tbh one of the things i hate most about hp canon is how jealous all the characters are. it’s a totally incoherent and lazy way to write romantic interest and it makes all the characters who suffer from it seem petty and insecure, and implies that they either have or will have horrible relationships. now you might say that hermione and ron experience jealousy partly because of who they are and partly because of the unresolved nature of their relationship in most of canon. fine. but what about krum (over hermione), eh? what bout harry and cho and ginny? what about pansy (over draco)? the only characters involved in the shenanigans who aren’t given a chance to be jealous are, oh, let’s see, characters like cormac too-thick-to-be-jealous mclaggen and lavender written-as-too-obsessed-or-too-stupid-to-be-jealous brown who act as badly sketched out comic relief. there’s also, i suppose, characters like cedric too-golden-to-care diggory, fleur too-beautiful-to-suffer-from-jealousy delacour, and bill too-cool-for-rivals weasley, but we know that bill and fleur don’t have anyone to be jealous of so that’s really a moot point. oh, and there’s dean thomas. oh, dean thomas, how i love thee.
i’ve been told that jealousy affects everyone, which could be true. i’ve been told that i just haven’t experienced jealousy because i’ve been lucky enough to date boys who didn’t have very many female friends. fair enough. perhaps i am a jealous person. but you know what? i’m currently dating my third boyfriend, and ever since i started dating, i’ve had many, many male friends. and not once has any of the boys i dated ever seen occasion to imply that i might be interested in those other boys or ask me not to hang out with my other male friends or glower at them when they’re in the same room or badmouth them when they’re not in the room.
but not so in hp canon. you know why ginny must be the one for harry? well just notice much more jealous he is about ginny than he is about cho. sure, harry feels that gut disappointment when cho says she’s going to the ball with cedric and he spends all of yule ball watching cho dance with cedric, but it’s not like there’s a monster roaring in his stomach, now, is it? how do you know hermione’s way more into ron than she is krum? well, she doesn’t throw fits about girls following krum everywhere. so that’s that, everybody. it was there in canon all along! just follow the jealousy!
it’s as if in hp the only way to know whether or not you really like somebody is to feel jealous when they’re paying attention to someone else. which is why i can’t really take any romantic jealousy in canon seriously. because it’s clearly shown to be some sort of universal human fault that shows itself any time anyone falls in love with their true love. it completely underestimates teenagers and their ability to have relationships that are healthy and good and trustful even while it tries to build up these happily-ever-after endings. it rationalizes and justifies and makes commonplace possessive tendencies that are horrible for relationships, and, in fact, treats those tendencies as something healthy and necessary and unavoidable.
i believe that jealousy exists. i take seriously snape’s jealousy over lily and his rivalry with james, just as i do ron’s fear that hermione will prefer harry after all. these are characters built with insecurity at their core.
and i understand that krum could be insecure about hermione’s friendship with harry, just as cho could be about harry’s friendship with hermione. i understand that ginny could be feeling insecure enough about her relationship with harry when he turns up suddenly after a year hunting horcruxes to protest him wandering off to ravenclaw tower with cho. i see that pansy could be so jealous that boys admire ginny’s looks that she wants an assurance from draco to the contrary.
but i don’t believe all these things together. it’s a cheap way to build a vulnerability into characters when so many other character vulnerabilities and flaws exist out there for an author to work with. in hp canon, jealousy is part of the romantic landscape instead of being unique to certain characters, and it’s a damn shame that it is. that is all.