A few weeks ago, JK Rowling dropped an Avada Kedavra curse on the Muggle world. She said, several years removed from the Harry Potter series, that she’d do a few things differently. Most notably, she’d have Harry marry Hermione instead of Ginny. She said she made the choice she did for personal reasons, not literary or consistency reasons. She thinks a Harry/Hermione marriage would have made for a better ending…a better book.
But she’s wrong.
There are several reasons I think this, but here’s the main reason:
By writing the story the way she did, she avoided the annoying, immature, and stupid trap almost all Young Adult Literature falls into: Making the love-saga between two teenagers the main focus of the story. I know these authors fall into this trap because that’s what their YA audiences want, but writing for the audience compromises the integrity of the story.
Obviously Harry Potter has three main characters, but Ron and Hermione are not as main as Harry. Their love-saga, therefore, was able to be resisted until the end of the series, and even then, it was done well. This also kept Harry’s relationship with Ginny as a sub-plot that allowed the real reason the series was successful to shine brightly: It was a fun story.
I didn’t read the Harry Potter series to see who kissed whom. I read the series because it was fun and it had brilliant insights into our fear of death. Making Hermione and Harry get together would have clouded these things with a rush of teenage pheromones that would have sunk it to the level of Twightlight and the worst parts of The Hunger Games.
As is, Rowling avoided #TeamHarry and #TeamRon t-shirts. And the series is all the better for it. Sure, there were moments of where teenage magical sparks were flying. This is to be expected, as it is true to teenage experience, and Rowling used these moments extremely well – even using them to draw out the distinctions between true love and infatuation. But I don’t know that drawing Harry and Hermione together would have helped this any. In fact, I think it would have taken center stage and ruined the story.