Love Connection

Love Connection

I’ve been thinking about writing a post about Potter relationships. How did certain characters end up together? Why? And with the recent news of Rowling’s comments about Ron and Hermione’s relationship, this seemed like the perfect time.

There are so many relationships within the series, so I’ve decided to make this post ongoing, posting related articles in the future. But for now, let’s start with the whole Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione thing. I’m going to begin by saying this news from Rowling isn’t going to be easy for any true Harry Potter fan because we are so accustomed with character A and character B being together. They should be together just because they should be together. But why?

HARRY AND GINNY

I personally think Harry  and Ginny make a great couple, but if you would have asked me after reading, say, the first four books, I would have told you I thought Harry and Hermione would have ended up together… in fact, I had multiple conversations (and arguments) about said relationship. At the same time, however, Harry was mostly indecisive when it came to girls. No doubt he always loved Hermione, but don’t forget about Cho Chang. Let’s all take a moment to relive this famous line:

 

“Wangoballwime?” - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 

 

He had multiple conversations with Ron about what a right foul git Cedric was for being with her because it created an obstacle for him. Harry finally kissed Cho after a DA meeting, but the romance was short-lived. The situation was only exciting when Cho was continually something Harry could not obtain, and when he actually got a chance to be with her, the relationship was far less than forever.

Fast forward to when Harry sees Ginny kiss Dean in the Three Broomsticks and then again inside the castle (this is after she dated Michael Corner, which Harry seemed to have no apparent interest in).

 

“But unbidden into his mind came an image of that same deserted corridor with himself kissing Ginny instead…The monster in his chest purred…” - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

 

He begins to realize that he indeed has feelings for Ginny, and the two start dating (after Harry “luckily” bumps into Dean, who bumps into Ginny after he had taken some Felix Felicis). Ginny confessed that she never stopped liking Harry and always hoped they would end up together. And during the Gryffindor Quidditch victory party in the common room, they do.

 

“…Without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her.” – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

 

What’s poetic about Harry and Ginny’s relationship is that it was so long in the making, and it finally culminates at the end of Book 6. Ginny clearly never stopped loving him, and Harry realizes she was under his nose the whole time. It’s all very romantic. But does that mean they are the perfect pairing, each other’s perfect match? Harry is very impulsive and rarely thinks before he acts, but he is strong and courageous, as is Ginny. This is why they work so well together. She is also able to keep her wits about her in difficult situations, which is a nice counterbalance to Harry’s personality. But whom else do we know is quick-witted and brave?

 

RON AND HERMIONE

Theirs is a love-hate relationship that started off in the very beginning of the series in Sorcerer’s Stone. Ron made fun of her know-it-all-ness when she corrected his pronunciation of Wingardium Leviosa in their Charms class. In Prisoner of Azkaban, the two are constantly arguing because Crookshanks and Scabbers are in continual scuffle, and Ron keeps yelling at Hermione.

One of the biggest moments comes when Ron finds out that Viktor Krum has asked Hermione to be his date to the Yule Ball. Ron and Harry have waited until the last minute, and Ron scrambles trying to find a date. At the end of the night, Harry walks back up to Gryffindor Tower to find Ron and Hermione in an argument.

 

“Well, if you don’t like it, you know what the solution is, don’t you?” yelled Hermione.

“Oh, yeah?” Ron yelled back. “What’s that?”

“Next time there’s a ball, ask me before someone else does and not as a last resort!”

-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

 

Then in Half-Blood Prince, Ron starts dating Lavender Brown, and Hermione keeps her distance until after Ron is poisoned by the bad wine in Slughorn’s office. She ends up sitting in the hospital with him. The first time he speaks, he says her name. At the end of the book during Dumbledore’s funeral, Ron is comforting Hermione.

 

“Ron, he saw, was now holding Hermione and stroking her hair while she sobbed into his shoulder, tears dripping from the end of his own long nose.” - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

 

The love and affection are there, as they are with Harry and Ginny. So how do we draw a conclusion as to whether or not these characters should’ve have been placed together or with someone else when we are so used to the situation as it is?

 

PROS AND CONS

Pros for Harry/Ginny: They are really good at understanding one another. At the end of Book 6, Rowling even makes reference to the fact that Ginny never tried to change Harry or sway his decisions when he did things (646). Harry and Ginny are both strong, courageous people. They like to have fun. Without regard to grades, both are highly intelligent.

Cons for Harry/Ginny: They don’t spend a lot of time together, at least during the course of the seven books. I know Ron and Hermione were his best friends, but why didn’t Harry bring Ginny along when he went to hunt down the Horcruxes? Yes, he was trying to keep her safe, but I think she is more than capable of defending herself, as Neville would have been more than capable of leading the resistance at Hogwarts without Ginny. It’s not her fault, but Ginny is absent from the most crucial moments of Harry’s life, a time when a significant other would be the person you want there the most.

Pros for Ron/Hermione: Opposites attract. Hermione, extremely smart and level-headed. Ron, an athlete and easy-going guy who enjoys being funny. Both also brave. They are each other’s compliments, and they blend well together.

Cons for Ron/Hermione: They are OPPOSITE. J.K. Rowling, in her recent interview with Emma Watson, said that Ron and Hermione would have definitely needed marriage counseling. Their entire relationship throughout the series would support that notion. They are constantly fighting, and while that can be a sign of true love, it can also get old after a while.

While I don’t have a problem with the relationships how they worked out, I would like to say this: For the longest time, as previously mentioned, I was convinced Harry and Hermione would end up together. If for no other reason, consider this: Without Hermione, Harry would have NEVER survived the series, prophecy or no prophecy. I am not saying Harry was not able to fight the battle, but he would not have been able to do it alone. Hermione figured out the potion bottle challenge in Sorcerer’s Stone. Hermione figured out it was a basilisk in Chamber or Secrets. She helped him figure out the egg in Goblet of Fire. She convinced Harry to start the DA in Order of the Phoenix, which has no doubt proven useful. And in Deathly Hallows, she was the main reason both Harry and Ron survived. Almost every important moment in Harry’s life, Hermione was there, aiding him. These are moments where a significant other would be desired. Just consider that.

That being said, we can debate and argue, but when it comes down to it, nothing can be changed. Ron and Hermione are together with kids, as are Harry and Ginny. The relationships aren’t so outrageous that there would be something to be gained from changing them, only that things would have played out a little differently.

  • salina

    ron was a pretty crucial part of harry making it through the series, so maybe they should have ended up together.

    • Iain Walker

      And so were Snape and Dumbledore. The “X was an essential help to Harry therefore they should be together” argument is quite a bizarre non sequitur.

      • salina

        agreed. it has no real basis in anything that makes a relationship functional.

  • Nina

    Very well written, and all good points!
    The one thing I would like to add to the Harry/Ginny thing is that a huge part of the attraction for Harry was that Ginny’s toughness came from the fact that she wasn’t a girly-girl. She’d grown up with several brothers so she wasn’t over sensitive like Cho. When Cho got emotional and jealous for no reason at all, Harry lost interest.
    For me, all the couples in the books were right. Even Ron and Hermione, no matter how much they fought, I just think it’s their thing. And with all the history they have together, it just couldn’t have happened any other way for them. The attraction had always been there on the background. If Harry had ended up with Hermione that would have ruined the whole trio. Both Harry and Hermione would’ve lost the whole Weasley family they had become a part of. And honestly, as much as I like to play around with different options and ideas, I just can’t see Harry and Hermione together. Not really. I can’t see it working out. Not as a couple that’s truly in love for the rest of their lives. Sure there were some affectionate moments for them, and Hermione always helped him out and they supported each other, but really, all I see is cute love, the kind between friends who end up feeling like siblings. Just like Harry said to Ron: I love her like a sister.
    But all in all, I was glad and interested to hear about Rowling’s recent comments. It just gave all fans, no matter which way they ship the trio, something to go on, making things even more interesting for us. Nothing she wrote down has changed, but the options of how things could have ended up became more real, that’s all.

  • cristina

    Harry and hermione do love each other in a brother/ sister way. You can tell when they share the dance in the deathly hallows. He tries to comfort her and although its a crucial moment that could have been romantic you can tell hes just trying to be a good friend and make her feel better. Theres no physical attraction there in the books or the movies. They both see what they have to do and do it. They are an inseperable team but are so similar in the fact that they both grew up being raised by muggles they see they magical world together from a different perspective. Enter the Weasley family:
    Its the magical famiky they both wish they could be apart of. And found that through ron and ginny

  • Robin

    Ginny was underage and could be tracked so why would she come on the horcrux hunt?

    • Iain Walker

      Well spotted. There’s also the fact that having two Weasley siblings missing at the same time as Undesirable Number One is going to draw more Death Eater attention to the remaining members of the Weasley family – the ghoul-with-spattergoit trick only works once. Really, having Ginny on the Horcrux Hunt was never going to be a workable option.

  • Iain Walker

    Moving away from the old subjective arguments over such nebulous notions as “compatibility”, one could instead try a different approach and look at the relationships in terms of how they serve the story and the characters. For example …

    Rowling establishes from PS onwards that the main character dynamic is going to be a trio, with Harry as the primary hero and POV character, Ron and Hermione as the secondary heroes of more or less equal prominence. It’s a simple, balanced set-up – until you start introducing romantic entanglements.

    Pairing Harry with either Ron or Hermione creates an asymmetry in this dynamic, which might be manageable in itself, but more seriously, it shifts the emotional focus of the narrative. Both Ron and Hermione are at the forefront of events most of the time, so pairing either of them with Harry pushes that relationship to the forefront too. But that’s not what the books are about – such a relationship wouldn’t add anything to the particular story that Rowling is telling, and unless handled very deftly indeed would risk being an unnecessary and unhelpful distraction.

    However, by giving Harry a relationship with a character outside the main trio, it makes it easier for Rowling to maintain narrative balance. The Harry/Ginny relationship is one that can take a back seat when the story requires, when both the plot and emotional focus need to be elsewhere (which is why, for example, it is far better from a story-telling POV for Ginny not to be on the Horcrux Hunt, quite apart from the in-universe reasons that make it impossible).

    As for Ron and Hermione, their relationship gives them a subplot of their own, with all its opportunities for character exploration and development, independently of their relationships with Harry, while at the same time still keeping them in focus as main characters. I.e., it gives them an additional degree of independent life as characters beyond being sidekicks to the hero. Ron in particular benefits from this, as his insecurities over the relationship provide one of the main catalysts for his character growth in DH.

    A similar principle also applies to Ginny – instead of going on the Horcrux Hunt, she stays at Hogwarts and is one of the leaders of the resistance to the Carrows’ regime. That way her relationship with Harry doesn’t distract from the main narrative, and she also gets to act as an agent in her own right, independently of Harry. As a character, she gets to have her own life, to do her own thing, even if it’s off-screen, rather than being a mere appendage to the hero. It’s both realistic and (in a small way) rather empowering. Rowling isn’t the most consistent of feminist authors, but she nevertheless constructs her stories in a way that allows female characters like Hermione and Ginny room to be their own people.

    Were there other ways Rowling could have handled the relationships of her main characters? Of course, but different choices would have led to knock-on effects on the character dynamics, characterisation, and character-driven elements of the plot. The books would have been significantly different – not necessarily worse, but not necessarily better either – but certainly different. But given the other narrative choices she made, the relationships she ended up with make perfectly good sense – in that particular literary context. They served the story that she told and they served the characters as she wrote them. And really, what else do you need?

  • PheonixFeather

    If the couples didn’t end up being together Hermione and Harry wouldn’t have the figurative AND physical relationship with the Weaslys..Its nice that in the end that there all connected in so many levels.
    Also Harry ends up with a big family and hermione is the wife of his brother-in-law!

  • Deepti Dani

    Ron and Hermione are a case of opposites attract yes and the article is right in saying that this can get old after a while. But if you go through the books, after a while like say Goblet of Fire… their banter is more affectionate but when they do fight it is very hurtful because they know what they feel with each other (Ron dating Lavender in Half Blood Prince). They are also connected with their concern for Harry.
    Harry and Ginny are connected through Voldemort and share a deep understanding for that darkness that Ron and Hermione cannot even begin to understand. Ginny also is the only one who surprises Harry in his life. He is surprisingly attracted to her unpredictable and outspoken nature. Also while somewhere he was used to girls falling for him without knowing him, it surprised him that Ginny didn’t do so and went on to date other people. That brought out her strong nature and relieved him that she was not dependent on him.

  • phoenixflame22

    The first thing I’ll say is that I am a H/Hr shipper, but that is mainly because their relationship is the only one that truly is shown throughout the series. R/Hr just screams opposites attract, and that they are both Harry’s best friends. Aside from being Harry’s best friends and being Gryffindors, they don’t have much in common. The same could be said of Harry and Ginny, they don’t get a lot of screen/page time which really hurts that relationship’s development. It just jumps out and slaps people in the face.

    Ron/Hermione: Ron treats Hermine a lot like Ginny as well, he blows up at Corner when he finds out that Ginny is dating Michael in OotP just like he does to Hermione with Krum. Ron constantly belittles Hermione’s beliefs: House Elves, studying, muggles themselves (read the epilogue, getting his driver’s license). Sure, it can be said that younger boys will pull a girl’s hair, or pick on them to show affection but that is when they are CHILDREN, not teenagers. Ron doesn’t really change his attitude toward Hermione during the entire series, Hermione seemingly ‘dumbs’ herself down to get along with him.

    For those who say that Harry/Hermione are like siblings, I don’t disagree. But when Harry said that Hermione is just like a sister to him in DH, HOW DOES HE KNOW? Both Harry and Hermione are only children, and Harry thinks of Ron as a brother, so wouldn’t that make Ginny like his sister as well.

    Honestly, neither relationship is perfect, actually both are far from it. But that is how relationships are, they are a work in progress. And obviously, we can’t change how JK wrote the series, just use fan fiction to satisfy our fantasies, we’ll just have to live with it.

    • Tori

      I agree with pretty much everything you’re saying. Therected wasn’t enough of a build of Ron and Hermione’s relationship, especially in the movies. There’s was plenty to show it in the books but instead of focusing on their relationship, the movie had Ron making out with lavender the whole. While that is in there, Ron and Hermione got overshadowed. I was also annoyed at the portrayal of Harry and Ginny’s relationship as well. There were little things like Ginny sitting against harry’a legs in the gryffindor common room that you don’t see in the movies. Oh well, guess we can’t have everything. I don’t dislike the relationships as the played out but I can also alternative possibilities.