As the precocious, young witch in the magical world of Harry Potter, it doesn’t seem fitting to include Hermione Granger in my Women Who Wow Wednesday series. However, once we see what she accomplishes when she flees the troll in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we can safely cast aside all those biases.
J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter series, once said Hermione Granger “is an exaggeration of how I was when I was younger.” Described as a little know-it-all in her younger days, Rowling’s own rags-to-riches story inspires. In a short five-year period, Rowling went from state welfare to becoming a multi-millionaire. Forbes honored Rowling in 2004 as the first author to achieve a billionaire status. With over 400 million books sold, $160 Million in charitable donations, Rowling certainly has come a long way from those days when “she was a broke single mother, in poor accommodations, at a time of high unemployment.”
Although not poor, Hermione was born a Muggle, which translates to someone who has magical abilities but without magical blood. Her parents are dentists. When she arrives at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, she demonstrates her arrogance to her peers by criticizing other students’ incantations. Ron Weasley’s levitation charm immediately falls into her crosshairs. The other students, including Harry Potter, do not take kindly to her know-it-all attitude.
It isn’t until a troll traps Hermione in a washroom that her true nature comes alive. Cowering in a corner as the troll delivers one blow after another to stalls and basins, Ron and Harry appear without a clue of what to do. The troll grabs Harry by the leg and swings, missing him several times. Ron needs to do something. His levitation charm comes to mind. Still unsure how to cast it, Hermione directs Ron, “swish and flick.” And that’s what he does with his wand, swish and flick, “Wingardium Leviosa.” The club the troll uses to destroy suddenly levitates to the ceiling. It floats there for a while until it comes crashing on to the troll’s pea-brain head.
When Professors Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall show up horrified at the sight of the troll on the floor and the catastrophic condition of the washroom, they’re ready to place blame. Hermione jumps in to take full responsibility for all damages. That is, she utters a small fib to cover for her friends, Ron and Harry. From that moment forward, Ron, Harry, and Hermione remain inseparable.
While Hermione may not appear as a gun-toting super girl, her numerous swish and flick episodes make her a feared opponent. Even to a whimpering Draco Malfoy, who she once held against a tree with her wand pointed directly at his face. Hermione does not tolerate bullying.
From her strong friendships with Ron and Harry to her casting of protective spells, Hermione proves what a defender of good truly is.
What do you like about Hermione? If you’ve read Harry Potter, do you see a difference in character between the Hermione of the books to the movies?