Millions of Harry Potter
fans have grown up along with the books' characters, but as these kids
matured and went through puberty and started sneaking kisses at teenage
parties, Harry, Hermione, and Ron did not. The Harry Potter books--and
the movies, for the most part--have been extremely chaste. Frustrated
fans have had to make due with fan fiction, where they could imagine all
the romantic couplings left off J.K. Rowling's pages. Till now. Harry
Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, which opened Friday, features a
nude scene between Hermione and Harry. Yes, it turns out to be a dream.
Ron, who has long burned with jealousy of his best friend Harry--who is rich and famous and The Boy Who Lived--experiences a nightmare vision in which Harry and Hermione, on whom he has long crushed, are embracing, Coeli Carr reports for ABC News. And his friends look "as though they're beyond the affectionate snogging stage," Carr says. "The two characters' skins radiate a slick, silvery glow, akin to the bronzed look on a model on the cover of a fashion magazine. In the segment, both Harry and Hermione's burnished physicality exudes an otherworldly and even slightly diabolical togetherness."
- Characters Have to Grow Up, Potter experts told Carr. Will fans be bothered by the more explicit sexuality? "As Harry grows up, the books also grow up, with more adult material, such as violence and also sexual tension between the teenage characters. Movies need to show sexual tension through images," Anne Collins Smith, a professor of philosophy and classical studies at Stephen F. Austin State University, told Carr.
- 'Harry Potter Is Not Twilight' star Emma Watson explained, as reported by Ethan Sacks in New York Daily News. A kiss between Hermione and Ron has been building for eight movies. "We're not selling sex."
- Fans Go Where Rowling Would Not, Cecilia Tran explains at io9. Tran offers a newbie's guide to Harry Potter fan fiction. Naturally, much of it is about sex. Fanfic is tagged with various acronyms to denote exactly what kind of alterations have been made to the basic Potter universe. "Slash" refers to gay themes. "Pairing" or "Ship" refers to a new coupling, and "Harry/Draco is often shortened to H/D, whereas Harry/Snape is usually dubbed 'Snarry' a la 'Brangelina,'" Tran explains. "Severitus" is an "entire subgenre of HP fic in which Severus Snape turns out to be Harry's father. Yes, much of it is slash, too, and yes, much of it makes Oedipus look like he had a functional relationship with his parents. No, I don't know what this says about the psyche of the modern reader."
- Rowling Is No Good at Sex, Alyssa Rosenberg writes for The Atlantic. In Potter world, "everyone ends up with their first real love, and I mean everyone." All the parents have been together forever, and even characters "who don't get together with their first loves never end up with anyone else. Snape carries a torch for Lily that ends up governing his entire life." Rowling has said Dumbledore was gay and forever haunted by a lost love. "There is not a single example in the entire series of a serious relationship that does not end in marriage or life-long devotion," Rosenberg writes. Second, adult sexual relationships are never described in detail. "The Weasleys seem entirely preoccupied by their children--and they sure had a lot of them, but the process that produced those kids seems, um, long in the past." Other couples are similarly sexless. "And the epilogue to Deathly Hallows ... skips the characters ahead, past their years as young couples, to show them as sedate, infinitely wise, etc. parents."
- Why Tamper With a Good Thing? Travis Prinzi asks at The Hog's Head. "Rowling steered very clear of the subject of sex in her books. No sex scenes, no blatant references to sex. If Rowling stayed away from the subject, why does the film have to go there? This, I think, is why some will have trouble with the scene."
- The Last Potter Film Was Rife with Homoerotic Tension, Biblioklept argues. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, "Much of the narrative’s conflict revolves around the task Dumbledore has given Harry; it’s almost as if Dumbledore is pimping out the young wizard. These multiple man-boy relationships are doubled darkly in the failing bond between Snape and emo Draco." Hetero romance is treated as frivolous, ephemeral. The movie lays the groundwork for the central relationships, but "the real love story here is between older men and their young apprentices. ... What the film really argues for is a sort of Greek or Platonic ideal of love; that love exists as a conduit for wisdom, passed from an older, experienced man to a younger boy in exchange for some of that youth’s beauty and vitality."
- Young Adult Fiction Needs to Deal with Sex, Andrea Cremer argues in The Wall Street Journal. Cremer's book Nightshade got her called into a principal's office because her plot includes sex and witchcraft--just like the Potter books, which was "the most challenged book series of this century’s first decade." But "Authors and readers, young and old, need to deal with both [sex and violence]. Why? Because violence and sexuality shape human cultures, politically and socially, and pretending such issues aren’t on the minds and in the lives of teens is not only naïve, it’s irresponsible."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.