Dating in the Dark
First, I'd like to thank everyone who sent me ideas on what my column should be this week. I'll use plenty of those ideas in the future, so don't be offended if you don't see your idea up here today or next week. I'm a little behind on my email right now, but if you wrote to me, I'll do what I can to write back.
So, a lot of us were expecting a Ron/Hermione romance in book five, and at first glance, we didn't get it. But when I was re-reading the book, I was struck with a crazy, impossible, implausible idea. Maybe Ron and Hermione were dating, only in secret. Absurd you say? Well maybe, but there is a surprising amount of evidence to back it up.
Why would they date in secret? Harry is their best friend, why wouldn't they want him to know? Well consider Harry's mood in this book. In the beginning, he's already mad at Ron and Hermione for keeping information from him. But more than that, he's mad that they are together, having fun, doing all sorts of non-Privet Drive activities without him. If he were to find out they were dating, wouldn't that make him more angry? He might see this as a confirmation that they were in fact having all sorts of fun without him. Ron and Hermione know Harry is angry and confused, and the last thing they want him to feel is left out. If you accept that, it seems almost realistic that they wouldn't tell Harry if they were in a romantic relationship. Now to the evidence.
"...Ron and Hermione, who, though he often saw them whispering together and casting anxious looks in his direction..."(pg 119, OotP). Harry thinks that they are talking about his impending trial which could lead to his expulsion, but he never actually finds out what they are saying. Maybe they are talking about Harrys trial, but it doesnt seem entirely unlikely that they would be doing boyfriend/girlfriend things, and they are shooting anxious looks towards Harry because they don't want him to find out about it.
There are multiple cases were Hermione jumps to Ron's defense in this book. When Fred and George are making fun of Ron right after he becomes a prefect, Hermione sticks up for him. When they are giving him a hard time about Quidditch, Hermione criticizes them for it. Harry is Ron's friend, why isn't he always coming to Ron's rescue when he's being ridiculed? Why is it that Hermione gets all upset when he is getting teased? Again, this leads me to believe that Ron and Hermione are more than friends.
On the other side of that token, Ron and Hermione are constantly bickering (more than usual that is) about little things that seem to not matter. The readers of mine who have dated can attest to the fact that those are the things couples argue about. It's not usually big things that cause this bickering, it's little, seemingly unimportant things that do; it's the proverbial straw breaking the camel's back.
Let's start with Hermione kissing Ron on the cheek right before his first Quidditch match. First, notice that she doesn't kiss Harry. Now some of you may think this kiss is just between two friends, and he needs support and she's trying to wish him luck. Maybe. Some may notice that Ron is puzzled by this, and that if they were dating, he should be anything but puzzled. Fair point. However, if they are dating in secret, it would come as a surprise to him that Hermione kissed him right in front of the one person they are trying to hide their relationship from. I'll agree that she is kissing Ron to try and ease his nerves, but I don't think she'd do it if Ron was just a friend.
When Hermione tells Harry that he's not a bad kisser; it touches a nerve with Ron. "How do you know?" he says. Well, if nothing else, this clearly shows Ron's feelings for Hermione. Why would he care that Hermione knew how good Harry was at kissing (presumably by kissing him herself) if he didn't in fact have a crush on Hermione? I think he's just being overprotective of his girlfriend in this instance, the same way he's overprotective of Ginny (something I can fully appreciate). Another small piece of evidence: consider Ron's Christmas gift to Hermione (perfume.) That just seems like something you'd give a girlfriend as opposed to a friend.
So there you have it, that's most of the evidence I can come up supporting a Ron/Hermione secret romance. There are other little bits and pieces of evidence here and there, but I think I got most of the big stuff. Next week I'm going to do an entire column on Mark Evans. See you then!
Joshua Smith is a 20-year-old journalism student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and an avid Harry Potter fan.
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