Why This Hermione Granger Quote From 'Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone' Still Makes My Blood Boil

Ad failed to load

Since my first reading nearly a decade ago, my life has been changed by Harry Potter. With my wavy hair, bookish tendencies, and a classroom presence that veered wildly between brown-noser and arrogant know-it-all, I, like many Millennial women, found my first real literary role model in Hermione Granger. The series may have been named after Harry, but anyone with half a brain knew that Hermione was the real hero of the story. She was brilliant and brave and a supportive friend, whereas Harry was, well, a little reckless and dumb. If Hermione had been the protagonist, Voldemort probably would have been defeated about three books earlier, with a much lower body count.

Yes, Hermione was something special, and for the most part the series respected and celebrated her. Yet there’s one passage that has bothered me since I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as a nine-year-old. The trio is on a quest to find the Sorcerer’s Stone before any baddies can get their hands on it, and Ron is unconscious after having sacrificed himself in a giant game of chess. Hermione, in her typical brilliant glory, has saved the gang from being poisoned and they’re approaching the final chamber where the stone is hidden. There’s only enough potion to allow one of them to enter the room, and it’s decided that Harry should be the one to go. So far, so good, right?

Ad failed to load

And then this happens:

Hermione's lip trembled, and she suddenly dashed at Harry and threw her arms around him. "Hermione!" "Harry - you're a great wizard, you know." "I'm not as good as you," said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him. "Me!" said Hermione. "Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery and — oh Harry — be careful!"

I am now a 27-year-old women, and this passage makes my blood boil just as much as it did when I first read it.

Ad failed to load

Let me break down my anger for you.


Hermione is a young witch who has to put up with a lot of crap over the course of the series. She’s treated like a second-class citizen because she’s Muggle-born, she’s mocked for being too smart by her classmates and the occasional mean professor. Even Harry and Ron, her closest friends at Hogwarts, constantly give her a hard time. And yet, despite all of this nonsense, she continually puts her life at risk for people who honestly don’t really deserve her. She doesn’t need to constantly bail Harry and Ron out of trouble. In fact, she doesn’t need to get involved with them at all. Voldemort isn’t her villain to fight, and she could live a quiet life if she really wanted to. But she doesn’t, because she’s Hermione-freakin’-Granger and she has to stand up for the abused and downtrodden (see her passion for the lives of house elves). So she aligns herself with Harry and, later, the Order of the Phoenix and saves the entire wizarding world multiple times.

Ad failed to load

So why, then, does J.K. Rowling make a point to try to downplay Hermione’s importance in this quote?


I know, I know — this was very early in the series, and Hermione hadn’t yet blossomed into the glorious witch goddess we would come to know and love. But even in the first book, she was important, not just to the plot but to a ton of young readers who saw themselves in this spunky little bookworm. Watching her act as though she was second best to Harry, Harry, who can’t even remember not to leave his invisibility cloak in the tower for god’s sake, was infuriating. Hermione Granger doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone, and she should never act like her gifts are something to apologize for. Not only that, but the traits she attributes to Harry? She’s showcased those in spades.

Ad failed to load

Am I overreacting? Of course I am; I’m a 27-year-old woman harping on a single passage from a children’s fantasy novel that came out in 1997. Every word of this story is an overreaction. But that doesn’t change the fact that watching Hermione belittle herself in Sorcerer’s Stone was hard to read as a little girl, and it’s still hard to stomach as an adult. Rowling has written strong, funny, amazing women throughout the Harry Potter series, which makes this quote so frustrating. Hermione may have gotten the respect she deserved in the end, but she deserved better than that passage. And the little girls reading that deserved better, too.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In June To Help Get Your Summer Started

Summer is right around the corner, and so is another batch of streaming options to get excited about. On Wednesday, everything leaving and coming to Netflix in June 2018 was announced by the streaming platform. And don't worry, there's something for …
By Jamie Primeau

The 5 Rom-Coms You Need To Read This Summer, According To Someone Who Writes Them

'Tis the season for rom-coms. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and everyone is rocking the flirtiest items in their wardrobe. I don't know about you, but summer always takes me back to my teenage years — and that automatically makes me want t…
By Cristina Arreola

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

9 Ways This Royal Wedding Was Way More Modern Than Past Ones

The newly named Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, made history with their storybook courtship and wedding. What's more, there are myriad ways the royal wedding 2018 was more modern than previous royal weddings. From deciding…
By Brandi Neal

10 Little-Known British Traditions Meghan Markle Will Learn When She Marries Prince Harry

As an American woman dating a Brit, I am no stranger to the mishaps that can result from the cultural differences between the U.S. and England. And while I'm sure Meghan Markle has a slew of royal traditions to learn, titles to remember, and fancy ha…
By Kristin Magaldi

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

These 4 Zodiac Signs Are Going To Have The Best Luck In Love This May

Spring fever is here, but not all signs in the zodiac are dealt the same dose of lovin'. Some signs are going to have a better love lives than the rest of us in May, because that's just the way the cookie crumbles. According to astrologer Linda Furia…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan