After J.K. Rowling’s much-read comments about her regrets for pairing Hermione with Ron instead of Harry, the Harry Potter franchise has finally joined the ranks of Twilight, The Hunger Games and every season of The Bachelor by dividing the fans into camps over who the main character should have married. I stand firmly in the camp of the existing relationships, Ron with Hermione and Harry with Ginny.
For starters, Harry’s platonic friendship with Hermione doesn’t need any improvement. Hermione is the only other character whose Muggle background gets any attention in the series. I could see how growing up in Muggle society might be a bonding point on the first few dates, but I see something more profound: Hermione was the sister Harry never had. Both of them only children, Harry and Hermione bonded like siblings (the sort of siblings that get along anyway), and filled this particular empty spot in each others’ lives. If they were romantically paired instead, they would each be trading a sibling for a spouse, leaving that bond unsatisfied.
I’m also glad to see Ron with a strong love interest of his own. The unspoken, but omnipresent “hero gets the girl” rule needs to be phased out. When Ron opened Slytherin’s locket in book seven and confronted his own fears and insecurities, he saw Hermione passing him up for Harry. Ron knows he’s the sidekick and he knows that the hero gets the girl, that the sidekick ends up settling for someone else a few years down the road. But here, Ron gets to pursue his own love interest without Harry’s shadow getting in the way. While Ron may have been overshadowed for a good chunk of the series, his relationship with Hermione helps establish himself in a spotlight of his own that can exist without his famous friend.
When J.K. Rowling said Hermione and Ron would need marriage counseling, she wasn’t wrong. They’ve been bickering like an old married couple from day one. Perhaps that was just seven years of sexual tension that needed releasing, but they do have compatibility issues that can’t be glossed over. Ron’s a slob and Hermione’s a perfectionist, but who says an odd couple can’t work? If anything, it’s a chance to make them better people.
Ron’s inferiority complex recurs throughout the series, and Hermione’s brilliance probably wouldn’t help. On the other hand, however, Hermione would be the perfect candidate to push Ron to achieving goals he never would have pursued on his own. Who better than Hermione to shape a slacker into a success?
Hermione gets something out of it, too. When Ron and Harry weren’t on speaking terms after the Goblet of Fire ceremony, Harry noted that being best friends with Hermione instead of Ron meant a lot more time in the library and a lot less laughter. Hermione is easily my favorite character out of the trio, but there’s no denying that she’s a wet blanket. Who better than Ron to show a stick in the mud how to lighten up?
A lot of fans see Ron as beneath Hermione, but I don’t think that’s fair to Ron. Hermione’s brilliance, work ethic and moral championing of house elves certainly put her in a high caliber of success in her own right – it’s easy to forget that Ron was there for most of the major adventures and thwartings of evil. Maybe we forget because he’s the sidekick, but Ron was there for every climactic battle except the Triwizard Tournament. How many people in the wizarding world can say they helped close the Chamber of Secrets, or fought in the Battle of the Ministry? Seamus Finnigan has nothing on Ron.
I’m even more adamant about preserving the relationship between Harry and Ginny. Just like the rest of the cast, Ginny grew up with us. She started as a background character with a crush and grew into a fiercely independent firebrand with enough personality and sense of herself to land a catch like Harry. (By the way, if you only know the movies, you’re sorely missing out on this relationship –Ginny never got enough screen time to begin with, and her onscreen relationship with Harry suffered from lousy directing and lousy acting.)
Romantically, Harry sought an equal. His first interest, Cho Chang the Ravenclaw, shows up as a competitive seeker who gives him a run for his money in their first Quidditch match. As Ginny grows up and Harry starts noticing her, she develops her Quidditch talent (and there’s a hilarious bit of subtext when she wins the Quidditch Cup in book six by grabbing the snitch from under Cho’s nose), then she performs a bat-bogey hex of such remarkable quality that Professor Slughorn doesn’t even think to punish her for hexing another student. Plus, she kicks ass and takes names during the attack on the Department of Mysteries. And after the Chamber of Secrets incident, Ginny is probably the only other person who can relate to being possessed by Voldemort.
I love Hermione dearly, but she doesn’t have Ginny’s spunkiness. Hermione’s accomplishments in academia and nonprofit charity don’t mesh with Harry. Ginny’s fire and boldness certainly do.
If you still don’t care for Harry’s relationship with Ginny, think of it as a way for Harry to vicariously marry Ron. Don’t tell me Harry never thought about it.
Brian Hampel is a senior in architecture. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.