When I was reading the Harry Potter books, although J. K. Rowling told a good yarn and plotted her stories well, the romance between Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley never seemed to me to be plausible. It seemed like the author was trying to avoid the obvious narrative device of the leading man and leading woman getting together at the end and was going for the slightly counter-intuitive relationship. It just did not work for me. Harry’s romance and marriage to what’s-her-name was also implausible as can be seen from the fact that I can’t even recall her name (or her face from the films) and remember anything about her except that she was Ron’s sister.
Now in an interview Rowling admits that this set of pairings may have been a mistake that arose out of her desire to stick with the original storyline that she mapped out right at the beginning, and that as the story evolved it should have changed with Harry and Hermione ending up together.
This second-guessing by Rowling has not caused as much consternation as the earlier Rowling revelation that, although she did not make it explicit, she had envisaged Dumbledore as being gay. I used that episode to discuss seven years ago as to the extent an author has control of the content and meaning of books after they have been published, comparing the Potter books with those of Marcel Proust. (That sounds like a bit of a stretch but is not really. The comments to that post were really good and well worth reading.)
While I am suggesting alternative endings, I also found Harry and Hermione ending up as placid suburbanites, with Harry as a mid-level government bureaucrat, also unsatisfying given their histories. Being the best student at Hogwarts, Hermione should have followed Dumbledore as a teacher and later the principal of the school, and Harry should have ended up as the head of the Ministry of Magic or at least of their counter-terrorism unit.
Stephen Colbert weighed in on the implications of Rowling’s latest move.
(This clip aired on February 3, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)