Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Non-Monogamist's View of How Harry Potter Should Have Ended

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!

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