Confession: I Have Always Been a Harry and Hermione Shipper
Listen, guys. I know many of you are upset that J.K. Rowling recently announced that she was wrong to have Ron and Hermione end up together. Romione shippers are crushed, people feel like their childhoods were lies, and others are, quite frankly, rather ticked that the lovely Joann had to inform us about it in the first place. I can hear choruses of "It's just like when she told us Dumbledore was gay. I mean, why now?" I get it. I know that it seems like a big slap in the face to say that you "take back" something that has had such a profound effect on many loyal readers or to not even include such important information in the first place. Some fans are personally hurt by it, believing that making this statement is so much more than who-ends-up-with-who but rather that perhaps Joann wrote parts for the wrong reasons, making Harry's story less authentic than it "could have been."
I, on the other hand, take all of this in stride for multiple reasons. Confession: I have always been a Harry and Hermione shipper. And if that wasn't confession enough, hear this: I wrote fanfiction about it with my cousin Kim. Dozens. Our own fantastical versions of what would've really happened if things had gone differently for the golden trio. And man, were they GREAT. (Actually, they're completely unrealistic and lack any sort of real plot structure, but to us, they're GOLDEN. They're probably the best sources for roll-on-the-floor humor that I've ever read.)
But as much as I internally (and okay, a little externally) gloat about knowing the "truth" all along, this isn't the reason I'm not upset with J.K. Rowling for making this statement. I believe any author should have the right to say and believe whatever they want about their own creation. Joann knows these books better than anyone in the entire world and she has been blessed and cursed with the gift of time and distance from the series to reflect properly on its entirety. Knowing that Dumbledore is gay or that Harry and Hermione end up with the "wrong people" doesn't ruin the books. These details, however raw and imperfect they are, make them more real. Sure, they could have been included in the books, but would you have changed your experience in any way? I know I wouldn't. And you know the magical thing about Harry Potter? This world can become whatever you want it to be. These characters have made a real home in your hearts and you have the power to believe whatever outcome you want, even past the pages. Of course it's happening inside your head, but why on earth should that mean it's not real?
If you really want to know my thoughts on who-should've-ended-up-with-whom, read ahead. Our versions may not match, but that's the beauty of it all . . . Thanks J.K. Rowling for giving us all that special kind of magic.
Harry + Hermione: Oddly enough, I think the movies actually did a decent job at exposing the special relationship these two have. I'm thinking of two scenes in particular: in CoS, Hermione runs full-speed towards Harry with this absolutely adorable grin and they hug. Granted, I know Ron and Herms awkwardly exchange glances because "they like each other," but if you look back at my journal from 2002, I wrote a full-page gawking over H & H. Embarrassing? Who cares. Secondly, the dancing scene in DH when Hermione needs cheering up after Ron leaves. It's an intimate, friendly moment, but really showed how loyal they are and how they understand each other's needs. In the books, there are countless moments like these (that's when I felt the strongest about their ship and wrote fanfic) and I would've loved to see more had they been written in that direction. I get that people would've loathed the leading man and leading lady getting together, but why should that be the reason? I don't think there's anything wrong with Harry having something go his way for once!
On another note, now that I too have had time and distance from the series, I also could have seen Harry and Hermione end up with other people, too. Admittedly, I'm sure much of my H & H support comes from identifying with Hermione and being in love with Harry, myself. Other shippers support Hermione/Malfoy (Lily/Snape redemption? ooh this would make some juicy fanfic), Harry/Luna, but I'm not 100% sold on these either. I do know that Hermione would have needed someone ambitious and creative to keep up with her, a guy who finds her long-winded rants about Ancient Ruins absolutely enlightening and also maintains some sort of high-profile job at the Ministry of Magic. Is it possible that Harry would end up alone? (I'm imagining Frodo's choice to travel "into the west" because he's just been so far removed from reality after it all.) That's really sad to imagine. He'd have to be with someone who could empathize but not baby him--someone who could make him laugh and encourage him to move forward.
Ron + ?: I still don't have Ron pegged with a name, but I can imagine him with someone truly great who appreciates his sense of humor, but still keeps him in line. I know Hermione could definitely fulfill this role, which is why J.K. put them together, but honestly, he needs someone who is more go-with-the-flow and patient with his learning curves. I think Ron would continue to pour his love out for this lucky lady in small, but significant ways and she wouldn't need any sort of reassurance of his love because she would be confident. Ron would like that.
(Side note: I think most people are upset about this latest news from J.K. because they feel it's a stab at Ron's personality and they are rushing in to defend him; in reality, everyone has quirks and faults and just because his might not have aligned with Hermione doesn't make him any less amazing of a character.)
Neville + Luna: I mean, duh. Two fantastic outcasts-turned-amazing-friends who basically save the whole damn series? Match made in heaven. Oddly enough, I could have also seen Neville/Ginny.
Ginny + Hot Quidditch Player
His Mom Rich Daughter of Powerful Family
Hagrid + Madame Maxime
Who would you have paired together? Are you upset about the latest news? Share your thoughts in the comments (but keep it friendly; no need to get your dress robes in a twist!)