Romeo and Juliet. Bella and Edward. Katniss and Peeta. Ron and Hermione. All of these epitomize true love and are the kinds of relationships readers fall in love with. In the case of Ron and Hermione, author J.K. Rowling spent seven books developing the relationship from friends to lovers.
When a book is published, the story and facts established are then known as canon, or an absolute truth. In early February, Rowling upset many fans with her anti-canonical comments in an interview with Hermione actress Emma Watson.
She claims 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, Hermione ended up with Ron.” She goes on to say the couple would have needed marriage counseling and that “in some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit.”
The young witch and wizard started on less-than-stellar terms, as Hermione was an “insufferable know it all,” and Ron an insecure sidekick to the famous Harry Potter, but they eventually became friends and the trio of Ron, Harry, and Hermione was born. In book four, The Goblet of Fire, Hermione was asked to the Yule Ball by Viktor Krum, an act that ensnares Ron with jealousy and ruins Hermione’s night. In the fifth book, The Order of the Phoenix, Ron and Hermione’s friendship blossoms without Harry. Finally, in The Deathly Hallows, a year spent on the run from Voldemort and his cronies, was full of the most tension between the two, with Ron even leaving his friends for a time, leaving the opportunity for Harry and Hermione to come together. But they didn’t. Ron returned, and in the midst of saving the wizarding world, Ron and Hermione finally came together as a couple. As it should be.
For an author who claims she was mistaken, the evidence for the “wish fulfilled” relationship is strong. Harry and Hermione have always been friends, and nothing more. Screenwriter for the Harry Potter movie series, Steve Kloves, constantly undermined Ron’s importance and focused on the other two of the trio.
Ron is the sixth of seven children. He has grown up with hand-me-downs and a life of trying to outshine his successful older siblings. His best friend is the most famous wizard of their generation. For once, Ron would like to stand out from the shadows. For him, that means winning Hermione, the girl whose heart guides him to happiness and away from poor decisions.
If an author writes something, has it published, and legions of fans adoring it, that something becomes part of canon. Despite the author’s feelings afterward, the canon has been established, and fans accept it as that. To announce seven years after the final book was published that she changed her mind is ludicrous, and fans are upset.
Perhaps Rowling’s backtracking hesitancy was brought on by similar relationships and realizations in her own life, but who’s to say Ron and Hermione would suffer the same fate as the muggles influencing them?
Despite her reasons, Rowling should learn to keep her opinions to herself. If she wants Harry and Hermione to end up together, she should join the fan fiction writers and write her new ending anonymously.
Ron and Hermione forever.
***originally published in the April 11 edition of The Southerner.