowling’s announcement. Hermione’s love life in the novels was always a footnote to the larger adventure at hand. And this is why the series was so great. For once, the familiar trope that the hero guy gets the girl was abandoned in favor of one where two seemingly incompatible lovers see it to the end.

However, Rowling’s comments take an extraordinary aspect of the series and transform it into expected, cookie-cutter young adult novels that emphasize romance. And I think that’s one of the worst side effects of this situation.

Another tragic side effect? That Rowling feels uncomfortable with a woman being the strong one in the relationship. It seems as though Rowling reconsidered her relationship pairings because there was “too much fundamental incompatibility” and that “Hermione and Harry are a better fit.”

Why are Hermione and Harry necessarily a better fit? Is it because Harry is a better, smarter wizard than Ron and could be more of an equal to Hermione?

I reject the idea that the Ron/Hermione relationship would fail because Hermione is the smarter one. This doesn’t necessarily make them incompatible; it represents the reality that sometimes, a woman can be the breadwinner. Plus, putting Hermione with an equal mate deprives her character of one of its most defining traits – that she is a better witch than most of her male counterparts.

Let’s not overlook why people are in a tizzy specifically about Hermione’s love life. It’s because she’s a woman. Why aren’t we worrying about who Harry should have ended up with? After all, he is the most tragically in need of a healthy relationship of all the main characters.

Why aren’t we worrying about if Ginny is the right one for him? Why isn’t there a showdown between Harry/Ginny shippers and Harry/Hermione shippers? God forbid Harry and Ron should end up together, either.

Why Rowling chose Hermione to dissect, I don’t know. Unfortunately, pop culture romantic relationships revolve solely around women and their emotional pursuits. I would assume Rowling is following this rotten trend, and has unfortunately gravitated toward discussing Hermione when talking about romance.

I hope that Rowling and pop culture widen the scope that dissects romance. Just take a look at the Dumbledore/Grindelwald love affair. It is a far more fascinating discussion.

 

 

 

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