By J.A. (Julie) Kazimer
This might be upsetting to some, but here it is: J.K. Rowlings recently said during an interview that she regrets hooking Ron and Hermione up in her famous Harry Potter series. She stated, “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.” The horror! The outrage! Who else was Hermione supposed to end up with? Harry? Come on…
Oh, wait a second…. That would’ve made a much better ending (Yes, feel free to lambast me in the comments if you disagree).
Her admission reminded me of the first time I tried to force two characters that were completely wrong for each other together for the sake of the plot. It blew up in my face and I wasted months trying to rectify the situation, and in the end, scrapped the book.
How can this happen? Aren’t we, the writer, in control of our plot and every facet of our characters, like we are in charge of our lives, destiny, and significant other?
Every writer (and again feel free to argue with me, even though you are absolutely wrong) faces that moment when you lose control of the voices and are along for the ride. Things happen. Plot twists appear from thin air. Characters say outrageous things you would never dream of saying on a first date let alone in a church. And, boom, you find your hero undressing the heroine’s mother on the dining room table after the morning service.
The question then becomes, how much should you stick to the plot as first conceived? And how much rope do you give your characters before you rein them in? And most importantly, what makes for the best book?
This is the part where you tell me the answer.
Let’s look back at what J.K. Rowlings said. She said that she should’ve ended the series with Harry and Hermione as a couple. But she didn’t. And that’s really my point. You as the author might never be happy with what happens on the page. You might second guess yourself time and again, wondering if your heroine is strong enough, if your hero is bold enough, if they would make a perfect couple who would love each other till the end of time. But, and I hate to say this since I’m nothing in comparison to J.K. Rowlings, there comes a time to let it go. Many readers, me included, are satisfied by Ron and Hermione’s love affair. At the end of the day, the series works.
Plenty of times when doing that finally read through, the one where it would cost your publisher a heck of a lot of cash to ‘fix’ something, you find one GLARING mistake. The mistake that will keep you awake at night. Maybe it’s a sentence that doesn’t sound quite right. Or maybe it’s a string of words you wonder if they were written by a second grader. Alas, you just have to let it go. Live with it. Just like you would accept the minor flaws of Mr./Ms. Right.
Have you had this experience? And what’s your thoughts on ditching Ron in favor of Harry?
Stephen Colbert Talks Harry and Hermione
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE as well as the forthcoming book, The Assassin’s Heart. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator. For more about Julie, visit her website and blog.