A Huffington Post blogger recently came under fire for announcing that, if JK Rowling truly loves literature, she should quit making any.
Writer Lynn Shepherd’s justification for this controversial post is basically that Ms. Rowling has already made all the money in the world, and every time she attaches her name to another book– especially one for adults– she takes money from aspiring writers who are still clinging to day jobs to make ends meet.
She doesn’t explain whether this same rule should apply to other artists, such as Stephen King or Charlaine Harris… Or Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese… Or Paul McCartney. I can only assume she thinks they should all retire today if they care about their art.
There’s also something in the post about young adult fiction being intellectually inappropriate for adults… And the fact that Shepherd has never read a word of Harry Potter.
Because this kind of rock-solid logic is so clearly irrefutable, you might mistake this anti-Rowling column for yet another rant with the same message. However, I have a different bone to pick. Today I’m coming down on the wonderful and talented JK Rowling for something else entirely. Today I would like to disagree with her regarding the death of the Ron/Hermione relationship.
Oh, get a life, you say. It’s her world. They’re her characters. Let go of your obsession with Ron and Hermione. Loser. (Wow! That last part was a bit harsh.)
Fine. I take the “Loser” comment back… But, you know, get a grip anyway.
Here’s the thing: I’m actually not deeply invested in the relationships of the Harry Potter characters. As long as I’m destined to end up with Sirius Black (in some alternate universe where he survives), I’m good to go.
But you just said…
Please, let me finish.
Fine… It’s pretty weird how you interrupt yourself, though. Seriously.
Anyway, here is my one problem with JK Rowling… Recently, in an interview with Emma Watson, Jo Rowling admitted that she feels Hermione would have been happier with Harry instead of Ron.
SIGH. Where do I begin?
Not only did Ron and Hermione have an adorable connection from about book 3 or 4 (and earlier in the films)… Not only did their bickering come across as the undeniable sexual tension of teenagers falling in love… Not only did I never see any real tension between Harry and Hermione other than the infamous “tent” scene, which was inevitable and perfectly natural… Not only does Hermione marrying Ron and Harry marrying Ginny essentially make everyone a Weasley, which is clearly the happiest thing to be…
…But HARRY POTTER HAS EVERYTHING ELSE.
Now he gets the girl, too?
This isn’t a matter of a romantic “ship” obsession. It’s a matter of giving your audience the right message. Sure, Harry was orphaned as an infant and abused as a child. Sure, Harry suffered bullying in school. I won’t take those important details away from his past.
But Harry Potter has also inherited more money than he could ever dream of spending. After Dumbledore, he’s the most talented battle wizard around. He has a rad lightning bolt scar on his forehead. He’s a natural on the Quidditch field. The best professors love him. The cutest girls swoon over him. He’s a household name… And he is literally the chosen one.
I don’t relate to Harry Potter.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a confirmed fan with pictures and merchandise and multiple copies of books to prove it. I just don’t see myself as Harry when I read the stories, and it’s not just because I’m a girl.
Let’s take a look at Ron– runt of the Weasley boys, unsure at school, slow to learn at sports, awkward around girls, Ron is loyal to the end and ready to risk his life to save his friends. He loves Hermione… And you want to give this kid’s future wife to Harry?
Yeah, that seems fair.
Are you telling me Harry Potter is actually a story about how one nerdy kid at 11 can grow into a rather attractive, wonderful fellow– and as a result he will get everything in the world while his perpetually dorky but faithful friend gets nothing?
No, Jo… No.
Please tell me all those years I spent believing in the messages of this world weren’t totally misguided. Please let Ron have Hermione. Their partnership means so much more than a “ship”. It gives hope to the dorks. It shows the importance of devotion even when your best friend is the most attractive, rich, hardcore wizard in town– and you’re just, well, you.
Because here’s the thing: I may have been Harry when I read Book 1. Maybe even in Book 2. But as time went on, I stopped being Harry, and I’d be willing to bet a lot of us did. We’re not the chosen ones. We’re just us.
We’re Ron and Hermione.
And we deserve to be happy that way.