JAN / FEB 2017: BY ELORA SHORE
Harry Potter has been, and continues to be, a part of our childhood. We identify with the characters, their hurts, troubles, intense friendships, and humor. The things they do for each other are what we hope we’d be able to do for our friends. Ron and Hermione are iconic characters that perfectly encapsulate the type of friends we’re closest to being—or feel, and hope, that we are. The one that’s always helping, or standing up for a friend, and often enough, the one that looks like a fool. The foolish champion; the guardian angel.
What I love about Hermione is that she’s the guardian mother of the group, loyally taking care of the boys, always on the hunt for the knowledge that could save them and accomplish the mission, often putting herself in danger just so they can reach that goal. The love and loyalty she has for them is intense. Even if they managed to push her away at some point, (theoretically) you know she’d be watching from a distance and slipping in any help she could. Or punching them in the nose for being morons. Who wouldn’t love Hermione?
And there’s Ron—the affable buddy looking for fun and food. The way he and Harry bonded is just so adorable. So natural, simple—and Ron turns into one of the best champions in the story. He has his weaknesses—even at one point abandoning his friends and the mission. But despite his struggles with being second fiddle to Harry and worrying that someday he’d lose Hermione—he always came back. Ron was there to shoulder the load, do what needed to be done, whether that was just to cheer on Harry or to save his life.
I think though, that at heart of it one fears being forgotten, that their deeds and efforts can go unnoticed, especially next to the glory of a famous friend. (Or parent, or other family member—you hear it all the time about celebrities). We can love so much, go so far—but to be forgotten in the end? Especially by those who perhaps take us for granted?
Think of the times Hermione and Ron put themselves on the line. In The Sorcerer’s Stone, Ron plays a lethal game of chess, and takes the chance of sacrificing himself to the game just to get Harry through. Ever one for sticking to the rules, Hermione actually breaks many again and again to be there for her friends and save the school from ruin. In trying to discover the danger of the Chamber of Secrets, she ends up being petrified—but was able to leave enough clues so Ron and Harry could go on.
The Goblet of Fire is a great example, when Ron actually struggles with the amount of glory Harry gets. It turns into something bitter, and almost destroys their friendship—but while pride gets in the way of a quicker reconciliation, we find out that Ron was actually trying to find a way to patch things up. Like Harry said, it was completely mental the way Ron went about it, but hey—they fixed it in the end and all was well. Boys.
The Deathly Hollows is the perfect example of friends in general who step up to the line. Everyone knows Harry Potter. They all know the sort of “glory” he gets, the attention from Dumbledore (to be envied) and the general happenings that tend to surround him. Yet when it came to it many knew he was a decent person. They did their part, and kept going even when they thought he was dead. Neville Longbottom is one of the most famous of underdogs. Always blundering, getting into messes without even trying to, yet he ends up playing one of the most crucial roles.
Hermione and Ron are put to the hardest test—Hermione obliviates her family, erases any recollection of her. Ron, after so much sacrifice and turmoil, with getting nowhere, turns bitter and abandons the mission. We realize later he wanted to come back almost immediately, but was lost. Led by a doe Patronus, Ron returns in time to save Harry from drowning and destroy a Horcrux. Hermione throughout all of this is trying to keep them all together, and safe, trying to figure out what sort of cryptic clues Dumbledore left. It breaks her heart, how all of them are struggling, and when Ron leaves—you can see the hurt she is in, in every moment. It takes her awhile to forgive him when he returns. Despite all this, they find ways to keep battling on.
Could you imagine if they hadn’t been there for each other? Would anything, in the end, have been saved? They made up a whole. The brains, the loyalty, the champion. It’s friendships like that that change the world. There is no such thing as second fiddle, if you know what each person means to the whole.
In the end, being “second fiddle” just means knowing that you’re there to make sure everything turns out all right—and that you’re actually part of something bigger. It’s not one gloried person, and just the “helpers.” It’s a cycle. There are those who are born to champion for the world, and those who, by their example, learn to be a better person and to keep fighting. No champion is without his own saviors. And no one, blessed by a great friend, isn’t the better for it.