‚ÄúI hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could have been all killed — or worse, expelled.‚Äù -Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer‚Äôs Stone
That was me in elementary school.
I‚Äôll never forget the day my mother brought home my first copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer‚Äôs Stone. It was the first U.S. hardback edition. The boy on the cover was on a broomstick and wearing glasses. The colors were bright, and the jacket summary caught my attention. I was in fourth grade.
I remember staying up long past bedtime: 10 p.m., 11 p.m. Holding a flashlight under my quilt and reading. Turning off the light quickly when I heard movement from my parents‚Äô bedroom. How often does the memory of reading a book for the first time stick so strongly in your memory? That first readthrough of The Sorcerer‚Äôs Stone for me was 16 years ago, and I can still remember that first potions class scene and the way I felt the first time I read it. The one where Snape reams on Harry for not knowing the use of various potion ingredients, and a young, frizzy-haired girl stretched her hand higher with each question.
I love Hermione. From the moment she appeared with poor Neville on the Hogwarts Express, to the Epilogue in the 7th book where she ended up with my favorite literary crush. Hermione was an only child born to two dentists, who happened also to be Muggles. From a very early age it was said she could do odd and extraordinary things, and when she received her letter from Hogwarts she was ecstatic. She read every book required by first years, and even several extras. From the beginning of her time at Hogwarts her professors of magic saw her brilliance, and her classmates saw her as a know-it-all. But she persevered throughout the seven book series, befriending Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, and eventually rising to high levels within the Ministry of Magic.
Hermione, for me, was the first literary character that I really, truly identified with. When Harry and Ron saved her from the troll in the girl‚Äôs room that Halloween night, I remember my heart swelling with hope. I remember growing up with Hermione as she grew up, becoming aware of social issues, the importance of knowledge, friendship, and boys.
Everyone always discusses Harry, always point to his trials and tribulations, but for me it was always Hermione. The incessant know-it-all and her two best friends. Her knowledge and cleverness saving them more than a dozen times‚Ä¶ Hermione was the first female literary character, during my generation at least, that showed young girls that weren‚Äôt cheerleaders, or athletes, or popular, that being different, being nerdy and smart was ok.
Honestly, Hermione helped me to accept who I was at a young age. And, for that, she will always be my favorite.
Girl Museum Inc.