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JKR on the H/R Ship

JKR on the H/R Ship

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Embarrased Chimp
Uh oh.


How about it, aberforths_rug, amamama, bandcandy, chreechree, gioiamia, girlspell, hhbarmaid, ladywhizbee, stmargarets, moonette1, mickawber, sherylyn, ?

I am sure that madderbrad is laughing his head off right about now...
  • Well... That's just... I mean...
    I think she may have gone completely off her rocker.
    And if she's saying stuff like that, should I continue to feel bad and allow myself to be burdened with crippling writers block for wanting to write a fanfic that puts George with someone other than Angelina? Is anything she says in an interview even valid?
    • Is anything she says in an interview even valid?

      A lot of HP fans never thought so; Rowling's post-publication propaganda never satisfied the proper definition of the word 'canon'. Even Rowling herself admitted that her interviews weren't canon (in one of her interviews!). So stories could be canon-compliant but not interview-compliant, no problems.

      Of course her contradicting herself in the interviews also helped to make such a decision. I admit thought, this latest one's a doozy!
      • It seems to me that there is a fundamental difference between the author talking about she was thinking while she was writing a work, and her reaction to the writing years later. One adds to the reader's understanding of the work (whether or not one happens to find that understanding to be congenial). The other is an individual observation about the work -- like yours or mine -- but doesn't change the work.

        JKR's changing feelings about her writing are perfectly understandable; there are things I wrote ten years ago that make me cringe now; for the love of God, I wrote a fic where Harry and Hermione were married! (This, by the way, was a joke, Brad. I mean, I did write that story, but no, I wouldn't wince at the pairing; it was a flawed marriage and I enjoyed exploring that. I do however wince at some of the prose.) There are things that I see differently than I did twenty years ago.

        But here's the thing: my changing feelings or views don't change what I wrote. And my observations about what I wrote have -- at this distance -- no more or less authority than anyone elses who knows the work well.

        Wordsworth may have kept rewriting his poetry as he aged so that it went from transcendental Romanticism to conventional Victoriana -- but that doesn't mean that I have to take the later claptrap as somehow better or truer. I still like the earlier versions better, thanks.

        And Ken, I'm puzzled that you thought JKR's statement would somehow make Brad happy. Wasn't it obvious from what she said that she had come to realize that Hermione should have changed her name to Rolf and married Luna???

        • Nice try, Antosha, but you can't rain on my parade. :-)

          Rowling's post-publication propaganda might mean little to you or I. We've studied the invariant canon, we know how bad it is, how the plots, the relationships all fail, right? ;-) It doesn't matter what Rowling says. To us.

          But, Antosha, there are just *so many* precious little darlings in the fandom who rallied around every word that their Jo voiced. Who eagerly seized every sound bite from every interview and would pronounce our determinations wrong "because Jo said so and she's the author so she's automatically right". Some of the fans would be that blatant. For others the Jo worship and ridicule of those opposed would seep more insidiously through their condescension. But it was always there with those poor folk - you're wrong BECAUSE JO SAYS SO. They would take all of Rowling's instructions on how to read the books as gospel.

          Now Jo says otherwise. And the pampered pets are clueless, scattering in all directions. Because their author god, their mouthpiece, the one who did their thinking for them, has deserted them. Betrayed them.

          Agreed with Brad. :-)

          It's not a case of "transcendental Romanticism to conventional Victoriana", Antosha. Or as I would have put it, vanillia versus chocolate ice cream. :-) It's a case of J. Rowling, creator of the canon, flipping a switch and pronouncing something BAD and another GOOD. Not putting it as a question of personal taste but one of boolean functionality. The R/Hr relationship isn't "credible", full stop. It would be a marriage requiring 'counselling'.

          Not a choice between two flavours of ice cream. An admission that the vanilla product would have melted and isn't a viable option at all.

          Maybe you weren't aware of the precocious Pro-Jo zombie side of the fandom, Antosha ... you wouldn't have butted heads with them like I. It's their reactions which are providing the entertainment. The H/Hr boards are jumping with the details. Tumblr is apparently the place to be. HP fans who put their stock in both canon and Rowling, who used to hurl the interviews in their opponents' faces, who would scream with laughter when Rowling said things like 'soul mates' are now running around in circles, deserted by their shepherd. Some have abandoned their leader. Some are conceding that R/Hr is full of fail. Some are saying that this interview doesn't count (but the others still do!). Some are like St. Margarets, below, evading the dilemma.

          But it's still a dilemma they have to settle, one way or the other. Abandon OBHWF, or abandon Rowling's opinions and leadership. Any fan who EVER used the word 'deluded' as a weapon must now recant or self destruct. Either way they lose.

          And I win. :-)

          Ken was right. I'm (still) laughing.

          Aside from the schadenfreude I admit, it's pleasant to have the biggest voice in literary history and the HP fandom join us in the H/Hr camp. It's been a long struggle. We saw the superior 'ship way back when. Then the public saw it. Hollywood came on-line and signed up. Rowling admitted that yes, she'd written H/Hr, it was an option, back in 2008. And now today she's conceding it's superior to her broken OBHWF and the way she'd write it now as a matured author. Next year? Get ready for 'Hermione Granger and the Philosopher's Stone'. :-)

          Laughing *and* smiling, Ken. :-)

          Edited at 2014-02-04 12:41 am (UTC)
          • Um. I'm sorry. Where did she say Hermione should have married Harry? I've read that snippet a bunch of times -- but no, she just says that the relationship that she created with Ron wasn't one that fit her current views on how a romantic relationship should work. Not knowing much about her current views on romance, as opposed to the ones she held while writing the series (or the ones she'll hold in another decade, for that matter), I can only guess who she thinks would have made a better helpmeet for Ms. Books and Cleverness. I guess you didn't like my suggestion of Luna, which I actually think would work pretty well. Filch, maybe. Or, hey, maybe Goyle. I've read a bunch of Hermione/Goyle fics. Or perhaps she feels she should have written Ron differently, so that the Hr/R relationship would suit her 2014 views more closely.

            None of which really matters, because, guess what: DH came out seven years ago, and last time I looked, it still ends with Ron and Hermione bringing their children to the Hogwarts Express at the same time as the Potters bring theirs.

            Brad, there ain't nothing Boolean involved in literary criticism — which is what we're discussing here, what you and JKR and I are engaged in. It's completely about sifting shades of cultural significance, language, style, and personal preference. And saying what she should have written or might have written -- whether it's a fan or a professor or the author doing the saying -- doesn't change the truly black-and-white existence of ink-on-paper that she did write. This isn't a typo here, or an erratum -- a Flint. We're having a conversation about literary approach in books that have been in print for a while, which is an interesting but ultimately secondary conversation.

            When the books were coming out, the furor may have been over who married whom, but really the argument was about whose interpretation of the texts we were reading was the most accurate. If the plot and character development in subsequent books played out the way you thought it would, that was accurate; if not, not. None of us got it perfectly, not even Melindaleo. But there are no subsequent books now. The series is what it is.

            You think she should have written different books. Apparently she feels that she should have changed who Hermione ended up with. You are both welcome to those opinions.

            But you're not talking about the Harry Potter books -- you're talking about some other set of books, because changing the relationship between the two main secondary characters in the series (you do recognize that Hermione was a secondary character, right?) would have required a great deal of rewriting from the fourth book on, and a fair amount of tinkering earlier. I'm pretty sure JKR would agree with me, because if it were just a matter of writing Ginny out of the epilogue, giving her lines to Hermione, and giving Ron a different wife, then I'm sure she'd have done it. But she hasn't.

            So I'm not sure what the hell it is you think you won. Last year you thought she should have written different books -- but she hadn't. This year you think she should have written different books -- but she still hasn't. In light of her own changing views, she has reconsidered one of the secondary plot threads that ran through the series, and regrets writing it the way she did. Well, I understand the regret, though I'm not sure that she isn't projecting way too much onto Hermione herself; under any circumstances, what she's saying doesn't change my feelings about the books as I have read and enjoyed them. And, more importantly, it doesn't change what she wrote.

            When JKR buys back all of the extant copies and rewrites the series so that they're about the brilliant, gorgeous Hermione and her green-eyed soul mate while all of those redheads just go away, then you win. Let me know when that happens.
    • Oh, Antosha. You completely missed the point of most of what I said. You've dashed off at tangents, attributed statements to me that I didn't make, conflating points that were deliberately disjoint, making a regular cock-up of things.

      I'm going to respond with several LJ comments, each addressing a separate point. They won't be lengthy. My intent is to simplify the discussion on any or all of them, should you choose to reply.

      First point – nothing Rowling says changes the canon.

      I did say that the first time, you know:

        We've studied the invariant canon … It doesn't matter what Rowling says.

      I've said it on my own blog as well. But, since you struggled with that line above (!?!) let me repeat your own words back:

      None of which really matters, because, guess what: DH came out seven years ago, and last time I looked, it still ends with Ron and Hermione bringing their children to the Hogwarts Express at the same time as the Potters bring theirs.

      Right. Invariant canon is invariant.

      And saying what she should have written or might have written -- whether it's a fan or a professor or the author doing the saying -- doesn't change the truly black-and-white existence of ink-on-paper that she did write.

      Right. Invariant canon is invariant.

      The series is what it is.

      Right. Invariant canon is invariant.

      ... what she's saying … more importantly, it doesn't change what she wrote.

      Right. Invariant canon is invariant.

      Wow. You agreed with me a lot in your comment, didn't you?

      You're with me now, right, Antosha? I am agreeing with you on this one. Maybe I should have done what you did, repeated myself multiple times. I thought just saying it once would have sufficed.

      Anyway, unless you disagree with my agreement I trust this particular point is settled. I don't think I can simplify it further.

      Edited at 2014-02-08 02:16 am (UTC)
    • Second point – Rowling's boolean remarks

      Actually the header above says it all. I was addressing Rowling's comments, Rowling's edicts concerning her canon, when I brought up the boolean thing.

      Again, I thought I made it pretty clear:

        It's a case of J. Rowling, creator of the canon, flipping a switch and pronouncing something BAD and another GOOD. Not putting it as a question of personal taste but one of boolean functionality. The R/Hr relationship isn't "credible", full stop.

      So. Your miscomprehension in reading the above led you down a whole different path -

      Brad, there ain't nothing Boolean involved in literary criticism — which is what we're discussing here, what you and JKR and I are engaged in.

      No, that's not what I was discussing.

      I'm discussing the reactions of all of those fans who take Rowling's words as gospel, who let her think for them. With those words - Rowling's interview statements – being 'boolean'. Her statements; not the material addressed by those statements. I did make that pretty clear in my earlier comment, you know.

      Those fans are facing a crisis of conscience, a test of faith, an examination of their character (think for themselves? Admit to hypocrisy? Dig a hole?) because of the dilemma in which they now find themselves. Last week Rowling said that R/Hr was good. This week she says it has “fundamental incompatibility”. Last week the value of the statement “Rowling prefers H/Hr” was 'false'. This week it's 'true'. Last week everyone thought Rowling preferred her (canon!) R/Hr and thought it was the best. This week they see their author hero NOT preferring R/Hr and NOT thinking it is the best. True, false, is, NOT is. Nice and simple and boolean. Rowling's statements, her reversal, Antosha. NOT “literary criticism”.

      Maybe you haven't met many of the simple creatures I'm talking about, Antosha. Your stories aren't totally canon-compliant (take away Luna and they're closer! :-)) but when it came to discussions of canon shipping I think you were pretty much in the pro-canon pro-Jo camp … and that's where all these mental midgets are. You wouldn't have experienced their sad recourse to their Jo's interview snippets first-hand. Their arrogance and condescension, all based on “BUT THE AUTHOR SAID SO” nonsense. Again, I encourage you to re-read my earlier comment. It's those people, their reactions, which are fuelling the entertainment and my/our laughter. On multiple levels – how they all depend on their precious Rowling (NOT like you, Antosha!), how desperately they are now scrabbling for the few crumbs she left them from the full interview, how they are hypocritically refusing to retract their past insults and abuse (all based on a foundation of “What Jo says rules!”) and so forth.

      It's not your opinion that I'm addressing here, Antosha. It's not about you. You don't use Rowling's opinions as a crutch. But they do. And as a weapon as well. A weapon that has turned against them.

      When it comes to the bitter 'shipping wars', and many of my past opponents -

      So I'm not sure what the hell it is you think you won. … then you win.

      Maybe 'win' is the wrong word. After all, I 'won' back then too. :-)

      But I'm certainly laughing, as per Ken's prediction. Plus there's an element of 'win' in seeing all of the pro-Jo zombies lose their ammunition, watching them realise that the bullets they fired years ago have gone up in smoke (in their - not your - frame of reference).

      Edited at 2014-02-08 02:23 am (UTC)
    • Third point – boolean literary analysis

      Okay. The whole “there ain't nothing Boolean involved in literary criticism” thing that you brought up was a complete detour from what I was actually talking about, as discussed in Point #2. You got sidetracked.

      But we did talk about this once – maybe our last significant exchange, must be a few years ago now.

      I believe that most novels can't be proven to be literary 'failures'. I suspect it's only a rare few which can. Deathly Hallows is one of those – the world's greatest literary failure (in terms of commercial success). One day I hope to write a blog article enumerating all of its hundreds of errors.

      I was going to lay out my beliefs on this subject, render the framework of the arguments I have on this topic, but on second thought it doesn't make sense to expend the energy if we don't agree on the basics.

      So, a question for you, Antosha – what defines a successful literary work? On literary merits, not “sifting shades of cultural significance, language, style, and personal preference”. Are there rules, mechanics, groundwork to works of literature which add up to how the merit – or some aspect of the merit - of the work can be measured? In your opinion.

      Or are you going to whimp out and carefully fabricate a definition which is pre-calculated to be “non boolean”, non-proveable, in advance? Actually, stupid question, you essentially have done just that - “It's completely about sifting shades of cultural significance, language, style, and personal preference”. Carefully setting up your definition to satisfy your argument.

      No. I completely disagree. Or, rather, it's not just that. To sort out various successful works, determine which is (personally) 'the best', fine. Of course. But I believe there are some basics to the craft of writing to which any author must adhere to write a book; that if those basics aren't followed the book is a simple failure.

      I like blue cars. You might like red cars (as you do redheads :-)). I'm not saying I am any more 'right' than you. Nothing 'boolean' there. LONG LIVE PERSONAL PREFERENCE, YAY!

      But if your car is missing an engine, I will declare it to be broken, Antosha. It fails on the most basic of metrics that define a working, functional car.

      So, Antosha, are all works of literature automatically 'functioning', working, in your opinion? If I wrote a book would it be a working, successful book in your eyes? No matter what mistakes, of the most basic type – grammatical, plot, characterisation, continuity – you might find? Or are there some basics that, if not met, make a book a failure?

      I say there is. It seems obvious to me. If you disagree I'll just roll my eyes and move on … there'll be no intersection between our definitions, we live in two different worlds. With your's deliberately fuzzy so every author, no matter how bad, gets a big gold star.
  • Eh.... I can see what she means by wish fulfillment** in a lot of ways, but I still think that the way she wrote it works best for everyone, ultimately. Yeah, Ron and Hermione would have some issues, but so would Harry and Hermione, and probably Ron (and Ginny, too, no matter who they ended up with) would need some relationship/personal therapy, too, to be perfectly honest, b/c of all they'd been through (heck, most of Hogwarts and/or the rest of the wizarding world could be included w/that).

    Being married to the Weasley siblings fulfilled things for both Harry and Hermione that they would never have had with each other. And I honestly can't see Harry really falling for Hermione -- he never saw her that way, ever. (And yes, that's JKR's doing, but it fits his brain, IMO.)

    I think it would've been okay if it'd turned out to be H/Hr... but I still honestly think that the way she did it is still the best for all of them, even if it was "wish fulfillment", too.

    **And also, IMO, "wish fulfillment", to me, would *be* Harry + Hermione, b/c then it'd be the total cliche of "nerdy/geeky girl" (so to speak) get the hero. But again, that's just how I see it. There's more -- I could go on about how connecting them both permanently to the Weasleys means that they (and their kids) have support within the wizarding world that they wouldn't have in a Harry/Hermione pairing b/c neither of them have family in the wizarding world... etc., etc., etc. So, yeah... not convincing to me, anyway. LOL!

    Edited at 2014-02-02 04:51 am (UTC)
    • I wrote Harry/Hermione. It wasn't a bad marriage. But I couldn't see it being a very good one. Harry, for all his merits, was never a hugely verbal person. Hermione, for all her multifold virtues, needed to talk everything to death. She'd keep talking; he'd keep retreating, and eventually he'd become incredibly resentful and passive aggressive. Not good.

      At least, that's my take.

      I've always liked Harry and Ginny together. I've always liked Ron and Hermione together. Not because they were ideal couples, but because they made for good stories.

      (Of course, I'll take any or all of them with Luna, for very much the same reason.)

      More to the point, the books were clearly pointing to those pairings from the end of CoS on (if you read the Sleeping Beauty ending as presaging things to come); to change who Hermione ended up with, you'd have to do a f$@load of rewriting.
      • I totally agree w/you on the characters, etc., etc., too. AND the fact that JKR may see writing (her own or others') differently now than she did years ago -- makes complete sense!

        Another LJ friend summed up a lot of my thoughts well, too. I'm summarizing, but she basically said that, if JKR were writing the books now, for the first time, she might do things differently, b/c she's learned things about writing, etc., over the years. BUT it would mean that the characters would be different *from the beginning* in ways that would make the (changed) pairings make sense -- but they *would NOT* be the same characters that are in the books now. They would have to be changed in multiple ways in order to make the changes make sense. In a way, it's not as if she's saying that canon!-Harry, -Ron and -Hermione should be changing partners, etc., but *a different version* of them *could* be paired differently. And IMO, she'd have had to change a lot more than the "main" 3-4 characters, b/c there are so many other interconnections that would change as the main characters were changed.

        I've always enjoyed Jo's interviews, etc., b/c she's so honest about what she thinks of the books, etc., etc. But this one time, I wish she'd either kept her mouth shut and/or *written down* her thoughts in a way that would explain things more coherently, b/c this just seems (to a lot of people who I've read) like it's a (1) slam against Ron in a lot of ways (he's not "good enough" for Hermione), (2) that Hermione is somehow the "prize" between Ron and Harry, (3) that Hermione has to have someone "make" her happy, and (4) that therapy is a bad thing. Personally, IMO, if you start bringing in the "reality" of therapy, you'd have to assume that the majority of Hogwarts students and probably a lot of other people in the wizarding world would need serious therapy after the events of the War. :-P

        Granted, I'm sure the complete interview explains a lot of things that these snippets can't do justice, but really it's just... ARGH!!

        Edited at 2014-02-03 10:44 pm (UTC)
        • BUT it would mean that the characters would be different *from the beginning* in ways that would make the (changed) pairings make sense -- but they *would NOT* be the same characters that are in the books now. They would have to be changed in multiple ways in order to make the changes make sense.

          But that's sort of what did happen - consistent with your friend's theory. Rowling admitted that Hermione 'ran away from her' - something like that - after book 5. Characters grow and evolve, sometimes without the conscious knowledge of the author. I'm not a writer but I've seen a number of people make that observation.

          I think what we got in the HP canon was a 'hybrid' of sorts ... it started out with Rowling's original plan, then the characters got away from her. She shoehorned them back into her original storyline, romantically speaking, with book 6, but the poor fit can be seen. By Rowling herself, it appears; it took her this long for her original mental vision to fade and let her see the words she wrote in a new light, the way a lot of readers did, but she got there in the end. :-)

          Fascinating to think what a 'new edition' of HP would be like. We sort of got that with the films, they were making heaps of canon corrections by the end. A television series or cartoon must surely be proposed one day, it'll be interesting to see what they do with that.
  • Why, hello there, how's it going Ken? I just happened to be wandering by ...


    I've been catching up with the news on all the anti-OBHWF and pro-H/Hr circles. This is the first pro-Canon place I've visited.

    Of course Rowling isn't very pro-Canon herself these days, I hear. :-)

    I *am* laughing, mainly at the pro-Jo fans who used to blindly follow Rowling's post-publication propaganda on how she wanted them to read and interpret the series. I'm wondering how some of them will settle the dilemma of what to do now that Rowling is telling them not to like the canon R/Hr.

    Not laughing so much at the ones who honestly thought that R/Hr was a great pairing (if they came to that conclusion independently, rather than "because Rowling said so"). The public at large has always supported H/Hr more than the canon pairings, I believe; now the author does too. R/Hr fans just have to work out what they like more - their R/Hr or the author. Saying one is good damns the other, right? Those who used to laud both will just have to change their tune. Okay, there's some laughing in that ...

    My own thoughts include the following:
    • Who cares what Rowling thinks? Canon is canon; proof that bad canon is bad canon is invariant of what the (bad) author might think. I honestly never made much out of the "it could have been H/Hr" thing back in 2008; this honestly leaves me a bit cold too. Rowling's failure to write a credible (lovely word, right?) end to her series on all fronts just showed that she was no more an expert in HP canon than anyone else;

    • The interview *does* supply one more chunk of evidence on why/how Rowling mucked up her series; her writing had "very little to do with literature". I've always maintained that she was not a good writer, because of the disaster that is DH; her admitting that she wrote one chunk of it having "very little to do with literature" just strengthens the observation the rest was literary manure too;

    • Looking forward to reading any comments from Anelli and the other bloke, the sycophants who keyed the 'delusional' thing back in the Inteview o' Doom post HBP;

    • Of course, this interview is yet to be confirmed, right? I keep checking to see if the date is the 1st April ...

    • Not quite sure if the interview is pro-H/Hr or simply anti-R/Hr. Looking forward to seeing how far it goes in the H/Hr direction.

    While I'm here, best wishes for a happy birthday tomorrow (my time, anyway)!
  • Hmmmm.... I agree with your icon, Ken!

    What's done is done, canon says H/G and Hr/R. Not only in literature, but in real life a lot of people end up together who in hindsight would've been better off initially with someone else. But they keep going because they do love each other after all and they have a lot of companionship and support each other and decide to work things through. It's a learning process. And how would we know if H/Hr would have worked out? Thinking about it now, to me this actually makes the whole story more real, because we rarely get the fairy tale, any of us. Besides, fairy tales have trolls...

    I wish she wouldn't comment on the series, as much as I wish people would stop asking, but it is what it is. I guess that's why I rarely read these interviews, unless someone gives me a link. :-)
    • Berte! How are you? I hope you had a nice birthday. I was having all kinds of computer problems last week can couldn't log into lj.
      • I had a lovely birthday, thank you! And I have a few lovely entries I need to reply to. It's been busy, and then I spent some days with a migraine and were unable to look at a screen for some time, so I've only now begun to catch up on emails and stuff. *hugs*
  • Hi Ken! Nice to see some familiar faces again! It's been a long time.

    That being said. Oh, dear. What a can of worms. What I got out of the snippet is that whatever visions of romance she had as a writer in her twenties is now different from she sees as a viable relationship now that she is older. Fair enough. But that doesn't change canon or the fact that those who shipped H/G and R/Hr had the reading comprehension to see where she was going from GoF onward with those ships.
    • What she said.

    • Heh, nice evasion. But there's more to get out of the snippet. Rowling has grown up, matured, and stated for the record - apparently - that her R/Hr pairing is untenable. She's seen in her canon what many of us perceived a long time ago.

      Do you see it now too? :-)

      But that doesn't change canon or the fact that those who shipped H/G and R/Hr had the reading comprehension to see where she was going from GoF onward with those ships.

      A small and sorry consolation, I think. A lot of us saw the canon ships, Mary. It wasn't that difficult; Rowling was writing for children, after all. Kids don't dig very deep. In this case there was a section of rail track with trains on each end - let's label one 'Ron' and the other 'Hermione' - hurtling towards each other. Destined for a future of acrimony and ... what did their author say of them again? ... 'relationship counselling'.

      We all saw the train wreck coming. Some of us didn't want to settle for that disaster, though; we preferred happy, three-dimensional endings for our heroes. Pairings of depth. So we looked further ... and found H/Hr. It might have taken a while, but gradually the rest of the world - led by Hollywood, and now the author of the HP books (apparently) - came to the party and joined us.

      Maybe you should get half-marks for basic 'reading comprehension'. But you shouldn't have locked in your answer at GoF, Mary. You should have kept your mind open through to the end of the exam and double-checked your answer, to get full marks.

      Edited at 2014-02-04 12:43 am (UTC)
  • Oh, Ken. I don't know. While it is painful -- and it is, a bit--to think that she has doubts about her main character pairings now, she simply can't change canon. And if you go back and read it, there just is nothing there to promote or justify the pairing of Harry and Hermione. Her books just weren't written that way.

    The movies on the other hand...well, that's a whole other beast...

    In truth, I would much rather her have said in this interview that she wished now that none of her main characters had gotten married to each other. That instead they had each gone on to find other healthy relationships outside of the sextet while all still staying good friends, because to me that would have been an even better and more realistic choice AND it wouldn't have opened such a messy can of worms.

    There. My 2 cents. :-)

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