I totally agree with Jo that Ron would not have made Hermione happy long term. Ron is the type to be content and have fun. Hermione needs to keep moving forward and achieving to feel fulfilled. The marriage would have turned into Ron being more of a child and Hermione turning into his mother. Ron wouldn't have challenged her enough-- she'd just end up frustrated. I think that they would have dated for a good 2-5 years but when things came down to it, they'd split up because they just want different things. That said I don't think Hermione would have ended up with Harry either (which, by the way, was Emma Watson's assertion, not Jo's!). He also would not have made her happy (except maybe in the film version, but certainly not the way it was in the books).
Personally, I think Hermione would have ended up Draco. They'd have had their paths cross again in their late-twenties to thirties as both would have presumably worked their way up through the ranks at the Ministry and matured. Draco would be working to reconcile the way he was brought up with all that happened during the war. (Side note: can we talk about the awesome parallel that Lord Voldemort was defeated because of two mothers' love for their sons?) Hermione has always been the voice of reason and very good at knowing when to be nurturing and when to tell someone to get off their arse and stop moping so she'd work well with Draco there. Meanwhile Draco would provide Hermione with the necessary challenge in terms of him not taking her intelligence as the be-all-end-all of every argument (because Slytherins) and he'd rather spar with her in debate than either give up or sputter idiotically. They'd be a much better match provided they had matured and whatnot. Plus it would have been a great resolution to their relationship (from calling her a mudblood to ending up her husband, yes) and in many ways it would have been a fixed version/reincarnation of the Lily/Snape storyline. Look at all the parallels!
Who does that leave the rest of the golden trio with, then?
Ron would have either met someone completely new-- I know this isn't how the books are structured, but their lives do go on and they do meet new people after 17-- or he would have ended up with a side character. Part of me kind of thinks he'd end up with Lavender (LavLav) Brown eventually, after much ado. The presumption being, once again, that they'd have grown since the war ended and Ron would have developed a better sense of himself so as to not totally get sucked into being in a relationship, and Lavender would have gotten a better hold of her priorities and tamed her insecurities. I think it'd be hilarious. Can you imagine at the wedding, Harry and Hermione giving toasts at the reception and giving them a hard time for being such a ridiculous couple in school? The best.
Does Harry stay with Ginny in my mind? No. Nothing against Ginny, but her relationship with Harry kind of felt like an afterthought. Jo created some amazing romantic arcs in the story like Lupin and Tonks, and yet our main hero kind of got the girl who was an easy answer-- sure they liked each other, but Ginny with Harry seemed more to be an act of convenience. In my mind, Harry ends up with Luna. Luna is probably one of the few people in the world who would make all the "Boy Who Lived"/"Chosen One" nonsense really feel like it never mattered or didn't define him, partially because she just operates on a very different plane than most others, and I think that's the kind of person Harry needs--not someone who was infatuated with him from the start and whom he saved in a very personal way (Chamber of Secrets) rather than a "yeah this is a war, I'm protecting my people" sort of a way. Harry, in turn, has grown to really understand and respect her throughout the books, and also really trust her, and I think very few people were willing to do that for Luna. I think Harry would be happiest with her in the end. Neville canonically doesn't end up with Luna, no matter what the movies might have you believe-- though I do think they have a deep friendship. Harry and Luna would be two outliers being outliers together. Also, can we talk about how absolutely badass their How We Met story would be? Their first moment of connection was the realization that they were the only ones who could see the Thestrals, because they had both intimately experienced the death of a loved one. Boom.
Nonetheless, the source text is what it is, and you can ship how you want to ship. Jo really pushed the Ron/Hermione thing in the books, but I don't know that they'd actually have worked out long term. Who did you think would go together?
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