In celebration of Hermione Jean Granger’s birthday, this year I’d like to recount some moments she progressed the plot or contributed to the reason of Harry and Ron survived their first year at Hogwarts.
The time they went to meet Draco for their midnight duel in Philosopher’s Stone:
“‘This is it!’ Ron moaned, as they pushed helplessly at the door, ‘We’re done for! This is the end!’ They could hear footsteps, Filch running as fast as he could toward Peeve’s shouts. ‘Oh, move over,’ Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry’s wand, tapped the lock, and whispered, ‘Alohomora!‘ The lock clicked and the door swung open — they piled through it, shut it quickly, and pressed their ears against it, listening. [. . .] ‘He thinks this door is locked,’ Harry whispered” (160).
If Hermione had not been stranded from the Gryffindor common room, Harry, Ron, and Neville would have been found by Filch and no doubt punished severely for being out of bed after hours. What is more, because of Hermione’s action, they found Fluffy, and Harry put together where the item Hagrid took from Gringotts ended up. Harry and Ron would not have made much headway in the research of Flamel alone and likely would have been strangled by the Devil’s Snare without Hermione’s bluebell flames. Not to mention Hermione taking the blame for the attack of the mountain troll at Halloween.
A top contender for when Hermione’s bookishness comes most in handy is in Chamber of Secrets. She discovers the identity of Slytherin’s monster and HOW it’s getting around the castle. “‘This is it. This is the answer. The monster in the Chamber’s a basilisk — a giant serpent! [. . .] ‘Pipes . . . Ron, it’s been using the plumbing. I’ve been hearing that voice inside the walls . . .'” (290-91). This enables Harry and Ron to locate the entrance to the Chamber, spurred by their friend becoming victim to the basilisk’s lethal stare.
‘Because that’s what Hermione does.——————- ——-When in doubt, go to the library.’
———–– Chamber of Secrets p. 255
As if she still has something to prove by her third year as the cleverest witch of her age–or she’s a masochist when it comes to studying–Hermione’s acquisition of a Ministry Time-Turner becomes more than just a way to take more classes. Because of her pursuit of knowledge, she saves the life of an innocent man and enables Harry to find the self-confidence to conjure a corporeal Patronus at merely thirteen years-old. (Read more about that here!)
After Harry is unwillingly entered into the Triwizard Tournament, he is shown the dragons used for the First Task. “He was going to be armed with his wand — which, just now, felt like nothing more than a narrow strip of wood — against a fifty-foot-high, scaly, spike-ridden, fire-breathing dragon. And he had to get past it. With everyone watching. How?” (329). After a suggestion from Moody (aka Barty Crouch Jr.), Harry appeals to Hermione, “‘–I need you to help me.’ ‘What do you think I’ve been trying to do, Harry?’ ‘Hermione, I need to learn how to do a Summoning Charm properly by tomorrow afternoon'” (345). Without her help, Harry wouldn’t have succeeded in evading the Hungarian Horntail; he might have even been seriously injured and unable to complete the tournament. Therein, Barty Crouch Jr. would have had to think of some other way to get Harry to the graveyard to resurrect Lord Voldemort.
In Order of the Phoenix, Hermione goes about protecting the identity of the members of Dumbledore’s Army in a memorable way. When Educational Decree Number 24 was passed to prevent student organizations from forming without consent of the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, Ron immediately thinks someone told Umbridge.
“‘They can’t have done,’ said Hermione in a low voice. ‘You’re so naive,’ said Ron, ‘you think just because you’re all honourable and trustworthy–‘ ‘No, they can’t have done because I put a jinx on that piece of parchment we all signed,’ said Hermione grimly. ‘Believe me, if anyone’s run off and told Umbridge, we’ll know exactly who they are and they will really regret it.’ ‘What’ll happen to them?’ said Ron eagerly. ‘Well, put it this way,’ said Hermione, ‘it’ll make Eloise Midgen’s acne look like a couple of freckles.'” (353-54)
It’s only later do we discover the jinx brands Marietta Edgecombe with spots arranged across her forehead to spell SNEAK. Marietta is so mortified about the brand to the point she does not speak or hardly show her face during the questioning in Dumbledore’s office. “Harry felt a surge of pride in Hermione’s jinxing ability” when full-grown wizards like Umbridge could not even find a way to reverse it (613). Marietta’s reluctance to say anything further spares Harry from Umbridge’s rage (this time) and gives Dumbledore time to improvise an excuse for Harry’s rebelliousness.
Half-Blood Prince seems to be lacking in Hermione-ex-machinas where Harry is concerned. He’s mostly preoccupied with lessons with Dumbledore and gathering information about Tom Riddle. Since all the books on the subject of Horcruxes have been removed the library . . . Hermione’s talents in that department are of no use. I suppose there’s something to be said about her suspicion with the Half-Blood Prince’s copy of Advanced Potion Making and her bewitching McLaggen during keeper tryouts, enabling Ron to secure the spot on the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
The trio’s whole survival after fleeing the Burrow in Deathly Hallows is largely thanks to Hermione’s knowledge of spells. Of course Slytherin’s locket had a lot to do with the overall mood while on the run. When caught by Snatchers, it’s Hermione’s quick thinking that obscures Harry’s face so much the Death Eaters delay in calling Voldemort to Malfoy Manner. They fear his wrath if this is not The Boy Who Lived.
These are instances I recalled off the top of my head, the ones that stuck out most. There are more given Hermione’s usefulness. What other times come to you when thinking of this most extraordinary witch?
***This post is part of my Perusing Potter – a series of exploring the known and not-so-known aspects of the Harry Potter Series***
feature photo credit: Eldensa via DevianArt [https://www.deviantart.com/eldensa/art/Hermione-Granger-567784448]