|One of the M. S. Corley designs|
for the Potter books--see more here.
Dear J. K. Rowling,
I happen to be rather weak on popular culture except where it intersects with one of my three children. The Potter books intersected with all three. I have listened to Harry Potter on CD and tape with three children in the car. I have watched the movies. And I have read the entire series aloud 1.5 times to my youngest because he wanted me to read until he fell asleep but then the next night would beg me to backbackback up to the point where he could clearly remember. This backing-up business was sometimes a bit of a trial, but I did it out of maternal love and possibly a smidge of desperation. Sleep is good.
So I have a piece of helpful news for you, fellow writer, now that you've violated the integrity of the books and declared that you really should have married Hermione to Harry. You are in luck because I happen to know that you are wrong.
Oh, I see exactly what you mean. Sure, Ron and Hermione might not appear like a workable choice at first glance. They were, as John Granger says, a fit pair for "the quarreling couple" of alchemy. In real life, if they jumped over the broomstick together, they might break up in a few years. They might never have made it to marriage because once they got over the intensity of mutual attraction, there might not have been enough beyond shared experience to hold them together. Most teens do, in fact, break up in our world and even in that weird reflection-world of wizardry.
Yes, marrying Hermione to Ron looks at first like a bit of a mistake. I expect some people would say that Hermione would be better off with a clever Ravenclaw boy who wouldn't stop her from becoming headmistress of Hogwarts, say. What's in favor of them as a couple? Well, be sure to remember that Ron is brighter, more funny, and quicker to help in the books than in the movies, and that major shared experience and mutual understanding are no small things. But that's not why they end up together.
No doubt Harry + Hermione is a fetching idea--world's most famous wizard and the brightest witch of the age! That wedding sounds just about right for a romantic daydream. No doubt it might have crossed their quick, imaginative minds . . . and no doubt there would be that odd bond between them that comes from could-have-been combined with the sharing of major experiences.
But a Harry and Hermione marriage is not what happened.
What happens in a book happens in a closed world and doesn't change. You married off Ron and Hermione. You linked up Harry and Ginny. That's done.
Why did you do it? I'll tell you.
Remember how Lupin says Harry's instincts are good and nearly always right? Why are you mistrusting him at this late juncture? In fact, Harry gains infinitely more by choosing Ginevra Weasley over Hermione Granger.
Ginny brings with her the bright, abundant dowry of the things he always wanted in life and never had. He gains a wide wizarding family, full of people he already admires and loves--and even the requisite family priss-pot, somebody about whom everybody else can complain. What does Hermione offer in the way of family? A pair of nice . . . dentists. A future that means a tiny nuclear group. In the expansive Weasley clan, Harry will be an uncle many times over as well as a father. There, he has a second pair of parents who already care about him. He has big brothers. He possesses a resonant history with them all, and he is attached to the memory of their dead. We can even say that Harry becomes a kind of fraternal twin to make up for the dead Weasley twin, Fred, for he and Ron are the same age and share boyish passion for broomsticks and quidditch. His best friend becomes his brother.
Now then, what about Hermione, his other best friend? (Let's note here that the books press onward toward the restoration of Harry's broken world, and that Hermione and others help in that restoration. If you accept that idea, you accept that the thrust of story is not about Hermione--it's not even about romance or who ends up with whom.) In the context of a Harry-Ginny union, having Hermione marry Ron becomes an added bonus for Harry--she too becomes his family when she marries Ron and becomes his sister. In this way, Harry becomes related to all the living people he loves most. And this is the only way they can all be related, the only way that nobody is left out of the circle of Harry's deepest loves.
You see? Harry wins. He takes home all the toys. The cupboard child who was last is now first.
Still feeling a bit disappointed at the way you restored Harry's world, broken when he was still a baby? Listen, who's going to be the most thrilling choice for Harry? He's not all that bookish, you know. There's not much library paste holding him down. Who's going to fly off with Harry on a wild broomstick ride at midnight and frolic in the treetops? It's not going to be Hermione, who doesn't even like brooms. It'll be tomboy Ginevra, the little red-haired girl who snitched her brothers' broomsticks out of the shed at the Burrow and taught herself to fly. It'll be Ginny Weasley, quidditch star.
So let's quit talking about what might have been--a book is a shaped thing, a microcosm. What happens in it is what happens, and nothing more!