Madam Puddifoot’s: What Are We Expecting?

by Jenna

I find it highly ironic that the most passionately argued theories, the largest percentage of all HP fan fiction and the most ongoing debates all revolve around shipping. I mean, MuggleNet has devoted an entire section of editorials to shipping (Editor’s note: Seriously!). And the flaw that I find in almost every shipping argument [including the articles for the ships I personally support] is related to the reason I find the focus on shipping so ironic – they all seem to revolve around the idea that romance will be a huge factor in the next two books.

First of all, read the first five books. There is barely any romance. Jo promised us “raging hormones” in OotP, and we got Harry’s first kiss (which technically wasn’t even included in his PoV), Ginny having two boyfriends, and Ron touching his cheek when Hermione kissed him. Many people considered “raging hormones” an understatement – but was it really?

I think the reason Jo used the words “raging hormones” is because she does consider the romantic details of OotP to be quite a lot, considering the focus of her actual story. And I agree, these aren’t romance novels. I don’t think that when Hermione’s true feelings are revealed, we’re suddenly going to have several chapters dedicated to her relationship with the Mystery Man. I don’t think that Harry’s Leading Lady is going to have much of a focus either. At least not as much as we’re making it out to be.

So many shipping arguments seem to argue from the point of view that this romance will be a big deal. But really – what if Ron and Hermione get together? And that’s it. They get together, Harry’s slightly surprised, amused, has other thing’s to worry about [Sirius’s death, the Prophecy, you know, little stuff like that…]. We see them together, it provides a bit of humor, some “awww’s.” And nothing more. To me that fits fine.

Okay, Harry and Hermione get together. It turns out that Ron had a fleeting crush on Hermione, but he’s over it – and he’s glad to see his to friends happy together. They stay the Golden Trio, Harry and Hermione remain pretty much the same, except they snog each other now and again.

Harry and Ginny – we see the Weasley’s reaction, we see Ron’s reaction. Ginny is the perfect girlfriend, always by his side, providing some sass now and again, but helping him find his way nonetheless.

Harry and Luna get together, it’s funny, it’s interesting, Hermione’s tries her best to be nice despite the fact she thinks Luna is “blibbering.” Luna is there to comfort Harry, but never sugar coats anything and provides the reader with entertainment through her ever so “subtle” outlook on life.

This is the way I see shipping – I don’t see any huge scene involving a declaration of love, I don’t see a romantic triangle/square/pentagon/etc. I think Jo has given a lot of thought to how her couples are compatible with one another, but I don’t think every single one of Hermione’s movements, actions and words can be interpreted to inform us of who she feels romantically towards. I highly doubt that Jo has spent so much time detailing the foreshadowing of some romantic climax – I honestly see it as something that will be no big deal, compared to vanquishing Dark Lords and such.

The romantic coupling in the next two books will be, in my opinion, a nice backdrop allowing our beloved characters to grow emotionally and develop into the brilliant wizards and witches they are destined to become. Not an episode of The OC.

Perhaps there are those who disagree with me, who believe that Harry’s love life is an ever so important factor in Half-Blood Prince, but that’s not where I stand at all.

There’s nothing wrong with detailing why your ship should be destiny, or writing a romance saga involving that destiny; but when we actually argue theory and prediction, it needs to be taken into account what we’re actually expecting, because it changes the argument dramatically.

So, if you’re really expecting the cover of HP & THBP to show a nipple-bearing Harry Potter holding a weeping damsel in distress version of Hermione Granger to his chest, or some dramatic chapter dedicated to Harry’s realization of his love for that bubbly red-haired Ginny Weasley – I have a sneaking suspicion that you might be highly disappointed.