Why The Harry Potter Epilogue Is So Infuriating, Especially To 20-Somethings

by Kerri Jarema
Warner Bros.

Harry Potter fans are no strangers to debate about the series. It is the rare aspect of J.K. Rowling's fantasy that is not analyzed, disagreed upon and discussed to an intense degree. But one thing that most HP lovers seem to agree on? A deep and fiery hatred for the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh entry in the series. Set 19 years after the Second Wizarding War and the defeat of Lord Voldemort, the epilogue gives readers a glimpse into the lives of Harry, Ron, and Hermione as full-fledged adults. And, for many reasons, fans didn't well, love, what they saw.

From the super weird baby names to a whole lot of intra-Hogwarts relationships, there is a ton about the epilogue that doesn't jive with a vast majority of the HP fandom. As a Millennial, though, I think there are some very specific (and maybe even unexpected) reasons why most in our generation hate the Epilogue. Below are nine of the biggest ways that millennial readers cannot relate to J.K. Rowling's portrayal of The Golden Trio and their lives 19 years later. From the funny to the seriously problematic, these are just some of the ways millennials might find this text #unrelatable.

Because Harry And Ron Got High Paying Jobs With No Degrees

I never realized that this one was one of the biggest reasons the Epilogue rubbed me the wrong way until I became one of those Millennials who are pretty much always on the job hunt. Sure, Harry and Ron left school in a different decade than the rest of us, but the fact that they didn't even finish their education at Hogwarts, let alone move on to a higher education of any sort (are there universities in the wizarding world?) but still got steady, lucrative jobs is astounding. These days even PhDs are working retail, so knowing that Harry and Ron never had to sell quills at Flourish & Blotts to pay their bills can certainly leave a bitter taste in the mouth of most highly qualified, underpaid Millennials.

Because Hermione Did Not Become The Single Feminist Icon Of Her Generation

OK, let me preface this by saying that I am the first person to sail away on the Ronmione ship. I am not mad that they ended up together. Nor is it required that a women be unmarried and childless to be a feminist icon — far from it, in fact. But if anyone in the HP series seemed destined to become the Gloria Steinem of her generation, it was Hermione Granger. The brightest witch of her age, Hermione was not only insanely smart, she also displayed a real knack for humanitarian causes. With a little more life experience, and a broadened (hopefully diversified) horizon post-Hogwarts, it's not hard to imagine Hermione would continue to speak out about important issues. In The Cursed Child we do see Hermione take over a very influential government post, but I can't help but wish that she had ended up an untethered badass traveling the world in pursuit of equality for all.

Because Harry Got To Name His Kid Albus Before You Could

While the weird baby names J.K. Rowling chose for many of the kids are widely considered to be one of the lamest parts of the Epilogue, I think that the real reason some millennials are salty about these names is that they didn't get to them first. Millennials are known for their unique baby name choices, and I can't help but imagine that there is many a hipster, HP-loving parent who would have jumped at the chance to name their firstborn kid after Dumbledore, had J.K. Rowling not made it boring, mainstream choice. I guess we'll all just have to settle for a generation of Olivia and Liam. Sigh.

Because The Golden Trio's Mental Health Is Not Explored At All

Of course, the Epilogue is only a few pages long and focuses in on the happy occasion of the Golden Trio's children heading off to Hogwarts. But there is something off about the fact that Harry, Ron, and Hermione's mental health is not discussed at all. Millennials are part of a generation who are more open about the importance mental health care than ever before, so ignoring any PTSD, anxiety or depression these beloved characters might have felt after their decidedly harrowing ordeal rings false. Yes, 2016's The Cursed Child delves deeper into adult Harry's state of mind, but imagine the powerful impact this discussion would have had on a generation of teens and pre-teens finishing this story back in 2011.

Because Marriage Is Not The Only Way To Make A "Proper" Family

In the Epilogue, readers find out that Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley (daughter of Bill and Fleur) are dating, and Ginny hopes aloud that they eventually get married so that Teddy (Harry's godson) can be an "official" member of the Potter-Weasley clan. But as millennials know, marriage is not the only way to make a real family. More than ever, the families we are born or married into are not the only ones that matter. We have become accustomed to creating our own family structures, with mixtures of blood relatives, IRL friends, internet friends, etc. A family is filled with people who love, support, and understand you... being biologically or legally related to any of them is just a nice bonus.

Because Luna Did Not Become The World-Famous Influencer She Was Always Meant To Be

Weird, effervescent, unique and bold are just four words I would use to describe Luna Lovegood. While her classmates might have found her strange, tons of readers found comraderie with Luna and her lighthearted, positive outlook on the world. And while she eventually became a Magizoologist (discovering and classifying magical species) I cant help but feel like the world missed out on the next great influencer of all things lifestyle in Luna. Can't you just imagine her being inspired by her father's writing career and launching the most popular newsletter in the wizarding world, full of fun trends, smart pop culture takes, and witty responses to mainstream media like the oft-traditional Daily Prophet. Luna was obviously meant to be in the spotlight, and it's sort of sad she didn't quite end up there.

Because Almost Everyone Who Dated As Teens Ended Up Together

The fact that there are no relationship struggles to speak of when it comes to pretty much all of the main characters is pretty ridiculous. While it's nice to imagine that all highschool sweethearts will end up together, millenials are super aware that this is definitely not the case. As we're scrolling through dating app after dating app looking for someone to have a nice dinner with, everyone at Hogwarts is settled down with their teenage crush? sure that can be cause for envy, but it's also sort of concerning. Are we saying that Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, even George and Angelina (who actually dated George's late twin brother Fred as a teen) all grew together in ways that were conducive to healthy, happy relationships 19 years later? It may be true, but this just feels like this is some seriously unrealistic wish fulfillment to me.

Because Snape Was Given A Pass For All Of His Creepy Behavior

Severus Snape is one of the most debated characters in the entire series, but the truth is that Snape is not the hero J.K. Rowling makes him out to be in the Epilogue. First, it seemed strange to readers that Harry would name his son after Snape, considering the years of torture the Potions professor put him and his friends through — most especially Neville Longbottom who, at 13, considered Snape his biggest fear. Secondly, Snape's years-long obsession with Harry's married mother, Lily, whom he cut off any friendship with after Lily rejected his romantic advances is beyond creepy, and the fact that Harry ignored (and seemingly romanticized, if naming his son after Snape is any indication) this behavior is beyond unacceptable.

Because We Weren't Able To Write Our Own Version Of A Happy Ending

Overall, I think that one of the biggest problems many readers have with the Epilogue is that it left so little to the imagination. And J.K. Rowling has only continued this trend in earnest, telling us countless off-book details about the lives of our beloved characters. But I think part of what millennials find so satisfying about social media, blogging and other sharing apps is that we have been given the tools to write our own stories, and make our own rules, whatever they may be. By not giving us room to decide who actually ended up together, what careers they found themselves in, and simply taking away the breadth of possibilities for our favorite characters, we had a lot of the post-series joy taken away from us. At least we have fanfiction for that.