Hermione, the Heroine: Part I

Monday, July 11th, 2011 | Author: Hollie

I am not a pretty girl

that is not what i do

I ain’t no damsel in distress

and I don’t need to be rescued

so put me down punk

wouldn’t you prefer a maiden fair

isn’t there a kitten

stuck up a tree somewhere

~Ani Difranco, 1995.

For me, Hermione Granger is the witch that will give our summer series the perfect kick-start. The reason behind my choice is obvious – she is the ideal contemporary heroine. Courageous, loyal and honest, her work ethic and moral standard give any Average Josephine a run for their wand. Despite her brilliance, she possesses the attributes of a knight with true modesty, revealed early in Philosopher’s Stone: “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship, and bravery.” (16) Let’s not forget her spirit for adventure, blossoming with her thirst for knowledge. But wait – aren’t we forgetting about those envious characteristics most classic heroines come by naturally? How about incomparable beauty?  Not unless you count the bushy hair and abnormally large front teeth. Countless suitors pining for her heart? Besides Viktor Krum (with his surly uncouthness), and Cormac McGlaggen (who feels like something out of Varsity Blues), Hermione remains overlooked, until her and Ron’s love grows into its own. Is she graceful; full of poise? Regretfully, her shrill, insistent tone isn’t always pleasing to the ear, and she was never able to mount a broomstick properly let alone play a match of Quidditch. Beyond that, does she come from a long line of regal witches and wizards? Interestingly enough, no, yet Remus Lupin remarks that she’s “…the cleverest witch of [her] age [he's] ever met…” (PA17) And in the end, she does not give excuses or apologies for who she is. All wrapped up, we’ve got an incredible role model for today’s girl. Note that I didn’t say a ‘perfect’ one. Take it from the young woman who, other than J.K. Rowling herself, knows Ms. Granger better than anyone. In her recent speech at the Deathly Hallows: Part II Premiere, Emma Watson shines a light on one of the most beloved female characters of all time, claiming the on-screen Hermione is “…every bit as strong and beautiful and brave as she is in the books.” She’s ‘real’ in a ‘not-so-real’ world, and we dig that. We need to relate to her, or at least some aspect of her, and for many people that is easily done. Some readily admit this (or embrace it heartily) while others would rather attach themselves to Ginny, Luna, or even the likes of Bellatrix Lestrange (understandable – she’s a knock-out in the films…until she opens her mouth to reveal those rotting Azkaban teeth. The outside truly reflects what’s within, doesn’t it).  All that said, let’s dig deeper into Hermione’s character and decipher if we admire her for who she is, or perhaps for who she isn’t. Myself? I believe it to be a wondrous mix of characteristics that, when melded together to make our Hermione, always saves the day.

*Stay tuned for my next installment where I go into a bit more detail about the current culture of feminine standards, a real life feminist icon, and what we can learn by peering through Hermione’s perspective, even if it’s just for a moment.

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  1. Kim says:

    This is great, Hollie! I totally agree. Hermione is a heroine for sure, but a new type of heroine. She doesn’t fit into the standard, cookie-cutter mold for your typical hero. Nor does she fit the mold for a typical female lead character. She’s different and for me, that is what makes her so great!

  2. Katherine says:

    This was amazing, and I can’t wait for the next installment! Hermione is a great role-model I think, and I can see myself in her too. She isn’t afraid to be clever.

    And, I thought this was relevant:

    “I may be frumpy, but I’m super smart, check out my grades, they’re As for a start, what I lack in looks, well I make up in heart, and yeah guys well that’s totally awesome!”

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