Character Deep Dive: Hermione Granger

Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Source: Warner Brothers Studios

Portrayed by: Emma Watson
Book | Film: Harry Potter series

While undoubtedly a hero in the Harry Potter series, Hermione Granger is a character often associated with her brilliance and intelligence–it’s not unusual to think of her love for reading, her thirst for knowledge, and her excellent academic performance. Despite the heaping admiration for her bookish personality and ambition in the classroom, more indirect characteristics of her personality and actions are often overlooked. From adjusting to an entirely new world and overcoming its prejudices, to standing up for the defending for all those around her, from showing admirable passion in her studies to displaying steadfast loyalty and immense courage, Hermione Granger has deservedly become an iconic character that’s instantly recognized and respected around the world.

Over the course of the series, Hermione’s background is hardly addressed–as a Muggle-born, we are already familiar with the world that Hermione comes from prior to her first year at Hogwarts. This lack of information sets us up for the character and establishes the trio’s relationship. Similar to Harry, she begins her first year at Hogwarts with relatively no knowledge of the wizarding world and Hogwarts. In contrast, Ron has a more fleshed-out background story as he comes from a wizarding family, and thus, he introduces his friends, and by extension us, to the everyday lifestyle and workings of the wizarding world. In a sense, Ron’s background helps shape our understanding of his feelings and his actions.

Hermione’s disposition is less explicitly stated–it’s her interactions and on-the-side gestures that slowly reveal the kind of person she is. For instance, one of the first things we learn about Hermione is that she is prepared, emphasized by the fact that she was already wearing her school robes on the train.It’s this trait that also allows Harry, Ron, and Hermione to escape Bill and Fleur’s wedding and begin their hunt for Horcruxes because she had the foresight to pack essentials just in case. She also takes the initiative to familiarize herself with the world by reading about the wizarding world, which immediately establishes Hermione Granger as someone who stands on her own and learns to adapt to her surroundings. 

Hermione Granger and the Steadfast Beliefs

One of Hermione’s most admirable traits is her ability to stand up for what she believes in, with the purest of intentions, even if it’s at the cost of friendship with Harry and Ron or even her own life. A notable moment in the Prisoner of Azkaban leads to Hermione reporting her suspicions to Professor McGonagall that Harry’s new Firebolt was gifted by Sirius Black. It causes a temporary rift among the friends, but she firmly  holds her ground since she cares for the safety of her friend. This ability later translates to her fervent activism with S.P.E.W., orchestration of Dumbledore’s Army, and more importantly, her significant contributing efforts in the Second Wizarding World, where in one instance she refused information while tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange. She also puts aside her own feelings and remains committed to helping Harry hunt Horcruxes even though Ron’s frustration eventually causes him to briefly leave. She chooses to risk her life for a greater cause, for the freedom of the wizarding world and magical beings, especially considering she was exposed to prejudice in the very same world at a very young age. 

On many occasions, Hermione Granger’s beliefs are often aligned with her penchant of following the rules. That doesn’t mean she didn’t partake in any rule-breaking, rather she understood when was the appropriate time and manner to conduct misbehavior. Hermione’s rule-breaking usually occurred during desperate or important times or for the sake of others, such as establishing Dumbledore’s Army to not only pass their O.W.L exams, but to learn how to defend themselves after Voldemort’s return. She greatly disapproved of Harry and Ron sneaking out in the middle of the night to duel Malfoy, but joined the effort to protect the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone when the trio realized it would be stolen. 

At her core, Hermione is a thoughtful, empathetic, and caring person as demonstrated by her numerous gestures. She is usually the one bringing perspective of others’ feelings (such as Sirius and Cho Chang in Order of the Phoenix) to Harry and Ron, helping Neville out during Potions lessons and his other numerous mishaps, running to the warn the nearest person when she realizes the monster in the Chamber of Secrets is a basilisk, conjuring flowers for the Potters’ grave, her efforts to help Hagrid with Buckbeak’s trial, not revealing that Lupin is a werewolf, making essence of murtlap to soothe Harry’s hand after his detentions with Umbridge, and opting to spend her holidays at Hogwarts so Harry doesn’t be alone. 

Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter
Source: Warner Brothers Studios

The Badass Witch

But don’t let Hermione Granger’s goodwill fool you–getting on her bad side can have some serious consequences, and she will not be afraid to take action to protect others or the fight against Voldemort. Whether it be Hermione blackmailing Rita Skeeter, jinxing permanent boils that spelled out “SNEAK” on Marietta Edgecombe’s face, confounding Cormac McLaggen during Quidditch trials, or decking the sh-t out of Draco Malfoy (my personal favorite), Hermione proved that she was more than capable and willing to use all her skills and abilities–logical, magical, and physical–to give others what they seemingly deserved. 

Hermione Granger–she’s a badass witch. She may be intellectually curious and unabashedly studious, but beyond the books, she’s a loyal friend and warm-hearted person. Her strong willpower carried not only her and her friends as they navigated through their many adventures, but allowed to remain focused and dedicated to what she stood for. Her brains and bravery have understandably resulted in a long-standing admiration for the character and a special place in fans’ hearts. She may be “an insufferable know-it-all,” but I reckon that we can all do with a bit of listening to Hermione Granger.

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