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 is 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
‘O Children’ is a
really sad song. The song talks about ethnic cleansing, a world torn apart by
the older generation and corrupt
systems and 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
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 and 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 the Basilisk, 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.