In a recent interview with Wonderland magazine that made headlines, J K Rowling admitted what Potter fans everywhere knew deep down in the depths of their souls: that clever, brave, audacious female protagonist should have ended up with Harry Potter. Here, we give you a sneak peek at Ron and Hermione’s relationship twenty years down the line, as they languish in the death throes of their marriage. . .*
Ron and Hermione enter an office decorated in soft, soothing colours. A box of tissues sits on a pine coffee table in front of a jade green sofa the same colour as the Windows 95 theme. A woman sits, smiling faintly but reassuringly, on a chair opposite, holding a clipboard. She stands to greet them.
Gwen: Hello, Mrs and Mrs Weasley, my name is Gwen and I’ll be assessing you for relationship counselling this afternoon.
Gwen holds out her hand. Ron shakes it glumly.
Hermione: It’s Mr Weasley and Ms Granger, actually. Do I look like the kind of woman who changes her name after marriage?
Ron: (sotto voce) Hostile. . .
Hermione: (hisses) I’m not being hostile, you –
Ron: (still muttering) Why have you brought us to a Muggle? I thought we were going to be seeing someone who would actually be able to understand our problems?
Hermione: Muggles get divorced too, Ron, for fuck’s sake. . .
Ron: See? Hostile? She’s just so hostile.
Gwen: If you could just take a seat for a moment, and I’ll explain the process. We’re running ahead of ourselves a little. . .
Ron and Hermione sit down
Gwen: My job as a trained relationship counsellor, at least for this initial session, involves asking you some questions about your marriage in an attempt to determine just what it is that you could get out of counselling. We really hope that, at the end of your time here, you’ll leave Relate feeling a real sense of positive change. . .
Ron laughs bitterly
Gwen: So if you could perhaps start off, Mr and Mrs. . . Ron and Hermione, by telling me exactly when you started experiencing problems in your marriage.
Ron looks downwards sullenly, not speaking
Hermione: (sharply) I’ll start, shall I? I suppose you could say that we began experiencing problems almost immediately after our wedding, which was more than twenty years ago now. There was a real feeling – and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this, Ron – that we just weren’t really supposed to have ended up together. It just felt wrong, somehow. . . almost like an arranged marriage, I suppose you could say. . .
Ron: She says I crushed her spirit. . .
Hermione: Now, Ron, I didn’t say that exactly. Must you extrapolate quite so wildly from everything. . .
Ron: (sarcastically) OK, sorry. She says that my insistence on a patriarchal mode of oppressive domesticity –
Hermione: The problem that has no name –
Ron: The problem that has no name. Means that… she is suffering from – what was it, baby? – a ‘slow death of the mind and spirit’…
Gwen: So you’ve been reading Betty Friedan. . .
Ron: Books, books. All she ever does is read books. I can’t remember the last time we went to sleep and just. . . held each other.
Hermione: Look, Gwen, I’m a career woman. I’m a woman who has it all. I’ve crawled my way up the political ladder and I did it with very little hands-on help from him. The division of domestic labour remains the. . .
Ron: Basically she’s been offered a job and I don’t want her to take it because it means she’ll never see the kids. . .
Gwen: Which job?
Hermione: (haughtily) I have been recently informed that the position of Minister for Magic is available to me, should I wish to accept it. . .
Gwen: Minister for what. . .
Ron: Er. . .
Hermione: Er. . .
Ron: Basically, Paul Daniels wants her to be his new assistant. It’s a Magic Circle thing. Very prestigious.
Gwen: Ok then. . .
Hermione: (whispers) Nice save.
Gwen: So. . .Ron. . .would you say that your objection to Hermione’s prestigious new proposed position as. . .er. . . Paul Daniels’ assistant. . .might be rooted in jealousy at the fact that she will spending much of her time with. . .another man. What’s more, a man who is well-known for his allure and sexual magnetism when it comes to members of the opposite sex.
Hermione: Ron has had trouble with jealousy in the past. Haven’t you, Ron?
Ron glares at her
Gwen: (gently) Tell us about it, Ron. . .
Ron: I haven’t, actually. Not really. Hermione has never so much as looked at another man. I was her first sexual experience. . .
Hermione: Ah. . .
Hermione: About that. . .
Ron: About that?
Hermione: Well, not quite.
Ron: Not quite?
Hermione: Did you forget about Viktor?
Ron: You told me nothing ever happened with Viktor.
Hermione: Well, it didn’t. Not really. It’s not as though we shagged.
Gwen: Who’s Viktor?
Ron: Some tit from a rival school. We’re talking like, 1995 here. What the hell, Hermione?
Hermione: He may have. . .he may have. . . given me a cheeky finger after the Yule Ball. I’m not saying that did happen. But we’d had quite a bit of Butterbeer and I definitely wanted it. And so what if he did, Ron? It’s old news. It’s practically History of Magic now.
Ron: You lying, conniving. . .
Gwen: If you could sit back down, Mr. Weasley, we don’t appreciate raised voices here at Relate. This is intended to be a safe space.
Hermione: Oh, what? So you’d have preferred it if I’d told you? It was bad enough that you were so intimidated by my friendship with Harry for years and years and years, to the point where we’re not even on fucking Christmas card terms anymore (tears up) I miss him so much, Ron. He was our best friend. . .he always understood me in ways. . .
Ron: ‘The chosen one’, give it a bloody rest. . .
Hermione: At least he had courage, Ron. At least he wasn’t so much of a coward that he was willing to squander two decades on an unhappy marriage that didn’t feel right. At least he didn’t allow his future to be written for him. He’s living his truth, Ron. I get that your nonentity of a sister will never get over it; I get that you’re angry with him, but for Christ’s sake Ron, I can’t take not having him in my life. . .
Ron: He wanted an open relationship! With that barmy tart Luna Lovegood! I knew he had a thing for her, with her cynical wide-eyed waif shtick and her polyamory and her weird sexual practices. Poor Ginny, poor, poor Ginny. . .
Gwen: Can we all. . .just please. . .calm down for a moment?
Ron: You’re fighting a losing battle asking her to bloody calm down, Gwen.
Hermione: And why do you always say ‘bloody’ so much? Can’t you fucking swear properly? Do you know what, Ron? Fuck you. I’ve had enough of your shit, your jealousy, your sullenness, the fact that you never read any novels, and your lack of support in my (extremely successful) professional life. I was the best mind of my generation, the most talented witch there was, and all you’ve done is hold me back and destroy my dreams. I understand that you didn’t want to give up your low paying position as a Ministry underling to be my house husband, I understand that. I can even, sort of, respect it. But your complete lack of emotional support has got me crying out for something real, something involving some sodding passion. . .
Ron: You’re having an affair, aren’t you? You’re seeing someone else?
Hermione: I want to be taken, Ron. I just want to have a normal, healthy sex life, is that so much to ask?
Ron: We do have a normal healthy sex life, ‘mione
Hermione has started to cry, her head in her hands
Hermione: Remember that night, somewhere around film six or seven, I can’t quite remember when because it had started to seem like an endless blur by that point, when Harry and I danced in the invisible tent?
Gwen: I’m sorry – invisible tent?
They ignore her. Ron’s head is in his hands now
Hermione: I told you about it – remember, when you were off doing God knows what, off on some jolly. You’d abandoned us, Ron, like the sad little coward that you are. Well, that dance was one of the most – if not the most – sexually charged moments of my entire life. More sexually charged than any other moment in our twenty years of marriage. I’ve never forgotten it…
Ron: I knew it! I knew you slept together than night!
Hermione: The thing is, we didn’t, Ron. We just danced. But I rubbed myself off thinking about it afterwards, Ron, and have done every other night since. I never really loved you. And I think you always knew that. So why don’t we call it a day? We’re lying to ourselves, we’re lying to poor, idiotic Gwen here, and we’re lying to the whole magical community. I can’t live a lie anymore, Ron. I had so much potential, I don’t know why I had to get married in the first place. I could be living in sin on Harry’s houseboat right now, instead of wiping dirty bottoms. Enough.
Ron: But. . . I love you. I have always loved you.
Hermione: There’s no space for love in the revolution, Ron. I’m going to take this job, I’ve decided. It’s my destiny and my responsibility, as a witch and as a woman. . .
Ron is crying now. Hermione has stood up. She shakes Gwen’s hand
Hermione: Thank you, Gwen, for making everything so much clearer for me now. If you could pass my cloak. . .
A loud, guttural sob emits from Ron
Hermione: It wasn’t meant to be, Ron. My darling Ron. I am so very sorry, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was always Harry. I myself – and everyone else – knows that now. Goodbye, Ron. My solicitor will be in touch about access.
Ron: Don’t. . .don’t go.
Hermione: I must, Ron. I must. It’ll get easier, I promise.
Hermione sweeps from the room, but returns, seconds later, to pop her head around the door.
Hermione: Maybe, like, check to see if Lavender’s on Facebook?
*Massive apologies to J K Rowling