Author's freshly-revealed doubts about pairing Hermione with Ron, rather than Harry, cause storms among devotees
Weapons have been drawn among Harry Potter fans after JK Rowling made the surprise admission that she shouldn't have paired Hermione with Ron Weasley in her bestselling series of books about teenage wizardry.
The author told the magazine Wonderland that she "wrote the Hermione-Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfilment", and that "for reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron". Speaking to Hermione actress Emma Watson, who was guest-editing the magazine, Rowling also predicted that the pair would have needed relationship counselling.
Her ever-dedicated army of fans was quick to mobilise, with wailing and gnashing of teeth from the camp who support the series' ending, in which Hermione ends up with Ron, and rejoicing from readers who always wanted Hermione to end up with Harry.
"Well thanks Jo for kicking down 10 years of what I consider to be the most beautiful, unconditional & bare bones real relationship that could ever exist between 2 people," wrote a devastated reader on The Leaky Cauldron fan site. "Ugh Jo… PLEASE, don't re-write your own canon, it was perfect how it was."
"Wait. WHAT????" roared another. "NONONONONONO. I'm sorry Jo, but I could never EVER see Hermione with Harry. Ron is perfect for her, he balances out her Type A personality so well. And Ginny is perfect for Harry because she won't let him sit around and mope about his lot in life … NO TAKE BACKS, JO."
On the other side of the fence, Harry/Hermione supporters – who call themselves Harmonians – were jumping for joy. "After 13 years of dealing with this shit… the author herself has finally come forward and admitted that she was wrong and we weren't delusional to ship Harry and Hermione, we were right," blogged one fan, who calls herself "a hardcore Harmonian". ("Shipping" refers to fans' belief that two characters would make a good couple.) "So that's what this is about. Validation. Knowing that no matter what ended up happening in the books and the movies we were fucking right."
On Mugglenet, despite the fan site warning visitors not to take too much from Rowling's comments until the entire interview is released on Thursday, hundreds of readers were joining in a renewed dissection of the characters' various romances.
"Ever since I became attached to the Harry Potter universe I have always shipped for Harry/Hermione all the way. After that last monstrosity of a book came out I read the epilogue first and boy was I furious by what I saw," wrote one. "To all those people who have sneered, jeered, made fun of us for supporting Harry/Hermione and called us delusional I say this to you. We the ones who stood by the Harry/Hermione ship are now having the last laugh at you."
"Hermione settled big time," decided another. "How does she go from Victor Krum, a charming international quidditch seeker to the abomination JKR calls a relationship."
Rowling had predicted the outrage her comments might cause, telling Watson: "I know, I'm sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I'm absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people's hearts by saying this? I hope not."
Whether she'll take one fan's advice to "rip up the last two books and start again" is unclear – but another reader had a suggestion for the author's next move, writing on Mugglenet that "Harry Potter & The Messy But Inevitable Divorce is sure to be a bestseller".
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image: © Dave Catchpole