Hermione had a huge impact on me. I identified with her. I wanted to be her.
It is so wonderful and meaningful that J.K. Rowling wrote two of the main three characters as having grown up in the normal world around muggles (non-magical folk), around us in our world. I think it was so important because it meant that Harry wasn’t alone in being new to the wizarding world; it was Harry, Hermione and the reader which helped introduce and lead the reader into J.K. Rowling’s world. However, let’s remind everyone that while Hermione was new to the wizarding world and was born to muggle parents, she knew a great deal about it before being a part of it because she read.
Hermione is a bookworm.
Having been relatively alone among my friends as a reader growing up, I felt understood by Hermione early on. I too could and still can, speak intelligently on a variety of subjects, although sometimes it can seem like a spewing of facts from an “insufferable know-it-all.” I don’t mean it to be, but sometimes it puts people off when I basically say “well I know!” when they were content to exchange I-don’t-know’s and call it a conversation.
I love how many times she references going to the library – like when Harry and Ron tease her about it walking back from Hogsmead in "Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince."
Sometimes, Hermione was the most important push and companion to me in college when I would go find my favorite spot in the library. She served as a constant comparison or measuring stick for me through my academic years. I wrote about her being my role model for my college application. I know I could never be as good as her, but I tried. I felt like I channeled her when I was being a frustrated perfectionist with my essays. Once or twice, I swear, I turned in an in-class essay or exam with a flustered look of dread and hair all frizzy from the stress just like her– see Hermione during the O.W.L.’s, though I don’t think I’ve often thought of end of the year exams as “invigorating” – see Hermione in "Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone."
In "Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows," Ron tells Harry “we wouldn’t last two days with her” and he is absolutely right.
She was the one who got them into the room with the three-headed dog in "Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone" with the use of the door opening spell, alohomora. It was her cool use of intellect that got them out of the Devil’s Snare. My favorite few lines.
It was Hermione’s research in the library that helped Harry and Ron learn what they were dealing with in “Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets” and her Polyjuice potion that got Ron and Harry into the Slytherin’s common room to investigate on the Chamber of Secrets.
Hermione and her Time-Turner helped to define the third book. It was her Time-Turner that was instrumental in saving Harry, Sirius, and Buckbeak in “Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban.” There she was, a muggle*-born student at Hogwarts who at 13 knew she wanted to learn as much she possibly could and brought her case for a Time-Turner to Professor McGonagall. And at 13 years old she proved herself to be more than responsible enough to be trusted with such a powerful instrument of magic that would normally be securely guarded in the Ministry of Magic at all times. And she acquired it not to get back at anyone who had ever made fun of her or to try to take over the world, but to take more academic classes– amazing! And then she uses it to help Harry save Sirius Black and the hippogriff, Buckbeak and, a bit confusing, but it helps Harry save himself from a storm of dementors. This is a kick-ass 13 year old girl!
She was the one who won the attention of a huge international quidditch star, who helped Harry understand the Tri-Wizard Tournament, who worked at keeping the peace between Harry and Ron in “Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire.” And she the one who trapped the selfish tabloid writer, Rita Skeeter, into a jar and threatened to rat her out as an unregistered animagus** if she wrote anything bad about Harry Potter again.
It was her need for learning more and her resistance to brainwashing from the Ministry of Magic that started the idea for Dumbledore’s Army and encouraged Harry to be the leader of it in “Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix.” This not only brought Harry fans in Hogwarts together but taught them real and practical Defense Against the Dark Arts at a time when the government tried to keep them ignorant and vulnerable.
In “Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince” she is Harry’s continual research aide and companion in understanding what he must start to do to defeat Voldemort, not to mention the one who keeps his ego in check. She’s also the only one that knows how he feels about Ginny Weasley and she keeps it a secret for him.
“Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows,” is where Ron and Harry really would not have lasted two days without her. She’s the one who planned ahead and had a huge list of essentials packed into an unassuming beaded bag with her magical extension charm. She was the only one of them really ready when the Ministry of Magic fell and the wedding of Fleur Delacour to Bill Weasly was crashed by Voldemort’s followers. Hermione was the one who could accurately cast the obliviate spell that obliterated the memories of the two Death Eaters who tried to capture the trio.
Hermione had to be good at that spell because she performed it on her very own parents before she left to join Harry and Ron on their mission to find Horcruxes. Other characters might have isolated themselves or stuck together to ensure the safety of their families but she’s the only character that had to do away with her parent’s memory of her in order for them to be safe. She chose to be parentless in order to fully concentrate on defeating the biggest evil of her time. She was 17 when she decided that.
They would never have gotten into the Ministry of Magic without Hermione’s Polyjuice potion to disguise their appearances in order to acquire a Horcrux***. If she had not packed that “bloody beaded bag” of hers with Essence of Dittany, Ron would not have been able to heal properly when he was splinched**** and bleeding all over the forest floor. She’s the one who kept reading and looking into The Tale of the Three Brothers and knew that the Deathly Hallows symbol was important. They had to use her Polyjuice potion again when the trio needed to access the vault at Gringotts Bank to find another Horcrux.
Again and again, Hermione is the one who is prepared, the one with the smarts and the one with the intense loyalty to the cause of Harry Potter and all that he stands for; love, friendship, knowledge, fairness, equality, humanity.
She is the one who is pretty much always saying, “don’t worry, I got it” and she totally does. It’s enough to bring you tears, and it has to me before and will again for sure.
There is no other character of fiction who holds the place Hermione Jean Granger holds in my heart. She’s the one I seriously consider naming my daughter after (if I have one in the future).
The Harry Potter book series would have been completely different without the beautiful and intelligent Hermione Jean Granger.
*muggle - non-magical folk
**animagus - wizard who can change his form into an animal at will
***horcrux - piece of a wizard hidden inside an object in an effort to be immortal
****splinched - the painful and sometime bloody effect of not apparating (disappearing and reappearing somewhere else) properly, some parts of yourself are left behind.