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Let’s Stop Pretending There’s a Love Triangle in ‘Harry Potter’

In an excerpt from her upcoming interview in Wonderland magazine, J.K. Rowling revived a debate that should have died a long time ago: Should Hermione date Ron or Harry? While the full print version of the interview comes out next week, it’s already being reported that Rowling calls Harry and Hermione “a better match”:

“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. 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 ended up with Ron.”

Adding further salt to those wounds, she said:

“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.”

I love you, J.K. Rowling. But you need to stop.

To put all my cards on the table, I used to write Harry Potter fan fiction. I kept canon, shipping Ron and Hermione. And I read a lot of pairings — everything from Ginny/Draco to Hermione/Lupin (there was time travel involved) — but absolutely refused to read Harry/Hermione fan fiction, on principle. So perhaps I’m inherently biased when it comes to my eye-roll reaction to Rowling’s reveal, but I’m less upset about the “realness” of a Harry and Hermione relationship than the fact that we’re discussing Harry/Hermione versus Ron/Hermione at all.

The two most popular recent YA fantasy series — Twilight and The Hunger Games — both come with a love triangle. Apparently, even a strong female character like Katniss needs to have an all-consuming romantic crisis. I find debates over Team Peeta vs. Team Gale exhausting and trite. In the Hunger Games books, there really isn’t a Bella/Jacob/Edward-style love triangle. Katniss is too busy trying to battle a fascist government to worry about a relationship. Although she considers a life with both Peeta and Gale, romance is not the core of the books, despite what you might believe based on how the story is discussed.

As a serious Harry Potter fan, I am worried that this is also becoming a thing with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. This makes me cringe, because I am so sick of this overwrought, melodramatic YA fantasy series love-triangle trope. Sometimes, I wish everyone in the Trio ended up with randos, like Draco. I would especially have loved to see Hermione rebel against the institution of marriage (remember her S.P.E.W. activism?). Because now, debating which boy she should end up with seems so basic.

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