The Potterverse-And-Beyond is freaking out about J.K. Rowling’s recent statement that she is no longer the biggest fan of her own choice to romantically pair Ron and Hermione in the epilogue of The Deathly Hallows. She went on to wonder if Harry was the best man for Hermione.
There’s a question here about whether or not writers should publicize regrets on their work; whether a work is always in progress; what the author’s responsibility is to their canon; who the text belongs to after it is printed and loved by millions of people – I’m not going to answer that. I’m here to answer another question:
Realistically, what should happen to the Golden Trio after the Battle of Hogwarts?
Note: my local Barnes & Noble had a writing competition to write the final chapter of the series before The Deathly Hallows came out. I won, with a chapter that had Ron and Hermione sacrifice their lives for Harry in the same way that his parents did, except this time when selfless love magic rebounded the curse at Voldemort he was out of Horcruxes and died. I tell you this so you know I am ruthless.
Oh, poor Harry. He had such a rough time. Discovering his magic at eleven years old was overshadowed by the whole “You Are The Hope Of Our Future, Harry” thing, and he never got to come to terms with any of the pieces of his new identity. Also, so many of his new friends died. Basically, Harry has a lot of stuff to sort through and he certainly isn’t ready for a relationship. He tries to be an Auror but freaks out during the practical exam, screaming “HAVE YOU EVER STOOD FACE TO FACE WITH THE DARKEST WIZARD OF ALL TIME? WELL I DID! MORE THAN ONCE!” at a boggart. He eventually settles into a hut in the mountains that is close enough to Hogwarts for him to give guest lectures twice a year to seventh-year Defense Against the Dark Arts students. He spends the rest of the time flying his Firebolt through the Forbidden Forest.
After finishing her final year at Hogwarts, Hermione is disappointed in the lack of magical higher education. She talks to the Prime Minister to see if she can get into a Muggle university despite not having a high school degree, and he places her at Oxford. She studies Women’s Studies and Biology. As for relationships (because this is apparently incredibly important): she breaks up with Ron when he refuses to finish his studies at Hogwarts and makes fun of her for doing so. She takes some pre-veterinary classes in college so that she is better equipped to expand S.P.E.W. to a healthcare program for house elves, and in these classes she meets a Muggle whom she later marries.
After the breakup with Hermione, Ron has some soul-searching to do. He explores his magical roots, realizing he always took magic for granted. This leads him to spending lots of time with his mother, who is the best witch he knows (other than Hermione, but he pretends she doesn’t exist for a while). He combines his love for food with his newfound love for magic and gets really into cooking, making all meals at the Burrow. (Molly is pleased, because now she has time to deal with the ghoul.) He opens up a wildly successful restaurant right next to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. I guess he can meet a girl and get married, but I don’t feel like plotting that out.
I decided to re-write the epilogue to the series because I don’t think it matters at all. What matters is how these books transported us, changed our childhoods, and made us stay up late at night believing in many types of magic.