Monday, February 3, 2014

Happily ever after... or not?

The story made headlines around the world last week: 
"It was the romance every Harry Potter fan wanted to see. Now JK Rowling has admitted she got it wrong by pairing off Hermione Granger with Ron Weasley rather than her franchise’s hero."
A blogging friend posted a Slate magazine article on Facebook today that argued Rowling's initial instincts were sound.  "J.K. Rowling Is Wrong. Harry Potter Should Not Have Ended Up With Hermione," the headline read. Why? Hermione & Ron were the best part of the books, the article argues. Their personalities complement each other. Moreover:
"Is it so difficult to believe that an intelligent, type-A woman would want to be with a kind, charismatic, supportive, but penniless guy? Does Rowling really think her wildly popular children’s books would have been better if they suggested that smart women are only well matched with traditionally successful men? (Harry, for all his personality flaws, is certainly traditionally successful—athletic, rich, famous.) The way that Ron and Hermione’s relationship defied traditional gender roles is part of what made it so charming. For Rowling to disavow it now is disappointing." [emphasis mine]

That paragraph comes close to reflecting my own feelings on the matter. While I honestly don't have a strong opinion about Ron & Hermione winding up together, there's a part of me that's happy Hermione didn't end up with Harry. Just because everyone wants to see it doesn't mean an author is obliged to write the obvious, stereotypical happy ending. 

I started thinking about other would-be romances that didn't have a conventional, fairy-tale ending. I absolutely adored "The Wonder Years" on TV some years ago, and while part of me was rooting for Kevin & Winnie & was disappointed that they didn't ultimately wind up together, I accepted it. (I was very glad that they still stayed the best of friends, though.) 

Likewise, right now, I am caught up in the final episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" -- but while Ted & Robin always seemed so good together, unless the writers pull a fast one and throw in a surprise twist of some sorts,  we all know how this will end in a couple of week's time:  Barney & Robin will wind up married & Ted will have (finally!!) met The Mother of the title. I'm finding that (for me, at least) knowing how things end isn't detracting from my viewing pleasure (although a few of the episodes lately have seemed like filler -- I just want them to get on with the wedding, already...)

As I commented to my blogging friend, "I guess it's the contrarian in me" -- (and then it struck me) -- "or maybe a reflection of the way parts of my own life have unfolded" -- (I guess I don't have to explain that further here...!) -- "but I like it when things don't always turn out the way you think or hope they will." 

Hey, I like fairy tales as much as anyone. But if I've learned one thing over the past 16 years, it's that fairy tales don't always come true.

And sometimes, the less conventional storyline & ending turns out to be more interesting anyway.

What do you think?


  1. : )

    IMO, Harry and Hermione are a dreadful combination because while they do have a certain frisson, they don't bring out each other's best qualities and, as I mentioned on FB, they can't give each other that big connection that they need (as an orphan raised by Muggles and as a child of Muggles) for security and acceptance. Imagine Harry and Hermione married and arguing about family size.

    I haven't watched all episodes of HIMYM, but I do think the Robin-Barney pairing is somewhat contrived. I read recently that the "Friends" writers identified early on that Monica and Chandler would end up together and that development "bought" the show at least 3 seasons.

  2. First, I concur with Ellen on the Harry + Hermione being a bad match.

    I like Ron and Hermione because they do complement each other. But Harry needed another strong heroine to end up with - Ginny was not enough of a character in her own right to match up with the personality that Harry brought with him. That she was the only other well-enough defined female character is a failure on the author's part in making all the "big names" boys.

  3. I agree that Harry and Hermione would have been a poor match or too perfect. I respected that the author had taken the story to a somewhat less predictable place with relationship development. But, then it really did make sense once you thought about it. It also seemed to make the story more real in that life is not always what you expect, but just as good. Honestly, I think it would have been better if Harry would have ended up with Luna Lovegood. She challenged his thinking and perception. She had a quiet strength that I liked. She was greatly underestimated.

  4. I agree that Harry and Hermione would have been a poor match or just too perfect. I liked that the author took a different path with the relationship development and that Ron and Hermione ended up together. It seemed different at first, but then it just made more sense. It also made the story more real in that life is not always what you may expect, but can be just as good or better. Honestly, I thought that it would have been better if Harry were to be paired up with Luna Lovegood. She challenged his thinking and perception. She had a quiet strength. But, she was underestimated.

  5. I sort of wasn't invested in anyone's love relationship in that series, but I did sort of like that Ron gets Hermione instead of Harry.

  6. I haven't read the Harry Potter series so I can't comment on that. I wanted to believe in fairy tales because where everyone ends up living happily ever after. However, I'm old enough to realize that that is not always the case. And somehow I never got over the nagging feeling that fairy tale endings happened to other people, not me.