Hermione Granger, heroine of the Harry Potter franchise, is an iconic character. However, she’s also quite misunderstood. Though she’s known as the studious know-it-all, there’s a lot more to her than that. Potter author J.K. Rowling has spoken a lot about her hidden depths and the inspirations for her personality. Read on to discover 20 facts you may not know about the courageous young witch.
20. She nearly had a sister
In the early days of Harry Potter, Rowling considered giving Hermione a younger sister. She revealed this in a 2004 World Book Day interview. She said, “I always planned that Hermione would have a younger sister, but she’s never made an appearance, and somehow it feels like it might be too late now.” But alas, her name and characteristics were never released.
19. Rowling never specified her race
In the Harry Potter movies, Hermione is played by Emma Watson, who is white. But in the play The Cursed Child, actress Noma Dumezweni, who is black, stars in the role. Rowling brought this up in a 2016 Guardian interview. “I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm,” she said.
18. Hermione’s patronus is Rowling’s favorite animal
Hermione’s patronus – the spell wizards use to ward off evil – takes the shape of an otter. That just so happens to be Rowling’s favorite animal. They often show up on her Twitter account, and in 2015 she revealed she had voted to name an orphaned otter at a Chicago aquarium. The creature’s name was Luna, after another Harry Potter character.
17. Hermione caused “trouble” for Rowling
Often writers can find themselves overwhelmed by their characters, and this was once the case with Rowling and Hermione. In 2000 at Harry Pottermania in Vancouver, Canada, she explained. “Hermione gave me a lot of trouble. She wanted to go her own way, and for two chapters, she just went wandering off… That’s the most trouble anyone’s ever given me, but it was fun so I gave her her head.”
16. Her wand has lots of significance
Devout Potterheads know that Hermione’s wand is made of vine wood and dragon heartstring. But these small things have clues to her character. Dragon heartstring wands are powerful and quick to learn, just like Hermione’s. And the vine wood, according to the Celtic tree calendar Rowling used, symbolises passionate emotions. And Hermione is certainly passionate.
15. She didn’t abandon her parents
Among the more heartbreaking things about Hermione is that when she feared her parents were in danger, she immediately wiped their memories and sent them to Australia. It kept them safe from Voldemort, but did she ever bring them back? In a 2007 post-Deathly Hallows web chat on the Bloomsbury website, Rowling answered that very question. Hermione “brought them home straight away,” the author confirmed.
14. She’s the favorite character of the Potter screenwriter
Steve Kloves is the man who adapted most of the Harry Potter books for cinema, and he won Rowling over as soon as he revealed who his favorite character was. “I thought: ‘You’re going to say Ron. Please, please don’t say Ron, [he’s] so easy to love,’” Rowling reminisced in a 2011 issue of WGAW Written By. “And he said ‘Hermione.’ At which point, under my standoffish, mistrusting exterior, I just melted. Because if he got Hermione, he got the books.”
13. She loves the smell of Ron’s hair
A curious scene takes place during a potions lesson in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Hermione analyzes a love potion, which smells different depending on what the person’s attracted to. Hermione smells mown grass, new parchment and something else she refuses to say. Rowling revealed in a 2007 webchat that the mysterious fragrance was the smell of Ron’s hair.
12. Her middle name was changed
Back in 2004 Rowling revealed that Hermione’s middle name was “Jane.” However, by the time the later books in the series came out, it had changed to “Jean.” The reason, fans theorised, was maybe so Hermione wouldn’t share a name with one of the most hated characters in the series, Dolores Jane Umbridge. Jean also happens to be the middle name of one of Rowling’s children.
11. Rowling sneaked in a guide to name pronunciation
Can you believe there was a time when people didn’t know how to pronounce “Hermione?” But there was. There’s a scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Hermione teaches potential suitor Viktor Krum how to say her name – it’s “her-my-oh-nee,” not “her-my-own.” And it turns out this lesson was for the audience too. Rowling admitted to it on Twitter in 2018.
10. She’s not as perfect as she seems
Casual Potter fans know that Hermione is smart and talented, and she is. However, she’s not good at everything. She didn’t excel at flying, it took her a while to do a proper patronus spell, and she frequently lost to Ron when it came to wizard chess. But that’s just proof that we all have strengths and weaknesses academically, even a girl people called a “know-it-all.”
9. Readers never worried about Hermione
Rowling doesn’t hesitate when it comes to killing characters. Yet apparently, while the books were still being written, no one feared for Hermione’s safety that much. “Only once has anyone said to me, ‘Don’t kill Hermione,’ and that was after a reading when I said no one’s ever worried about her,” she told Time in 2000. “They see her as someone who is not vulnerable…”
8. Her greatest fear is failure
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Hogwarts students learn to fight Boggarts, which manifest as their worst fears. Hermione’s transpires to be Professor McGonagall telling her she’s “failed everything.” It sounds funny but to real-life high-achievers it’s probably not. “Part of the reason Hermione worked so hard was that she was terrified of getting things wrong and letting people down,” the official website Pottermore noted.
7. Her children have her and Ron’s intials
At the end of the Harry Potter story, Hermione marries Ron, and they have two children together, Hugo and Rose. But here’s a cute detail some have missed – Ron and Hermione gave their children the same initials as themselves, H and R. The name Rose is also another of the flowers Rowling likes naming her characters after – her books also feature Lily, Pansy, Petunia, Fleur and Lavender.
6. She’s a font of knowledge
In the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets DVD in 2003, Rowling shared some thoughts with Steve Kloves about the use of exposition. “I find that all the time in the book, if you need to tell your readers something just put it in [Hermione],” she said. “There are only two characters that you can put it convincingly into their dialogue. One is Hermione, the other is Dumbledore.”
5. Her last name was originally different
The world now knows the name Hermione Granger, but she was very nearly named something different. Originally, Rowling had chosen the name “Hermione Puckle.” But she eventually changed her mind. “It didn’t suit her at all and was quickly changed for something a little bit less frivolous,” she wrote on her website in 2006.
4. She’s not the best judge of character
Hermione has a tendency to let her heart overrule her head, or get transfixed by a pretty face. She dated Viktor Krum, who she wasn’t particularly compatible with, because he was good-looking. And she was one of the many people who simply couldn’t believe that the handsome, charming Gilderoy Lockhart was a conman.
3. Her parents are never named
Poor Mr and Mrs Granger. Their perspective is never delved into in any Potter book, and they didn’t even get real first names. When Hermione sends them cluelessly off to Australia, she does give them aliases – Monica and Wendell Wilkins. But alas, the names Hermione actually knows them by never appear in the story. Maybe Rowling will reveal them one day.
2. Hermione and Ron may not have lasted
Though Ron and Hermione got together and had children, neither their actors nor Rowling seem to think it would work out. Rupert Grint told The Huffington Post in 2016 that “Ron has probably divorced Hermione already.” And in 2014 Rowling pondered whether the pair would’ve ended up in marriage counselling, according to The Sunday Times.
1. Rowling relates to her
Though Rowling’s favorite character is Harry himself, she relates a lot more to Hermione. “I have often said that Hermione is a bit like me when I was younger,” she wrote on her website back in 2011. “I think I was seen by other people as a right little know-it-all, but I hope that it is clear that underneath Hermione’s swottiness there is a lot of insecurity and a great fear of failure.”