This is the last thing from a fanzine, but I do genuinely think that Harry Potter represents genuine quality work, and so I’m going to post about JK Rowling’s recently expressed regret that she didn’t have Hermione and Harry get together, rather than Hermione and Ron.
Given the character histories involved, I’m not sure how bright Harry’s prospects for parenthood are. You’d hope that he wouldn’t punish his kids by locking them under the stair, but Vernon didn’t demonstrate many other options. Ron and Hermione come from loving family backgrounds and I think would be more stable in the long term.
But that doesn’t explain why a sixteen year old Hermione would choose to go with Ron (if that’s the right word—she’s not thinking of family histories and who’d be more stable or whatever). Would she prefer the likeable wallflower or the emotionally turbulent (if not emotionally damaged) Harry? It’s romantic and tempting to put her together with Harry, but even if they did get together, how would it play out? She’s seen him go through weird kinds of torment and possession and loads of stuff that she never had to deal with. I could see them getting into a resentful caretaker dynamic (“just listen to me Harry, my research is telling me what is best for you,” “well you just CAN’T know what I went through”), which doesn’t seem like a very good paradigm. In that sense Ginny is a much better fit because she went through something similar to Harry (kinda like how Peeta is a better fit for Katniss because they both went through the Hunger Games). That being said, maybe the most acute ending would have been to have Ginny and Harry be childless in the series’ epilogue.
Anyways, maybe Hermione remembers Ron getting concussed in their first year of Hogwarts and feels obligated to love him and so represses her love for Harry. Maybe Hermione would have loved Harry, but a self-preservation instinct kicked in telling her not to get too close (watching someone scream in their sleep and suffer from debilitating nightmares might permanently change your perception of that person). Listening to that self-preservation instinct seems like the kind of wisdom that comes from experience, and maybe in a real world version of HP Hermione would date Harry and they’d either muddle on or end messily, in which case she’d either reenact the same dynamic, overreact and date no one, or find a new dynamic with someone else, perhaps someone like Ron. The only solution I can see is to get Steven Sondheim to write a musical about the characters as adults.
The upshot is that I disagree with Rowling. There’s no wrong choice in the matter, but whichever one she chose, it says something strong about Hermione’s character. Whether or not that instinct for self-preservation would kick in at such a young age, whether she’d be old enough to recognize it, I like that Hermione would have a sort of freedom from Rowling’s feelings about how who she should have ended up with.