The following was my response to an Ask I received on my Tumblr regarding Rowling's revelation regarding pairing Hermione and Ron...
* * *
I saw reference to it on Twitter yesterday and links like this one here which led to a discussion with fellow HP fans, some of whom were upset or stunned or ecstatic about this announcement. This is my own personal response to the announcement based upon my past experience in the HP fandom and my friendships with other HP fans who were very invested in or affected by this specific shipping discussion. It’s also very much related to where I find myself right now shipping Johnlock in the Sherlock fandom:
1. Why today? I wasn’t personally invested in Hermione and Ron or Hermione and Harry as I joined the fandom rather late (2005) and was never really a canon shipper (Neville/Luna was my first ship but it was Snape/Harry and Snape/Hermione that eventually became my competing OTPs). When I asked ‘why today’, this elicited a few responses:
It makes sense, as drinkingcocoa-tpp suggests, that Rowling revealed this to someone she knows and trusts. But this wasn’t a private conversation with Emma Watson. The audience was much bigger, and Rowling is not naive when it comes to media attention when she gives interviews about Harry Potter. She may have trusted Emma to handle this question with care when writing this article, but why reveal this information now?
@biblioaesthetica’s comment suggests this could be related to new Harry Potter works Rowling may be involved in and specific choices she is grappling with. We do know she’s co-producing a play taking place in the pre-Harry Potter years, so this could be possible. It’s also possible that involvement in this project is making her revisit authorial decisions on past books. In other words, she really wanted to talk about the writing process and how she has grown or how time has given her different perspectives on her writing. This is very interesting.
I personally was wondering if there was something she had been confronted with in her own life or in the lives of those around her that made her reconsider her decision to marry Hermione and Ron. Have conversations with young women (like Emma Watson) about Hermione and what she means to women that age led her to revisit this choice? I can’t really know, but I am still wondering, why this conversation needed to happen now and in this format.
2. What does this mean for Harry Potter fans? This is related to thegoldendoe's response and the response of several friends who were deeply involved in the Harry Potter fandom, particularly the shipping of Hermione with either Ron or Harry and were affected by the fallout of the shipping wars that occurred as a result.( More on shipping, Johnlock and authorial intent... )