Books: My Opinions on Popular ‘Harry Potter’ Ships

Screenshot of Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as Hermione and Ron in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’. Copyright goes to Warner Bros. Pictures and Heyday Films.

Hey! Hallie here!

We always have a pretty large gap between ‘Harry Potter’ posts mostly because, as much as ‘Harry Potter’ has been influential to Annie and I, it’s rightfully controversial to talk about. Rowling is pretty adamant about continuing to be an awful person and her writing is full of harmful stereotypes. We’ve talked about this more in detail in the past, but none of that’s really my goal with this post. My goal is to, once again, discuss what Rowling wrote as opposed to what the fan community has popularized by talking about the romantic relationships in ‘Harry Potter’. To be honest, I don’t like any of the romantic relationships Rowling built up throughout the series. None of them. I’ll discuss that in a minute. I don’t like all of the relationships fans have popularized either, some are very disturbing, but I still see a reason for, and even a need for some of these relationships. Most fans do ship two characters together for a reason. (I say most because I’ve seen genuinely crazy things on fanfiction websites.) I won’t get to all of the ships in ‘Harry Potter’. I’m not intending to write an entire novel. But I will get to most of the most popular ones! So let’s talk about some of these ships!

Ron/Hermione: I’m going to address the main romances in the books right away. This relationship is awful. Ron and Hermione spend about half of every single book fighting. Every. Single. One. And they don’t make up because either of them admit wrongdoing. Most of the time they don’t even seem to have any respect for the others desires or feelings. They make up because Harry either takes it upon himself to negotiate a truce between them, or Harry’s safety becomes the main focus. Some people have mentioned that Hermione and Ron going from constantly bickering to a romantic relationship falls into a common romance trope, but I’d argue that Rowling doesn’t pull it off. Because, as I said above, the respect for each other just isn’t there. Their insults aren’t light annoyances, they genuinely hurt one another. They go months ignoring each other and refusing to communicate. And does this behavior ever change? Does it develop into something more healthy as the books go on? Nope. The cycle repeats from book to book. Their friendship is barely functional and even that never developed over the course of the books enough for it to be fixed.

Harry/Ginny: There’s nothing here. It feels like the only reason these two ended up together was because of the desire to make Harry a Weasley by the end of the books. To be fair, the relationship between these two in the books isn’t as bland as it is in the films. In the films they just feel thrown together and they only have a few small romance scenes that lack any chemistry whatsoever. In the books they spend more time together and you see more of Harry admiring how cool of a person he feels Ginny is. But there still isn’t anything substantial there. They share a few interests but neither of them go to each other to talk about those interests. The developing feelings Harry has for Ginny are vague and sidelined, just as Ginny’s feelings for Harry are. And their time as a couple still lacks chemistry.

Remus/Tonks: I’ve talked a bit about this in the past, but I want to clear something up. I don’t have a problem with age gaps between two consenting adults. As long as no manipulation is present, a thirteen year age gap, as is the one between Tonks and Remus, doesn’t bug me. What bugs me is the way this relationship affects both Remus and Tonks. Firstly, Remus is very clear that he isn’t ready for a relationship. He doesn’t believe himself capable of love (A problem that is infuriatingly never resolved, even when he’s with Tonks), and until he is, he doesn’t want to endanger someone or impose upon them by being in a relationship. It is only Tonks begging him to reconsider in front of a bunch of other people who voice their support of her that convinces him to give the relationship a shot. And once the relationship starts, not only was Remus right about not being ready for a relationship, but Tonks gets turned from a confident woman who stands up for herself into a weeping mess who refuses to challenge Remus on his ideas. Harry’s the one who has to yell at Remus on her behalf in order for him to put his insecurities behind him for the betterment of his new family. I love both of these characters so much, but this relationship is a giant no.

Snape/Lily: So many people have discussed how wrong this relationship is, but let’s go over it again, shall we? Snape’s care for Lily is entirely selfish. He calls her a slur and expects her to still be friends with him. When Lily questions Snape on the friends he’s keeping in school, he sees it as a betrayal rather than something worth considering from someone important to him. When Voldemort plans to kill Lily, Snape bargains for her life but has no issues with the deaths of her husband or her infant child. When Snape takes it upon himself to watch over Harry for Lily’s sake, he mercilessly bullies him and threatens him multiple times. He’s obsessed with Lily but he never considers what’s important to her.

Hermione/Viktor: This relationship is featured in the books but is not the relationship Hermione ends up in. And that’s a shame because it’s by far my favorite relationship in the books. The movie takes away everything I like about this ship by making Krum a dumb jock who falls for Hermione while working out. In the book, Viktor isn’t a dumb jock and he isn’t seen as one. He’s quiet and solemn, to the point that some feel he’s creepy. But he’s kind and intelligent. He first encounters Hermione in the library and returns to the library daily to catch a glimpse of her. He also asks her out in the library once he finally works up the courage to approach her. When they start a relationship and Rita Skeeter spreads rumors that Harry and Hermione are together, he calmly asks Harry about it and takes him at his word when Harry denies the rumors. Hermione references Viktor a few times after the fourth book because they send letters back and forth constantly, and according to Ginny, she remembers him fondly. Rowling only kills this ship in the last book, where she paints Viktor as a skirt chaser for no reason in order to make Ron seem like the better option.

Draco/Hermione: We have an entire post about this. I don’t like Draco. His relationship with wizard slurs is a little too close for my liking. The fact that some people feel it makes sense to pair him up with the girl he lobbed most of his wizard slurs at leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Draco is supportive of Voldemort’s group of wizard nazis and never shows a desire to change, so why he would end up with the object of his most vicious torments is beyond me. However, while I do think it’s out of character for Draco, I do see a lot of Draco and Hermione shippers attempting to make Draco a more supportive and respectful partner for Hermione as a direct contrast to the Hermione/Ron relationship. So at least we can all agree that she deserves a less toxic relationship. Overall though, would this relationship actually be less toxic? Probably not.

Draco/Harry: I have a lot of the same criticisms here as I do with the Draco/Hermione ship. Draco is a terrible person and he bullies Harry without remorse. While there’s less slurs being thrown around here, that doesn’t make it any less awful. However, once again I see fans using this ship as a vehicle for fixing a major issue in the books. That being, Harry actually dealing with the trauma inflicted on him throughout his life by being hunted by Voldemort and brought into a war. I don’t know why Draco fans are so good at making him an empathetic and respectful guy, but I appreciate it. Even though I still believe it’s out of character for him.

Harry/Luna: I think this ship is really cute. Harry is one of the only characters in the books who doesn’t constantly criticize Luna. He even admires her ability to unreservedly just be herself. He genuinely thinks she’s a cool person to spend time with, so much so that he invites her to Slughorn’s party as his plus one. And Luna, in turn, appreciates his company. She isn’t used to spending time with someone who likes her without caveats and she clearly appreciates it. She even reads Harry well enough to help him through his emotions and keep a clear head. These two are definitely better matched than Harry and Ginny.

Luna/Ginny: These two are friends in the book, but their friendship isn’t explored much. It’s mostly left off-screen because they aren’t really in Harry’s social circle as the two are both a year below him. That said, LGBTQ+ relationships are always worth exploring in media that ignores them, and Luna and Ginny definitely have the potential to be incredibly cute together.

Luna/ Neville: A relationship that grew so much popularity that it was confirmed in the movies. It’s cute. I see what people are going for when it comes to pairing up the two social outcasts together. Do I think these two have chemistry? Not really. But it isn’t a bad ship by any means.

Snape/Hermione: This is a problematic ship. Let’s put aside the fact that Snape bullies Hermione about just as much as Draco does despite being a teacher and an adult. Let’s also put aside that many shippers draw creepy comparisons between Hermione and Lily in order to justify Snape’s attraction to Hermione. Most shippers don’t age up Hermione. So this is a minor and an adult. THIS is an age gap I’m 100% uncomfortable with. Please stop shipping this.

Sirius/Remus: We also have an entire post about this ship on this blog. I left this one for last because it’s my favorite ‘Harry Potter’ ship. On the one hand, this ship would have solved multiple missteps Rowling made in the books. One is the fact that she queer-coded Remus by making his condition an allegory for those suffering with HIV/AIDS without actually making him queer. The other is constantly claiming that she had LGBTQ+ representation in the books without actually writing it in. This relationship would also help Remus work through his issues nicely. It’s canon that Sirius being framed for alleged murder was one of the major things that made Remus’ mental health take a dive. It’s also canon that having his friends support him throughout his changes during the full moon helped him embrace himself a whole lot more than he had before school. Sirius coming back and mending their relationship could have easily been the catalyst for Remus healing. And having someone to help him through full moons again could have also helped him through his self loathing. As for Sirius, his relationship with Remus could have also helped him through the trauma he has from spending twelve years in Azkaban. It would have developed these characters so much more than anything Rowling actually did write.

And those are my thoughts on the biggest ‘Harry Potter’ ships! I tried to get to as many as possible but I definitely missed a few so I might return to this concept later. As of now, I really want to thank all of the fans for attempting to heal some of the wounds Rowling created with her writing. You guys are doing so much more for this community than she ever did.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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