The news that J.K. Rowling believes that her characters in the seven-book Harry Potter series ended up with the wrong people has been a major headline this week. Fans of the Hermione and Ron romance are extremely upset that Rowling thinks she made a mistake, as Rowling’s comments takes apart the thread of resolution that is left with the reader in the final book of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But marriages between childhood sweethearts have taken a dive in recent years. What should have happened, in a more realistic place, is that all three went out into the world, made their mark and found someone as grown up adults. The ending of book seven was tailor-made for the world of Harry Potter, a “happily ever after” moment.
A study released last year by the Future Foundation looked at the likelihood of lasting marriages between childhood sweethearts. They found that the earlier people were born, the more likely the marriage had of enduring. Thus, if couples wooed among the poodle skirts and rock n’ roll days of the 1960s, then their marriage was probably still going strong. Whereas those who flirted in the mohawk punk days of the 1980s had the odds stacked against them. This is due to recent developments that have broken links between sex and marriage. Loosening moral stances on couples living together before marriage, the Pill and increased travel have all been found to separate sex and marriage. New trends such as waiting longer to settle down have left people encountering more potential partners before finding their Mr. or Mrs. Right.
To take the Rowling books in this light, the pairing up of the three could seem a little childish. In reality, people are more likely to return to their childhood sweethearts than pick up with them first hand. In order for a modern marriage to work, each side of the couple needs to have their own time to experiment and thus dispel any of the “what if” thoughts they may otherwise have after marriage. Eagle-eyed fans have worked out that Harry Potter was born in 1980, making him fall in the middle of divorce city.
The three main characters Harry, Hermione and Ron went through multiple harrowing adventures with death lurking around every corner. While this could have helped them bond, stabilizing an otherwise possibly unlikely friendship as a basis for an enduring marriage, it seems less likely. The events that they shared would no doubt haunt the three who would be better off seeking partners who did not share their horrors and enable them to live stable lives.
Although comments have been made about Hermione deserving better, it seems that Ron got the good side of the deal, an actual moment where he does not have to play second fiddle to the great Harry Potter. But what if J.K. Rowling allowed the three to split off and go to a normal adult world? Then it could have happened differently. Hermione should be with someone who recognizes her genius and shares in it, a university professor or top author. Ron, the middle child who nobody sees, needs someone who would idolize him, not in the childish way like Lavender Brown, but a proper, grown-up awe. Harry could have stuck with Ginny, but only after she endured a rocky romance or marriage to someone else first. He could travel, perhaps live somewhere far out in the wizarding world for a while, dealing with everything he has encountered before returning home and discovering a heartbroken Ginny, which would start the romance again. Each character could have their own grownup adventure, not without fear and uncertainty, but with less magic curses and killer snakes.
Snippets of what J.K. Rowling thought really should have happened was leaked to the English paper the Sunday Star Times. The full interview comes out Thursday in Wonderland magazine, which is guest edited by Emma Watson, who portrayed Hermione Granger in Harry Potter.
By Sara Watson