Welcome to Part 2 of the Harry-as-girl theory I’ve so diligently worked on for you. As mentioned in the original post, this one is dedicated entirely to the complicated problem of what to do with Ron and Hermione now that Harry’s a girl. None of the solutions I’ve come up with are 100 percent foolproof; each has their own set of pros and cons. So I am presenting you with three scenarios and hoping that you can see the merit in all and maybe even come up with antidotes to their flaws.
Let’s see what happens!
Scenario One: Ron and Hermione stay as they are.
Obviously the first question that came to mind was whether Ron and Hermione could exist as is after giving their “group leader” a sex change. Taking it into consideration, this is the least likely scenario for the series because it presents con after con after con.
- CON 1: Ron would never hear the end of it if his two best friends are girls. And I’m not just talking about the Slytherins having a field day with this. Fred and George relish any opportunity to take the piss out of Ron, and this would be a golden opportunity (pun not intended!). Personally, I don’t see a problem with a guy hanging out with girls, but I can also admit how weird it would look to the rest of the student body (and male readers). With this scenario, I’d predict a lot of disappearances from the trio on Ron’s part to avoid ridicule.
- CON 2: This would mess up a lot of key moments within the story’s plot; I’ve got two off the top of my head. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black enters the boys’ dormitory to (spoiler alert) kill Ron’s rat Scabbers, who is really Peter Pettigrew, true betrayer of James and Lily Potter. When Ron wakes up and screams, scaring off Sirius, everyone assumes it was a botched attempt on Harry’s life. If Harry’s a girl, she and Ron wouldn’t be sleeping in the same dormitory, and it’d be a lot harder to believe that Sirius got the entire dormitory location wrong as opposed to just being off by a bed. Then, in Deathly Hallows, one of the reasons Ron bails on Harry and Hermione (spoilers again) is because the bewitched Slytherin locket keeps making him imagine that Harry and Hermione are messing around behind his back. Not only would that make no sense if Harry were a girl, the entire (imagined) tension of two guys fighting over their female friend would be lost. That doesn’t bother me at all, but I’ll get back into that in a minute. There are probably more moments like this… Sound off in the Comments section if you can think of any!
After those two cons, my pondering took on a “If this happened a certain way, it’d be a con, but if not, then maybe not” quality. I will call these Undecideables.
- UNDECIDEABLE 1: With a female Harry, does that automatically make Hermione the main best friend? After the troll incident, which brings Hermione into the friendship in the first place, would Herm and Girl Harry naturally gravitate toward each other, leaving Ron out more often than not? A PRO with this would be that Hermione might become better at talking to girls, something that she’s clearly not great with. A CON would be that readers would lose the “Harry and Ron are clearly James and Sirius while Hermione is Lily/Lupin” dynamic because how could G.H. go on as many capers when she sleeps under Hermione’s watchful eye? Plus, Hermione might find G.H.’s tendency toward recklessness too much if they spent a lot of time together, and boom, the friendship is ruined. Another way this is a PRO only comes about if G.H. acts more like Lily. Based on what we know about Harry’s parents, it’s easy to believe that Lily would be Hermione’s favorite. If Girl Harry acted more like her mom, she’d probably be closer to Hermione. But a CON that comes with that is losing the “besties in recklessness” vibe between the Harry and Ron characters entirely. If G.H. is like Lily, then what at all would she have in common with Ron, Harry’s go-to partner in crime? And if G.H. is more like James, then how would she and Ron converse across dormitories? That’s not so much a con as it is just a genuine question about how it would work. With what I’m sure is a plethora of ways to talk to people who aren’t in the same place as you, I’d just want to know which route they’d go.
- UNDECIDEABLE 2: What happens with the “love triangle”? Despite the fact that this triangle takes place inside Ron’s head, it’s still a part of the story, and it’s a part that’s next to impossible to recreate in this scenario. Considering that ladies tend to know when they share an interest in a guy, I doubt Hermione would ever be jealous of Girl Harry and Ron. It could probably be forced in somewhere, especially if Ron remained the closer friend to Girl Harry, but that leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Then, of course, there’s the question of the Deathly Hallows fight that I detailed above. But because I don’t like the love triangle in the first place (WHY CAN’T GUYS AND GIRLS JUST BE FRIENDS?!), I wouldn’t lose any sleep over that disappearing.
Finally, there is no-exceptions pro that comes with all this, and it is centered around yet another theory of mine (albeit a short one).
- PRO 1: Keeping Ron and Hermione as they are allows Girl Harry to have what I consider to be her true surrogate parents. If you think about it, Ron and Hermione share certain similarities with James and Lily Potter. Ron and James are pureblood wizards whose love interests are Muggle-born witches. Both couples suffered through a “I’m not really fond of you” phase (one long one in the case of James and Lily, and several small ones in the case of Ron and Hermione). I’m pretty sure Lily was smarter than James, like their son’s friends. Ron’s relationship with Harry is what I imagine James’s relationship would’ve been with him, and Hermione is always mother-henning all over those two (though she cuts them the kind of breaks I imagine Lily would as well). This is obviously just my own postulating, but I like to imagine that Rowling wanted to give Harry SOME sense of his parents, even if he wasn’t aware that that’s what he was getting. Not changing Ron and Hermione leaves G.H. with this same option, and that’s something that would make me smile.
Scenario Two: Take Ron and make him a girl; take Hermione and make her a boy.
This seems like the most obvious solution for some people as it is the essences of Ron and Hermione that make them such important characters to the story. They’d be right on that front, and it would fix some of the issues with the previous scenario. However, it still presents a few problems.
Something that is neither here nor there about this option is that Girl Harry would most likely retain James-like qualities. As I’ve said, the reckless attitude with which Harry and Ron approach things is reminiscent of James and Sirius, and if we’re keeping Ron’s personality the exact same (simply changing his P to a V), then Girl Harry’s personality needs to be the same. Simple math, folks!
- PRO 1: This allows us to keep the plot points that would be screwed up if Harry and Ron weren’t the same gender. Because so many of the events revolve around Harry and Ron running off on their own or plotting in their beds together, they need to be sleeping in the same place. So switching Ron’s gender to female would seem to be the best option. However…
- CON 1: This gives us that whole “weird” thing where a guy is hanging around with two girls all the time as well.
- CON 2: It would also probably cause some readers to be all up in arms about how the smartest person in this trio is a guy. The fact that Hermione is the smartest in their year and a girl seems just as important as her being the smartest and a Muggle-born. So making her into a boy would lose a crucial aspect to the story’s dynamic.
- UNDECIDEABLE 1: It’s possible to keep the love triangle in this, with Girl Ron assuming that Boy Hermione wants to date Girl Harry (see reasons listed when Ron’s trying to destroy that locket Horcrux in Deathly Hallows). But I still wouldn’t like it.
- CON 3: There would be new plot problems. In Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry and Ron accidentally lock Hermione in a bathroom with a troll. This is only possible because she spent the entire day in a girls’ bathroom crying about how she has no friends. I feel like the reasons for being there wouldn’t really work if Hermione was a boy (again, working from the assumption that it wouldn’t track with male readers). Along a similar vein, in Chamber of Secrets, Ron accidentally curses himself trying to curse Malfoy for calling Hermione a Mudblood. I don’t think this would work well because in addition to Girl Ron being made fun of for the slugs thing, Boy Hermione would be made fun of for “having to get a girl” to fight his battles for him. Instead of this event bringing the friends a bit closer, I feel like Boy Hermione would get embarrassed and disappear from the friendship for a bit. I mean, even if he’s smart, he’s not above wounded pride. But I think that would be an interesting aspect to the Ron/Hermione of it all; how does Boy Hermione get past the fact that Girl Ron is constantly try to fix his bully problems?
This brings us to…
Scenario Three: All three of them are girls.
Now, here is an interesting prospect, if I do say so myself. It seems like there’s a shortage of books of this nature with female trios taking the spotlight. Maybe I’m just not well-versed in strong female literature, but you’d likely be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of adventurous books that follow multiple female leads. As with the other scenarios, there are benefits, issues, and head-scratchers.
- PRO 1: As I just said, I can’t name many books with an all-female leading cast that contain this level of action in it. Plus, it might change the image of how female friends fight, considering that these three would have real problems on top of the petty things.
- CON 1: Would having a group of girls as the main characters lead to them falling into gender stereotypes? I feel like whenever there’s a group of girls, they call into certain roles: the slutty one, the mom, the nerd, the tomboy, etc. Would it have been hard for Rowling to write Harry, Ron, and Hermione as all ladies without subjecting to that kind of canonical peer pressure?
- UNDECIDEABLE 1: The love triangle would disappear completely. I list this as an undecideable because even though I couldn’t give a crap about a love triangle, I don’t know how other readers would feel about not having it at all. Regardless of how annoying it might’ve been for me, a lot of people like it, and I’d hate to disappoint the fans!
- PRO 2: The whole Scabbers-is-Peter Pettigrew scenario can be kept; they’d just need to add Hermione into the scene somehow.
- UNDECIDEABLE 2: The whole Ron-bails-on-Harry and Hermione thing is still doable, but the love triangle aspect of it would need to disappear. Once again, this doesn’t bother me at all, but considering it’s probably the main motivator of Ron’s departure, anything else might not seem as convincing.
- UNDECIDEABLE 3: The periods wherein Ron and Hermione (or Ron and Harry, or Harry and Hermione) aren’t speaking to each other would need to be tweaked, seeing as how they’d all be sleeping in the same place. I mean, it was possible to have Ron and Harry avoid speaking while in the dormitory together (by having them rarely awake at the same time in there), so I think it would work with all three characters sharing a dormitory. They’d just have to get creative about it. This would be the same for any instance when Harry and Ron go off and do things without Hermione. This is rare, of course, but I think that would offer some opportunity for Rowling to have fun with late-night escape plans.
- CON 2: I can’t help but think that the series wouldn’t have been as popular if all the main characters were young ladies. It’s hard enough imagining that young male readers would’ve wanted to read Harry Potter if Harry was Jeannette or whatever his lady name would’ve been; put three ladies in charge and you can’t avoid the “THIS IS FOR GIRLS” label. [I’m currently working on a blog post about male readership, too… My brain does not turn off, you guys.] Perhaps getting male readers at such a young age (Sorceror’s Stone came out when I was in 4th grade) would’ve made the plethora of vaginas less of a problem, especially if Girl Harry was as easy to relate to as Boy Harry, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.
That’s as far as I got… So there you have it; my extended theory about how to work Ron and Hermione into the Harry-as-a-girl premise, in all its theoretical glory. It might make even less sense than the Harry-as-a-girl theory, but I can’t do anything about that! All I can do is share with you when my mind has little What if? questions like that and hope that you enjoy listening to me ramble!