Analyzing Hermione: Why Ms. Granger Loves Books and Hates Divination

hermione 1

Hermione loves to read. I’ve always loved this about her. She loves the library and knows she can find the answer to almost anything in a book. She is a character who proves that it is cool to be an intelligent person who loves to learn. While I do think that her love of books is something she’s probably had her whole life, I can’t help but wonder if other factors in her life contribute to this passion.

One factor that may contribute to Hermione’s love of books is her parents. As dentists, it is likely that her mom and dad are both intelligent individuals who enjoy reading and learning. I imagine that they are the kind of people who would have shelves and shelves of books in their home. They likely had a lot of nonfiction books, especially those relating to science and medicine.

Being an only child, Hermione may have been somewhat isolated. In addition to this, she probably realized from an early age that she was different from other kids. Like Harry, she might have had moments where her magic made things happen that she couldn’t explain. It might not have been as drastic as setting a python on her cousin at the zoo, but I’m sure she experienced her own bizarre incidents. Perceiving herself as different would have only added to her isolation, and so it makes sense that she would find comfort, and even a sense of companionship, in her books.

Another thing that may contribute to her love of reading is the fact that Hermione is muggle born. I always imagined that part of the reason Hermione reads so much about magic is to make up for the fact that she didn’t have the magical upbringing that most of her peers had. Most students entering Hogwarts are already familiar with magic, wands, potions, spells, enchantments, and magical creatures. They had wizard stories read to them at bedtime. Books are the one thing that allow Hermione to be just as familiar with magic as anyone else, if not more so. Books allow her to make up for lost time; for all the years that she did not know she was magical, or that magic existed at all.

In spite of Hermione’s vast knowledge and magical skill, there are two subjects she has never been fond of: Flying and Divination. Her dislike of flying kind of makes sense. Flying brooms and playing Quidditch are the more athletic skills of the wizarding world. Hermione prefers reading, studying, and taking exams. That’s not to say that a studious witch can’t also enjoy flying, but her dislike of flying does seem to fit her personality.

Her dislike of divination may be a little harder to understand. Even if the subject doesn’t quite match her personality, it is still an academic class. As a person who wishes to excel in the classroom, what is it about this particular class that leads even Hermione not to care? One factor is professor Trelawney, who insults Hermione, basically saying that she doesn’t have the future-seeing gift and accuses her of “desperately” clinging to her books.

However, I think her dislike of the subject goes deeper than having a professor who insults her. One thing divination and flying have in common is that both seem to rely on intuition more than reason. Reading a textbook really isn’t enough to succeed at these things. You just have to do it. As a creature of reason and intellect, Hermione would not be drawn to classes that basically tell her to abandon her method of learning new things.

I also find it ironic that the girl who isn’t good at Divination is also the one who was given a time-turner. The time-turner itself is proof that seeing into the future isn’t entirely necessary. After all, with some careful planning and a smart use of magic, the past itself can be changed, which means the future can be altered as well. Hermione’s dislike of Divination is also proof that a person can still be intelligent without being good at every class.

Hermione may not like Divination or flying, but her love of books and learning makes her an exceptional witch. Without her, Harry could never have rescued Ginny, formed Dumbledore’s Army, or defeated Voldemort. She is proof that friendship is valuable, cleverness is admirable, being yourself is noble, and that reading can save your life.

#Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Hermione Granger, Hogwarts


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