Midway through reading the Harry Potter books, an ongoing argument plagued us and our friends: Ron and Hermione, or Harry and Hermione? We were convinced – one way or the other – that there would be a coupling up within the trio.
There’s one answer given to us in the books in the end, but the discussion continues – especially since J.K. Rowling has also made some comments on the subject. Back in 2014 – when interviewed by Emma Watson – she admitted to thinking she could have paired Hermione with Harry: ‘in some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit.’ And that Ron and Hermione were a kind of wish-fulfilment: ‘That’s how it was conceived, really. 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 with Ron.’
However, in the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, '19 Years Later', Hermione and Ron seem very much in love – bickering all the way, obviously.
Some of us have never been convinced by the idea of Harry and Hermione, but others continue to fight their cause.
Would the pair have made a good match? Let the debate commence!
Cast your mind back to their first-ever journey on the Hogwarts Express. The first meeting between Hermione and Ron was telling, with Hermione challenging Ron first to perform magic and then informing him that he had dirt on his nose. To Harry, she was friendlier instantly: fixing his glasses. But she continued to torment Ron, goading him to perform ‘magic’ on Scabbers before she disappeared again.
Throughout the books, the mutual respect between Harry and Hermione made for a far calmer friendship. During Ron and Harry’s spat during the early stages of the Triwizard Tournament, Hermione was far more reasonable to Harry – and the pair seem to work well together generally. A Quidditch champion and the smartest witch in her year: they would’ve made quite the power couple.
As we all know, being mean to each other is the best way of covering up that you fancy someone.
Their childish behaviour continued as the books went on, with Harry having very little to do with their spats if he could help it. (But Harry, mate, you could’ve had a word with Ron every now and then…) As we mentioned, Harry had deep appreciation for Hermione – but he never seemed to be jealous of Hermione in the way Ron was. Especially when a dashing Mr Krum entered the scene... Harry never seemed bothered about who Hermione went out with – unlike his pangs of jealousy when he found out Cho Chang was going to the Yule Ball with Cedric.
‘Presumption!’ echoed the Riddle-Hermione, who was more beautiful and yet more terrible than the real Hermione: she swayed, cackling, before Ron, who looked horrified yet trans- fixed, the sword hanging pointlessly at his side. ‘Who could look at you, who would ever look at you, beside Harry Potter? What have you ever done, compared with the Chosen One? What are you, compared with the Boy Who Lived?’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Quite a lot of people, including Ron himself, seemed to think Harry and Hermione had something going on. Ah, classic student logic – if two people dare spend too much time together, they must have feelings for each other.
Even Rita Skeeter saw them as a convincing enough couple to spin some gossip for the Daily Prophet, much to Ron’s chagrin. Indeed, as we discovered in Deathly Hallows, Ron had deep-rooted anxiety about Harry and Hermione getting together – which they discovered when Ron started getting badly affected by the influences of the Slytherin Locket Horcrux.
Harry’s first girlfriend Cho Chang was also incredibly insecure about Harry’s friendship with Hermione – and Harry didn’t exactly help matters by making plans with Hermione in Hogsmeade on the same day he made a date with Cho. Even Hermione had to inform him of this..
‘Oh, Harry,’ she said sadly. ‘Well, I’m sorry, but you were a bit tactless.’
‘Me, tactless?’ said Harry, outraged. ‘One minute we were getting on fine, next minute she was telling me that Roger Davies asked her out and how she used to go and snog Cedric in that stupid teashop – how was I supposed to feel about that?’
‘Well, you see,’ said Hermione, with the patient air of someone explaining that one plus one equals two to an over-emotional toddler, ‘you shouldn’t have told her that you wanted to meet me halfway through your date.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
When Rita Skeeter wrote about their young ‘romance’ in Goblet of Fire, Harry barely batted an eyelid over what was being said; he admired how Hermione dealt with the situation, rather than think anything more of it. He was more concerned with the fact that Ron wouldn’t speak to him; even thinking about how his friendship with Hermione wasn’t as fun as being best mates with Ron. If there were any feelings there, Harry would’ve probably been a bit more embarrassed – and Hermione also seemed to wave everything off in a rather blasé fashion.
Harry was occupied in Goblet of Fire anyway – not just with the Triwizard Tournament, but with his blossoming feelings for Cho Chang. This short-lived romance continued through Order of the Phoenix, during which time we know Hermione and Ron spent a lot of time together without Harry before the school year began – at Grimmauld Place.
All relationships are different. Some couples realise they like each other after years and years of being best mates, discovering that their compatibility as friends was something more. You never know, that could’ve been Harry and Hermione: Harry was always incredibly comfortable in Hermione’s presence.
Take the terribly sad scene where the pair visited Godric’s Hollow and found Harry’s parents’ graveside. Harry openly wept at the grave with Hermione holding his hand firmly. It’s an incredibly moving scene – and we can’t imagine Harry breaking down like that with anyone else.
Hermione had taken his hand again and was gripping it tightly. He could not look at her, but returned the pressure, now taking deep, sharp gulps of the night air, trying to steady himself, trying to regain control. He should have brought something to give them, and he had not thought of it, and every plant in the graveyard was leafless and frozen. But Hermione raised her wand, moved it in a circle through the air and a wreath of Christmas roses blossomed before them. Harry caught it and laid it on his parents’ grave.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
In Half-Blood Prince, Harry suddenly found himself getting jealous of Ginny Weasley’s relationships, trying to convince himself that his feelings towards her were entirely brotherly and protective. Yeah right, Harry.
When Hermione enjoyed her fleeting romance with Krum, Harry didn’t seem phased by this at all. If Harry had really liked Hermione, surely we would’ve seen a reaction similar to the one he had to Ginny and Dean Thomas’s relationship – a feeling that was described as a ‘creature in his chest’. The ‘creature’ only abated when Harry and Ginny finally got together.
If we look to the films, we can examine Harry and Hermione’s dynamic in a different way.
During their Horcrux hunt in the first half of the Deathly Hallows two-parter, we see a poignant scene with Harry and Hermione dancing to 'O Children' by Nick Cave. A comforting moment between two friends who just need to unleash some steam? Or something more romantic? They spent a lot of time in that tent together.
And it also resonated with J.K. Rowling: ‘When I wrote Hallows, I felt this quite strongly when I had Hermione and Harry together in the tent! I hadn’t told [screenwriter Steve] Kloves that and when he wrote the script he felt exactly the same thing at exactly the same point.’
Fans are divided, and so it seems, is the author.
Overall, it seemed that when Harry had a romantic interest in somebody in the books, it was mentioned. With the third-person perspective following his thoughts and feelings, we were usually presented with an honest account of what he went through, and the only people he ever showed romantic interest in were Cho Chang and Ginny Weasley. Meanwhile, Ron couldn’t even react to a kiss on the cheek from Hermione without stopping to pause for thought.
But maybe, just maybe, there was something between Harry and Hermione lying beyond the pages. Who knows.
Let the debate stir on!