Harry Potter Romance Controversy Our Thoughts

Amanda & Holly

Have you seen the news?!  JK Rowling has told Emma Watson–Hermione herself!– that she  “wrote the Hermione-Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment”, and that “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” instead of with Harry himself.

WTF JK.

She is also quoted as predicting that the pair would have needed relationship counseling.  To that I say no big deal! I think counseling is good for everyone and why not take something that could make your relationship stronger? I am sure Hermione would instigate counseling and prod Ron into going with her.  Hermione and Ron both are strong willed and opinionated, so I’m sure that taking time to check in with a non-emotional party and making sure they’re both being heard and validated in their marriage would be a good thing!  My sister says I’m assuming a nagging female role for Hermione in the situation that she’d take him to counseling.  I’m assuming the smart woman who knows that marriage is WORK and needs to be worked on continuously actually. So neener neener neener Holly!

Here is how the conversation about these revelations went down between my sister and I during the very boring Super Bowl last night:

Holly:

For starters, WTF.  For seconds, it’s interesting that this is even a conversation. I’m watching the Superbowl and also reading comments on the twitter and the facebook where every commercial and facial expression is analyzed from every angle, but it still surprises me how much we, as in everyone, scrutinize authors outside of the books.  And sometimes completely change our minds about a book based on how we feel about an author.

Not that I’m changing my mind about anything! I just think its weird that a) JK can come out with a statement like that then b) it spreads like wildfire and c) we all go apepoop.

I love when Ron and Hermione get together.  And I love that it starts when Victor is interested in Hermione and then Ron finally wakes up!  I love that Harry and Hermione are platonic great friends of the opposite sex.

But truth?  I don’t love that in the end Harry & Ginny and Ron & Hermione are all happily ever after.  BUT NOT BECAUSE OF SOME BS IDEA THAT HARRY AND HERMIONE SHOULD BE TOGETHER.

The only reason it bothers me is that its just *too* neat and perpetuates this idea you must meet your soulmate, or at least someone you’re really into, by age 15 or you’re destined to wind up lonely and unhappy.

[Amanda disclaimer-I did meet my soul mate at 15. But I didn’t decide he WAS my soul mate for years and years!]

Of course I must remember who I’m talking to. That’s my point.  One of the 2 of us had met our best dude at 15.  The other of us would probably not have gotten along with dude at 15.  So it irks me a little that they all end up with their Hogwarts sweethearts.

Amanda:

I see your point.  Maybe because its a “kids book” the general Happily Ever After ending doesn’t bother me?  Because also, with the short epilogue she had to tie it neatly into a bow.  No room to introduce new loves.  I know some people would be happier if the epilogue was not even included– I am not one of them!

I also LOVE Hermione and I love that she doesn’t end up #2 to HP in a relationship.  She’s so much more than just his girlfriend.  Which I feel is how she would have ended up in perception if they had dated.

Holly:

Yes, I agree with what you’re saying about Hermione not being #2 to Harry, but not sure I agree with the wording.  Ginny isn’t exactly a doormat!  Harry can deal with an independent woman!  But yes, I am glad Harry and Hermione are not like that.  Because she belongs to Ron! So, take back everything I just said about being annoyed with the ending because I actually don’t want it any other way.

Amanda:

But then again it’s not like they had average lives where they were meeting the loves of their life at 15.  They were all signed up to die together.  Kind of different than me being afraid of Brother Ruhl with J.

Holly:

Also Ron gets kind of a bum deal.  What teenage boy isn’t at least a little bit of an idiot? 

[Amanda disclaimer: What fully grown male isn’t sometimes kind of an idiot?}

Amanda:

And that’s not what I meant either! Ginny is a bad ass!  Bat bogey hex?!  And yes– I agree re: Won Won.

Holly:

Excellent point.  Traumatic experiences lead to intense connections.  And I just died at Won Won.

In summary, even if JK thinks the ending should be different, she shoulda kept that thought to herself.  Or maybe she should write a new book about the next generation at Hogwarts.  Though I’d like to think those kids don’t have quite as much seriousness to deal with!  Second, I’d also like to think that Hermione and Rob both learn to bring out the best in one another.  Third, I bet Ginny, Harry, Hermy and Ron hang out like every Friday night.  Big fun.

Amanda:

I agree, but I don’t want books about the kids.  I am ok with just compulsively re-reading.  Besides, JK is too busy writing more Cormoran Strike to write more HP!

What are your thoughts?  Do you think Harry and Hermione belonged together?  Or were you a Lavender fan for Won Won? Are we just crazy?  I’m off to reread!

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Words I’d Like to Have Written

Holly

I often agonize over just the right word to express what I’m trying to say – to the point of ridiculousness. I try not to let my obsession with le mot juste (Bro Ruhl shoutout!) get the best of me, or I’d never get anything done, but I do have a dictionary (a book one, not an internet one) next to my desk for those times when I’m not sure if a word means what I think it means. Inconceivable!

Anyway, when I come across a passage or a paragraph that is full of the perfect combination of words, it makes my heart happy. So here, for your reading pleasure, are a few of the paragraphs that have made huge impressions on me.

Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in “sadness,” “joy,” or “regret.” Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, “the happiness that attends disaster.” Or: “the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy.” I’d like to show how “intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members” connects with “the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.” I’d like to have a word for “the sadness inspired by failing restaurants” as well as for “the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.” I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever. ~Jeffrey Eugenides, in Middlesex

I’ll just let that one speak for itself. Love it.

Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define them – a mother’s approval, a father’s nod – are covered by moments of their own accomplishments. It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives. ~ Mitch Albom in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Okay, I have not read that book, so I can’t speak for the story or the context. I saw a fraction of that quote, the part about the stories as stones upon stones, printed somewhere. I had to search for the full passage online, and I was not disappointed when I found it.

I am a dog, and I know how to fast. It’s a part of the genetic background for which I have such contempt. When God gave men big brains, he took away the pads on their feet and made them susceptible to salmonella. When he denied dogs the use of thumbs, he have them the ability to survive without food for extended periods. While a thumb – one thumb!  – would have been very helpful at that time, allowing me to turn a stupid doorknob and escape, the second best tool, and the one at my disposal, was my ability to go without nourishment… ~ Garth Stein in The Art of Racing in the Rain

Unlike the first two, this quote (and really, the next two pages) are more meaningful as part of the context of the rest of the story. The Art of Racing in the Rain is told from the perspective of the dog, which could definitely be, well, absurd. But, my favorite thing about this book is that Enzo the Dog’s point-of-view completely makes sense. It doesn’t come across as human, and it’s somewhere between “dog” and “how we people completely anthropomorphize our pets.” In this same section, Enzo is faced with a demented stuffed zebra toy. This whole scene is why this book stands out to me – Stein takes a situation – dog is left alone so dog tears something up – and turns the scene around, successfully enough that you not only feel sorry for the dog, but also understand (sort of) his motivation.

Next time my dog eats a blanket (or a door, or a plastic swimming pool, or a box of hot chocolate), I’ll try to remember that.

Any other collectors of favorite passages out there?

What’s going on here?

By Amanda

Why start yet another book blog, you ask? I had gotten into the habit of sending my sister emails with lists of her “Required Reading” (really see my Goodreads shelves) so that we could discuss books over wine when we get to visit. Sadly, grown up life is too busy for frequent travel between Chicago and Virginia and we don’t get to have wine and book club as often as we would like. So we decided we needed a book blog so we can chat (probably still drinking wine) and get other opinions too. I can say for me that I will try any book you put in front of me. If its outside of the genres I gravitate to- mystery, YA, fantasy, women’s fiction– then as long as it has a good recommendation I’ll try it. I just love a good story!

What’s with the gun on the wall, you ask? We had the same brilliant and terrifying English teacher in high school (RIP Brother Ruhl) and one of the lessons that was imparted was from Chekhov “If there’s a gun on the wall in Act One, it’s going to go off by Act Five.” Wikipedia even tells me Chekhov said: “Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there”. Holly and I realized we couldn’t keep referencing the gun on the wall– starting our own blog– without actually breaking down and doing it, so here we are. Holly and I can text across the miles and have a toast to Brother Ruhl, Anton Chekov and lots of good books to come. Still no guns on our walls though, just book shelves.