In Defense of Ron and Hermione

This past week, J.K. Rowling dropped thousands of jaws and fanfiction writers' panties when she announced that she regrets pairing Hermione Granger with Ron Weasley, and in hindsight, she would have married the brilliant witch to the story's hero -  Harry Potter himself. Rowling has always been open about the fact that Hermione Granger is a thinly-veiled depiction of herself, and has been quoted as saying that her initial decision to marry Hermione and Ron was "a form of wish fulfillment", a statement that forces me to assume she lusts after the loins of skinny, impoverished gingers on a regular basis.

Which means that, with the Queen down to her last million dollars, Rowling should be getting ready to accost Prince Harry any day now.

Reactions to the interview have been mixed, to say the least; supporters of the original ending are gathering up their torches and pitchforks to defend the Weasley-Granger matrimony, while Harry/Hermione supporters are snorting celebratory cocaine off their laptops and writing boatloads of celebratory and newly author-sanctioned Harry/Herminione erotic fanfiction.

Harry/Draco supporters are still waiting for their day in the sun. 

I fall firmly in camp Ron/Hermione, and I have since the very beginning. Putting the two of them together subverts the whole "hero gets the girl" trope - something that's fairly important for a series so steeped in cliches it might as well be tea - and it presents Hermione as a thinking, feeling person, instead of a human prize to reward Harry for conquering mean old Voldemort. Plus, people have compared me to Hermione Granger my entire life, and I took it to heart so much that I ran out and got myself my very own Ron.

Which makes dressing up for comic conventions so much easier.

But it's not my personal feelings that drove me to wrote this post, and I'm not even going to touch the debate about whether or not authors have the right to change their stories years after they've been published. No, I'm opposing J.K. Rowling's Harry/Hermione revelation with her own words; the personalities and events she assigned to her characters are more than enough evidence for why Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny should end up together. Consider that:

Harry isn't the most appealing guy in Hermione's life.

To the man-fancying ladies and gentlemen of my blog: let's say I've got a young, reasonably attractive single guy that I'd like to set you up with. There are just a few things you need to know about him. He's an orphan, and he spends approximately 7/8ths of his waking life being angry about that fact. The other 1/8th of his life is devoted to angsting about being orphaned, even though he has absolutely no recollection of his parents or the night they died. His greatest accomplishment in life is a disfiguring facial scar, which, like every other thing he's ever achieved in his life, was the result of someone else's actions. He's such a terrible judge of character that he spent seven years railing on a man who risked his life on multiple occasions to help him, just because the man happened to have less-than-stellar personal hygiene and chose 'skulking' as his preferred method of locomotion. This guy's exceptional decision-making has also lead him to commit grand theft auto, confront a convicted serial killer by himself and lead several of his friends into their untimely graves. Oh, and if that's not enough for you, he also has a 24/7 psychic connection to Voldemort. Or whoever the real-life equivalent of Voldemort is. So... probably Vladimir Putin. 

Yes. Definitely Vladimir Putin.

Now tell me, do you want to meet this man? I posit that you do not. Harry spends most of his time after the fourth book being a confrontational and emotionally unavailable Vladimir Putin mind-twin, and Hermione is there to witness every meltdown and screaming fit along the way. With the exception of Ron storming off in the seventh book, the trio spend most of their time in a cycle of Harry blowing up, Ron calming everyone down, and Hermione finding a sensible way to work through their problems.

This is 90% of Harry's emotional range in a single photograph.

In fact, there are a few times when Ron and Hermione themselves become the target of Harry's wrath, mostly when he's throwing hissy fits about things that are in no way Ron or Hermione's fault. He has a tantrum at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place because Dumbledore made him spend his summer in a safe, comfortable Muggle suburb with people who are too afraid of him to challenge even his slightest whim, and he has a similar meltdown on the two of them when Ron gets upset at being treated like his funny little ginger sidekick. If Harry has even the slightest hope of scoring himself some sweet, sweet Hermione lovin', this is the worst thing he could be doing. By constantly putting his friends on the defensive against him and forcing them to tiptoe behind his back, like he's some kind of savage, magical hyena, he's actually strengthening the bond between them by uniting them against him. And years of forcing Ron and Hermione to be partners in crime can have only one possible outcome - they become permanent partners, the kind who don't always have to wear pants. Ginny, of course, witnesses very little of this. She is never the brunt of Harry's wrath, even when she's stupid enough to take orders from a talking toilet diary that almost gets her killed, which is probably why she agrees to marry him. 

Harry has a type... and Hermione doesn't fit it. 

Some people have a "type", which is a fancy way of saying that they date the exact same type of person over and over and then act surprised when it doesn't work out. Harry might not date a lot of women, but he dates just enough to let us see that he has a type. Throughout the Harry Potter series, the titular character is romantically linked to a grand total of four women - he's interested in Cho Chang and Ginny Weasley, he goes on a date with Parvarti Patil, and he dodges the affections of Romilda Vane. These are four very different people, but if you look closely, there is something that separates the women he wants from the women he doesn't - including Hermione. 

Just because the entire internet wants her, doesn't mean Harry does too.

Ginny Weasley is a Caucasian Gryffindor student one year younger than Harry. Cho Chang is an Asian Ravenclaw one year older than Harry. They seem completely different on the surface, you racist bastard, but let's take a closer look. Cho Chang is characterized as being kind, timid, and delicate. She's a tiny, very pretty girl with sleek hair and freckles. When she first appears, she has a naive, innocent nature, though she later toughens up after an indirect encounter with Voldemort and joins Dumbledore's Army. She's one of the only characters to be depicted openly crying during the books, and she's one of the only women to play on a house Quidditch team. Ginny Weasley, on the other hand, is depicted as being kind and timid around her long-time idol, Harry. Her family prevent her from roughhousing with her brothers, as she is regarded as being too delicate for that. Physically, she's described as being tiny and extremely pretty, with freckles and long, sleek hair. When she first appears, she's naive and innocent enough to be taken in by Tom Riddle's diary, but after surviving her encounter with the Horcrux, she toughens up and joins Dumbledore's Army. She is one of the only characters to be depicted openly crying, and she's also one of the only women to play on a ... you see where I'm going with this.

These are essentially the same person.

Hermione - along with Parvati Patil and Romilda Vane - falls well outside Harry's unnervingly specific criterion for romantic partners. For one thing, these women are much more outspoken and direct; Parvati nags Harry to be a better date, Romilda actually resorts to chemical warfare in a bold attempt to win him over, and Hermione spends most of the series telling Harry what to do to keep his Boy-Who-Lived ass alive. Furthermore, Hermione doesn't even come close to meeting Harry's physical standards. Emma Watson may be an internet Goddess whose status is rivaled only by Jennifer Lawrence's, but in the books, Hermione is described as being bushy haired and bucktoothed. When she throws on a dress and runs a comb through her hair for the Yule Ball, her friends and classmates actually have astonishing difficulty recognizing her. She does eventually find a sneaky way to deal with her chipmunk-toothed problem, only to fall into the clutches of Bellatrix Lestrange a few years later and become disfigured when a racial slur is carved into her forearm. 

Not cool, Bellatrix.

So Rowling can talk about 'wish fulfillment' all she wants - she set up Harry with wishes of his own, and they don't involve his bushy-haired friend. 

Hermione needs to be a know-it-all.

If you look over at a classmate and call them a "Hermione Granger" - something that has happened to me many, many times - chances are, you're not paying them a compliment. You're pointing out that they spend so much time with their hand in the air that their fingers have gangrene, or that they spend so much time reading they have to manually re-moisten their eyeballs with a sponge. Hermione is fully aware of what her 'keener' status is doing to her reputation - an actual teacher, who would normally encourage these things, docks her house points for being, and I quote, "an insufferable know-it-all". So why does she keep acting that way? There are really only two explanations; either it's some sort of deep-seated compulsion she has, like an academic Tourette's syndrome, or else she just gets off on knowing trivia that other people don't. Either way, it's pretty clear that Hermione isn't going to change anytime soon.

Hermione in her natural habitat.

So if Hermione's habit of correcting other people is built-in, unalterable and potentially necessary for her to achieve sexual arousal, she's only going to be happy if she finds a partner who:

1. Is in constant need of correcting. 
2. Marvels at her brilliance on a regular basis. 

And if you look around Hogwarts based on those two criterion alone, it's Ron "Not the spiders" Weasley who meets them the best. No other character in the entire series operates on the same redheaded-stepchild logic that drives Ron to be the single most quotable person to appear in the franchise.

Pictured: the appropriate reaction to almost everything that comes out of Ron's mouth.

And that's exactly what Hermione needs. Think about what happens every time the trio runs into some kind of danger. Hermione figures out exactly what the team needs to do, from preventing Harry from drinking poison in Book 1, to remembering to pack spare clothing when the pair sets out for a year of camping in Book 7. And the boys' reactions are always the same. Harry snatches up whatever help Hermione is offering, beats his chest, screams "I AM THE CHOSEN ONE" and runs off to find more danger for Hermione to deal with for him. Ron, meanwhile, tends to stick around and let Hermione know just how clever and brilliant she is. Book by book, Ron makes it clear that if a know-it-all is in the market for a partner, he's really the obvious choice.

Ginny Weasley is a stand-in for Lily Evans. 

J.K. Rowling is more obsessed with the circle of life than Mufasa ever was. All of her books deal heavily with inter-generational relations, and the quasi-depressing idea that we're all doomed to do more or less the same stupid things that our parents did. This is hinted at throughout the book - Neville bravely confronts Voldemort like his parents did, the Weasley children grow up to be a combination of quirky and bureaucratic like their father, Teddy Lupin is a Morphmagus like his mother, and so on - but no one is a better example of a parental clone than Harry himself. Harry essentially assumes his father's life - they are almost identical in appearance, they were both Gryffindors who played for the house Quidditch team, both are close to Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, they both make liberal use of the invisibility cloak, both are killed by Voldemort, and both have a tendency to be arrogant shitheads.

I refuse to believe that those glasses were trendy for over forty years.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, Harry seems determined to be a younger, angstier and hairier James; it's only natural, then, that he should make everyone around him uncomfortable by chasing after his very own Lily. Lily Potter (nee Evans) was a redheaded witch of low birth who spent most of her childhood fully aware of her magical powers and anxiously awaiting the day she'd finally get to go to Hogwarts. At school, she was revered for her intelligence, good looks, wit and stubborn, sharp-tongued charm. Her potions teacher, Professor Slughorn, was so delighted with her that he inducted her into his apparently-prestigious Slug Club, where students stand around in fancy outfits and try not to be eaten by vampires. Slughorn wasn't the only male to notice her, either; she was wildly popular at school, and spent most of her later years fending off the affections of multiple boys. 

Nope, no Oedipus complex here. No, sir.

Do I even need to spell it out? (Pun possibly intended. Sorry.) Ginny is a redhead of low birth who spent much of her childhood fully aware of the magical community and longing to get on the Hogwarts train. She, too, was a member of the Slug Club, revered for her good looks, wit and fiery-headed charm. She spends her later years at school being constantly inundated with the affections of her male classmates, to the point that her brothers, Fred and George, threaten to intervene. 

Yeah, good luck with that. 

Hermione may be a lot of things, but she's no substitute for Harry's deceased mother. Sure, she's clever like Lily, and yes, she comes from a Muggle-born background, but that's where the similarities end. Hermione was completely oblivious to her supernatural powers during childhood, and only clued in to her abilities when a Hogwarts representative turned up at her dentist parents' doorstep. While Lily was kind and charming, Hermione almost inevitably comes across as abrasive and insufferable to everyone who's not as smart as she is. Far from being coveted by every student with a Y chromosome, Hermione is ignored by men - the only exceptions being Viktor Krum, a Bulgarian Quidditch player who knows her for less than two weeks, and Ron, her eventual husband. So if Rowing's goal was to show us how life comes full circle, she doesn't need to go back on her decision to marry Harry and Ginny - she got it right the first time. 


So how do you feel about J.K. Rowling's announcement? Are Ron and Hermione truly meant for each other? Or is Rowling right to say that they'd never work out?

I'm up for the 2014 Canadian Blog Award for Best Funny Blog! If you enjoyed this post, consider voting for me here - anyone can vote!


Back to Top