The Harry-Hermione-Ron Love Triangle: A Hullabaloo

So, unless you live in a universe that has no Harry Potter fans, you may have heard J. K. Rowling’s bombshell where she states (according to various sources as the interview in question has yet to be released) that:

“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.” (source)

And, something that many Ron/Hermione shippers* find unforgivable is her comment that:

Ron and Hermione would have needed relationship counseling.

If you search for it, you will find varying reactions from the Potter fans (of whom I am one) and there are others that have taken this moment to cast slurs on Rowling and her “attention-seeking ways.” The Ron fans are upset because they feel that his character keeps getting disrespected and is not loved as much by Rowling as the others. There are other authors who are adding their voices to the mix and it has just been sort of crazy because apparently people don’t react well when their childhood is shaken around. Only…was it?

I’m a bit stumped by the level of crazy I see on message boards, tumblr, blogs, everywhere. Why are Rowling’s statements such a big deal? I really don’t get it. She says that things should have gone the  Harry/Hermione way but didn’t. She didn’t go back and rewrite the series to make things go the Harry/Hermione way. She’s simply stating an opinion or rather reflecting on the work she did after time has given some distance and she has gained perspective.

People don’t understand that just because you are the author of a book does not mean you have all the answers or control the story exactly. My friend, Chris, will attest to this but sometimes stories take on lives of their own and characters act in ways that are organic to them. To me, Rowling’s saying that the characters wanted to go the Harry/Hermione way but she insisted on writing Ron/Hermione because of sentimental reasons. So she did. So why in the world is she talking about it now, you ask? That’s why we need to see the whole interview rather than judging it by the snippet we saw. I feel like context is necessary. What question was she asked to cause her to respond the way she did.

Also, people are angry that Ron and Hermione would have needed relationship counselling but is that not a good thing? Doesn’t that added effort mean they would have wanted to work at their relationship rather than letting it dissolve?

I will probably have more to say once I have read the interview but an author knows more about her characters than a reader could possibly ever but at the same time, it is a completely different knowing. But that’s a different post and I’ll write it later.  I’ll leave you with some adorable fan art from the Ron/Hermione fans and Harry/Hermione fans.

Source: http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs16/f/2007/197/f/7/Ron_and_Hermione_Love_by_cleobella.jpg
Source: http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs16/f/2007/197/f/7/Ron_and_Hermione_Love_by_cleobella.jpg
Source: http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/16100000/Harmony-Fan-Art-harry-and-hermione-16122703-500-380.jpg
Source: http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/16100000/Harmony-Fan-Art-harry-and-hermione-16122703-500-380.jpg
*shipper: The term “shipper” comes from supporting a ship. To ship something means a person wants two characters to get together and/or shows support for two characters already together. The term “ship” came from the X-Files fandom, when fanfics were written about Mulder and Scully. The fans then called themselves shippers. It quickly spread and is now the title a person gives themself if they believe two charcters should or will be together (The characters can be from anything: Books, Movies, Television, Video Games, and even Actors/Actresses). It is not limited to the couple actually happening, a person can ship something just because they enjoy the possibility of them getting together or even just because they think they would look good together. (source)

  • I agree with most of this. I really only take two small issues with her annoucement. Whoever it was(either JK or Emma Warson) who said he couldn’t make her happy like Hermione was the more important part of the relationship and his happiness means nothing(they both had flaws that could easily get on the other’s nerves and probably would have).
    And, Harry/Hermione was my main argument to having a great male/female friendship in a series so even though it didn’t happen, people will still counter with ‘but the author says it should have’. I guess Aria and Roar just got upgraded to number 1.

    • Rossi

      Yes to your first point so much! My problem with this “reveal” is that it enforces this idea that Harry and Hermione are superior to Ron in the fandom because let’s face it, the reason why Ron is so exceptional is because of his very normalness. He doesn’t excel in a lot of things like Herminone, doesn’t have innate talent like Harry, and are more prone to petty fit of jealousy and self doubt than the other two. And yet despite knowing all of this, despite knowing that in the eye of the world he will always be the lesser one of the trio, Ron chose to be there very step of the way, risking life and perpetual self doubts to do the right thing. He’s very inspirational to me.

      So while I will attempt to withold judgement till the whole article comes out, I admit to side eyeing Rowling for this comment. It’s one thing to state that Dumbledore is gay (I’m using this example since that’s the only big announcement concerning Potter world post Potter books) which in no way distract from the finished story but it’s another to basically rewriting a whole narrative arc within a long ago finished product even if she didn’t actually literally rewrite the series. Her opinion as the creator of this whole world matter whether you as a fan try to let it get to you or not.

  • The most interesting aspect that few if any are talking about is how one deals with, as a writer, characters deviating from one’s original intentions for them. A lot of times, characters can take on a life of their own, or the story just isn’t turning out the way you had envisioned but the new way just makes more sense. What are the repercussions of trying to ‘right the ship’ in a narrative or character arc vs. letting things go as they may?

    Several stories I’ve read have led me to wonder whether the author allowed their characters to follow their natural development paths or not. Often a jarring shift in characterization or a relationship had led me to wonder whether the author was forcing his or herself back on track when an organic development in the story was threatening the author’s original vision.

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  • Though Rowling knows more about her characters, she might not know how damaging to the series her words could be. How would new readers view the relationship between the trio now?

    • Again, I’d say readers would judge the series by the content in the books rather than what the author says. Honestly, not all readers approach a book author first, I don’t. Her words are extraneous, written after the fact and perhaps I’m so blase about this because to me, a book is an entity separate from the author. She has written it, yes, and it belongs to her but in a way completely different from the way it belongs to the readers.

      • And I dont mean all readers, but there is a chance of some taking the authors word as law. Those on the fence about picking up the books might also read up on Rowling and her thoughts first… and because of what she said, thye might just drop the idea of reading HP in the end.

        I’m just saying there’s a risk. Though she has the right to share her thoughts, she should at least consider the outcome of it. Right now, there is a shipping war because of her comment. Shouldn’t love for a series bring people together not divide them?

        They are separate entities, but from what we can see happening between shippers, there is a link between author and book… even if it is a very small one. That’s my 2 cents 🙂

        • I just love having fervent discussions like this so I appreciate anything that provokes it. I really want to know what kind of question she was asked that led her to say this. And I don’t disagree that there is a risk, I just think that people are making it into a bigger deal than it is.

  • Reblogged this on Lyrically Speaking .

  • Art3misSmith

    I only don’t like her comment, and wish she would’ve kept her mouth shut about it, because it is a BIG part of the story. Basically the last two books need to be re-written, and something that big should never change. When she said in her head, Dumbledore is gay, it was a nice add on to the books. Nothing needed to change because of it. But this is a game changer, too big for just a couple of words about it on an interview.

    Also, I agree Ron always gets the bad end of the deal, and so the fact that he ends up with Hermione is wonderful. If Rowling changes that, what does Ron have? He doesn’t have any good parts, all he does is stab a locket. He doesn’t even kill Nagini! Poor Ron 🙁

    But most importantly, to me, is that Harry and Hermione were friends without the pressure of having to date, or kiss, or feel romantic about each other. That is a sigh of relief when it comes to male and female characters in books and movies.

    Anyway, it’s not like I’m hating her, or outraged by what she said. I just think she should’ve not said anything.

    • Why not? It’s her right to speak as the creator of the work even if it does mean angering the masses. Besides, if you think about it, her saying it does not negate everyone’s experiences of the relationships.

      • Art3misSmith

        This is just my POV: She can have those opinions but it would be better if she just kept them to herself, because it is such a big change. I view her as the creator of the Harry Potter universe, so it kind of does negate it, in some small way, and I don’t like it. But again, I’m not outraged or hating on her, I think that’s just a little over-dramatic 🙂

  • I rarely say this, but, on this occasion, I think J. K. Rowling is wrong! I think Ron and Hermione made perfect sense. I don’t think she forced their relationship at all – it seemed completely natural to me – and I never read into Harry/Hermione as being more than friends.

    • I wouldn’t say she is wrong. I’d say she knows a different Ron/Harry/Hermione than we do as readers. Her experiences are really incomparable to ours and she may have her reasons for saying what she does. Just like I said in response to a previous comment, her saying what she concluded after the period of reflection does not negate the relationships and what they are. And just because we don’t like what she said doesn’t mean that her opinions on the matter aren’t valid.

  • I think it’s somewhat humorous that people have said J.K. Rowling is “wrong” or “horrible” for saying these things. SHE wrote the books. SHE knows the characters better than anyone. Ron and Hermione obviously ended up together for a reason, but if she has doubts, maybe Ron and Hermione do down the road too. Maybe their happy ending isn’t as fairy tale as we all imagined. Maybe it is marriage counseling OR a divorce and Hermione on her own or what have you. J.K. Rowling wrote the characters. I think it’s fantastic that she still shares tidbits such as this!

    • Right? That’s why I don’t understand why people are all “Jo should have shut her mouth.” If you look at the interview in context, she’s obviously having a conversation about the books she wrote and it wasn’t her intention at all to “negate character developments” etc. Someone pointed out that all the fuss about Hermione/Harry “friendship” is unwarranted as the friendship would have been sustained except the friend would have been Ron instead of Harry.

  • I like your article. There are some things I have clear about characters that I didn’t know till now. This are ideas what every writer should know.

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  • I agree about needing the context of the whole interview before making any concrete judgement; however, I think the reason so many readers are upset, myself included, is that even though Rowling is expressing an opinion, it’s the opinion of the author, which makes it feel like the stories have been rewritten because her word carries so much authority. I personally feel like it undermines the series; maybe I need to be more flexible about the creative process, but I definitely see where you are coming from and am interested to read the rest of the interview.

    • The interview is out now and it really shows how so much of it was sensationalized. She was just having a conversation about the whole process, rather like a detached fan than someone who created the stuff.

      • Thanks – I’ll definitely have to check that out.

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