Jul 14 2011 5:07pm

5 Things Harry & Hermione Taught Me about Love (Even Though J.K. Rowling Never Meant Them to)

Harry and Hermione in Harry PotterThe last installment of the Harry Potter movie franchise comes out this weekend, and for many it is the bittersweet end of an era that has spanned the entire length of their childhood. I didn’t discover the books until I was 18 years old; I vividly remember purchasing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at LAX before hopping on a plane to start my college career halfway across the country. As I sat in my dorm room on that first night away from home, I felt a lot like Harry: eager for acceptance, apprehensive about making new friends and just a little bit lonely.

After finishing the first book, I snapped up every subsequent book in the series and saw each of the movies more than a few times.

(More Harry Potter coverage at Harry Potter is Not a Romance, Snape Lust: 10 Reasons Snape is Hotter Than Harry, and Ron Weasley, Romantic Hero?)

My experience with the world of Harry Potter spans the length of my 20s, so while I didn’t “grow up” with Harry, I most certainly came of age while reading his story. So here’s my deep, dark Harry Potter secret: I always thought that Harry and Hermione should have gotten together. I know they never dated or kissed or did any of those other things that romantic couples do. But that doesn’t mean that Harry and Hermione still didn’t teach me a whole lot of lessons about love…

1. Love is Loyal

Through seven books, Hermione is the one person that sticks with Harry the entire time. She uses her time turner to go back in time to help Harry save Sirius and Buckbeak. She helps Harry perfect the “Accio!” charm for the first Triwizard Tournament task. She urges Harry to start “Dumbledore’s Army” and she follows him to the Department of Mysteries, even though she is certain that it is a trap laid out by Voldemort. And when a frustrated and jealous Ron decides he’s had enough of the camping trip from hell, Hermione stays with Harry, even though she is heartbroken. Hermione is absolutely indispensable to Harry in his journey—she knows this, and she always chooses to honor it.

Harry is similarly loyal to Hermione. He gives her credit for solving the Chamber of Secrets mystery, defends her against Cho, and tells teachers that she is the best student in their year. 

In a world of chaos where everything seems to be falling down around them, Harry and Hermione are steady, fixed points of support for each other, and I always found that to be very poignant. There aren’t that many people in life who will stick by you through thick and thin. Hold them close.

2. Love Hurts

If you tell people on the street that you prefer Hermione with Harry, they look at you strangely and say, “Don’t you know she ends up with Ron at the end?” And if you tell people on the internet that you like Harry and Hermione, get ready for a storm of indignation, wrath and ridicule, the likes of which you have never seen before. Harry/Hermione fans are reviled on the internet. I’m not kidding—I once had someone accuse me of supporting incest (which…if I say that someone is like my sister THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEM MY SISTER. If words worked like that I would have called myself a wealthy space cowgirl a long time ago.)

But the beauty of being spat upon by the collective Harry Potter fandom is that you learn…not to give a crap! You learn that the people and things you love won’t always be popular, but you can still love them anyway. And you learn not to judge other people for the things that they love.

3. Love is in the Eye of the Beholder

Lots of people irrationally hate Harry/Hermione and that’s totally cool. Because you know who doesn’t hate them? The producers, directors and screenwriters of the Harry Potter movies. HP movie scribe Steve Kloves is notoriously thought to lean in the direction of Harry/Hermione, an opinion bolstered by the sharply increased screen time for the pair. And HP director David Yates even added in a tender dance scene for the non-couple in the first Deathly Hallows film, a scene that is nowhere to be found in any of the books.

These changes make some fans very angry and that’s a valid emotion, but I think it’s perfectly natural for different people to have different perspectives on a text. J.K. Rowling herself even gave an interview where she acknowledged that Harry/Hermione was, perhaps, not the craziest idea of the face of planet Earth:

“Now the fact is that Hermione shares moments with Harry that Ron will never be able to participate in. He walked out. She shared something very intense with Harry…So I think it could have gone that way.”

Our experiences of love and literature are unique, specific and meaningful — the HP movies are a nice reminder that there’s room in the world for many different interpretations of love.

4. Love is a Battlefield…

…but it doesn’t have to be. I understand why people like Ron and Hermione together, I really do. There’s a thin line between love and hate, and fiery bickering can easily turn to passion of a whole different sort. But for my part, I’ve never been drawn to that sort of romance. Take my own relationship, for example. Two years ago I married a man who is unequivocally my best friend. It wasn’t an easy road; we had our share of on-again/off-again times. But even in our darkest moments, we tried to support each other instead of descending into petty arguments and name-calling.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that one of the things I like best about Harry/Hermione is that their relationship never buckles under the weight of numerous trials and tribulations. Whether they are dealing with Rita Skeeter’s meddling gossip, dangerous battles with Death Eaters or Ron’s abandonment, Harry and Hermione never turn on each other. Some say that Harry/Hermione’s quiet, persevering relationship is just what friendship looks like. Fair enough. But I think it’s also what love looks like.

5. Sometimes it Doesn’t Work Out

I’m not delusional. I know that Harry and Hermione didn’t end up together, and I know that J.K. Rowling never intended for them to be anything more than the very best of friends. But that’s okay. Just like in life, you don’t always get what you want. Sometimes the boy doesn’t like you back. Sometimes you wait for phone calls that never come. Sometimes it takes a long time to find the person you’re meant to be with. And sometimes you fall deeply, passionately in love but it doesn’t last.

Just because a relationship didn’t end in happily ever after doesn’t mean that it wasn’t meaningful and true. As Dumbledore says to Harry, “Of course it is happening inside your head…but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

The idea of Harry/Hermione is similarly real for me—it inspires me to be more selfless and more loyal to the people I care about; it encourages me to fight like the hell for the things I believe in, and to accept help when I need it most; it reminds me that friendship and love are gifts to be cherished above all else. And in the end, isn’t that what Harry Potter is truly all about?

So even though Harry/Hermione didn’t work out in the end, I still adore the Harry Potter series with all my heart. I cannot wait to share these books and movies with my children and grandchildren—no matter which couple they prefer. And who knows? Maybe if I’m lucky enough to find a sorcerer’s stone, I’ll live long enough to share Harry’s story with my great-grandchildren…


Jill Slattery is an avid reader, writer and consumer of all things pop culture.  She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a wonderful pooch named Albus Dumbledog. When she’s not writing about romance she’s busy writing about desserts over at the Dessert Patrol.

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1. Taragel
Lovely article, Jill. And I had no idea Harry/Hermoine was not a popular alterna-ship! I figured it'd be the biggest actually, considering... But the HP fandom is daunting indeed.
Olivia Waite
2. O.Waite
This is marvelous and touching -- I always hoped Hermione and Harry would end up together, too, even though I'm monstrously fond of Ginny once she grows up. But Hermione's rule-following and obsession with knowledge were completely my trademarks as a kid, and I tend to like dark-haired men with brave hearts and tragic pasts, so ... :)
3. EmilyF
Aw, I love how this turned out with the pictures. One of my favorite scenes in the books is Harry and Hermione looking at Harry's parents' graves, and I do love Harry and Hermione's deep (platonic) relationship.
4. Jennifer R
I do not get Ron and Hermione as a couple, or the "squabble" relationship in general. It always seeemed to me that JKR was determined to make everyone marry into the Weasley family no matter what, so we have Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny. Which are...okay, I guess. It just seems weird to me that H/H wouldn't normally happen.
Lydia Henry
5. LydiaH
I love this post and I'm with you. I love Harry/Hermione. I never really got Ron/Hermione or Harry/Ginny for that matter. During the books I leaned more towards Harry/Hermione and then more when the movies came. I mean, Emma and Daniel's chemistry...WOW! Anyway, I will always root for this pair because even though its just frienship, their relationship is still powerful and love for each other is strong. Even if their love is just platonic friendship. And if anyone gives you crap about you liking this pair, tell them to shut it and that you're not alone.
6. Deidre
I have to admit that I am a HUGE Hermoine/Harry friendship but when it comes to matters of the heart, it's always been Hermoine/Snape ... Ron always seemed so bumbling that I'd see Hermoine becoming bored with him once the excitement of trying not to die has passed.
But that's just me ...

Jennifer Green
7. jngreenbean
This is a great article! I am one of those who's been rooting for Hermione and Ron the entire time. I am a total Hermione (I've been called Hermione, and not as a compliment), and Ron is totally the guy I'd go for IRL, so it always made sense to me. But I understand the love for Hermione/Harry, since I do love the steadfast friends to more romances.
Brad Smith
8. madbrad
Wow. You're one of 'us'! :-)

At least I saw signs of that with your second point. I'm not so sure that we H/Hr folk are 'reviled on the internet'; just abhored by certain insular cliques of close-minded people in a few nooks and crannies of it. But yes, I get your point; it took me a while to fully work out how some people think - or emote - so differently to me/us, how they allow "But Jo said so!" to stifle any independent (or superior!) thought.

It was Hermione's unyielding support for Harry, their solid friendship, which drew me into the HP thing, and the notion of that relationship evolving into romantic love proved terrifically engaging. So much more depth and worth than the canon reality of "Harry sees a pretty girl and gets the hots for her, loves kissing her, news at eleven!". Consider me underwhelmed by the official pairing.

Like you I find the movies very useful; both in proving the attraction of a Harry/Hermione romantic relationship to the multitudes who aren't slavishly bound to Rowling's contrived and simplistic words, but also in highlighting the (many) other deficiencies of the series. It's really interesting/amusing to see the canon disciples try and ignore what is projected in front of their eyes on a twenty-foot theatre screen! It's no surprise that Kloves and Yates took the Harry/Hermione dynamic and chemistry of the two associated actors to the absolute limits of what was possible without breaking away entirely from Rowling's official outcome.

Wonderful article, loud cheers to you!
Carmen Pinzon
9. bungluna
I once read in a chick-lit book something like: "spouses come and go, but best friends are forever." I'm not saying that Ron and Hermione will get a divorce somewhere down the line, just that Harry and Hermoine will probably always have each other.
10. Cassandra Elise
Someone recommended your lovely essay to me. You speak such wonderful truths. Love Hurts particularly resonated with me. I can't tell you how many times I've been called an illiterate idiot for shipping Harry/Hermione. -_- The naysayers just don't seem to understand that the more vitriol they spew, the more vociferously I’ll defend my ship.
11. Rachael Johns
What a gorgeous way of looking at HP! I must admit the films made it look a LOT more like Harry and Hermione were in love than I think was in the books. Sadly I thought the final movie didn't really show Harry and Ginny having any sort of relationship at all and there were a fair few glimpses/looks making me think there was a love triangle going on between Ron, Harry and Hermione!
12. torifl
Wonderful post. I've always been one of the 'strange ones', according to friends, who made the mistake of wondering out loud why Harry and Hermoine didn't get together. Yet, in a way I'm glad they didn't. Their relationship was one of the strongest ones in the series and you alway s knew no matter what happened-they would always be there for one another.
13. izhel
you made me cry! i so love your article and you verbatimly said everything that made me a harry/hermione shipper!. VERY WELL DONE!. I stuck with harmony until the very end and i know i'm not alone.
14. Brenda H
As someone who was swayed to supporting Ron/Hermione (and still loving it)... thank you! This was a beautiful post with great insights! The Harry/Hermione shippers seem to get maligned quite often and, from examples I've heard and seen, behaviours of some shippers degrade on both sides when arguing for their respective views. It can get bad on both sides of the fence but I've always sighed at people who support Harry/Hermione and then write petitions to J.K. Rowling saying that she "got it wrong".

This post pays a beautiful homage to a great relationship to two characters, no matter what type of relationship it is, while highlighting the reasons you support and root for the romance of it in a way that makes me appreciate and value them despite being on the other side. Bravo!
15. Mady
This post is everything I believe in.
16. krisha

you're really right.
18. Libbie
I found this blog on a tumblr link and as a H/H shipper from the very early days of the fandom back when the ship wars between H/H and R/H were very active and contentious, it was lovely to read my thoughts expressed so eloquenltly by another.

One thing we used to say about the H/H relationship is that it was all subtext - that sometimes love is as subtle as a stack of toast. (A reference to when Hermione shows up outside the common room with a stack of toast for Harry when Ron storms off being an idiot about Harry's name coming out of the goblet of fire.)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts - I've passed the link on to my Harry and Hermione friends, I'm sure they'll enjoy it as much as I did.
19. Swigg
Harry and Hermione taught me how no matter how platonic your relationship is with you opposite-sex friend, people will forever tell you that it's not good enough; how you deserve "better" and that's only achieved by getting romatically involved! If you don't, your relationship just isn't as good. Romance should always be the goal between best friends of different sexes because settling on having an amazing friendship is settling for second place.

Oh, no wait....that's what this article taught me. Harry and Hermione taught me the exact opposite.
20. Ell
Thank you for such a beautiful, thought provoking look at the relationship between these two. I've loved these two since I got into Harry Potter and so often I still see ship bashing online which makes me so sad. As you said - we are all entitled to our own views on literature and if part of that happens to be a love for the relationship between these two - whether as an amazing friendship or something more...then rock on. \m/
21. mimsy
the reason that there had always been sparks flying between Harry and Hermione is that Daniel and Emma has the chemistry and the frienship similar to their characters...i for myself would say Dan and Emma's illusion kiss in DHpart 1 is better than the awkward kiss of Rupert and Emma in part 2. i think many would agree on me on this. Truly i settle for what JK had written and the producer's should've stuck up for it. But somehow they saw the chemistry DREW have and it interests the audience so they added more spices in HHr's relationship in the movies :))
22. Penny L
Lovely article, and I agree completely with all points!
23. Evelyn Marques
I've been a fan of the books since I was eleven and I grew up with the idea of H/Hr in my head. I was so happy to find out (in 2004 or 2005) H/Hr groups on the web!

I agree with everything you said specially Love Hurts part. Ron and Hermione shippers can be so violent and arrogant for no reason. They're just all over the place just by the thought of H/Hr. It's hilarious actually! Will recommend your article!
24. Hellion
I've always been a Ron/Hermione shipper--it just seemed like the obvious choice from the get-go in the books. I'm more of an opposite-attracts variety, and R/H are definitely opposite, but complementary to each other's personalities. I only felt strong friendship between them--though when JK Rowling pointed out that it could have gone the other way in book 7--I could see how it could have happened if they probably hadn't been so miserable. :)

I very much enjoyed the article. :) Well done.
25. Grace S
I am all for JK Rowling deciding the matter--after all, it's her imagination that came up with the story, and it's a testament to her characters that we think about them when we aren't reading.

The books didn't so much have me thinking H/H as the obvious chemistry between DR and EW in the films, especially as they got older. Hermione is unwaveringly, unflinchingly loyal to Harry and don't we all wish we had that one person in our lives we KNOW has our back, that we can depend on no matter what?

In a movie with several ugly cry moments for me, the scene in DH2 that I keep thinking about takes place on a stairwell in Hogwarts, when Harry has come to the decision that he must go sacrifice himself so that nobody else gets hurt. Knowing he is going to the Forbidden Forest to die, Hermione immediately throws her arms around Harry and says "I'll go with you." This is a girl who was just tortured by Bellatrix. That she loves Harry, platonically or not, enough to literally be willing to die with him rather than have him die alone, says volumes.

On a practical note, Hermione is smart as a whip, whereas Ron is not the sharpest tack in the box. She is wonderfully empathetic and in her own words, Ron has the emotional depth of a teaspoon. I just can't see how that pairing lasts for more than 10 minutes simply because she could do better.
26. Janet K
What a lovely ode to such a treasure of our generation! I remember the dance scene you mentioned from DH1 - loved that so much! My daughter and I were so sad to see the series end, but as I told her - the boy who lived under the stairs will always live in your bookcase, just waiting for you to visit. Bravo, Jill!
27. Mrydeyen
Wonderful, really. You spoke the words out of my heart.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
28. tnh
The book belongs to J. K. Rowling. The reading experience is an interaction between Rowling's text and my decoding and recompiling of it. But what I make of the story? That belongs to me.
29. PatriciaW
Totally with you. I found the fact that Hermione ends up with Ron disappointing and slightly annoying. No question Hermione and Harry love each other. But as you say, you don't always get what you want, and perhaps the love they have for each other transcends romantic love.
30. Pumpkin Pie Lover
What's even more amazing than your post (which I wholeheartedly agree with) is that you have 29 comments without a single troll. Is it possible that HP fandom has gotten over their H/Hr hatred?
31. DudettRin101
Okay, I've always preferred Draco/Hermione over any other pairing, but I've always been open to other pairing ideas. And I see your points...In fact, You've now got me interested and I feel the urge to go read Harry/Hermione
32. Zeee
I always thought that Harry/Hermione would get together...but I don't know where that view changed for me...was it book 2 or 3? I can't remember. I admire both Harry and Hermione's friendship but I just thought it they were just too perfect to be a couple, hence, my choice of the Ron/Hermione relationship.
33. ratpacksmom
Loved the article. Sometimes there is a deeper love that moves beyond a girlfriend/boyfriend husband/wife type of love. Although those need to be deep and passionate, there is the steady kind of love that endures. It is there to tell when you're wrong or right to encourage and discourage as the need may be. You know all the time that person has your back no matter what they go through or you go through they are there. That is what H/H have and they will be able to turn to each other through the years. Even if it never was romantic. These are the kind of people you can barrow money from and when you can't pay it back you don't lose that connection ever.
Brad Smith
34. madbrad
Zeee, I had to chuckle at your comment. Harry/Hermione being 'too perfect' to be in a romantic relationship, thus settling for the second-best couple. At last I understand how people can stand behind the R/Hr pairing! :-)
35. Katlin
My favorite love stories are those where "love" transcends platonic, romantic, or anything in between. That kind of soul love that runs so deep -- I love to see it blossom and intensify. H/Hr are like that, one of my favorite instances, in fact. Thank you for the beautiful post! In my mind, the final epilogue was a dreamspell or some such, and Hermione and Harry are off on grand and epic adventures, together or alone, and every now and then, their paths cross and their story continues...
36. Misti
First off, I just want to say thank you for the lovely article. I was sent here by one of my listeners/online friends and I must admit-what a breath of fresh air.

After the fifth book came out, I started to search the internet for Harry/Hermione friendly websites, and they were few and far between. So, being a Navy wife with too much time on my hands, I decided that I would do a podcast completely dedicated to the Harry/Hermione ship. After my third or fourth podcast, I was in awe of the support I received! Sure there were two certain websites that liked to attack our ship, but there were more people that wanted more podcasts, and wanted an outlet so that they could have their voices heard.

I swore when I started my podcasts, and I let my listeners know, that in no way would I be attacking other ships. I wanted my podcast to be a place of peace, a place to get away from the other angry shippers, and something that was fun to listen to. We had music recommendations, fanfiction story recommendations, HHR news, and discussions. I had fun doing them, and at one time I even interviewed a Ron/Hermione shipper so that my fellow HHR shippers could hear the arguments of the other side, in a calm manner and friendly atmosphere. Of course I got some nasty reviews on iTunes when the two other certain unnamed websites sent them my way, I was the butt of some of their inane jokes, but I just let them roll off my back, and laughed at their ignorance.

After the last book came out, the wind in our sails just disappeared. There was an interview done before the last book with JK Rowling by the creators of the two other unnamed websites, and JKR made it crystal clear that she thought we were as delusional as everyone was saying. I admit, being a writer myself, I had hoped she would surprise us all and not make a big deal about coupling up the characters in the end. I had my own speculations about why she wrote the last two books the way she did, but it's something I'll never say aloud. It would simply lead to me being attacked online again, and I don't need anymore of that. I keep the podcast up so that new HHR shippers can see how wonderful our ship used to be in it's hayday, and I also made sure to honor National Child Abuse Prevention month every April because, being from an abusive household myself, I identified with Harry the most out of all the characters. He was so mistreated by his Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin, and I thought I would use that to help other abused kids and young adults so that maybe they wouldn't have to go through what Harry did, and the horror I was witness to for many of my childhood years.

I don't know if I'll ever continue the podcast, but it's great to know there are still many HHR shippers out there defending our ship to the very end. As my fellow Harry/Hermione shippers and Harmony Podcast listeners liked to say, "Sit back, relax, and enjoy the Pumpkin Pie!"
37. AccioHarry!
I could have written this article (besides the fact that my hubby and I have been married for 12 years). I have been a loyal shipper and always will be. The facts you laid out were beautiful and true, I could expand upon them (and have) for hours on end. I much prefer a relationship based on friendship and bravery (you know, "more important things"), loyaly, mutual respect and self-sacrifice rather than jealousy, bickering, put-downs, selfish behavior and anger. Keep your fire, I like a slow smoldering. And you are spot on about being a shipper on the Internet! I've had death threats (ha) on Mugglenet chat (simply from having the name "delusional"), been banned from The Leaky Cauldron and scoffed at, repeatedly, all over Youtube (I make fanvids to cope) and (a fantastic H/Hr site). Oh well, my OTP is and will forever be Harry/Hermione. And just because one women didn't see that they were meant to be together doesn't mean that nobody else saw it. I saw it, I see it and I adore it. - AccioHarry!
38. F84
Wow! I completely agree with you, especially about the "bittersweet" part because that is indeed what I am feeling.

And in response to what someone said earlier (^), I do not believe that couples who are "opposites" can have lasting relationships.

I do not deny that there may be strong intial attractions between these couples, but as their relationships go on, they will feel incompatible with each other. In fact, studies have shown that people tend to have significant others (or even friends) that are similar to themselves in terms of personalities, interests, etc.

So in short, I honestly cannot imagine Ron or Hermione changing significantly for each other and I feel that HHr have more in common than RH.
39. Giselle
Truly beautiful, you almost made me cry :(
I'll always be a Harmony shipper.
40. elmorya
Harry and Hermione share a very deep friendship which is beautiful and the best part of whole HP series, Harry is blessed to have a friend like Hermione. I must confess that I was a H/Hr shipper, I simply don't understand the kind of romance between Ron/Hermione, I don't think this kind of relationship can last for long in real life, and I feel that Harry/Ginny's romance was rather too rushed to be believable, but that doesn't mean that Harry/Hermione would have made better couple. They were not romantically suited to each other, the following article explains it clearly-
I request all H/Hr shippers to read this article, then you will understand why Harry/Hermione would have never worked out. I think J K Rowling made a wise decision by not pairing them, in fact she has given a strong message that a boy and girl can be really deep friends without falling in love, Harry and Hermione's friendship is wonderful because its not romantic. However having said this I must admit I still don't find the Ron/Hermione pair too impressive I simply don't understand this type of romance.
41. Christine Marie
I'm so glad you wrote this. I love Harry and Hermione together, and I really wished they'd get together. Part of this may be because I hate Ginny (Mary-Sue...goes from a nobody to being the prettiest most desirable, better at spells than Hermione, best quidditch player ever, super awesome girl - no. Hate her). But Hermione and Harry belong together for precisely that reason. Ron didn't even like Hermione in the beginning and he doesn't treat her right. Harry and Hermione have the underlying needs of a relationship and I like them together a lot better. :)
42. Rae Marie
I am utterly amazed that I've only just now found this article, nearly a year after it was first published. I recall always being so excited for the next Harry Potter book, awaiting to see what would become of Harry and Hermione together -- Hermione being my favorite character of all, and an alternate version of myself. Wonder of wonders, Order of The Phoenix was released, and I was more excited than anything upon reading Harry and Hermione's interactions with one another. This girl supported him in a way that no one else can ever claim doing, not even the one Harry would miss the most (according to Goblet Of Fire). Harry's reaction towards the end of OoTP, when Hermione is cut down by a curse from Dolohov, nearly wrenched my heart out of my chest -- best friends, or potential romantic partners, you just knew that Harry would always blame himself if something horrible happened to Hermione.

Then came the release of the sixth book -- and my least favorite, to my immense dissatisfaction. I recall that interview that one of the previous commenters mentioned, and I recall writing a furious letter to J.K. Rowling about it (which, I should mention, I never sent), indicating my own personal hurt that she would allow one of the interviewers to mock a section of the fandom so.... rudely, and that she would laugh about it. To be honest, years later, and with the series finished in book and in film, thinking of the word 'delusional' still hurts. 'Anvil-sized hints' isn't any better. Was I really supposed to believe that a ginger-haired little girl was to be the girl of Harry's dreams from that first moment he saw her on Platform 9 and 3/4? The girl that, save for an entire book devoted to what amounted to her possession by a dark lord, was rarely ever even mentioned in passing until the fifth book, when she suddenly became spectacular, and outshone even the older children? All I saw in Ginny Weasley was an attempt to recreate James and Lily Potter through a girl who happened to have red hair and a fiery attitude, and a boy who looked exactly like his father.

Needless to say, my enthusiasm for the books died a horrible, brutal death following Book 6 (and that was without even mentioning my heartbreak in regards to Dumbledore), and though I still purchased Deathly Hallows, and I still cried a disproportionate amount of tears to all of the deaths in that book (I still ask myself about the fairness of them at times), I found myself taking to the internet instead, and hoping that fellow H/Hr shippers could help me make sense of the drastic turn the books had taken.

Harry and Hermione's friendship is a relationship that I would aspire to be in -- I would rather have a romantic relationship based on a close friendship, than a relationship based on arguing. I would rather have a relationship with someone that transcended years of closeness, as opposed to a figurative monster in my chest, demanding that I pay romantic attention to someone that I have only ever seen as a friend's sibling before.

The Harry Potter series, from books one through seven, sit on my bookshelf, untouched and gathering dust, because the wounds from the end of an era are still too open and sore. Perhaps in another few years, when the rampant interest in the books and movies have died down a bit, I'll be able to reopen Sorcerer's Stone and rejoin a small bespectacled boy inside a cupboard under the stairs, but not now.

For now, I'll stick to reading articles, and entertaining myself with fanfiction (and possibly rewatching DH1 and DH2 and sobbing my eyes out like a small child), and pretending that some things had changed. The books are written -- the printed word, the final say of J.K. Rowling, cannot be changed. But that is why there's fanfiction on the internet, folks -- the things we do not like can be changed, the things that were done wrong can be done right, the characters who have died can be given life again. And the characters we love will always have another chance.
Brad Smith
43. madbrad
Rae Marie, I love your comment, and thoroughly agree with and endorse your reasons for seeing H/Hr as a superior and much more satisfying pairing than what we got with the canon.

I'm alarmed that you were so upset by Rowling's treatment of our segment of her readership in the self-indulgent sycophantic interview she had after the publication of HBP, and that your 'wounds' from the simplistic romantic end game of the series hurt you so much. I think you're giving Rowling too much power, too much authority to 'hurt' you. If there's one thing that HBP taught us - and then DH, so very much more - it's that she was a poor author. It's not just the 'romance' that suffered under her pen, Rae Marie; it was everything else as well. :-) Inconsistent wand rules inverted. Gigantic dei ex machina whipped up out of nowhere to save Harry and the day. A 'quest' that didn't make sense and that had internal contradictions. A book that foundered with an infinite camping trip and a passive hero. The dark lord, previously held to be a master of mental magic, suddenly sending Harry newsflashes of *everything he was doing* because Rowling couldn't work out any other way to convey the desperate info dumps (so necessary for the last-minute Hallows gimmicks) to the readers. Fidelius spells that suddenly allowed the Secret Keeper to be one of the wizards covered by the secret ... which invalidated the premise of the entire series (how Peter had to be the Keeper who betrayed the Potters).

And so forth. Rowling proved to be a bad author, all across the board. So don't let her bad writing on the romance side affect you too much. Or her sad post-publication pleas to readers on how the books should be interpreted to sway you. Or bother picking up those mothballed books. :-) Just read some of that (superior) fan fiction that you mention, which deliver so much more! Cheers.
44. Iselin
Just found this article now, and felt a deep need to leave a comment just to say how truly fantastic this article was!

I shipped Harry and Hermione since the first time I read the first book at age 11. I really do not care that they did not end up together, cause their relationship buildt on trust, equality and love will always have a special place in my heart. That's the kind of love I'm hoping to find one day.

I still read the books, fanfictions and watch fanvids and I will love my ship till the very end. Love and matters of the heart cannot always have a reasonable explenation. Some things you just know to be true, even if the world tells you something else.
Kristi Hair
45. haruhisuoh
Firstly, I almost NEVER ship non-canon. I think authors generally know the characters' soul mates, and have them end up with them. But in this instance, I am up there with every other shipper. I heartily agree with every word of this lovely essay! I have always thought Harry and Hermoine's amazingly solid and supoortive relationship was the best pairing of all. Rowling is a fantastic author, and I love her, but I felt through the whole series that Hermoine and Ron were kind of being forced together.... it didn't seem natural at all. I also still love the books/stories, but I will admit I was also little disappointed that Harry ended up with GINNY... and I'm not trying to be mean, I just never understood why he was into her. O.o Anyway, thanks for pointing out all the reasons why this ship is awesome.
46. blackmudblood
you proved yourself the true HHR shippers....briliant!!
47. Ian
Great article, and what lovely responses!

Someone should send it to JK before she does "Director's Cuts" rewrites of the books. It is still very difficult to understand how a creator could misunderstand her characters to such an extent. I wouldn't mind the ending being so heartbreaking if it had been meant to be (that terrible man Joss Whedon is a master of breaking our hearts lol; the difference is he MEANS to do it), it's the fact that it's heartbreaking under the illusion of being a happy ending which hurts the most. :(
48. SweetandSour
This has been a wonderfully enlighting article! I actually didn't know people shipped Harry and Hermione until quite recently and I was interested as too why (And then to mabye ship it myself :P). I'm a slight Harry and Luna , Draciomine and Ransey shipper myself and I personally think there's nothing wrong with shipping a non-canon couple (Zutara anyone??) its all personal preference but your article has got me leaning towards this pairning a bit now. So thank you (^_^)!
49. Siddhesh
What an absolutely wonderful and touching article. Thank you, thank you ever so much. . Its been ages since the series ended, but the flame of HHR still lives on through fanfics and articles such as yours.
52. Waqar Ahmad
Hi Jill
Your essay really was very touchy.Now I really feel proud that I was right JKR was wrong.In my mind I think she failed series by giving Ron everything Harry has like he speaks parsel-tongue and he becomes really brave without any lessons like Neville took during dombledores army.
53. loverlyKit
Oh gosh this was so great I had to comment on it even though your article is almost two years old! Even though I'm not a H/Hr shipper you totally perfectally illustrated what it's like to be part of a never canon fandom and the vitriol that is spewed by the canon crew. Keep on keeping on girl. WE are allowed to interpret works of art however the hell we want. :)
54. CHIRAG84
I must confess that I didn't start reading the books after having finished seeing the movies. Initially I wasn't a shipper but while reading the books and especially Book4 I came to a realization that Harry and Hermione would have made a beautiful couple!

So despite fact that I knew who ended up with who I became a diehard H/Hr shipper and I will remain so for the rest of my life!
Those who call H/Hr shippers 'delusional' are in my opnion narrow minded and childish. They seem to forget that HP is a fiction not a historical document and alternative pairings are not something new in literature.

Those who believe that H/Hr was not possible should read the interviews of Ms Rowling where she has clearly admitted in her own words-'it could have gone that way'. In fact in another interview Ms Rowling even said that though she dated number of Rons in her high school but she ultimately married her Harry Potter!

What does this prove? Simple the even JKR admits that there was always a romantic potential between Harry and Hermione and they would have made a sweet couple far better than Harry/ Ginny or Ron/Hermione anyway.

I have nothing against Ginny or Ron, but even canon shippers have to admit thatthe romantic relationships given in books are rather superficial and couldn't have survived in real life. In other words thoughI could see Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione falling for each other, but I simply don't see them maried to each other with children 19 years later.

On the other hand everyone has to admit that no one has ever loved and cared for Harry the way Hermione did. Hermione is and will remain the perfect girl for Harry always. If Ms Rowling had made few small changes in canon then H/Hr would have become a reality. Sadly she didn't.

Why we love H/Hr so much? Why wouldn't we?! Where can you find such deep friendship, trust, loyalty and love which exists between Harry and Hermione. The idea of two best friends falling in love with each other is so sweet and beautiful that its almost spiritual in nature.
A large number of people including canon shippers would do any thing to have the kind relationship which Harry and Hermione possess.

Relationships based on unresolved sexual tensions or passions fizzle out before long. But a relationship based on deep friendship like the one between Harry and Hermione is strong like the rock of Gibralter which can stand the test of time!

As for those who say that Harry and Hermione are like siblings, notice the wording here, they are 'like' siblings they are NOT siblings in reality. And even I doubt if Harry truly meant when he said Hermione was like his sister. If this was the case then JKR would have never said that H/Hr was a possibility. Besides we will never know what are Hermione's exact feelings towards Harry.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful article and yes I agree with everything in it. And as the article said, even though H/Hr didn't happen I still love the HP books especiaaly the first four books. I will aalways cherish them and hope that in future some one makes an alternate version of these stories where Harry and Hermione do end up together!

Finally I have to say, this if Ms Rowling had paired Harry with Hermione it would have been an epic romance!
55. Louis
J K Rowling said she wanted Harry with Ginny from the beginning, so my opinion is that the arguments with Harry and Hermione in the sixth book were created so that Harry would end up with Ginny. Have you seen how in the sixth book Hermione bickers with Harry about a lot of things, treats him like she did Ron in the other books, and Harrys feelings for Ginny materialise from thin air when he sees Ginny snogging Dean, while in the 5th book he doesn't give a damn who Ginnys dating? I think that JK planned, like she said, the ships from the beginning, but when she saw Harry and Hermione getting too close,so she wrote the 6th book like I mentioned above. But Harry and hermione were suddenly so less close, and Hary suddenly liked Ginny. I think if JK had just let herself write the characters as they were developing, rather than sticking to her plan, harry and hermione would have been together. All good authors have to change their stories here and there when things don't go as planned.
Graham Colby
56. Nemosum
I'm an aging HP reader who only discovered the books a year or so ago, so I suspect I still have much to learn from these very dense works. You obviously don't imbibe all that is contained in a JKR novel from a single reading, or even two.
Jill, I loved your article, and also many others here supporting your position. But could somebody please tell me what is "shipping"?
I simply cannot help wishing Harry & Hermione had ended up together. I agree with all you wrote on the subject.
That said I do feel terribly guilty for Ron - always second to Harry, but do I feel guilty enough? Do I really like Ron? I have to confess that when he reappeared in the forest, even though he'd saved Harry's life & Griffindor's sword I wished he hadn't - I didn't want him back. I wanted Harry and Hermione left alone together.
Heather Waters
57. HeatherWaters
Hi, Nemosum! Shipping is just a term to describe rotting for a particular fictional couple to get together. Here's a post I wrote on it:

Hope that helps, and thanks for your comment! Glad you enjoyed Jill's post.
58. CHIRAG84
Louis, I agree with what you said. JKR indeed engineered the conflict between Harry/Hermione to make canon ships more tolreable, though here I believe she rather failed.

Rae Marie, I loved your comment and I agree with every thing you said.
59. Danigirl84
I Love this article! I remember reading the books when they first came out and had felt like for at least the first 3 books Hermione could have gone either way and was hoping for Harry and Hermione. In book 4 when Ron became obviously jealous I was disappointed but accepted the inevitable pairing. I always accepted what JK wrote cuz it's her series but in my head I decided that eventually Ron and Ginny die (nothing horrible and at a somewhat appropriate age) and Hermione and Harry enjoyed their twilight years together. :-) That being said I had really wished for Harry and Hermione and was glad that the movies had more to reflect that possible pairing. I also like Rae Marie was annoyed at the way Ginny just suddenly became super awesome and amazing at everything. I hate it when someone is suddenly just the most amazing, fantastic, perfect person that has ever existed without seeming to have anything leading up to it. Ah well. That's what fanfiction is for. :-)
60. Nemosum
At present I'm not at all hostile to Ginny, and I've read calm & rational arguments against HHR & in favour of RHR, but I'm still not convinced. Maybe this is an emotional, as much as a rational or intellectual issue.
I'd never previously thought of the possibility of fictional characters escaping from the control and intentions of the author who created them, though I realize now that this is by no means an original concept. I do feel, though, that something like this has happened with Jo Rowling's wonderful characters - and they are wonderful, or why would so many of us care so much? I wonder if all of us are not different people according to how we are perceived by everyone who meets us. Not that our own view of ourselves doesn't count, but when it comes to fictional characters, can they be said to have a view of themselves? Or can their creators or readers be said to project such a view onto them?
Please could anyone give me a link to the JKR interview where the word "delusional", which has upset so many people, was used? I have a feeling I've seen it but it was before I'd formed any opinion myself, and now I can't find it.
61. Harmonylover
To be honest, I haven't bothered to look for the interview, but I gues this is it. I just want to put it up here mostly for our entertainment, and I hope it suits your need, Nemosum.
And if those "calm, rational arguments" for canon fail to convince you, I don't think the borderline ridicule of those Mugglenet interviewers would.
Clearly, JK claimed she had much fun writing romance and twisting it into some detective-like form.
Justifiably, I believe we have the full right to have equally much fun enjoying the particular aspects of HP romance the ways we like, our own ways.
I am beyond the point of feeling disappointed or upset. In response to canon shippers, I'll say we' re all a tad "delusional".
It's just fiction, guys, not real. None of the characters, or those infamous couples really exist.
Fictionally speaking, the "opposite attracting" and " hero-worship love", if neatly written, is pretty trite .
Realisitically speaking, well, we humans are foolish and selfish. We err all the time. Unhealthy relationships fall apart as much as they form, and all the ppl involved suffer. I speak from the position of a witness to more real-life divorces and breakups than I can count.
So there I said it, JK's romance is rather crap, and life is even crappier. Therefore, even if books 6&7 happen, I find it almost impossible to vision the epilogue.
No, let's not fool ourselves any further, following JK's hasty plan, all of our characters will get hurt. They might want to bear it for the sake of those unusual-named children, but true happiness is always elusive. Probably, love and happiness isn't the thing for Harry Potter, as JK's wish.

And a few words about the " like a sister" part. Whenever a guy gives you " i like you as my sister" crap, that should wave big red flags in your head, coz that's one of the most uncreative excuses for getting close to you, and entertaining romantic notions in secret with you. Most likely the case when you are off-limits, as in already taken, or when he 's already involved with someone else. No offence, just speaking from my experience.

Thus, trust me, the moment Harry uttered that priceless line to Ronald was also the moment he came to terms with his nonplatonic feelings about Hermione. He said he loved her. What more we HHr shippers could hope for, eh? I think we'd better celebrate even :)

Finally, hats-off to the article. It's lovely, and most importantly, real in every sense of the word.
In fictional world, HHr would make a epic romance like Chirag84 said.
In real world, HHr is just one of those couples who live happily together till old age, their love standing the test of time and hardship.

Indeed, as goes the saying " Love is friendship caught fire."

Merry Chirstmas, my fellow Harmony lovers!
62. Kristin1108
Hi there! I love your article and I was wondering if I can translate it into chinese?
63. Asphodelic
Love, love the article! Very good points, and I agree with you wholeheartedly!
64. CHIRAG84
Well JKR finally admitted in her interview that Ron/Hermione are not really fit for each other and Hermione would have been better off with Harry!

So nothing more to argue about anymore, basically she simply confirmed what H/Hr shippers have known for ages. 

Harmony Forever!
Graham Colby
67. Nemosum
Lol Chirag84, something tells me that JKR interview won't be quite the end of the story.
I've been surprised to find I feel more strongly on the H/H/R issue as time goes on. I've been re-watching the HP films on British TV, & apart from all the well-known defects of the movies I've found myself disliking Ron more & more - in fact I was tempted to switch off when I knew his return to the tent was imminent in the 6th film. I found I agreed with Riddle-Harry (book)/Riddle-Hermione (film), however cruel to Ron, & I especially disliked him when he finally wielded the sword, not to destroy Voldemort's evil horcrux, but in a fit of jealous rage.
Amazing how involved one can get in a work of fiction, but obviously I'm far from being alone!
Harmony forever indeed!
68. Harmony forever
I loooooooooove your article. Firstly because its true. Especialy first love, it really hurts but you still love him/her. Second its good to note what Harry and Hermione thought us as a lesson, they may not end together but at the end of the day i know no matter what happens he will always love her no matter, this kind of relationship is so special that it really teaches that no matter what he will never let her go and the same for her. Because they mean so much to each other. He will always be ther for her at first place and for her the same. Anyway I wanted to thank you for this great article about them this is what i wanted to read today. I am really sorry they didnt end up together, it could have gone that way. But, you know what? This is even more beautiful it makes the francise great, after all we dont want a totally happy end, it wont seem real. I can imagine H/Hr nineteen years later talking about everything, Hermione holds his hand and his arm around her shoulder and just walking and remembering the time they had together and talking about Lily, Hugo, Albus.. Maybe its better in this way, IDN. What is intresting in hero gets the great girl and they live happily ever after? This tought us that life its not that generous and its not fair, but you either choose to move on , or learn from it. Kinda they resemble on Snape and Lily. In some way they are together and always be , because friendship is the most important thing, first and foremost, Harry's priority will always be Hermione like it always was and Hermiony's priority will be Harry's hers relationship. Just because a relationship didn’t end in happily ever after doesn’t mean that it wasn’t meaningful and true. As Dumbledore says to Harry, “Of course it is happening inside your head…but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” The ones that love us never really leave us.
Again THANKS for your beautiful and true post.
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