I know I said I was going to write about the Epilogue today, but I need a little more time to get my thoughts together on that. After writing about the themes of Deathly Hallows in my post yesterday, I started thinking about the relationships we’ve seen develop over the seven books. There are bunches to choose from, but I think my favorite has been the pairing of Harry and Ron, not quite the odd couple, but not the natural partners in crime that Fred and George were either. *sniff*
In England and Australia there’s the concept of mateship, which I always felt was a step beyond common friendship, as brotherly as two guys can be without actually being related. It implies a deeper loyalty and affection, and Americans don’t have any concept that quite matches it. We have buddy films, usually to do with sports or war or gangs or driving cars really fast, but nothing quite as caring or sentimental as the relationship that Ron and Harry have built.
I’ve racked my brain and my bookshelf and the closest thing I can come to it, and don’t hate me for this, is Ryan and Seth on The O.C. Yeah, I knew you were going to look at me like that.
(Actually, before the Prisoner of Azkaban film came out I compared Ron and Harry to the main characters in Alfonso Curon’s Y Tu Maman Tambien, just speculating as to how he would translate their friendship on the screen. The comparison also got a bit naughty in the end. Sorry, couldn’t be helped at the time. The Tambien characters drift apart as they grow older though, so the similarities only work up to a point.)
I’m sticking to my O.C. connection. Hear me out. For one thing, back when the show first started, I wrote a little review where I said that although Marisa was being set up as Ryan’s love interest, his relationship with Seth was going to be the most interesting one to watch, and I was right. Similarly, while we’ve all been waiting for Ron and Hermione to get together, and while Harry and Hermione are certainly friends in their own right, when Ron and Harry are at odds nothing feels right. Their friendship is critical to the dynamics of the three.
Step One: Replace the Hogwarts Express with a Seaside Mansion
Ryan and Harry are the outsiders, thrust into societies they know nothing about where they instantly become targets of violence and misunderstanding. They have no family to rely on to teach them customs and rules, but both are lucky enough to be adopted by strangers who treat them as their own.
Seth and Ron were nobodies, outshined by cooler, more popular kids, but ready for a little excitement. Enter the exotic, shy guys who don’t want attention, but can’t seem to get rid of it. By chance, the pairs get thrown together and take an instant liking to each other. (I really love that scene in The O.C. pilot where Ryan walks into the house his first morning there and Seth, seeing this stranger for the first time, doesn’t question who he is or even try to pull rank, but just asks, “Do you want to play Grand Theft Auto? It’s pretty cool. You can like, steal cars and … Not that that’s cool. Or uncool. I don’t know …” And they’re friends, just like that.)
To the outside world, Seth and Ron look like bumbling sidekicks, along for the ride but not contributing much. We know that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re Ryan and Harry’s biggest defenders, fiercely protective of the friends who they realize are more vulnerable than most people would believe.
Step Two: Trade Chrismukkah and Sailing for Yule Balls and Hunting Horcruxes
Underestimating them is a big mistake, because when it comes time for a fight, they throw themselves in, no questions asked, even when defeat seems certain. Ron and Seth make it their responsibility to take care of Harry and Ryan, protecting them when they can, saving them from themselves when they must, and asking for nothing in return. Where Ryan and Harry have strength, confidence, or even destiny on their sides, Seth and Ron have loyalty, trust, and impeccable comic timing on theirs.
And although they would never ask or expect to be rewarded, the thing that keeps them from becoming doormats, the way the relationships stay balanced, is that Ryan and Harry see their friends’ struggles and are deeply appreciative of the sacrifices they make and the strength Ron and Seth give them just by standing by their sides. So when Ron implies Dumbledore gave him the Deluminator because he knew he was a coward, Harry won’t let him get away with it, showing that he knows Ron just as well as Ron knows him:
Ron: “He must have known I’d run out on you.”
Harry: “No… He must’ve known you’d always want to come back.”
Yep, if only Hogsmeade had a country club, a surf shop, and a catchy theme song, FOX could have a whole new teen dramedy.