I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. 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 with Ron. [...] In some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit and I'll tell you something very strange. When I wrote Hallows, I felt this quite strongly when I had Hermione and Harry together in the tent! I hadn't told [screenwriter Steve] Kloves that and when he wrote the script he felt exactly the same thing at exactly the same point.It's amazing to me that seven years after the end of the series, this announcement made headline news all over the place, reported not only by Entertainment Weekly but CNN and The Sunday Times. And the shippers rose up, as Rowling feared, in "rage and fury."
But as much as I hate to say it, I can see her point.
The thing is, I love Ron. He may have always been the second banana, but he's a crucial character. Harry was the hero, Hermione was the brain, and Ron was along for the ride--except that without him, both of the other two take themselves a wee bit too seriously. So of course I wanted Ron to end up with the girl of his dreams. And let's face it, he chose a girl somewhat like his mother--a bossy know-it-all. There's little doubt who runs the Ron Weasley household.
But it always nagged at me: Why does Hermione choose him? I don't know if she'd be better off with Harry, necessarily, but apart from the fact that Ron makes her laugh, what does he bring to the relationship? He's a good chum and all, but it seems more plausible that Hermione would find someone a bit more bookish to be her husband. And she and Ron fought so much. He was always going to feel inferior to her, and she was always going to let him think that was true.
It's a relationship forged in fire. What happens when that fire goes out, just as they enter adulthood? How would that affect the life they build together from that point forward, as they settle into the humdrum world of kids and laundry and bill paying? (Lord. You can see why no one wants to read about that.) And who the heck does Hermione talk to about all the great stuff she reads? Not Ron. And not Harry, either. Let's hope she has a book club or something.
To soften the blow a bit, Rowling adds:
They'll probably be fine [with some counseling]. He needs to work on his self-esteem issues and she needs to work on being a little less critical.
And yet, and yet. Maybe their shared experiences helped them grow out of these archetypes a little--the brainiac and the clown. I wonder if Hermione wouldn't have softened quite a bit already. We do see a lot of the necessary transformation happen in the series itself. Hermione is still bookish--she's the researcher, much like Willow Rosenberg on Buffy the Vampire Slayer--and Ron is still the funny second banana. But Hermione has seen the value of other traits, and Ron has seized his own destiny and made his own heroic choices. They've come through this experience quite different people from when they began.
So, like JKR, I love Ron and Hermione together, perhaps mostly out of sentiment. But I think there's a case to be made that they could stay together. What about you? Should Ron and Hermione have walked off into the sunset? Should Harry and Hermione? What about Ginny? (That's another blog post altogether. I was never wild about the Harry-Ginny pairing.) Tell me your thoughts, blogfrogs!