Hermione Jean Granger (first name ) is a fictional character in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. She initially appears in the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as a new student on her way to magic school. As the series progresses, she becomes close friends with Harry Potter and often uses her quick wit and encyclopaedic knowledge to help him. Rowling has stated that Hermione resembles her at a younger age, with her insecurity and fear of failure.
Rowling claims the character of Hermione carries several autobiographical influences: "...I did not set out to make Hermione like me but she is... She is an exaggeration of how I was when I was younger." Rowling recalled being called a "little know-it-all" in her youth. Moreover, she states that not unlike herself, "there is a lot of insecurity and a great fear of failure" beneath Hermione's swottiness. Finally, according to Rowling, next to Albus Dumbledore, Hermione is the perfect expository character: because of her encyclopaedic knowledge, she can always be used as a plot dump to explain the Harry Potter universe.
Hermione's name is derived from William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale; Rowling claimed that she wanted it to be unusual since if fewer girls shared her name, fewer girls would get teased for it. Her original last name was "Puckle", but Rowling felt the name "did not suit her at all", and so the "less frivolous" Granger made it into the books. Rowling confirmed in a 2004 interview that Hermione is an only child.
Hermione debuts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when she meets future companions Harry and Ron on the Hogwarts Express. She is described as having "a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth," and constantly annoys her peers with her knowledge. Harry and Ron initially consider her arrogant, especially after she criticises Ron's incantation of the Levitation Charm. They heartily dislike her until they rescue her from a troll. She is so thankful that she lies to protect them from punishment, and their friendship begins. Hermione's knack for logic later enables the trio to solve a puzzle essential to retrieving the Philosopher's Stone, and she defeats the constrictive Devil's Snare plant by conjuring fire. Rowling revealed that she had an argument with her editor about the troll fight scene, and that she refused to remove it because, "Hermione is so very annoying in the early part of Philosopher's Stone that I really felt it needed something (literally) huge to bring her together with Harry and Ron."
Hermione develops a crush on handsome new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. During a morning confrontation between the Gryffindor and Slytherin Quidditch teams, a brawl nearly ensues after Draco Malfoy calls her a "Mudblood", but she does not know what the epithet means until Ron explains it to her at Hagrid's hut. She assembles the Polyjuice Potion needed for the trio to disguise themselves as Malfoy's housemates in order to collect information about the Heir of Slytherin who has reopened the Chamber of Secrets. However, she is unable to join Harry and Ron in the investigation after the hair she plucked from the robes of Slytherin student Millicent Bulstrode (whom Hermione is matched up with during Lockhart's ill-fated Duelling Club) turns out to be those of her cat, whose appearance she takes on in her human form; it takes several weeks for the effects to completely wear off. Hermione is Petrified by the basilisk after successfully identifying the creature through library research; though she lies incapacitated in the hospital wing, her information is crucial to Harry and Ron in their successful mission to solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets. Hermione is revived after Harry kills the basilisk, but she is devastated to learn that all end-of-year exams have been cancelled as a school treat.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione gets a pet cat-Kneazle mix named Crookshanks, who habitually pursues Ron's pet rat, Scabbers. Before the start of term, Professor McGonagall secretly gives her a Time-Turner, a device which enables her to go back in time and handle her heavy class schedule. Much tension exists between Hermione and her two best friends in the novel: Harry is furious with her because she told McGonagall that someone had sent Harry a Firebolt, which is then taken away to be inspected for traces of dark magic. Ron is irritated because when Scabbers disappears, he assumes Crookshanks killed him. While filling in for Remus Lupin in one Defence Against the Dark Arts class, Severus Snape labels Hermione "an insufferable know-it-all" and penalises Gryffindor after she speaks out of turn in her attempt to describe a werewolf. While Hermione correctly deduces Lupin's secret after completing Snape's homework assignment from the class, Crookshanks proves vital in exposing Scabbers as Peter Pettigrew, a friend of James and Lily Potter who revealed their whereabouts to Lord Voldemort the night of their murders, and was able to wrongly implicate Sirius Black (revealed to be Harry's godfather) in the Potters' deaths. The Time-Turner enables Hermione and Harry to rescue Sirius and the hippogriff Buckbeak.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione becomes a Gryffindor prefect along with Ron, and befriends Luna Lovegood, but their friendship gets off to a rocky start after Hermione chastises Luna's father's publication: "The Quibbler's rubbish, everyone knows that." She also lambasts housemate Lavender Brown for believing the Daily Prophet's allegations of Harry fabricating stories of Voldemort's return. Later, with Luna's assistance, Hermione blackmails Rita Skeeter into interviewing Harry for an upcoming issue of The Quibbler. Attempts to ban the magazine from Hogwarts are futile as the story spreads quickly through the school. One turning point in the series is when she conceives the idea of secretly teaching defensive magic to a small band of students in defiance of the Ministry of Magic's dictum to teach only the subject's basic principles. Hermione gets an unexpectedly huge response, and the group becomes the nascent Dumbledore's Army. She is involved in the battle in the Department of Mysteries and seriously injured, but makes a full recovery.
New Potions professor Horace Slughorn invites Hermione to join his "Slug Club" in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. She helps Ron retain his spot on the Gryffindor Quidditch team when she secretly jinxes Cormac McLaggen, causing him to miss his last save attempt during Keeper tryouts. Hermione's feelings for Ron continue to grow and she decides to make a move by inviting him to Slughorn's Christmas Party, but he romances Lavender instead in retaliation for Hermione having kissed Viktor Krum two years previous. She attempts to retaliate by dating McLaggen at the Christmas party, but her plan goes bust and she abandons him midway through the party. Ron and Hermione continually feud with each other until he suffers a bout of poisoning from tainted mead, which makes her realise that she may lose him forever and frightens her enough to reconcile with him. Following Albus Dumbledore's death, Ron and Hermione both vow to stay by Harry's side regardless of what happens. A minor subplot in the book is that Hermione and Harry form a rivalry in Potions, as Hermione is used to coming first in her subjects and is angered that Harry does better than her at a subject, especially as he follows instructions written on his text book.
Hermione later uses Polyjuice Potion to impersonate Bellatrix when the trio attempt to steal Hufflepuff's cup from Gringotts. Hermione and Ron share their first kiss after Ron says they cannot order the house elves to die for them, and they join Dumbledore's Army in the Battle of Hogwarts, during which Hermione destroys the cup in the Chamber of Secrets with a basilisk fang. In the final battle in the Great Hall, Hermione fights Bellatrix with the help of Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley. However, the three of them are unable to defeat Bellatrix, and stop fighting her once Molly Weasley orders them to back off.
Watson considers Hermione charismatic and "a fantastic role to play." Watson has also said that Hermione is a character that makes "brain not beauty cool", and that though Hermione is "slightly socially inept", she is "not ashamed of herself". In 2007, prior to the release of Order of the Phoenix, Watson stated that "There are too many stupid girls in the media. Hermione's not scared to be clever. I think sometimes really smart girls dumb themselves down a bit, and that's bad. When I was 9 or 10, I would get really upset when they tried to make me look geeky, but now I absolutely love it. I find it's so much pressure to be beautiful. Hermione doesn’t care what she looks like. She's a complete tomboy."
Screenwriter Steve Kloves revealed in a 2003 interview that Hermione was his favourite character. "There's something about her fierce intellect coupled with a complete lack of understanding of how she affects people sometimes that I just find charming and irresistible to write."
Hermione has an extremely compassionate side to her personality and is quick to help others, especially those who are defenceless, such as Neville Longbottom, first-years, house-elves, and fellow Muggle-borns. It was revealed by Rowling after the publication of the final book that Hermione's career in the Ministry was to fight for the rights of the oppressed (house-elves and Muggle-borns). Hermione is also very protective of her friends and values them so much that Rowling has suggested that, if Hermione had looked in the Mirror of Erised, she would have seen Harry, Ron, and herself "alive and unscathed and Voldemort finished".
Eliza T. Dresang, in her article titled Hermione Granger and the Heritage of Gender, commented that Hermione's "hysteria and crying happen far too often to be considered a believable part of the development of Hermione's character and are quite out of line with her core role in the book."
Hermione's Patronus is an otter, Rowling's favourite animal. Her wand is made of vine wood and dragon heartstring core; vine is the wood ascribed to Hermione's fictional birth month (September) on the Celtic calendar.
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