Harry Potter is once again in the news. Or at least his creator, J. K. Rowling, is. It seems she’s had second thoughts about the resolution of her seven-book epic fantasy series. As fans of the books and/or movies know, in an epilogue to book 7, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the protagonist, Harry Potter, grows up to marry, not the girl with whom he’d shared so many of his adventures, but Ron’s younger sister, Ginny.
And what became of Hermione? She marries Ron, Harry’s good friend who also accompanied them on many of their clashes with Lord Voldemort and his cohorts.
Now, it seems, J. K. Rowling, having gained perspective in the intervening seven years since the final book released, thinks she made a mistake.
“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really,” Rowling says in the interview. “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.”
“I know, I’m sorry,” she adds. “I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.” (CNN Entertainment, “JK Rowling says Hermione should have married Harry Potter, not Ron” by Saeed Ahmed(
Interestingly, as I re-read four of the books this past Christmas, I began to notice places and ways that Harry’s relationship with Ginny developed.
You see, I was one who went through the entire seven books holding out hope that Harry and Hermione would get together. I read the resolution with some sense of dissatisfaction. Yes, I was glad they all lived, grew up, found love and purpose, stayed friends . . . but, Hermione and Harry were best friends really, closer in many respects than Harry and Ron, so I wanted to see them fall in love.
During my latest partial re-read, however, I saw the seeds of lasting relationships, both with Ron and Hermione and with Harry and Ginny.
Imagine my surprise, then, when this latest news came out. From all this I’ve learned a couple things: first, I don’t think Rowling sold Ron and Hermione’s relationship as much as she could have. At the same time, I don’t think she sold Harry and Ginny’s relationship at all. The tender shoots of a lasting relationship are there, as I discovered this past December, but they are so tender, it’s easy to believe that something stronger could crowd them out. And I firmly believed Harry and Hermione’s relationship was stronger. They’d been through so much together, sacrificed for each other, believed in each other.
However, I’d adjusted to the end J. K. Rowling conceived . . . until this past week when she retracted her imagined resolution. Which brings me to the second thing I’ve learned: after a novelist puts “The End” to a story, she needs to shut up and sit down and let the story speak for itself. She doesn’t need to tell her fans that she sees Dumbledore as gay or that she made a mistake with the resolution. The story is what it is now and has already played on the hearts and minds of readers, as is. Changing it now doesn’t work. Telling readers how to interpret characters, doesn’t work.
So here’s how I’m thinking about this “who should Harry have married” issue: He should have married Hermione, but he didn’t. No point wishing he had.
What are your thoughts? Did you see Hermione and Ron’s relationship coming or did you think she belonged with Harry? Do you think Rowling has made the story less satisfying by saying she got the end wrong or do you feel justified in wishing it were different?