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Old August 22nd, 2013, 3:29 am
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meesha1971  Female.gif meesha1971 is offline
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Re: The Trio - Group Character Analysis

Originally Posted by HRW View Post
I read the quotes you posted, yes. And what JKR says seems inconsistent because Hermione did worry a lot over her results. Reading the entire coursework and saying what she did might be down to her insecurities but it also tallies with Hermione's general behaviour of wanting to be very thorough with everything she did and not wanting to be caught unawares with anything and this was her heading into a complete unknown. So yeah I think that was general Hermione behaviour.

You started the entire discussion saying it was CLEAR that Hermione had insecurities due to being muggleborn when in truth there's not the slightest bit of evidence in the books of that being the case.
I agree. In the books, Hermione never demonstrates any insecurity about being muggleborn at all. She never had any reason to. When she told Harry and Ron about memorizing all of her course books, she didn't even know there was any prejudice towards muggleborns or that people like the Malfoys considered them inferior. By the time she found out in COS, she was already top of their year and knew Draco well enough to not care what he thought about her blood status. Hermione was presented as the type of person who would have felt it necessary to memorize all of her books for any school. My impression was that she had always done that sort of thing for school.

Hermione was insecure about herself as a person and I think Jo's response in that interview makes that very clear. Plain looks and not fitting in don't have anything to do with magic or being a witch or being muggleborn. Those are typical things teenagers worry about. Wanting to fix her teeth and dolling herself up for the Yule Ball was all about her looks and trying to fit in with the other girls - and she gave up on that after all the unflattering jaw dropping shock reactions to the drastic change in her appearance. Though I still think that was more about Ron not reacting the way she wanted him to more so than anyone else. Hermione often put on a false bravado about her appearance and claimed it didn't matter, but there were a lot of little things she did that demonstrated that it did matter to her. Insults about her appearance hurt her more than she let her friends see - and her reaction to Snape's cruel insult about her teeth when she was hexed shows how sensitive she actually was about that, IMO.

My impression was that Hermione had never had any genuine friends before Harry and Ron. Her extreme lack of social skills when they first met her indicated that Hermione had always been an outcast and didn't really know how to interact with other kids, IMO. I think Hermione believed - and always had - because she was plain and didn't really fit in with others, that all she did have to offer was her brain. It seems likely that, prior to going to Hogwarts, correct answers or help with schoolwork would have been the only thing that other kids would have asked her for. Even at Hogwarts, it seems like a lot of people turned to her for help with their schoolwork and nothing else. Even Neville said he asked her to the Yule Ball because she helped him with potions. Likewise, nobody every complimented Hermione for anything other than how smart she was. I think that's why she thought she could make people like her by impressing them with how smart she was and being the best. She was terrified of failing at anything because that would take away the only thing about herself that she felt had any value, IMO. Harry and Ron prove her wrong - first in being annoyed by her efforts to impress them and then by becoming her friend after the troll incident - which I think Hermione would consider a failure on her part - not to mention sticking by her after other things she would consider failures. Still, even with that, Hermione appears to believe that her only value to her friends is her brain. Her efforts to help them in school - as well as whatever mystery they were trying to solve - were sometimes to the extreme and I often wondered if Hermione was afraid they would stop being friends with her if she wasn't useful or couldn't help them.

We can only speculate as to why Hermione felt that way because Jo didn't really develop Hermione enough to allow readers to understand what motivated her, but there are various possibilities. Her parents might have pressured her to excel in school. If the only thing other kids showed any interest in was her ability to help them, she might have always seen being the top student as the only way to have any friends - or she might have turned to her books for comfort because the other kids ignored her and being the best academically made her feel better about herself. We can't really say what the cause of that was, but we do see the results with Hermione being so insecure and having such an extreme fear of failure, IMO.


Reform must come from within, not from without. ~ James Cardinal Gibbons

"So, if people want information on my characters, then they have to accept that I'm going to give them the information on the characters. And if they don't like it, that's the nature of fiction. You have to accept someone else's world because they made that world, so they probably know a little better than you do what goes on there." ~ J.K. Rowling

All posts are my opinions and interpretations based on reading the Harry Potter books and interviews with J.K. Rowling.

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