Everything I Know About Relationships I Learned From Harry Potter

Last fall, Emma Watson, being her amazing usual self (she makes the rest of us 20-somethings look like terrible slackers) interviewed my personal hero, J.K. Rowling for Wonderland Magazine. You can read the text of the interview here.  And while you’ll find–if you read the article–that what Rowling and Watson actually discuss is not quite what the media made it out to be, journalists–and subsequently fans–were in an uproar because a quote leaked from the interview seemed to suggest that Rowling thought she had made a mistake in pairing Ron and Hermione together. Instead, it seemed as though Rowling thought Harry and Hermione should have wound up together.

I’ll admit, I was one of those fans that immediately felt the need to state to the entire world of social media that I was very upset by this suggestion. It wasn’t that I didn’t think Harry and Hermione, as characters, could have worked well as a couple. It was more the whole principle of the thing. Now, having read the entire interview, I am much less offended (I get very emotionally attached to the works of literature that I love, if you can’t tell) by Rowling’s comments. The whole ordeal has led me to consider why I felt so strongly about this bit of news, however, and this is what I realized:

Everything I know about relationships I learned from the Harry Potter series.

I think part of the reason Harry Potter became such a big hit was the thought that Rowling put into her characters and the Wizarding World. Every character had a background, story, and flaws. Rowling put a lot of thought into who would wind up with who according to compatibility and personality, not just because of she’d seen it in literature structure before, or because she thought certain characters needed or deserved love.

Though, apparently, this was less the case with Ron and Hermione.

I like Ron and Hermione together, though. Not just because that relationship was a long-time coming throughout the books. I like Ron and Hermione together because they aren’t perfect, and their relationship certainly isn’t perfect. So often stories get written as though romance is really a giant bandage that heals all wounds and covers all flaws. But it doesn’t. If anything, it fleshes out these flaws and brings them to the surface. Successful relationships are the ones that can acknowledge, work-through, and move-on from these flaws, accepting that these things are just a part of life. They aren’t going away.

People want to pair Hermione and Harry together because they are both strong, talented, independent and confident in their abilities, and that makes sense. But to me, that’s like when I was four and I would pair my ken dolls to my barbies according to hair color. It doesn’t matter. You could say that Ron and Hermione should be together because they balance each other out: Hermione is a confident, logical thinker, and Ron is a supportive, emotional thinker.

What Rowling’s novels taught me is that there is no right or wrong answer. There is simply knowing yourself well enough to know what’s right and wrong for you. Relationships are about accepting what you can’t change and working through it, like Lupin and Tonks; Honoring one another in decisions, like Ginny and Harry; and Supporting each other in everything else, like Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

Oh, it also taught me that finding a date to the Yule Ball is a stressful affair and often winds up not living up to the hype.

Still, I think these are pretty good take-aways for a 20-something potterhead like myself trying to navigate this whole dating thing. Then again, if I’m taking dating lessons from a children’s book series, perhaps I need to re-evaluate a few priorities in my life right now.



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