‘let my girls be hermiones’: thoughts on jk rowling’s regrets
I don’t know if J K Rowling is really insecure about her work even after all of the success, or just bored and missing good old HP in the spotlight, but for some reason she has decided to backtrack on one of the storylines from the Harry Potter series: namely, who the heroine, Hermione, ended up marrying.
While I’m a little annoyed at this in general, because once you send a book out in to word and it has been read by millions of people and turned into movies, you can’t just ‘change your mind’. However that aside, what really annoys me is the fact that people seem to think who Hermione ended up with was all that important, including Rowling herself.
I have always admired J K Rowling, not only because I love the Harry Potter series, but also because she created such awesome female characters and has come out with some great quotes like this one:
‘I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.’
But I have to say that I really don’t like the way she has just swapped Hermione between the two male leads in the story, as if the only reason she existed was to be the love interest of one of them.
In case you live under a rock and haven’t read the books or even seen the movies (and if so, shame on you. Double shame!), then it just so happens that Hermione is consistently top of the class and is painted as a borderline genius. She is the one that Harry and Ron always needed to go to for help; in fact they never would have gotten through even the first book alive without her. Basically, she was one of the most awesome female characters out there. She was also a great example to young girls, who were probably used to seeing most females in stories as side characters (and attractive ones at that), who only exist to end up with the male protagonist.
However with this debate raging over the last few days, Hermione may as well have been that character. By focusing on who Hermione marries as opposed to what she achieved, and swapping her from one male lead to another as if that is all she was important for, she has been effectively turned from a three-dimensional character into a one-dimensional one. Those girls who looked up to one of the most intelligent female characters in recent history are now being told that while all of Hermione’s accomplishments are all well and good, it is who she ends up with that is the really important thing, and worthy of a ridiculous number of news stories.
I’m not crying sexism here: the love life of Harry and Ron is being scrutinized as well, so it’s not just Hermione having her turn in the spotlight in that regards. However I think that, with many books so often lacking in such strong and intelligent female characters, it was important to keep the focus off who she would wind up with, simply because that is so often the focus of any book with a female character and this can be quite disheartening to some female readers.
It was never vital to the story for Hermione to marry either of them, or indeed anyone at all. It didn’t make her any more interesting or talented. Yes, it was a nice little side story I guess, for all of the characters to end up living happily ever after in wedded bliss (though personally I thought it was the worst ending ever…), but it should never have turned into such an important part – so important indeed that the choice of partner for Hermione has been regretted publicly by the author herself.