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Hermione Granger - What made her tick?
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Romione



Joined: 28 May 2009
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:30 am    Post subject: Hermione Granger - What made her tick? Reply with quote

Admin's Note: I had to split this from the Favouritism thread again. Though there are some comments about Hufflepuff, most of it concerns Hermione. And she does rate her own thread, doesn't she? Very Happy

Wildflower wrote:
The Shuttle wrote:
Aaaaah, I'm hopelessly off-topic here. We all are, actually. Surprising that no Mod has come in to split the thread and rap our fingers. Eek

I've been thinking about it for a while now, but decided to let it be. There's no real "logical" point where to split the thread, with all the OT asides in the middle of the debate on favouritism on JKR's part. Then it went off in all directions.

Better let it be than split the thread in two, three or more. We are, after all, not CoS Mods.

This said, consider your fingers rapped. All of you who went OT.


*Massages sore fingers.

Perhaps a separate thread for the discussion about Pettigrew? I was enjoying that discussion and would like to respond to The Shuttle's post, but it really doesn't have anything to do with favoritism.

On the subject of favoritism, for me, the only character Jo really did that with was Hermione. And I wouldn't really consider it overt favoritism - at least not entirely - but Jo had a tendency to gloss things over whenever Hermione did something wrong. And I will quickly add that I adore Hermione and she is my second favorite character - which is why that particular lack of character development for her is disappointing to me.

We have all these great bits of character development with Ron - and Harry - having to deal with the consequences of their mistakes in which they learn from them and grow. But whenever Hermione made a major mistake, we don't see her have to deal with any consequences on page. The whole thing with SPEW and her efforts to trick the house-elves into freedom because she thinks they should want it - somewhere in between OOTP and DH, Hermione realizes she was wrong and starts looking at the situation from the house-elves perspective, but we don't get to see what the catalyst for that was or how she reacted to the realization that she was wrong. She jinxed the DA parchment without telling anyone and Marietta was permanently scarred, but Harry and the other DA members praise her for it - Cho was the only one to point out that it was wrong, but that gets written off as Cho simply being defensive because Marietta was her friend and she forced her to join the DA so she wouldn't have to go to the meetings alone. Even the teachers don't seem to be bothered by the fact that they can't reverse the spell and Marietta will forever have scars labeling her a SNEAK. The way she ignored Ron and talked badly to him in her efforts to hide her feelings - him dating Lavender was a consequence and it was obvious she was heartbroken, but that's all presented as completely Ron's fault and we don't really see Hermione dealing with how her own behavior was a factor. Though we do see that her behavior towards Ron changes after he was poisoned.

I would really have liked to see Hermione dealing with such things more directly - specifically having to admit that she was wrong and learning from those mistakes. It was good that we see her behavior change - at least in regards to the house-elves and Ron - but I think it would have been better to show the process of that change and what Hermione learned from that specifically.
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Proud Puff



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:58 pm    Post subject: Favoritism Reply with quote

I'm not so sure that JKR favored Hermione. She was often pushed into the background so that Harry and Ron could take center stage. Only in DH does she take more of a "leading" role.

On the other hand, JKR didn't favor Hufflepuff much. Apart from Cedric Diggory, Puffs are usually shown as pushovers, the quiet group in the background, the group people easily dismiss. Not the "strong" group that Minisinoo describes, that I quote in my signature.

When you see the number of members in CoS's Sorting Hat thread and other forums' who don't want to be in Hufflepuff, you can see most readers don't see it as an interesting or desirable house to be in. Those who don't want to be in Slytherin are following Harry's lead "Not Slytherin, not Slytherin" and very often see Slyths as the "evil" house, whose members are the most likely to turn to the Dark Arts. The name alone shows that JKR was dismissive, if not plain disdainful of Hufflepuff.
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Romione



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:58 am    Post subject: Re: Favoritism Reply with quote

Proud Puff wrote:
I'm not so sure that JKR favored Hermione. She was often pushed into the background so that Harry and Ron could take center stage. Only in DH does she take more of a "leading" role.


Actually, that balanced out between Hermione and Ron. I remember that argument from the shipping wars - H/Hr shippers always tried to say that Jo put Hermione in a leadership role equal to Harry while Ron got shoved to the side, but it was actually balanced when you go through the series. Sometimes Hermione got more or a leading role and sometimes Ron did, but mostly it was the three of them working together that made the difference. Ron and Hermione were always the sidekicks, but they each got moments where they shined.

That wasn't what I was referring to though. It's not really about who got a "leading" role for me because the amount of page time a character gets doesn't really determine how well developed they were as a character. In terms of character development, Harry and Ron got a lot more development than Hermione did. We learn more about them though the mistakes they made and how they dealt with the consequences of those mistakes. We know why Harry was so driven to save people - he felt responsible for a great deal of it because people were so often in danger because of Voldemort's attempts to kill him. We know why Ron was so insecure and why he had such a low opinion of himself. And we get to see the moment where he confronts his fears and finally realizes that he is a worthy person and deserving of love.

We don't get anything like that for Hermione. Harry makes observations about her being driven to excel at everything she tries and how much effort she puts into it, but we never learn why. Why is failure Hermione's greatest fear? Why does she feel the need to be the best at everything she does and why does she feel like she failed if even one person does better than her at anything? Why is she so obstinate in refusing to listen to other people's opinions? Why does she need to be right about everything - to the point that she refuses to admit when she is wrong? Did she feel any guilt about lying to her friends and the other DA members about the jinx on the parchment or that Marietta was permanently scarred because of it? What happened to make Hermione change her opinion about the house-elf situation between OOTP and DH? And so on and so forth. We can speculate about the answers to such questions, but none of these things were ever addressed on page so we don't actually know what the answers are.

I would have liked at least one moment where Hermione dealing with the consequences of her actions was shown on page. A moment where she had to acknowledge the mistakes she made or being wrong about something and what she learned from that. I would have liked to learn more about who Hermione was as a person and why she was so afraid of failing and so driven to be the best. What made her so insecure that she felt any mistake or being wrong about anything constituted a failure?

Quote:
On the other hand, JKR didn't favor Hufflepuff much. Apart from Cedric Diggory, Puffs are usually shown as pushovers, the quiet group in the background, the group people easily dismiss. Not the "strong" group that Minisinoo describes, that I quote in my signature.

When you see the number of members in CoS's Sorting Hat thread and other forums' who don't want to be in Hufflepuff, you can see most readers don't see it as an interesting or desirable house to be in. Those who don't want to be in Slytherin are following Harry's lead "Not Slytherin, not Slytherin" and very often see Slyths as the "evil" house, whose members are the most likely to turn to the Dark Arts. The name alone shows that JKR was dismissive, if not plain disdainful of Hufflepuff.


I'd have to disagree with that. Jo did show that the general public opinion of Hufflepuff was dismissive - and disdainful in some cases - but I think she also showed that opinion was wrong. In the end, I think Minisinoo's description from your signature is exactly what Jo showed in the books. Ernie has the strength to admit that he was wrong and apologize to Harry in COS. He joins the DA along with Hannah and Susan and they demonstrate strength and loyalty there. Ernie was also there with Luna and Neville to save the trio from dementors in DH. Cedric embodies that description - and Dumbledore said on page that Cedric embodied what it truly meant to be a Hufflepuff. Harry learns that it didn't matter if other people dismissed them or were disdainful of them because Hufflepuffs were strong - they didn't worry about what other people thought of them. They did what needed to be done in spite of such attitudes. They were strong and dependable - like the earth they represent.
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inkling7
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject: Hermione Reply with quote

I remember reading somewhere that Jo said Hermione was rather like herself as a child so perhaps she didn't develop her character because she didn't want to expose herself and her perceived shortcomings to the rest of the world in a book - I know I would be reluctant to do that....
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Cedric



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Hermione Reply with quote

inkling7 wrote:
I remember reading somewhere that Jo said Hermione was rather like herself as a child so perhaps she didn't develop her character because she didn't want to expose herself and her perceived shortcomings to the rest of the world in a book - I know I would be reluctant to do that....

Good point there, inkling7. Still, I agree with Romione, I'd like to know more about the reasons for Hermione's drive to excel, why she couldn't bring herself to admit she could be wrong - and what made her change, what "mellowed" her a bit, what made her accept House Elves as they were, not as she wanted them to be.

I wish that at some point she had reversed the hex on Marietta. I don't have any sympathy for Marietta, but the punishment was out of proportion to the crime.

Was JKR herself so unbending in her youth? Makes one wonder.
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Romione



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:11 am    Post subject: Re: Hermione Reply with quote

Cedric wrote:
Good point there, inkling7. Still, I agree with Romione, I'd like to know more about the reasons for Hermione's drive to excel, why she couldn't bring herself to admit she could be wrong - and what made her change, what "mellowed" her a bit, what made her accept House Elves as they were, not as she wanted them to be.

I wish that at some point she had reversed the hex on Marietta. I don't have any sympathy for Marietta, but the punishment was out of proportion to the crime.

Was JKR herself so unbending in her youth? Makes one wonder.


I get the impression that Jo is rather unbending now - she has commented on the SNEAK scar in general. She felt Marietta deserved that because she feels that a betrayal of that magnitude is one of the worst things a person could do.

For me, it is less about the scar and more about the fact that Hermione did that without telling any of them. That wasn't very logical when you think about it. As a preventative measure, it would only work if they knew about it. Basically that shows Hermione setting herself up as judge and jury against an unknown person for a possible "crime" that may or may not be committed in the future. She let all of them - including her friends - sign that parchment without telling them what the consequences could be. She did mention that she had done something to Harry and Ron later, but she didn't explain exactly what it was - and that was after they had signed the parchment. And she didn't seem to consider the possibility that Umbridge might find a way to trick someone in the DA or use Veritaserum against them. Would they have considered that so brilliant if Umbridge had done that and one of them had ended up with a permanent scar rather than Marietta?

The more logical course of action would have been to tell everyone up front that, by signing that parchment, they were agreeing not to tell anyone about the DA and that there would be consequences if they did. They were all taking a big risk there and that would have assured them that the ones who did sign understood that and could be trusted. I doubt Marietta would have been willing to join the DA had she known about the jinx - in which case, she would not have signed the parchment and she would not have attended any future DA meetings so she could not betray them. The jinx itself really isn't the problem for me - it was how Hermione decided to use it. That would have been brilliant as a preventative measure, but Hermione chose to use it as a punishment instead and that was disturbing.

I was surprised that it was never addressed. In a situation like that, I would have expected McGonagall to at least look into it. But Harry was never asked about it. Hermione was never called to McGonagall's office as far as we're shown. I actually don't think it was possible for it to be removed - Hermione always used spells she found in books so if it could be removed either Madame Pomfrey or someone at St. Mungo's would have been able to figure out what jinx was used to do so, IMO. But I still feel that was something that should have been addressed because Hermione's choice to use that jinx as a punishment rather than a preventative measure bothers me.

I'll address the house-elf situation in the new SPEW thread.
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Wildflower



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject: Arrogance Reply with quote

Was Jo that harsh really about Marietta's betrayal? At least she made Cho stand by her friend.

I agree with Romione, though. It's not so much what Hermione did, but the fact that she didn't let anyone (not even Harry) know about it. It was quite arrogant of her to appoint herself judge, jury and executioner with one hex. Like her SPEW endeavour was, if you come right down to it, arrogant and paternalistic - or maternalistic if you will. She was convinced she knew better than anyone else, even Hagrid whose job it was to know about other races and magical beings. Certainly better than the House Elves themselves, whom she wanted to help while she was unconsciously looking down on, as children or weaker beings whom she had to protect, against their will if need be.

Unconscious arrogance, the absolute conviction that she was always right, is one of Hermione's most salient traits. Also her trust in the printed word. Remember that scene in Potions class, where Harry was following the HBP's instructions scribbled in his book, and Hermione insisted on doing it by the unalduteratd book? How mad she was when Harry did better than she did, for once? And doing so by going against what was printed in the official Potions book. That's rather typical Hermione, I think. Like the way she says "It's in 'Hogwarts: A History'." That made it Gospel as far as she was concerned. It took her a long time to realize that Lockhart's books were mostly smoke and mirrors (and downright piracy in some cases.) That was funny, though, the way she was smitten with Lockhart.

Now what made her be that way, only JKR knows. It would be nice if she shared it with us. We'd like to know, too. Very Happy
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Romione



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Arrogance Reply with quote

Wildflower wrote:
Was Jo that harsh really about Marietta's betrayal? At least she made Cho stand by her friend.


Here's what Jo said about it during the Bloomsbury live webchat.

Louie: Did mariettas pimply formation ever fade
J.K. Rowling: Eventually, but it left a few scars. I loathe a traitor!


I recall her saying something about such a betrayal being one of the worst things you can do as well, but I'll have to dig a little deeper I guess. On the plus side, the pimples faded - but Marietta was still permanently scarred by it. That's another thing I wonder about this incident - did Hermione know it would leave a permanent scar?

Quote:
I agree with Romione, though. It's not so much what Hermione did, but the fact that she didn't let anyone (not even Harry) know about it. It was quite arrogant of her to appoint herself judge, jury and executioner with one hex. Like her SPEW endeavour was, if you come right down to it, arrogant and paternalistic - or maternalistic if you will. She was convinced she knew better than anyone else, even Hagrid whose job it was to know about other races and magical beings. Certainly better than the House Elves themselves, whom she wanted to help while she was unconsciously looking down on, as children or weaker beings whom she had to protect, against their will if need be.

Unconscious arrogance, the absolute conviction that she was always right, is one of Hermione's most salient traits. Also her trust in the printed word. Remember that scene in Potions class, where Harry was following the HBP's instructions scribbled in his book, and Hermione insisted on doing it by the unalduteratd book? How mad she was when Harry did better than she did, for once? And doing so by going against what was printed in the official Potions book. That's rather typical Hermione, I think. Like the way she says "It's in 'Hogwarts: A History'." That made it Gospel as far as she was concerned. It took her a long time to realize that Lockhart's books were mostly smoke and mirrors (and downright piracy in some cases.) That was funny, though, the way she was smitten with Lockhart.

Now what made her be that way, only JKR knows. It would be nice if she shared it with us. We'd like to know, too. Very Happy


I think unconscious arrogance is an excellent way to put it because even with things like Marietta being scarred and trying to trick the house-elves, I wouldn't say Hermione was a cruel person intentionally. She always felt that she was doing the right thing and had good intentions. She knew that Umbridge discovering what they were attempting to do with the DA would be really bad because of Fudge being so paranoid about the idea of Dumbledore training the students to fight against the Ministry. Of course, that was stupid of Fudge, but it was also why he wanted Umbridge at Hogwarts and why she picked such a terrible textbook and refused to let them practice defensive spells at all. And they were putting forth all those decrees to change the rules at Hogwarts to suit what Fudge and Umbridge wanted. So even though a study group wasn't actually against the rules, Hermione knew that Umbridge would make them pay for it if they got caught. And she got confirmation of that very quickly with the decree to disband all groups of any kind and forcing them to ask for permission to form - or reform - any kind of group. Umbridge would have expelled every single one of them if Dumbledore hadn't been able to rig things so it appeared there had only been two meetings and he was responsible for both.

So in regards to that, I can understand why Hermione felt it was necessary to jinx the parchment. What doesn't follow is that she didn't tell anyone what she had done. That would have been more logical because, as I said before, that would have been most effective to prevent anyone in the DA from telling Umbridge anything - as well as preventing anyone who didn't really want to join or wasn't sure about it from joining. I think Hermione got a little too caught up in trying to figure out a way to make sure they would know if anyone betrayed them and be able to identify the traitor - which would also serve to punish that person if they did - and didn't think things through in regards to how much more effective it would be to prevent anyone from talking by telling them what the consequences would be if they did.

I agree that we see that with Hermione's complete reliance on books as well. She is always so sure that the answer she needs will be in a book. And whatever answer she finds in a book has to be the right answer because it was in the book. Even discovering that Lockhart had plagiarized his books didn't really change Hermione's attitude about books in general because the stories he told were actually true - he just wasn't the person who had done those things. And it's interesting how she wants nothing to do with the HBP textbook when she thinks it was marked up by some student, but changes her mind and actually starts using the spells in it after learning those notes were written by Snape - a teacher she knew to be skilled at both potions and magic. That would be due to her tendency to believe that authority figures were always right - though she actually does get better about that and realize that there are times authority figures are wrong as the series progresses.

Still, that unconscious arrogance is always there to some degree - even in DH. She was frightened by the idea of the Resurrection Stone and didn't want to believe that a wand could make anyone more powerful so she automatically ruled out the legend of the Deathly Hallows as nonsense. Those things couldn't be real. Getting that information from Xenophilius only cemented that view for her and none of the logical arguments that Harry presented would sway her - she had to be right. Then Ollivander confirms that the Elder wand was real - and that shocks her. But she accepts that from Ollivander - a famous wandmaker who has made his living studying and understanding wands. That reveals quite a bit about Hermione's personality because she didn't trust Harry's opinion at all and it was very easy for her to dismiss every argument he made. But it still doesn't help us understand why she was like that unfortunately.
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inkling7
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:52 pm    Post subject: Hermione's Muggle origins Reply with quote

Perhaps she was like that because she was Muggleborn and she and her parents may not have known much about the wizarding world even though there may have been a witch or wizard in the family centuries before? She might have felt compelled to read as much as possible knowing that she was at a disadvantage coming from a muggle family compared to others who came from wizarding families and would probably have known more about the wizarding world than she would have. Hence the need to read as many books as possible and to rely on the Professors to give out accurate information?

What I don't understand is how she and her parents managed to get into Diagon Alley to buy her stuff for school. I can only surmise that they were given instructions or had someone from the Leaky Cauldron who had a wand let them in but how did they find the Leaky Cauldron in the first place and is that the only way into Diagon Alley?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Hermione's Muggle origins Reply with quote

inkling7 wrote:
Perhaps she was like that because she was Muggleborn and she and her parents may not have known much about the wizarding world even though there may have been a witch or wizard in the family centuries before? She might have felt compelled to read as much as possible knowing that she was at a disadvantage coming from a muggle family compared to others who came from wizarding families and would probably have known more about the wizarding world than she would have. Hence the need to read as many books as possible and to rely on the Professors to give out accurate information?

That may explain her reliance on books and the word of professors, but not her conviction that SHE was always right about everything. Muggle origins don't explain her arrogance.

She also unconsciously looked down on Hagrid (a professor, but a second-class one as she saw it), she wouldn't take his word about House Elves though Romione's right in that her heart was in the right place where Elves were concerned. But she still thought of them as "inferior", or let's say, weaker, and helpless beings that needed her protection She didn't even bother to ask them if they wanted to be free - and when she did, she dismissed the answers she got from them. It took her some time to realize that Elves are far from helpless - look at what Dobby and Kreacher accomplished despite the limitations imposed on them by the Wizarding authorities.

That's the point where Meesha and I butted heads with Wimsey on CoS. Wimsey too has good intentions, but thinks that Amnesty International's own version of SPEW was what the people from undeveloped, poor countries needed, totally disregarding the local culture and customs. That, too, is arrogant and paternalistic.

Quote:
What I don't understand is how she and her parents managed to get into Diagon Alley to buy her stuff for school. I can only surmise that they were given instructions or had someone from the Leaky Cauldron who had a wand let them in but how did they find the Leaky Cauldron in the first place and is that the only way into Diagon Alley?

I guess Muggleborn witches and wizards' parents are given special instructions to get to Diagon Alley. Hermione is hardly the only Muggleborn witch. We had Lily before her, then Justin Finch-Fetchley, the Creevey brothers, etc. There must be a system in place for Muggle parents of magical children.

Which reminds me of the speculation about Justin, how his parents explained to their friends and relatives why, instead of sending him to Eton as expected, they sent him to some obscure school in Scotland that no one in their circles had heard of before. But I'd better not go off-topic myself, or I'll have to rap my own fingers.
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