In honor of our birthday girl, I will share my favorite Hermione moment. This post will also serve as my response to Pottemore Insider’s question posted last September 13.
The most remarkable trait of Hermione is her talent as a witch. Even though a muggle-born, she has shown much potential in almost all of her classes – even better than pure bloods. The only exception seems to be Divination which she seems not to be fan of.
But, in Charms, she was the first to execute the Levitation Charm (Wingardium Leviosa) properly. Also during her first year she earned the smile of Prof. McGonagall when she successfully transfigured a match into a needle faster than all the other students. Her first Potions classes with both Prof. Snape and Prof. Slughorn were also evidences of her intelligence and skill. She knew the answers to all of Prof. Snape’s questions and she impressed Prof. Slughorn with her performance.
She brewed the potions the trio needed to execute many of their plans (ex. Polyjuice Potion). She cast many spells which enabled the three to escape trouble (remember when she saved Ron from the Devil’s Snare and when she enveloped their tent in Book 7 with protective charms?). Finally, it was often her research that would give Harry a lead to solve mysteries happening in school (Nicolas Flamel, pipes, Tales of Beedle the Bard).
Hagrid was definitely right to say, “And they haven’t invented a spell that our Hermione can’t do.”
However, my favorite moment involves the goodness of Hermione’s heart more than the excellence of her mind.
Unlike most (if not all) wizards who never questioned the servitude of house elves, Hermione was sensitive enough to notice the maltreatment of these magical beings. Even when it seemed that house elves enjoyed being slaves, she never gave up in her fight to defend their rights. She devoted time to make campaign paraphernalia and knit stockings in order to free the elves. Most of all, she created S.P.E.W or Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.
While there has been no strong indication that the organization has grown, Hermione has been proven right by later circumstances.
Kreacher, the house elf of the Blacks, was roughly treated by Sirius. Harry initially followed Sirius’ example but later on showed more kindness to him. Eventually, the elf warmed up to Harry and provided sufficient information about the locket taken by Regulus Black. In the Battle of Hogwarts, Kreacher even led the house elves to fight against Death Eaters.
Also, Dobby, whom Harry freed and consistently showed kindness to, sacrificed his life to save Harry and his friends from the hands of Voldemort’s followers.
Kreacher and Dobby’s stories show that house elves do have feelings and thus must not abused. When shown kindness, they become even more loyal to their masters or friends. Again, Hermione is right!
I attribute her ability to question the values of the wizarding world to her muggle roots. Because she was not born in the magical world, she was not made to accept the rules without question and thus could see through its flaws.
That Hermione suffered discrimination due to her being muggle-born only made her more sensitive to the inequality within the wizarding world. She was once insulted by Draco who, being a pure blood, could easily dismiss her talent as a witch.
Somehow, the house elves have a similar case. They too have their own magic. But many masters view their house elves as creatures of lower rank.
It does not seem surprising then that it is Hermione who finds the heart – as in both emotion and courage – to fight for the rights of house elves. Truly, Hermione’s case makes a good example of how muggle-borns contribute to the betterment of the wizarding world.
That’s all for now. Again, happy birthday to Hermione!