Editor's note: For full text of this interview, visit this page on our website.
Five days ago, the Sunday Times previewed an interview of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, conducted by actress Emma Watson and published today in this quarter's Wonderland magazine. In their preview, the Times suggested that J.K. Rowling confesses her disapproval for her pairing of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in the series's final installment. Furthermore, the Times alleged that Rowling states Hermione would have been better suited to finally end up in a relationship with the hero of the series, Harry Potter.
Since the Times article ("JK admits Hermione should have wed Harry" by Claudia Croft) appeared, a flame has been ignited among readers of the Potter books. This apparent backtrack by Jo on such an important character pairing evoked great emotion from all sides, and old arguments (both for and against a Harry/Hermione relationship) were revived, no thanks to additional sensationalist journalism inside and outside of the Potter fandom. Without the actual interview from Wonderland being available until today, nothing was known regarding the context from which the Times article's sparse quotations were taken. It was simply impossible to determine what was actually said, by JKR or Emma. In spite of this, reports that fed on the Times's insinuations continued to show up across the web, including on CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, BBC, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Washington Post.
We are pleased to report MuggleNet has now read the final article in Wonderland, and in this post we will be assessing exactly what is true and isn't. Below are actual quotes from the Wonderland article. While at first glance, things do not look good for Ron and Hermione, we urge you to continue reading.
On the character of Hermione, Rowling says:
"I know that Hermione is incredibly recognisable to a lot of readers, and yet you don't see a lot of Hermiones in film or on TV except to be laughed at. I mean that the intense, clever, in some ways not terribly self-aware, girl is rarely the heroine, and I really wanted her to be the heroine. She is part of me, although she is not wholly me. I think that is how I might have appeared to people when I was younger, but that is not really how I was inside."
This leads into a quote from the Times article where J.K. Rowling calls Ron and Hermione's relationship "wish fulfillment." By this she means that she was fulfilling the desire for her Hermione character to find happiness.
Subsequently, on the Ron/Hermione relationship, J.K. Rowling states:
"It was a young relationship. I think the attraction itself is plausible but the combative side of it... I'm not sure you could have got over that in an adult relationship; there was too much fundamental incompatibility."
Here is what she says about Harry/Hermione:
"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 [Steve] Kloves that, and when he wrote the script he felt exactly the same thing at exactly the same point. [...] And actually I liked that scene in the film because it was articulating something I hadn't said, but I had felt. I really liked it, and I thought that it was right. I think you do feel the ghost of what could have been in that scene. [...] And you got it perfectly [in acting it]; you got perfectly the sort of mixture of awkwardness and genuine emotion because it teeters on the edge of 'what are we doing?' [and] 'Oh, come on, let's do it anyway', which I thought was just right for that time."
Regarding Ron's position when he left Harry and Hermione:
"Hermione was the one [who] stuck with Harry all the way through that last installment, that very last part of the adventure. It wasn't Ron, which also says something very powerful about Ron. He was injured in a way, in his self-esteem, from the start of the series. He always knew he came second to fourth best and then had to make friends with the hero of it all, and that's a hell of a position to be in, eternally overshadowed. So Ron had to act out in that way at some point."
The discussion regarding Harry and Hermione stops here, and this is the part of the interview where everything that has been said so far is turned around and returned toward a Ron/Hermione favor.
"Oh, maybe she and Ron will be all right with a bit of counseling, you know. I wonder what happens at wizard marriage counseling? They'll probably be fine. He needs to work on his self-esteem issues, and she needs to work on being a little less critical. [...] Ron's used to playing second fiddle. I think that's a comfortable role for him, but at a certain point he has to be his own man, doesn't he?"
Emma responds, "Yes, and until he does it is unresolved. It is unfinished business. So maybe life presented this to him enough times until he had to make a choice and become the man that Hermione needs."
Rowling replies, "Just like her creator, she has a real weakness for a funny man. These uptight girls, they do like them funny."
Emma adds, "They do like them funny; they need them funny."
Rowling agrees, "It's such a relief from being so intense yourself – you need someone who takes life, or appears to take life, a little more light heartedly."
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Well, in our view, all J.K. Rowling has admitted was to feeling that the scene in the tent was a shared vulnerable moment between two characters that revealed an intriguing degree of compatibility between each of them, emotionally. In saying that Ron needed to get over his self-doubt, Rowling is mentioning a key component that readers would agree could certainly cause some trouble in an adult relationship. However, by the article's end, Rowling and Watson have both found a value in Ron that Harry doesn't possess: Ron's humor and his ability to level Hermione's character. Thus, for all of this talk, the result is that the characters end up safely nestled where they were before, inside the canon of the Potter books.
FULL TEXT of the Wonderland article can be found here.
Croft, C. (2014, February 2). JK admits Hermione should have wed Harry. The Sunday Times, Issue 9882.
Watson, E. (2014, February/March). J.K. Rowling: Author and Philanthropist. Wonderland Magazine, 184-185.