I'll confess: I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter series. I attended book store parties for the last three books with my daughters. And recently (hello, Polar Vortex) I re-read the entire series. I love the hero (and heroine) journey and, more importantly, the underlying message of the entire series: that love will always be the most powerful source in the world.
Like many other fans of the series, I read with interest the snippets of the JK Rowling interview with Emma Watson, the actress who portrayed Hermione Granger in the movie versions of the books that were released in the Sunday Times — and her shocking admission that maybe the pairing of Hermione Granger with Ron Weasley was a mistake; that Harry and Hermione would have been a better match. Talk about a love triangle!
There was, of course, outrage and criticism for JK Rowling speaking against the canon — and the Epilogue she wrote for the final book of the series, neatly wrapping all the relationships into a neat package of couples and families. How dare Rowling change her mind! How dare Watson even bring up the subject!
As a coach that works with people on relationship challenges, I believe the discussion of the love triangle of Ron-Hermione-Harry is a perfect opportunity to talk about the issues real couples face in making relationships and friendships work for the long haul.
If you've only watched the movies, you may not understand the depths or twists around the way the characters developed and grew. Here's a quick refresher:
- Harry, of course, is the hero of the story. Though a little on the awkward side, socially speaking, he's still the traditional kind of guy that girls are supposed to want to marry: rich, famous, and a great athlete. He's also loyal and honest, sometimes to a stubborn fault.
- Ron is the youngest boy in a family of seven.He's grown up feeling as if he'll never measure up to the successes of his older brothers. He's also a bit on the naïve side and grew up in a pretty sheltered environment. Though he may not be book smart, he has a gentle underlying humor.
- Hermione is the smartest girl in the class. She's a little nerdy and the butt of jokes in school because she not only is the smartest girl, she has the need to prove herself and show that she's the smartest girl. As she matures, she begins to understand that while books give you knowledge, they don't necessarily make you wise.
- And, though this is a love triangle, we have to make it a quadrangle, as you can't forget Ginny Weasley. Horribly one-dimensional in the movies, Ginny is a strong and charismatic beauty in the books. Yes, she's got a crush on Harry early on, but when she realizes he has other interests, she moves on, dates others, and cultivates her own interests.
Here're twelve reasons why the traditional pairings work.
- From the beginning of the books, Rowling weaves the growing attraction and affection between Ron and Hermione and always makes it obvious that Harry and Hermione always have the bond of friendship, but never the passion or attraction that couples need for sexual compatibility.
- Hermione's and Ron's personalities complement each other. Where Hermione is high-strung and domineering, Ron is easy-going and relaxed. When Hermione takes things too seriously, Ron makes dumb jokes.
- Ron's laid-back ways will help soften Hermione's brittle edges. Her faith and love in him will bring out his confidence as a man.
- Harry has a lot of great qualities, but he's also short-tempered, stubborn, short-tempered, and self-obsessed. He takes everything, especially himself very seriously. Hermione's need to be right and her seriousness would make a pretty sobering home life.
- Harry and Hermione would have opposing opinions for most things as they both work out stuff reasonably in their heads, something Ron does only as an exception.
- Harry is honest and loyal and his relationship with Ron is important. To go out with Hermione after she and Ron had been together would be an outright betrayal to their friendship, something he couldn't do in good conscious. You just don't go out with your best friend's ex!
- Though Ron leaves Harry and Hermione for a time during the final book, he does what few people are able to do: He find the courage to seek out his friends, admit that he was wrong, and ask for forgiveness. This act of courage and humility will be a reminder to Hermione that when someone makes a mistake, it's OK to admit they’re wrong.
- Harry finally became attracted to Ginny when she did what is necessary to be truly loved and accepted: She was wholly herself. She owned her accomplishments and was willing to support the cause of fighting evil, with or without Harry.
- Ginny was also brought up in a family of brothers and knows that the best way to diffuse some tension is humor, which will be a good balance for Harry's serious view of life.
- Harry's deepest personal desires are for a family, and marrying Ginny gives him a large extended family when, for all intents and purposes, he's alone in the world.
- Love and attraction don't work like "smartest guy gets prettiest girl"or vice versa. Strong-minded women like Hermione often find the funny guys like Ron endearing.
- On the flip side, Ron admires that Hermione's always knows the "right" answer, and instead of making her feel ashamed of her itellect, he would support her in being who she naturally (even if it sometimes irritated him).
Our partners are meant to heal our childhood wounds and fears. And they are also meant to be bear witness as we age and grow into our best selves.
- Ron's wounds are that he always feels second best and by choosing Ron over Harry, Hermione goes a long way in allowing that wound to heal.
- Hermione's largest childhood wound is self-criticism. By marrying Ron, she can soften and begin to see humor in mistakes and that life doesn't have to be so serious.
Rowling jokes that if Ron and Hermione were to make it as a couple, they'd probably need relationship counseling. But hey: When a couple is willing to work on improving their relationship together, everyone wins.
Even though she may have some doubts now, by pairing Ron and Hermione as a couple at the end, she proves the underlying theme of the book that, despite challenges, love truly does conquer all.
Debra Smouse is a Tarnished Southern Belle has discovered the love truly does conquer all ... and that our partners are able to heal our childhood wounds. Visit her website or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.
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