Or, "why JK was bad at writing romance and should feel bad."
This topic is for talking about my choice of relationships in Witch Queen, the canon 'ships, and any pet fan theories about who should do whom, where, and with what.3/4/2013 #1
First, my ideas.
An example of some confusion about my story:
Fanaddicted3/4/13 . chapter 1
soushin52/19/13 . chapter 7
Witch Queen is a Harry and Hermione romance story. Some of the early chapters have some (okay, a lot) of Luna and Harry sexy stuff. This is done in flashbacks and represents a relationship our time traveler had with someone who is dead and gone, in a non-canon situation that is unlikely to occur again. The woman he loved then doesn't exist anymore and he is the only person who remembers her. Harry will renew his friendship with all of his old crew, but they won't be the same this time around. Some of his friends will have romantic relationships of their own, but I don't think any of those pairings (or nings, where 'n' is greater than one) will follow those from canon. Literally none of those make any sense to me, so prepare for an entire fleet of shipping.
In short, Witch Queen is not a Harry and Luna romance story, but they make a better pair than the canon one, as does Harry and Hermione. Some people disagree:
anthraquinblue3/4/13 . chapter 8
First, I would like to thank anthraquinblue for the kind review. I am not picking apart their personal opinion, but instead using this as an example of the idea that Harry/Hermione doesn't work. I'm also trying to explain my reasons for this pairing in my story. My thanks go out to all my reviewers, even the haters and those I violently disagree with.
Second, I will not be writing in response to fan requests. I make no apologies for this, it simply isn't what I'm doing here. I welcome other people's ideas in reviews and on this forum and would not attempt to stifle their creativity, but no one should expect anything requested to be written into this story. I have a very, very firm idea of what I'm writing and I've already got most major events planned out to Third Year (which is the start of my second story in this series).
I'm going to try and explain the issues as I see them: why the canon pairings are weird, why I think Hermione could have feelings for Harry and vice versa, why that isn't creepy incest, why Ron/Hermione is even creepier, and how JK bailed on her own original pairing.
I can sort of understand people who like the canon pairings of Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny. They usually take to the canon explanation that Harry thinks of Hermione as a sister and loves Ginny because she is...I don't know, into Quiddich and him? Not sure, myself. I guess love doesn't need to be logical, even in literature. Doesn't mean I think it makes sense for the story, though.
Harry/Hermione is one of the least icky pairs possible with canon characters, in my opinion. Consider how Ginny looks like his mom and how Luna seems to have mental issues. Cho is only interested after she's an emotional wreck, none of the other, older girls really seem interested in canon, and you never see anyone but Ginny and Luna in their year.
For my story, Hermione has some serious problems. Like in canon, she doesn't seem to have the usual set of kid problems or interests, and that alienates her from others her age. Also a change from explicit canon, in my story many muggles react poorly to magical children instinctively, filling in Hermione's past with a few more tragic elements. The Dursleys are unusual in their level of hatred, but otherwise they're quite normal and not psychopaths.
My Hermione is less obsessed with her studies as she's got a much more interesting and real challenge: Harry Potter the time traveler. She'll still get good grades, but maybe not a two foot essay when the assignment was six inches.
As for why they would later have a relationship in this fic: he treats her like an adult, doesn't talk down to her, and is emotionally available. They're going to be having adventures together, like in canon, and he can only really confide in her about future stuff. He also already knows her embarrassing issues and has shown he doesn't dislike her because of them. He's a fount of interesting information, her only weakness, and a personal tutor for things not covered in classes.
As a side note, I always thought it was interesting that she never had a chance to skip grades. She never seemed to have problems in class, maybe Hogwarts just doesn't allow that. I'd think she'd be bored with classes, but it seems she just overdid everything instead in canon.
With Chapter #8, it should be clear where some of Harry's issues are coming from, and that, together with what she knows of his future-past, should explain to her why he acts the way he does sometimes, bringing them even closer together. Don't expect anything approaching romantic situations until at least Third Year, though. As Hermione says, they're only eleven. Expect instead an overdose of sickeningly-sweet puppy love.
One of the commonly raised major issues with this pairing is Harry seeing Hermione as just a sister, and that making things icky and incestuous. Never having had a significant, positive relationship with anyone female and human in his life before meeting Hermione, it is kind of strange for him to say that, even later. Harry's never had a sister and, if anything, it would make more sense for Ginny to fill that role, given their (minor) age differences, how much time he spends with the Weasleys, and how he thinks of Ron as a brother. Ginny is also the only person he ever sees being treated as a sister by anything until GoF, and that's only briefly with Fleur and his sister. How is the way the Twins and Ron relate to Ginny like him and Hermione? That doesn't seem right. This isn't enough to make it impossible or somehow morally wrong or anything, but it seems like the easiest relationship to get incest vibes from is for Ginny and Harry.
I guess there is also one other icky thing that's sometimes raised, Hermione being too much like his mom. Hermione is academically accomplished, which is like Lily, but that isn't something to which Harry has emotional connections. He's seen his mother in multiple visions and in the Mirror of Erised, so he would connect her appearance to the idea a mother, someone who cares for him, as that was all he knew about her. He probably should also be connecting that with her death as well, but that doesn't ever seem to happen in canon, even after another redhead, Molly, starts literally mothering him. In my mind, he should only have more emotional issues with redheaded women.
The only reasons I know for Harry to see Ginny as someone to be emotionally close to is that she is the sister of his best friend, someone he thinks of as a brother (logically making her more like a sister to him), that she looks like his mom (eww?), that she is one of about three girls who ever talk to him, and that she is (at least some of the time) an obsessed fangirl who actively desires his attention.
All of which are weird reasons for a romantic relationship, but canon Harry is anything but outgoing and well socialized. Kind of makes Ginny practically hunting him seem a bit exploitative. Still excusable, though. Ron and Hermione, on the other hand, have some seriously messed up stuff going on.
Name two things Ron and Hermione do together in canon. If you said "argue" and "help Harry" then you're thinking like I am. Sad bonus points for "Ron's homework." Ron bashing is fun and easy but something I'm trying to avoid. Given that, though, canon is really some of the worst bashing possible, when read literally. There are some things that forgive his behavior but it still reads as really bad. His primary characteristics are his chess playing ability (against children who've never played) and his hatred of an entire quarter of Hogwarts because of something that, in cannon, isn't their fault. Everything else that defines him falls apart at some point or another. He's cowardly, emotionally and physically, he's disloyal, he treats his family poorly, the list goes on.
In canon, he is at his worst in situations where Harry isn't being emotionally open, which is most of the time. Or when something scary is happening, which is the rest of the time. Ron's just a kid, so maybe it is something that can be forgiven. The worst case is when he runs off in the last, worst book of the series. Yeah yeah, Dark powers affecting his mind, whatever. It was a shitty thing to do. No one else ran. It could have gotten everyone killed. But I'm using almost nothing from Hermione Granger and the Horcrux Camping Trip, so that doesn't affect my story.
What does change things is how Ron consistently treats Hermione throughout the entire canon series. Ron certainly isn't a normal romantic choice for Hermione, as he is constantly shown as immature and emotionally abusive. They also have literally nothing in common in canon except for Harry and the fight against Voldemort. Hermione is intelligent, loyal, brave, and skilled with magic. Those attributes are never subverted. Everything canon-Ron isn't.
That doesn't mean romance couldn't happen, but it certainly means any rationalization for that should be really good. But that doesn't happen, ever. They are declared "together," like the worst fanfic shipping expedition. Interestingly, Hermione is already one step away from a Marry Sue author self insert from the start. Almost everything that happens, down to the annoying but flattering abilities. And she was obviously going to be the romantic interest for Harry (with minor complications, I'm sure) from the very start of first book.
But JK seemed to have had some sort of change of heart after PoA's moments where Harry and Hermione work well together to solve problems and GoF, where she is the only one who stands by him. Maybe JK ended up thinking Hermione didn't deserve her awesome hero. Who knows. JK is very, very bad at writing romance, even in a little kid PG format. None of the romantic relationships make sense, not even for the adults. For the first four books, though, it seems like a clear set up, with Ginny to be the jealous girl who ends up being the sister figure to Harry, who is growing to think of the Weasleys as his true foster family. Strange that that never happens. Stuff will be different in my story, that's for sure.
Anyone else have any pet ideas on relationships?3/4/2013 . Edited 3/4/2013 #2
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"she never had a chance to skip grades" - probably she had this possibility but discarded it to avoid even bigger social problems.5/28/2013 #3
That makes sense. Strange to have it never mentioned in a school drama, as that is usually a plot point in such stories for the smarter characters. Yet another thing for Harry to feel guilty about. But JK hates her female characters and they don't get advancement throughout the stories. So sad.5/28/2013 #4
I'm questionable about the idea of "looks like his mother" being a negative for Ginny. For one thing, he does know what his mother looks like, but only from photos and visions starting at age 11. This is nowhere near enough to produce the ordinary emotional associations with the image of a mother, which have to spring from constant interaction in the mother/child role from before the age of memory. As it stands, he knows her appearance, and knows intellectually that she's his mother, but doesn't have any of the instinctive reactions that would imply. Secondly, as far as I understand the evopsych of it, "looks like opposite sex parent" should be a positive rather than a negative trait, from the perspective of sexual attraction; people do instinctively try to produce children who are as much like them within the human variance pool as possible, since this is an obvious positive adaptation for the genes in question. (The tension between this and people's instinctive avoidance of incest is interesting. Functionally, as it works out, people with the look of family members should be attractive, due to the similarity tropism; however, due to the Westermarck effect, people don't become sexually interested in those who they spend a lot of time with before the age of six or so, which discourages incest in ordinary conditions.)
That said, from a story-theoretical rather than an entirely simulationist viewpoint, I agree that Harry/Hermione is a better and more plausible pairing than Harry/Ginny. Hermione and Harry are both portrayed throughout the series as admirable and exceptional people; Harry somewhat less so than Hermione, since he's actually fairly ineffective and passive much of the time, but both certainly much more so than most of the other characters. Ron, on the other hand, is hyped as a great friend, but isn't really much of one looked at as a whole; Ginny is just basically a nonentity. Her only character traits are to be a childish crush-holder and damsel-in-distress in Y2, and then later on to spontaneously manifest a relationship with Harry in Y6. I like a lot of Harry/Ginny stories, but those are the ones that actually develop her character and follow up on some of the red herrings Rowling gave us. (I do wish that she would less often be caught up in bashing of the entire Weasley family. That presentation is somewhat canon-supported in the case of Ron, Percy and to some degree Mrs. Weasley; with Ginny, they have to pull her supposed flaws basically out of thin air.)7/26/2013 #5
For one thing, he does know what his mother looks like, but only from photos and visions starting at age 11. This is nowhere near enough to produce the ordinary emotional associations with the image of a mother...
You're right about the developmental effects. If anything, I think canon suggests an odd sort of social pressure to find someone as "pretty as his mom," and one of Ginny's few canon attributes seems to fit that, which could be a draw for Harry. But so many fanfic authors use this as a stronger reason for them to be together, and that ends up being really creepy.
Ginny is just basically a nonentity......then later on to spontaneously manifest a relationship with Harry in Y6
Totally agree with Ginny being a sort of wallpaper character that turns into the main romantic interest without good development. I've got tons of theories about this, and how things got changed mid-way through to give the One Big Weasley Family/Babies Ever After ending from canon. Not sure if you saw it before, but my next post will be something from the "The Teacher's Lounge" forums that I wrote a few months ago. I'm posting it here for posterity, I guess. It sort of explains the odd interpersonal events in the last few books, but is all only theory of course.
My main point is, Ginny is a strange character. Instead of being Harry's action hero equal, she seems to just waft around, immune to everything happening in the plot after CoS, which is the opposite of Hermione. Makes it hard to care about her in an adventure story. Take the only battle they fought in together, the Department of Mysteries: Ginny gets away with, what was it, a busted ankle? And that wasn't even proper spell damage. But Hermione has to take horrific injuries to make the readers feel something bad has happened and show the kids were in real danger.
I think CoS and that ankle might be the only times Ginny ever gets hurt in the books, including the Snape kills Dumbledore bit and the final fight at Hogwarts. And in CoS, she isn't really "hurt," just almost Voldemorted to death. No recovery time or treatment is suggested as I recall, just back to the Burrow. I vaguely remember something else happening, like a training injury on a broom, but I just don't remember canon clearly enough (or want to reread 6 & 7 enough times to be an expert) to say for sure. In any case, it seems like even Death Eaters don't take notice of her...
JKR might have been trying to avoid portraying Ginny as a victim, a classic and annoying way to make her more appealing as a love interest, but Hermione seems to have caught the usual love-interest level of damage instead. Damsel-in-distress-ism is a serious issue in media, so not having Ginny constantly getting captured by a cackling Voldemort (like in many so-so fanfics) after CoS isn't a bad thing. But it is worrying that Hermione always seems be the one to get cursed, hate-mailed, turned to stone, threatened by Dementors, slashed by dark curses, and tortured, for little thematic reason other than because readers identify with her. I haven't counted, but it seems like she suffers almost as much damage as Harry does, if not more (certainly more, if you discount all the Quiddich related injuries). This is worrying for another reason, as many signs (including, if I recall correctly, interviews with JKR) suggest that Hermione is a slight author-as-child self insert. That says some bad things about a lot of issues, especially how she ends up with Ron in the end.
Weasley bashing is so common it seems almost automatic. I'm not looking to have Harry hanging around the Burrow a lot, but he'll likely end up visiting and I've taken a firm stance to avoid any and all bashing. In fact, I've got some explanations for some of the odder stuff about the Weasleys and Prewetts that should be really interesting and not at all bashy.
Previously posted on The Teachers Lounge
One of my writing obsessions is making my characters feel "real" and connected to events in the world. Sure, sometimes things just happen, but most relationship plot points need to have good reasons attached that the reader can eventually see and understand. I think some of that is missing here, and it is actually more like they are siblings than romantically compatible based on the canon story. Let me explain.
The whole Harry/Ginny thing always struck me as being very poorly explained in canon. Almost like it was shoehorned in after everything was heading somewhere else. But you don't need logic in love. I guess. It seems that the other two girls in his life are either (understandably) emotional, unapproachable messes or "like a sister." So if everyone gets babies at the end, we have to line things up with Ginny. Hobson's choice.
That psudo-sibling thing bugs me, though. Wouldn't it make more sense for your best mate's sister, who's been distantly moody half the time you've known her, only shares interests with you in the sport she plays, and who is part of the family you think of as your adoptive family, wouldn't that be the person you think of as a sister, not your lifelong best female friend?
Harry's seen Ginny and Ron (and the other brothers) interacting, with their sniping, squabbling, and still caring about each other at the end of the day. That's his example of how siblings, and specifically brothers and sisters, act. Really, that's more like Hermione and Ron (who fight because they have deep crushes on each other[?]). But they don't care for each other like siblings. No, Harry, who's clearly emotionally stunted, only ever has "real" feelings for a girl who won't take "wha?" for an answer and is magically cured of her fangirl-ism off screen, so it is now "True Love (tm)" and not icky or unhealthy in any way. Even though she looks just like his mom (except for the eyes) -- who, remember, he's seen in visions. Even though he looks just like his dad (except for the eyes). So...their dating makes it look just like his dad is dating his mom. But not in a sick way.
I've got a theory about how the main character's relationships turned out like this.
Right (deep breath). So. I've got my own little charts and diagrams (no, I don't really [...I might]) that show how JKR was really planning on Harry/Hermione in the first three books. This theory (it isn't technically a conspiracy theory, as I think JKR did everything here by herself) has Ginny being the "other girl" who causes romantic drama and later becomes like his sister, and has Ron being a jealous prat who he almost loses as a brother but then resolves things with, causing them to become even stronger friends.
Take GoF. GoF is weird, especially for Ron. It would have made a lot more sense for Ron to be mad at Harry (especially mad at him that much) if he had something else serious to be mad about on top of the Goblet. Maybe if he found out about Harry getting closer to Hermione in addition to the whole Goblet thing. Ron would have been worried about the trio breaking up, losing his crush (Hermione) to the guy he's jealous of (Harry) for a lot of valid if petty reasons, and to top it off, his sister is also sniffing around Harry. It would both emotionally and logically make a lot of sense.
Then Harry survives the first task, Hermione hugs him, Ron awkwardly tries to patch things up. He sees that Hermione saved Harry's life by helping him with the Summoning Charm and he (Ron) did nothing because he was being a jerk. He wants things back the way they were. Harry and Hermione are awkward still. Romantic stuff is unresolved drama for future books.
Instead, Ron suddenly goes nuts on Harry for no good reason (even for teenagers), Hermione, who has been the most physically and emotionally supportive of Harry, seems to have had her awkward-almost-kiss plot deleted, and Harry suddenly, uncharacteristically (but maybe not for a teenager) creeps on Cho.
Instead of Hermione and Harry not going to the ball together to save Ron's feelings, Harry and Ron have a "precious" (and oddly placed) teenager moment. Instead of Harry being obsessed with Hermione at the ball, Ron is (and is a prat about it) and Harry is again creeping on the Romantic Substitute, Cho Chang, who seems to exist only to be creeped on. My theory is that this is to set up the awkward Book Five romance plot patch.
Anyway, that's the theory I'm developing. And like any good shipper, I don't really care what JKR might have said in interviews or elsewhere. That's not as "canon" as the actual books, in my view of things. Books One-Three seem to be growing towards something with my budding OTP, Books Four and Five look stuck between revisions, and Books Six and Seven have clear issues with relationship development overall. The reasons for this seem clear to me.
In any case, JKR's a vastly successful writer, not the Dalai Lama. She's allowed to change her mind even if she doesn't own up to it. And I think the signs are clear that she did change the romantic subplots, all to construct the Babies Ever After final moment.
End Crazed Rant.
Obviously not the first person who's had Ron/[NULL] as an OTP. Might have something to do with how much JKR emphasized Ron's immaturity throughout the entire series. Including, strangely enough, the last book, where she locked down the canon pairs. Weird, that. This fits with my idea that Ron was meant to have been too immature to be involved in a serious relationship while at school, a warning to our main character not to be a jerk, and thus wasn't "meant" for the final canon pairing when Books 1-3 were written. See Crazed Rant (above).7/26/2013 #7
I have this strange affection for Ron/Luna; it seems they would mesh rather better than Ron would with Hermione. I'm also perfectly fine with Ron not getting a romantic resolution, or just bouncing around between girlfriends on Lavender's order of seriousness until end-of-school (with some implied more permanent resolution happening afterward, hopefully once Ron's grown up a bit.)
Actually, what I'd like to see more of is stuff that doesn't bash Ron, but instead fixes him—makes him into a more mature character and a good friend, with strengths that actually contribute to the goals of the group (in a manner less silly-contrived than the giant chess game).7/26/2013 #8
I'm also perfectly fine with Ron not getting a romantic resolution, or just bouncing around between girlfriends
I've seen some interesting approaches to that. I think it works better, obviously, but it isn't perfect. Bouncing around being a sort of slacker teen seems perfectly reasonable, but fics bashing an eleven year old seems...pointless? Kids that age are already kind of psychopathic jerks (scientifically speaking), who'll grow out of it in a few years if you can just ride the crazy train past that point. No reason to bash them more than reality does.
Actually, what I'd like to see more of is stuff that doesn't bash Ron, but instead fixes him—makes him into a more mature character and a good friend, with strengths that actually contribute to the goals of the group (in a manner less silly-contrived than the giant chess game).
I suggest it might be worth going in the other direction, actually. Fics where Ron has a genuine mental disorder -- usually ADD (but not ADHD), or once, interestingly, Autism Spectrum Disorder -- and where they deal with it sensitively and realistically interest me right now. JKR writes Ron well for a typical teen, but seems to ignore most of the time what happens to people in stressful situations -- or at least, she doesn't explain that that is what is happening to him when he fails to step up and act like a hero. Which is also realistic, just not well explored. Though fixfics can be fun, I think it is mostly the fannon that is broken, as canon Ron is a mostly balanced character.
So, in my opinion, fixfics aren't really necessary for Ron without another reason, like trying to powergame your Ron into typical SuperHarry levels. But for balance, you're right: just giving him a random Aquaman-like super power doesn't really help, nor does saying he's a "master strategist" because he played a lot of chess. But a lot of Harry/Hermione writers need to bash Ron to "remove" him from consideration in their romance fic.
I'll be taking a more hands-off approach, letting Ron be a kid for quite some time to come. Expect him to join whatever DA and such Harry comes up with, though. I think I'll even have him trying out for the team second year, apprenticing himself to Oliver Wood as a second-stringer. He gets hit often enough that it seems like having a sub would make sense, especially without Harry ending games early like in canon. I could see Ron coming in virtually every Slythern match after Oliver gets removed temporarily for an injury and they play on. Something like that would help make him a more rounded character, not just a sidekick. And given how my second and third years will go, it'll be a good change from all the seriousness. Really looking forward to writing it.
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There is one major problem - Harry is 31 years old and any romantic relationship during Hogwart's years would be incredibly creepy and scream pedophilia (currently he is almost thrice the age of first year like Hermione).
Potential solution for this problem is maybe shortening future timeline (what so presented so far would fit within five years), Harry is anyway behaving like teen rather than like 31 years old adult.8/2/2013 #10
There is one major problem - Harry is 31 years old and any romantic relationship during Hogwart's years would be incredibly creepy and scream pedophilia (currently he is almost thrice the age of first year like Hermione).
It was good to point this out, but let's not be silly. Mental or emotional age differences between healthy individuals doesn't make things pedophilia, or logically there would be IQ and EQ tests even for adults instead of age boundaries for consent laws. Ignoring that what you are talking about clearly isn't pedophilia (as enough panicked news programs misusing the term are bending the lexicon that way rapidly), the real issue I should be worried about as a writer is exploitative sexual relationships being improperly cast in a positive light. Life experience imbalances and holding adult positions of power and authority over someone is the moral problem any sensible writer would have to deal with in this situation. That is why an adult being in a physically much younger body is an interesting problem, one I've virtually never seen done well. That is part of the point of the romantic parts of this story.
I think I've made it clear that 11-year-olds don't get sexual romantic plots here. For now, puppy love and heart-filled devotion only. I'm not comfortable with writing anything even approaching more relationship-wise sooner than possible low-key Third Year Hogsmeade "dates" and maybe a formal ball or two, same year and later. Doesn't mean they won't have thoughts or personal actions concerning more mature stuff sooner -- especially Hermione, who's almost a year older and much more physically and mentally healthy than Harry -- but they really won't have time or interest in anything more together. Sort of like overachieving students in real life.
For Harry, his mental age will be, if anything, a restraining factor to his sexuality. He's a good person with a strong moral outlook, and anyone who doesn't act like an adult won't be viewed sexually by him, ever. The only reason Hermione will ever have a chance in this timeline is that she's very mature for her age, and will only get more so. Physically, Harry has the hormones of a developmentally growth-stunted and mentally repressed 11-year-old. He isn't actually having sexy thoughts about anything right now, and won't any time soon. Even in canon, where Harry's physical and mental abuses are portrayed as much less severe, he doesn't really start noticing girls for a few years.
This Harry has been married before, so he's not exactly a drooling teenager, and won't be even when he physically is one. He has a strong handle on personal responsibility and will likely have more than a little angst about what he eventually starts feeling for his best friend. His dreams about his previous life are just that, dreams, and not even wet dreams. That's one of the reasons he's having trouble remembering them after he wakes up -- they were recorded into a soul attached to a brain with simply stupid levels of hormones sloshing around in it, especially at those moments. He doesn't have that body anymore and can't really emotionally relate to those feelings. He'll also have to work through his past relationships and feelings before being emotionally available. An 11-year-old Luna showing up next year won't help that healing at all.
Regardless, stuff will get serious between our main pair in about Fifth Year and later. They'll be physically 15 and 16 at that point, with both being much older mentally and emotionally, and I won't feel weird writing basically anything that gets past FFdotNet's rating system. Which, given how much I can do with obscured smut, is really basically anything if skillfully and artistically done.
The usual concerns about power balances in relationships and such is one hell of a minefield, but they are both super mature and also basically child soldiers at that point (even in canon), so I'm comfortable writing such a (rather dark) romance story. If Shakespeare can iconically get away with a 13-year-old (Juliet) dying in a very steamy romance story with a much older man, then I don't feel icky at mature mid to late teens acting between themselves, even if one of them has more life experiences with some really horrible stuff he'd rather forget.
Now remember, Harry is mentally an adult, but he isn't functioning in an adult role. Otherwise, this would be obviously morally questionable. As physically and socially just another kid, this is less troubling, at least for me.
Questions still arise. Would it be any different if he had had the memories of an adult downloaded into his brain? Isn't that basically what happened? If young super genius Hermione finishes a Muggle college degree through distance education and summer courses by age 15 (she was already auditing classes at age 10 and 11 in my story), does that make her more mentally mature than technical high school and Hogwarts dropout Harry Potter? These are themes and concepts that will be explored.
If 16-year-old Hermione Granger is both clearly more intelligent and more emotionally mature than Harry, while also holding a social and straight-up magical power advantage over him, does it matter that Harry spent an extra aborted and horrible Hogwarts run plus a dozen odd years in a horrible hellscape that no longer exists? I think they both get to have this as a moral conflict. Is Hermione taking advantage of someone who is mentally scarred by a horrible war, someone who remembers a person who she both is and isn't? Is Harry's twenty extra years something that makes a relationship with Hermione impossible, when they could both live to be hundreds of years old? Does the fact that they could both die tomorrow cloud their judgement there? That is the kind of edgy stuff that makes this more fun than the average AU Harry Potter romance fanfic.
My pitch is that Harry was always too immature the first time around. DarkFutureHermione intentionally didn't try to take advantage of Harry in that original timeline when she saw how emotionally messed up he was. She suffered her gargantuan crush on Harry in silence, and only that last scene with her shows otherwise. This time around, his maturity might just sync up with overly serious and responsible Hermione Granger as she help him gear up for war with Voldemort, making for a more plausible relationship than it would have been with the sports jock, uncomfortable introvert, national hero/villain that Harry Potter was in canon.
In summary, at no point will this story devolve into cheap sexual exploitation of minors or casual sexual encounters between adults and kids. All issues will be muddled and fraught with thorny points of moral responsibility and social power dynamics.
tldr: no, their age difference isn't a problem I'll be solving by retconing and rewriting my story, as that is my story.
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Thanks, now I am no longer worried - with approach like this it should work.8/3/2013 #12
this is likely blasphemy, but.. the last two books. they are so vastly different in tone, so much less entertaining, they struggle so to hold excitement that isn't there.
really, i'm sure she did write them.. but should she have?
hermione is so interesting, such a bundle of contrary aims, SPEW/Rita/her parents and respect for authority. the girl hits hard and she will hit below the belt.
harry is so flawed. enduring vernon/albus/snape/umbridge. with all his strength he still doesn't hit those worthless wastes. i don't like that in him. lesson? abuse goes unpunished, it's even rewarded (albus severus potter!)
but the two of them? especially right up to the yule ball? they could be so damn good. he works to settle down the neurotic overachiver, she gets him to actually DO something. like study/train/oust snape/demand decent instructors in general/refuse to listen to his headmaster out of school.
ginny/nev ron/some poor long suffering wretch and harry/hermione
just as harry is going to go after the stone hermione says something like... there are more important things than books and cleverness harry, like friendship and..(did anyone not think love)9/26/2013 #13
Personally, I'm a little more worried about the power level between the two. Harry has been horribly gimped in this story, while Hermione is instead vastly overpowered. While an interesting variation of the norm, wouldn't that instead cause issues with feelings of inadequacy with Harry? Given that he is suppose to be, if not the normal fanfic overpowered version of himself, is at least a competent wizard before his little trip into the past.
Also, I support the Luna Harmony ship. As another fanfic author once noted, Hermione excel in thinking within the box, while Luna does the same outside of it. Together with (normally) Harry's own power and ability, they would be able to deal with almost anything.
Not so sure about this version of Luna though, given that in the latest chapter, Luna is more then a little loony, and with signs of having been under Hermione's orders all this while. Makes me wonder if her marriage to Harry is also prearranged. And if she really is Hermione's creature all along. Chapter one is suddenly far more creepy then when I first read it...9/26/2013 #14
just as harry is going to go after the stone hermione says something like... there are more important things than books and cleverness harry, like friendship and..(did anyone not think love)
Yep. I don't need to call on a conspiracy theory to ship Harry and Hermione. But I could.
Personally, I'm a little more worried about the power level between the two.
Normally it would. Harry is very self-conscious and introverted, and though he isn't Ron, he is human. But this Harry is both familiar with Hermione and more mature and goal oriented than the first time around. Not thinking this is permanent helps. He also doesn't realize what his feelings are, and wouldn't welcome them yet in any case as Hermione is only twelve. He sees her as a friend and potential partner in the fight against Voldemort right now, but is also conflicted because, though he doesn't want to be like Dumbledore, he does want to protect her. A complicated conflict that will come up again and again.
Also, I support the Luna Harmony ship.
Don't be confused. I'm not doing a "stealth" harem here. Current timeline Luna will not be part of a multiple partner romantic relationship with Harry and Hermione. Hermione fell for Harry before and is falling in love with him all over again in this timeline. Currently, this is more of a childish obsession, but that will change over time. Harry will eventually get a clue and have to deal with his feelings for Hermione (past and present) as well.
Dealing with his feelings about his past relationship with Luna will be even more complicated. They were thrown together by a war and clung to each other in comfort as the world was falling apart around them. Much different from what brings Harry and Hermione together this time (or in the previous timeline). Strange that Harry isn't mourning his lost wife or thinking about currently-ten-year-old Luna at all, isn't it? Hmm?
Not so sure about this version of Luna though, given that in the latest chapter, Luna is more then a little loony...
This DarkFutureLuna has been forced to do some things she really doesn't like. At this point shown, she hasn't had much emotional support for several years. The Trio are her friends but she still isn't handling things very well (and nether are they). DH events like her getting kidnapped and her father being blackmailed never happened in my story, but her father obviously didn't make it. She was also one of only a few survivors of the fall of Hogwarts, a horrible slaughter of students of teachers she apparently miraculously escaped from. There is also something else going on with her beyond her obvious issues. Oh my, plot.
...and with signs of having been under Hermione's orders all this while.
There is a difference between cooperation and conspiracy, but it definitely isn't clear yet what is going on between Hermione and Luna. Since this all happened in the future, and neither of them went back like Harry did, it may never be known exactly what went on between them. It is likely safe to assume that being kidnapped and sacrificed in a crazy attempt to send her husband back in time wasn't something Luna planned, however. That is, unless she really was crazy.
And if she really is Hermione's creature all along. Chapter one is suddenly far more creepy then when I first read it...
These doubts were exactly what I was looking for. Glad it worked.
A small amount more will be explained in the next chapter, which is 99% ready. Planning on posting this week. It sill doesn't answer everything, though, and raises a few new issues. And obvious will end in a horrible cliffhanger.
|Random number generator
"It is likely safe to assume that being kidnapped and sacrificed in a crazy attempt to send her husband back in time wasn't something Luna planned, however. That is, unless she really was crazy."
Or maybe this attempt was not a completely crazy idea.
Interesting thing about Luna, I assumed that various reflections on time travel (including mourning dead future!Luna) happened but was not mentioned.
Sorry for not producing a proper review of recent chapter but ff.net decided to eat it twice and now my TODO list exploded over 100 positions.10/9/2013 #17
Can I ask what your stance—as of the author—towards poly relationships is?
So this will be fun.
First of all, for those who might not be aware, these relationships do exist in real life. Their use in fiction, specifically fanfiction, is hilarious and almost always radically unrealistic, though still often quite enjoyable to read about. Perhaps I should explain my terms and opinions in more detail, as this will define the rest of this discussion of the use of poly relationships in fiction.
Simply put, polyamory is a term used by those who believe that for at least some groups of people, romantic and sexual relationships can, both morally and functionally, be successfully non-monogamous. This only falls under the strict self-identified definition of the term if all parties involved knowingly allow it and are in agreement about the nature of the relationships. It is not directly linked to the subjects of group marriages and bisexuality, though those topics and others sometimes intersect for obvious reasons.
I have known (in real life, not over the internet) at least three people who were in two different and apparently functional poly relationships, so this appears to be provably possible in at least some cases for some amounts of time. There are those who don't think such long-term relationships are possible and all such arrangements are doomed to failure. Of course, many others have various moral objections. It might be interesting (though not really significant) to note that one of those poly relationships I personally know of has more men then women in it.
Personally, I think such long-term relationships are possible, desirable, moral in any rational system, and also very difficult to manage in real life. It is obvious how simple jealousy, power imbalances, and basic logistical issues could destroy the delicate web of interpersonal relationships that need to be preserved and nurtured for these kinds of multiple member partnerships to work. And remember, this includes any people who are not involved sexually with each other but who are still part of the greater map of relationships.
A lot of these issues are cultural, but others seem to be linked to more fundamental aspects of the human psyche. Both intellectually and emotionally, I think this is a perfectly reasonable way for consenting adults to relate to each other, but I also think it might require overcoming deep parts of human nature to do so. Which is, if you really think about it, the entire point of having human culture and the personal will and drive to be better than your basic, unthinking monkey nature. Which predictably means that I arrogantly think myself capable of such, but also that I respect all those who actually manage to do so.
It could be that some people are wired (genetically or developmentally) to be able to deal with the unusual nature of poly relationships, or perhaps that those with a certain outlook on the world can more easily trust others in a relationship with multiple partners. For most people though, it clearly simply isn't something they would be able to deal with, either intellectually or emotionally.
Now for the point of all this delicately balanced word chutney – that is unless the original question was purely for social reasons and I massively mistook the meaning.
In fiction, specifically fanfiction, there are several different types of situations that could be described as polyamorous. Standard harem situations technically count in all but slave relationship and forced marriage fics. Usually magical means or contorted marriage law situations are the reason for this. Soul bond fics sometimes don't stop at one pair of people sharing emotions and thoughts, which is another way of getting multiple characters together. But almost universally, the actual problems of such relationships are quickly overcome with magic or superhuman understanding and author fiat.
The use of these tropes is almost always aimed at getting multiple partners for Harry Potter, though also sometimes for some other chosen male main character and possibly some close friends. This is clearly sexist, and usually that is not meant to show some kind of negative aspect of the trope or relationship. So that makes it primarily a male fantasy rather than the deeper magical world driven exploration of relationships and sexuality that it might be. But we're talking about fanfic here, so yeah.
I think I could count on two fingers of one hand the number of longer, story driven fanfics I've read that had even a single female character sharing a ploy relationship with more than one male character. Even in the most egregiously nonsensical multiple harem fics (coughTheHaremWarcough), the other male characters get their own segregated pile of females (and more importantly their reproductive organs) with which to have contorted but declared loving and consensual relationships.
To once again drag myself back to my main point, a Harry or Hermione plus someone poly relationship is not going to happen in Harry Potter and the Witch Queen. This fanfic is about Harry and Hermione, how broken they are in their own ways, and how they grow into a deep and loving relationship over the course of fighting a war against a threat to the entire world. Not just Voldemort, but the threat of Hermione Granger in a world where she faces horrible bigots and Dark wizards, where she is a global existential threat because of the lengths to which she would go to protect those she cares about. Dark Future Hermione in my story is a supergenius who loves her few and precious friends with a deep and fiery love, a love so strong she would burn the world to a cinder to protect them all. And that is what happened in the Dark Future Harry was just thrown from.
Present day Hermione won't be having romantic relationships with multiple people. I don't think she'll even have one with someone other than Harry. If anything, she is even more attached to him in my story now than in the Dark Future timeline (or canon). Harry also won't be collecting girlfriends, and I can't really see him dating anyone other than Hermione.
That doesn't mean Neville won't have a harem in this fic, though. Rich, kind, loyal, from a powerful old pure-blood family. Boy's got vast, untapped potential game. Maybe some girls will even be interested.
I'm just kidding.
((Well, maybe I am...)).
Anyway, if that wasn't what the original question was about...then fine. I still got a kick out of writing this.
And yeah, I could write the hell out of a harem fanfic. Maybe someday I will. But I'll be finishing up Witch Queen first, as this is what I'm most excited about right now.11/6/2013 #18
11/8/2013 . Edited 11/8/2013 #19
... I can't really see [Harry] dating anyone other than Hermione.
(spoilers) I am assuming based on this that there already exists some plot device that makes Harry forget about Luna and also makes potential relations between them impossible. This was really the motivation behind the question, since the future-past existence of a loved wife would conflict with a new strong love interest building up, unless, over time, everyone involved eventually managed to organise some poly-type agreement between themselves and to overcome the monkey instincts that you've described.
Same goes with Hermione/Ginny to a certain extent but by a much lesser degree.
Something else I am curious about in the latest chapter. Why is Hermione suddenly so well versed in politics? Thinking back to cannon, the one time she engage in political activities (SPEW) , it ended in total failure. Seems way out of character for her to so clearly understand the politics of the purebloods all of a sudden...11/8/2013 #20
Something else I am curious about in the latest chapter. Why is Hermione suddenly so well versed in politics? Thinking back to cannon, the one time she engage in political activities (SPEW) , it ended in total failure. Seems way out of character for her to so clearly understand the politics of the purebloods all of a sudden...
Time jump isn't super-obvious, but this is explicitly stated to be a couple of weeks later than the mind meld, in early October. As she said, she's spent that time talking to Ron and Neville about political stuff, getting them to owl their relatives with a gradually escalating series of questions, and reading up on procedures and related topics in old newspaper articles and the political sciences section of the library -- I mean, it isn't like pure-blood heirs are going to only study that stuff during Christmas and summer break, so the books are there. Hermione is also well versed in how the mundane world works, which is something that tripped her up with S.P.E.W. as the magical world doesn't actually have the concept of human rights. At all.
Harry has obviously never been interested in politics himself, though, so this minor bit of political information looks really complicated compared to how canon works. In fact, I don't think Hermione really understands it herself, but she has memorized the steps the adults said will work, after having chosen ones that seem to work together. It isn't clear that she's right, either.
As an additional note, I think the classes currently offered at Hogwarts are very minimal, representing a depopulated, post war situation (post two wars, including WWII). Nothing about how to hold down a magical job or run a magical business. No classes on making spells or intro to alchemy. No natural sciences, no maths, no intro to medi-magic. The library would logically still have books for Seventh Years preparing for post-Hogwarts positions and jobs, though.
That seems like something their parents would tell them to do if they didn't wait to fail, the kind of thing Percy would be doing all the time in years other than his last. This could also be another thing Muggleborn aren't usually told about. Or it could be that Hermione in canon got an earful about that in Sixth Year from McGonagall, but Harry's chosen profession basically trains you if you meet requirements, so he wouldn't have anything to study in the library. No one telling him he should be learning about politics would also be typical for everyone's treatment of him. At least that's how I see it.
So given the situation -- a couple of weeks to half-absorb some stuff and two people with relatives with Ministry jobs whose brains she can remotely pick -- it seems to me like coming up with one hairbrained plan like this is exactly what she'd do.
I am assuming based on this that there already exists some plot device that makes Harry forget about Luna and also makes potential relations between them impossible.
There is such a plot device. Hermione suspects it exists, but isn't sure and can't really discuss it with Harry. The latest mind meld almost certainly confirms it.
This was really the motivation behind the question, since the future-past existence of a loved wife would conflict with a new strong love interest building up, unless, over time, everyone involved eventually managed to organise some poly-type agreement between themselves and to overcome the monkey instincts that you've described.
A very good point. Dark Future Luna isn't stupid, so there is no way she didn't see how Hermione was madly in love with Harry. It isn't clear that her last prophecy, the one that got her kidnapped by the Witch Queen Hermione and Ginny the Thorn Witch, was even a real prophecy. There are hints it might not have, or that there was something more complicated going on.
Dark Future Ginny's relationship with her was just two very unhappy people falling together, though Hermione obviously took advantage of that situation as well.
A complicated relationship might be possible, but Harry and present time Hermione have such a maturity gap with everyone else, it seems likely that their duo will lock down before anyone else really has a chance.11/8/2013 #22
Got another comment about Harry/Hermione relationship speed. Thought I'd put down my current thoughts on this and where that part of the story is going from here. Some spoilers, but not major ones.
UNSecur chapter 8
I'm intentionally over-emphasizing the psychological issues here because that is what Hermione herself is doing. Also, Harry is obviously not into it (...yet) and tends to agree as he doesn't find anything about a 12-year-old very sexy. There is also the fact that his body hasn't really started puberty yet, so he just doesn't have the hormonal setup to feel that way. As much as we like to think our emotions (especially romantic love) are external to the physical, that simply isn't the case. As I'm not writing a psychology textbook, I'm not going to cover all the angles in detail, and will simply present the character's views of them.
All this doesn't mean Harry can't feel very close to Hermione, just that he isn't interested in her physically at all right now. Hermione isn't stupid (understatement of the century), and picks up on that that. You might even be able to see where I suggest she's "testing" him to see how Harry reacts to certain kinds of situations and contact. At other times, she's just really bossy and oblivious herself, making for a fun combination.
I think JKR strongly suggests canon-Harry doesn't really start noticing girls until he's thirteen or fourteen, or so, which is a little late but he's also had a lot of trauma, which sometimes delays things both physically and mentally. In my view, Hermione is ten months older and doesn't have this developmental problem. Her own maturity is in full swing by this point, which is confusing, embarrassing, and frustrating for her, like it is in real life. Her developing a growing attachment to an intelligent and very mature friend should be a natural result of this situation. Showing that she really is a powerful, independant, and mentally mature person should go a long way in reducing the ick factor in the future of their temporally odd relationship.
We don't get to see Hermione's internal thoughts in this scene, just what Harry sees and hears, so for all we know she'd want to try some experimenting (or even already does solo), but that isn't shown here. As a hint, I was writing that scene as if she was just starting to realize what she was feeling, was a little confused, and was thinking out loud while trying to pretend she knew everything and was thus in control of the situation. Typical smart person bravado.
As a person, I see my Hermione as wanting to go to logical extremes in all things, and so she's thinking here not of some minor "playing doctor" stuff, but more serious adult activities. So it is that she's shying away from, and for good reason. In any case, I don't think her doing something like that would be wrong, per se, but it seems out of character for 12-year-old Hermione to be even thinking about turning into a sex-kitten around Harry, even if he just looks 11 years old.
She definitely knows what the cultural mores are, and though (and perhaps because) her Dark Future Self obviously ignored some of them, she isn't quite ready yet to throw them off and attempt to seduce a 30-year-old man, even if he is in a child's body. That will matter less and less as they both get older, and she'll start caring less and less what others think of her, but there will also be other complications. Doesn't mean she won't occasionally tease him about it in the mean time, when she feels secure and confident enough to do so.
As I've said before, this is a long fic that will go to the very end. Things will change, but for now Hermione and Harry are in "puppy love," and won't have anything more physical happen than some soulful mind-melds and long, comforting hugs. Year Two, I've got some friendly physical context, but nothing (except for one very complicated and disturbing scene at the end of the year) more than that. Year Three is when I think they'll start edging around possibly dating, and by Year Four they will be a solid (if strange) couple -- 15 and 14 seems very reasonable for that, especially given how mentally mature they both are.
But even then, they won't be going at it like rabbits or anything. From Four through Seven, things will keep escalating, and I doubt either will graduate a virgin this time. I have at least two years of post-Hogwarts stuff planned, but we'll see how well that goes and how much the fic speeds up now that I'm done with characters introductions (as of the end of chapter 13). I might wrap up a little bit earlier if I can't pull together interesting AU stuff for that period of time.
In any case, I'm looking forward to advancing the story quickly so we can get to those points. Writing little kids isn't as much fun, obviously, as more complicated and mature relationships. But hopefully I can set up a strong backstory so the eventual pair of Harry and Hermione will have significantly more impact than if I'd just skipped ahead to that part.3/23/2014 . Edited 3/25/2014 #23
I've seen him 'fixed' a few times by maturation, and it's my favourite way of dealing with Ron. In particular, my favourite Ron Weasley, is in Forging the Sword, by Myst Shadow. It's a fic that diverges at the end of Year Two, where Ginny dies in the COS; Harry's faced with the hard choice of sacrificing Ginny to make sure Riddle doesn't comeback (her life is linked with the diary).
Cue a bit step up in maturity for the trio. In particular Ron comes into his own;no superpowers, no 'strategic prodigy,' just simple growing up. And, like I said, he's a fantastic Ron, the best I've read.
It's also got a brilliant tag line: 'Harry's Gryffindor traits were always so much scarier than other peoples'.'
Also, some nice ruminations on Slytherin/Gryffindor; Slytherin, the Hat had almost put him in, and his similarity to Slytherin's heir Riddle himself had commented on. But he was beginning to think that this wasn't because he had "un-Gryffindor" qualities that fit only in Slytherin, but because the two houses – normally pictured as opposites – were in some fundamental ways quite similar.
Ravenclaws in battle, he had no doubt, would coolly plan the sacrifice of distant strangers to achieve an important objective, though that cold logic could collapse in the face of sacrificing family instead. Hufflepuffs would sacrifice no one, though it means they sacrifice an objective in its place.
Only Gryffindors and Slytherins were good at sacrificing those they loved.
Darn it, now I've got to go re-read that :p9/22/2014 #24
I agree. All Ron needs to be awesome is to grow up. Too bad JKR didn't even grant him that in the epilogue, where it's told he had to cast a confundus spell to pass his driver's test. But a Ron without his petty jealousy and bigotry is great - skilled, passionate, and brave.
Best Ron I saw so far was in DianeCastle's "The League of Extraordinary Women" over on Twisting the Hellmouth. He is comfortable and supportive when Hermione has to follow a prophecy, and a skilled auror in his own rights. The alternate Ron we meet in the follow up stories are also great - I like the SAS Ron especially.
With regards to the Harry/Hermione relationship, I think the story nailed it perfectly. Even with Harry weakened a ton, he still doesn't come over weak (though will hopefully recover his magic before school's over), and the chemistry between the two is simply great.9/24/2014 #25
There's another way of looking at this situation as well. I thought about it in the case of Harry and Hermione telling her parents the truth about him being from the future.
Harry has always loved Hermione. Even in the future. The chapters where she asks him to do things clearly state so. He never hated her, even when he thought being caught by her would mean his death. So, if her parents were to ask about a grown man liking their young daughter, he could ask: "If one of you were sent back in time to when you were children, and placed in your child-self's body, would you stop loving your husband/wife? Is your love so weak that it would go away simply because they were a child again? Or would you continue to love them, and wait for them?" Not word for word of course, but something thereabouts.9/25/2014 #26
I agree with that perspective, except for three possible (and probable) issues:
Firstly, there's the the age/maturity gap. In HP&tWQ, that isn't really an issue; Harry was/is emotionally stunted, he doesn't have a century-or-so on her so the gap isn't that big and Hermione's advanced for her age anyway.
Second, there's the shared experiences; while that is not common in real life (or at least not vital to a relationship), it is in the sort of adventures protagonists (and in particular the HP trio) get into - the whole 'brother's in arms, battle-bond thing. In many time-travel fics, that isn't there due to the traveler pre-countering any major conflicts (eg. destroying all horcruxes during a single summer). Again, in HP&tWQ that isn't a problem; there's plenty of conflict ahead.
Third, and perhaps most important, is the fact that the Love Interest may not even become the person they were in the original future. IN fact, it is probable they won't; after all, the traveler will likely be changing those experiences. It's perhaps my biggest issue with many time-traveler-Harry-stories which are Harry/Ginny - all too often they leave the Diary plot alone because it was a 'defining experience' for her, and 'made her into what she was.' Even ignoring the potential for death by basilisk for the rest of the student body, I can't help but think 'really, you're going to let a girl go through torture, mind control and (presumably) misplaced guilt?' Because it made her in to who she was?
If I was Ginny in those circumstances, I suspect my answer to a marriage proposal would involve hexes, curses and voodoo.
Of course, in HP&tWQ, that isn't a problem; in fact Harry is relying on that happening with Hermione. And the author has said he's already accounted for that in regards to Harry/Luna (which is a pity, I like Lunar Harmony, but I can certainly see why not).9/25/2014 #27
I wasn't talking about whether or not such a situation would end up successful in the case of the one doing the waiting. I was rather making the point that if you love someone to that extent, you would at least *try*. At least we like to think that we would. In reality... who knows? People are weak. But it would likely be a useful argument to use in his defense to them if necessary.9/26/2014 #28
And the author has said he's already accounted for that in regards to Harry/Luna (which is a pity, I like Lunar Harmony, but I can certainly see why not).
I may have to write a Dark Future oneshot for Luna/Harry. People love it too much for me to just drop them romantically. I think there is room for some extra stories, once I finish the main one.
I am wondering still who is behind Harry's loss of memory - Witch Queen Hermione, or older Luna. So many layers.9/26/2014 #30
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