Still on the couch gorging on cold holiday leftovers — swearing you’ll get to the gym — while surrendering to the family-friendly pagan world of Harry Potter marathons on TV? Same.
Except I know I’m going nowhere near the gym, so I have the kind of time to dissect an occult romance in movies that span the biggest young adult epic ever written.
It was around the seventh hour into my Rowling-fueled odyssey — about midway through Goblet of Fire — that I noticed something subtle, yet colossal staring me straight in the face:
The true love story in the series lies between Harry and Ron. Between the chemistry, intimacy, and cathartic quarreling, no other couple holds a candle to these two.
Before you fans start throwing rotten cabbage, you’ll be happy to know that this observation does not negate Ron and Hermione’s connection — however polarizing among fans it may be, especially since J.K. Rowling lamented that the real romance should have been between Harry and Hermione. Even that’s rubbish, though, as through this new lens, it becomes clear that Hermione is actually Harry’s best friend.
With Harry Potter and the Cursed Child hitting the London stage, and people roused over Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (pulling in over $700M in worldwide box office since its release), revelations in Potter lore are still coming to light. The exposé of Dumbledore’s sexual orientation and the fact that Hogwarts is LGBT-friendly no doubt expanded the horizons of the wizardry world.
The legend is far from dead, and since the series is going to be rebooted by Hollywood someday anyway, why not reassess the interpersonal dynamics of our favorite hero wizards?
Romance is tricky in the Potter series. Maybe it’s for the better, since the main plotline deals with teenagers who learn magic and save the world all at the same time. Still, teenagers are hormonal and need some TLC too. But let’s face it, the sparks between these young flames — whether it’s Ron and Hermoine, Harry and Ginny, Harry and Cho, Cho and Cedric, Hermione and Viktor, Ron and Lavender, or Draco and himself — are about as hot as an Anakin-Padmé scene from Star Wars: Episode II.
Hermione and Ron are championed as the Hogwarts it-couple, yet it takes eight movies before they even have their first kiss, and three movies before we get to accidental hand-holding.
Where’s the real passion? With Harry and Ron, of course. While audiences pine over whether Hermione ends up with Harry or Ron, they miss the childhood love story that blossoms from Year One. Still skeptical? I’ll walk you through it, starting at the beginning, but mainly sticking to Goblet of Fire and The Deathly Hallows, hailed as the best among the eight films.
- Harry and Ron meet on Platform 9¾. If you’ve never seen a movie, a train platform is one of the most romantically-charged settings in cinematic history. Sure, it’s not exactly a scene from Casablanca, but what can you really do when your entire family — including your weird twin brothers — is standing right next to you? (Added bonus: Harry gets to Meet Ron’s mom straight off the bat.)
- Harry and Ron have a formal introduction on the Hogwarts Express that cries Forrest and Jenny. When the treat trolley comes around shortly thereafter, Harry showers Ron in candy like the bae he is (“we’ll take the lot!”) using gold coins he got from Gringotts Bank. This fills Ron’s void as hand-me-down middle-child in the bumpkin-esque Weasely family. Ron is smitten.
- After being a rock star in Quidditch, and saving Hermione from a troll, Harry and Ron cozy up and share Harry’s first non-abusive Christmas together.
- Harry mysteriously enters the Triwizard Tournament, and things get catty. Ron gives in to the gossip that Harry bewitched his way into the Goblet of Fire and didn’t tell him about it. Ron turns his back on Harry when he needs him most. Like a scorned lover, he even reverts to grade school tactics by telling Harry the minor detail of dragons being the first task through friends of friends of friends. But who was there for Harry in the face of almost certain death (like a best friend would be)? You guessed it, Hermione Granger.
- Harry and Ron make up and go to the Yule Ball together. The tiff doesn’t last long, and Ron and Harry are quick to make up after Ron admits how “mental” he’s been acting; much to the bewilderment of Hermione, who simply shakes her head and mutters, “Boys…” under her breath (isn’t that how it’s always like when your friend couples fight?) Okay, now technically they aren’t each other’s “date” to the ball, but consider this: after days of nervously hemming and hawing over who to ask, they end up taking Padme and Parvati Patil as their last minute dates. Do they boogie down and have a good time? No, they completely ignore them the entire time to sit and mope — together. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they could’ve just admitted that they wanted to go stag (aka with each other) instead of wasting 15 minutes of the movie wallowing over their inability to attract anybody.
In the process, Ron ruins Hermione’s night with Viktor Krum. Is it because he’s jealous of Viktor Krum… or is it because he’s envious of Hermione? Earlier in the film, Ron clearly swoons over Krum’s athletic prowess at the Quidditch World Cup. Hermione calls out Ron’s cowardice, shouting, “Next time there’s a ball, pluck up the courage and ask me before somebody else does! And not as a last resort!” Even still, Ron doesn’t realize what a catch Hermione is, and didn’t even think to ask her in the first place. “That’s just completely off the point…” he tells her.
- Ron can’t deal with Harry’s decision-making. It gets real in The Deathly Hallows. Harry and Ron take things to the next level. After retrieving the Horcrux Locket from the Ministry “Mission: Impossible” style, they end up stranded in the forest, unable to destroy it. Hurt and annoyed, Ron immediately starts undermining Harry’s competence.
- They grow distant. Meanwhile, the Locket is digging into Harry’s psyche, so like a good friend, Hermione demands she take it off his hands. As the days wear on, Ron grows jealous of all the time Harry and Hermione are spending together (figuring out how they’re going to save the world). In Ron’s defense, they have time traveled together before, friends can’t get any closer than that. Right as Hermione offers the Sword of Gryffindor as a solution to destroy the Locket, Ron decides to step in and instigate the biggest fight with Harry they’ve ever had. It comes to a head with Ron throwing Harry’s dead family in his face and storming out. As he turns to leave, he asks Hermione whether or not she’s coming. She stays. Boom. Bros before hos, so to speak. This goes a little deeper than just, “Geez, Harry, can’t you just pull over and ask for directions?” This is about Harry accepting his fate while navigating it all at once. It starts to sound like a resentful partner situation. Y’know, where one has the more successful career than the other. It can be totally ego-crushing…if you’re in a couple. Friends, on the other hand, would have no problem being supportive sans drama, especially if it involves fulfilling one’s destiny.
- Ron crawls back to Harry after realizing how miserable he is without him, much to the joyous frustration of Hermione. Up to this point, she’s been a combo of third wheel and the kid in the group who does all the work. Now, she realizes she’s the glue. It was through her Ron found his way back to Harry. He heard Hermione’s voice calling to him through his deluminator, and was able to save Harry who almost drowned (nearly naked) trying to retrieve the Sword of Gryffindor. Ron’s feelings about anything going on between Harry and Hermione are forever squashed when the Locket, aka Voldemort’s soul, tries to defend itself by giving Ron a vision of the most awkward kiss in the entire run of the franchise. Realizing what a fool’s he’s been, Ron destroys the Locket with the Sword and comes back to the group with open arms (kind of).
So there you have it. Hermoine is the best friend a guy can have, and the most volatile chemistry in the Potter saga exists between Harry and Ron. Why didn’t this romance ever get a chance to truly blossom? Blame it on heteronormativity, or the traditionalism of the Weasley’s, or the only glimmer of homosexuality in Hogwarts thus far residing entirely with Dumbledore (honestly, are we really buying that Cedric was straight?) In the end, they’re the best love triangle that ever graced fantasy cinema.
Besides, Harry and Ron are in-laws now, and because of that — they’ll live happily ever after.