Ron and Hermione: The Potters Revisited?
It is a commonly explored topic that Harry looks exactly like James and has Lily’s eyes. In fact, on the Scholastic.com Wizards Challenge one question specifically asks what Harry inherited from his parents. Having taken the challenge myself, I answered this multiple-choice question correctly: Harry inherited his father’s hair and his mother’s eyes. But it has become more and more evident, particularly through numerous re-readings of OotP, that Harry has much more than his fathers hair and his mothers eyes. I think Harry almost has his mother and father, not as parent figures, but as people who nevertheless play important roles in his life. Here I am speaking of Ron and Hermione.
Hermione and Lily
The glaring similarity between Lily and Hermione is that they are both muggle-born. Though this may be a relatively superficial comparison, it is an important one in the wizarding world. Dumbledore himself implies that Voldemort chose Harry as his nemesis over Neville because he related to Harry’s half-blood parentage.
Moreover, Lily and Hermione’s “mudblood” status has affected them in similar ways. For one, it has spurred them on to high academic achievement, almost as though they worked harder to make up for their familial “disadvantage.” Lily was Head Girl in her day, and I would honestly be shocked if the same honor was not bestowed upon Hermione.
Secondly, as a product of being muggle-born, and perhaps, of their natures as well, both Hermione and Lily seem to follow a principle of fairness in their actions, particularly if it involves protecting others. In Snape’s worst memory, Lily standing up for Snape reminded me intensely of Hermione and her founding of S.P.E.W. I could see Hermione, if put in the same position, standing up for Snape, and showing the same high spirit and tenacity to Harry and Ron that Lily showed to James and Sirius. But despite her penchant for upholding rules, Hermione is often betrayed by her sense of humor towards the boys’ antics. Lily is shown to have a similar problem after James suspends Snape in midair:
Lily, whose furious expression had twitched for an instant as though she was going to smile, said, “Let him down!”
When I read on JKR’s website that she had originally planned to give Hermione a sister, but then felt it would be too late to bring it up, I immediately thought of Lily’s sister, Petunia. This completed the analogy for me; had Hermione actually been given a sister, her family would have been exactly like Lily’s. We are told very little about Lily, but from whatever I do know about her, when I try to imagine her at 15 years of age, I picture Hermione as we see her today.
Ron and James
This is a harder one to discuss because we are so used to seeing comparisons made between Harry and James. But, like Harry in the following scene of OotP, I see a more potent similarity between James and Ron.
The truth was that Ron had just reminded Harry forcibly of another Gryffindor Quidditch player [James] who had once sat rumpling his hair under this very tree.
I think it has even been said by JKR that James was a keeper like Ron as well (though this is still debated due to the SS/PS film). Quidditch aside, Ron seems like James in other subtler ways.
The way that James seemed to follow Sirius’s lead during Snape’s worst memory reminded me of the way Ron follows Harry’s lead. In the scene where Sirius speaks to Harry through the Gryffindor fire, he tells Harry, “You’re less like you father than I thought.” Sirius says this because James, unlike Harry, would have followed along with whatever Sirius wanted to do. Ron is the same type of friend to Harry that James was to Sirius. As he says to Hermione in OotP,
“I dunno,” said Ron, looking alarmed at being asked to give an opinion. “If Harry wants to do it, it’s up to him, isn’t it?”
Another major similarity is the fact that Ron and James come from wizarding families, both of which were, as far as we know, strongly against the Dark Arts. Harry asks Sirius where he went when he ran away, and Sirius responds,
“Your dad’s place. Your grandparents were really good about it, they sort of adopted me as a second son. Yeah, I camped out at your dad’s in the school holiday.”
This comment reminds me forcibly of the Weasleys and the way they, and especially Ron, welcome Harry into their home.
The Ron/Hermione Dynamic and the James/Lily Dynamic
First of all, I am NOT making an argument for a Ron/Hermione ship or any such thing because I dont want to get involved in that whole debate and, frankly, the potential romances in the series are not as interesting to me as other themes. That said, and romance aside, there are notable parallels between what we have seen of the relationship between James and Lily and that of Ron and Hermione. Ron and Hermione seem to bicker just the way we see James and Lily argue over the treatment of Snape. The conversation that Harry observes in the Pensieve could have almost occurred between Hermione and Ron as much as James and Lily.
Additionally, Ron seems to try and impress Hermione in the same way that James tried to impress Lily. After being selected for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Ron says,
“I cant believe it–where’s Hermione gone?”
“She’s there,” said Fred and pointed to an armchair. Hermione was dozing in it.
“Well, she said she was pleased when I told her,” said Ron, looking slightly put out.
This scene is one of many such scenes which remind me of the way James behaves around Lily. As Sirius himself said,
“Oh well, James always made a fool of himself whenever Lily was around. He couldn’t stop himself showing off whenever he got near her.”
I rarely make predictions. On all of the MuggleNet polls that ask what we think will happen in the future I consistently choose the “I’m terrible at Divination” option. Therefore I am by no means predicting that, like James and Lily, Ron and Hermione will get together, start dating in seventh year, die to save Harry’s life, etc. These may be valid theories, and worthy of discussion, but I am hesitant to make them on this evidence alone.
Furthermore, I am not really a “theory” person even if it doesn’t involve predictions. Therefore, I am not about to extend my Lily/Hermione and James/Ron comparison to include the rest of the Marauders nor any other Hogwarts students of that time, i.e. Snape/Malfoy, Lupin/Luna, nor Pettigrew/Neville. In particular, I am refraining from making a Sirius/Harry comparison. This is for three reasons:
1. I really dont find Harry and Sirius to be all that much alike.
2. To say that every Hogwarts student of today had an older counterpart would serve only to dilute the strength of my Lily/Hermione and James/Ron argument.
3. I truly believe that all characters in the series are original. Of course, parallels can be drawn, but JKR puts too much effort into her stories for characters to be merely cardboard cut outs of other characters.
All the same, I make the exception for Hermione and Ron because the similarities to Lily and James are, I believe, too phenomenal to ignore. Of course, my argument may seem premature as we have seen very little of Lily and James. However, what we have seen is remarkably close to what we know about Ron and Hermione. And it is difficult for me to imagine that it is an accident that Harry, deprived of Lily and James, was given Hermione and Ron as the two principle influences in his life.