When do you think Ron and Hermione realized they had feelings for the other person?
Good lord, this message has been in my inbox for so long! And I am extremely sorry for the delay, Anon!
I have so much to say on this that I didn’t even know how to put it all in one post without making it look like a novel in itself. Thank goodness @coyotelaughingsoftly has already done the job for me by creating the masterpiece called To Know You Is To Love You. (I am assuming you have already read TKYITLY, in case you haven’t- READ it NOW!)
If we are talking about an exact moment, I guess for Hermione it would have been sometime during their third year- during the time of the famous Cat-Rat fight. I feel the months when Ron and she spent not talking to each other was the time when she truly realized what he meant to her.
If my memory doesn’t fail me (i haven’t read PoA in a while), she was utterly miserable and was always described as being very upset. True, the Time-Tuner and so many subjects would be draining her for sure, but if we fast-forward to their fifth year, even with the pressure of O.W.Ls which she surely felt she needed to ace, Umbridge, the DA and her prefect duties, she wasn’t as miserable. And yes, Harry was in bad shape and frequently poured his frustration on Ron and Hermione. Was she so miserable about it? No.
What I mean to say is, being the more emotionally mature one of the two, Hermione would have figured out that her feelings for Ron ran deeper than friendship way before our favorite Weasley realized his. It makes more sense for her to be upset about his angry taunts to Lavender about how Hermione didn’t care much for other’s pets, knowing that she had feelings for this oblivious bloke, doesn’t it? I wish Harry was more observant, but from the little that he saw of her (or realized what was going on in her head), all signs clearly point towards a broken heart because Hermione surely thought she had broken things between them beyond repair? Because perhaps she had no clue how to mend it? Or, quite possibly she was afraid she would only make it worse and would lose Ron forever? Of course, she hugged him when Ron agreed to help her with her research for saving Buckbeak! If that wasn’t a dead giveaway, I don’t even know what was.
As far as Ron is concerned, alas he was a little slow, to say the least. He cared for her since the time they became friends, that much we know. And our little hero did unbelievably well to win the girl’s heart (come on, who wouldn’t love a knight who sacrificed himself for his friends? Or burp slugs to defend her honor? I would, and Hermione sure did). But did he realize he actually fancied her before the Yule Ball? I doubt. As I have mentioned earlier, my story A Pesky Little Thought is all about that moment of realization.
However, I don’t think Hermione looking drop dead gorgeous that day had anything to make Ron suddenly start fancying her. This point comes up way too often, and by Ron bashers too. What they fail to comprehend is that Ron was a fourteen-year-old confused teen. Which fourteen-year-old boy is in tune with his emotions, I ask? In fact, I find it utterly cute that Ron never noticed Hermione is a girl. Well, I am sure he knew she was a girl, but he saw her his best friend, just as the same with Harry. How is that wrong? Yes, Ron was a little slow to figure out that he liked her a little differently than he liked Harry, and I am sure, that realization would have both shocked and confused him initially. It takes seeing her with another bloke for him to understand that he doesn’t want anyone else next to her- and takes a little more to understand that he wants that place for himself. That the bloke is Krum only added fuel to fire (made him more insecure) but I am sure he would have been equally jealous had it been Neville or Harry.