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J.K. Trolling
February 1, 2014 9:14 PM   Subscribe

In a an interview conducted by Emma Watson appearing on the front page of today's Sunday Times (embiggen), Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling admits she regrets Ron and Hermione's relationship and that Hermione should have wed Harry. Maybe she should have killed Ron after all.

In muggle news, Joanne Kathleen Murray is suing the Daily Prophet Mail for libel over a 'single mother sob story' published last September that, her lawyers argue, "has injured her reputation, was misrepresentative of her comments, and caused her embarrassment and distress."

Previous Rowling on the Blue: The Single Mother's Manifesto
posted by guiseroom (172 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Book one, chapter one: The Boy Who Lived.

Book seven, final chapter: The Boy Who Died.

Or so it should have been. Harry Potter was Hermione's friend, but that doesn't mean the romantic chemistry was there. Ultimately she was a studious nerd, he was a spoiled jock celebrity. She'd have ideally married the real hero, Neville Longbottom.
posted by explosion at 9:21 PM on February 1 [66 favorites]


She should just go back and re-do it. It worked well for George Lucas.
posted by procrastination at 9:21 PM on February 1 [17 favorites]


Middle school me wanted Harry and Hermione to get married because I liked the idea of the boy who lived getting together with a nerd girl like me.

High school me just wanted everyone to stay alive and maybe Hermione could get together with Draco if he turned out okay. (Tortured bad boy phase was in full swing, yes.)

College me became very attached to Ron/Hermione because my boyfriend at the time was Ron incarnate minus the red hair and freckles and I had become known as Hermione across multiple campuses (a point of pride for me for life).

Adult me wants to know what the hell I was thinking because Hermione is too good for either Ron or Harry (or Draco, god help me) and they should be grateful she was around to save their asses every single goddamn year.

I'm glad JK Rowling admits the same.

I have a lot of feels on this topic, okay?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:22 PM on February 1 [113 favorites]


One comment worth relaying from the discussion of this interview on Jezebel:
I think shipping Harry and Hermione both undermines how great it is to see a strong male/female friendship and takes Hermione from a dominant relationship position with Ron and makes her second to Harry. No bueno.
And, as someone else said, relationships were never the HP books' strongest suit... (I'm still waiting for Harry/Luna...)
posted by Zephyrial at 9:22 PM on February 1 [15 favorites]


She should just go back and re-do it. It worked well for George Lucas.

Following the George Lucas School Of Thought for relationships has worked well for no one, including all the characters in George Lucas's movies...

I also have a lot of feels about Star Wars, okay???
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:28 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Hermione friendzoned Harry so she could hook up with that bastard Ron. Harry actually swaps the wizard hat for a fedora after book 7.
posted by w0mbat at 9:29 PM on February 1 [21 favorites]


I was one of the people who loved Harry but wanted him to die in the end pretty fervently, for story structure reasons. So while I loved the fic and am fascinated by the fandom for what it's done culturally, I've always felt pretty distanced from it while at the same time being very close with people who care more about these books than many care about their religion. The past few years, after the last movie was done, have been a nice cooling off period.

So what's most interesting to me today is just how many Harry/Luna shippers are coming out of the woodwork. More power to you all, basically. Books are what we make of them. JKR is an okay writer but that doesn't make her capable of controlling other people's experience with her work.
posted by Mizu at 9:32 PM on February 1


She regrets not doing the most predictable thing ever with a male and female lead?

She should regret cheating Harry out of his death. He should have died. You make him the final horcrux, he has to sacrifice himself. Your Christ figure doesn't get married and fat and live happily ever after. Sorry.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:32 PM on February 1 [39 favorites]


Honestly, I thought it was a little weird that all the characters had to be paired up with each other at all. How many people in the contemporary world marry someone they dated in high school? I feel like all of them would have broken up with their Hogwarts SOs three months into their tenure at Wizarding University and ultimately married some totally new person who they met in their early 20s. It seemed like such a weird, retro way to end the series.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:32 PM on February 1 [60 favorites]


Oh god, the Harmonians were right?!? I... I need to lie down.
posted by kmz at 9:35 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


This is weird. I don't get why she would say this, except for the fact that maybe she's tired of not making the front page on Fandom Wank anymore.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 9:37 PM on February 1 [13 favorites]


Yeah I like that Harry and Hermione are FRIENDS cause actual platonic male/female friendship is kinda unrepresented out there and the idea that everyone had to be paired off now now now now to the people closest to them still bugs me, they're not even 20 yet - yeesh!

However, from twitter and I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY

@LadyHawkins

Look, the only regret J.K. should have is that Luna and Neville are not operating Lovegood&Longgbottom: Magical Detectives RIGHT NOW.

posted by The Whelk at 9:38 PM on February 1 [108 favorites]


Rowling's just getting some free PR by bringing this up now.

Rowling sowed the seeds of Ginny falling for Harry very early on. She's quite artful in how she sneaks up on Hermione's realization that she loves Ron – she feels jealous when Ron eyes up the stunning Fleur Delacour or flirts with the curvy barmaid, not when Harry sighs over Cho.

And Harry needed a good, smart female friend in the picture, who could see right through him falling for Cho and then for Ginny without feeling any jealousy herself. That's besides all the help she brought with her brains and magical skill.

Rowling made the right decisions about this, at least as the series closed. I tend to agree that the epilogue with the main characters neatly married off is a tad silly.
posted by zadcat at 9:39 PM on February 1 [15 favorites]


Team Hermione Doesn't Give A Fuck About Relationships, Goes Traveling Instead

(when I posted this on Facebook my original comment ended with "Spends Post-Hogwarts Time Traveling Instead" - I didn't catch the unintentional pun until later, but Hermione as Doctor Who totally works too)
posted by divabat at 9:42 PM on February 1 [29 favorites]


besides everyone knows 20-something Hermione totally has a short-lived but amazing fling with Viktor Krum while she's traveling the world in pursuit of knowledge.
posted by The Whelk at 9:45 PM on February 1 [37 favorites]


Shows I was wrong when I thought I understood what she was doing. I had a notion that she had both Harry and Hermione marry into the Weasley family, she was making a point that the Weasleys represented what she thought the magical world really ought to be. So much for that theory.
posted by tyllwin at 9:45 PM on February 1 [8 favorites]


I would watch Doctor Hermione and spend every episode going EEEEEEEEEEEE.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:45 PM on February 1 [22 favorites]


well the Weasleys are supposed to be an idealized family unit, certainly the most positive depiction of (living) families we see.
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 PM on February 1


If this is what she wanted, why didn't she just write it that way in the first place? Wish fulfillment? What?
posted by SkylitDrawl at 9:50 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I love that Harry lived and had a fairly ordinary and good life at the end, although I find Ginny dull as dishwater and firmly believe Harry and Neville 4eva. There is a resounding worth placed on ordinary lives in HP, that socks and a shared meal with friends and being brave in little matters just as much as grand heroics. That Filch matters too. I think Vimes and Dumbledore would agree on quite a lot. Harry is the boy who lived, not just in in one grand moment but in a whole life that mattered as much as any muggle or purebloods' lives did. Rowling's ending was not satisfying on a purely narrative arc, but it is immensely better and warmer and more full of mercy for choosing again to be about good people, not heroes. (I haz feelings! Most of which I got out by killing everyone off in an apocalyptic hp story)
posted by viggorlijah at 9:51 PM on February 1 [16 favorites]


I just never got a romantic vibe between Harry and Hermione at all. Like, not even a tingle. Rowling probably could've made it work, but it sounds a little contrived. The Ron/Hermione thing was more credible because they were scrapping from day one, and their banter had that flirtatious edge to it. I could believe that that they were opposite enough to attract, and I could believe that they were similar enough (both being passionate, save-the-world types and all) that they could work.

I think the Ron/Hermione thing worked because Rowling wanted it to work. She calls it wish-fulfillment now, but she was invested in it and that came across. I think she's probably just overthinking it now, really. Lucas-itis.

Also, this "Hermione is the most interesting character/secret hero of the books" thing seems really played out to me. I mean, Hermione is an interesting character, but she's also kind of a prig. She's the Spock in the Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic, and her answer to everything is usually something she's found in the pages of some moldy book. (To bring in yet another franchise, there's a reason why we spent more time watching Buffy defeat demons than Giles looking up how to defeat demons. Giles was great, Spock was great and Hermione was great, but they were all the brains, not the brawn.)

Ron is emotional and rash, Hermione is bookish and stuffy, and they both support Harry and pull him in opposite directions.

Harry works as the lead, but if you wanted to go down a different road, I think Ron is the person who could've made an interesting hero. From a poor background, moody and prone to grudges, always in the long shadow cast by his more-famous pal, not a great student but in love with the school brain, perpetually out of his depth in these big magical showdowns... that kid's got an arc. Ron doesn't have Harry's magical legacy or Hermione's smarts to save him... he's just got moxie!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:55 PM on February 1 [32 favorites]


(Ignoring of course the proper universe where Neville marries me)
posted by The Whelk at 9:55 PM on February 1 [17 favorites]


Lovegood & Longbottom as Spade & Archer is rapidly growing on me. Crabbe could be Joel Cairo. Goyle could be Wilmer. When you're stupefied, you'll take it and like it.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:56 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


You know, it's entirely possible that today she wishes it'd been Harry/Hermione, and two weeks from now she wishes it was Harry/Luna, and six months from now she has a brief twinge of maybe she could have been brave enough to pull off Harry/Neville, and sometimes she thinks she should have killed him, and sometimes she thinks he should have ended up with nobody at all. Just because she's the author doesn't mean her opinion is fixed and unchanging and should be taken as such.
posted by Sequence at 9:57 PM on February 1 [28 favorites]


they're like Nick And Nora Charles but with less less drinking and more arch spaciness.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 PM on February 1 [8 favorites]


It seemed like such a weird, retro way to end the series.

Yes and no, the whole series was really retro in terms of genre and as a class fantasy, I thought.
posted by smoke at 9:58 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I don't know, but this article gives me hope that J. K. Rowling is posting HP fanfic somewhere under a pseudonym just to see what happens.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:58 PM on February 1 [10 favorites]


Go Harry/Luna or go home. Hermione/successful political career and maybe Neville. Ginny/Cho. Ron should have died, sorry Ron.
posted by sonmi at 10:00 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I wonder if this is partly because her own husband bears more than a passing resemblance to Harry, and that she herself always considered herself a Hermione figure.
posted by chimaera at 10:00 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Hermione, after a successful career, writes a series of popular children's novels for wizards about the fantastical muggle world of technology.
posted by The Whelk at 10:01 PM on February 1 [39 favorites]


Yeah, and I remember reading somewhere that she based Ron after a friend from her childhood.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 10:02 PM on February 1


If you interpret the HP series being at its core about war, what drives humans to it, and how they ever manage to get out of it again, and toss in a good dollop of context regarding what ordinary British people in real life suffered on the homefront during both World Wars, I think the ending Rowling chose makes perfect sense. Of COURSE all these extraordinary kids who saved the world wind up marrying their friends and having very ordinary lives. The right to have ordinary lives is exactly what they were fighting for.

(That does not mean I do not still wish that Hermione had gone on a world tour filled mad genius wizarding adventures, dated around a little, and maybe, you know, won a Nobel Prize or two before settling down.)
posted by BlueJae at 10:07 PM on February 1 [9 favorites]


Hermione, after a successful career, writes a series of popular children's novels for wizards about the fantastical muggle world of technology.

She will be better known for the creation of Advanced Wizard Dentistry and Magical Orthodontia Studies.
posted by littlesq at 10:09 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Why didn't Harry and Hermione and Ron be like everybody else and NOT marry someone they met in high school?
posted by v-tach at 10:10 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


She should regret cheating Harry out of his death. He should have died.

Did we all read the same book? I thought it was pretty clear that he *did* die, and was brought back. That's why he got to talk to Dumbledore, who was dead, and his parents, who were dead -- because he was dead -- and it was the fact that Harry was willing to face Death, and did face Death, that the final horcurx was destroyed and that he became the master of the deathly hallows.

And you know what? Harry married the right person. To hell with anyone that thinks differently. That include you, Ms. Rowling.
posted by eriko at 10:15 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I thought it was pretty clear that he *did* die, and was brought back.

This is known in certain circles as "cheating". Particularly in the way she pulled it off.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:25 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]


next thing she's gonna tell us jane should have married st. john instead of rochester.
posted by wam at 10:28 PM on February 1 [14 favorites]


Well, cheers to her for realizing this, because I never got Ron and Hermione as a couple. They fight alllllllllll the time, I found it irritating, and damn right they'd need relationship counseling. Why do you want to be with someone you're always fighting with, again?

On the one hand, yeah, it is nice that for once the hero and heroine didn't get together in a traditional fashion. On the other hand, H&H would have made more sense. Harry with Ginny is...okay, I guess, I don't have objections to it in the way that I do Ron and Hermione, but neither am I excited. Harry and Luna would have been a hoot, though.

I do wonder what the heck kind of wish fulfillment JKR was going for with making Ron the romantic hero, though. Is he based off an old crush of hers or something? I always just thought she seemed incredibly insistent on having everyone marry into the Weasley family and that was where the wish fulfillment was coming from.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:28 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Just give me all the Remus/Sirius fix-it fanfiction and IDGAF what you do with the children.

Besides, if Harry was a horcrux, and the basilisk fang is one of the ways to destroy horcruxes, why didn't Harry die in Book 2?

And what about Scarecrow's brain?
posted by tzikeh at 10:31 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


What if none of them marry each other, because they're 17 year old kids with their whole lives ahead of them?

The only problem I had with the shipping aspects of Harry Potter was that Rowling felt the need to tack on that horrible epilogue.
posted by Sara C. at 10:36 PM on February 1 [11 favorites]


Also, I liked that Hermione dated Ron, because it subverted so many tropes and assumptions about how Hero's Journey type stories work. It also lets Hermione not be "The Girl" that the two guys are trying to "Get". It's never a question or a competition. Hermione and Ron have a thing, and it's no big deal.

Until Rowling made them get married, which is just silly.
posted by Sara C. at 10:37 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]


Go Harry/Luna or go home.

Exactly. The one major flaw of this series, fixed. Hermione/Ron was destined from early on. And Ginny was an irritating bore from the get go -- just write her out and let someone else get rescued from the snake.
posted by bearwife at 10:40 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Doctor Hermione

That was Romana.
posted by Sara C. at 10:41 PM on February 1 [9 favorites]


My only experience with HP was the movies but I''m glad to know that I'm not the only one who thought Harry + Luna = FUCK YES. I always felt that Harry & Ginny was more about Harry wanting to be part of the Weasly family rather than an actual romantic love for Ginny. Did the books do a better job of selling Harry & Ginny's relationship?
posted by KingEdRa at 10:41 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I was kind of fond of Ginny from the beginning, even if she turned out to be a bit boring. So I was okay with Harry ending up with her. But I would have liked Ginny to have become more dynamic and interesting and a bigger part of the story. Like a fourth of their group, maybe. I would have felt better about Harry/Ginny, then. But I'm basically pretty fond of Ginny so I'm happier with Harry being with her than I would have been with Cho or some other possibilities.

Otherwise, though, I've always been totally infatuated with Hermione and, as is the case with so many people, she was always my favorite character and my personal hero of the books. Harry didn't really deserve her and I don't feel like he would have been right for her, either. They worked as friends.

I don't know who she should have ended up with, really. I can't really think of anyone at Hogwarts that seemed equal to her or a good match. She deserved and probably would have ended up with an older guy from university who was as smart as she was but also not so straight-laced. Someone a bit edgier than either Harry or Ron. Someone that would challenge her in terms of her comfort zone but at the same time be intellectually equal to her. I don't think we saw that character at Hogwarts. That's actually who I sort of wish Ginny had ended up being. Maybe a bit sneaky, mischievous, and chaotic like her twin brothers, but about as smart as Hermione, smarter than Harry, and I could see her and Harry making an interesting couple. But we didn't really see that.

I think I can see what Rowling means by wish fulfillment if she identified with Hermione and maybe she had a crush on a male friend when she was young who was sort of ordinary, but a good guy, and kind of the emotional backbone to the gang. He probably never knew she had a crush on him. So Ron/Hermione was kind of Rowling's wish that he'd gotten a clue. But it doesn't make so much sense for people older than teens. A Hermione isn't as likely to hero-worship a guy like Ron once she's into adulthood. If she ended up with him, she'd probably get frustrated about some things.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:42 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


JKR is an okay writer but that doesn't make her capable of controlling other people's experience with her work.

Yes. I'm kind of bothered by the interviews of hers I've read. There's always a lot of publicity around her "revealing" that Neville marries the bartender, or whatever. But I think the books are complete in themselves and the characters now belong to me as a reader as much as they do to her; my plans for them outside the time frame of the book are equally valid.
posted by gerstle at 10:42 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]


KingEdRa, Ginny is very different in the books. She's not my favorite character, but she's mischievous and funny and independent and has a personality. Movie Ginny is an automaton.
posted by gerstle at 10:44 PM on February 1 [13 favorites]


I married somebody I met in high school.

[PICTURE OF JONAH HILL]

Fuck me, right?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:48 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


The only way this makes sense to me is as a thought experiment (or, okay, fanfic). It's like her saying she now wishes Neville had been the chosen one. It's a completely different series of books than the ones she wrote.

Re: Ginny, I hate the movies for a myriad of ways that they changed things from the books (shockingly, I know). But movie Ginny (and to some extent movie Ron) is only a shadow of the fully formed character in the books. She's funny, friendly, athletic, and brave and you could totally see why teenage Harry would want to date her.

I do find it creepy that she married the guy she had a crush on from the age of 10. And who also saved her life at a very young age. It's like Katie Holmes marrying Tom Cruise. That shit just ain't right.
posted by donajo at 11:24 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


Hermione and Luna can both do way better than going for someone who peaked in high school.

Ron primary exists in the books as a sort of quarrelsome, questionably loyal dispenser of information about the wizarding world that Harry and Hermione won't know because they were raised by Muggles and as the link to the Weasley family, of whom he is the least interesting, including Percy.

I think it must've sucked for Ginny to go through her Quidditch career as someone who's notable because she's Harry Potter's girlfriend/wife. My headcanon is that she went into sports journalism because the Prophet and he rest of the shitty-ass wizard press failed to actually focus on her and her career and not her husband and she wanted to make sure other female Quidditch players got better treatment.

I like Ginny a lot and while I get that it would've been hard for the movies to pick someone who'd have been able to play more grown-up Ginny when she's older when she was that young, I really did feel like movie-Ginny was a disappointment. Ginny was in the background most of the time, but she was 100% Fred and George's younger sister and absolutely Molly's daughter and she was smart in a quick way, not in a heavy-preperation way like Hermione. She was fabulous, in my opinion, and I can see her working with Harry a lot more than I can see Hermione working with Ron, but that's more because I think she deserves whatever boy she wants, and if she wants Harry, I think that's fine. I'd be a lot more concerned about Harry being good enough for her than the other way around.
posted by NoraReed at 11:44 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


Hermione should have ended up with Penny from Brakebills (before all that other shit went down). Punk, powerful, uninvested in conventional approval. Good counterbalance.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 11:46 PM on February 1 [8 favorites]


I married somebody I met in high school.
[PICTURE OF JONAH HILL]


You're his cousin?
posted by Mezentian at 12:12 AM on February 2


Ron and Harry shoulda got married, that would have made for a real seven book romantic blockbuster.
posted by Caskeum at 1:28 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Ron should have to take a crappy job and go to school and grow the fuck up away from his family for a few years and then maybe he'll deserve to marry anyone in the books

otherwise he should be forced to share an apartment of shame with Xander Harris
posted by NoraReed at 1:34 AM on February 2 [15 favorites]


Obligatory:
"We made too much money," said Harry.
"Yes," said Ron, quietly. "We made too much money."
posted by en forme de poire at 1:40 AM on February 2 [9 favorites]


pfft of course Hermione needed Ron because very intelligent women need men that are funny to have some goddamn joy in their lives. duh
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:45 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Maybe if she wanted some better hookups she shouldn't have killed off or forgotten about all the best characters so early.

But for what it's worth, my picks would be:

Harry & Luna
Ron & Cho
Hermione & Victor
Ginny & Neville
posted by rue72 at 1:49 AM on February 2


How It Should Have Ended:
Ron lives.
Harry dies.
Draco lives, but is crippled.
Neville saves the day. (And I love The Whelk's idea of him and Luna teaming up - a Mr Merlin for the 21C.

Hermione? Lives and goes on to do something awesome, does not marry Ron.


Neville not giving Voldemort a serious beatdown and becoming the hero was my greatest regret of the saga. And then there was the epilogue we dare not speak of.
posted by Mezentian at 1:57 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


otherwise he should be forced to share an apartment of shame with Xander Harris
You go too far!
TOO FAR!
posted by Mezentian at 1:58 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


need men that are funny
apologies, I should have said need partners that are funny
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:06 AM on February 2


Shouldn't Hermione be sleeping with both Harry Potter and Ron?

In tightly knit groups of friends or collaborators (think SNL, for example) different people pair off with members of the group all the time. One social circle from my high school (the called themselves The Herd) operated this way, with guys "stealing" their friends' girlfriends (this is a very male way to think about it, but, then again, I only observed it as a guy), and this behaviour went on right through university.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:25 AM on February 2


I don't think there is pre-marital sex in the Potterverse -- on the page Dumbeldore aside. I mean, who knew what that guy was into.
posted by Mezentian at 3:31 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Re; the epilogue with everyone paired up: True, most people don't get married to people from high school. But then most people don't spend their high school years risking death fighting evil conspiracies. I think its fair to reason that that may have generated some strong bonds.
posted by memebake at 4:00 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


Harry marring Ginny made sense as in he was also becoming part of a loving family, something he never had and desperately wanted.
By the same token Hermione marring Ron was giving in to the wizard-normative, us and them. She should have married a muggler, put the seeds of a new way, wizards and non wizards together.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 4:06 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Your Christ figure doesn't get married and fat and live happily ever after. Sorry.

I was going to write about how there is no real mention of religion in the HP books (except for everyone celebrating Christmas, which plenty of people in the UK do in an entirely agnostic manner) and so a Christ plotline wasn't what she was going for. But then I googled it and found this interview where JK says that the Christian themes are very deliberately in there, but the lack of overt religion (there's not one mention of Gods or of anyone being religious, everyone seems to be sortof magical atheists) was essentially a way of avoiding spoilers about where the plot was going.

That said HP is a book series for children essentially about some kids growing up (one of the best things about the books is how they change as the protagonists get older) and so to kill any of the central three kids off at the end of a 'coming of age' story would never have worked that well. HP books are ultimately about how to live in the real world.
posted by memebake at 4:18 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


>>but Hermione as Doctor Who totally works

Why do we never have a female Doctor Who? I vaguely remember a date with a guy who couldn't conceive of it (except of course the Doctor's sister/daughter thing). Why not? Why no Lady Doctor? Why???? Is the Doctor not capable of regenerating with his x chromosome doubled?
posted by b33j at 4:19 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Shouldn't Hermione be sleeping with both Harry Potter and Ron?

I think maybe there is room for a Fifty Shades of Potter, with polygamy, and a little kink, and some saucy magic to increase penis size and ... - OMG - don't nobody steal it. It's mine! And when I make a bajillion dollars from my fan fic, I'll take you ALL out to dinner at Hogwarts. You just have to proof-read my book to make sure I've replaced all the Hermiones with Haldis, and all the Harry's with Hercules and all the Ron Jeremies with... I mean. Oh, and be sure and fix any place I say "said" with "whispered", "moaned", and "chortled mournfully".
posted by b33j at 4:24 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


But then most people don't spend their high school years risking death fighting evil conspiracies.

They.... don't.

Why do we never have a female Doctor Who?

Please don't start.
(If you are interested in this topic, see io9's Postal Apocalypse column from late November 2013 into December - Rob is a fan of the idea of the idea of a female Doctor, and there is plenty of back'n'forth in the comments. Also see any DW regeneration thread in the last decade).
posted by Mezentian at 4:25 AM on February 2


Oh, thanks and here I thought I was the only one to come up with that. Clearly I hang out in the wrong space - that is to say - it would not occur to me to read DW fan websites. Because back in the olden days, there was no DW websites. There were no websites at all, and even DW was in black & white. Right, clearly time to go to bed.
posted by b33j at 4:29 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


You bein' sarky.
I can tell by the pixels. :)
posted by Mezentian at 4:31 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


She should just publish a big COYA version of the series, where there are multiple marriage/death options at the end
posted by Bwithh at 4:33 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


The everyone becoming a Weasley aspect of the story always bugged me, because for me, both Harry and Hermione were already Weasleys anyway. There's no need to make it more pat, particularly in a narrative that always fundamentally seemed to be about friendship.

But Harry and Hermione marrying Ginny and Ron never annoyed me nearly as much as Harry becoming an auror did. Because if anything was narratively set up in those books, it was Harry becoming the Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher in the end. He proved that he was good at it with Dumbledore's Army, he always considered Hogwarts his home, and Volemort cursed the position so that no one could stay at it until he died. That was the right narrative bow for the series. I've made my peace with everyone marrying into the Weasley family, I'm still annoyed by Harry not becoming the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 4:59 AM on February 2 [25 favorites]


We've just finished reading the whole lot aloud to our two children (barring 3 Umbridge pages our boy couldn't take). From time to time they would offer theories and sometimes we would ask for views about what was going on. Neither had the faintest idea there was a Ron and Hermoine issue even 3/4s of the way through the last book. Plenty of speculation about the whereabouts of the Mirror of Erised, though.
posted by hawthorne at 5:06 AM on February 2


We've just finished reading the whole lot aloud to our two children

As a non-breeder, how old were they? I am curious.
By around Goblet of Fire they seemed less child-friendly, as if they were aging with their readers.

(barring 3 Umbridge pages our boy couldn't take).
That was his worst bit? I can see why, but it's curious.
posted by Mezentian at 5:25 AM on February 2


Bah. I liked Harry and Hermione having a platonic relationship, because despite what slash fiction would have you believe there is such a thing as friendship between two people, even two who could be attracted to each other. Making every damned relationship romantic/sexual completely devalues the strength and delight of a simple, direct friendship. It's one of the many reasons I despise slash.

I've also read enough about fanwank to know that a) Harmonians exist, and b) they care very, very deeply about this new revelation, but should never be given a reason to think they were right.

As for the ending, I always thought Hermione could do better than Ron, but eh. I've known enough couples who do the bickering-as-love things to see where it works. Also, growing up in constant peril combined with being in that small community of wizards who have to hide out from the rest of the world means I don't mind the 'everyone from Hogwarts gets together' as much as I would ordinarily. Though I did always like the Hermione and Krum pairing.

And if she kills Harry it's expected, if she doesn't it's a ripoff. Considering there's always going to be complaints, I'd rather JK Rowling just stick to what she wanted to write. God knows there will always be fans who bitch about it until the heat death of the universe either way.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:44 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]


When someone was telling me about this last night, she accidentally said JK Rowling wanted Harry/Ron as endgame. Which, okay, I didn't really see that when I was reading it, but I could go with a canon queer lead, or just more than one canon queer in the entire HP universe.

Then she corrected herself with Harry/Hermione, and I was like 'eh'.

Harry/Ginny never settled right with me because of how much Ginny seems to resemble Lily Potter. It gave the epilogue even more of a sheen of 'new generation, society hasn't really changed much from the old generation, everyone becomes their parents' to it. And then what's the point?

But I like Hermione and Harry's friendship way too much to change that.

Not redeeming the slytherins seemed like a bigger evil to me, though. A hat tells you you're evil when you're eleven and that's it, best be evil? Damn, son.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:46 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling admits she regrets Ron and Hermione's relationship

Yay!

and that Hermione should have wed Harry.

Boo!

Hermione and Krum, or and Neville, or and Luna, or and a succession of people who made her happy.

I actually liked Harry and Ginny in the books and am okay with it.

It gave the epilogue even more of a sheen of 'new generation, society hasn't really changed much from the old generation, everyone becomes their parents' to it. And then what's the point?

But they did all become not their parents but one of the characters in James Potter's orbit, it was done pretty explicitly through the books. (The teasing stuff was taken out from the Marauder analogues and given to that single character split up into two bodies, Fred/George.)

Also, yes, Harry should either have died or become the DADA teacher after a short career Auroring (I'd go for the second). But then you'd have parents at the school and couldn't imagine how the third generation was going to be the same again.
posted by jeather at 6:02 AM on February 2


When I first started reading the books, I thought to myself, "hey, you know, Hermione and Harry would be a decent match."

But as the story went on, despite the fact I was disappointed with the obvious Ron/Hermione buildup, I appreciated that Hermione and Harry were totally platonic. I really enjoyed the friendship between them. I liked it back during the Goblet of Fire, when they're chatting before Harry has to go out and face a dragon. I liked it throughout their time together in the Deathly Hallows. It's not particularly common to see The Hero and their opposite-sex friend/companion STAY as friends, so I really did enjoy that friendship.

I really didn't like the Harry/Ginny pairing and still don't particularly like the Ron/Hermione pairing, but I'm okay with those pairings if it means that Harry and Hermione still have this deep, enduring friendship. ;)
posted by juliebug at 6:11 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


but I'm okay with those pairings if it means that Harry and Hermione still have this deep, enduring friendship

It's like... you have a human response!
posted by Mezentian at 6:19 AM on February 2


I always assumed Hermione married Ron so She Who Should Not Be Named would have the ultimate camouflage hidden among the innocuous Weasley clan, thus giving Her plenty of time to build her powerbase and avoid the mistakes of Those Who Came Before.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:23 AM on February 2 [12 favorites]


Not redeeming the slytherins seemed like a bigger evil to me, though. A hat tells you you're evil when you're eleven and that's it, best be evil? Damn, son.

Draco is definitely redeemed in the epilogue. He is part of society, leading a normal life, has a family, is on nodding-terms with Harry even though they aren't close aquaintances. For someone who had run secret Death Eater missions to assasinate Dumbledore that's a pretty clear redemption. In the Battle of Hogwarts, the fact that Harry chooses to save Draco rather than let him burn is key the the whole ending, because thereby he secures Narcissa Malfoy's co-operation.
posted by memebake at 6:40 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


And Slytherins in general aren't evil - the hat puts them in Slytherin because they exhibit cunning, resourcefulness, and ambition. They're just, .. er ... the house most prone to outbreaks of evil megalomania.
posted by memebake at 6:42 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]


So why couldn't they get divorced later in life? I mean it happens. One thing that sort of bugged me about the Harry Potter Books ending is how happily it ended for everyone. Not that they need to go and be further heroes or anything, but the idea that they AS TEENAGERS went through this HUGE thing and and now are all completely well adjusted and all is ok and everyone is married and has babies with really awful names. And we later learn they all have jobs.

I'm specifically comparing this to the end of the Hunger Games (I know slightly more traumatic content) where SPOILERS Katniss also ends up with a family but unlike Harry, it's not all hunky dory.

Also (I am seeing the Slytherin Comments pop up as I write this) The Harry Potter House System makes absolutely zero sense. The only not entirely evil Slytherin we see is Snape. Who clearly has his own issues. (But I also see Snape's whole thing as not an epically misunderstood but ultimately well meaning man, but rather a Nice Guy TM who's motivations are kind of screwy.
posted by KernalM at 6:46 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


And Slytherins in general aren't evil - the hat puts them in Slytherin because they exhibit cunning, resourcefulness, and ambition. They're just, .. er ... the house most prone to outbreaks of evil megalomania.

Yeah, but the text treats them like they're all evil, as opposed to just driven. I was really expecting all four houses to rise up and protect Hogwarts during the final battle, but nope, got to lock up those evil Slytherins.

The Malfoy's deal in the second battle with Voldemort sounds a lot like their deal with the first battle with Voldemort, where they avoided prison by cooperating with the ministry, IIRC.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:50 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Yeah not sure about Draco's dad, but in the last two books Draco and his Mum are basically trapped in a terrorist organisation and they know it. Draco is scared and although he still takes every opportunity to battle with Harry, there are several key moments where Draco pulls back from the brink (refusing to recognise Harry when the death eaters bring him to Malfoy Manor, etc). Draco is a bully who realises he's in over his depth towards the end. The dumbledore/Draco/Snape thing happens explicitly because Dumbledore recognises this. They don't really spell it out but I think he's ultimately glad to see the back of Voldemort just like everyone else. To me thats what Draco's appearance in the epilogue means. He's able to be on a train platform with the others and just be normal.
posted by memebake at 6:56 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]


It seemed like such a weird, retro way to end the series.

Yes and no, the whole series was really retro in terms of genre and as a class fantasy, I thought.




You're not kidding- read George Orwell on Boys' Weeklies for some interesting parallels.



Then, of course, read Such, Such Were the Joys for a more accurate portrait of boarding school life.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:03 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Your Christ figure doesn't get married and fat and live happily ever after

Christ lives happily ever after. He also gets to live again after he dies. The fact that Harry's "death" isn't his "end" makes him more of a Christ-figure, surely, than if he'd laid down his life for the cause.
posted by yoink at 7:10 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I never much liked the blanket characterization of Slytherin as the bad guys, and I think the shoehorning-in of "also Salazar Slytherin was a purebloodist" was sort of a clumsy way to recast them. Cunning, ambition, and knowing the right people are all really useful traits, and it's your choice whether to use them for good or for evil. I would have really, really liked to see a good Slytherin. Slughorn only sorta counts.

I also never liked the characterization of Hufflepuff as the remedial class. Accepting all students and valuing hard work is how schools should work!
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:13 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


I would have thought that Voldemort was the Christ figure, since it's his followers that go on a crusade against anyone who is against them.

*ducks*
posted by arcticseal at 7:14 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


I also never liked the characterization of Hufflepuff as the remedial class. Accepting all students and valuing hard work is how schools should work!

Yeah, Helga is the only one who seems to get how to educate kids.

My headcanon for Hufflepuff is that instead of the head of house giving a speech to all incoming students, they all get together and choreograph this bit. So not only are they filled with badger pride, they also learn about the importance of dedication and teamwork, true Hufflepuff traits!

I might have stolen that headcanon from someone else on metafilter, it's been a while.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:25 AM on February 2


Oh arguing the House system, it's like high school all over again.

Since it makes ZERO sense ( that bloody hat has caused more misery in the world than anyone else) I've established my own headcanons - that all the "ambitious, cunning" stuff in Slytherin is just a smoke screen for "rich" and Hufflepuff's egalitarian good nature hides subversive communist leanings and artistic craftsmen training.
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 AM on February 2 [14 favorites]


I don't know if it's weirder to me that everyone seems to have strong opinions about this, or that I also have strong opinions about this.
posted by kyrademon at 7:45 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]




I don't think there is pre-marital sex in the Potterverse -- on the page Dumbeldore aside. I mean, who knew what that guy was into.

I kinda liked in the books how in the latter volumes it was not explicit but v. implicit that they were acting like high school seniors with the foul language and banging each other.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 7:58 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Lovegood&Longgbottom: Magical Detectives

I have cash money in hand right now.

Six seasons and a movie at least. I can practically hear the theme song in my head.
posted by bonehead at 8:06 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]


[Me] We've just finished reading the whole lot aloud to our two children

[Mezentian] As a non-breeder, how old were they? I am curious.
By around Goblet of Fire they seemed less child-friendly, as if they were aging with their readers.

9 and a bit, 6 and a bit. I guess we've been a little over three years reading. At times I think my son hung in there because he wanted to see the next film. We really started thinking that we'd hand over to my daughter's own reading, but my son followed and was keen and we just kept rolling. There are scary parts, but bedtime reading is cuddly. There are humorous parts that might elude children but can be shared and explained by laughing parents. The parts about race, class and authority are established clearly enough.

[Me] (barring 3 Umbridge pages our boy couldn't take).
[Mezentian] That was his worst bit? I can see why, but it's curious.

Voldemort, Bellatrix and the male Malfoys were just baddies - monsters, somewhat unreal, there to be baddies. V was obviously slightly pathetic (though scary) early, Bella crazed, L Malfoy when a player only really encountered with Dumbledore, D Malfoy a foil. Bad, scary - but not challenging. Umbridge was insidious and inescapable. My daughter found her evil that might be endured, but my son (then 3 I guess) just couldn't take Harry having to take it.
posted by hawthorne at 8:16 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Wait. Is there seriously not agreement that the sorting hat is a thinly-veiled metaphor for the British class system?

That always seemed super-obvious to me, and was one of the only parts of wizarding society that seemed logically consistent (even though the actual sorting itself made no sense)
posted by schmod at 8:20 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


A hat tells you you're evil when you're eleven and that's it, best be evil? Damn, son.

I always figured the Slytherins were "evil" in the sense that, like, investment bankers are evil. It's not that they want to make the world a worse place, they're just greedy, ambitious, power-hungry, etc.

In a high-pressure environment where there is somebody out there who can offer you that power, I can definitely see more Slytherins going to Voldemort's side. The way that a lot of investment bankers are Republicans. Whatever ideology justifies your ego.

What's weird to me is that you don't see more Gryffindors going to Voldemort's side, since their house is basically meant to be the Popular Kids of the wizarding world. IRL it would probably be Hufflepuff who'd be the powerhouse anti-Voldemort clique, with Gryffindors and Ravenclaws split down the middle.
posted by Sara C. at 8:25 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


yeah, but what, then, is ravenclaw?
posted by eustatic at 8:26 AM on February 2


The nerds, or, if you lean the "British Class System Metaphor" way, probably academia.
posted by Sara C. at 8:30 AM on February 2


I felt like Ginny was a stand-in because she wasn't comfortable pairing Ron and Harry. I am also always disappointed when getting married and having babies is part of the victory condition.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:31 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


From old class assumptions? The Clergy and Proto scientistic academies, universities, etc.

Which is why a velvet socialist revolution from the hard working craftsmen of Hufflepuff is a historical inevitability.
posted by The Whelk at 8:32 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


In reality, I like the idea of the houses as different overarching approaches to magic.

Hufflepuff - Artisans. Magic is a craft that must be nurtured with practice and dedication.

Gryffindor - Heroes. Magic is a tool best used to achieve greatness.

Ravenclaw - Scholars. Magic is a type of knowledge you can learn through study and analysis.

Slytherin - Executives. Magic is a gift given to a deserving few, to be used for one's own ends.

Bottom line, though, I was disappointed to discover that "houses" in real life boarding school are just what dorm you're in, or possibly some other arbitrary division of students for competitive purposes.

Shit, I went to (American) boarding school, and there were two things that sort of qualify as "houses". For sleeping arrangements, there was a "house" for girls and another for boys. Totally arbitrary according to genetics (though at least they had cool names: Caddo vs. Prudhomme). We also sort of had tribes for whether you were more STEM oriented or more arts oriented, which I guess was a matter of "sorting", though obviously nothing as esoteric as the hat situation, and it wasn't something the school encouraged at all.

Frankly, my alma mater is so nerdy I'm surprised they haven't instituted houses and a "sorting-hat" ceremony. I wonder if they have a Quidditch team. I bet they do.
posted by Sara C. at 8:41 AM on February 2 [12 favorites]


implicit that they were acting like high school seniors with the foul language and banging each other

I put on my robe and wizard hat...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:04 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]


JustKeepSwimming: "But Harry and Hermione marrying Ginny and Ron never annoyed me nearly as much as Harry becoming an auror did. Because if anything was narratively set up in those books, it was Harry becoming the Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher in the end. He proved that he was good at it with Dumbledore's Army, he always considered Hogwarts his home, and Volemort cursed the position so that no one could stay at it until he died. That was the right narrative bow for the series. I've made my peace with everyone marrying into the Weasley family, I'm still annoyed by Harry not becoming the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher."

YES. Thank you! "I just spent 7 years of my life fighting evil, I guess I'll do it for the rest of my life". Urgh.

I don't mind the "Big Happy Weasley Family" trope, it was setup that way in the books and it worked. Hermione and Harry don't make sense if you take only the books into account. I would have loved Harry/Luna though, especially after their chats about death.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of Harry Potter but I think I prefer the fandom over the last couple of books and especially the epilogue. The epilogue basically ruined fanfiction for me, most of the > 100k and even > 60k words fics after the 7th book are canon based and are "this is what happened in the 20 year period between the end and the epilogue" which I guess can be interesting but they end up feeling very constrained and boring. And since no books are coming out the fandom is slowly dying which means no new long completed fanfics and I have read most of the old ones. *sigh*.
posted by Memo at 9:14 AM on February 2


Memo: Pottermore is releasing new content (mostly backstory), and there's an upcoming stage play about Harry's life pre-Hogwarts as well as a movie on Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them based in 1920s NY, all written by Rowling.
posted by divabat at 9:43 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I went to a university with residential colleges long before I read any Harry Potter. Knowing how the actual sorting was done and seeing the mis-sorts (and college changes!) in my university probably really undermined my faith in the hat.

Wait. Is there seriously not agreement that the sorting hat is a thinly-veiled metaphor for the British class system?

It's clearly about class to the extent that class is directly related to morality. See this for a good-explanation of the way houses reflect morality in HP.

As for the actual news, assuming the quotes are right, I'm shocked, shocked that JKR did something that reeks of wish fulfillment with Hermione. *koff*again*koff*
posted by immlass at 9:45 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


they end up feeling very constrained and boring

That is because it is a boring constraint to decide that the characters do nothing we haven't already seen them do for the entire rest of their lives.
posted by Sara C. at 9:48 AM on February 2


Hermione, like CS Lewis's Susan, discovers makeup & clothes & gradually forgets there ever was a Hogwarts, eventually following in her parents' footsteps by becoming a dentist.
posted by scalefree at 10:09 AM on February 2




The actual British boarding-school role that most closely aligns with Ravenclaw would likely be "Swot," or perhaps "Boffin" (although this is somewhat undermined by Hermione's role as the nerdy-type among the main characters).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:20 AM on February 2


I've read so much fan fiction at Archive of Our Own that I forgot that Harry/Draco and Hermione/Snape isn't canon. There's also a ton of plots based on Hermione and Ron divorcing because their marriage cannot chug along forever on the bonds forged as kids/teens.
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:04 PM on February 2 [3 favorites]


As I posted in the other HP thread:

She's not saying that Ron and Hermione's relationship came out of nowhere, so the "but it's been obvious since book X!" comments are rather besides the point.

She's saying that in the long run that relationship might not have worked very well, and that it didn't adapt the same way the rest of her plot adapted over time.

What frustrates me over the fandom responses is the assumption that this means Ron was deficient somehow. They're incompatible - that doesn't make them bad people. I'm out of a deep relationship that had similar dynamics to R/Hr in hindsight: loved each other and protected each other, but also not very good for each other in the long run. Even relationship counseling didn't save us.

There is still time for a divorce. And why is JKR not allowed to reconsider decisions she made years ago? It's not like she's recalling all the books to change the plot. She's grown and learned. The characters grow and learn too - or are they supposed to be in statis from the epilogue on?
posted by divabat at 1:35 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Regarding the whole marrying their high-school sweet-hearts thing: We have to remember some key facts about the Potterverse.

1) There are no universities. This must be true because not one character ever mentions them, teachers don't mention getting into a good one as a reason to get good marks, Hermione never mentions them. Young Dumbledore wanted to travel the world and learn about magic, young Tom Riddle took a job in a creepy furniture shop to do the same. None of Ron's older brothers are students, they're learning on the job which appears to be the way everyone learns after secondary school in the wizarding world.

This ties into the nature of education at Hogwarts which is virtually all practical. There are some history classes and things like Muggle Studies which appear to be of mostly academic value but the majority of their time is spent learning wizard vocational skills.

2) Hogwarts appears to be the only wizard school in the UK. If we assume that virtually everyone (and everyone who isn't a total weirdo) goes there, then 17 year old Harry already knows all of the 17 year olds in the British wizard world. If we assume that most people will marry within 7 years plus or minus of their own age, then most people in Wizard world will have been at school with their future partner even if they didn't know them well at the time.

3) Because adults can apparate even wizards who live far from each other are closer, temporally speaking, than someone who lives 20 minutes drive away is for us. To a wizard, the whole of wizarding Britain is compact.

4) Using (1) and the number of characters seen in the books, we can calculate how many wizards there are in the UK. It comes out very low. Even if we forgo that kind of nitpicking (fictional worlds do not owe use total consistency) it is probably still reasonable to say that there simply aren't a huge number of wizards.

Are there small communities where everyone goes to the same secondary school, no-one goes to university, and everyone lives nearby? There are.

Do a large number of people in those communities marry their high-school girlfriends or boyfriends? Yep.
posted by atrazine at 1:40 PM on February 2 [29 favorites]


Also, I imagine the house system would be quite flexible.

Think of the logistics, they need roughly the same number in each house each year. I don't think Harry was unusual in being an either/or, most people probably are and end up in the house that already has family in it.

Also, we're seeing this world at a time of stress. Of course Gryffindor looks great during a war. It's a time for their positive tendencies towards courage and daring to shine. On the other hand, would someone like Sirius Black ever have thrived in a normal wizarding world? The negative side of Gryffindor self-belief and arrogance are evident - James Potter's behaviour as a young man, Dumbledore's flirtation with wizard fascism. I bet that in peace-time many Gryffindors gamble away their money, die pursuing extreme sports, or turn to crime as glamorous, self-regarding outlaws.

Hufflepuffs go on to be wizard accountants, buy a house in the suburbs, and raise a family. That's not so exciting to read about but it probably matches how most wizards want to live their lives because it matches how most normal people in the real world live their lives.
posted by atrazine at 1:50 PM on February 2 [5 favorites]


This FPP reminds me that I never finished the Harry Potter parody video series Harry Potter and the Ten Years after, which takes the ships to interesting places.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:42 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


3) Because adults can apparate even wizards who live far from each other are closer, temporally speaking, than someone who lives 20 minutes drive away is for us. To a wizard, the whole of wizarding Britain is compact.

Corollary: Apparition must be limited in range, or we would expect to see many more wizards from the rest of the Anglosphere, as we see much discourse between US, UK, AUS, and CAN on the internet.

Internet says America has a wizarding society, I would have definitely bought that the US just had exceedingly few wizards or inherently no magic.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 2:53 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


They have to have enough to field Quodpot teams.
posted by kyrademon at 3:06 PM on February 2


What frustrates me over the fandom responses is the assumption that this means Ron was deficient somehow.

I think it's more that Ron wouldn't be a good match for Hermione *and* he's deficient.
posted by NoraReed at 3:11 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


most people in Wizard world will have been at school with their future partner even if they didn't know them well at the time.

I think it actually would make more sense for the HP main characters to go off and get jobs and have it turn out that, hey, you remember Violet Snozzlebot who was a couple years older than us at Hogwarts? I never noticed her back then, but you know, she is so much fun! And super hot! And we both like rune interpretation, which I never even knew about her back then!

I can believe the idea that the wizarding world is a very insular one, and there's not much choice so people pair off relatively young and tend to do so with someone they already know as teenagers.

What I find fantastical is that said person would be your high school sweetheart. Because eventually you are going to get out there and meet other people. Even if they are mostly people who were always within your social circle, the world still opens up a lot once you leave school.

It's cute wish fulfillment for twelve year old girls to tack on that Happily Ever After ending, but it's very silly to read as someone who was in their 20s when the last book came out.
posted by Sara C. at 4:52 PM on February 2 [4 favorites]


I'm still mad that the theme park in Orlando ruined the final book before publication. When the theme park was announced on the radio, I slapped the steering wheel, turned to the husband and said "Fuck. He lives. Nobody would ever build dead little boy theme park."
posted by EinAtlanta at 5:03 PM on February 2 [6 favorites]


The gay wizards have the worst, smallest possible dating pool, even smaller if you're pure blood and don't even get to slum the muggle world a bit. Sad really, no wonder you get all moony over the first fascist who flutters thier eyes.
posted by The Whelk at 5:09 PM on February 2 [8 favorites]


Actually it's the gay wizard population I can see pairing off really young and not being inclined to date around.

You're going to know every gay person at Hogwarts by the time you're done there. Which is every single gay person around your age in the country. While the straight kids can encounter someone they never got around to knowing, the gay kids really can't.
posted by Sara C. at 5:30 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


You dont get to the end of a detective story and then find that actually "the perpetrator was a character we didn't actually mention at all in any of the previous 14 chapters, it was this other guy because X,Y,Z. The End."

Similarly, within the universe she had created, their lives had to end up intertwined somehow. She has to give some idea of what the rest of their lives are like. And those lives have to involve the characters we'd already met.

And as I said upthread, if you spent your high school years risking death fighting an evil conspiracy with your friends, you'd probably keep in pretty close touch with those friends afterwards. They wouldn't just be some dude on your facebook that you used to go to school with.
posted by memebake at 5:45 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


But why is the Twenty Years Later epilogue necessary?

And if it is necessary to show that everybody lived happily ever after, why is it important to stress that all the main characters married each other?

Harry Potter is not a romantic comedy, it's an adventure story. You know how Leia and Han aren't married by the end of the first Star Wars trilogy, and nobody would even assume they ought to be? And no life-partner for Luke is even discussed? Same basic deal, here.
posted by Sara C. at 5:58 PM on February 2


you'd probably keep in pretty close touch with those friends afterwards.

Sure, but why would you marry them?

I'm in close touch with lots of people from my past, who I went through intense experiences with. Some of them are exes. They are people I will always consider my closest friends.

Am I married to any of them? No.
posted by Sara C. at 6:00 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


why is it important to stress that all the main characters married each other?

Family is quite important throughout the books. Particularly parent-child relationships and the lack thereof in Harry's case. Having him end up with a family makes perfect sense.
posted by memebake at 6:36 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


The book could've turned out to still be about families by being about the families that people build for themselves out of their friends when they're alone in the world. Harry, Ron and Hermione are family to each others, and to the Weasleys, long before Harry and Hermione marry in. Just like Sirius was part of the Potter's family, like Teddy Tonks' relationship to Harry brings him into the fold of the Weasley family.

Regarding gay wizards-- I've been thinking about the way that the Wizarding world is sort of culturally inbred by virtue of small numbers, taking new people in young and having a strong cultural bias against Muggle ideas (and none of the necessary skills to actually adopt them, as we see in Arthur Weasley's case) and weak cultural bias against foreigners (otherwise we'd see more of them around).

Okay, so in some ways queer people in the real world (at least in the United States) are better at different sexual and romantic activities and configurations than straight people for various reasons, one of which is probably that once you've come out as something that there is a lot of prejudice about it's easier to go after other things you want. (There are probably other reasons too, but it def. seems like in general queerfolk are better at navigating stuff like kink and polyamory than straight people on the aggregate.)

What if gay people ended up like that in the Wizarding world, but for ideas in general and cross-cultural exchange? Desperate to get away from the handful of gay people you have in the small town that is wizard Britain, you'd end up with gay wizards going abroad just to have a chance to get out of their dating pool, which has a total of like 5 people in it. Learning other languages. Forging cultural ties. Getting new ideas. And if they choose to go the other way and date/sleep with/marry Muggles instead, you get a handful more wizards than usual who have to actually get to know Muggles well enough to interact with them regularly, since the alternative to doing that would use coercive magic, which might be kosher to protect the International Statute of Secrecy but using it to get Muggles into bed would be deeply unethical and so they wouldn't do it.

So: you end up with gay people as a significant population of unofficial cultural ambassadors with the respect for Muggle ideas and foreign ideas that you need. Thus, as homophobia increasingly dies down, you get more and more acceptance of gay wizards side by side with more and more adopting of basic ideas Wizards wouldn't have thought of because a) they failed to teach them any critical thinking or problem solving skills at Hogwarts and b) their culture is so fucking stagnated that the idea of something like "use a search spell to go through the books at the library" wouldn't even occur to them.

Eventually they take down the Mugglephobic spells that keep technology from working on Hogwarts grounds and the Wizarding world finally has a cultural and technological renaissance. All thanks to the gays.
posted by NoraReed at 7:27 PM on February 2 [10 favorites]


In reality, I like the idea of the houses as different overarching approaches to magic.
Hufflepuff - Artisans. Magic is a craft that must be nurtured with practice and dedication.
Gryffindor - Heroes. Magic is a tool best used to achieve greatness.
Ravenclaw - Scholars. Magic is a type of knowledge you can learn through study and analysis.
Slytherin - Executives. Magic is a gift given to a deserving few, to be used for one's own ends.


Or looking through a video game lens, they're the four quadrants of the Bartle Test:

Hufflepuffs are the hearty-heart socializers and crafters.
Gryffindors are the diamonds -- the speed-runners, leaderboarders, and raid leaders.
Ravenclaws are the spades -- explorers, theorycrafters, lore-keepers.
Slytherins are the clubs -- trolls, PvPers, griefers and player-killers.
posted by rifflesby at 9:34 PM on February 2 [5 favorites]


Or looking through a video game lens, they're the four quadrants of the Bartle Test:

Hufflepuffs are the hearty-heart socializers and crafters.
Gryffindors are the diamonds -- the speed-runners, leaderboarders, and raid leaders.
Ravenclaws are the spades -- explorers, theorycrafters, lore-keepers.
Slytherins are the clubs -- trolls, PvPers, griefers and player-killers.


Don't mention this to fans who are into both the Potterverse and Homestuck. It might start giving them ideas.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:36 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Ooh, yay a place where I can tell people they are wrong about Harry Potter!

Harry marring Ginny made sense as in he was also becoming part of a loving family, something he never had and desperately wanted.

Well exactly. I don't love the epilogue, because its quite clunkily written, but its pretty clear throughout the series that the one thing Harry really wanted was family, and he gets it. As for people saying Harry should have died

a)What's wrong with a happy ending to an essentially light hearted series?
b)How would that, in story terms, have worked, as Voldemort needs to be defeated after all the horcruxes are destroyed
c)How would that, in structural terms, have worked, as HP is, with a few exceptions, entirely followed from Harry's viewpoint
d)Harry did die, and went to his death believing that he would die. The author knew he was about to come back, but he did not, making his death a sacrifice
i)Also, all the characters experience his death.


I am very much subscribed to death of the author. If Dumbledore being gay is apparent in the text, thats lovely, but if its not the author can say it is the case as much as she likes but he is not. I don't think Harry Potter is perfect by any means, but my issues with it have never been who has been romantically paired with who.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:00 AM on February 3


I thought the main point of the epilogue was that as an adult, Harry thought so much of Severus that he still called him the bravest man he ever knew and named one of his children after him.
posted by Ber at 6:22 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Ber: "I thought the main point of the epilogue was that as an adult, Harry thought so much of Severus that he still called him the bravest man he ever knew and named one of his children after him."

Nothing like calling a child abuser and an awful teacher to generations of kids 'the bravest man he ever knew'. All because he was still pining after a woman even after insulting her in the worst way he knew. The ultimate nice guy.

Ugh, awful epilogue.
posted by Memo at 6:31 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


With you there, Memo. I truly don't get why everyone adores Snape (and I don't mean the Alan Rickman version). He was a jerk. He abused his power as a teacher to act like a dick to defenseless kids who had no hope of getting away from him. I would have been terrified of him every day at school if it were me. And yes, he was a Nice Guy to boot.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:01 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Snape is never made out to be a Nice Guy. He is consistently creepy, scary and objectionable throughout the whole series. But he is brave. He plays triple-agent deep within the power structures of Voldemorts organisation. He has to convince an evil, mind reading psychopath that he can be trusted while simultaneously working for Dumbledore and pretending to work against him but actually helping him while somehow keeping his duplicity deniable. He risks being uncovered and - probably - tortured to death for year after year. He does all this through regret of what happened with Lily. That's creepy. But its still brave.
posted by memebake at 7:17 AM on February 3


Snape is never made out to be a Nice Guy. He is consistently creepy, scary and objectionable throughout the whole series.

But Nice Guys -- as distinct from nice guys -- are themselves creepy, scary, and objectionable. Nice Guys are those men that end up upset because women keep not having sex with them even though they totally put LOTS of Niceness Tokens into the sex vending machines women.

Which doesn't mean Snape is a Nice Guy. He seems to stop trying to put quarters into Lily the Vending Machine before he calls her a mudblood etc. By the time we meet him, he's basically a postmortem stalker -- if only I put this last, enormous quarter into Lily, she'll somehow be alive again and will totally fuck me. It seems pretty clear through his treatment of Harry that he's displaced any responsibility for Lily's death onto her dumb stupid girl choice of marrying James Potter and her even dumber stupider girl choice of dying for her James-spawn.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:30 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I was rooting for Neville/Luna after I finished book 7, but I do not like how Neville says he's "hot for her" in the middle of a battle in the eighth movie. That is not how those two would have realized their feelings for each other. It was a non-canon nod to the shippers, but it was poorly done, IMHO.
posted by soelo at 8:35 AM on February 3


A few generations into the the future, when the fifth and sixth generation of Potter readers download the novels into their intracranial solid-state storage, they're not going to care about what Rowling did or did not say in an interview.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:38 AM on February 3


Oh I see, you meant that sort of Nice Guy, I wasn't familiar with the idiom. Yes, Snape's definitely one of those. But still, he's brave, even though broken in every other way.

I think the point of Harry's child's middle name is to show the generosity of heart in Harry's character. The animosity between Harry and Snape runs all the way through the books, and peaks with Harry witnessing what Snape does in book 6. Once he knows the truth, he's willing to see Snape in a completely different light. Willing to focus on the good and not the broken. This also distinguishes him from his father, who was a jealous bully towards Snape.
posted by memebake at 9:47 AM on February 3


I do not like how Neville says he's "hot for her" in the middle of a battle in the eighth movie. That is not how those two would have realized their feelings for each other.

It is the weekend after the Big Battle. Our Hero Gryffindors are hashing it all out over butterbeers down the pub.

Ron goes to the bathroom, leaving Luna and Hermione alone at the table.

Luna says, "So, you know when we were like in the thick of the battle? And Neville was there? Right?"

"Yeah," Hermione replies, not sure where this is going.

"Well, Neville turns to me and says, 'I'm hot for you,' like, right in the middle of everything."

"Whaaaaaat?"

"I know," Luna replies. "That's so unlike him. And weird, right?"

Hermione giggles. "But also kind of cute," she says.

"Yeah. That's kind of the thing."

And then "I'm hot for you" is a joke for the entire rest of their relationship.
posted by Sara C. at 9:58 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


Our Hero Gryffindors are hashing it all out over butterbeers down the pub.

(small clarification, Luna is a Ravenclaw)
posted by troika at 10:03 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Oh man how did I forget the only major Ravenclaw character who isn't also a sparkly vampire?
posted by Sara C. at 10:25 AM on February 3


Cedric Diggory (played by the same guy who played Edward Cullen) is a Hufflepuff.
posted by divabat at 10:56 AM on February 3


I'm sorry Sara but I'm sending you to Fandom Jail.
posted by The Whelk at 10:57 AM on February 3 [8 favorites]


Snape was the most interesting character in a lot of ways because he was one of the few truly morally grey characters (who was more than a minor character). Was he a horrible jerk? Yes, though at the same age, so were James Potter and Sirius Black. (Remus Lupin was an enabler.) But James and Sirius were Good In Their Hearts, so their jerkiness was just teenage immaturity, while Snape was Slytherin, so his jerkiness had to be proof he was a bad person and he had to atone (some stuff he did have to atone for, but you'd think that James and Sirius maybe should have also).

Sometimes the books did this sort of thing very well, but sometimes there was quite a lot of Good People Do All And Only Good Things (+ minor misdeeds which are instantly forgiveable) and Bad People Do All And Only Bad Things. And the books never could quite decide whether things were choices or inherent to their personality -- Voldemort went back and forth between choosing to do bad things and having no options because he was born evil.
posted by jeather at 11:00 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I think only the first two books were particularly black and white about good and evil, and by the third the characters became greyer.

I don't think Snape deserves a posthumous fedora, but I've learned that people have severely weird views on characters in books, especially popular series of books, so I've rarely found it worthwhile to actually engage in the fandom arguments; much better to read how insane people get over their ships and their canons and their hatreds then to actually involve myself with it.

But then I always get Hufflepuff on those 'Which House Are You?' quizzes, so maybe I'm naturally passive. They are, in effect, the quietest house, after all.
posted by gadge emeritus at 11:07 AM on February 3


we lie in wait, secure in the knowledge that the entire wizarding world depends on our social glue and connections and smoothness, so there's no need to shout it from the rooftops.
posted by The Whelk at 11:10 AM on February 3


I've always wondered what archetypes were missing in order to create more hypothetical Hogwarts houses.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:14 PM on February 3


None, because the existing Hogwarts houses correspond perfectly to the esoteric/classical Earth/Air/Fire/Water archetypal elements.
posted by Sara C. at 12:20 PM on February 3


Wait, except maybe not, because it's unclear where Slytherin falls.

It should be

Gryffindor: fire

Ravenclar: air

Hufflepuff: water

Slytherin: earth

But Hufflepuffs are really more earthy, in that sort of craftsy house-proud down to earth/salt of the earth sense. And Slytherins are earthy in the cthonic sense? And definitely not watery in any way. So it's sort of weird.

But we're not missing any of the archetypes, it's just that the ones we have had to be shoehorned so as to create the crafty/ambitious/dark Slytherin, which is more interesting than having two hard-working spotlight-shunning houses instead of just the one.
posted by Sara C. at 12:25 PM on February 3


Was he a horrible jerk? Yes, though at the same age, so were James Potter and Sirius Black. (Remus Lupin was an enabler.) But James and Sirius were Good In Their Hearts, so their jerkiness was just teenage immaturity, while Snape was Slytherin, so his jerkiness had to be proof he was a bad person and he had to atone (some stuff he did have to atone for, but you'd think that James and Sirius maybe should have also).

No, I'm sorry. He didn't stop being a jerk, at all, like ever. He bullied Neville, which is just horrid and wrong. And gives lie to the whole "It's just because Harry reminds him so much of James" line. He bullied children that were under his charge. That's not the same thing as being a jerk as a teenager. (Don't get me wrong, James and Sirius aren't getting off for their teenage selves with me.) He's broken, and he takes that brokenness out on 11 year old children.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:29 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Elementally, Hufflepuff is earth (dungeons & herbology) and Slytherin is water (under the lake, potions, poisons/snakes).
posted by immlass at 12:35 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Oh, I agree that Snape continued being a horrible jerk (I think he mostly bullied Gryffindors, though, which does make a lot of sense -- he hates them all, possibly because of the Marauders, which is not an excuse for being a horrible teacher, though it is interesting that Dumbledore gets no blame for allowing and enabling this, which is part of my problem with how the series treats most characters as Good or Evil). He just was an interesting one.

James we are told once stopped being a jerk, and maybe it's true. But the point is that while they were students at Hogwarts, James was a bully and a jerk but since he was deep down good, this was just teenage assholeness, while Snape was a bullied kid who played around with bad boys and since he was deep down grey, this was used as an example of his essential personality in a way that good characters who were allowed to have missteps avoided.
posted by jeather at 12:43 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


No, I'm sorry. He didn't stop being a jerk, at all, like ever. He bullied Neville, which is just horrid and wrong. And gives lie to the whole "It's just because Harry reminds him so much of James" line. He bullied children that were under his charge. That's not the same thing as being a jerk as a teenager. (Don't get me wrong, James and Sirius aren't getting off for their teenage selves with me.) He's broken, and he takes that brokenness out on 11 year old children.

He was an awful person, but he also had integrity (and came through when it counted). That's why he's one of the most interesting characters, to me.

Elementally, Hufflepuff is earth (dungeons & herbology) and Slytherin is water (under the lake, potions, poisons/snakes).

I think Slytherins are water, because they're slippery fuckers.
posted by rue72 at 12:47 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


He's broken, and he takes that brokenness out on 11 year old children.

Also, I would just like to remind everybody that Albus Dumbledore hired him to teach for political reasons, totally ignoring the fact not just that he had been a Death Eater but was utterly unsuited to teach for reasons of personality. Similarly, he hired Sybill Trelawney despite the fact that she was incompetent because he wanted to protect the prophecy (which required protecting her). Basically Dumbledore hires people who (apparently--Quirrell) fit in with his political agenda regardless of their qualifications as teachers.
posted by immlass at 12:54 PM on February 3


I completely agree. I think we see the series mostly through the eyes of Harry, and since he adores Dumbledore we never see any significant criticism of his tenure. When you take a step back out of the narrative, I think it's pretty easy to justifiably feel that Dumbledore made some seriously questionable choices as headmaster. I even think that once we're out of Harry's head, he becomes quite grey morally.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:22 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Am I married to any of them? No.

Are you sure?
posted by yoink at 1:39 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


I don't know that the conceit of key players in world-changing events all working under the roof of a boarding school for children really holds up all that well. It's one of those fantastic plot devices best handwaved away with "it's a fucking fantasy" along with Willy Wonka's entirely self-contained labor force and the weirdly invisible or incompetent child care systems of Narnia.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:30 PM on February 3


Am I married to any of them? No.

Are you sure?


By decree, all discussions of off-label use of polyjuice potion is forbidden and punishable by dungeon.
posted by The Whelk at 2:32 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Was he a horrible jerk? Yes, though at the same age, so were James Potter and Sirius Black. (Remus Lupin was an enabler.) But James and Sirius were Good In Their Hearts, so their jerkiness was just teenage immaturity, while Snape was Slytherin, so his jerkiness had to be proof he was a bad person and he had to atone (some stuff he did have to atone for, but you'd think that James and Sirius maybe should have also).

I don't think it's presented as that cut and dry in the books, especially when you compare Snape and Sirius. JKR has always strongly emphasized choice over nature, and Snape and Sirius are great examples of it. There was after all every expectation that Sirius would be a pureblood bigoted asshole based on his family background. But he was sorted into Gryffindor (a choice of his, on some level), made friends with who his family would consider the "wrong sort," became an animagus to keep his werewolf buddy company, ran away from home and repudiated his family, and joined the Order of the Phoenix. And through it all, he was still kind of an asshole. It's just that he was an asshole who did some incredibly brave and stupid things for love of his friends, and had a tragic, miserable life because of it. Snape's choices took him the opposite direction in terms of falling in with the Death Eater crowd, alienating Lily by saying bigoted things and hanging out with bigoted people, and full on becoming a Death Eater before he chose to do the brave thing and become a double agent for love of Lily, and then he too had a tragic, miserable life because of it. Neither Sirius nor Snape were atoning for teenage jerkiness or their essentially corrupted natures, they were facing the consequences of their choices.

All of the Marauders' generation's tragic flaws come home to roost thanks to the choices they made, except for James and Lily who basically die as martyrs. I've never seen it as JKR making any statement on their essential natures. I think she dropped the ball plenty when it came to the Slytherins, but I don't think Snape is one of those times.
posted by yasaman at 2:32 PM on February 3


JKR has always strongly emphasized choice over nature

Except in the whole Sorting Hat thing, the whole muggles-vs-wizards thing, the whole choosing-a-wand-which-reflects-your-basic-personality thing, the whole giants-are-like-this and unicorns-are-like-this thing...

No, like most writers of fantasy, really, she's pretty heavily invested in ideas of "inherent nobility" and "inherent wickedness." She's interested, of course, by people fighting or being tempted against "type"--but the "types" are powerful parts of her world building.
posted by yoink at 3:13 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


None, because the existing Hogwarts houses correspond perfectly to the esoteric/classical Earth/Air/Fire/Water archetypal elements.

That's just Eurocentric. Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal supremacy, plus they form a pentagram, which magic-users so love.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:36 PM on February 3


But it's a book about British wizards. So ancient European symbology seems a little more apt.

I'm sure the Chinese wizard boarding schools all have five houses.
posted by Sara C. at 3:38 PM on February 3


Kudos to Jo, for giving this interview [some time] ago, which led to the revival of Harry Potter discussions in mainstream internet fora, which led to this piece in The Toast today, which led to me re-reading the theory of Ronbledore. Well played, Jo, well played. I needed that belly laugh today.
posted by donajo at 6:41 PM on February 3 [6 favorites]


“But Ron Weasley is attracted to women,” I hear you say, “while Dumbledore is gay. How can you square that circle?” For the last time: time travel reverses your sexual orientation. This is why there are so many pure bisexuals on Torchwood. And I hear your follow-up question, you mewling hordes who demand to be spoon-fed the truth: “What about Hermione? She used the Time-Turner to take extra classes; did that turn her gay, too?” Yes. Hermione was super-mega gay every afternoon for exactly two hours, but she was too busy taking notes to ever do anything about it. Hermione has a very strict schedule. She plans on becoming a late-in-life lesbian at the age of exactly 53, and not a minute sooner.

I love the toast and Mallory Ortberg.
posted by nooneyouknow at 6:47 PM on February 3 [8 favorites]


That's the most fun ridiculous unbelievable fan theory since "Citadel actually takes place during Shepard's afterlife."
posted by NoraReed at 7:53 PM on February 3


I read the Mallory Ortberg story but somehow didn't realise that Ronbledore was something she did not make up but an actual theory once.
posted by jeather at 8:33 PM on February 3


in fandom all things are possible

the only limit is yourself.
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Okay that Ronbledore thing was the highlight of my day, thanks. I especially liked the bit about the socks.
posted by gerstle at 11:52 AM on February 4


The real question is what tags do I look under for fanfic on this theme?
posted by jeather at 2:09 PM on February 4


This is well-trod ground in this thread at this point, but still: Book 7 would have been massively better with no epilogue whatsoever.
posted by jcreigh at 2:45 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Oh man, Mallory Ortberg wrote another thing and it's amazing too:
Why do you think there’s a wizard train but no wizard planes? I asked Mom but she just yelled something about a witch named Margaret Thatcher who murdered all the unionists and then started crying into her apron.
posted by NoraReed at 8:22 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


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