The full conversation between J.K. Rowling and Emma Watson has been published in Wonderland Magazine.
This month’s issue of the magazine was edited by Hermione Granger actress Emma Watson, for which she conducted an interview with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. In their conversation, they discussed the film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the newly announced Harry Potter play, and, of course, the pairing of Ron and Hermione. Comments made by Rowling during this part of the interview caused an uproar throughout the fandom, but for the first time we can decipher her statements in their entirety (it was originally excerpted by the Sunday Times).
The Hermione topic was brought on by Emma, who asked Jo if she had a new perspective on Hermione, post-writing. It was then that Jo made the “infamous” comments that sparked outrage, and new shipping wars:
Watson: I thought we should discuss Hermione… I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but now that you have written the books, do you have a new perspective on how you relate to Hermione and the relationship you have with her or had with her?
Rowling: I know that Hermione is incredibly recognisable to a lot of readers and yet you don’t see a lot of Hermiones in film or on TV except to be laughed at. I mean that the intense, clever, in some ways not terribly self-aware, girl is rarely the heroine and I really wanted her to be the heroine. She is part of me, although she is not wholly me. I think that is how I might have appeared to people when I was younger, but that is not really how I was inside.
What I will say is that I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. 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 with Ron.
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.
I don’t know. 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.
And vice versa.
It was a young relationship. I think the attraction itself is plausible but the combative side of it… I’m not sure you could have got over that in an adult relationship, there was too much fundamental incompatibility. I can’t believe we are saying all of this – this is Potter heresy!
Later on in the interview, Rowling admitted that Ron and Hermione would have needed marriage counseling. She also delves into the dynamics of Hermione and Harry’s relationship, specifically in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Jo and Emma also discussed the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film, and Jo revealed she wrote the first draft of the film in an astonishing twelve days.
Rowling: Warner Bros. came to me ages ago and said they wanted to do something with Fantastic Beasts. I could see the potential in it. I knew something about Newt [Scamander, the fictional author of Fantastic Beasts] having written a little something for Comic Relief. I had imagined a little bit of back story for him…
So when Warner Bros. came to me and said they wanted to make a film out of the book I had this simultaneous feeling of “it has a lot of potential,” and another feeling of slight panic that “I know some things about Newt and I don’t want you to ruin that for me!” because I knew who he was. So then I went away and sort of dwelt on what I knew about Newt, not intending to write a script but just trying to collect my thoughts so that I could at least give them the backstory I’d imagined, so that their vision was true to what I knew.
Then I really did have one of those moments that always make you phenomenally excited as a writer; but also that you know is going to end up being a ton of work. I thought, “Oh my God, a whole plot’s just descended on me!” But I wanted to do it as I was really excited about it. I wasn’t really thinking about writing the script myself, I thought, you know, I’ll give them this plot and then – fatally – I sat down and thought “I just wonder what it would look like…” and wrote a rough draft in twelve days!
Along with this, the two talked about the upcoming Harry Potter stage play, and her peculiar wishes for Fantastic Beasts.
You also announced that you’re going to collaborate on a theatre production.
Yes that was a really interesting idea that Sonia Friedman came up with. I’ve been so resistant for a long time about theatre productions. Quite a few people wanted to do a Harry Potter musical. I didn’t really see Harry as a musical so we said no to all of that, but Sonia came along with a very thoughtful, very interesting idea. I’m quite excited about that.
Will Hermione be in it?!
Well Emma if you are offering to play Hermione… [both laugh] I tell you what I really want. I want you and Dan and Rupert in really heavy make-up in the background of a scene in Fantastic Beasts, and I’ll join you and we’ll sit in a bar room having a laugh for an afternoon. Do you not think that would be fantastic?
That sounds like the most fun I can imagine having!
And we can mess around as extras in the background.
And then we can see if anyone can spot us. I personally would like to be in drag, just to make sure no one can spot me at all.
As well as this, Rowling talks about her greatest achievements and getting ideas in the interview. You can read the full interview here on the author’s website.
What do you think about Jo’s comments having heard the full story? Would you like to see her in Fantastic Beasts? Tell us in the comments below!