Hermione without a big book under her arm is like the sky without a sun; it’s just not right. Without Hermione having read the likes of Hogwarts: A History, Harry and Ron wouldn’t have figured out half of the mysteries they got caught up in. Even while Petrified, a torn piece of page from a textbook, still clutched in her frozen hand, helped Harry discover the monster that lurked within the Chamber of Secrets. While Hermione once waved off her ‘books and cleverness’ as only one side to being a great witch, it is a rather important side.
However you consume your information day-to-day, you never know when a random piece of trivia will come in handy.
Not only highly skilled in pretty much every Hogwarts subject, Hermione is also clued up on the art of dating advice. When Harry goes on a not-quite-successful date with Cho Chang, she wisely informs him how tactless he’d been, despite not having spoken to Cho herself.
Just like an exam or a homework assignment, Hermione used her enviable problem-solving skills to assess a more personal situation. The short and short of it is simple: try and have an emotional range larger than a teaspoon, and you’ll be just fine.
Hermione famously once suggested it was worse to be expelled than killed... but despite that, Hermione has found a few cheeky loopholes in her time. Brewing a highly illegal Polyjuice Potion on the school grounds with stolen ingredients was pretty off-the-scale. Then there was having possession of a Time-Turner, a top-secret magical item from the Ministry of Magic, definitely not usually offered up to teenagers. But every time Hermione broke the rules, there was usually a noble reason behind it – apart from Confunding Cormac McLaggen, but he was just annoying, so fair enough.
‘What did you go running to McGonagall for?’
Hermione threw her book aside. She was still pink in the face, but stood up and faced Ron defiantly.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione has a bit of a time of it. First, there’s the stress of carrying around a top-secret Time-Turner so she can take on extra lessons, then there’s the fallout with Ron over the Crookshanks vs. Scabbers fiasco, but on top of all that, Harry turns on her too, when she tells Professor McGonagall about his new (but suspiciously random) Firebolt broomstick – in case it’s hexed or cursed. It turns out it’s not – but Hermione was temporarily exiled for just trying to help. But Hermione was never worried about being popular at Hogwarts, more concerned about learning and making sure her best friends weren’t about to be endangered... Not exactly unreasonable, guys.
‘We do!’ said Hermione. She had sat up straight, her eyes bright. ‘We protest! And I’m hunted quite as much as any goblin or elf, Griphook! I’m a Mudblood!’
‘Don’t call yourself –’ Ron muttered.
‘Why shouldn’t I?’ said Hermione. ‘Mudblood, and proud of it!'
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
When Hermione was first called a Mudblood by Malfoy, she was naturally devastated – but a few years later, she took that very slur and owned it, taking away the power that the word once held upon her.
The same can be said for Harry always saying Voldemort’s name – fear of a name increases fear of the name itself, after all. It’s a good reminder that words only hold weight if you let them. Hermione knew all about that.