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Stirring the shipping pot up.

bubble, blowing
By the looks of it HP fandom exploded all over the internet over the weekend. Huh.

So JKR went out and said she should have paired Hermione with Harry instead of Ron. Huh.

And then shipping arguments and Ron!bashing broke out. Huh?

When I first read the books I was more interested in the magic and the wizarding world and the adventures than the romantic entanglements of the characters, so I never really cared who ended up with who. Of course when you get into fandom and fanfiction, shipping becomes a big deal. I always managed to steer away from shipping wars, because it is remarkably easy to find the archives and the comms that deal with your favourite ships and ignore the rest.

But.

1. I think that since JKR has finished the series, and stated that she has finished the series and would like to move on to other things, she should actually stick to that. Going back and amending what you have written? That is just not on. For better or worse, it's written, it's out there, it is what it is.

2. Could someone tell me how we can get from "I shouldn't have paired Hermione with Ron" to "Ron is a useless waste of space"? Maybe it's just me, but I was never really into bashing characters. Especially characters who are the good guys!

3. I actually don't like Harry/Hermione any better than Ron/Hermione. I like Harry and Hermione as friends. I think they work very well as friends. I also always thought that Harry/Ginny was way too safe and predictable, and possibly a little unhealthy. Actually my favourite Harry het ship is Harry/Luna. I'm on the fence as far as Ron/Hermione. I can see how someone can make the case for them working brilliantly, but also for them crashing and burning.

Can I get back to my uncannon ships now?

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
mab
Feb. 2nd, 2014 10:06 pm (UTC)
Ditto that! Well said.
mayfly_78
Feb. 7th, 2014 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
my_thestral
Feb. 2nd, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC)
Well, all in all - I'm glad Ron and Hermione ended up together after the war, cause, let's face it: this is a children's book and though a far cry from a fairy-tale, it's nice that an underdog got "the girl" - as he should. I don't see any other point of having Ron around - he would have only been there to demonstrate how much better everyone else is to tolerate him (why does the story need him, except, perhaps, to introduce the two Muggle-raised heroes to the magical world, but for example Neville would have done equally fine), a proper third wheel.
And don't get me wrong: Ron's my overall favourite character, simply because he's so unexceptional - no super-powers (well, he's a wizard, but admittedly an average one), no out-of-this-world brains - he's just great on his own. He's the closest thing to a Muggle reader infiltrating the world of wizards, he could be one of us, character faults and all. I love the man. And I'm glad he got what's presumed to be the main prize.
Having said that - I don't think they should have still been together in the epilogue: their relationship seems like a great romance, but should they ever be enthusiastic enough about it, to crown it with a marriage, I smell a divorce. They're no good on a long run. Hermione would have driven anyone crazy (especially someone whom she clearly has a superiority complex about) - I know what I'm talking about here, I'm a proper Hermione in real life (just less smart, obviously, I'm not fictional character) and I sometimes pity my poor Ron-ish boyfriend for having to put up with me.:P I wouldn't wish Hermione on anyone.
Ultimately, I don't think putting her with Harry would have solved anything. They'd be great parents, but terribly boring. Ron is the element of chaos in this story and I'm glad he got the girl, though, it my eyes - Luna would have been great for him (if we have to think only heterosexual couples here ;)). He would never have to feel inferior next to her and she's so happy with herself being different and so blunt, he would never have to play to be more than he is - which is great on his own.:)
I just would have skipped the epilogue entirely (save for the kids, that was a nice touch), teenage romances rarely work 20- years later.
Just my opinion. And anyone that feels like insulting Ron: feel my wrath, fellows! ;) j/k
lyonessheart
Feb. 3rd, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
I could not have said that better! I even cut the epilogue from the book because to me the sentence "I had enough trouble for a lifetime" was just perfect!
my_thestral
Feb. 4th, 2014 07:54 am (UTC)
To me the dialogue felt like a too tight lid on a very multi-layered and expansive story - the only thing I liked about it was the introduction of kids (sequel, anyone?;)).
The initial issue is, that this started as a children's book and you can only introduce so much growing up. But I believe that if Rowling could ensure that the first book would have only been read by 11-year-olds and the second book by the 12-year-olds and so on - I think this could have been a much different and a far more authentic story of coming of age. Definitely not PG material. ;)
But you know kids - once they start reading, they're not gonna stop, if they know there's more - my son's 8, he's seen all the movies and we are on book 3 currently. And you can't have 11-year-olds reading about 17 year-olds explorations in the world of adulthood, it would be a right mess. But I still can't help to wish for a book like that. Yeah, I'm mental like that. :)
lyonessheart
Feb. 4th, 2014 09:53 am (UTC)
I think that she said in the beginning that she has written the epilogue before she had even finished the third book, and that somehow fits. To me it felt like an attempt to shut down fandom pairings, but of course now that I am over 30 myself I can only laugh at that - I don´t feel too old to fall in love again, so why should Harry ;)?

And yes the books certainly are not for young kids, but then again I read Anna Karenina at age 14 so who am I to talk ;)
my_thestral
Feb. 4th, 2014 11:15 am (UTC)
I once worked in a home for elderly during my summer holidays - there were quite a few sweet-hearts and love-drama there as well! :) It's never too late for love, I don't acknowledge any rules saying otherwise.
Well,one can't stop the likes of my son from reading the books and I think Rowling considered that while writing them. There's no swearing in them, not much "inappropriate" - though death and destruction a plenty, so go figure... I guess it's more acceptable to introduce young readers to loss, blood and gore than to behaviour that challenges other types of moral standards, especially in relation with procreation. What else is new? ;)
Good luck with all the HP challenges you entered! :)
lyonessheart
Feb. 4th, 2014 11:23 am (UTC)
Oh thank you! I don´t really know what has gotten into me all of a sudden but I will enjoy writing again. I just hope that I can live up to all of the other great writers in this fandom. But what I have encountered so far really encourages me.
mayfly_78
Feb. 7th, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC)
Even though as she wrote the books the kids who first read them would have grown older as the heroes did, books stay for ever. There are 12 year olds now who can read all the seven books in one giant gulp if they want, and that has to be taken into account. If a series starts as one genre - children's fantasy fiction in this case - it's much easier to stick to the same genre rather than suddenly change - to young adults or teen fantasy fiction. Imagine the difficulties that would cause the publishers!

I read all the books as an adult in my twenties. I was sucked in my the adventures and the magical world. It didn't bother me in the least that they were PG.
my_thestral
Feb. 8th, 2014 12:05 am (UTC)
My point exactly - once Rowling started writing it as one genre, she could hardly switch to another, besides from publishers eating her alive, there would be probably a lot of very young very confused kids running around there. I'm a mom, I understand and we both probably have an idea how hard it is to answer children's questions that are innocent to them and uh, a bit delicate, even tacky to an adult.:) I've had my share of them, kids grow up so fast these days.:P
I read the books in my late 20s, 30s even. It was magical to me from the beginning and I only wished a book like this existed when I was a kid (rather then the classical children's story my mother couldn't understand why I couldn't warm up to). I was lucky to have had an experience of helping raise English kids before the publication of HP - and see the difference after once it was published. Kids literally didn't read before. Like, almost nothing. I was an au-pair (a proper one, no mother in the picture) to a family of 2 barely teenage kids and I never saw themselves or their friends touch a book outside of school. When I visited England several times after the publication, kids were reading. Everywhere, even on the tube. And talking about the books, these and others. It seems like children's literature exploded after the HP publication. I was like, wow. One could probably not put it all on the account of one book/or series, but I'm sure it helped.
In this light, the books cannot have been anything other than PG, though again, it is a reflection of our society what we consider PG (blood and gore are allowed, but god forbid someone should mention something more than a kiss). I guess then it's down to reader's imagination to do the rest. And that's more likely to be age appropriate. ;)
mayfly_78
Feb. 9th, 2014 10:07 pm (UTC)
I always get a bit surprised by how many people say exactly that, ie that kids didn't read before the HP books came out. There are so many cool children books out there! I used to love the Narnia books and the Faraway Tree series (and quite a lot of other Enid Blyton books) and Winnie the Poo and the Wind in the Willows and Little House on the Prairie and so many others. I guess the main problem was that the majority of good children's books were rather dated and old.

As for the gore vs sex question, I don't notice it much in books, purely because of the books I read I guess. But it is very very obvious in the cinema and on the TV.
mayfly_78
Feb. 7th, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
Hm. I agree that Ron is supposed to be our view into the average pureblood family - even though the Weasleys are hardly average. And that compared to Harry and Hermione is supposed to be just a regular guy. But I never exactly considered him an underdog. As the youngest son and the best friend of Harry Potter, he always came off looking rather unimpressive it's true, but he does have his strengths and talents as we all do.

I believe the story needs him to counterbalance the other two. We need his "normal-ness" his practical matter-of-factness. I think he brings the other two down to earth.

I very much disagree in calling Hermione the main prize. People are not prizes, even if they sometimes are written as such. Hermione was never written as a prize. She's a person with agency of her own and a main character in the story. There was never any battle to win her, because A. Harry was never shown to see her as anything other than a friend B. Hermione would never put up with being won, or letting anyone else choose for her.

Whether Ron or Hermione as couple would have lasted is a complicated issue. I see your point. There are good arguments to be made for them driving each other crazy in the long run. But I have also heard good arguments as to why they could make it.

There was a time I was rather keen on Ron and Luna as a pairing, but I'm sort of over it now. I love Luna dearly, but I don't think Ron would have been able to manage in the long run. I think her kookiness would have tired him out in the end, and I think she also would have ended up getting bored with him.

And yes, we didn't really need the epilogue.
my_thestral
Feb. 8th, 2014 12:42 am (UTC)
When it's down to Ron I think it's not so much that the reader is supposed to consider him an under-dog (he clearly isn't he's one of the 3 main characters in the book), but that he himself does. And from his perspective, not getting the girl he was clearly after, would have been cruel for a children's book.
Of course people aren't prizes (or I would have been one, which I consistently try to persuade my BF of, but so far in vain ;)), but Hermione is put, as a girl (in the end clearly attractive one) among two guys, with obvious author's intention of some sort of pairing. One girl, two guys. I don't necessarily agree that any kind of pairing would have to be necessary (I'm stupid enough to believe in "just friendship" between a man and a woman in the world with so many options) - but since the author clearly thought it was, then she sort of put Hermione in a position of a prize only one guy can win. The reaction of fandom at her announcement of "making a mistake" probably testifies that's the point that came across. And from that view-point alone, I'm glad Ron was "chosen" as the one (by author), rather the Harry. I'm glad that Rowling didn't put some sort of a competition for her heart out there between the two guys (though at one point, it's clear that it does exist in Ron's head), that would have been too "Twiglight"-ish and whatever choice Hermione would have made, half of the readers would end up hating her for it. Not the adult ones, but the teenage ones for sure.
Well, I said I was a proper Hermione in my daily life - and my BF is indeed quite Ron-ish.:) And we work. Somehow. Not perfectly, but making it work is like you're given a wedding ring that's adjustable - if you love someone and you want to, you make it fit. To a point, of course. I'm a bit rigid around the edges, perhaps that's why we never married and sometimes we have howling competitions. ;)
You're right about Ron and Luna, I suppose. Ron is not an easy character to work around any other person and whoever we imagine as his partner (from the books) would probably not be a perfect match. But I like Luna and I like Ron, so I suppose that would have been "a wish fulfillment" on my part.:) Having said that - I suppose if I wrote the books, I would be quite happy leaving someone "un-paired", cause at 17 years old, that's quite common and quite a young age to make life-time commitments. But I think it would have come across as a loose end somehow and in a book/series of this epic proportions, it might have bothered some.
And though I clearly thought about it (you tend to do that if you're going to write/read fanfiction), I don't take it too seriously. It's a story that brought us all into this place to meet and discuss and get creative about, but not worth starting a feud over it. And some people are clearly ready to declare a war out there over Rowling's statement, it's crazy on some forums! :P I'm happy we're being more moderate on this one, clearly it's a "meeting point" of more matured adults, heh...

Edited at 2014-02-08 12:44 am (UTC)
mayfly_78
Feb. 9th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
I'm not a fan of Twilight for many reasons. One is that I'm not a big fan of romance novels. I will make exceptions for Jane Austen or the Bridget Jones books, but that's about it.

I personally wouldn't have minded if no one had paired up at the end of the HP books and we left it at the end of the final battle, no silly epilogue at all. I don't find it all that realistic for people to marry their school sweethearts. It can happen, but what are the percentages?

What I love about the fandom is the sense of community and finding common ground with people who you would not have met otherwise. I know they are people who get genuine enjoyment out of arguments and heated disagreements. While I confess I do like a good disagreement from time to time, I prefer it to be about politics rather than fandom.
brinimc
Feb. 3rd, 2014 12:16 am (UTC)
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Rom. He was my first favorite good guy. I hate that JK keeps coming back to add more details when it's over. Either write another book for it or let it go. It comes off as a ploy to get people interested in the books again. "Oh look, now we can all reread them so we can find more Harry/Hermione moments!"
mayfly_78
Feb. 7th, 2014 10:01 pm (UTC)
Hee, that we do! If she is going to do interviews, she will inevitably be asked questions about the HP books and characters. I see no harm in her offering up random little tid-bits that do not affect the story. Trying to re-write though is a bit much. I get that she as an author might be having second thoughts. I look at projects I have done years later and see how I would have done somethings different now. But I leave it at that. You can't actually change it once it's done.
snorkackcatcher
Feb. 3rd, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC)
I'd like to see (or even better hear) the full interview, because in context the emphasis of the thing may be distinctly different -- if they're joking back and forth, for example. But readers in general and "fans" in particular always seem way too precious about this sort of thing. The idea that -- in effect -- the author is the only person who has no right to talk about their books is ... not a proposition I could defend with enthusiasm.
mayfly_78
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
I agree that a quote taken out of context can be misconstrued easily and that fandom loves nothing more than to make mountains out of molehills. But I am not so keen on authors trying to revise their books years after the fact. You should let them go. Like children that have grown up, they are now out in the world and you no longer can tell them what to do.
vix_spes
Feb. 3rd, 2014 11:48 pm (UTC)
Your first point just says everything that needs to be said! JKR finished the series, it's been out there in print for years ... so she should stop trying to change things just because she doesn't like them anymore! Little snippets like saying 'Dumbledore was gay' is different because it didn't change anything but things like this? What is the point?!
mayfly_78
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
Exactly!
cassie_black12
Feb. 4th, 2014 12:54 am (UTC)
I'm a Harry/Luna girl, too! I thought she was actually going to pair them up at one point, and was a little sad face when it didn't happen. I think Luna'd be just the person to help Harry after the war!

But yeah, you finished the books, JKR. Now shut up
mayfly_78
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:52 pm (UTC)
It would have been so cool if she had paired Harry and Luna! It is one of the few het ships I will read. Mainly because I will read almost anything that contains Luna!
nenne
Feb. 5th, 2014 08:01 am (UTC)
Yes, so much yes to this!

I didn't get into fandom after all the books where out either and the whole shipping thing came later. I'm with you though, if Harry should be with a female it would have to be Luna. I think Hermione and Severus makes a good pairing too.

I never thought of Harry and Hermione together, though. It was made so very clear in all the books that Ron and Hermione was meant to be, whether or not it actually is a good pairing. And I totally agree with you that JKR ought to let it go now and move on to other things unless she plans to write more in this universe.



mayfly_78
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:55 pm (UTC)
Exactly. There is no point in trying to revise things so many years after the fact.

While I see the attraction in Severus/Hermione and have read a number of them in my time - I forget the name of the ship now, ultimately I'm not very keen on intergenerational pairings. I will make an exception for Severus/Draco, Remus/Draco and Narcissa/any young fit bloke.
sugareey
Feb. 7th, 2014 03:53 am (UTC)
I don't have an issue with J.K.R maybe having second thoughts on what she wrote, but it's a bit crazy how this excerpt from the Wonderland interview is going around like wildfire and how fans are reacting to it (pretty much taking it waaay to seriously).

People are literally biting each other's heads off again because of shipping wars (which I have been very glad to stay out of).

While I think Ron and Hermione could work out, they probably like Jo said would have needed some help to make sure their marriage actually lasted. Ron sometimes acts before he thinks and Hermione...can be a workaholic. And they are both stubborn. But I can still see them with other people too...so it depends on how you look at things.

As for Harry and Ginny...there wasn't really anything to go off of besides what we were told. Most of their relationship was off screen. Definitely too safe and to deja vu of James and Lily. Kind of boring. I really think Harry would have wanted to find someone who could understand him for being him, and know that he's not a perfect person. So definitely not Harry and Hermione. They've always seen each other like siblings and nothing more. For het, closest companion for Harry would probably be Luna for sure.

But well, what has been written has been written. So tralalalala.
mayfly_78
Feb. 7th, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, emotions can run really high, can't they? It's all a bit odd to me and sometimes makes me feel like maybe I'm not a proper fan since I don't get all worked up over these sort of things.
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