| .: The Road to Ron and Hermione :.|
"Yes, we do now know that it's Ron and Hermione." (JKR, 2005 Interview)
Well, according to those words from JKR, we all know that Ron and Hermione is going to be one of the final romantic pairings in the Harry Potter books. But exactly when and how are they going to get together? Or, more interestingly, will Ron and Hermione be with other people before they're finally with each other?
I think it's possible that Ron and Hermione will come together after a bit of Ron and Luna in Book 7. Ron has grown up a lot throughout the books, and his relationship with Lavender has gotten a few "superficial" things out of his system and has helped him realize the things he values and wants in another person and in a romantic relationship. However, I feel that a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Luna, which for Ron would be based on more profound things such as personality and companionship, and, unlike his relationship with Lavender, less on looks, would help to cement those realizations and help him mature into someone who, as JKR puts it in the following quote, is "worthy of Hermione."
"But Ron - I had a lot of fun with that in this book. I really enjoyed writing the Ron/Lavender business, and the reason that was enjoyable was Ron up to this point has been quite immature compared to the other two, and he kind of needed to make himself worthy of Hermione. Now, that didn't mean necessarily physical experience, but he had to grow up emotionally and now he's taken a big step up. Because he's had the meaningless physical experience - let's face it, his emotions were never deeply engaged with Lavender -
- and he's realized that that is ultimately not what he wants, which takes him a huge emotional step forward." (JKR, 2005 Interview).
The following excerpts are what I've picked up on in the books as being foreshadowing of a Ron and Luna romantic pairing:
"You went to the Yule Ball with Padma Patil," said a vague voice. Everyone turned to look at Luna Lovegood, who was gazing unblinkingly at Ron over the top of The Quibbler. He swallowed his mouthful of frog. "Yeah, I know I did," he said, looking mildly surprised. "She didn't enjoy it very much," Luna informed him. "She doesn't think you treated her very well, because you wouldn't dance with her. I don't think I'd have minded," she added thoughtfully, "I don't like dancing very much." She retreated behind The Quibbler again. Ron stared at the cover with his mouth hanging open for a few seconds, then looked around at Ginny for some kind of explanation, but Ginny had stuffed her knuckles in her mouth to stop herself giggling. Ron shook his head, bemused, then checked his watch. (OOTP, US ed. pg. 189/OOTP, UK ed. pg. 171-172).
This shows that Luna took an interest in who Ron took to the Yule Ball and even asked Padma how her date with Ron went. It also shows that Ron and Luna have something in common-they both don't care to dance. Ron and Luna might have had a good time at the Yule Ball had they gone together, or at least a better time than Ron and Padma had going with each other.
Everyone laughed, but nobody laughed harder than Luna Lovegood. She let out a scream of mirth that caused Hedwig to wake up and flap her wings indignantly and Crookshanks to leap up into the luggage rack, hissing. She laughed so hard that her magazine slipped out of her grasp, slid down her legs, and onto the floor. "That was funny!" Her prominent eyes swam with tears as she gasped for breath, staring at Ron. Utterly nonplussed, he looked around at the others, who were now laughing at the expression on Ron's face and at the ludicrously prolonged laughter of Luna Lovegood, who was rocking backward and forward, clutching her sides. "Are you taking the mickey?" said Ron, frowning at her. "Baboon's�backside!" she choked, holding her ribs. (OOTP, US ed. pg. 190/OOTP, UK ed. pg. 172).
Here we see Luna paying particular attention to Ron and honestly enjoying his sense of humour and finding him funny, something that Ron finds himself doing in regards to Luna in the following book, Book 6, which I point out a little further in this editorial.
Luna appeared holding Pigwidgeon's cage in her arms; the tiny owl was twittering excitedly as usual. "Here you are," she said. "He's a sweet little owl, isn't he?" "Er�yeah�He's all right," said Ron gruffly. "Well, come on then, let's get in�what were you saying, Harry?" (OOTP, US ed. pg. 198/OOTP, UK ed. pg. 179).
Ron's "gruff" response makes me think that his attitude towards Luna is that he notices, maybe only subconsciously at this point in the books, that Luna is a girl, and that by being gruff he is trying to dismiss this realization because, at this point in the books, he doesn't like where it might lead, to a romantic pairing between him and Luna.
"Well, we think he's a bit of a joke in Ravenclaw," said Luna, unfazed. "You've got a rubbish sense of humor then," Ron snapped, as the wheels below them creaked into motion. Luna did not seem perturbed by Ron's rudeness; on the contrary, she simply watched him for a while as though he were a mildly interesting television program. (OOTP, US ed. pg. 200-201/OOTP, UK ed. pg. 181).
This argument/disagreement shows a somewhat emotionally charged scene between Ron and Luna, and where there is passion there is romance, right? It also shows that Luna can handle Ron's temper and isn't frightened or intimidated by it.
"It's good, isn't it?" said Luna happily. "I wanted to have it chewing up a serpent to represent Slytherin, you know, but there wasn't time. Anyway�good luck, Ronald!" (OOTP, US ed. pg. 403/OOTP, UK ed. pg. 357).
Luna makes a point of calling Ron by his full name, which makes him sound mature and might be a way that JKR is showing her readers that Luna does pay particular attention to Ron because she is interested in him.
"You could've taken anyone!" said Ron in disbelief over dinner. "Anyone! And you chose Loony Lovegood?" "Don't call her that, Ron," snapped Ginny, pausing behind Harry on her way to join her friends. (HBP, US ed. pg. 312/HBP, UK ed. pg. 292).
Here we see JKR putting Ron and Luna in a romantic situation together, albeit an awkward one. And after his comment here it would serve Ron right if in the next book, Book 7, he falls deeply for Luna and wants to take her out somewhere, foregoing any of the other girls who are considered to be better looking and more popular than Luna.
"I could hear the match commentary from here," said Ron, his voice now shaking with laughter. "I hope Luna always commentates from now on�Loser's Lurgy�" (HBP, US ed. pg. 417/HBP, UK ed. pg. 390).
This is the instance referenced above where we see Ron finding humour in Luna and enjoying it. He is clearly falling for her personality in this scene, rather than her looks, not least of all because he couldn't even see Luna during her commentary as he was in the hospital wing, which I find as being nice imagery on JKR's part, if this really is her intention. This instance shows a growing sense of maturity in Ron and helps to turn him into someone "worthy of Hermione."
She thrust what appeared to be a green onion, a large spotted toadstool, and a considerable amount of what looked like cat litter into Ron's hands, finally pulling out a rather grubby scroll of parchment that she handed to Harry. � "Nice commentary last match!" said Ron to Luna as she took back the green onion, the toadstool, and the cat litter. Luna smiled vaguely. "You're making fun of me, aren't you?" she said. "Everyone says I was dreadful." "No, I'm serious!" said Ron earnestly. "I can't remember enjoying commentary more! What is this, by the way?" he added, holding the onionlike object up to eye level. "Oh, it's Gurdyroot," she said, stuffing the cat litter and the toadstool back into her bag. "You can keep it if you like, I've got a few of them. They're really excellent for warding off Gulping Plimpies." And she walked away, leaving Ron chortling, still clutching the Gurdyroot. "You know, she's grown on me, Luna," he said, as they set off again for the Great Hall. "I know she's insane, but it's in a good-" (HBP, US ed. pg. 424-425/HBP, UK ed. pg. 397-398).
Here we have Ron finding humour in Luna again, and also defending her and praising her, as well as admitting that she's "growing on him."
So, if Ron and Luna do get together in Book 7 but don't end up being one of the final romantic pairings at the end of the series because Ron is destined to be with Hermione, then what happens to Luna? Well, I think that her future lies with Dean. Dean is in the same boat as Harry and Ron in that he needs to learn the lesson of not going for looks alone in a girl. In Book 4 we see that Dean is very much interested in dating a girl based mostly, or solely, on her looks:
"I still can't work out how you two got the best-looking girls in the year," muttered Dean. (GOF, US ed. pg. 411/GOF, UK ed. pg. 358).
And going from Parvati and Padma to Ginny who, in canon, we know is good-looking, isn't good enough growth for Dean because even if he does like Ginny for who she is he probably went for her based on her looks first. It would be nice if he went for a girl based on her personality first, which he just might do with Luna in Book 7. He'll be able to get to know her by being around her and hearing about her from Ron, who is his friend, his Quidditch teammate, and Hogwarts' roommate. And Dean will also get to know Luna better on the Quidditch pitch, if in Book 7 we hear that he continues to play and Luna continues to commentate.
So, Luna and Dean have Quidditch in common, but I think they also have an interest in art in common as well. I've already mentioned Luna's Lion Hat for the Quidditch map from OOTP, but there is also her fashion flair with her spangled silver robes, radish earrings, butterbeer cork necklace, etc. And Dean does like to draw:
As a surprise for Harry, they had painted a large banner on one of the sheets Scabbers had ruined. It said Potter for President, and Dean, who was good at drawing, had done a large Gryffindor lion underneath. (TSS, US ed. pg. 184/TPS, UK ed. pg. 136).
As for Hermione�what will she be up to all the while Ron is seeing Luna? This might be where Krum plays his final role in the books. I see Krum kidnapping Hermione in Book 7 because he's so obsessed with her and jealous and wants her all for himself, and I see him taking her away and hiding her/imprisoning her someplace that's unplottable-such as Durmstrang. The fact Krum was turned into a shark in Book 4 and was snapping at Hermione and nearly bit her with his sharp teeth when he was trying to help free her always rubbed me the wrong way...
The shark-man swam straight to Hermione and began snapping and biting at her ropes; the trouble was that Krum's new teeth were positioned very awkwardly for biting anything smaller than a dolphin, and Harry was quite sure that if Krum wasn't careful, he was going to rip Hermione in half. Darting forward, Harry hit Krum hard on the shoulder and held up the jagged stone. Krum seized it and began to cut Hermione free. Within seconds, he had done it; he grabbed Hermione around the waist, and without a backward glance, began to rise rapidly with her toward the surface. (GOF, US ed. pg. 501/GOF, UK ed. pg. 434-435).
Possibly the following excerpt hints that Krum could kidnap Hermione by becoming jealous after reading fictitious rumors about her love life in the papers spread by Cho and Marietta, who aren't particularly fond of Harry or Hermione in the books right now:
"I vant to know," he said, glowering, "vot there is between you and Hermy-own-ninny." Harry, who from Krum's secretive manner had expected something much more serious than this, stared up at Krum in amazement. "Nothing," he said. But Krum glowered at him, and Harry, somehow struck anew by how tall Krum was, elaborated. "We're friends. She's not my girlfriend and she never has been. It's just that Skeeter woman making things up." "Hermy-own-ninny talks about you very often," said Krum, looking suspiciously at Harry. (GOF, US ed. pg. 552/GOF, UK ed. pg. 479-480).
Because of Krum, Hermione could go "missing" sometime in Book 7 and Ron would most likely start to worry about Hermione almost immediately and will come to the rescue, possibly with Neville helping. Neville would be able to see where she is, possibly because he has the special talent of being a remote viewer as I've suggested previously. Krum kidnaps her and hides her in Durmstrang, because it is unplottable and hard to find, but Neville eventually becomes strong enough at remote viewing to be able to tell that Hermione is in Romania. Hermione has always helped Neville in Potions, so I think it would be a nice way to wrap up that plotline if Neville could return the favor. Since we know that Durmstrang is somewhere very cold, possibly it's in Romania, where Norbert is with Charley, and maybe Norbert will help Ron in finding Hermione. I think that would be another nice way to wrap things up since in Book 1 Norbert burned Ron's hand and now Norbert could sort of make up for that by helping Ron, who, in turn, won't be bitter towards Norbert anymore. We know in Book 4 that Harry's already starting to think that dragons aren't all that bad, so maybe Ron could follow suit:
Really, Harry thought, as he pulled the hangings on his four-poster closed, Hagrid had a point�they were all right, really, dragons� (GOF, US ed. pg. 367/GPF, UK ed. pg. 320-321).
And it would be nice if once Ron rescues Hermione, they just drop all pretense and kiss, you know? Finally! I think it would be a nice way/a nice catalyst to finally get Ron and Hermione together. Also, being kidnapped by Krum would be like Hermione living up, somewhat loosely, to her Shakespearean and Greek namesakes, wouldn't it?
J.K. Rowling: Hermione...it's a Shakespearean name. I got it out of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. I just thought it was an unusual name. If I'd known how difficult people would find it to pronounce, I would have called her Jane. (JKR, TODAY SHOW, NBC-TV (USA) 20 October 2000).
In Shakespeare, Hermione is sent to prison by her husband who becomes jealous and thinks that she and his best friend are having an affair. And in Greek mythology, Hermione is whisked away as well. Possibly Hermione really is based loosely on these two references, with or without the name similarities?
So, when Ron rescues Hermione with Neville's help, with Neville's remote viewing ability, they get together. Parvati might also help by remembering a bit about Durmstrang's location from overhearing Krum and Hermione talking at the Yule Ball in Book 4. And Norbert could help Ron save Hermione, too. Hermione will then wind up missing so much school that she fails her NEWTS and has to face her boggart-Professor McGonagall telling her that she's failed everything:
Hermione did everything perfectly until she reached the trunk with the boggart in it. After about a minute inside it, she burst out again, screaming. "Hermione!" said Lupin, startled. "What's the matter?" "P-P-Professor McGonagall!" Hermione gasped, pointing into the trunk. "Sh-she said I'd failed everything!" (POA, US ed. pg. 319/POA, UK ed. pg. 234).
But she'll relax and won't do the year over. Instead, Hermione will become a writer, which doesn't require any NEWTS at all, and write a series of seven books about Harry Potter, these books, just like Professor McGonagall predicted would happen back in Book 1. And she'll be married to Ron and have three kids with him-a girl, a boy and a girl. She'll be just like our favorite author, JKR.
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