How the grossly underrated Hermione Granger proved she was the greatest wizard of all time by the age of 13.
Since history is always told by those in power, there will always be groups whose contributions to society are ignored. Often times, this happens to women who did much of the grunt work necessary for progress but don’t get recognized because a man was better positioned to take credit. Movies like Hidden Figures have recently tried to address this injustice but there are still so many stories we’ll never hear. Unfortunately, this also happens in fictional literary history as well. That is why I want to take this time to give Hermione Jean Granger her proper respect.
Now I already can her many of you saying that Hermione gets plenty of respect and recognition. She is one of the three main characters in the series and and JK Rowling goes to great lengths to let you know that she is the smartest student at Hogwarts. While this is all true, that recognition still doesn’t come close to acknowledging how ridiculously amazing this woman is. HERMOINE IS NOTHING SHORT OF A MAGICAL GENIUS. She is a child prodigy whose skills as a wizard far surpass that of fellow wunderkind Tom Riddle. If Harry showed a fraction of the aptitude that Hermione showed in her first year, the wizarding world would hail them as the greatest wizard to have ever lived. Let me explain.
Hermione at 11 years old
Before I go to examples from the book, there is one point I need to hammer home early. That is that Hermione was a muggle. Prior to going to Hogwarts, Hermione had the same level of knowledge about the wizarding world as you did before picking up the book. Assuming that Hermione received her initial letter to Hogwarts on July 25th like Harry did, that means that she had barely more than a month to prepare for Hogwarts. For those of you that don’t understand what privilege is, I’ll explain it too you like this. How is it fair that Hermione and a full-blooded wizard like Ron are supposed to learn magic at the same pace when Ron has been around magic his whole life and Hermione just found out magic existed a little over a month ago? Ron’s eleven years of immersion SHOULD make his absorption of magical knowledge much easier than Hermoine’s, who has never even seen a wand. This means that Hermione has to work twice as hard to understand half of the magical concepts that come to Ron second nature. Despite this gap in experience, Hermione not only keeps pace, she outpaces everyone in what should be a disadvantageous environment.
During her first Transfiguration class, she is the ONLY student to show any progress in turning her match into a needle. This momentous feat even elicits a smile, A SMILE, from Professor McGonnigal on day one. This shows that Hermoine has a remarkable, innate talent for wand play. Transfiguration isn’t about book smarts, it’s about being able to control your wand. Later on in Potions, as Snape asks Harry purposefully complicated questions about ingredients that no student in the class would be expected to know. No student except for Hermione Granger who clearly knows the answer but is ignored (like so many smart women are).
In her first week at school, Hermione, the muggle, has shown unparalleled skills in both wand ability and understanding of magical concepts, yet she is described as an annoying know-it-all and a “nightmare.” If Harry, arrived to Hogwarts with the same skill set, he would be deemed as the wizard messiah.
Throughout book, Hermione also shows an uncanny ability to make logical deductions and notice details that are ignored by others. When the trio run into Fluffy for the first time, Hermione is the only one to notice that he is standing on a trap door. When Harry’s broom starts to act up during his first Quiddtich match, Hermione was the only one to turn her focus to Snape and then proceeded to cause a commotion, saving Harry just in time.
At the end of the book, Hermione uses those skills of observation and deduction to defeat 2 of the 4 challenges to get to the Mirror of Erised. First, she identifies and knows the proper spell to defeat the Devil’s Snare within the 10 seconds it takes for the plant to kill her (remember, she was the last one to jump down the trapdoor). She then proceeds to solve a LSAT level logic puzzle in order to both allow Harry to move forward and let her go back, save Ron and contact Dumbledore. Impressive, especially considering that three of the seven potions were poisons.
Once again I have to stress how remarkable this would be if ANY wizard or witch could show this combined level of intelligence, work ethic, intuition and talent during their lifetime. But Hermoine Granger did all of this as an 11 year old with less than a year of magical experience! Trust me if the roles had been reversed and shew had confronted Quirrell/Voldemort instead of Harry, I guarantee you that the Hermione Granger book series would be only one book.
Hermione as a 12 and 13 year old
Throughout the series, Hermione continues show that she is clearly the smartest wizard at Hogwarts, including the faculty. In The Chamber of Secrets, Hermione figures out that a Basilisk is behind the attacks before anyone else in the school, simply by recalling facts from the crime scenes and the remembering that Harry could talk to snakes. That is some Sherlock Holmes level deduction from a 12 year old. She was even smart enough to stave off death, once again, by peeking around the corner with a mirror when she knew the beast was around.
In, The Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione once again deduces a huge secret. The fact that Lupin is a werewolf based on the timing of his absences from class and his bogart’s appearance. But the most impressive feat of this year is her management of the Time-Turner. First of all, the faculty of the school entrusted her, a third year student, with a device that could manipulate time. This in and of itself is an incredible display of faith. Hermione is mature well beyond her years. In order to make it work, for a full academic year, Hermione was responsible for meticulously planning out her day in a way that no one would be able to see her multiple times while moving about the castle. In addition, while she had more than 24 hours in a day to do school work, her body still operated on its normal cycle. Hermione pushed her mind and body’s stamina to the limit for a full academic year and still emerged with top grades. Not bad for a thirteen year old.
Now do you see why I think Hermione is underrated? Everything that I’ve just described happened before she would have entered high school. Would you think it smart to give your thirteen year old self an apparatus that could control time? Would you have had the ability to deduct the means and motive of a serial killer at twelve? Would you have trusted yourself with a magic wand at the age of eleven? Would you trust yourself today with any of those? Well for Hermione the answer is yes and it seems like the sky is the limit for her as an adult wizard.
Breaking the glass ceiling
I thought I would be clever by suggesting that as an adult, Hermione should be the Minister of Magic. But in doing research for this post, I found out the she IS the Minister in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a piece of work I have purposefully ignored until now. While I am mad someone got to this idea first, it only makes sense that she would eventually take this step.
To start, Hermione has had a stellar academic career. She has tops marks from Hogwarts which includes 10 Outstandings on her OWLs and one Exceed Expectations in Defense Against the Dark Arts. She also served as a Prefect. Her time at Hogwarts also shows her activist roots. In her fourth year, she created the Society or the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW) to advocate for a group that was unfairly being taken advantage of by the system.
As we saw from the beginning of the sixth book, one of the biggest jobs of the Minister of Magic is coordinating with the Prime Minister of England. Since many wizards have egregiously false misconceptions about the muggle world, it is important that the Minister of Magic be as knowledgeable about muggle affairs as possible. Who in the wizarding world would more capable handle muggles than someone like Hermione, a muggle by birth? Finally, Hermione has battle experience. As a veteran of the Battle of Hogwarts, she went up against the likes a Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback and lived to tell the tale. She is a strong as she is smart.
At the end of the day, Hermione Granger is by far the greatest talent that the wizarding world has ever seen. She has the intelligence of Dumbledore, the drive of Voldemort and the discipline of McGonagall. If she was a man, she’d be considered a prodigy but because she’s a woman she is only seen as a know-it-all brat. But that ends right here, right now. Hermione should get the respect she deserves.
I’m with HERmione for Minister of Magic
But if real life is any indication, she’ll probably just lose the race to Draco Malfoy.