The signs were there the whole time.

She was his best friend. He confided everything in her. He noticed when she took extra care in her appearance and was looking particularly pretty. He was always the first to sense when she was upset. He trusted her completely. Of course, I'm talking about 'Harry Potter,' but I bet you thought I was talking about Ron and Hermione. I'm not.

Emerson Spartz, the administrator of MuggleNet, infamously said in an interview with J.K Rowling: "Harry/Hermione 'shippers: delusional!" [For those not in the know, this is a term used to describe a fan of a fictional "relationship."]

It was a remark that garnered much attention and criticism. Yes, chances are you are either living in a state of denial or have not read all the Harry Potter books if you believe that Harry and Hermione end up together. Personally, I don't see the harm in a little fiction-based denial, but I would like to write in the defense of Harry/Hermione fans. Sure, the argument that all of the above was just platonic is valid. It's always platonic... until it's not.

I am not a die-hard 'Harry Potter' 'shipper. OK, that's a bold-faced lie. I am a total 'shipper. First there was Draco Malfoy and Hermione, but my hope for that faded fast. Then there was Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, and with all due respect to Hannah Abbott, I'm pretty sure that Neville continues to be Luna's soulmate. What I mean to say is that I am not a die-hard Harry Potter and Hermione Granger 'shipper. I was not devastated when 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' was released and I realized that Hermione did in fact love Ron Weasley.

There's plenty to suggest that Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are meant to be, but at the same time the potential was always there for Harry and Hermione. Arguably, there was potential for something even more meaningful than what Ron and Hermione have.

Let's put on our big kid pants and talk about this objectively. Ron Weasley was a jealous, immature, unobservant, and unmotivated boy. Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) was a short-sighted, angst-filled teen with a messiah complex (although it's not really a complex if you actually are the wizarding world's messiah, I guess). But, Harry was also clever, quick-thinking and a natural leader. Who do you think has more to offer in terms of intellectual stimulation?

Hermione is characterized by her intelligence and her observant nature. Hermione can help Ron grow as a person, but can Ron really help Hermione grow anything other than endless patience? Harry, on the other hand, can hold his own with Hermione. Ever notice that it's always Harry picking up what Hermione is putting down, while Ron just looks confused until Hermione spells it out for him? That is not a promising sign of a meaningful relationship. A girl as bright as Hermione deserves a partner who can teach her something. I know, I know, Ron taught Hermione about chess. What did Harry teach Hermione? How to conjure a Patronus. I think we know who wins that competition.



So far I've talked a lot about what Harry has to offer Hermione (the answer is a lot). What does Hermione have to offer Harry? Answer: more than Ginny Weasley, Harry's 'biggest fan.'

But does Harry Potter really need another fan? He's got no shortage of those. He has no shortage of critics either. What Harry needs is someone who is more than his fan, someone who genuinely believes in his ability as a wizard and a man. That someone is Hermione Granger. Think about it. Hermione is not phased by prophecies or reputations. What Hermione cares about is Harry as a person. Harry is her friend first, every other role that Harry fills after that is just a detail. She humanizes him, which is something Harry desperately longs for.

Now that I have seen the first part of 'Deathly Hallows,' one scene stands out to me as a prime example of this connection. Ron has left, and we see the toll it takes on Hermione. Harry is acutely aware of Hermione's grief and reaches out to her as a song plays on the radio. For a minute they dance together. I'm not crazy. You felt it too. There was something there and even though I knew it wasn't in the books, I half expected them to kiss, and if they had kissed it wouldn't have been that out of place.

Even the film's director David Yates said the above dancing scene was added (it was not originally in the books) to increase the potential between Harry and Hermione. He told Moviefone on a 'Deathly Hallows' set visit: "There is always that question. They have a very special friendship as characters and there is always that moment where you think could this trip beyond friendship to something else? It's a very naturalistic, charming moment and quite intriguing."

Perhaps most incriminating is that Ron sees a connection as well. He may be under the influence of Slytherin's locket but that doesn't change his underlying anxiety. The truth hurts.

Am I delusional? Perhaps. But, I think 'insightful' is more accurate.

Who should Hermione have ended up with?
Her soul mate is Ron Weasley.1597 (41.2%)
She and Harry would have made a better couple.2169 (56.0%)
Neither!108 (2.8%)