This weekend, the Harry Potter fandom, still active after all this time, was rocked when J.K. Rowling admitted that pairing Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley wasn't the best idea. According to The Sunday Times, which highlighted an interview between Rowling and Emma Watson, both women “agree that Harry and Hermione were a better match than Ron and Hermione." This has not gone down well with the vocal group of Harry Potter fans on Tumblr, unless you shipped Harmione all along.
While the intense reactions of a bunch of teenagers (and adults) seem silly, the intensity of the reaction shows how lasting Harry Potter's influence has been. The last film, Deathly Hallows Part II, was released in 2011 and the last novel was released in 2007, but people still care. Outside of Tumblr, people have commented on Rowling's tendency to revive Potter publicity — the announcement of Dumbledore's sexuality, the recently announced Harry Potter prequel play and the future Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them film — as pathetic attempts to revive the series' popularity. Salon's Dan D'Addario and BuzzFeed's Matthew Zeitlin wondered whether Rowling wasn't discrediting herself as a writer by repeatedly subverting her characterizations. "I, for one, look forward to the next 40 years of Rowling suggesting potential alternative paths for such well-drawn characters," D'Addario tweeted.
But the best reactions are among the die hard fans, and the shipping war (yes, war) that has erupted between Romione and Harmione and how, nearly seven years later, one comment from an author about fictional characters can inspire such strong emotions, specifically denial, rage, and amusement. We can't wait for all the Harmione fanfiction:
J.K. Rowling regrets bringing Ron and Hermione together despite their "mind-blowing" sex life, fanfic sources report.— Brian Phillips (@runofplay) February 3, 2014
(Just kidding, we can definitely wait.)
Some fans are extremely wary of the source of this news. The Wonderland magazine interview hasn't been published yet, so some are arguing that we don't even know if this is real, so calm down, guys.
- "firstly we still don’t 100% know that this article is true ... I also think that the people who write articles such as that write them to elicit the biggest reaction possible. They WANT people talking about their article, it’s part of their business. So they will most definitely word their pieces in ways that seem exaggerated."
- "They want our attention. That’s why they title it stuff like that. It is not legit. It is not official. It is worth nothing."
Way too many people were really, passionately, genuinely upset by this. Some were upset on behalf of Ron, the fictional character Rowling snubbed with her comments. Some were upset with Rowling for messing with their childhoods. And others still were upset with the way other shippers were getting upset.
- "Hey man. I love Harry Potter, till death do us part. But JK, you fucked up."
- "Im sorry really I am but I still cant help but feel like JK gave a huge middle finger to Ron."
- "part of me is really annoyed with JK Rowling and all this hermione triangle BS [to be honest] ... after all this time she still doesn’t get how much her series meant to so many people... it’s like, could u not."
- "what JK gave us is an opinion. ... and while i disagree with her opinion regarding harry and hermione, i couldn’t give less of a shit because nothing changes... there’s literally nothing to fight about."
- "Basically, she´s trolling the fandom to make them react and generate publicity."
- "To people who say that Rowling’s opinion means 'absolutely nothing to them'
You are jerks ... You never liked this series, you never respected its author, all you care is your ship."
Fandom References as a Coping Mechanism
Obviously, the people who are going to care the most about this news are the most devout fans, who are most likely to discuss fandom issues using fandom terms.
- "I’m pretty damn sure that this mess is because Rita Skeeter has drunk Polyjuice Potion containing JKR’s hair."
- "If JKR did want to regret something, she might as well have regretted killing off Sirius."
- "So how about retracting that Pottermore biography that says the first time Remus Lupin fell in love was with Tonks and admitting that he and Sirius were a thing."
Indifference (AKA Dramione)
Rowling acknowledged that there are other fans out there who knew Romione wouldn't have really worked out. "I think there are fans out there who knew [they weren't the best match] and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy,” Watson said. Most of those fans are Harry/Hermione shippers or Hermione/Viktor Krum shippers. And then there are the Draco/Hermione fans:
- "While the rest of the Harry Potter fandom argue over Harry X Hermione or Ron X Hermione ships, I sit here with my [one true pairing] Dramione and not giving a damn."
- "Alright fine I’ll say it, Hermione should’ve ended up with Viktor Krum."
- "J.K. Rowling: Hermione should have been with Harry... Dramione Shippers: No, but you’re getting closer."
Some people's childhoods were not crushed by this bombshell. Or maybe sometimes you have to laugh when you feel like crying.
- "Wife Swap just took on a whole new meaning in the Potterverse."
- "In a new interview with The Times JK Rowling reveals that Lily should have married Snape instead of James."
- "she put the j/k in jk rowling."
- "I respect that J.K. Rowling has made an announcement, but given that it’s a stupid ass announcement, I’ve elected to ignore it." This is an Avenger's reference.
- "Imagine being Ron Weasley and marrying the love of your life only to have the God of your universe float down from the sky several years later to say, 'Whoops. My bad.'"