Warner Bros has released a set of articles on Half-Blood Prince, which include plot-related spoilers and numerous cast interviews. This particular feature is on the tangled loved lives of the Hogwarts students, most notably the love triangles between Ron, Lavender, and Hermione and Harry, Ginny, and Dean Thomas. Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Bonnie Wright, Jessie Cave, and producers David Heyman and David Barron talk on the subject of love at Hogwarts.
As the new year begins at Hogwarts, Dumbledore introduces the students assembled in the Great Hall to returning Potions Professor Horace Slughorn. He also reveals that Severus Snape has finally achieved his long-held ambition to become the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
The students had also been greeted by added security measures, which Dumbledore now explains are to protect both them and the school against the threat of the rampaging Death Eaters. However, the young wizards are about to discover there is no magic formula to help them navigate their teen years, and the intertwining stories of romance, jealousy, crushes, unrequited love, and romantic rivalries might also feel familiar to any Muggle who is--or has ever been--a teenager.
David Barron illustrates, "For the first time we learn that Harry has feelings for Ginny Weasley, who is going out with Dean Thomas, much to the concern of her brother Ron, who has fallen head-over-heels for Lavender Brown, leaving Hermione, who is secretly in love with Ron, watching jealously from the sidelines, so she goes out with Cormac McLaggen, even though she can't stand him, to make Ron jealous... Welcome to the normal life of a teenager," he deadpans.
Returning in the role of Hermione Granger, Emma Watson notes, "These characters are usually facing such huge issues, like fighting evil, so it's easy to forget that they're just teenagers. For me, this film feels more like a romantic comedy than the others, in the sense that we get to see them coping with first love, jealousy and insecurity and all the usual things involved in dating."
In "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," Harry famously had his first kiss with Cho Chang. In this film, we see him begin a new relationship with an old friend, as he discovers that Ron's "baby" sister, Ginny, is now a lovely young woman. Bonnie Wright, who likewise has grown up in the role of Ginny, says her character's attraction to Harry is not news to her. "As a little girl, Ginny fancied her big brother's best friend, but she never believed anything would come of it because he is her brother's best friend. Over the years, they developed a connection; she understands the responsibility Harry has to the rest of the wizarding world and that he is seen as the 'Chosen One.' But what she doesn't realize is that he has begun to like her, too. That does come as a surprise to her and I guess to him, as well," she smiles.
Standing in the way of Harry and Ginny's budding romance, there is the matter of her current boyfriend, Dean Thomas (Alfred Enoch). Ron has been glaring at Dean while keeping a protective eye on his sister, and Harry would prefer not to see that glare turned towards him. Radcliffe offers, "Harry is starting to feel incredibly strongly about Ginny, but her brother is his best mate and he doesn't want to jeopardize that. At the same time, he really does want to kiss Ginny so it's a bit of a dilemma. I think it's good fun and quite sweet."
However, Ginny's big brother is about to be distracted by his own romantic triangle. Ron Weasley gets his first official love interest, although fans have long suspected that he and Hermione have feelings for each other, while never actually admitting them. But pretty Lavender Brown makes no secret of her affection for Ron and never misses an opportunity to demonstrate her adoration.
"Ron finally gets a girlfriend in this film," Rupert Grint says. "At the start, he thinks he's quite the man. But after a while he finds her a bit overwhelming because Lavender is sort of over the top; she's starting to scare him. She calls him 'Won-Won' and gives him jewelry, and Ron doesn't know how to handle it. She's driving him crazy."
Heyman comments, "Lavender is a force of nature. She's a lovely girl but not at all reserved. She is all over Ron, who is not used to such a predatory female. But initially, he is rather enjoying it, and who can blame him? Their romance is a great source of humor and it really lets Rupert flex his comedic muscles, which is a treat."
"Rupert is such a natural comedian," Yates affirms. "He was always coming up with surprising little things that made us all laugh. So it was a real thrill to direct him in the comedy scenes, which is something I didn't really have an opportunity to do on 'Order of the Phoenix.'"
For the role of the coquettish Lavender Brown, the filmmakers cast newcomer Jessie Cave, who describes her character as "bubbly and very physical, which is quite liberating. Her way of getting Ron is leaping on him and kissing him and practically strangling him with her hugs, but it leaves other people incredulous. It's a bold thing to do; not many girls would be brazen enough to act that way, but she uses it to get what she wants and she usually does. I also think that she is hiding a lot of insecurities underneath. She definitely has layers, and that's what makes her such a great character."
"Jessie Cave is fantastic," Heyman states. "We saw a lot of girls for the part, but when we saw Jessie, there was no question--she was our Lavender Brown. There was also so much chemistry between her and Rupert."
Lavender also gives Ron his first kiss, but it is a far cry from the chaste and very private kiss shared by Harry and Cho in the last film. Rather, Ron and Lavender are in the middle of a cheering crowd when Lavender wraps her arms around Ron's neck and plants a long kiss on his lips. "It was sort of embarrassing because our first kiss was in a room full of people, not like Dan's. We were both nervous," Grint confesses, "but once we got through a few takes, it was cool."
As the kissing scene approached, Radcliffe was planning on taking a little revenge on his castmate. "I was very much looking forward to Rupert kissing Jessie. I took a fair bit of ribbing when I kissed Katie in the last film, so it was my turn this time around," he laughs.
One person, however, is not amused by Lavender's overt displays of affection for Ron: Hermione, who has been holding a torch for Ron, while he remains oblivious. Yates acknowledges, "They may not seem to be a natural couple in many ways, because she is so bright and organized and serious and he appears to be none of those things. But there is something else going on that draws them together."
Hermione hasn't exactly been forthcoming about her feelings, and now she is heartbroken--afraid she has lost her chance and, worse yet, to a girl she can't abide.
"Hermione hates Lavender so much," says Watson candidly. "The fact that she is with Ron would be reason enough, but I think Hermione mostly hates her because Lavender is the complete opposite of her in every way. She sees Lavender as a giggly, air-headed, attention-seeking girly-girl and she can't stand that. Hermione is strong and smart, which can be intimidating to guys. I don't think she knows how to put on makeup or do her hair, so she finds it hard to compete on those terms with a girl like Lavender."
The differences between Hermione and Lavender are also evident in their clothing choices. Jany Temime says she designed Lavender's costumes to be as feminine and colorful as her name. "We gave her very flirty, pretty things to wear, and she has a different outfit for every scene to show she's a girl who loves clothes. Even when she wears her uniform, she's added personal little touches, like the scarf in her hair."
By contrast, Temime says, "Hermione is still very down to earth in what she wears--very casual, very practical. She looks lovely because Emma is a beautiful girl, but Hermione is the sort of girl who believes her brain is her best asset, so she is not trying to impress with her clothes."
But neither Lavender nor Hermione counted on a love potion-laced box of chocolates, combined with Ron's unending appetite, to steal his affections. "They were just laying out for the taking, and Ron does enjoy his sweets," Grint teases.