THERE are many aspects in the imagined world of Harry Potter that seemed a little far-fetched: the flying witches and wizards, the giant beasts, the impossibly dour Professor Snape and the magical trains from London’s King’s Cross station.
But for many diehard fans, the least likely part of the novels and films was the romance between Ron Weasley and the talented Hermione Granger.
Now author JK Rowling has admitted she may have made a mistake.
The Edinburgh-based writer has conceded Hermione should have ended up with boy wizard Harry instead of the flame-haired third member of the iconic literary and cinematic triad, Ron Weasley.
In an interview with lifestyle magazine Wonderland – whose February edition is guest-edited by Emma Watson, who played Hermione in the movies – the author said Ron may not have been the most suitable beau. She said: “I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfilment.
“That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”
She added: “I know, I’m sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that.
“It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility.
“Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”
The author, who wrote much of the first Potter novel in Edinburgh cafés, said Hermione and Ron would have probably needed relationship counselling, while Watson herself also doubted whether they would make it as a couple.
She said: “I think there are fans out there who know that too, and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy.”
The book series is the most popular in history, with sales of some 450 million copies. The brand is worth an estimated £15 billion.
The eight Harry Potter films, stretched over the decade between 2001 and 2011, grossed more than £4.3bn worldwide for Warner Brothers, which has announced it is developing a new movie series with Rowling.
Based on the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander, the franchise will start in New York, 70 years before the events outlined in the Harry Potter tales.
In a statement to announce the move, Rowling said: “Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt.
“As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.”
Of the new project, she said: “Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 years, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.
“The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films.”
Rowling has released two adult novels since the end of the Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy, which is being developed into a TV series, and The Cuckoo’s Calling, which was released under the pseudonym “Robert Galbraith”.