I finally figured out last night why the epilogue of Harry Potter was so awful for me. I mean, I’ve known a lot of the reasons why for a while now, but it really crystallized for me and I think I can put words to it. Plus offer a bit of an alternate ending had it been written by me (ha ha, yeah right. We all know I could never even dream of being as good a writer as her, so don’t take this a total knock against Rowling or the series).
Quick spoiler alert: Harry kills Voldemort. Lots of
people die in the Wizard Battle at Hogwarts and it’s sad, but ultimately
the survivors live happily ever after. Harry and Ginny are married and
have kids. Ron and Hermione are married and have kids. The epilogue is
bitter-sweet but mostly sweet; we know these four will be forever
scarred by the events at Hogwarts, but now here they are at Platform
9 3/4 sending their own offspring off to Hogwarts to begin or continue
their wizarding education in peace. I don’t really remember how many
kids they each have or any of those details and I don’t care enough to
look it up.
A lot of people didn’t like this ending; the part where Harry easily
offs Voldemort feels abrupt, and the idea that all of these romantic
relationships still exist and are going strong feels unrealistic and
overly saccharin. Those are my major beefs with it for sure, but I’ve
heard others say the same. Of course going through a traumatic battle
throughout their secondary education would likely have bonded these
friends forever, so perhaps imagining them still all romantically
involved is not a huge stretch. But I would argue that those traumatic
events could just as likely pull them apart.
Whether or not the idea of these two couples remaining in romantic
relationships well into their adulthood is realistic or not, I think it
bothers many people for another reason: it is not a modern view or
portrayal of romance. When I was a youngster my heart did pine for that
that dream wedding and forever romance til-death-do-us-part crap, but my
logical brain also constantly reminded me how unlikely it would be for
me to be with someone forever. Not only that, but my teenage libido was
very disheartened by the idea that I might meet one man, lose my
virginity to him and then only have sex with that one man for the rest
of my life. How depressing. What if I wanted to have sex with a ton of
men (and I did)? What if I wanted to have sex with women (oh lordy, did I
ever want that) but didn’t want to marry one? What if I wanted to have
sex with two people at the same time? etc.
I don’t think the kids of today think any differently than me, and if
anything I think many of them are way ahead of me in their realizations
of the existence of queer and non-monogamous romance. I think the fact
that the Harry Potter series is for young adults is what is really
bothering me about the ending; it will be culpable in setting
unrealistic expectations, beliefs and morals surrounding romance for
generations to come. It will continue to confuse kids who are like I
was- queer, non-monogamous youth may not understand that there are other
options, and it’s because of happily ever endings like this.
In my mind, they all did end up happily for ever after friends. But here’s how I would have liked to see it go:
Harry, Ron and Hermione enter into a triad relationship. All three of
them are bi/ pansexual, but Harry leans a little bit more homosexual
than the other two. They start out experimenting with threeways but
ultimately find that their relationships within the triad work best on a
one-on-one basis, and only have threeways when all of them are really
feeling it. Ron has a relationship with Luna that annoys him, but the
sex is good and ultimately her learns to love her despite her quirks.
Harry and Malfoy’s sexual tension eventually leads to some hate fucking
that is stupid hot for both of them. Hermione and Ginny have a
relationship that makes Ron uncomfortable. Harry and Ginny have sex once
and never tell Ron about it because of the way he acts about Hermione
and Ginny. Ultimately, Ron and Harry break up over the lie, but everyone
still loves and supports each other. I don’t really see any of the
characters as being trans or gender queer/fluid, but I also don’t see
why any of them wouldn’t grow up and realize they don’t have to live
with gender dysphoria. I just don’t know which one it would be.
This sort of epilogue is not less realistic than Rowling’s vision- if
anything I think it’s closer to a vision of reality that many yearn
for. Even in YA fiction I don’t think including the sexual dynamics
would be inappropriate but rather necessary. I can’t wait to
see more epilogues like this popping up in any and all fiction and
media. Let’s get to work, creative non-monogamists!