The Harry Potter series of books, movies, and games was, and still is, nothing short of a turn-of-the-century cultural phenomenon. Though the popularity of the series has been reduced due to a lack any real content over the past few years, it isn’t difficult to cast your mind back just a few years and think of the absolute mania caused by the conclusion of the books and films. I was fifteen or sixteen when the final novel came out, and it seemed to be the perfect conclusion to a series which had grown and evolved with me over the years. In my estimation, Harry’s final showdown with the dark Lord Voldemort must have been akin to frenzied fans of the original Star Wars saga watching Luke and Vader thwart the Emperor at the end of Return of the Jedi way back in 1983.
Some may disagree, but, to me, the parallels between George Lucas’ famous sci-fi franchise and J.K. Rowling’s young adult masterworks feel particularly prevalent: both are titanic aspects of modern-day pop culture, they are both intended for people of all ages, and they come pact with such an extensive set of lore and backstory that you could probably spend your entire life poring over fan theories, dramatizations, and ancillary works.
As such, there’s tons of stuff even hardcore Potter veterans probably don’t know about some of the characters. We know a lot about Harry, of course — he’s the main character, after all. Yet, there’s a ton about his would-be love interest and best friend Hermione Granger that is either kept secret or merely hinted at in the books and movies.
20 Hermione is Older Than You Might Think
This might seem like a pretty small detail to overlook, but I would be willing to bet that most Harry Potter fans aren’t actually familiar with the exact timeframe in which the books and films take place. I, like many, assumed that they were intended to take place over the time frame in which they were released; that is to say, from roughly 2000 to 2008 or so. That’s actually an incorrect assumption, and dedicated fans will likely be eager to note that this approximation is actually off by about ten years. Hermione Granger was born on the 19th of September, 1979. She is said to have first discovered her magical abilities at the age of 11, and subsequently started her career as a student at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1991.
She would then have been 18 years old when the Second Wizarding War reached a conclusion in 1998, and it follows that she would be 39 years old today.
As far as I know, we aren’t directly told how old she and her friends are at the end of the eight movie, but, if you just so happen to find yourself on Platform 9 3/4 anytime soon, keep an eye out for her and her redheaded children.
19 Trouble in Paradise?
Though fans seemed largely satisfied with the conclusion to the Harry Potter series with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007. It brought an end to a decade of fan speculation and successfully concluded one of the most beloved young adult franchises in modern literary history.
That said, there were a few little quirks and nit picks that some could have gone without. The plot, though fantastic, was a bit overbearing for some, and the series really started treading a dark path in the later novels which could have deterred some of the kids who started the series when it was in its infancy. The most egregious offence, in my opinion, was that Harry and Hermione didn’t end up together in the end. Instead, Harry ended up with Ginny Weasley with whom he was scarcely associated with and really didn’t seem to know all that well.
Rowling even admitted years after the books' publication that this may have been a mistake, and that she should have ended the series with the union of Potter and his wickedly-smart childhood friend.
All in all, it hardly has an impact on the rest of the story, and it’s nothing more than a minor detail which today only bothers Potter aficionados and armchair fiction writers.
18 An Act of Love
The beginning of the seventh Potter film opens with a scene in which Hermione imposes some form of memory charm on her parents. It’s a sad moment, and we can see the emotional agony splayed out across actress Emma Watsons young face. It may have tugged at the heartstrings of most viewers, but few are likely aware of the true implications of her actions.
Granger had feared what exposure to the reality of the wizarding world might mean for her parents, and this concern was only exasperated when tensions between rival factions escalated into the Second Wizarding War. When that happened, she saw fit to place a charm on her parents which caused them to forget that they even had a daughter, perhaps a trick she picked up from the once-esteemed Gildroy Lockhart. To further ensure their protection, she actually went as far as to relocate them to Australia to ensure that they wouldn’t become unnecessary casualties of the confrontations to come.
Fortunately, this sad circumstance was resolved after Voldemort’s defeat. With the danger diminished, Granger was able to reunite with her parents and reverse the memory charm she had placed on them.
17 Hermione, The Greek Godess
Hermione may seem like a somewhat archaic and out-of-use name to most Western audiences, but J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter universe, had a good reason for choosing the name she did. Her name is actually derived from Hermes, the ancient Greek God of messengers. While I admittedly don’t know as much about Greek mythology as others, I do know that, though he was a major figure in the mythos, Hermes never really seemed to claim the spotlight. So, if Harry Potter were the Zeus of the wizarding world, as many thought him to be, then it seems fitting that Hermione might be equated to a slightly less compelling role in such mythology.
The connection between everyone’s favorite brunette witch and the messenger god runs deeper than that, though.
Hermes was said to have struck a balance between the Realm of the Gods and the human world, which is a state of being replicated by his magical namesake. Hermione is, as everyone knows, the child of non-magical parents, which means that she was very well versed in both the wizarding world, as well as the plain, boring world in which you and I inhabit. Well, maybe you don’t inhabit it — if anyone is reading this at Hogwarts, I would really like to be made aware.
16 Well, If You’re Sure, Better Be… Gryffindor!
The process by which new students are selected for housing seems a bit ridiculous, though I am not one to question magical providence. I myself am not a sorting hat, and, given that his excellence in the craft is literally part of his name, he doesn’t seem like a piece of headgear to be second-guessed. That said, the partisan structure of the four houses of Hogwarts does come across as somewhat of a meme; brave Gryffindor and cunning Slytherin seem to steal the show, while nobody really cares about the other two houses.
Yet, that almost wasn’t the case, as the Sorting Hat is said to have come very close to placing Hermione in Ravenclaw instead of the now-famous Gryffindor house. Closely associated with level-headedness and intellect, she would certainly have fit in well among those students. However, her courage and bravery seems to have outshined her other qualities, and the Sorting Hat saw fit to make the selection we saw in the books and movies. Could you imagine how different the franchise would have been had Hermione been separated from the two quirky friends she made on the Hogwarts Express earlier that day? Perhaps Voldemort may have seen a more clear-cut victory in the Chamber of Secrets a year later.
15 Get it Right!
This may come as a surprise to just about everyone who grew up with the books, but Hermione is usually mispronounced by most readers. As I’ve already mentioned, I grew up with these books, and, when the first few came out, they were sort of beyond my level of literary comprehension. As such, my mom used to read them to me, and I distinctly remember her having pronounced it as Her-mee-own. That may sound downright silly today, but you have to keep in mind that, before the movies came out, there really was no consensus on how the name should be pronounced.
I think most people will follow the pronunciation evident in the theatrical release of the franchise. Though there actually isn’t really a consensus in that medium, most characters refer to her as Her-my-knee. That’s how I learned to pronounce it, and lots of casual fans are probably apt to do the same.
However, many have missed on little detail present in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth edition in the magical series.
When she first encounters her soon-to-be on-again, off-again love interest Victor Krum, she informs him that her name is actually pronounced Her-my-oh-knee, which seems to be the way Ron Weasley typically enunciates the name in the movies. Maybe that’s why she ended up with him — he was the only one who could correctly say her name!
14 Divination and Volition
Hermione is known to be one of the greatest wizarding minds of her generation, and, though I don’t know if we are ever explicitly told so, we can probably assume that she graduated at the top of her class, though that class was sort of disrupted in its seventh year. With near perfect marks in just about every class in which she enrolled and a thirst for knowledge so profound that she literally bent time in order to take more classes, she was probably about as good of a scholar as anyone could ever hope to be.
With that said, she did struggle in a few aspects of her curricular career; as viewers of the third Harry Potter film will remember, Hermione did not take well to Sybill Trelawney or her divination class. Referring to it as “woolly” and stating that it required “a lot of guess work,” she clearly didn’t have much of a knack for it. The craft is sort of presented as a very ambiguous, left-brained sort of art form which requires its practitioners to pick up on very vague and indecipherable clues. Those who excel in it — take the very quirky Luna Lovegood, for example — seem to be the polar opposites of Hermione, which explains why she isn’t really able to pick up on the material. Hermione was also known to struggle in producing her first Patronus, which is thought to be an act reliant on emotional maturity and is seemingly very separate from material taught in a textbook.
13 Hermione’s Sister
J.K. Rowling, author of the incredible Harry Potter series of novels upon which the multimedia universe is based, never intended for Hermione Granger to be an only child. Already a girl stuck between two very different worlds, it might have been interesting for Hermione to have been given a counterpart with whom she could have shared her struggles with. As we know, wizards borne of non-magical parents, referred to in a derogatory fashion as “half-bloods” in the wizarding world, don’t exactly have it easy in this secretive, fantastical culture. She may have a good group of friends including Harry, a boy very much in tune with the struggles of growing up around those who shun the idea of magic, but the lack of a blood relation between the two formed a gap that could not quite be bridged. Rowling has stated that she actually intended for Hermione’s theoretical sister to be a Muggle, which likely would have meant that she wouldn’t have played a major role in the story, anyway.
Rowling originally wanted to include the character from the start, but she realized that, as she went back to work out some of the kinks in the manuscript, it would have been too late to include such a person.
As a result, Hermione Granger remained an only child.
12 Write What You Know
Authors are often encouraged to base their fiction off of real life experiences in order to maintain an air of reality in their writing. This is perhaps most famously evident in the works of horror icon Stephen King, who has written endlessly about a series of New England authors fending off evil in some small town. While this certainly couldn’t be said about the Harry Potter franchise — Rowling is known to have gone to a school for wizards and witches, after all — there are certain aspects of the plot which could be traced back to Rowling’s own life. For instance, Rowling has stated that Number Four Privet Drive, the house in which Harry grew up with his insufferable aunt and uncle, was based on one of the homes Rowling lived in as a child.
More importantly, however, the billionaire author has claimed that Hermione is something of a self-insert — that is to say that Rowling wrote the character to be a kind of exaggeration of herself.
A bookish know-it-all, Rowling has stated that a lot of Hermione’s characteristics are based on qualities she has seen in herself, which, in a way, helps to make the person on the page seem a lot more lifelike. There’s no word on if she also felt like a house elf or dark wizard at some point in her life, but I would guess that this methodology doesn’t apply to other characters in the Potterverse.
11 Afraid of Failure
We all know that during her school days, Hermione took her education very seriously. While Harry and Ron were known to occasionally goof off and take a relatively lax approach to their learning, Hermione almost always had her nose in a book. Her grades were extremely important to her, so much so that she found the concept of failure to be the absolute manifestation of fear.
Let’s all take a second to appreciate how totally terrifying it is to think that, in the world of Harry Potter, there are creatures which can search your mind and transform into that which you find to be the most terrifying, no matter what that form may be. We know that Ron was incredibly intimidated by giant spiders, a phobia he probably should have conquered given that he literally met one face to face a year prior. Harry, of course, was afraid of Dementors at the time, and rightfully so. Hermione, as far as I know, was never explicitly shown to have an encounter with the boggart, but we’ve since been informed that it would have taken the form of Professor McGonagall, head of the house of Gryffindor, giving her failing grade. Ron actually mocks this in the third book by snickering that the specter would probably have taken the form of “a piece of homework that only got a nine out of ten.”
10 Hermione’s Middle Name
Hermione really doesn’t have it easy when it comes to names: she’s already been bestowed with a name which few can even correctly pronounce, and, to make matters worse, her middle name was actually changed during the progression of the seven-novel long plot. Perhaps she should take a page from her author’s playbook and simply start going by H.J. Granger, as her surname is pretty much the only name anyone can agree on. As far as I know, nobody really knew what Hermione’s middle name was until it came up in the final instalment of the Harry Potter franchise.
Originally, her middle name was supposed to be Jane, but Rowling had that little detail changed because it was the same middle name as the series' antagonist Dolores Jane Umbridge,
whom fans should recognize from the fifth book and movie. Granger’s name was than changed to Jean, which is supposed to be the female variant of the name John. This isn’t really a detail I think anyone would be quick to pick out: as we all know, actions speak louder than words, and, though they would have shared a common name, it would be pretty difficult to mistake Hermione for Umbridge.
9 Crookshanks Isn’t Actually a Cat
This one doesn’t necessarily have to do with Hermione. As you probably guessed from the title, it more pertains to her apparently feline friend Crookshanks. We all know that students at Hogwarts are permitted to keep one of a number of acceptable pets, examples of which include owls, mice, toads, cats, and any other vaguely mystic small animal. Crookshanks doesn’t appear to be too miraculous or interesting, though we can glean from its behavior and the way others regard it that it isn’t the most approachable of felines. In fact, Hermione originally picked it up because nobody else wanted it due to it’s odd temperament.
There is a reason for this — Crookshanks isn’t actually a cat. Well, she sort of is. She’s part cat, part Kneazle. For those not hopelessly entrenched in Harry Potter lore, a Kneazle is a cat-like magical creature famous for its mischievous nature — think the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.
Crookshank's multi-species nature actually proved to be vital to the plot of the third instalment of Rowling’s magical franchise. The feline, itself well versed in magical mix-ups, could instinctively tell that Ron’s pet rat was not what it seemed and was, in fact, the nefarious Peter Pettigrew hiding out in disguise.
8 She Went Back to School
This seems to be a fact that is often brushed aside, but I’m not sure if Harry or Ron ever really graduated from school. Sure, I think defeating the ultimate evil of the wizarding world and saving the lives of just about every Hogwarts student might put you in the running for an honorary degree, but they didn’t actually go through with their final year of schooling, which seems to indicate that they never really finished their education. There may be some far-flung fact or reference somewhere in the Harry Potter cannon which contradicts this statement, but, of the series' trio of main characters, Hermione seems to be the only one who actually went back and graduated from Hogwarts. She’s definitely the only one of the three to take the N.E.W.T tests — of that, I am certain.
For the unaware, the N.E.W.T., also known as the Nastily Exhausting Wizardry Tests (it’s a stupid name, I know) were the wizarding aptitude tests used to determine the likelihood of a student’s ability to pursue a career in a certain field. These tests are pretty much a parallel of the real-world S.A.T. tests most high schoolers take, and the N.E.W.T. helped Hermione earn a role in the Ministry of Magic.
7 Mirror, Mirror
Most Potter fans will remember that famous scene in the first novel and film in which Harry comes across the Mirror of Erised. This mysterious object offers onlookers a reflection of themselves standing with whatever object they most desire. Coincidentally, Erised is just the word “Desire” reversed, and it must have taken Rowling ages to come up with that. You’ll remember that Harry saw himself standing alongside his parents, while Dumbledore remarks that he sees himself in a pair of Yeezys or whatever (we get it, Dumbledore, you’re living the life, no need to rub it it in).
We don’t really know what Hermione might have seen had she looked in the mirror at that time, though series author J.K. Rowling stated that, had she taken a look at the mirror in 1997 — a year before the Second Wizarding War came to its conclusion — she would have seen herself and her friends standing around a defeated Voldemort. Rowling also hinted that she may have seen herself closely connected or perhaps in a relationship with someone, which is nice to know, because, a mere year or so later, she would have that wish granted.
6 Love Doctor
The fifth and sixth entries into the massive Harry Potter franchise were met with a bit of disdain by none but myself as I felt particularly susceptible to all of the teen drama going on in them. Fans will remember that the fifth book saw the blossoming romance between Harry and some girl nobody remembers named Cho Chang. More importantly, these books really picked up on the romance that would soon become the basis for the marriage between lifelong friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
There were several hints of this throughout the series, but one of the more obvious came when Harry and the gang were learning about love potions in Professor Slughorn's’ sixth-year potions class. I can’t quite recall the exact circumstances of the scene, but it comes to pass that everyone perceives the potion’s smell to be that of an object for which they have a strong affinity for. Hermione remarks that, after getting a whiff of it, she could smell freshly cut grass and the mothballs and dried glue of old textbooks, or something like that. She quickly cuts herself off, however, before revealing another scent prevalent in the potion.
For years, fans could only speculate as to what that smell may have been, but it was later confirmed by Rowling herself that Hermione could actually detect the smell of Ron’s hair in the serum.
Is that cute? Yes, I would suppose so. Is it also just a little creepy that she is so intimately aware of what Ron’s hair smells like? Yes, it very much is.
5 Harry Potter and the Otter
We all knew back when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out that Harry and Cho Chang weren’t meant to be together. She was not on the train in the beginning of the series, she didn’t help him through the Triwizard Tournament trials, and, in my opinion, is totally out of Harry’s league because, on the Potter character hierarchy, she’s barely even a footnote. No, we all, well, I, at least, wanted to see Harry and Hermione end up together come the closing chapters of the series. That didn’t happen, though, and Harry actually ended up with Ron’s sister while Ron married his brunette classmate. This would mean that Harry and Ron are, like, double brother-in-laws now, which is kind of weird to think about. A very minor hint present in Order of the Phoenix concerning Ron and Hermione’s relationship was that her Patronus took the form of an otter.
She seemed a little confused by that at first, but it makes sense when you consider that an otter is a member of the weasel family.
You know, as in Weasley; an admittedly very vague hint that she would one day be joining the Weasley family. To be honest, I’m not even sure if Rowling intended for that connection to be there initially, but it is a nice touch.
4 Art Imitates Life
J.K. Rowling may have said that Hermione is something of a caricature of herself, but it could also be said that her character resembles that of Emma Watson, the actress who brought her to life on the silver screen. Though I don’t know if Watson is much of a method actor, much of the doctrine followed by Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series is also adhered to by her real-life interpretation. In the novels, Hermione is perhaps first and foremost made out to be a bookish, learned sort, and the same can be said of Watson.
The actress took her schooling very seriously and excelled in both her regular and post-secondary schooling. What’s more is that, though it’s sort of a lesser-known fact about the character, Hermione was a bit of an activist.
That’s an understatement, actually, as she literally spent a good deal of her professional life advocating for the rights of house elves, who had, as we know, been pretty significantly repressed by the magical community at large. Art does seem to imitate life in this case, as Watson actually grew up to be a pretty vocal proponent for the societal advancement of women, and she was actually granted the position of United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, which certainly doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you can work yourself toward if you aren’t wholeheartedly into it.
3 Hermione Granger, Esquire
There’s a small bit of irony in a statement offered by Hermione toward a remark by Cornelius Fudge, the ex-Minister of Magic, in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Fudge, apparently outsmarted by the young witch, says something to the effect of “I hope you are planning on a career in magical law, Mrs. Granger.” To which she replies “I don’t think so — I would like to do something useful with my life.” I am paraphrasing, but it was, at the time, a pretty sick burn on a minister already shamed for doing nothing to prevent the second rise of Lord Voldemort.
It was, however, a bit of a silly thing to say, as, like I’ve previously mentioned, Hermione actually did spend a significant portion of her career practising magical law. She started in the Ministry of Magic as an advocate for the rights of house elves following the barbaric treatment evidenced in the Harry Potter series, but she eventually worked her way up the ladder to become the Minister of Magic herself. Given that the events of the Harry Potter books and movies took place years ago, it is entirely possible that, right now in 2018, Hermione Granger is the current Minister of Magic. One need only spiral down the right toilet to find out.
2 Chocolate Frogs
One of the smaller details of the Harry Potter universe was the wizarding community’s odd way of celebrating the accomplishments of famous wizards and witches. In the muggle world, we tend to hand out Nobel Peace Prizes or lifetime-achievement awards to those who have made great societal contributions. Wizards, however, really seem to have a thing for baseball cards. Remember when cards like that would come in packs of Big League Chew? Probably not, that trend ended decades before I was even born, but I’m sure most are still familiar with the concept. Imagine that, instead of cards depicting famous athletes, we got cards celebrating famous politicians and inventors. Seriously, that’s essentially what the magical community is doing by packing cards commemorating famous wizards in with everyone’s favorite troubling bioconfectionary treat the chocolate frog.
I understand that quite a lot of what goes on in Harry Potter is fantastical or otherwise quite unbelievable, but I have a hard time believing that kids would develop a taste for frogs, chocolate or not. They seem to be the magical equivalent of those lollipops you often find in gift shops in which can be found gross worms or insects. I really do not see the appeal, and, lest young witches and wizards have an extraordinarily heightened sense of adventure, I can’t see these things catching on.
1 Emma Watson grew up
Emma Watson is popularly considered to be one of the most attractive young actresses of the modern era. Our grandfathers had Marilyn Monroe, our fathers had Farrah Fawcett, and we’ve got illustrious starlets like Emma. Sure, attractiveness is an extremely subjective feature, and I’m sure there are a few oddballs out there who don’t see her appeal. Well, that’s unfair, really; if you aren’t into her, that certainly doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, but it probably does mean that you aren’t a fan of Harry Potter.
The thing is, Watson wasn’t always the beautiful woman we see gracing our screens today. In fact, plenty of Potter fans have ridiculed her looks in the first couple of movies. With frizzy, out-of-control hair and apparently overly-large front teeth, her adolescence may have been a bit of a rough period for her.
Her on-screen persona actually suffered through much of that same strife, and there was a point in the books in which Draco Malfoy put a curse on her which caused her two front teeth to grow to comical proportions. When the curse was reversed, Hermione actually shrunk her teeth past the size which they were originally. She also started using Sleekeazy's Hair Potion to tame her unkempt mane.
References: factinate.com, fanpop.com, pottermore.com