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Actors Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe appear on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios May 21, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
Why does Hermione have to choose Harry or Ron?
First Published Feb 07 2014 11:27 am • Last Updated Feb 07 2014 11:27 am

J.K. Rowling caused a stir in the wizarding and human worlds recently by suggesting she made a mistake in having Hermione Granger end up with Ron Weasley instead of Harry Potter.

Britain’s Sunday Times published excerpts of an interview the "Harry Potter" author gave to Wonderland magazine. "I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment," she says. "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." Emma Watson, who played Hermione in the movies, agreed, questioning whether Ron would have been able to make her character happy.

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With an evenly matched ferocity that wasn’t evident in the Super Bowl, two sides emerged over the weekend on Twitter and Harry Potter fan blogs: those happy she married the redheaded sidekick and those who thought she should have been matched with the star. It’s sad that the choice has to be either/or.

Hermione Granger is a powerful witch in her own right. She’s unafraid to own her intelligence, raise her hand in class and speak up for what she believes. And she does all this while facing the double challenge of being both a woman and a Muggle (someone who was not born into the magical world).

In Hermione, Rowling wrote a character who gave 11-year-old nerdy, frizzy-haired me a magical female role model who was equal to — and smarter than — the boys.

It’s not a stretch to say that we work out our real-world lives through fictional characters. (Jane Austen, anyone?) Would Hermione and Ron have made it? Did she secretly harbor feelings for the Boy Who Lived? Rowling tried to squelch the conjecture with a vaguely unsatisfying flash-forward ending that wrapped up the seven-book series in a neat, tidy scene that paired up the leads in convenient couples: Ron and Hermione, and Harry and Ginny Weasley. It’s a bit late now to say she made a mistake.

The real mistake all along was assuming that Hermione had to end up with Harry OR Ron. If it were me, I’d rewrite the ending to leave the question open, giving the brainy witch the power to choose, and allowing fans like me to see a strong, independent woman who can live in multiple worlds and who doesn’t need a marriage to make a happy ending. But perhaps that’s magical thinking.

Kirsten Salyer is social media editor for Bloomberg View. Follow her on Twitter at @kirstensalyer.




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