There are spoilers here. The news broke out on Sunday that JK Rowling admitted, to Emma Watson no less (the actress who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films), that Hermione should have chosen Harry Potter over Ron Weasley in both the novels and films. Apart from first suggesting to Paul B that this just leaves Rowling open to creating her own Mirror Universe, and privately (not so privately now) thinking that Rowling could take a leaf out of fan fiction writers and plot the sordid affair that Harry and Hermione would have in their later years: apart from all this pure speculation… do I really care?
Not being a dedicated fan of many mainstream comics, I’m not exactly someone who’s ever had to deal with the pain retconning of my favourite characters in anything… except in the case of what DC have done to John Constantine, which I have written at length about. So the idea of the relationships between Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny being set in stone is not something I’ve ever really thought about.Until now.
At this stage it would be ridiculous to assume that Rowling would completely upend the universe she’s created and correct what she now sees as a mistake. I suspect there’s probably plenty of purist fans out there who would make some kind of deafening internet howl if she were to try retconning the relationships. But what interests me is the fact that she’s admitted that it’s something she hasn’t done right. That on a technical level, the relationship between Ron and Hermione made little sense, because of what happened over the course of the story.
Rowling has now admitted that the relationship between Ron and Hermione was, for her, some kind of wish fulfilment:
“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfilment.
“That’s how it was conceived, really. 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.”
And Emma Watson has also said that the relationship never quite made sense to her. And it never did to me. While Harry obviously liked Ginny a fair bit, he and Hermione went through a lot together during the final few novels, as the relationship between Harry and Ron never quite seemed to fully recover after the events of The Goblet of Fire. The strength of abandonment that Harry felt and Hermione’s obvious predilection to the logic of the situation meant that the pair saw eye-to-eye quite a bit more. In later novels, Harry and Ginny always seemed more of a relationship based on physical want rather than anything a bit more substantial.
But at the same time, in not having the dramatically obvious relationship happen, Rowling did achieve one thing: the hero didn’t get the girl in the way everyone expected. After all, I can’t be the only one who gets tired of the obvious pairings that happen in fiction. And I think I would have taken it all a step further if it had been me and maybe had Luna and Harry pairing up by the end of it all.
And still none of this matters, because this is a novel series rather than a comic book universe and what’s done is done. Unless Rowling wants to start calling the whole thing one of the biggest typos in a book series ever.*
*Which reminds me of when I was reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the first time and noticed a huge typo in my first edition book: Barty Crouch had some how made his way into a conversation after dying – the conversation was not a flashback.