Eagle-eyed Harry Potter fan and Queen Nerd Of The Hour, Seventeen's Kelsey Steigman, noticed something that the rest of the Potterheads missed: there was a line changed in the new edition of Harry Potter . First and foremost, shame on all of us for not noticing this change in the SACRED TEXT that is Harry Potter ourselves, and thank all that is dorky that Steigman picked up our slack. But back to the line change: on first glance, it's not really all that remarkable. It happens in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (otherwise known as Harry Potter and the Dawn Of Emma Watson's Adorable Rainbow Belt), when Hermione is addressing Sirius for the first time.
Here's the OG version that you grew up with, from Stiegman's 1999 edition:
"Er — Mr. Black — Sirius?" said Hermione.
Black jumped at being addressed like this and stared at Hermione as though he had never seen anything like her before.
And here's the ~new~ version from Stiegman's 2013 edition:
"Er — Mr. Black — Sirius?" said Hermione.
Black jumped at being addressed like this and stared at Hermione as though being spoken to politely was something he'd long forgotten.
Up until now I've never thought much about the sort-of-friendship-but-mostly-acquaintance-ship of Sirius and Hermione, who have very few interactions after the events of Prisoner of Azkaban. Most of the focus on Sirius is, after all, in relation to his interactions with Harry or Severus Snape. Steigman posits that the change might have been to make it more clear, which is a very real possibility; it's also not too far-fetched to wonder if this was one of the few differences between the UK and US versions of the novels that may have gotten lost in translation over the course of more than a decade.
But why blame it on any number of rational things when we can come up with RIDICULOUS CONSPIRACY THEORIES instead?? Buckle up, Potterheads, because here are some of my harebrained thoughts.
Hermione Was Secretly Sirius's Kid All Along
Why did they delete the line "he had never seen anything like her before"? Because he had — when she was but a wee creature. Secretly, Sirius and Marlene McKinnon had a kid, and didn't say anything about it because Sirius was Public Enemy Number One after severing ties with his Death Eater family before the First Wizarding War. After all, before the prophecy existed, a child of Sirius Black's born in that era would be in more danger of getting kidnapped than any other. Then boom — Marlene and her entire family are killed by Death Eaters, Sirius is thrown into Azkaban, and a child nobody even knows about is orphaned. That is, until a family of unsuspecting dentists, unable to have kids of their own, adopts her, never mentioning that they weren't her biological parents.
Also, Hermione and Sirius both have fabulous locks that cannot be tamed.
Oh, no. I've just tricked myself into believing this. I'm so sorry, fam.
Hermione Is Secretly A ~Ghost~ Who Only Reveals Herself To Whom She Chooses
In the original books, J.K. Rowling was leading up to the ultimate plot twist: Hermione Granger was dead the whole time. Sirius had "never seen anything like her" because he actually, literally couldn't see her when he was in his dog form, because she was only focused on tricking the humans around her into thinking she was in her full corporeal form. Ultimately J.K. Rowling decided to scrap this because the Wizarding World needed a badass Minister For Magic more than it needed another Sixth Sense plot twist, so the line was changed to reflect that Sirius had, in fact, ~seen~ the now human, mortal Hermione.
Sirius Had A BFF In Azkaban That Got Cut From The Narrative
In the OG version Sirius hadn't forgotten what it was like to be spoken to politely because he had a BFF in Azkaban, whose name I've decided is Alfred. They got along swimmingly even though Alfred may have low key murdered a bunch of people — Sirius never actually found out, because they were both too polite to ask. They had polite imaginary tea parties, polite conversation about the dreary dementor-driven weather, and polite division of their cell for personal space, as polite people do. But ultimately J.K. Rowling decided there wasn't enough room for Alfred and his polite self, so he was erased, and the line was subsequently changed to reflect the fact that nobody had been polite to Sirius for 12 years (womp).
So there you have it, folks! Mystery solved. Now it's just a matter of asking J.K. Rowling which one of my OBVIOUSLY LOGICAL, COMPLETE INARGUABLE, NOT AT ALL HAREBRAINED theories is the right one.
Images: Warner Bros; Giphy