Viktor Krum is Hermione’s Best Canon Love Interest and I Will Go Down With This Ship
Just for Hermione's blue robes.
Hermione Granger, in Harry Potter fandom—well, the sexy part of fandom—is pretty much shipped with every man in the series, and while some pairings are more crack ship than others, the men she most often gets shipped with are Harry, Ron, and Draco Malfoy. Now, while I’m a die-hard Dramione shipper, there’s another man who I ship Hermione with who would be a more sensible match than Mr. Malfoy, and that is her first boyfriend and confirmed fist kiss, Viktor Krum.
Goblet of Fire is, in my opinion easily, in the top three of the Harry Potter series, not only because of how it raises the stakes but also in the way that it incorporates the emotional character story with the overall plot. Goblet of Fire is also when S.P.E.W Hermione arises, and the “romantic tension” between Ron and Hermione is truly driven home.
During the Triwizard Tournament, Hermione constantly pressures Harry “rightfully” to practice and prepare. Ron, who is newly reconciled with Harry, tells her to “leave him alone” because he has two weeks to figure it out. Hermione and Ron also get into it when Ron talks about he and Harry needed to get dates before the Yule Ball:
“We should get a move on, you know … ask someone. He’s right. We don’t want to end up with a pair of trolls.”
Hermione let out a sputter of indignation.
“A pair of … what, excuse me?”
“Wel —you know,” said Ron, shrugging. “I’d rather go alone than with—with Eloise Midgen, say.’
“Her acne’s loads better lately—and she’s really nice!”
“Her nose is off-center,” said Ron.
“Oh I see,” Hermione said, bristling. “So basically, you’re going to take the best-looking girl who’ll have you, even if she’s completely horrible?”
“Er—yeah, that sounds about right,” said Ron.
“I’m going to bed,” Hermione snapped, and she swept off toward the girls’ staircase without another word.
It may be hard to remember with Emma Watson in the role, but while Hermione isn’t a troll in the books, she’s a normal-looking girl with oversized teeth (which get shrunk in this book) and frizzy hair, who has never gotten the same kind of attention as say, Lavander Brown.
Plus, Ron is really in fine asshole form this entire book. He mocks Neville for asking Hermione to the Yule Ball: “He told me after Potions! Said she’s always been really nice, helping him out with work and stuff—but she told him she was already going with someone. Ha! As if! She just didn’t want to go with Neville … I mean, who would?”
Ron then, in the next few pages when Hermione arrives, realizes that she is “a girl” and tries to neg her into joining either him or Harry at the Yule Ball. She denies them because she’s already going with someone, to which Ron responds, “She’s lying,” only to get told off by Ginny, who confirms that Hermione is indeed going with someone.
That someone, of course, is Viktor Krum—Krum, who has been “stalked” by fans and while not being described as handsome. He’s called sallow, with bird-of-prey-like features, but his fame attracts people to him, which is why it’s such a shock to everyone that Hermione is his date to the Yule Ball. Harry doesn’t even recognize her, his best friend of four years, who he’s been in several life-and-death situations with: “Krum was at the front of the party, accompanied by a pretty girl in blue robes Harry didn’t know.”
Um, that’s your mate, fam! Ron walks by Hermione without looking at her because he’s bitter. He glares at her and overall acts like a dick at every turn. At the dance, Harry notes that Hermione is deep in talk with Viktor and that they both seem enthusiastic about their conversation.
I remember, in my early years, not really liking Viktor Krum because, even though I didn’t like Ron, I felt like the narrative framed Krum as this dumb jock, and I remember many others telling me they didn’t like Viktor Krum because he was “stupid.” One of the things that happens when you reread Harry Potter is that the older you get, the more your opinions change on certain characters. Ones you used to love, you now hate (Snape), and ones you used to find annoying, you have sympathy for (Cho Chang).
With Viktor Krum, as a never Ron/Hermione shipper, I’d never seen as a real player in the game for Hermione’s heart, so I just dismissed him, but rereading the books really illustrated that Hermione is actually surrounded by jerky friends—not that she can’t be a jerk herself, but that her role in the Golden Trio can sometimes be the weakest. Take, for example, how Harry thinks about Hermione when he and Ron are on the outs earlier in the book:
“Miss him?” said Harry. “I don’t miss him …”
But this was a downright lie. Harry liked Hermione very much, but she just wasn’t the same as Ron. There was much less laughter and a lot more hanging around in the library when Hermione was your best friend.
I saw just how good it was that Hermione finally had someone in her life who was interested in what she actually had to say. Hermione is a great character, and part of why she’s a great character is because she’s flawed, and one of her flaws is that she can be irritating. Even intelligent people with the best intentions can be irksome because sometimes we don’t want to hear about S.P.E.W., Hermione! But it also highlights how, sometimes, she can be an outsider within her own friend group, and that for the first time, someone was actually seeing her as a person and valuing her intelligence beyond asking for help with their homework.
But then I also had to ask myself, “Where did the narrative of Krum being ‘stupid’ come from?” I called up my friend to ask her opinion, and she said, “Well, I remember he had that accent.” J.K. Rowling likes to write out the accents of characters, which … is a choice, but can sometimes make the characters sound like cartoon characters. There is a moment where Hermione talks about teaching Krum how to say her name and him not getting it, and in the library, he more watches her work than do work himself.
That and him being a character who only shows up for two books is probably what led Krum to get thrown into the shipping wastebasket. Yet, I feel like Viktor and Hermione is one of the couples Rowling absolutely nailed—not only because it was cute to see Hermione have someone who saw her value without needing it spelled out, but it also helped Hermione see her own worth and not wind up the last resort for Ron Wesley—who yes, I know, I’m too hard on, but I just want to kick him in the shin.
Plus, not every relationship needs to end up with marriage and babies. It’s very sweet that a guy that Hermione met and dated when she was 15 managed to turn into a lifelong friend who she continued to write and keep in contact with? Besides, any relationship where people send each other letters is perfect to me.
Let’s turn this into a Harry Potter shipping post, people! Who are your favorite couples in the series? Bring me your canon, fanon, and crack ships. All are welcome.
(image: Warner Bros.)
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