Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Harry and Hermione: More Than A Dance

So, after the billionth time watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (my favorite in the series of movies) I began to really pay attention to one particular relationship and character dynamic within the film. We all know that Harry, Hermione and Ron have a powerful friendship, one that we have watched grow and change throughout their stay at Hogwarts. Harry and Hermione have always been the intense duo; Harry being scarred and ‘the chosen one’ and Hermione with her unwavering intellect and focus. Ron has always provided them with a comical and very necessary lightness, which balances out the trio. Ron is the foil to their feminine/masculine intensity; Harry is able to let loose with Ron and embrace his youth, and Hermione lets loose as well, which allows Ron to connect with her on a much more emotional level elevating their friendship to something else.

In the Deathly Hallows, without Hogwarts and under the pressure of a world catapulting into chaos, we get to see this trio blur all of the boundaries set into place in their youth. The most notable foray into the unknown territory of their friendship happens when the balance of the trio is thrown off when Ron is overcome with jealousy at the bond that Hermione and Harry share and he chooses to leave them. Now, in my mind, as I analyze this I am able to see how all of this happens having lived a bit of life of my own. Harry has feelings for Ginny and Hermione has feelings for Ron, and sometimes when people are secure in their affections for others they feel more comfortable with lowered boundaries and pretenses with members of the opposite sex, especially those that they consider to be their close friends.

I think this is what happens on their journey, and when Hermione selects to give Harry a haircut, which is a very intimate activity involving closeness and touching, it pushes horcrux wearing Ron over the edge. Ron’s never been the most intelligent, his actions are always rooted deeply in his emotional reaction to things, which is something usually attributed to females, but Rowling has breached gender boundaries for the greater good of all future generations for Hermione is the one who possesses the most logic in the group.

Ron overreacts to their closeness. Again, they are the intense duo, maybe at school Ron was too distracted by other things and not as aware of his feelings for Hermione that he never noticed, but this is how Harry and Hermione connect. He accuses his friends of carrying on as though he is not even there, insinuating an underlying romantic element, and so he chooses to leave. And for the first time (other than when Ron ignored Harry because he was jealous in Goblet of Fire) Harry and Hermione are really alone with one another.

All of their individual intensity under the pressure of a crumbling world and a dead end mission to save them all and it’s just the two of them – uh, yeah. I’m surprised all they did was dance! But was it just a dance? Oh, only if perhaps you watched the movie with the same innocence filter with which you watched the first one. That dance was a conversation, a door opening, and if you watch Harry as he walks into the tent, takes the Horcrux off of Hermione and takes her hand to bring her to him – it is also a seduction. This is qualified by the expression Hermione wears as he comes to her – she has no idea what he is doing, and when he starts to dance she finally lets herself fall into the casualness of their familiarity. But she is a girl abandoned by the boy she loves, and she is in the arms of her best friend who she loves, and he is the one making moves to make her feel better. Even for a girl as smart as Hermione, there are a lot of new things to consider now that it's just the two of them. Right now, she only exists to Harry; Ron is gone and she obliviated her memory from her parents’ minds – that is definitely an emotionally intense feeling.

 Also, that song they danced to by Nick Cave ‘O Children’ is a really sad song. The song talks about ethnic cleansing, a world torn apart by the older generation and corrupt systems that are left to piece back together by the children. This is kinda profound in terms of music selection and its relation to what is happening in the plot. But the music suggests with its choir-esque background vocals that there is still hope, and there is still joy to be found, and so Harry, sensitive and recognizing the pain his friend is in, seeks to provide her with some of the comfort and lightness that Ron use to give her, and he chooses the art of dance. As the song comes to a close and the moment of joy too quickly vanishes, Hermione rests her face against Harry’s and then they pull apart slowly like there could be a kiss, but those inclinations are only fed by the mixed up emotions from their unbalanced dynamic now that Ron is gone. Even so, they both look as though they acknowledge something more has happened than just a dance.

Now, I have a lot of male friends, and most of them originate from my youth, and I can say that over the years and with the obstacles of life and increasing age I have considered each of those friends and their potential as a romantic partner. Most of the time I laughed off the consideration in a matter of seconds, but I considered them nonetheless. I think in the movie Hermione definitely considers things a little more than Harry does seeing as how he’s real distracted by his fate and all. Before consenting to return to Godric’s Hollow, Hermione reaches out and touches Harry, she tells him that he should never let her give him a haircut again. The haircut was the catalyst for Ron leaving, but in what is transpriring between them now the haircut was a catapult into very confusing territory of boy-girl emotional drama.

So off to Godric’s Hollow where Harry finds the grave of his parents. Hermione, now technically a girl without parents, leans down and creates a wreath for their graves. Then she links her arm into Harry’s, and with a very obvious moment of consideration, affectionately lowers her head to Harry’s shoulder. It is a similar movement to when she puts her head on his shoulder when they dance, but for some reason (and Emma Watson is amazing for being able to portray this) she thinks about it first. Then some kind of acceptance occurs within her and she gives into the impulse and physically connects with him. Later, after almost dying in a fight with Voldemort's snake, Nagini, Harry wakes up and goes outside to where Hermione sits.

Hermione, an old soul, perhaps tired and even more afraid after the fight with the giant snake, sits concealing his broken wand, and remarks to Harry that maybe they should just stay there in the woods and grow old. Harry is visibly surprised that Hermione seems resigned to this kind of contentment in life, versus the daily battle to survive in a world that is hunting them. She doesn’t push, nor does she seem to give it much more thought, and obviously exhausted she reveals to Harry that his only defense against Voldemort, his wand with a shared core, has been broken. It’s interesting though, that Hermione would suggest this scenario. I’m sure she knows Harry well enough to know he will never give up his quest, but the psychology behind the thought is fascinating and I think it all stems from her feeling defeated; she’s lost her parents, Ron, her place in the world, her intellect is getting her no where. It’s disturbing in many ways, because Hermione seems eternally propelled by her active mind, but even our minds can fail us when we are tired. I, in no way think that Hermione is over Ron, she’s been in love with him for years, but she has entertained the thought of being with Harry and I think this scene solidifies it into some kind of proof for what I'm writing about here.  

But, of course, Ron returns that very night, and he seems invigorated and passionate about his heart leading him back to Hermione. And the balance is restored, the kind of intense companionship Harry and Hermione were forming is regulated by Ron’s return and the release of tension is felt by the audience and characters alike. Then Ron goes to destroy the horcrux and this whole scenario is played out before him, and we really do see Harry and Hermione getting it on, with chemistry that is undeniable. So was all this done to satiate viewers and readers who were always secretly team Hermione and Harry? This whole over-analysis has stemmed from me watching this movie way too many times and really picking this dynamic apart. I love it too, because it has nothing to do with magic, it’s all coming of age human drama stuff, and that’s what makes these characters so compelling in this film. Really watch these scenes next time the movie comes on, and I promise you'll pick up on it too.  


  1. Awesome analysis! I totally agree, as I have always been team H&H.
    Also in the final film HPDH2 don't you think that it would've been a better scene had Ron killed the snake and finally proved himself a hero to the audience and Hemione, instead of bringing back some minor character to save them both?!?!

  2. i love your analysis! yes, i have discovered their feeling on those scene and i become more excited with Deathly Hallows movie. The dance scene is one of my favorite Harry Potter movie scene that never been on book.

  3. I like your analysis very much. I would also point out that when Hermione suggests giving up, she has been guarding the Voldemort locket for hours so at that point she is down, very far down emotionally.

    I disagree with an earlier poster. I loved the fact that Neville killed the snake. In the end it is a joint effort. Besides, at this point Neville has been leading the DA for a year.

  4. thank you for sharing your thoughts on this scene. it was interesting to read and if i was honest, i never would have thought about this until the very moment i watched the movie again with my mother. she saw it for the very first time and when the dancing scene began she said: 'omg, what's happening there, are they going to kiss each other?' and i said: 'ah no! they'll just dance'. but then i recognized some of the hints you analyzed up above and thought ... hum, really this must have been more than a dance. and in combination with the scenes that follow afterwards i really believe that you're right with all of the above. also loved the fact that this was something non-magical. but i believe that the harry potter series is much less about magic than we think but about all those topics humankind thinks about since its very beginnings. it's very philosophic. when i grew older i appreciated this fact much more than the magical theme. joanne k. rowling is a genius, i love her for these masterpieces.

  5. Rowling has said outright that Neville killing Nagini was an expression of the fact that Neville was "the boy it could have been." The prophecy that predicted that someone would rise to defeat voldy could have been harry or neville. The fact that Harry was chosen (by voldy) doesn't take any power away from Neville, he's still just as strong as he would have been, he's just not the chosen one.

  6. I know this was posted almost two years ago...but as I am watching the movie right now, I can't help but feel these feelings as well. I have for quite awhile now, but your analysis really helped me see it even more. I do feel though the comment about never giving Harry a haircut ever again was more in regards to the fact she couldn't see his scar, Harry's most defining feature, instead of referring to the event that set their friendships into chaos. I think the simple gesture of moving Harry's hair to the side...showed this emotional connection between the two of them even more. Rowling said recently admitted that she wanted Hermione and Harry to end up together instead of Ron and Hermione. While there was blaring disbelief from most of the fans, I can see why. They were always finishing each other's sentences. They stuck together through the worst of times. Their friendship was tangible and real. And I can definitely see why she chose in the end to stick Ron with Hermione. The way Ron looks at Hermione is unreal. While Harry always had a strong willed connection with Hermione, Ron never wanted anything more than to be with Hermione. Ever since, I've always wondered if J.K. told the directors to add in these moments because of her personal reasons for wanting H&H to end up together. And I've always wondered what would have happened throughout the series if they did.

    1. Some of the movie stuff, especially the dance, was actually made up by David Yates and Steve Kloves, Yates talked about it in a pretty interesting interview for example. I think they often considered Rowling's thoughts and listened to her but she didn't try to push it in a direction that she didn't realised in the books, like giving it a second chance or so, I'm pretty sure about that :).

      Concerning the "haircut sentence" I 'drather go with Amanda though your thesis is worth a thought :).

  7. "Later, after almost dying in a fight with the Basilisk, Harry wakes up and goes outside to where Hermione sits."
    It was not a Basilisk they fought, it was a snake, the snake of Voldemort named Nagini.
    You can't just mix them up together.

  8. I appreciate the edit. It doesn't change what I'm saying - but it is a technical error and I stand corrected.

  9. Really great review. I love Harry and Hermione, although I really can't see them being anything more than two really close, loyal and great friends. That time they spent alone together (haha, oxymoron) really strengthened their friendship. JK Rowling actually said she wanted Harry and Hermione to end up together... I can see why, but I think Ron showed more affection for Hermione than Harry. He was disgusted by her crush on Gilderoy Lockhart, was jealous of her going to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum, started a relationship with Lavender... etc, etc. I just think that it's because they really did love each other it took them so long to get together. After they're little argument in Herbology class, even Harry mentioned that he wasn't surprised, and knew it would happen, all though he feared being shut out if Ron and Hermione ever did become like Bill and Fleur.
    If Harry and Hermione ended up together, Ron and Ginny would have been heartbroken. Seeing someone you have loved for sooooo long with someone else is terrible. In my view, Harry and Hermione are nothing more or less than great friends.
    I'm glad JK Rowling didn't create a love triangle.

    1. This was two years ago, but just to correct something. Rowling herself said she didn't know why she paired Hermione with Ron, that most likely they would've needed years of couple therapy and that they were ill suited for one another.
      Now, as a fan of the HP saga, I have to agree. Personally I'd see Hermione with Draco, not just for the fanservice, but because they were so similar yet so different: Hermione was the goody two shoes, smart, perfectionist girl while Draco was the smart, good student yet bad boy, they would've had a ton in common and other things that would've balanced their relationship out.
      But in terms of Ron loving Hermione, yes, he might've done that, but he loved himself a bit more. He abused her for years, maybe in subtle ways, but there was always something he said to her that never quite made me feel ok about their relationship. He's also way too headstrong for her, and too common. She needed someone extraordinary, seeing as she was an extraordinary witch.

    2. Dont wish to be rude, but hermione and draco would be horrible togethor. You dont get togethor with someone who calls you racial slurs. I do get what your getting at with both of them being smart, but point still stands to much bad blood.

  10. Two days ago, after having watched 7/2 again it stunned me that this movie is already five years old, the book being almost nine years old...
    To be honest this was the first time that I was able to fully capture the significance and beauty of this scene. For me it is by far the most beautiful scene in the movies. Speaking in terms of atmosphere and narration it is the most dense scene for its ~2 minutes of screentime evoked an avalanche of thoughts, "what would've been if..?"-moments, emotions and stories in my head.
    Although the movies always had minor (sometimes major) inaccuracies, none of them (IMO) managed to significantly push the narration towards the better. This scene does, in a way you pointed out in your excellent analysis, and moreover awoke in me the desire to dig deeper. Upon further reading I can for myself claim this scene to be the most outstanding one in the entire cinematic series.
    Seldom I stumbled across a movie scene in which there is such a quality in Acting, Music and creation of atmosphere working hand in hand thus creating a masterpiece. A slight peek over the horizon, a tiny insight in Harry and Hermiones hearts and minds, that could not have been transported any better..

    Thank you Amanda, for your analysis;

    Thank you Joanne for your magic total work of arts;

    and thank you Dan, Emma, Mr. Yatesa and others for giving us two minutes of the truly extraordinary.


  11. Beautiful analysis. I rewatched the film just now, and I was hoping to find someone who had written about those moments. I am very glad that I did.

  12. I liked your thesis and I love this scene, but I think it is much simpler. Harry is a 17 year old male, alone in a tent in the woods with a very attractive female. The dance is to show us that Harry had already determined he is going to seize the moment and just see what happens. Hermione joins in after a little coaxing, and briefly both of them enjoy the moment and what could be. But then Hermione who is freshly heartbroken, draws back when the music stops, as she realises this isn't really what she wants, and Harry then accepts that this isn't going to work out. I don't think he really thought it would or thought what would happen after the dance.
    It would have seemed very strange if two 17 yr olds, who already liked and respected each other, and were forced into a very cosy situation did not at least consider the possibility of romance.

  13. I'm forever going to pair Harry/Hermione. I can't turn myself not to. Its always been these two for me. I love ron and I love Ginny. But Rowling did wrong, but it was a hard choice. The fandom would have been hurt either way. There are 3 sectors of the fandom: Harmione, Romione and Hinny. Now with canon ending and the Harmione inclined films, not only managed to hurt Harmione fans but the other two sectors, Hinny and Romione fans took pain with the terrible portryal of Ginny and the Harmione moments from films that outshined the Romione moments.

    But had Rowling changed the pairing, mid way the damaged would have been far less then what has happened now.