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 Post subject: Are we supposed to like Hermione?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 8:41 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:47 pm
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In chapter six we first meet Hermione. At this point all we know is that she is bossy, has large teeth, bushy hair, is very smart, and doesn't mind showing it. We also can infer that she is very uncertain about what is happening and over planning to compensate. I personally like this character.

However, based on the way that all the students react to this Hermione are we supposed to like her? We are told she has no friends. The only time we see her at all is generally when she is annoying Harry or Ron. For example during the midnight dual, flying lessons, and the charm lesson before Halloween.

I feel that Rowling was painting this independent Hermione as unlikable. Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Are we supposed to like Herminoe?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 9:38 am 
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Hermione is a very personal character for me. I was a slightly toned down version of her when I was younger (okay, much less annoying than her, but still..) In a way, I could relate to her, and I knew where she was coming from. It's not a question of being 'likable' or 'unlikable'. It was just that, she (being a muggleborn), was simply trying "too hard" to fit in a world that would be (otherwise) completely alien to her. She did not want to be rejected because of her background. So while, she might not have been completely aware of how she came across and was being perceived by others (because she desperately 'wanted' to be accepted by others), but at the same time, she was also misunderstood to a great extent. Granted, she went about "fitting in" the wrong way, but eventually, she became friends with Harry & Ron.

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 Post subject: Re: Are we supposed to like Herminoe?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 11:54 am 
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We were seeing Hermione through Harry's eyes, and, up until the Troll-bashing incident in the bathroom on Halloween, Harry didn't much care for her company. As a result, we didn't, either. So I would say that Jo was trying to paint Hermione as unpleasant company, at least up until this point.

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 Post subject: Re: Are we supposed to like Herminoe?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:36 pm 
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I agree with KyKid942. The first few chapters of Philosopher's Stone are definitely all from Harry's point of view, whilst of course staying in the third person narrative. The narrator portrays the Dursleys as mean and stupid, Hagrid as huge and kind, Ron as shy and embarassed, this of course being the way Harry first sees them. It is only about half-way through the book that the narrator becomes a bit more impersonal (if that makes sense).

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 Post subject: Re: Are we supposed to like Herminoe?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Do you think that in this first book, the characters personalities are exaggerated to make them more understandable to a younger audience, or perhaps because Jo was just getting started? Many of the characters introduced in the first book are very narrowly defined, such that nothing outside of those characteristics is apparent...

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 Post subject: Re: Are we supposed to like Herminoe?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 3:46 pm 
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Snodge wrote:
Do you think that in this first book, the characters personalities are exaggerated to make them more understandable to a younger audience, or perhaps because Jo was just getting started? Many of the characters introduced in the first book are very narrowly defined, such that nothing outside of those characteristics is apparent...


Yeah I definitely think so. I just read over the first passage with Draco Malfoy at Madam Malkin's and I was surprised at how much Jo exaggerated his traits. In this case, I think it was so the younger audience would classify him in the same category as Dudley (selfish and rude), and as a possible antagonist to Harry. Whilst I think there is that element of Jo only just starting off and getting to know her characters so she can mould them and layer them more later on, I think that their apparent simplicity does make them easier to understand for children.

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 Post subject: Re: Are we supposed to like Herminoe?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 4:49 pm 

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draconis wrote:
Hermione is a very personal character for me. I was a slightly toned down version of her when I was younger (okay, much less annoying than her, but still..) In a way, I could relate to her, and I knew where she was coming from. It's not a question of being 'likable' or 'unlikable'. It was just that, she (being a muggleborn), was simply trying "too hard" to fit in a world that would be (otherwise) completely alien to her. She did not want to be rejected because of her background. So while, she might not have been completely aware of how she came across and was being perceived by others (because she desperately 'wanted' to be accepted by others), but at the same time, she was also misunderstood to a great extent. Granted, she went about "fitting in" the wrong way, but eventually, she became friends with Harry & Ron.


Absolutely! As a bit of a know-it-all myself, I know that we can sometimes come across rather snotty. (or so I've been told :shock: ) I loved Hermione from the beginning and I admire the fact that she stayed true to herself even when she wasn't liked very much. I think most of her classmates started to like her once they had a chance to get to know her.
I do agree that seeing her through the eyes of an 11 year-old boy didn't help her likeability any!

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 Post subject: Re: Are we supposed to like Herminoe?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 5:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:34 pm
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Quote:
Do you think that in this first book, the characters personalities are exaggerated to make them more understandable to a younger audience, or perhaps because Jo was just getting started? Many of the characters introduced in the first book are very narrowly defined, such that nothing outside of those characteristics is apparent...


I have to agree with this one - the characters in the first book are certainly more 'shallow', partially I think this is because we as readers know less about them, partly I think because the first book does feel to be aimed at a younger audience. It could well be that JKR was just getting started, just as you said, but it also could be partly due to editing etc: few kids would have started to read the books if the first one was the size of OoTP.

With regards to Hermione, yes she was not especially 'likeable' initially, and I agree with those that said it is to do with perspective: few eleven year old boys think highly of the class swot. But her portrayal pre-troll also makes their friendship post-troll more significant - and also makes the gradual relaxing of Hermione's attitude more apparent.


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 Post subject: Re: Are we supposed to like Herminoe?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 5:40 pm 
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Snapescape wrote:
Snodge wrote:
Do you think that in this first book, the characters personalities are exaggerated to make them more understandable to a younger audience, or perhaps because Jo was just getting started? Many of the characters introduced in the first book are very narrowly defined, such that nothing outside of those characteristics is apparent...


Yeah I definitely think so. I just read over the first passage with Draco Malfoy at Madam Malkin's and I was surprised at how much Jo exaggerated his traits. In this case, I think it was so the younger audience would classify him in the same category as Dudley (selfish and rude), and as a possible antagonist to Harry. Whilst I think there is that element of Jo only just starting off and getting to know her characters so she can mould them and layer them more later on, I think that their apparent simplicity does make them easier to understand for children.

Not only that, but we see them as they were seen by Harry... a naive, socially inept 11-year-old boy who was being constantly bombarded with things that made him expand his mind, since they came from a world he didn't even know existed until July 31 of that year. It seems only natural that these impressions would be simplistic and exaggerated.



*Using the timeline from the HP Lexicon, since it's been approved by Jo, would make that year be 1991.

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 Post subject: Re: Are we supposed to like Herminoe?
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 6:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:15 pm
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draconis wrote:
Hermione is a very personal character for me. I was a slightly toned down version of her when I was younger (okay, much less annoying than her, but still..) In a way, I could relate to her, and I knew where she was coming from. It's not a question of being 'likable' or 'unlikable'. It was just that, she (being a muggleborn), was simply trying "too hard" to fit in a world that would be (otherwise) completely alien to her. She did not want to be rejected because of her background. So while, she might not have been completely aware of how she came across and was being perceived by others (because she desperately 'wanted' to be accepted by others), but at the same time, she was also misunderstood to a great extent. Granted, she went about "fitting in" the wrong way, but eventually, she became friends with Harry & Ron.


I absolutely love this outlook on Hermione and the way she behaved.

KyKid942 wrote:
Snapescape wrote:
Snodge wrote:
Do you think that in this first book, the characters personalities are exaggerated to make them more understandable to a younger audience, or perhaps because Jo was just getting started? Many of the characters introduced in the first book are very narrowly defined, such that nothing outside of those characteristics is apparent...


Yeah I definitely think so. I just read over the first passage with Draco Malfoy at Madam Malkin's and I was surprised at how much Jo exaggerated his traits. In this case, I think it was so the younger audience would classify him in the same category as Dudley (selfish and rude), and as a possible antagonist to Harry. Whilst I think there is that element of Jo only just starting off and getting to know her characters so she can mould them and layer them more later on, I think that their apparent simplicity does make them easier to understand for children.

Not only that, but we see them as they were seen by Harry... a naive, socially inept 11-year-old boy who was being constantly bombarded with things that made him expand his mind, since they came from a world he didn't even know existed until July 31 of that year. It seems only natural that these impressions would be simplistic and exaggerated.

*Using the timeline from the HP Lexicon, since it's been approved by Jo, would make that year be 1991.


You bring up a very good point about just how naive, and socially inept Harry would be at this point in his life. He mentioned earlier how he did not have very many or any friends, when the letters were coming in. His only real social interaction is hiding from Dudley and his gang, and being yelled at by his guardians.

Plus, regardless of age, I think we have a tendency to exaggerate and use simplistic ways to describe people we do not really know. Think of the times you have gone out, and met someone new. Maybe just bumped into a person in passing. When retelling the story to friends or family, you will likely be more prone to exaggerate your description of the person, focusing only on what little bit you saw and therefore "know" about said person.

And then we do have to remember that Harry is only eleven at this time and that does color how the world is perceived to us readers.

Derr... I feel like I went all over in this response. I blame being hungry,and always a bit socially awkward when posting the first time in a discussion. :P

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