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Old April 11th, 2005, 9:43 pm
merlin455  Male.gif merlin455 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Join Date: 06th January 2005
Location: France
Posts: 601
As promised, here is the essay.
Don't try to read this in 5 minutes...

It seems I have to split it because it's too long...

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Harry Potter : the Sibling Theory.
The Secret at the heart of it all !
By “Merlin”, April 2005 version.

The base idea of the Sibling Theory is that Hermione is Harry’s sister, James’ and Lily’s secret daughter.
She was hidden (at birth or possibly later), and her true identity remained a secret, known by only very few people. Hermione was raised by adoptive parents : Mr and Mrs Granger.

In a pre-OotP interview (June 19th, 2003), JK Rowling said :
There is one thing… it is kind of the heart of it all. And it kind of explains everything and no-one’s quite got there but a couple of people have skirted it. So you know… I couldn’t divert now, everything has been building up to it, and I’ve laid all my clues.

The Sibling Theory could be just it. It is based on many clues from the books - and a few clues from other sources, mostly interviews given by JK Rowling herself. We’ll examine these clues first, as this is what the theory is based on, and then we’ll examine some ideas about how the theory can work, as well as a few possible variants. Also, we’ll see how it could be “the heart of it all” in the plot.

Of course, the details of how everything can work are rather speculative. But the heart of the theory is pretty strong. It can be summarised very simply as follows :
- Hermione is Harry’s sister, Lily’s and James’ daughter.
- Hermione knows it.
- As she has Lily’s blood, Hermione is important for Harry’s protection (Protection Theory).

Sure there are some difficulties with the theory, and we’ll examine them, but we’ll see there are very good reasons to believe that Harry James and Hermione Jane (H.J. and H.J.) are – indeed – brother and sister.


1. THE CLUES :

These are the clues to support the theory. Obviously, there is no absolute proof, and there won’t be any until JKR herself decides it is time for the secret to be revealed – most probably in book 7. Some of the clues are rather vague, or could easily have a different interpretation, or are just little things that would fit. But some other clues are pretty strong. A precious few clues are really big.

Also, so many different clues point to the same conclusion… so many details fit so well : how could it be a coincidence ? When you put all the clues together, you get – maybe not quite a certitude – but at least the strong feeling there MUST be something.

Note that several clues imply that Hermione herself knows the truth.
On the other hand, Harry doesn’t know - except possibly for a memory hidden very deep in his subconscious.

1.0 General clues

- Hermione’s overall behaviour with Harry.
When reading the books, we have the feeling that Harry and Hermione have a special relation. They have a special thing - something unique, beyond friendship - that is not romantic. This is more visible on Hermione’s side. Her behaviour at the beginning of PS (before Harry and her become friends) is very interesting (see below). Through the entire series, her behaviour with Harry is very “sister-like”.
Harry and Hermione also have a way of guessing each other’s thoughts : this happens quite often, they know at first glance what the other has in mind while Ron is completely lost. Sometimes, they also finish each other’s sentences (not unlike Fred and George).

- In GoF, Hermione wasn’t affected in any way by the rumours about her and Harry. Harry was annoyed, not her. When she read Rita Skeeter’s article “Harry Potter’s Secret Heartache”, she was rather amused… On the other hand, Harry kept repeating “no she is not my girlfriend”. Does it mean Hermione knew something that allowed her to laugh at these rumours ?
And in OotP, she was perfectly comfortable talking about Harry’s relation with Cho. Even when Harry told her Cho was getting jealous… she was just “sorry”. A friend - even a close friend - of the opposite sex should have been at least slightly embarrassed in such a situation (after all, Cho had got jealous of her ).
Not Hermione : she just gave Harry more advice… this makes sense if she is Harry’s sister.

- By the way, JKR has developed this topic (Harry and Hermione causing jealousy around) quite a lot already : First Rita’s articles, Krum’s jealousy and Harry having to say “no she is not my girlfriend” in GoF, then Cho’s jealousy in OotP… So, now what ? Is it all to have them stay “just good friends” in the end ? Why insist so much on that topic in that case ? Or will Hermione be Harry’s girlfriend (thus making Krum and Cho right after all) ? Or will something else be revealed in the end (something that will make Krum’s and Cho’s jealousy pointless) ?

- Hermione’s psychology : why is Hermione a “know-it-all” ? Why is it so important for her to be the best student in school ? There is a strange lack of background information concerning Hermione : JKR usually tells us about such things. For instance, we know Ron is a jealous character because of his childhood in the shadow of his five brothers, and also because of his family’s lack of money. We know Voldemort hates Muggles because of his father.
The Sibling Theory provides an answer : if Hermione knows that Harry is her brother, she wants to keep up with him ! Harry is “the boy who lived”, he is famous in the entire world ; so, Hermione must prove that she can do as well as he can do, or even better. At least, in class, she can answer questions he can’t !
The other possible answer would be : Hermione must prove she is the best because she is Muggle-born. But this doesn’t work : she was already a “know-it-all” when she first arrived at Hogwarts. If she had been knowing about the wizarding world for a few weeks only, this couldn’t have affected her psychology so quickly.

- And by the way, Hermione really knew a bit too much about the wizarding world - and particularly about Harry Potter - when she first arrived at Hogwarts…

- Hermione sometimes speaks in Harry’s name (something nobody else does).
Examples :
PoA, chapter 11 : “Don’t be silly”, said Hermione in a panicky voice, “Harry doesn’t want to kill anyone, do you, Harry ?”
GoF, chapter 10 : “Ron… Harry doesn’t want to play Quidditch right now… He’s worried, and he’s tired… we all need to go to bed.”
And of course in OotP - with Rita Skeeter - about Harry’s love life.
She even speaks in James’ and Lily’s name (something nobody but their old friends does). Example :
PoA, chapter 11 : “Your mum and dad wouldn’t want you to get hurt, would they ? They’d never want you to go looking for Black !”

- Why do we know so little about the Grangers ? They are the parents of one of the main three characters, but we know almost nothing about them, except they are dentists. Why ? Also note that Hermione has never said “mum” or “dad” (alone) in the story. Not once ! It’s always “my parents” or “mum and dad”…
They are Muggles, thus unimportant ? But there are important Muggle characters in the story ! And it’s not just the Dursleys… And even if they are not very important (as JKR herself said), it is still a bit strange that we should know less about Hermione’s parents than we do about the Dursleys’ neighbours or about the villagers of Little Hangleton !

- Physical resemblance is an issue ; JKR almost always tells us about features of physical resemblance between relatives : Harry and his parents, Dudley and Vernon, Vernon and Marge, the entire Weasley family, Draco and his father, Neville and his mother, Hagrid and his father (same eyes) ; even for minor characters such as Fleur and her sister, Viktor Krum and his father, etc…
But NOT Hermione and the Grangers. Even though Hermione is one of the main three characters, and even though we have seen the Grangers twice (in CoS and in OotP), we have never been told Hermione looks anything like “mum and dad”.
Most unusual for JKR !
True, we aren’t told Hermione looks like Harry either (well… they are about the same height, and they both have “wild” hair ! But they don’t have the same hair).
We are told another character in the story has large front teeth : Petunia Dursley (Hermione’s aunt if the theory is true).

- Could there be a riddle hidden in Hermione’s name ? JKR likes to play with words and names…
Hermione = “Her my own” or “Her my one”…
This one is a bit unsure. See below though (Krum’s pronunciation in GoF).

- The “Theory of Interruptions”.
This theory is independent from the Sibling Theory, and - in fact - it has been mostly used by H/Hr shippers. It suggests there is a regular pattern in the books : when a character (often Hermione) suddenly stops speaking in the middle of a sentence (doesn’t apply if interrupted by someone else) then there is a clue for us to find. The interruption is materialised by a “-” in the text.
As a matter of fact, this “Theory of Interruptions” works pretty well with the Sibling Theory ! Here are a few examples :
PS, chapter 6 : I mean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard –
(Yes ? Heard from whom ? )
PS, chapter 6 : I know all about you, of course – I got a few extra books for background reading…
(Yes, Hermione ? How did you learn so much about Harry ? )
PS, chapter 16 : …friendship and bravery and – oh Harry…
(Friendship and bravery and what ? Family ? )

1.1 Clues from book 1

- The very first time we hear about Harry, in chapter 1 :
The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son too…
Why this indirect form “the Dursleys knew…” ? What did the Dursleys ignore then ?
A few lines above, we hear about Lily directly from the narrator :
Mrs Potter was Mrs Dursley’s sister…
So, why is it not just : “The Potters had a small son too” ? Because this would not be the entire truth if the Potters had two children. But the sentence about what the Dursleys knew is the exact truth.

- Chapter 1 : Dumbledore has just said he is going to bring Harry to the Dursleys. At first, McGonagall doesn’t agree :
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed and then said, “Yes – yes, you’re right, of course.”
Well, JKR insists quite a lot here, doesn’t she ? (McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed…) So, what was Minerva going to say ?
Was it : “Don’t you think he should rather go with his sister ?”

- The first time Hermione and Harry meet in the train… She says :
I’d have found out everything I could if it was me.
“If it was me”… Well, yes. Somehow, it could have been her !

- More about this scene :
Hermione entered Harry’s compartment on the pretext of searching Trevor the toad. But… where was Trevor during all that time ? Did the little toad find his way to the boats all by himself ? Clever Trevor !
Or was he in Hermione’s pocket ? Had she taken the toad just to send Neville look around, and then have a good reason to see her long-lost brother at last ?
Otherwise… it’s a bit strange, the way she came and asked for Trevor : Neville had already asked.
And note that when Ron told her they hadn’t seen Trevor, Hermione wasn’t listening. The answer didn’t interest her : so why had she asked that question in the first place ?
(More about this hint in the movie : see below).

- Just after that : as soon as she hears that Harry and Ron might have been fighting (with Draco), Hermione comes back in a hurry !
You haven’t been fighting, have you ?
It seems that she cares a lot for two boys she had never met before… She also tells them to change clothes : typical thing an (older) sister would say !

- Before Harry and Hermione become friends, Hermione’s behaviour is quite excessive (chapter 9) :
I can’t believe you are going to do this, Harry.
Sure enough, Harry notices it :
Harry couldn’t believe anyone could be so interfering.
At that point, they aren’t friends yet. They’ll become friends after Halloween and the troll. But if Harry is her brother, and if she knows it, Hermione’s behaviour makes perfect sense. Note that we aren’t told she behaves like that with anyone else at that time.

- Chapter 10, Halloween. Hermione is crying, alone in the girls’ toilets.
Let’s consider it from Hermione’s point of view… if she is Harry’s sister. Let’s see how much sense it makes.
At the beginning of PS, she is finally going to meet her brother. She knows he’s famous, she might also know he doesn’t know anything about the wizarding world… So what does she do ? She studies hard, so that she can help Harry cope with Hogwarts, to make his transition into the wizarding world easier. She gets on the train, and as soon as possible she meets him… with the cover story of looking for Neville’s toad. She sees Ron there, and maybe she is a little jealous : Harry already has a friend ! Maybe he won’t need to rely on her… maybe she won’t be able to help him. So what does she do, then ? She puts Ron down… twice… first with the “are you sure that’s a real spell ? Well, it’s not very good, is it ?” comment ; and then with the “you’ve got dirt on your nose” comment. At that time, she sees Ron almost as a threat to her relationship with her brother.
Then we get to the day in question… Halloween ! Hermione is already feeling bad...it’s the anniversary of her true parents’ death : 10 years today ! Then instead of being paired with her brother in charms class, she is paired with her rival. She wants to prove to Harry that she can be more helpful than Ron… so once again, she shows Ron up. That’s too much for Ron, who makes the “she’s a nightmare, honestly !” comment to Harry. Hermione overhears it, “knocks into Harry” and starts crying.
From what we know of Hermione, she is not really prone to hysterics, so crying like that does seem a bit out of character. Could it be that it’s not only Ron’s comment that brought on the tears ? The fact she “knocked into Harry” strongly suggests she’d been upset because Ron had said that to Harry ! Otherwise, she would rather have knocked into Ron, wouldn’t she ?
Let’s look at it like this… This is the anniversary of a very traumatic day for her… and it looks to her like she might lose her brother to Ron. If Harry ends up not liking her… who will she have left ? He is the only true family she has, and she knows it.
That would make anyone cry, wouldn’t it ?
But finally, that very evening, they will become friends at last. Just 10 years after their parents’ death.

- JKR arranged the plot so that Hermione never looked into the Mirror of Erised, unlike Harry and Ron. Why ? What would she have seen there ? Would this have given away too much ?
(Almost the same as the “Boggart” clue in book 3 : see below).

- Chapter 13, Quidditch.
“Come on Harry !” Hermione screamed, leaping on to her seat to watch as Harry sped straight at Snape – she didn’t even notice Malfoy and Ron rolling around under her seat…”
Hmmmm… who do you think she cares for most in that scene ?

- Chapter 16 : Hermione is reluctant to let Harry go through the trapdoor ( “You’ll be expelled !” ) Then Harry explains there will be no school to be expelled from if Voldemort comes back, and concludes : “Voldemort killed my parents, remember ?”
This makes Hermione change her mind : “You’re right, Harry”, said Hermione in a small voice.
Of course : Voldemort killed her parents too !

- Chapter 16 : the Giant Chessboard.
Harry, Ron and Hermione play a game of chess, and take the place of three pieces : Harry is a bishop, Ron is a knight, Hermione is a castle.
- The Bishop : this piece is usually represented with it's head cracked open, quite an obvious reference to Harry's scar !
- The Knight : The faithful friend... The Knight piece is a good symbol of Ron's qualities (Ron sacrifices himself in the game).
- The Castle : so, what could it mean for Hermione ?
Well, it's obvious, isn't it ? The Castle is Home ! Protection ! Hermione is Harry's protection when he is home... home where his mother's blood dwells !
(See the “Protection Theory”, appendix 1 below).

- The scene before Harry meets Quirrell/Voldemort (chapter 16) :
Hermione’s lips trembled and she suddenly dashed at Harry and threw her arms around him.
This could have been one of the moments she desperately wanted to tell him the truth !
And then she said :
friendship, and bravery, and - oh, Harry
What was she about to say ? Was it and family ?

- Chapter 17 :
“Hope you have – er – a good holiday,” said Hermione, looking uncertainly after Uncle Vernon, shocked that anyone could be so unpleasant.
And shocked that her uncle could be so unpleasant !

1.2 Clues from book 2

- Chapter 4. Hermione writes :
I hope everything went all right and that Harry is OK and that you didn't do anything illegal to get him out, Ron, because that would get Harry into trouble, too. I've been really worried and if Harry is all right, will you please let me know at once…
Note that she mentions Harry three times in this letter, and Ron only once.
Also note the way she says : “because that would get Harry into trouble, too”.
This could mean something like : “I can’t prevent you from getting yourself into trouble, this is your business. But don't get my brother into trouble, Ron !”

- Chapter 12, Christmas morning. Harry and Ron are woken by Hermione :
“Wake up,” she said loudly, pulling back the curtains at the window.
“Hermione – you’re not supposed to be in here,” said Ron, shielding his eyes against the light.
“Merry Christmas to you, too,” said Hermione, throwing him his present. “I’ve been up for nearly an hour, adding more lacewings to the Potion. It’s ready.”
Harry sat up, suddenly wide awake.
“Are you sure ?”
“Positive,” said Hermione, shifting Scabbers the rat so that she could sit down on the end of his four-poster…

First : Hermione enters the boys’ dormitory… Even if only Harry and Ron are there, it’s quite against the rules. But in Hermione’s mind, this must be simply “my brother’s room”…
Second : Harry is still (sitting) in bed, and she “sits down on the end of his four-poster” ! (In the sentence above, “his four-poster” must refer to Harry’s… unless Scabbers the rat had his own bed).
Again, this makes sense if Hermione knows Harry is her brother. Otherwise… it’s a bit strange.

- After Hermione and Penelope have been petrified (chapter 14)… Professor McGonagall goes straight to Harry :
Potter, I think you’d better come with me…
Is it because Harry is Hermione’s friend ? If it was that… then she would ask Ron as well, wouldn’t she ?
But she doesn’t seem to care about Ron… She includes him as an afterthought, and only after Ron himself comes running up to them :
Yes, perhaps you’d better come too, Weasley.
Note the “perhaps… too…”
Quite strange, isn’t it ?
Could McGonagall be a H/Hr shipper ? Hmmmm… that wouldn’t make much sense, would it ?
But this is perfectly normal if Hermione is Harry’s sister and McGonagall knows it.

- And a bit later (chapter 16), McGonagall is moved to tears when Harry (not Ron) asks her if they can see Hermione in the Hospital Wing :
Yes, Potter, of course you may visit Miss Granger. (Then she must blow her nose ! )
Again, not a word for Ron…
And note that she is allowing Harry to break a security rule ! It is for security reasons that visits to the Hospital Wing had been forbidden. Not really like Minerva McGonagall, is it ? There must be very exceptional circumstances for her to behave like that ! A secret sibling is a very exceptional circumstance indeed.
Minerva must have thought something like :
“Poor boy ! He doesn’t know… He doesn’t know, and yet he must feel it somehow… and he misses her.” (At this point, she must blow her nose).

- Being called a Mudblood doesn’t seem to affect Hermione very much, does it ?
OK, it could be because she doesn’t understand what it means at first. However, it still doesn’t affect her very much in GoF (Malfoy) and OotP (Malfoy and Kreacher). And at that time, she does know what it means.
This could be because she is not really Muggle-born. Just pretending.

1.3 Clues from book 3

- Lupin’s class with the Boggart (chapter 7)… All students fight the Boggart except Harry and Hermione.
Lupin didn’t allow Harry to do it because he was afraid (wrongly) that the Boggart would assume the shape of Lord Voldemort. But why didn’t Hermione fight the Boggart ? This question has never been answered.
Well… A Boggart can give away quite a lot. For instance, Lupin’s Boggart (the moon) does reveal his big secret. So, this should mean either that Lupin didn’t want Hermione to do it (because he personally knows the truth or possibly because Dumbledore had told him “Miss Granger shouldn’t do it” ) or that Hermione herself didn’t want to fight the Boggart in public (and thus stayed behind during the lesson).
And by the way, when Hermione finally fought a Boggart during her exam (chapter 16), nobody but her could see what shape it assumed… She said it was McGonagall telling her she had failed “everything”. Did “everything” mean her exams ? A bit ridiculous, isn’t it ?
With the Protection Theory (see Appendix 1 below) Hermione’s Boggart could actually have been McGonagall telling her she had “failed everything” : Hermione saw her dead brother, and a very reproachful McGonagall telling her she had failed to protect him !

- Chapter 11 :
“I can hear my mum screaming and pleading with Voldemort. And if you’d heard your mum screaming like that, just about to be killed, you wouldn’t forget it in a hurry. And if you found out someone who was supposed to be a friend of hers betrayed her and sent Voldemort after her -”
“There’s nothing you can do !”, said Hermione, looking stricken.

Note the way Harry says : “If YOU had heard, YOU wouldn’t… if YOU found out…”
Now, why is Hermione “stricken” at these words ? Is it because she is afraid Harry might try and look for Sirius Black himself ? Sure she is afraid ; she must be worried, maybe “dead anxious”… but why “stricken” ?
Because Lily is her mother too !
Harry’s words “You… You… You…” must have had a powerful impact on her ! Each of Harry’s “YOU” was like a slap in the face.

- Why did JKR want Hermione to hide a big secret (the Time Turner) during all book 3 ? Was it to get the readers prepared to the idea that keeping a secret is a very serious thing for Hermione ?
Does it mean we should expect a much bigger secret about her to be revealed in the end ?

- Chapter 17 (Cat, Rat and Dog) :
“Ron !” Hermione moaned.
She and Harry looked at each other, then followed at a sprint ; it was impossible to run full out under the Cloak ; they pulled it off and it streamed behind them like a banner as they hurtled after Ron...

JKR could simply have written : “they pulled it off and hurtled after Ron...” But no, she described the Cloak, “streaming behind them like a banner”.
“Like a banner”... A family banner, maybe ? The cloak was James’ ! So in a way, it’s the Potter banner.
It is important to remember that this scene happens on that particular night when the four Marauders are out in the Hogwarts grounds – James only symbolically so. Harry wondered :
Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs… Had all four of them been out in the grounds tonight ?
James Potter is dead. But his banner was “streaming behind” Harry and Hermione. James was symbolically present in his son… and daughter !

- At the end of book 3, when Harry creates his stag Patronus, Prongs symbolically comes back to save three people from the Dementors : Harry, Hermione and Sirius.
In a symbolic way, James Potter “comes back” for his son, his daughter and his best friend.

- Chapter 22 : In the train returning to London, talking about the Time Turner, Ron says to Hermione :
I still can’t believe you didn’t tell us about it… We’re supposed to be your friends.
Hermione answers :
“I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone.”
She looked around at Harry…
“Oh, cheer up Harry !” – said Hermione sadly.

(The words friends and anyone are emphasised in the book, strongly suggesting that someone present – Harry – is more than a friend to Hermione).
Quite clear isn’t it ? She is talking about secrets and about not telling, then immediately she looks around at Harry ! And she feels sad for him : if only she could tell him right now ! But no : she can’t. Harry has to go to those Dursleys…
Otherwise, why would Hermione speak “sadly” ? Not the best way to improve Harry’s spirits, is it ?

1.4 Clues from book 4

- Chapter 13, Divination class :
“I’ve got two Neptunes here,” said Harry after a while, frowning down at his piece of parchment, “that can’t be right, can it ?”
Well… can it ? The interesting thing is that Harry seems doubtful.
Ron immediately makes a joke about Harry’s birth, but it would be very much JKR’s style to hide an important clue by having someone make a joke about it. And Ron’s joke - “a sure sign a midget in glasses is being born” - emphasises that it is all about Harry’s birth.
This wouldn’t be true divination anyway : Harry was tired after his complicated planetary calculations concerning his own birth, and his subconscious memory might have influenced him into finding this result…
Neptune is associated with hidden memory… He has a hidden memory of a duality… two children… So he finds “two Neptunes”.
Note that Harry’s hidden memory is important in the story : his memory of “a flash of green light” in PS, the Dementors in PoA… So, the fact Neptune is the planet associated with hidden memory is probably not a coincidence.
This clue could even suggest twins, but given Harry’s and Hermione’s birthdays, this doesn’t seem possible. So, it probably just represents the two Potter children.

- Chapter 23 : Krum is trying to pronounce Hermione’s name…
“Her-my-oh-nee”, she said, slowly and clearly.
“Herm-own-ninny”.
“Close enough”, she said, catching Harry’s eye and grinning.

Would you say that was “close enough” ? Hmmmm… and Hermione “catches Harry’s eye” just at that moment.
“Ninny” is a mere joke, but it could mean she is “hermy-own-???” for Harry…
Furthermore, the “ninny” joke could refer to the “ninny sister syndrome” : in children literature, this is the tendency for girls to be – quite often – weak and clueless characters. It’s a joke here, of course, because Hermione is quite the opposite of a “ninny sister”. But it’s also a clue, because the words “ninny” and “sister” are connected.
Last point : the way Krum mispronounces Hermione’s name doesn’t seem very likely. A foreigner having difficulties with spoken English would not – I think – repeat the last syllable like that ( the way “nee” becomes “ninny”. ) So, I think JKR had Krum pronounce the name that way in order to give us the clue.

- Chapter 24 : at the Three Broomsticks pub, Rita Skeeter is trying to get one last interview from Harry.
About Hagrid, she asks him :
Would you call him a father substitute ?
Hermione’s reaction is immediate and extremely violent ; she stands up
very abruptly, her Butterbeer clutched in her hand as though it was a grenade.
Why ? And why so abruptly (she was quiet seconds before) ? After all, these words were nothing worse than what Rita had been saying before. In fact, compared to Rita’s normal standards, this was almost nice ! And not completely wrong…
“Very abruptly” implies it is Rita’s last words that made Hermione react like that.
So, obviously, it is the words “a father substitute” that triggered Hermione’s reaction.
Quite normal if “mum and dad” are not her true parents.
I suppose Hermione was scared when Rita used this expression : “a father substitute”. She was afraid this could be an allusion. Afraid Rita might have found something about her… So, Hermione began her “anti-Rita crusade”. After that, she had no rest until she had found out how Rita could spy on people.
Note that after Rita’s article “Harry Potter’s Secret Heartache” (chapter 27), Hermione sounded much relieved :
If that’s the best Rita can do, she’s losing her touch…
Of course : only Hermione – and the few other people who know the secret – could understand how ridiculous this article was ! At least, it proved Rita hadn’t discovered anything.

1.5 Clues from book 5

- Chapter 4 :
Hermione had thrown herself on to him in a hug that nearly knocked him flat…
“Let him breathe, Hermione”, said Ron…

Note that before Ron tells her “let him breathe”, Hermione is making a fairly long speech… “I’ve looked it up, they can’t expel you, it’s just outrageous…” while still hugging Harry.

- Chapter 9 : the Prefect’s badges have just arrived.
First part : She spotted the badge in Harry’s hand and let out a shriek.
“I knew it !” she said excitedly, brandishing her letter. “Me too, Harry, me too !”
“No,” said Harry quickly…

Second part : a bit later, Ron shows his mother his Prefect’s badge.
Mrs Weasley let out a shriek just like Hermione’s.
“I don’t believe it ! I don’t believe it ! Oh, Ron, how wonderful ! A prefect ! That’s everyone in the family !”
“What are Fred and I, next-door neighbours ?” said George indignantly…

See ? Why does JKR insist on the similarity ?
“A shriek just like Hermione’s”…
Because it is for just the same reason ! Family pride !
“Me too, Harry, me too !” = “That’s everyone in the family !”

- Chapter 12 : Pr. McGonagall has just told Harry he needs to be careful with Dolores Umbridge. And she adds :
“Well, I’m glad you listen to Hermione Granger at any rate,” she said, pointing him out of her office.
This sentence is emphasized by the fact it is the end of the chapter.
Quite strange, isn’t it ? How can McGonagall know what Hermione had been telling Harry ? She wasn’t anywhere near them when Hermione explained the meaning of Umbridge’s speech.
This strengthens the idea that Hermione is, in some way, “protecting” Harry – and that she is reporting to McGonagall.

- Chapter 19. McGonagall is punishing Harry and George :
“Now, you two had better listen closely. I do not care what provocation Malfoy offered you, I do not care if he insulted every family member you possess, your behaviour was disgusting…”
“Every family member you possess” !
Strange expression to use when talking to Harry Potter, who has no proper family as everyone knows…
But wait… Who is the character Draco Malfoy has insulted most in the story ? Who is the character he keeps calling “a Mudblood” ?
That’s Hermione !
McGonagall was so upset in this scene that she let slip out something !

- Chapter 23, Harry is feeling really bad. He is hiding alone in Buckbeak’s room.
Then Hermione arrives. She was supposed to be skiing with “mum and dad” for Christmas, but she comes to Grimmauld Place instead. Just when Harry really needs her ! It is her who manages to get Harry out of that room. Couldn’t JKR have had Sirius do it ? Or Mrs Weasley ? Or Ron ? Or Ginny ? Someone who was there ? Why did it have to be Hermione ?
Now, here is the really strange thing : Hermione went directly to the door of that room where Harry was hiding (there was still snow in her hair). But Harry was hiding ! The Weasleys and Sirius couldn’t know exactly where he was ! He had “retreated further upstairs” when Mrs Weasley had called his name earlier.
So, how could Hermione know Harry was in that room ?
Answer : Dumbledore must have told her. It must be him who sent Hermione to Grimmauld Place, because of Harry : “Your brother needs you now, Miss Granger. I’m really sorry for your ski trip”.
(Dumbledore could know exactly where Harry was through Phineas Nigellus).

- Why is Hermione nagging Harry so badly about his Occlumency lessons ? Is it because she is thinking :
“Come on, Harry ! If you mastered Occlumency, then maybe I’d be allowed to tell you !”
(See below : the reason why Harry mustn’t know the truth is his mind connection with Voldemort).

- Chapter 25, Hagrid tells Harry they are very much alike :
“In the same boat, yeh an’ me, aren’ we, ‘Arry ?”
“Er –“ said Harry.
“Yeah… I’ve said it before… both outsiders, like”, said Hagrid, nodding wisely. “An’ both orphans. Yeah… both orphans”…
“Family,” said Hagrid gloomily. “Whatever yeh say, blood’s important…”

In chapter 30, we understand - at last - what Hagrid meant. His giant brother Grawp.
So, “ In the same boat, yeh an’ me, aren’ we, ‘Arry ?” could be a foreshadowing : in the end, Harry will find his lost sibling too !
But in OotP, all that happened is that he lost “the closest thing to a parent he had ever known”. Something should happen later to compensate this…
And note that the entire “Grawp” story is between Hagrid, Harry and Hermione. Ron takes no part in it… It’s all about lost relatives !

- Later (chapter 30), Hagrid tells them (Harry and Hermione) about Grawp :
“Hermione, I couldn’ leave him,” said Hagrid, tears now trickling down his bruised face into his beard. “See - he’s my brother !”
Hermione simply stared at him, her mouth open.
“Hagrid, when you say “brother”,” said Harry slowly, “do you mean - ?”
“Well - half-brother,” amended Hagrid.

The interesting thing here is that Harry is still able to think logically - Grawp can’t be Hagrid’s father’s son - while Hermione is stunned. This is quite unusual : normally, cold logic is rather Hermione’s thing.
But here, she is unable to say anything… Of course ! A lost brother… this means so much for her !

- Hermione and Rita again, chapter 25 :
“It’s none of your business if Harry’s been with a hundred girls,” Hermione told Rita coolly.
(The word your is emphasised in the book).
It seems Hermione considers it’s Harry’s business… as well as hers ! Harry isn’t saying anything : she is speaking for him !

- The way Hermione behaves with Harry and Cho is rather interesting. Chapter 26 :
“You should have said it was really annoying…
And it might have been a good idea to mention how ugly you think I am too,” Hermione added as an afterthought.
“But I don’t think you’re ugly,” said Harry, bemused.

Harry had just told her how Cho had got jealous… jealous of her !
1- If she was just a friend for Harry, even a very close friend… well, she would have been at least slightly embarrassed, wouldn’t she ?
2- If she had romantic feelings for Harry, then she should have been very embarrassed.
3- But her reaction was exactly what Harry’s secret sister would have done !

- Chapter 27 : Hermione’s Patronus is an otter.
Patronus otter… P/otter…
Note that in chapter 9, Lucius Malfoy had called Harry “Patronus Potter”.

- OotP, chapter 31 (OWLs) :
“I mistranslated ehwaz,” said Hermione furiously. “It means partnership, not defence ; I mixed it up with eihwaz.”
Here is the meaning of these runes :
1- “Ehwaz” : symbol shaped like a “M”.
Partnership, Harmony, Duality, Horse (or two horses), Ideal marriage or partnership…
“Ehwaz is the rune associated with twin gods, heroes or horses.”
It is the rune associated with the gods Frey and Freyja (twin brother and sister).
And, “it also represents partnership, trust, loyalty, and faithfulness, such as that between horse and rider, brother and sister, two halves of the whole”.
2- “Eihwaz” : symbol shaped vaguely like a lightning bolt.
Yew tree, Strength, Endurance, Defence, Protection.
And : “It contains the mystery of life and death. It is a life giving force which has its roots in the underworld and death.”
This clue strongly supports the “Protection Theory” : Hermione has a key role in Harry's protection, a bit like Petunia (as we know Lily’s blood is Harry’s protection).
Here is how the clue can work :
Hermione must translate Ehwaz, which can mean partnership (such as that between brother and sister) and “twin heroes”... so obviously she thinks of her brother Harry, and she mixes it up with Eihwaz. Why ? Because the Eihwaz rune looks a bit like Harry's scar, because it can mean “protection” (this would be Hermione’s task ) and “yew tree” (the wand that gave Harry his scar is made of yew).
To sum up :
Ehwaz : partnership, duality between brother and sister.
Eihwaz : “a life giving force which has its roots in the underworld and death”. The protection force Hermione is carrying does have its roots in death (Lily’s sacrifice).

Think about it… This clue is particularly striking. Hermione mixes up ehwaz and eihwaz. Ehwaz is partnership, duality, such as that between brother and sister. Eihwaz is defence, protection. Now, what is Harry’s protection, Harry’s defence in the story ? Dumbledore answered this question in OotP : it is the bond of blood. Everything fits : the bond of blood, a partnership, a duality (ehwaz) is Harry’s defence (eihwaz). As all this concerns Hermione (she is the one who mixes up the runes), she and Harry must be linked by “the bond of blood”.

- Chapter 35 : Hermione stops Harry from hurting the baby-headed Death-Eater.
“You can’t hurt a baby !”
What could that mean ?
It reminds us of the beginning of the story, when Voldemort tried to hurt (well... to kill) baby Harry : he couldn't, because Harry had received a protection from Lily.
This protection is an essential part of the plot. It is still active, through Dumbledore's ancient magic. (See appendix 1 : the “Protection Theory” ).
If Harry did “hurt a baby”, what would happen ? Maybe that would jeopardise his protection. Maybe, in a mysterious magical way, he would no longer be “worthy” of his mother's sacrifice, and thus would lose her protection...
Of course (if this idea is correct), the fact it is Hermione who stopped Harry from “hurting a baby” implies she knows a lot about Lily's sacrifice and Harry's protection. That would fit perfectly with the Sibling Theory.

- In chapter 37, Dumbledore tells Harry :
“I guessed, fifteen years ago,” said Dumbledore, “when I saw the scar on your forehead, what it might mean. I guessed that it might be the sign of a connection forged between you and Voldemort.”
OK, we know Dumbledore is very smart... But the question is : why did JKR want him to guess as early as that ? It would have been simpler to have Dumbledore understand about this connection during Harry's 4th year (when Harry began having dreams). Why make him guess when Harry was a baby ? How did this influence the plot ?
Easy : This is the reason why the truth about Hermione was kept hidden from Harry ! (See below : the reason why Harry mustn’t know the truth is his mind connection with Voldemort).
If Dumbledore had guessed about the connection not earlier than GoF, then the Secret would have been revealed to both Harry and Hermione. So, there would have been no “Big Secret” for Harry... and for the readers !
In GoF, Dumbledore would have understood that telling Harry was a huge blunder... but it would have been too late !
For the plot to work, Dumbledore had to understand very early that this connection existed.

- Overall, Hermione spends very little time with her “parents”. First, she spends most of July cleaning Sirius’ house with Ron and the Weasleys. If she saw “mum and dad” that summer, it’s at most for a week or so. Then, she doesn't go home for the holidays. She blows off the ski trip her parents had planned. She says, “they'll understand”. Will they ? Will it be because a friend’s father was nearly killed, or because she knows and they know that they are not her biological parents ?
And when she finally meets them again after all that time (chapter 38 ), she hugs them quickly, then :
Hermione disengaged herself gently from her mother to join the group.
This is the group of people who talk to the Dursleys, to make sure they treat Harry well that summer. Note that Hermione is the only student who joins the group – we aren’t told Ron does the same - all the others are adults.

1.6 Clues from movie 1

Note that the movies cannot be an important source of clues, as they are not directly JKR’s creation. However, we can assume that JKR gave some advice here and there…

- Trevor the toad again (see the clue from book 1, suggesting that Hermione had taken Trevor in the train). From the book to the movie, the place where Neville finds his toad changes. In the movie, it is in the castle, during McGonagall’s speech…. and just in front of Hermione !

- When the trio are climbing the stairs, Ron says to Harry :
It’s spooky : she knows more about you than you do.
Harry answers :
Who doesn’t ?
Well… if Ron, who comes from an old wizarding family, finds it “spooky” then it means Hermione knows considerably more about Harry than other people do. Not bad for a girl who is supposed to have been knowing she is a witch for only a few weeks ! But if Harry is her brother, and if she knows the truth, this is perfectly normal !

1.7 Clues from movie 2

- The hug scene in the end. Hermione is very comfortable hugging Harry (not Ron).

1.8 Clues from movie 3

- There is even more physical interaction between Harry and Hermione, without the slightest trace of embarrassment. Ron looks scared when Hermione briefly grabs his wrist. On the other hand, Harry and Hermione hold hands for quite a long time, he takes her in his arms to protect her, he takes her wand from her pocket… and they are still perfectly comfortable. They are also very protective of each other : in the Shrieking Shack, she steps in front of him : “If you want to kill Harry, you will have to kill us too”. When they are facing the werewolf, he takes her in his arms.

- JKR said that Cuaron “inadvertently foreshadowed events that will happen in books six and seven”.
I really got goose bumps when I saw a couple of those things, and I thought, people are going to look back on the film and think that those were put in deliberately as clues.
It could very well be the Harry-Hermione interaction (see above).
But also the remarkable parallel between James and Lily on the one hand and Harry and Hermione on the other hand. The parents and the children…
Both Remus and Sirius seem to be drawing that subtle parallel - even if they don’t say it explicitly. Harry is a lot like James, Hermione is a lot like Lily :
1- On the bridge, Lupin tells Harry that he is much like his father and that his mother was a powerful witch but also a very good person : “Not only was she a singularly gifted witch, but she was also an uncommonly kind woman. She had the ability to see the beauty in others, and perhaps most especially of all, when that person couldn't see it in themselves.”
Well, Hermione is a lot like Lily, isn’t she ? No doubt she is a “singularly gifted witch”, and in GoF, she is the one who comforts Hagrid when he can no longer see “the beauty in himself” (after Rita Skeeter’s article) :
“Did you by any chance hear what Miss Granger was shouting, Hagrid ?”
2- In the end, Sirius repeats that Harry is very much like James. Then he tells Hermione: “You really are the cleverest witch of your generation”.
Why this sentence ? Does Hermione vaguely remind him of Lily ? Anyway, it certainly strengthens the parallel.

1.9 Clues from JK Rowling’s interviews

- During a chat (AOL chat, 04/2000) JKR was asked about a possible Harry-Hermione romance in the future books. She answered :
…as for Harry and Hermione, d’you really think they’re suited ?
Ooooh ! Did JKR let slip something big here ? What did these words mean ?
1- Most R/Hr shippers would answer this just means they are not suited. But why ? They get along very well, after all… And if it was so simple, why would JKR have given away that much ?
2- For H/Hr shippers, JKR made an ambiguous answer and no conclusion is possible… Maybe the answer was a humorous one…. “well, yes they are !” However, this would be very misleading !
3- The Sibling Theory fits perfectly here :
“…as for Harry and Hermione, d’you really think they’re suited ? Wait till you know who they really are !”
The answer is not misleading… yet JKR isn’t giving away the main piece of information ! Brilliant !

- Something else JKR said :
JKR: *looking through questions* No, don’t like that one. Oh, I like this one… do Harry and Hermione have a date? *laughter* No. They are – they’re very platonic friends. But I won’t answer for anyone else, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Again, the Sibling Theory fits perfectly… JKR said it herself : “wink, wink.”
And note that she chose that particular question from a list (while ignoring other questions). This suggests there is more to this. There must be something ! Something she is NOT telling us here, and is enjoying not to tell us ! (Hence her laughter).
Additionally, note that the “theory of interruptions” (see above) seems to apply to JKR herself :
No. They are – they’re very platonic friends.
Finally, why did JKR say “very platonic friends” ? Why insist that much ? “Platonic friends” would have been enough if it was all she wanted to say. Is it because the mere suggestion of a non-platonic relation between Harry and Hermione was unacceptable for JKR ? Because such a relation would be incestuous, and thus inappropriate in the story ?

- Yet another quote :
She is the most brilliant of the three and they need her. Harry needs her badly.
What does Harry need badly ?
Do you remember his vision in the Mirror of Erised ? His “heart’s greatest desire” ?
It was… family !
So… of course he needs Hermione badly !

- JKR once said Hermione’s name is based on Shakespeare.
The Hermione in “The Winter’s Tale” went into hiding for 16 years. If the truth about Harry’s sister is revealed before the end, that’s about the time she will have been “hiding”.

- During the BBC TV show “Harry and Me”, JKR showed a few items to the camera. These included a school-list. You can have a look at the pictures here :
http://www.fictionalley.org/harryandme
http://www.crusaders.no/~afhp/notebook/
JKR changed Hermione’s name : she had originally named her Hermione Puckle. She changed the name to Granger later (in the list, the name “Puckle” is crossed out and replaced by “Granger” ).
This implies that :
1 - Harry and Hermione are together in this alphabetical list, as all other siblings are (the Patil sisters for instance).
2 - When JKR first created Hermione, she gave her the initials “H.P.”
She changed it later, probably because it would give away too much !
And this clue has become even stronger (much stronger ! ) since JKR revealed (March 2004) that Hermione’s middle name is Jane.
H.J.P. ! Harry James Potter… Hermione Jane Puckle. Coincidence ? Do you believe in such coincidences ?

- During an interview in October 2000, JKR said :
Q. Why not then a heroine? Why isn't this Helene Potter?
JKR. Very good question. I was-- this is weird-- I was writing the books for six months, before I stopped and thought: Well, he's a boy. How did that happen? Why is he a boy? Why isn't it Harriet? And number one, it was too late. Harry was too real by then for me to try to put him in a dress. That wasn't going to work. And then there was Hermione-- and Hermione is an indispensable part of the books and how the adventures happen. And she so much me that I felt no guilt about keeping the hero who had walked into my head. You know, it was uncontrived. It wasn't conscious. That's how he happened. So I kept him that way.

So, Hermione is “an indispensable part of how the adventures happens”… Interesting, isn’t it. This sounds like she is the heroine, almost on par with Harry. That her role in the overall plot is almost as important as Harry’s.
Note that elsewhere in the same interview, JKR calls Ron “Harry’s other best friend”. Other best friend…

- JK Rowling's interview with Katie Couric, June 20th 2003 :
Couric: Any snogging with Hermione?
Rowling: Hermione and Harry?! Do you think so?
Couric: No I’m kidding.
Rowling: Ron and Hermione, I would say, have more tension there...

One more interview that can support the Sibling Theory.
You can have a look at her facial expression when she says “Hermione and Harry?! Do you think so?” :
http://www.sugarquill.net/goodshiprh/goodshipclip.mov
Look at her eyes at that precise moment - the way she is looking at Couric, this expression of sudden interest in her eyes when she says “Hermione and Harry?! Do you think so?” She is obviously fighting back a smile… Then, when she says “Ron and Hermione...”, her expression is quite neutral again.

- Here is what JKR said on June 19th, 2003 (just before the release of OotP) :
JP: So there will be some pairing up will there in this book?
JKR: Well in the fullness of time.
JP: Unlikely pairings? Not Hermione and Draco Malfoy or anything like that?
JKR: I don’t really want to say as it will ruin all the fan sites. They have such fun with their theories … and it is fun, it is fun. And some of them even get quite close. No-one has ever - I have gone and looked at some of it and no-one’s ever … There is one thing that if anyone guessed I would be really annoyed as it is kind of the heart of it all. And it kind of explains everything and no-one’s quite got there but a couple of people have skirted it. So you know, I would be pretty miffed after thirteen or fourteen years of writing the books if someone just came along and said I think this will happen in book seven. Because it is too late, I couldn’t divert now, everything has been building up to it, and I’ve laid all my clues.

So, now we know there is a Big Secret in the story ! The “heart of it all” ! And it should affect character “shipping” somehow (as the question was about shipping).
The Sibling Theory fits : it does affect shipping of course (as it makes one of the most popular ships impossible), and it can certainly be “the heart of it all”, the secret that “kind of explains everything” (especially if Hermione is the key to Harry’s protection – see the Protection Theory below – or if she is somehow involved in the Prophecy). And many, many clues have been “building up to it”.

- March 4th, 2004 Chat :
Jami: Is Harry related to Godric Gryffindor?
JK Rowling replies : People are always wondering who Harry might be related to. Maybe he is. Wink

JKR could have simply answered the question : yes he is / no he isn't / maybe he is / you'll see / what makes you think so / do you really think I would tell you...
But the interesting thing is that she widens the question :
“People are always wondering who Harry might be related to.”
“Maybe he is...” (related to... someone).
As if the question about Harry being related to Gryffindor had aroused something else in her mind...


2. J.K. ROWLING’S WEBSITE :

http://www.jkrowling.com
A number of things on JKR’s website are of great interest for the Sibling Theory.

- JKR confirms that she had originally named Hermione “Puckle” (see above). There’s no doubt about this, no more room for interpretation : JKR created Hermione Puckle, and changed the name to Granger later.
So... Harry James Potter and Hermione Jane Puckle originally had exactly the same initials : H.J.P.

- In the very first draft of PS, an early connection existed between the Potters and the Grangers, as the Potters lived not far from the Grangers (JKR moved them to Godric's Hollow later) :
The very, very earliest drafts of the first chapter of 'Philosopher's Stone' have the Potters living on a remote island, Hermione's family living on the mainland, her father spotting something that resembles an explosion out at sea and sailing out in a storm to find their bodies in the ruins of their house. I can't remember now why I thought this was a good idea, but I clearly recognised that it wasn't fairly early on, because the Potters were re-located to Godric's Hollow for all subsequent drafts.
Maybe the Potters didn’t want their daughter too far away in this first draft of the book…
Or maybe – in this early version – Mr Granger found Hermione in the ruins… and adopted her !
Anyway, the existence of a connection in this early version of PS certainly helps support the Sibling Theory.

- JKR gives us some information about herself and her sister Di.
We all know Hermione is very much like JKR herself.
Well… JKR's sibling (her sister Di), has a scar on her forehead !

- JKR reveals that “Potter” was the name of two friends of hers when she was a little girl : a brother and sister !

- JKR reveals that, while everyone believes Dean Thomas is Muggleborn, he is - in fact - a half-blood.
A half-blood whom everyone believes is Muggleborn... Maybe he is not the only one !

- JKR writes :
Does Hermione love Ron or Harry?
I can't believe that some of you haven't worked this one out yet, but I'm not going to answer because that would spoil the arguments, which I enjoy.

Sure she must enjoy the arguments ! So many fans are busy discussing H/Hr versus R/Hr… not seeing the main thing !

Now, one thing that could be used against the theory :

- JKR says that Harry and Voldemort are not related. She also says she is not going to write a prequel about James and Lily. In both cases, she says Harry Potter is not Star Wars.
Right. However :
1- If she knows a big revelation is coming that some readers might find a bit Star-Wars-like (even though it's very different – especially if Hermione knows the truth), then it makes sense for her to underline the important facts that make the two stories very different : no, Voldemort isn't Harry's father ! This is not Star Wars !
2- How easy it would have been for her to add : “and Hermione isn't Harry's sister either !”
But she didn't say so !


3. THE THEORY, HOW IT CAN WORK, AND POSSIBLE VARIANTS :

- Harry’s birthday is July 31st. Hermione’s is September 19th.
How old is Hermione ? Is she younger or older than Harry ?
This was a highly debated point before JKR gave us the final answer, late 2004. Before that, we didn’t know if Hermione was younger or older than Harry. A majority of fans assumed she was younger.
Since JKR revealed on her website that Hermione was nearly twelve when she entered Hogwarts, we know she is about 10 months and a half older than Harry. She can definitely be his older sister : the delay between Hermione’s birth and Harry’s conception is short, but it is possible. Especially if Harry was born a bit premature…
Before JKR revealed Hermione’s age, we had several variants of the Sibling Theory. The “older sister theory” of course, but also a “twin theory” (Hermione’s official birthday would have been changed in order to hide her even more effectively).
Now, only the older sister theory remains. Unless Time Magic of some sort is involved, which is not impossible…

- When did Hermione go to the Grangers ?
Several possibilities : at birth, a bit later, after Voldemort killed the Potters. In the later case, she could have been present (just hidden) the night Voldemort killed Lily and James…

- Why was Hermione hidden ?
Before OotP, the answer was quite simple : she was hidden for her own security, to protect her from Voldemort. The idea was that Voldemort was after the Potter bloodline. Now we know the reason why Voldemort wanted to kill baby Harry (the Prophecy), and it is a bit more difficult to answer this question.
One thing remains : she was hidden so that Voldemort wouldn’t know.
1- The reason why she was hidden initially is still mysterious. It could have something to do with the Potter bloodline… After all, why did Voldemort consider that James had to die, while Lily “needn’t have died” ? If Voldemort was indeed after the Potter bloodline, Hermione’s existence was kept a secret for her own safety. On the other hand, Harry’s existence was not hidden because of the Prophecy : Dumbledore knew that before the prophecy could be fulfilled, Harry had to be “marked” by the Dark Lord.
Now, what could there be with the Potter bloodline ? Maybe we’ll learn more in book 6… For instance, the Potters could be descendants of Gryffindor… There could be another Prophecy, made years or centuries before Trelawney’s, about the heirs of the Founders.
2- A completely different idea : maybe the reason why Hermione was hidden has something to do with the fact the Potters had “thrice defied” Voldemort. As for Harry, he wasn’t hidden because of the Prophecy (as above).
3- The reason why Hermione’s secret is still being kept now could very well be something else : Hermione is important for Harry’s protection. We know Harry is protected by “his mother’s blood”. It works with Petunia. So it should work with Hermione too ! In that case, the fact Voldemort ignores the existence of this particular protection could be, in the end, the key to his downfall.
The Ehwaz/Eihwaz clue (see above) can support this idea.
This “Protection Theory” has been detailed in an appendix : see below.
Apart from the Protection Theory, there are a few alternative possibilities :
4- A slightly far-fetched idea : it has been suggested that Hermione could be “the one” in the Prophecy ! Using the roman calendar (September = seventh month) and lunar cycles, she was born “as the seventh month dies”. And we don’t know precisely when the Prophecy was made. Though I don’t really think it could have been made before Hermione’s birth, some people have suggested this possibility (independantly from the Sibling Theory).
This would imply Voldemort will “mark” her somehow, before the end of the story.
5- Or maybe it is something else, something we’ll learn later. Anyway, whatever it is, it must be something essential, the heart of the entire plot.

- How will the sibling relation be important in the plot ? How will it be “the heart of it all” ?
There are several possibilities. Note that the third one can work along with either of the first two.
1- Hermione could be “the one” in the prophecy (unlikely).
2- Hermione can give Harry a protection, much like Petunia does, that will be the key to the final outcome. (Protection Theory).
3- Maybe, in the end, Harry will feel a strong desire to go through the veil, to go the “other side”. He believes all his family is there : his father, his mother. Now his godfather is there too. JKR said Sirius had to die for a reason. That could be it. In the end, Harry will feel a very strong desire to be with them. At that time, having his sister, his closest relative, this side of the veil will make a difference !
Note that in OotP, when they first found the veiled archway, Harry felt a strong desire to go through it. And it is Hermione who held him back… Foreshadowing ?

- Who knows the truth about Hermione ?
Very few people do.
The Potters obviously knew. They probably told Dumbledore.
The Grangers must know that Hermione is not their biological daughter (they may, or not, know who Hermione really is). Based on the clues, McGonagall knows the truth, and maybe Lupin (not sure for Lupin).
Many clues suggest that Hermione herself knows the truth, and that she already knew when she first arrived at Hogwarts.

- Why not tell Harry ?
Because Harry has a mind connection with Voldemort. And if it is of utmost importance that Voldemort ignores the truth, then telling Harry would be too risky as long as he has not mastered Occlumency.
If Hermione herself knows the truth, then Dumbledore or McGonagall made her promise not to tell. It must be hard for her, poor girl…


4. OBJECTIONS AND ANSWERS :

- Dumbledore says in PS that the Dursleys are Harry’s only left family.
I’ve come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They’re the only family he has left now.
Given the context, Dumbledore probably means “the only family that can take care of him”… Adult relatives. Not other babies… This is why he doesn’t mention Dudley. So of course, he doesn’t mention Hermione either.
(Otherwise… Dumbledore’s sentence would imply that Dudley is not Harry’s cousin ! )
Besides, “left” doesn’t mean exactly the same thing as “alive”. Dumbledore’s sentence could mean :
“His parents are dead and his sister is gone. So, his aunt and uncle are the only family he has left”.
Dumbledore is talking to McGonagall (who knows the truth) : he is not lying to her… She can understand what he means.

- But in OotP (chapter 37), Dumbledore tells Harry :
I delivered you to her sister, her only remaining relative.
As above, given the context, this must mean “her only (adult) relative who could take care of you.”
(Otherwise… what about Dudley ? )
And “remaining” is not an exact synonym of “living” : if Hermione had been hidden, she may not count as “remaining”.

- It is said in book 3 (chapter 1) and 4 (chapter 2) that Vernon, Petunia and Dudley are Harry’s only living relatives. And this time, it is said directly by the narrator, not by Dumbledore…
But does the narrator always say the “absolute” truth, or just the truth from Harry’s point of view ?
It is quite clear that in all chapters where Harry is present (which means all the time except in book 1 chapter 1 and book 4 chapter 1), the narrator gives us Harry’s vision of things, NOT the “absolute” truth.
For instance : in GoF, the narrator often says “Moody did this” or “Moody said that”, which is the truth from Harry’s point of view. An omniscient narrator would have said “Crouch”, not “Moody”.
And Harry obviously has no doubt that the Dursleys ARE his only living relatives. But Harry could be wrong…

- When looking into the Mirror of Erised, Harry doesn’t see Hermione.
As Dumbledore himself explains, the Mirror cannot give anyone Knowledge or Truth. Thus, if Harry has secret relatives, he can’t learn anything about them from the Mirror.
What he can see is simply his heart’s greatest desire, an image from his own subconscious (and maybe it’s a subconscious memory, people he actually saw when he was a baby – this is the case for James and Lily anyway).
Even if Hermione was in the picture, would Harry be able to recognise a 1 or 2 year old baby Hermione ?
Actually, the Mirror scene is good for the Sibling Theory ! The fact Dumbledore told Harry that the Mirror can’t give knowledge – while Harry was looking at his family – strongly suggests there is something about his family Harry doesn’t know (and couldn’t learn from the Mirror) : a secret relative !

- If Hermione was hidden for her security, then why wasn’t Harry protected the same way ?
First point, the two Potter children were both very well protected. Just protected in different ways. Hermione’s security was based on the Secret. No one would know who she really was. But her Muggle “parents” would be quite unable to protect her against a Death-Eater attack. Harry stayed to live with Lily and James, a powerful witch and wizard. And the Fidelius Charm should have been a good protection too…
Second point, Dumbledore knew the Prophecy. And knowing that “the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal”, he couldn’t accept to hide a boy who could be “the one” so well that Voldemort could never, ever find him. Voldemort had to find Harry, and to mark him, before the Prophecy could be fulfilled, one way or another… and Dumbledore knew that.

- Hermione doesn’t have Lily’s and Harry’s green eyes.
Many siblings have different eye colours. We know (CoS) that Hermione has brown eyes (shade unknown). Lily had green eyes and we learnt in OotP that James had hazel eyes. The definition of “hazel” is rather vague, but it can definitely mean “light brown”. A green eyed woman and a somewhat-brownish-hazel eyed man can have both a green eyed child and a brown eyed child (though probably not a dark-brown eyed child).
Furthermore, we don’t know exactly how magic could interfere, as 1) James was an animagus (this hazel color could have something to do with the stag’s coat) and 2) it has often been suggested there might be something magical about Lily’s eyes.

- Harry and Hermione are close platonic friends ; all of their interaction can be explained by that kind of relationship.
First, we have the feeling they are more than just close friends.
And Hermione’s behaviour with Harry is special, as early as the beginning of PS : that’s before they become friends !
Finally, such a “very close platonic friends” relation between a boy and a girl would be unique in the story. All other “close friends” are of the same sex. All of them ! James had his group of Marauders. We saw Lily with a group of girls. Cho has her gang, including Marietta. Draco has Crabbe and Goyle. Parvati and Lavender are always together. Dudley has his gang. Etc… Hermione is a unique exception in the story. It’s not really difficult to understand that there is some “tension” between her and Ron (JKR herself said so). But what about Harry ?

- In CoS, the Basilisk attacked Hermione. So, she must be Muggle-born.
First, Hermione was with Penelope. So, Penelope could have been the target, and Hermione just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And even if Hermione was the target, this doesn’t prove anything : the Basilisk was just a tool - it attacked whoever Tom Riddle told it to attack.
Muggle-borns of course, but also a cat, and also Harry in the end.
As Tom Riddle believed Hermione was Muggle-born (because Ginny believed it), he could have sent the Basilisk after her anyway.

- Hermione being Muggle-born is important : she illustrates the fact a Muggle-born can be a powerful wizard/witch. If it is revealed that Hermione is not Muggle-born, this message will be lost.
But another character could illustrate the same fact. Lily, for instance.
And the revelation that Hermione is not Muggle-born will make her behaviour in CoS appear heroic indeed ! She was pretending she was Muggle-born while Muggle-borns were being attacked, but she kept the secret.
Finally, the theme of prejudice – a very important theme in the story – is illustrated mostly by Harry himself. As a halfblood, Harry will never be considered a true wizard by people like the Malfoys.

- An important message in the story is that it is our choices that really matter. Not blood. Hermione is already Harry’s friend. Why make her his sister ?
Before OotP, this was a serious objection.
But in OotP, things have become more complex : as Hagrid says, blood is important. Really important. NOT the way it is important for the Dark Side (purity of blood). But it makes a huge difference, having someone who is really your brother (Hagrid), or your mother’s sister (Harry).
OotP, chapter 2 : And all of a sudden, for the very first time in his life, Harry fully appreciated that Aunt Petunia was his mother’s sister. He could not have said why this hit him so very powerfully at this moment.
OotP, chapter 25 : “Family,” said Hagrid gloomily. “Whatever yeh say, blood’s important…”

- Harry’s birthday is July 31st. Hermione’s is September 19th. She was born 2 months after Harry if we believe the CoS DVD timeline. So they can’t be siblings.
See the birthday discussion above. The DVD Timeline was wrong : JKR revealed on her website that Hermione was born the year before Harry. She is 10 months and a half older than him.

- If Hermione was a Potter, the Marauder’s Map would have told Harry.
First point : we have never seen Harry reading Hermione’s name on the Map, so we are not sure how she would show up… Possibly as “Hermione Potter”, but maybe as “Hermione Granger” if she was legally adopted (and if “legally” means something for the Map).
Second point : JKR made sure the Map was returned to one of its creators (Moony) in PoA. Lupin kept it for several months, so he might have “fixed” the problem somehow… he could have put extra-enchantments on the Map to make sure “Hermione Potter” doesn’t show up.
Last point : the Map is supposed to show a person’s true name. But – as Shakespeare said – what is a name ? What is a person’s “true name” ? It is quite difficult to answer this question in an absolute way ! Maybe it is a subjective truth, maybe the Map shows the name a person considers is his/her true name. After all, Crouch Jr knew very well he wasn’t Moody. And Scabbers knew he was Pettigrew… What is the name Hermione considers her “true name” if she was told the truth when she was 9 or 10 ? The answer is far from obvious…

- JKR said in March 2004 that she had planned a sister for Hermione. Doesn’t this rule out the Sibling Theory ?
I always planned that Hermione would have a younger sister but she's never made an appearance and somehow it feels like it might be too late now.
This doesn’t change anything for the Sibling Theory : this girl would have been Hermione’s sister through adoption. Either the Grangers’ own biological daughter, or maybe yet another adopted child.

- But JKR said in an interview :
Um...it just seemed to suit her somehow. It's a name from Shakespeare. It's in “A Winter's Tale”. Um...although my Hermione bears very little relation to *that* Hermione, but it just seemed the sort of name that a pair of professional dentists, who liked to prove how clever they were...do you know what I mean...gave their daughter a nice, unusual name that no-one could pronounce! I mean, parents do that! Um...and I...and I did want in, in truth, I wanted quite an unusual name for her…
Doesn’t this imply that the Grangers named Hermione ?
First, JKR is just explaining here how she chose the name “Hermione”. One of the reasons is that she wanted a name that “seemed the sort of name that a pair of professional dentists… gave their daughter”. Strictly speaking, JKR didn’t say that – in the story – the Grangers actually named Hermione, although this sentence makes it sound likely. But it could be a misleading statement, and still not a lie.
Second, if the Grangers did name Hermione, the Sibling Theory can still work very well. It would just imply that Hermione went to her adoptive parents very early.

- Now, by far the strongest of all objections. JKR herself said on August 15th, 2004 :
Q. Does Hermione have any brothers or sisters?
JKR. No, she doesn’t. When I first made up Hermione I gave her a younger sister, but she was very hard to work in. The younger sister was not supposed to go to Hogwarts. She was supposed to remain a Muggle. It was a sideline that didn’t work very well and it did not have a big place in the story. I have deliberately kept Hermione’s family in the background. You see so much of Ron’s family so I thought that I would keep Hermione’s family, by contrast, quite ordinary. They are dentists, as you know. They are a bit bemused by their odd daughter but quite proud of her all the same.

So, JKR answered “no” to this question. Is there still any room for interpretation ?
This is certainly a problem. By far the biggest difficulty for the theory. However, given the context (this was a live discussion with children fans, after she had mentioned the possibility of Hermione’s younger sister in a chat a few months before – thus raising curiosity about that girl among fans), it is quite possible that she meant “no brothers or sisters in the Granger family”.
Maybe she would have corrected the wording on her website later if she could have, but it was too late : everyone would have noticed if she had.
Still, this is a strong objection. But it is not exactly the same thing as if JKR had answered “no” to the question “does Harry have any brothers or sisters ?” In the later case, there would have been no ambiguity : the question could have meant only “does he have a hidden sibling ?” On the other hand, the answer about Hermione is slightly ambiguous : JKR’s negative answer can very well mean “no sibling in the Granger family”. As JKR was very probably expecting a question about the Granger little sister, I think this interpretation is plausible.

- A lost sister… This has been done before !
But almost everything has been done before. Eternal myths belong to no-one !
A good little orphan who has hidden powers… A Dark Lord… All these ideas have been used before too, and more than just once ! And yet, JKR has written an original story based on this. So, why not a secret sister ?
Besides, a secret sister who knows the truth but can’t tell would be an original idea ! And the way JKR put this secret sibling relation at the heart of the entire plot would make her story unique !
Note : in that… er… other story where a young man meets his secret sister (there are many such stories, but everyone is always bringing up this one), the sibling relation is but a minor detail, with very little influence on the plot (unlike the father-son relation). On the other hand, in JKR’s story, the sibling relation could be the heart of it all.

APPENDIX 1 : THE PROTECTION THEORY

The Protection Theory is one possible variant of the Sibling Theory. The base idea is that Hermione is – much like Petunia – essential for Harry’s protection. We know the ancient magic Dumbledore invoked protects Harry against Voldemort (and probably against Voldemort’s followers) when he is home where his mother’s blood dwells :
While you can still call home the place where your mother's blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort.
This protection is extremely important in the plot. However, Voldemort knows about Petunia protecting Harry (he said so in GoF). Thus, he won't try to Avada Kedavra Harry through the window of the Dursley’s kitchen, as he is not stupid.
So, how will this protection play an important role later in the story ?
Answer : through another blood relative, Harry’s sister, Hermione !

The above is the base idea of the Protection Theory.
Now, the details below are unsure… There are several ways it could work : no one really knows how the protection works anyway, Sibling Theory or not. So, what follows is more speculative.
The few sure things are :
- Lily gave Harry a Protection when she gave her life to save him. This Original Protection (in essence, love ) is in Harry’s “very skin”.
- Dumbledore invoked an “ancient magic” to ensure Harry’s safety when Harry is “home, where his mother’s blood dwells”, and he delivered him to Petunia. This protection is based on Lily’s sacrifice, so it is in some way an extension of the Original Protection.
- Voldemort took Harry’s blood in GoF. He believes that, by doing so, he has overcome the Protection. And as a matter of fact, he could touch Harry.

Now, think about this : WHY did baby Harry have to go to the Dursleys ? If the “lingering protection” that had once saved him was still in his blood, he was protected against Voldemort anywhere, wasn't he ? But Dumbledore clearly said in OotP that he had sent Harry to Privet Drive in order to protect him : “there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort”. He even said that Petunia “knows that allowing you (Harry) houseroom may well have kept you (Harry) alive for the past fifteen years.”

The answer must be : somehow, Lily's protection was a “one time” thing. It saved Harry directly once, just once. Maybe this protection was “one time” in essence. Maybe Voldemort’s curse broke it when it was deflected (thus giving Harry his scar). Anyway, in order for this protection to continue, it had to be carried by someone else, someone of Lily's blood : Petunia or Hermione. Lily’s sacrifice is still protecting Harry indirectly through Dumbledore’s ancient magic.
- Harry is safe at Privet Drive, because his mother's blood dwells there (Petunia) and he can call this place “home”.
- He is safe at Hogwarts too, because this is a place he can call “home” (very often in the story), and Hermione is there : this is why Quirrell couldn’t touch Harry at the end of PS.

Note that if Lily’s direct protection really was a “one time” thing, then the events at the end of PS imply there must be someone of Lily's blood at Hogwarts. Hermione Granger ! By the way, her name could be symbolic of grange/farm or “home”. Family. Her-my-own Home ?

This Protection Theory explains quite a lot :

Chronology :

- At the beginning of PS : Harry is protected directly (just once) by Lily's sacrifice. Later, he will be protected indirectly by this sacrifice, through someone else.

The Protection Theory fits nicely with the fact Hermione was told the Secret. In order for the protection to be effective, the person carrying it must be aware of what is going on.
This is the case with Petunia : Dumbledore had to write her a letter explaining everything, and when she took Harry, she knew what she was doing. If Harry had been delivered to the Dursleys without a word, then the protection wouldn't have been activated :
But she took you… and in doing so, she sealed the charm I placed upon you.
Same thing for Hermione : some months before Hogwarts (before that, she was too young), Dumbledore must have told her the truth, and she agreed she would look after Harry. And that's exactly what she did... That's why “Harry couldn't believe anyone could be so interfering” before they became friends.

- End of PS : Quirrell can't touch Harry because he is at Hogwarts, and Hermione is there (not far away).
Note that Hermione hugged Harry just seconds before the moment he needed his mother’s protection most ! The symbol is extremely strong !
“But Harry – what if You-Know-Who’s with him ?”
“Well – I was lucky once, wasn’t I ?” Said Harry, pointing at his scar. “I might get lucky again.”
Hermione’s lip trembled and she suddenly dashed at Harry and threw her arms around him.

1- “ I was lucky once” : Harry had a protection.
2- “ I might get lucky again” : maybe he is still protected.
3- “ Hermione’s lip trembled and she suddenly dashed at Harry and threw her arms around him” : the hug symbolises protection !

A possible objection : one could argue that Harry was hurt during the encounter with Quirrell/Voldemort.
But this is because Harry himself maintained physical contact with Quirrell deliberately, almost beyond endurance. Thus Harry hurt himself ! That’s what Dumbledore himself explains :
“the effort involved nearly killed you”.
It’s Harry who touched Quirrell - Quirrell couldn’t touch Harry, because Harry was protected. Dumbledore himself confirms this :
Quirrell, full of hatred, greed and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason.
Voldemort’s presence causes Harry pain in his scar (this has nothing to do with the protection), and Harry deliberately touched the source of this pain : thus, he hurt himself.

- End of CoS : Is the Chamber part of Hogwarts ? Anyway, this was not Voldemort, this was Riddle as he was long before Lily's sacrifice.

- End of PoA : as far as we know, these Dementors were not Voldemort’s servants. Thus the Protection didn’t work against them.

- End of GoF : In the graveyard, Voldemort can touch Harry.
He believes this is because he has taken Harry's blood, but he is wrong ! This is just because they are in a place where Harry has no protection.
Voldemort is aware of Harry's protection through Petunia, but he knows nothing about Hermione. So, he wrongly believes he can now touch Harry, even at Hogwarts... maybe this will be his downfall later.

- End of OotP : the Ministry of Magic is not a place Harry can call “home”.

Something about the Prophecy :
…but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…
What is this power ? It is love : the power contained in the room at the DoM that is kept locked at all times, Dumbledore practically said so in OotP.
However, there must be more to this. Dumbledore also said :
You would be protected by an ancient magic of which he knows, which he despises, and which he has, therefore, underestimated – to his cost. I am speaking, of course, of the fact your mother died to save you.
An ancient magic of which he knows ! Voldemort knows about love as a general concept (even though he despises it). So… what is the “power the Dark Lord knows not” ? It must be something more specific. But Voldemort knows about the power of Lily’s sacrifice and he knows about Petunia too…
The “Protection Theory” fits perfectly ! The “power the Dark Lord knows not” is Hermione’s protection, because he still doesn’t know anything about her. In essence, it is love. It is Lily’s love (her sacrifice), it is Hermione’s love, it is the protection Harry receives from Lily through Hermione, and about which the Dark Lord doesn’t know anything.

- End of book 7 (?)
The final battle should take place at Hogwarts, and the protection Voldemort isn’t aware of will save Harry.
And as the trace of Lily's sacrifice is now in Voldemort's blood (since he took Harry’s blood in GoF), he might be “human enough” to die :
Voldemort casts the AK spell at Harry (they are at Hogwarts, and Hermione is at Harry's side).
Lily's sacrifice protects Harry once more (because Hermione is present). The AK spell is turned back at Voldemort.
But this time, Voldemort can't survive as he had done years before, because he is “human enough” to die. The end.


Note : variants of the Protection Theory are possible. Maybe the Original Protection left by Lily was broken in GoF only, as Voldemort believes. In that case, it was still active in PS. Still, Hermione’s protection will be the key to the final outcome in book 7.


APPENDIX 2 : ALTERNATIVE THEORIES

Assuming that Harry and Hermione are blood-related, a few alternative theories have been proposed.
Rather than full siblings, could they be half-siblings ? Or maybe cousins ?

Many of our clues for the Sibling Theory could work just as well for a half-sibling or cousin theory. Basically, all the clues based on their “special relation” could still work – more or less.

These alternative theories can have a few advantages. If Hermione is not Lily’s daughter, then there’s no problem at all with the short delay between her birth and Harry’s conception. If she is Harry’s cousin, then the Grangers could be her true parents. Yet some clues indicate that they are not ! “Would you call him a father substitute ?” Finally, a cousin theory allows Hermione to have literally no brothers or sisters.

Not all clues work, though. The following clues work best for the Sibling Theory only :
- Harry’s “two Neptunes” indicate a hidden memory of two children. Harry must have lived at least some time with her when he was a baby.
- The “ninny sister syndrome” : there is no such thing as the “ninny cousin syndrome”.
- The Ehwaz rune means duality, which indicates a very close relation !
- “Her my own” (flesh and blood...) also indicates something closer than cousins.
- James’ cloak being compared to a banner “streaming behind them”.
- Twice (in PS and in OotP), Hermione told Harry : “if it was me”. This should mean it could have been her… and thus that she, too, was “born to those who have thrice defied him”.
- At least two clues indicate that Hermione’s true name should be “Potter” : her Patronus, and JKR’s school-list (the H.J.P. initials).

Alternative Theory 1 : Half-sister theory – Hermione is James’ daughter, but not Lily’s.
The advantage of this theory is that there is no birthday problem at all.
Objections :
- The Protection Theory can’t work… So what does Ehwaz/Eihwaz mean ?
- Several people (Hagrid, McGonagall…) remember Lily and James as a close couple.
- Harry would most probably never have met baby Hermione. So, he could have no hidden memory of her.
- Several clues don’t work : the two Neptunes, the Ehwaz rune, “If it was me”, Hermione’s large front teeth like Petunia’s…

Alternative Theory 2 : Half-sister theory – Hermione is Lily’s daughter, but not James’.
In that case, the Protection Theory could work.
Objections :
- Several people (Hagrid, McGonagall…) remember Lily and James as a close couple.
- The Potters would have got married a short time before or after Hermione’s birth… This doesn’t fit with the information we have.
PoA, chapter 11 : He stopped on a picture of his parents’ wedding day. There was his father waving up at him, beaming, the untidy black hair Harry had inherited standing up in all directions. There was his mother, alight with happiness, arm in arm with his Dad.
This doesn’t make it sound like Lily is about to abandon (or has just abandoned) an illegitimate child…
- Why was Hermione initially hidden ? Lily “needn’t have died”… Why hide Lily’s daughter then ?
- Several clues don’t work : the two Neptunes, “If it was me”, the banner-cloak, JKR’s school-list (H.J.P.) and Hermione’s Patronus.

Alternative Theory 3 : Cousin theory.
No birthday problem. The Protection Theory can work only if she’s a cousin on Lily’s side. Hermione has “no brothers or sisters”, literally speaking.
Objections :
- Harry would most probably never have met baby Hermione. So, he could have no hidden memory of her.
- Why hide Hermione anyway ?
- Many clues don’t work : the two Neptunes, the Ehwaz rune, “If it was me”, the banner-cloak, the “ninny sister” and “Her my own”. Plus JKR’s school-list and Hermione’s Patronus if Hermione is not a Potter.

There is one argument for the half-sibling theories… Harry and Hermione would be exactly like Hagrid and Grawp : “In the same boat, yeh an’ me, aren’ we, ‘Arry ?”
However, in that case, JKR would probably have written the following passage a bit differently :
“Hermione, I couldn’ leave him,” said Hagrid, tears now trickling down his bruised face into his beard. “See - he’s my brother !”
Hermione simply stared at him, her mouth open.
“Hagrid, when you say “brother”,” said Harry slowly, “do you mean - ?”
“Well - half-brother,” amended Hagrid.

JKR insists on Hermione’s astonishment when Hagrid tells her about his lost brother. Only after that, Hagrid explains that Grawp is in fact his half-brother. If Harry and Hermione were half-siblings, then JKR would probably have written something like :
“Hagrid, when you say “brother”,” said Harry slowly, “do you mean - ?”
“Well - half-brother,” amended Hagrid.
Hermione simply stared at him, her mouth open.


So, I think the Sibling Theory is far more likely than these alternative theories.
First, it is simpler. The clues work much better. Also, Harry’s lack of a proper family is a central topic in the story. When JKR finally gives Harry a family – a true blood relative – this will be a very close relative : Harry already has a cousin after all.
Harry has no family but the Dursleys, then he loses “the closest thing to a parent he had ever known” in OotP… What is the aim of all this ? About Sirius’s death, JKR said : “I didn't want to do it, but there was a reason”. If the aim is to prepare the final revelation about Hermione, then JKR will make them as close as she can.


APPENDIX 3 : VARIOUS IDEAS

These ideas have been proposed and discussed over months of debate. They are in no way essential to the Sibling Theory… But they could work with the theory.

- We often have the feeling Hermione has a special relation with Pr. McGonagall. Here is an idea that would account for it :
Professor McGonagall has a daughter, who was at Hogwarts with James and Lily. This girl was Lily’s best friend, and she knew James very well too because they were Quidditch team mates.
Later, when James and Lily were killed, MacGonagall’s daughter adopted her best friend’s child and became Hermione’s adoptive mother : she is Mrs Granger, and Mr Granger is her Muggle husband.
So, Hermione is Minerva McGonagall’s adoptive grand-daughter.
The only clue to support this idea is in movie 1 : when Hermione shows Harry his father’s name on the Quidditch Shield, the name “McGonagall” is clearly visible.
There are some difficulties with this little idea. In PS, Hermione said : Nobody in my family’s magic at all, which should mean the Grangers are really Muggles. And JKR herself said the Grangers are not very important in the story… So, maybe there is a connection with Minerva McGonagall, but it is a bit more complicated than that.

- The Fidelius Charm is used to protect important secrets. So, maybe the secret of Hermione's birth was protected that way.
Before Hermione goes to the Grangers, the secret of her birth is protected by the Fidelius Charm. The Potters, the Grangers, Dumbledore and McGonagall all know the truth, but only the Secret Keeper (Dumbledore or McGonagall ? ) can tell other people.
This could be the reason why James couldn't tell Sirius ! Or, if you suppose Sirius knew the truth, this could be the reason why Sirius couldn't tell Harry !
Later, the Secret Keeper decides to tell Hermione. It's safe to do so : she can't tell anyone else - because she is NOT the Secret Keeper. Why tell Hermione ? Possibly because she will be important for Harry's protection, so she must know the truth (Protection Theory). Or possibly because the Secret Keeper knows Harry and Hermione will be at Hogwarts together. And he understands that it is safer to have one of them know the truth. Otherwise... two teenagers, who will grow older... you get the idea.
But Harry mustn't know the truth. His mind connection with Voldemort would make it too dangerous :
“I guessed, fifteen years ago,” said Dumbledore, “when I saw the scar on your forehead, what it might mean. I guessed that it might be the sign of a connection forged between you and Voldemort.”
Legilimency is not thought-reading, as Snape explains in OotP. It's more about feeling someone's emotions. Voldemort could perceive the nature of Harry's feelings, of his emotions... and understand. At least, he could understand enough for Hermione to be in great danger after that…
So, in the story, there is Harry who mustn't know the truth, and Hermione who does know but can't tell.
She fully understands that she mustn't tell Harry, but even if she accidentally was about to do so, the Fidelius Charm would prevent her.
“... friendship, and bravery and – (here the Fidelius Charm blocks her) oh, Harry !”

- An interesting detail… About Crookshanks, JKR writes on her website :
Crookshanks, as anybody who has read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will have guessed, is half Kneazle.
Good… About Mrs Figg, JKR writes :
Arabella Figg does a roaring trade in cross-bred cats and Kneazles, and if you don‘t know what a Kneazle is yet, shame on you.
Hmmm… So, does Crookshanks come from Mrs Figg’s ? The two quotes above make this sound highly probable.
So, is there a hidden connection here ? Could Hermione perhaps know Mrs Figg ? If Hermione knows a neighbour of Harry’s at Privet Drive… then she hiding a lot of things !
The difficult point here is that Crookshanks is supposed to have been in the shop for several years before Hermione bought him.

- Several different ideas have been proposed as for how Harry will eventually learn the truth :
1- He will find it in his own memory,
2- Voldemort will find it… so there will be no point hiding the truth from Harry anymore,
3- Harry will learn Occlumency. Once he is able to close his mind, Hermione or Dumbledore will tell him,
4- Harry will see “Hermione Potter” on the Marauders Map (interestingly enough, he has never seen Hermione on the Map up to now).
5- JKR once said Professor McGonagall has a magical quill that writes the names of all magical babies into a book when they are born (this is how she can send them an owl when they turn 11). The book is kept in McGonagall’s office. So, it is possible that Harry will somehow find this book and read : “Potter, Hermione - Potter, Harry”.
6- Harry will see it in Dumbledore’s Pensieve.
7- During the final battle, Harry will realise Voldemort cannot harm him when he is at Hogwarts. Just like when he is at Privet Drive in his aunt’s house. So, he will understand that “his mother’s blood” is at Hogwarts…
8- In the end, Hermione will fulfil the prophecy by killing Voldemort, after Voldemort will have “marked” her with a scar. At that time, Harry will understand.


APPENDIX 4 : THE SIBLING THEORY, A HISTORY

The idea that Hermione could be Harry’s secret sister probably came up early in the Harry Potter fandom.
I certainly didn’t start it. The earliest reference I could find is this one, from HPFGU :
http://www.hpfgu.org.uk/faq/hermione.html
Most members have rejected out-of-hand the notion that Hermione could be Harry's sister (placed with the muggle Granger family): too "Star Wars-ish." While it is possible that Harry and Hermione are second cousins or first cousins once removed, it seems too genealogically implausible to some members.
Note that the idea is rejected here : nothing at all is said to support it and no one seems to think it is possible…

In June 2002, I proposed a Harry-Voldemort theory in the a-f-hp newsgroup, that included a very early version of the Sibling Theory.
The sibling relation between Harry and Hermione was just an appendix to a bigger theory about Voldemort… I gave up about most of this (Voldemort being Harry’s great-uncle), but I continued to ponder the Harry-Hermione Sibling Theory. Some of the most important sibling clues from books 1-4 were already there.

This theory resurfaced on the Darkmark.com boards, so I joined the discussion.
This was the great period of the STS (2002-2004). The “Sibling Theory Supporters” were a group of fans on Darkmark, who developped the theory with me for about 2 years. Thanks to them all ! The theory grew, we found loads of clues and discussed some difficulties.
We had a big problem when the CoS DVD Timeline came out, as it stated that Hermione was younger than Harry... Before that, most STS defended the idea that Hermione was older. I proposed that Hermione could be Harry’s twin sister and that her birthday could have been changed… For a while, this “twin-theory” was my favourite… Now (since JKR said that Hermione was nearly 12 when she entered Hogwarts), I have returned to my original idea : she is Harry’s older sister.

The discussion on the Darkmark boards ended in August 2004, after JKR said Hermione had no brother or sister… For a while, I thought this was the end of the Sibling Theory. But now, I think JKR could very well have meant “no brother or sister in the Granger family”.

After that, I continued the Sibling Theory discussion on a French website.

The “Lily had two children” thread on the Mugglenet boards is another place where the Sibling Theory has been discussed. One of my fellow STS on the Darkmark boards posted our summary there.


APPENDIX 5 : THE SIBLING THEORY, ITS SUCCESSES

A good theory helps us make good predictions.
The Sibling Theory has already allowed us to make a few correct predictions.

- Before OotP, we knew very little about Harry’s mind connection with Voldemort. All we knew was that Harry had had two dreams in GoF.
The theory supporters speculated that a mind connection existed, and that Voldemort could also use it to see in Harry’s mind. This was quite speculative at that time, but it was necessary for the Sibling Theory, as it was the reason why the truth was being hidden from Harry.
When OotP came out, we learned everything about Legilimency, Occlumency and the mind connection.
We had been right !

- Before OotP, some theory supporters had already proposed the concept of the Protection Theory – as we already knew that Voldemort couldn’t harm Harry at Privet Drive.
So, we predicted that in book 5, whenever Harry goes somewhere, Hermione would go with him, even if not expected to.
This prediction was quite correct : Hermione went to Grimmauld Place, cancelled her Christmas ski trip, etc…

- And of course, the biggest one ! In 2003, comparing Harry’s and Hermione’s initials, I suggested in the Darkmark discussion that Hermione should have a middle name beginning by the letter “J”.
In March 2004, JKR revealed that Hermione’s middle name is “Jane”.


APPENDIX 6 : THE SIBLING THEORY AND BEYOND

The Harry-Hermione sibling relation may very well be only a part – though obviously a major part – of something bigger.
What is exactly the importance of “the bond of blood” in the story ?
I think that, as Hagrid said in OotP, it is essential : “whatever you say, blood is important”.

On the Good Side, the bond of blood is the base of Harry’s protection, since his mother gave her life to save him. Harry is safe when he is “home, where his mother’s blood dwells”.

The bond of blood is also very important for the Dark Side. For instance, Voldemort used his father’s bones for his rebirth :
“Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son !”
Could it be that the bond of blood is even more important than that for the Dark Side ? We know Voldemort took steps, long ago, to “guard himself against mortal death”. I suggest that the murder of his father (and grandparents) was part of it. It was part of whatever dark ritual Voldemort did to guard himself against death.

There is one hint in GoF to support this theory. In chapter 35, Barty Crouch Jr told Harry :
“The Dark Lord and I… have much in common. Both of us, for instance, had very disappointing fathers… very disappointing indeed. Both of us suffered the indignity, Harry, of being named after those fathers. And both of us had the pleasure… the very great pleasure… of killing our fathers, to ensure the continued rise of the Dark Order !”
Well… how did the murder of Tom Riddle Sr by his son help “ensure the continued rise of the Dark Order” ?
If this was one of the steps Voldemort took to “guard himself against mortal death”, it most certainly did !

One can even go a little further than that ! We know there are many similarities between Harry and Voldemort :
“Both half-bloods, orphans, raised by Muggles. Probably the only two Parselmouths to come to Hogwarts since the great Slytherin himself. We even look something alike…”
If Harry has a sibling, then could Voldemort have had a sibling too ?

I suggest the Half-Blood Prince is Voldemort’s (twin ? ) brother. A brother Voldemort himself killed quite early. Maybe this was his very first crime (like Caïn and Abel…) And the first of the steps he took to guard himself against death – if the dark ritual he used involved killing blood relatives.

True, Dumbledore said in CoS that Voldemort was the last remaining descendant of Salazar Slytherin. But if Voldemort’s brother died young, Dumbledore’s statement was true anyway.

One little clue can support the idea that Voldemort had a brother. It is in CoS, chapter 2 :
Harry, however, was completely at sea.
“He hasn’t got a brother, has he ?”
Dobby shook his head, his eyes wider than ever.

“His eyes wider than ever”… As Dobby was the Malfoys’ house-elf, he could have known something…


APPENDIX 7 : BOOK SIX IS COMING !

Book 6, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, will be released next July.
I am not expecting Hermione’s Secret to be revealed in book 6. If it is “the heart of it all”, it will be revealed in the last book.
But as OotP gave us more clues than any other book, I hope HBP will bring many, many more clues !

Here is what I think we can expect for the Theory.

Things that would be good for the Sibling Theory
- Any revelation that Voldemort already had a reason to attack the Potter family before the Prophecy (as this could be the reason why Hermione was hidden).
- If, wherever Harry goes, Hermione goes with him (Protection Theory).
- JKR said that, when he is ready, Harry will tell “his nearest and dearest” about the Prophecy. As this expression can mean a very close relative, it will be a very good thing for the Sibling Theory if, in book 6, the first person Harry tells about it is Hermione.
- More clues like the ones we have already found in the first five books…
- If the Half-Blood Prince is Voldemort’s brother, or at least a relative (see appendix 6 above).

Things that would be not-too-good for the Sibling Theory
- The lack of any revelation that Voldemort already had a reason to attack the Potter family before the Prophecy. Of course, this revelation could still take place in book 7.
- If Harry fully masters Occlumency, and the secret is still not revealed to him.

Things that would mean the end of the Sibling Theory
- Any strong proof that Hermione is really the Grangers’ daughter (physical resemblance for instance).
- If a Harry-Hermione romance takes place in this book.


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