Harry Potter fans got some unexpected news this week when J.K Rowling admitted in an interview with Emma Watson (the actor who played Hermione) that putting Ron and Hermione together was a mistake:
"I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That's how it was conceived, really," Rowling says in the interview. "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."
"I know, I'm sorry," she adds. "I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but 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."
And Emma Watson agreed:
"I think there are fans out there who know that too and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy," Watson says in the interview.
I haven't read a ton of reaction, but what I've seen is running about 2/3 for the series as written (Ron and Hermione) and 1/3 in support of Rowling's "on second thought" (Harry and Hermione). There are some other reactions sprinkled in there, like what about Ron and Luna? Or Harry and Ron, for that matter? (I don't see that, and it has nothing to do with that being a gay relationship.)
Then there's this view:
Which I SO get.
I'm in the 2/3. I agree with many of the reasons other people cited: -Pairing up the chief male protagonist with the chief female protagonist would have been SO cliche. I'd rather nobody end up together than that. -Ron makes Hermione laugh. That's big. -Opposites do attract, and those relationships can thrive if there's a foundation of respect for one another, which I believe Ron and Hermione had. Ron helps ground Hermione.
Also, I must admit to liking The Trio all ending up in the Weasley family. (For those who don't know, Harry marries Ginny Weasley.)
But here's the #1 reason why I like the pairing: Ron would have supported Hermione's success.
A woman's choice of life partner is one of the most important career decisions she can make. Sheryl Sandberg said that first, but I can't agree more strongly on this point. It matters whether your spouse is going to support your career or merely tolerate it. It matters whether he's going to feel secretly threatened by your success. It matters whether he's going to give lip service to you having a life apart from home and husband while still secretly expecting you to do all of the child-rearing and household management.
Hermione, it was said again and again, was the smartest witch of her age. She was brilliant. She was ambitious (in a good way, not the Slytherin way). Ron was never her intellectual equal, but he doesn't need to be. Yes, intellectual compatibility has its place. And Ron was intelligent enough to get her. But she's the kind of person who will be stimulated by her work: by learning, contributing, excelling at what she does.
And here's the thing about Ron. Yes, he had some jealousy issues. But they mainly centered around jealousy over what he perceived to be a deeper bond between Harry and Hermione. (He was also 17. Come on, people.)
I don't remember a lot of deep jealousy over Hermione's genius and hard work. He seemed happy to be what I perceived to be a solid B student.
But he was completely awed by Hermione---her mind, her wit, and yes, her drive.
So Ron is perfect for Hermione. Ron will be the stay-at-home dad while Hermione works at the Ministry of Magic. Certainly Ron will get up in the middle of the night to change diapers and rock a fussy baby.
Rowling has suggested this about Hermione's career:
Hermione began her post-Hogwarts career at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures where she was instrumental in greatly improving life for house-elves and their ilk. She then moved (despite her jibe to Scrimgeour) to the Deptartment of Magical Law Enforcement where she was a progressive voice who ensured the eradication of oppressive, pro-pureblood laws.”
Those are big ambitious plans. Changing the world is exhausting. But in Ron, Hermione will have a cheerleader and a sounding board. Remember, loyalty is Ron's greatest strength. He will agree with her principles 100%, yet not feel the same passion to make them his life's work. This will give her perspective.
And he will make sure she gets away on holiday every now and then.