In Which I Disagree With Rowling

In the issue of Wonderland that Emma Watson guest edited, JK Rowling made some comments on some of our favorite characters in the Harry Potter series.

“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment,” she says. “That’s how it was conceived, really. 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 continued, “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)

 Now, Ron and Hermione are not my favorite relationship in the books. But, unlike the majority of fans I’ve spoken to, I actually enjoyed the way things turned out in Deathly Hallows. A lot of people didn’t like the epilogue because it was “too corny” or something, but I did. I thought it ended the series nicely.

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And I thought–still think–that Ron and Hermione are a good pair. People seem to believe that Ron isn’t smart enough for Hermione, or that Harry and Hermione had chemistry the entire time.

I’m not saying that Ron is brilliant or anything, but are these people saying that Harry is? Come on. Harry needed just as much help on his homework as Ron did, and was more easily distracted and got more detentions than his friend did. Ron was the one that became Prefect, not Harry. So, that argument really doesn’t make any sense. If you were saying that Hermione deserved, say, Michael Corner instead, then perhaps that would have more merits. But that isn’t what people are saying.

And as far as expecting Harry and Hermione to get together the whole time–where did you get that from? The only chemistry Harry had with anyone in the series was Ginny, and I’m not even sure about that (not to say that I don’t love Harry and Ginny together, because I do, and that’s another reason why I disagree with this). And Hermione and Ron were clearly in love (or least in like) with each other from the very start. LOTS of tension between the two of them. You don’t even have to really pay attention. It’s quite obvious.

Which leads me to why I don’t understand what JKR is trying to say. In what way was this wish fulfillment? She had clearly built up the Ron/Hermione relationship from the beginning. It wasn’t like she just sat down to write the seventh book and went “Oh, I think Ron and Hermione look cute together” or anything. She was going at this from the beginning. The only thing Hermione and Harry had was platonic friendship, the entire time.

My mom, who found out about this news a little late, told me that the first time she read the series, she was expecting Harry/Hermione the whole way through. She couldn’t really explain why to me, but that had been her thought. It confused me to hear that. Perhaps I’m not remembering correctly, since it’s been a while for me (though it has been for her, too) since I first read the series, but I don’t think I ever thought Harry and Hermione would get together. I didn’t anticipate Ginny with Harry until the fifth book (so maybe I was a little slow), but I had guesses about Ron and Hermione from the second book onward.

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I haven’t heard too many actual reasons why Harry and Hermione should have ended up with each other. Just people all over the Internet going “I TOLD YOU SO” and “Take thatha!”. I’m probably just looking in the wrong places, but honestly, I have yet to see a single reason. Hopefully someone can reason with me in the comments.

I’m hardly the spokesperson for Ron/Hermione, but I definitely think that it makes more sense than Harry/Hermione. Really, it kind of grosses me out to think about them as anything more than friends. I’ve always seen the two of them as brother and sister, while I didn’t get the same vibe from Hermione and Ron. They appeared to be crushing on each other from the start.

Do you agree with JKR? With me? Can someone enlighten me as to why Harry and Hermione actually make sense?

In Which Harry Potter is My Life

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I would be a completely different person if J.K. Rowling hadn’t written the Harry Potter series. Sometimes I think about it, late at night. What would I be like if someone used a Time-Turner to go back and stop Jo from writing down that first idea on her napkin while riding on the train? What would have happened to me?

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Because if I think about it, Harry Potter has shaped my life. I hated reading when I was little. I was good at it, but I thought it was boring. The only books I’d been given were ones I didn’t care about. But one day, in late 2006, I was home from third grade, and my mom handed me Sorcerer’s Stone and said, “Read it. If you don’t like it, put it away, but give it a chance.”

I stayed up pretty late that night.

I read the series as fast as I could, which, being in third grade, wasn’t that fast, but it wasn’t too slow, either. I was halfway through Order of the Phoenix when its movie came out, and I remember being outraged that my mother had gone to see it without me because I hadn’t finished the book yet. And I didn’t get to go to the midnight release of the seventh book because I was only a quarter through the sixth, and Mom knew I would want to start reading Deathly Hallows with everyone else.

When I finished the seventh book, I went right back into my room and picked up the first one again. And finished the series. And read it again, and again, and again, until Mom finally told me I wasn’t allowed to read another one until I read something different first. I was disgusted, but I read something else for a while.

Ultimately, though, I went back to Harry Potter only a few months later. By the time I was in fifth grade, I’d read the series about ten times already. At that point I started slowing down, reading other things, but I was obsessed with Harry Potter.

And then I discovered the fandom.

I was clicking through iTunes one day, bored out of my mind, when I came across a free podcast called MuggleCast. Interested, I clicked on it and downloaded the latest episode. After that, I followed those podcasts loyally. They’ve recently retired from that particular podcast, but still release episodes occasionally. I download and listen as quickly as I can.

After I found MuggleCast, I discovered the website it came from, Mugglenet.com, which has lots of Harry Potter news and other tidbits. And that’s where I first discovered fanfiction.

I read lots of that, and started to write my own, finding more on a different website called Fanfiction.Net, which I still go on pretty often.

And once I was on there, I went to every website I could. Mugglenet has an interactive HP game, called MNI, and I was obsessed with that for a while. I roleplayed for hours there, and quizzed myself and made a few friends. And then the Mugglenet creators made Hypable, which is now my most-visited website, and I’ve never stopped looking.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I can’t even begin to describe all of my experiences with Harry Potter. I’ve written fanfiction, a lot of it, which led me to original fiction. I’ve gone to conferences, the theme park, London. I own eighty percent of the merchandise from any of the official stores you go to, and I was Hermione Granger for Halloween for four years.

When I meet someone new, one of the first things I ask is if they like Harry Potter. Most people say yes. Some people say no. I don’t hate those people. I just feel sorry for them. To not have such a wonderful thing in your life… I don’t know how they do it.

I’ve never loved anything as much as I love Harry Potter. No other book, movie, or TV show even comes close, and the ones that do are in some way related to HP. I don’t hang on the end of my seat for anything anymore, waiting for something new to come out. I don’t go to any more midnight releases of anything.

Which means, at least in my mind, that if Harry Potter hadn’t existed, I wouldn’t feel this strongly about anything. Nothing at all. I might not have gotten into reading (though that’s doubtful). I definitely wouldn’t have gotten into writing, because fanfiction was the whole reason I did. I might even be friends with different people.

I would definitely have different values in life, I think. I wouldn’t be as proud to be smart. I wouldn’t be as willing to be different. I wouldn’t notice the little things that make life so… magical.

Put simply, I wouldn’t be me.

If You Could Be Anyone… Who Would You Choose?

I was looking through the Daily Prompts from The Daily Post, and the one from December 31st caught my eye. It reads: Tomorrow is the first day of a brand new year. Tomorrow you get to become anyone in the world that you wish. Who are you? You can choose to be anyone, alive today or someone gone long ago. If you decide to stay “you” share your rationale.

Well, immediately I thought, “J. K. Rowling, of course!” Who wouldn’t want to be her, you know? Writer of the Harry Potter series, a billionaire loved by billions, what’s wrong with that?

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But then I remembered all the problems she’s had to go through to become all of those things. Her mother died from cancer, she isn’t on speaking terms with her father, she suffered greatly from depression, she had to almost run away from her first husband and raise her first daughter on her own while suffering from that depression–So many hardships. And as selfish as it probably sounds, I do not want to have gone through those things. I want to have overcome those things, of course, because that is what makes Jo Rowling an amazing person, but I don’t think I would have been able to do that.

So, ruling out my favorite author, who would I be? I thought and thought and thought, and then I realized: Emma Watson. She’s the perfect person to be. Funny, sweet, smart, a great actress, beautiful. And she got to grow up being absolutely surrounded by Harry Potter. I’m sure she had her hardships as well, but her life sounds pretty good to me. So Emma Watson is my choice for who I’d be. She’s just really… great.

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After coming up with that extremely selfish answer, I wondered who else would be a good candidate. And then I started to realize just how many people have ever lived on this earth. I’m sure there’s a really good life to be living somewhere in the world. I’m sure one of those really good lives is mine. I mean, I’m smart, I have great friends, I’m naturally skinny, I love to read, I come from a good family. Why wouldn’t I just choose to stay myself? Because I’m extremely self-conscious, and I have bad posture, and I just can’t seem to get people to think I don’t hate them.

Bad reasons, I suppose.

So I’m left with wondering if my life is really bad enough to change, and if it would truly be better to have grown up as Emma Watson instead. Perhaps it would have. Or maybe I would just be wishing I was someone like I am now, untouched by the horrors of fame and the scrutiny of the media. Who knows? I surely never will.

All right, I’m done with my rambling. 🙂 Who would you be, if you could change lives? If 2014 could really switch you with someone?