Anyone who reads J.K. Rowling's epic Harry Potter series knows that the books contained within not only tell the tale of a magical boy wizard Harry Potter, but they tell the stories of his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, as well.
When you look at it, it's a pretty classic set up. Harry is the hero, naturally. Hermione is the dull turned beautiful, smart sidekick who's always there to find a solution and save the day with her logical thinking (lest we forget the magical bag she toted around in Deathly Hallows that contained pretty much anything the trio needed to survive and complete their journey). And Ron is the semi-dopey, funny, best friend who often doesn't add much more than a witty comment here and there (though the movies downplay Ron's true wisdom and knowledge as displayed in the books).
Wikipedia defines a romantic hero as “a literary archetype referring to a character that rejects established norms and conventions, has been rejected by society, and has the self as the center of his or her own existence."
In this case, Harry is the romantic hero. And as the saying goes, ‘the hero gets the girl’, right? Wrong.
So many classic stories will have the hero getting the smart, beautiful sidekick, while the dopey/funny best friend is left to his own accord. But not in Rowling’s series.
Rowling instead chose to have the beautiful, smart female sidekick Hermione end up not with Harry, but with his dopey but funny best friend Ron.
The relationship between Ron and Hermione gives every smart, nerdy girl hope that one day she will find her own goofball and live happily ever after.
Rowling orchestrates Ron and Hermione’s relationship in such a believable way that endears their relationship to the readers. Their friendship evolves naturally, as two kids growing up and attending school together. As their friendship blossoms over the years so do their feelings for one another.
Readers first get the impression that Ron and Hermione will have a romantic relationship in the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when Hermione’s relationship with the Quidditch star Viktor Krum causes jealousy on Ron’s end.
Later, in the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, we see the pain and jealousy Hermione feels at Ron’s relationship with Lavendar Brown.
Finally, Rowling gave Ron/Hermione fans what they’d been begging for all along, when the two finally got together at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In the midst of the monumental battle of Hogwarts, their love for one another is consecrated when, after Ron makes a comment about helping the house elves (a long time mission of Hermione’s), she goes running into his arms for a passionate kiss.
The epilogue, set nineteen years later, depicts a now married Ron and Hermione with their two children.
Rowling, who often described herself as Hermione-esque, beautifully crafts the relationship between Ron and Hermione. She created two very likeable characters who are both sidekicks to the main hero. And instead of the girl ending up with the hero, she ends up with his best friend instead.
Theirs is a beautiful relationship that deserves to be placed alongside classic relationships like Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy from Austen's Pride and Prejudice (okay, I may be stretching it here…) but regardless, the two are a match made in magical heaven!
What are some of your favorite literary pairings?