Just under a week ago the Harry Potter fandom exploded at the news that the author of the popular series supposedly regretted the relationship between two of the books' primary characters.
I will admit that when I first read this I was a little startled. Rowling has discussed in many articles the choices she debated making when she was writing the books, but to flat out regret such a strong threat throughout the series seemed a little extreme.
However, there is a good chance that if you heard about this news when it broke, you read it on a website, which referenced a newspaper article, which quoted an interview in the issue of a magazine which at the time had not yet been released. So, I removed myself from the outbursts and decided to wait it out.
Yet even at the time a few things struck me as odd. First, a source of upset seemed to be that J.K. Rowling admitted that she wrote the relationship between Ron and Hermione as a form of "wish fulfillment" and not any literary reason. Apparently, the idea that a writer of fantasy would indulge in any form of wish fulfillment was a shock to a fair few people. As much as we might like to romanticise that authors have intricate reasons for executing the aspects of their stories, the truth is that a number of writers choose to take their stories and characters in a certain direction because they want to.
The sources then went on to tease that Rowling admitted that Ron and Hermione would have relationship troubles. This all played out at perfectly cannon to me. The two were always at odds in the series and the idea that their personalities wouldn't continue to conflict seems a little naïve. That isn't to say it in any way abolishes the future of their relationship. If readers are worried that two characters who have a history of friction won't continue to collide in some form, then I'm sorry to say that most of the fictitious couples you know and love probably don't have a leg to stand on either.
Then there came the subject of "regret" and the idea that Hermione would have been better suited with Harry. This of course boils down to a personal preference among fans. Without stirring the pot too much I would like to point out that just because two people might work theoretically does not mean that they are obligated or destined to have any romantic or sexual feelings for one another. Yes, Ron is an exceptionally flawed individual, but he's also one of my favourite characters for that particular reason. It's easy to relate to a flawed character when you're no saint yourself. Still, the tension between him and Hermione was – to me, at least – evident from the moment they first met on the Hogwarts Express, and whether or not a relationship is "smooth" or "realistic," the conflict does make for great fiction…and ultimately that's what really matters.
The interview has now been released and inferences of "regret" have been retracted by previous sources. While J.K. Rowling has admitted to gaining perspective on why she made the choices about Ron and Hermione's relationship, and addresses the Harry/Hermione relationship that was touched on more in the films, she does not state that she regrets her decision and says that Ron and Hermione will "probably be fine."
However, even if J.K. Rowling had for whatever reason regretted a decision she made with Harry Potter, it shouldn't affect the way any of us enjoy the series. After all, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle regretted Sherlock Holmes, but tons of people still read his novels and short stories, as well as enjoying the numerous adaptations about the consulting detective, without any dilemma. Ultimately it is the choice of the readers as to how we enjoy the Harry Potter novels and the magic they have to offer.