By Yasmine Dean
Just like many people my age, I read the Harry Potter books as a child and was enchanted by magic, beasts, and Hogwarts. I patiently waited for my Hogwarts letter to arrive when I turned eleven but alas, I am still waiting. However, what inspired me most was the character of Hermione Granger. In my eyes, she was everything I wanted to be: intelligent, hardworking, compassionate, and determined. One of my favourite moments of the books was when she called Draco Malfoy a ‘twitchy little ferret’ – it never stops making me chuckle. To me, Hermione was the perfect role model. I took her wit and wisdom wherever I went.
Other books that I read when I was younger were full of girls that rode horses, had lots of money to spend on amazing clothes, or were princesses. It is safe to say none of these were applicable to me. Although these were inspiring for my friends, and in no way am I discrediting their importance, they were not for me; I found myself in Hermione. She was loved for being the nerdy one and always wanting to discover more. Finally, someone like me.
When I was reading these books, being a nerd was not trendy and often got you made fun of. I heard sighs in the classroom when I put my hand up because I had another question to ask. I got called ‘teacher’s pet’ for trying hard in my assessments (even spelling tests). I would stay up long past my bedtime with a torch reading books (sorry mum). That isn’t to say that I was completely friendless, I just loved independence as much as I did a game of tag in the playground. Upon reading Harry Potter, I found that there were people like me out there.
While the character of Hermoine is fictional, the power of a good book is that it can transport you to another world. I saw myself fitting perfectly within the Harry Potter universe because I was so similar to Hermoine. The parallels between school and Hogwarts made me more comfortable to be unapologetically myself – nerdy parts and all. I read during break time, got excited when the teacher would read us poetry, and was a model student. With my new-found confidence, I became a member of the student council, a prefect, and eventually Head Girl. Throughout my life, Hermione has been there supporting me.
Recently, I re-read the Harry Potter books. From an adult perspective, Hermione is still my role model. Now I am able to see her flaws, such as arrogance and a refusal to believe she is wrong, but that makes her more real for me. Everyone has unique imperfections so it would be silly to ignore Hermione’s weaknesses just like it would be silly to ignore my own. We grow, we learn, we do better.
Hermione may be stuck inside the pages of a book, but I am able to keep re-writing myself as I choose. I owe so much to this character, perhaps I would not be doing my degree if I had not taken an interest in the Harry Potter series. Hermione taught me to not care what others think of me, to express my beauty how I want to, and to never wait for validation from anyone.
Thank you, Hermione Granger, for everything.
Illustration: Anna Kuptsova