Ron and Hermione don’t even each other when they meet.
They squabble about rule-breaking, and later about Hermione’s cat’s apparent predations on Ron’s pet rat Scabbers (who, to be fair, turns out to be a fugitive dark wizard in disguise).
But it also means that there’s something flat at the heart of many of Rowling’s characters, an area in their lives that’s somehow immune from the kind of grand complexities that defines their approach to magic, to technology, to racialized politics, and even to their friendships.
Maybe it’s meant to be an act of mercy, a place in the characters’ lives where something is simply a source of joy.
But it’s a way of telling love stories that to me, does a small disservice to the characters that Rowling created, who can be selfish, temperamental, close-minded, hysterical, hypocritical, and beautifully silly.
And I suppose that’s why I’ve always liked the idea of Ron and Hermione together: because it didn’t feel inevitable, and because however right they eventually seemed together, I could see the potential for conflicts, the work that was to come.
At various points in the series, Ron and Hermione are patently jealous of each other’s light romances, and handle that jealousy badly.
Rowling doesn’t spend much time on Harry’s aunt and uncle, Vernon and Petunia Dursley, but they’re introduced to us as utterly complementary, and in filling in Petunia’s backstory, Rowling never tells us of any other romance.Rather than falling in love again, Dumbledore appears to have chosen a celibate adulthood dedicated to preserving the integrity of Hogwarts and to advocating for his vision of relations between the wizarding and Muggle worlds.Similarly, Severus Snape, who commits terrible acts in the hope that Lily Potter will eventually love him again, spends the rest of his life after her death doing penance for his role in her murder.And when love’s requirements fail to enlist the object of a witch or wizard’s affection, it’s a force that still compels them — as far as we know, for the rest of their lives.Albus Dumbledore’s affections for Gellert Grindlewald, which Rowling later revealed to be romantic rather than merely friendly or collegial, appear to have been the only such attachment of his adulthood.