Remember in elementary school, when the biggest fights that broke out on the playground were you versus the one kid in your class who insisted on pronouncing Hermione's name "Her-mee-own" Granger? Turns out you might have been fighting a slightly different battle in another universe: J.K. Rowling almost named her Hermione Puckle, rather than Granger. Before she became the iconic and lovable know-it-all we all aspired to be growing up, J.K. Rowling swapped out the name for the less frivolous version that ended up in the books.
The rest of Hermione's name, according to Rowling, was inspired by Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. The character, the lovely and well-respected Queen of Sicily and wife to King Leontes, is falsely accused of adultery by her husband. Throughout the malicious accusations, she remains poised and levelheaded, denying any wrongdoing. Just in case your English teacher didn't make you read this in high school, I won't give away what happens to her after that — but on this alone you can see why it's a suitable name for Rowling's Hermione. Not only does she grow into a young woman who exemplifies that kind of bravery and levelheadedness, but she also endured plenty of unfair prejudices and accusations — from the very first day when her fellow first years were grated by her intelligence, to the darker turn of the series when non-pureblood wizards and witches were called into question.
According to Rowling, she also intended for Hermione to have a little sister — however, by the time Rowling meant to introduce her in a later book, she no longer seemed like a necessary addition. This, of course, leaves us with approximately eight bajillion other questions. What would this sister have been named? How much younger would she have been? Was she also a witch? What House would she have been in? Would she have joined Dumbledore's Army?? I can't really see Hermione as anything but an only child, but it would have added such an interesting dynamic to see her boss around and care for a mini-Hermione on grounds. (In my head, her name is Isabelle and she's a Ravenclaw, but unlike her sister she is hella lazy about homework and only reads about stuff that interests her, which drives Hermione UP THE WALL.)
Alas, everyone. This right here is what fan fiction is for.
Images: Warner Bros; Giphy