Before we jump into this article, I just want to say that, for the record, I love Hermione Jean Granger more than life itself. And that is not an exaggeration. She is, by far, the greatest aspect of every single Harry Potter film/book/meme/etc. and the reason why I fell in love with the series in the first place.
In fact, six-year-old me was not too keen on the idea of sitting down to watch the first Harry Potter film when it was released as, to tell you the truth, the commercials truly terrified me. I still wasn’t sold on them until that frizzy-haired bossy little know-it-all walked on screen. From that moment on, I was sold. Not only was I sold but I feel as though I did my best to become my own little version of Hermione Granger. I wore my naturally straight hair in plaits for days so that it would curl into the massive puffball that Hermione wore proudly. I assembled the closest thing I had to a Hogwarts uniform and wore it daily.
A lot of people, both fans and non-fans, know at least a bit about Hermione. She's definitely one of the most recognized characters. But that doesn't mean that everyone really knows her; in fact, there are some things that people often get wrong about her! So without further ado, here are thirty things that everyone seems to get wrong about the intelligent, soft, emotional, and stubborn Hermione Granger.
It is important to note that there are several moments that exist within the books in which Hermione was in the wrong. I think we all tend to forget about that. Hermione was often very harsh towards anyone who disagreed with her and her stubbornness caused her to hold a frustratingly closed mind for much longer than necessary. In fact, her stubbornness caused her to exchange some pretty heated words with every member of her friend group at least once throughout the series. And don’t get me started on what she does to the enemies that dare cross her...
You can tell from the first moment that Hermione is seen on screen that she did not have many friends in the muggle world. Her unintentionally rude remarks, breakdown when reminded of her friendless state, and fear of losing her place at Hogwarts all indicate that those two boys and that school are all she really had. Which goes to show why she was so afraid to lose it all and why she goes along with the boys on their dangerous and ill-advised adventures after their risk it all to save her from that troll.
I want to briefly focus on her aptitude for house Gryffindor. Her bravery, ruthlessness, commitment to equality, need to protect everyone around her, and constant willingness to throw down in order to do what is right makes her a true Gryffindor.
Look at other people who we consider true Gryffindors… James, Lily, Sirius, Ron, Ginny, Neville… though these traits exist in different forms for each one of these characters, each and every single one of them are just as stubbornly committed to doing what's right as she is.
Hermione has a bad habit of judging the people around her before she even gives them a chance. She categorizes them based on surface traits and observed behaviors and is often very shocked when they go against the labels she has placed on them. Fleur’s love for Bill and battle-ready attitude went against her idea of her as a vain and flighty creature. Luna’s insight and intelligence conflicted with her loony persona. And Ron’s bouts of bravery and cleverness caused her to rethink the bumbling sidekick role she had placed him in.
Hermione leaped off of a ledge without hesitation onto the back of a dragon she intended to later free from its shackles while dangerous and life-threatening spells were being hurled at her. She locked a woman in a jar as a punishment for spreading lies about her and her friends. She led a woman to a fate worse than demise within the woods for daring to consider using an illegal spell on a minor. She stood up to Sirius Black and her own teacher for endangering her best friends. She set Snape on fire in her first year.
While it is true that Hermione is hyper-intelligent and logical, it is that dependence on logic that is sometimes her downfall. You see, Hermione cannot understand/properly perform magic in which does not solely operate on logic. Broomsticks do not make sense. She cannot see thestrals. Patronus charms must be conducted through emotion and happy thoughts rather than technique or skill. All of these forms of magic require a suspension of disbelief, a leap of faith, and an acceptance of the illogical things in our world. And all of that is just a little bit too much for Hermione.
Yes, she is fighting for equality for a creature that most of the wizarding world has decided to see and use as property. The main issue here is that the elves don’t want to be liberated. And literally everyone tells her that. But she refuses to listen. While it is true that some wizards do treat their elves with undeserved cruelty, most elves are in good positions and truly take pride in their work. But Hermione’s mind is shut to that idea entirely. She tries to force her ideas of freedom on them in a way that actually ends up offending them.
So many films attempt to create strong female characters by making them incredibly hard and unforgiving. They see emotions as this fatal female flaw that must be eliminated in order to create strength and that simply is not true.
Hermione’s strength comes from her soft emotional core, not in spite of it. Yes, Hermione is brave, fierce, and could destroy anyone in her path if needed. But that does not mean that she doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, cry when hurt, or feel fear when facing off with her enemies.
Though she does possess an innate curiosity and appetite for knowledge, I believe that she feared that her muggle status would put her behind her classmates so she over prepared in order to prove to both herself and to others that she belonged and didn’t have to play catch up like Harry did at many times throughout the series. That is why Ron and Malfoy’s insults cut her so deeply, both boys’ remarks made her feel as though her deepest insecurities were right and that she truly did not belong.
Lazy fiction writers often create characters in tropes which are easily understood by audiences so that they don’t need to waste time developing a three-dimensional character and can move on with the plot. But Hermione is one of those special characters who is considered both highly intelligent and in touch with her emotions. She loves her friends and does everything she can to help and protect them while also being one of the most logical and intelligent people in the series. It’s okay to be both.
She did not belong in the muggle world. She could sense it since before she could remember. When she got her letter, she realized that there might truly be somewhere where she did belong.
And though there were a few social hiccups at the start, she was truly beginning to find her own place in this new world.
Somewhere where she truly did belong. And if she were to be expelled, then she would be forced back into the muggle world that never truly accepted her in the first place and be doomed to live out the rest of her life knowing that she had tasted paradise.
Her ambitious and cunning nature could earn her a spot in Slytherin. Her appetite for knowledge and love of books could have put her in Ravenclaw. Her fierce belief in fairness above all else and need to protect everyone around her could have placed her in Hufflepuff with me. And her stubborn/ruthless pursuit of what is right is, most likely, what earned her her spot in Gryffindor. So why does she belong in this coveted house? Because she asked to. Same as Harry. Same as Sirius. Same as everybody else… except for Neville.
If it weren’t for her ruthless and brutal methods of righting wrongs, I would swear that Hermione would make the perfect Hufflepuff. This is due to the fact that she operates almost entirely on her own internal moral code. She will fight until the very end for what is right and would lay her life on the line in order to protect those who need it. And those who treat others with cruelty, act in the wrong, or hurt other people should be punished for their actions. In Hermione’s eyes, all wrongdoings must be corrected.
You see, Hermione has no patience for stupidity. And to her, those who believe things that she clearly knows are untrue are stupid. She even fights with Luna at times for being so silly as to believe in animals that are clearly make-believe.
In Hermione’s mind, Lavender is stupid to believe that her rabbit’s demise was foretold by the stars or some silly predictions. Parvati's faith in her tea leaves is laughable. And Luna should know better than to run off chasing after imaginary creatures.
It is important to note that Hermione often reacts with anger when facing her fears rather than with timid caution. When she feared she lost Ron, she tore him a new one when he finally returned. When Harry refused to prepare for his Triwizard tournament task, she scolded him out of fear that he wouldn’t make it to see their fifth year. And when the boys silly exploration nearly caused her to be eaten by a three-headed dog, she snapped at them before heading to bed to calm down.
The brainy ones are rarely ever allowed to fall in love. But Hermione lets her heart guide her as much as she does her head, and that leads her to several schoolyard crushes and romances throughout the series. From Gilderoy to Krum, our brainy beauty has had her fair share of ill-advised crushes and several of those ended in embarrassments on her end. But she learned from her mistakes, she grew older and wiser, and she finally made a move on Ron because if she hadn’t I highly doubt that he ever would have figured it out.
Though Hermione is the embodiment of fairness and justice within the series, it is important to note that her mind is far more closed than one would like to think it would be. Experience, new relationships, and admitted faults help open her up to other possibilities by the end of the series but her new open mind was hard won. Hermione was utterly convinced that she was right about pretty much everything and it was excruciatingly difficult to try and convince her otherwise. Even if her stubbornness wound up hurting other people, she still would not give up her position.
One would naturally assume that someone as awesome as Hermione would never cast herself a single doubt. But Hermione did truly struggle with her own insecurities.
And though by the end of the series she fully embraces what makes her special and powerful, it was not always that way.
The best example of this is her reaction to the word “mudblood.” When first uttered in the second film, Hermione breaks down. This word is the embodiment of her greatest fears: that she does not belong in this world. But by the time that Bellatrix has carved it into her arm, she embraces the term.
Hermione is almost entirely driven by her emotions and rarely able to control them. You might be shaking your head and telling yourself that I am an absolute nutter but nearly every single book in the series contains at least one outburst of uncontrolled emotions on the part of Hermione. Examples include her Troll-interrupted bathroom dash, cat-fueled breakdown, assault on Malfoy, Ron-directed bird tornado, as well as the Yule Ball stairwell fiasco, an absolute flurry of emotions hurled at Ron when returns to their Horcrux motivated camping trip out of the blue.
Hermione is the best witch at Hogwarts during her time there. Her skill is simply unparalleled and that is exactly how she likes it. But I don’t think that this stems from a superiority complex. When all is said and done, she knows where she belongs in her friend group. Ron is brash and lazy, Harry is protective and always ready to throw down if need be, Ginny is the jock, Luna sees things in a way that no one else does, Neville is loyal and gentle. And that leaves Hermione as the smart one.
She wears her emotions on her sleeve, which is honestly very uncommon for the ‘bookish’ character. The emotional characters and the intelligent characters are never allowed to exist within one. Hermione is bookish, logical, and highly intelligent. But we cannot forget that she is also sensitive, passionate, and caring. She protects all those that she can afford to with everything she has. She worries when they are in danger and cheers on their successes. Hermione is driven by her emotions, sense of duty/right and wrong, and personal beliefs more than anyone else in the series.
Rita hurt Harry, and for that, she must pay. Cormac was a jerk to Ron, ergo he does not deserve to be Keeper. Umbridge was a bully, and therefore she deserves to be destroyed by centaurs. Snape messes with Harry, so she sees to it that someone sets him on fire. A girl betrays the D.A. so now she will go through life permanently disfigured. Hermione sees all things as a series of checks and balances. Every misdeed must be corrected by a punishment which she believes is equal to the crime exhibited. In her mind, she is only evening the score.
She doesn’t supervise the boys and guide them through life because she is insufferably bossy. She does it because those boys are concerningly incompetent in their day to day lives. I mean, think about it. Harry did not even consider the Triwizard tournament tasks until the literal last minute. Even though those tasks were literal life or demise scenarios. And Ron ate unmarked chocolate dropped off by some random witch that was left on someone else’s bed. Those boys needed her there to simply keep them alive on a day to day basis.
While it’s true that Hermione won’t let anyone stands in her way, it is also true that she is not as fearless as some may believe. Continually throughout the series problems arise that Hermione is unable to solve on her own due to her own fears and hesitations. Examples of this include her hesitancies to follow Ron into the Whomping Willow and her initial inability to destroy a Horcrux on her own.
It is perfectly natural to be afraid, especially considering the circumstances. The thing that makes Hermione amazing is that she does what is needed and what is right regardless of her own fears.
Contrary to popular belief, Hermione’s weakness is not her heart. At times, she can be incredibly soft-hearted and vulnerable. And though this seems to contrast her brave, formidable, and powerful strengths; that does not mean that this softness is her true weakness. No, I believe that Hermione’s weakness comes from her tendency to close her mind off from every opinion that is not her own and then defiantly and stubbornly stand by that opinion no matter what anyone else says. It is dang near impossible to change Hermione’s mind once she has made it up.
Hermione is not open to things that she does not believe in. Hermione can be exceptionally close-minded when she wants to be. She writes Lavender and her friends off as complete idiots due to the faith that they place in Divination and will not hear of anything to the contrary. And she does not trust broomsticks nor thestrals because she does not understand them. Though fair and just, Hermione can be incredibly hard and close-minded when she wants to be.
Logic-loving women are never allowed to be soft in the media. Sensitivities are saved for the effeminate and the delicate. Which is why I believe that so many people continue to forget just how sensitive Hermione can truly be. While it is true that she goes hard and will mow down anyone in her path, when those roadblocks and cruel comments come from people that she respects- Hermione tends to take it to heart. Examples include when Ron insulted her in first year, and when Ron “chose” Lavender over her following that Quidditch match.
I think that a large part of the fandom blames Hermione’s switch from law-abiding citizen to rebellious force of nature on those two pesky boys. But I think that her descent into lawlessness stemmed from her lack of trust in authority figures that grew throughout the series. In the first films, Hermione eases Harry’s worries by telling him that the teachers will protect them should anything go wrong.
Adults can be corrupted and incompetent and some rules are there to protect the organizations rather than the people. It is this realization that prompts Hermione to ignore any rule and authority figure that stands between her and justice.
Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t think Hermione could have done it all on her own. None of them could have. That was the whole point. Though they were a team, each member of their parents' generation tried to face off and defeat the Dark Lord solo at one point. And that is what ultimately lead to their downfall. But Harry and friends learned that their strength came from their bond and every time they faced off with Voldemort, they did so together. Hermione could not have defeated Tom alone but neither could Ron or Dumbledore.
A lot of fans have found themselves convinced that Hermione and Ron should have never ended up together due to an innate incompatibility. But I disagree. I think that there was enough overlap between their traits to foster a natural balance and harmony between the two of them but there was enough of a difference in the ways in which they acted and behaved that would have allowed their traits to perfectly offset each other. Hermione’s ambition would have offset Ron’s lazy tendencies in the same way that his laid-back attitude would have calmed down her anxieties.