Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 56

Here we are with this week’s Question of the Week! We’re asking you to take a close look at a critical friendship in the series.

In Chapter 18, Harry is not on good terms with Ron, but Hermione is still there to keep him going. Yet Harry often seems to neglect this, still thinking more of Ron. Up to this point in the series, is Hermione giving much more into her friendship with Harry than our protagonist is? Does she give a lot and get very little? Does Harry fail to fully appreciate her?

Let us know what you think, either below or by sending in an audio clip (use the record button just to the right! –> ) and you might hear your response on next week’s episode!

  • HelenTheEagle

    Isn’t this Episode 56?

  • Pig-desk

    We have to keep in mind that it’s Harry’s POV. We see Harry focus on Ron’s negative reaction toward him, rightly so. It is perfectly normal for an angstie youngster to obsess about one of his BFF’s not supporting him. In Harry’s POV we see it as an imbalance of attention but we don’t see him project this overwhelmingly slanted position to Hermione as much as we see it internally. I think Hermione understands how major the divide is between her boys and I think if the POV were from Hermione we would see her efforts with both to be divided and Harry’s angst with Ron to be what we would expect for one his age, but not as slanted as we see in Harry’s POV; Farther more, I don’t think Hermione would perceive Harry’s focus on Ron to be more than warranted giving the stress he is under: however, Harry’s stress and focus on Ron hinders him from utilizing and appreciate Hermione’s genius and that, I think, is annoying.

    • Sarbani

      i agree with you it is indeed very annoying how harry keeps brooding over ron

  • Nymphradora Lovegood

    I think that Hermione and Harry have a brother-sister relationship (which becomes more evident later on in the series). My brother and I certainly share this relationship. I get frustrated with him a lot, as Hermione does when Harry is being a little bit of a thick head. Also, the fact that when Harry thinks that Hermione is probably still in the hospital wing with giant teeth- so I’ll just go to bed proves this more as if I was in the hospital wing my brother would try and steer clear until I get better.
    Think about it. They both come from muggle families, so that is one thing they share and can discuss that Ron cannot, as a brother and sister share family relationship. However, Harry and Hermione do not always get along, with Hermione nagging sometimes and Harry failed capability to grasp the importance of studying – as a siblings have different personalities.

    These are just a few of the reasons I believe Harry and Hermione have a brother-sister relationship. What do you guys think?

  • Aradan

    I think one of the reasons it seems that neither Ron nor Harry help Hermione out much is that she doesn’t seem to need help, and when she does they don’t always recognize it. As mentioned in the podcast, they’re confused when she reduces her teeth to a smaller size than they were before she got hit by the curse, simply because they didn’t realize how she felt about it. And then, Harry and Ron always need help with their homework, or finding information, but Hermione rarely seems to need anything. She’s a very giving person.
    We do see one instance (apart from the troll incident) where Ron and Harry help Hermione, namely when Malfoy starts calling her a mudblood in the Chamber of Secrets. At first Harry doesn’t realize what the word means or how insulting it is, but when Hagrid explains I do feel like they try to help and comfort her.
    That being said, we see a lot more of Hermione supporting Harry and Ron than the other way round, but I think it’s largely because Hermione is very capable of dealing with most things, if you notice, she lands in the hospital least of the three, even if you exclude quidditch accidents. But I’m pretty sure that both Harry and Ron would do their best to support her if she needed it.

  • DolphinPatronus

    Harry (even if he doesn’t realize it) sees Hermione as he would a sister. Yes
    siblings love each other but they often take each other for granted. Teenage boys are particularly bad about this because as it was mentioned they don’t mature as quickly as girls do. Hermione is already rather mature when we meet her in book 1 so she approaches almost everything in life in a more advanced way. But we do see Harry (& Ron) act protectively for Hermione several times just as a brother would. I also think, in this instance, Harry misses having a guy to talk to about “guy things” that he just can’t bring himself to talk to a girl about because just like there are things that teenage boys are unable to understand in ways girls can there are things teenage girls can’t share the same perspective on. Bottom line…boys & girls (especially young teens) are very different & look at everything very differently & the mechanics of friendship are no exception.

  • LeslieLovegood

    I think it’s undeniable that Hermione supports the boys more than they ever support her. But I don’t think it’s a far stretch to say they do give her what she needs in a friendship. Hermione doesn’t need a whole lot of support, but she does thrive on helping others. I think all the help she gives to Ron and Harry, as well as being able to view herself as the bigger person makes her feel fulfilled. I also think some of the littler things the boys do for her go a lot further than we’d think. Hermione thrives on small praise and is constantly searching for (to no end with Snape) I think a “that’s brilliant” from Ron probably does a whole lot for Hermione, while it would do little to nothing for Harry or Ron.

  • elizabeth melas

    I think so. Even in later books, Hermione isn’t really appreciated by Mrs. Weasley. I don’t think she is expected to have feelings, and correct me if I’m wrong but. I think she is objectified more often than valued.

    • DolphinPatronus

      I wouldn’t say she’s objectified. Devalued yes & even degraded by Snape & Malfoy very often but I wouldn’t say objectified. To me if they were objectifying her they would treat her like a thing. Sometimes she is treated like she’s a lesser person than certain people (again Snape & Malfoy) but it’s done with the sole intent of hurting her feelings which shows they see her as a person.

  • ISuspectNargles

    At this point of the story, the Golden Trio are all hormonal teenagers. Hermione is the only one with her head straight. Harry is upset because Ron doesn’t believe himwhich is a big blow to his confidence having his first

  • Elder Bubble Wand

    I think Harry is more focused on Ron because he has what Harry desires most and in way is given to him by Ron, and that is a loving family. The Weasly’s have taken in Harry and Ron represents his brother in Harry’s mind. So Ron is always going to be a bit more important to him and I think Hermione knows this.

  • Faith2504

    I think that Hermione is kinda good in reading body language and just “knowing” what isn’t said that if Harry was unappreciative, she would know instantly. She also knows that him and Ron are closer to each other than to her so maybe she’s gotten used to the fact that perhaps Harry cares a little bit more about Ron than her.

    How she can get used to something like that i really don’t know XD

    Besides, does Hermione really need help? whenever she has an idea or a problem she just works it out herself… although some support maybe does help… ☺

  • James Healey

    The friendship of Harry and Hermione seems to be a complicated one based on the way they really became friends. Harry and Ron became instant buddies on the train ride in the first book, both feeling like they weren’t as appreciated in their own families and wanted to start anew at Hogwarts. They also are both male and tend to understand each better in that aspect as well. Hermione came into the picture much later and still wasn’t really ever on the same level as the two boys because she is a know-it-all and not as much of a rule-breaker (early on at least) as the two boys are. I think Harry appreciates what Hermione is trying to do in Ron’s absence, but even he says in the book during the time Ron is gone that having Hermione as a friend just isn’t the same as having Ron as a friend. You spend more time in the library than anything. But Harry needs Hermione just as much as he needs Ron in the series and even if he doesn’t outright say it to her, she knows that he appreciates everything she does.

  • Sarbani

    Hermione does give a lot to the relationship, but i won’t say that she doesn’t get enough back. At the moment under inspection Harry is in a tough spot with being the 4th champion and almost the entire school against him. Also the fact that everyone except Hermione and Ron don’t believe him. Its a time in his life that he needs the most support and its at this crucial time that one of his best friend leaves his side. So he as a lot of angst stored up against Ron but at the same time he wants him back. Its said a lot of times that we wish for things we can’t have and i think its true for Harry in this aspect. But if we scrutinize their entire relationship just based on this one incident then we would be severely wrong.

    But at the same time Harry can’t be completely let of the hook. It is true that it was a tough time for Harry but after all Hermione is the only one (except from Ron, but he isn’t talking to Harry) who believes Harry. So I think Harry did fail to fully appreciate Hermione at the time but he made up for it in Half Blood Prince

    • DolphinPatronus

      Ron DOESN’T believe Harry at this point that’s the whole reason they aren’t speaking. He only starts believing Harry after the first task when they make up.

      • Daniel Sharp

        Gotta stick up for Sarbani here. Ron’s jealously allows him to pretend he thinks Harry entered himself but deep down he knows he didn’t do it.
        “Does he still think I entered myself?”
        “Well … no, I don’t think so … not really,” said Hermione awkwardly GOF p254
        He’s let his emotion override his logic on Halloween and afterwards his pride over what Harry said in response stops him from making up with him. As Harry’s pride stops him from doing the same. Typical male behavior.

        • DolphinPatronus

          I see what you’re saying but I always took Hermione’s reply as an attempt to say “maybe a little but probably not deep down”. They are both being very stubborn regardless lol

        • Sarbani

          Exactly…

      • Sarbani

        I don’t think Ron ever truly thought that Harry put his name in the Goblet himself. Even Hermione doesn’t believe that Ron thinks Harry himself put the name. Ron is just jealous. I think deep down he knew Harry would not do that, at least not without telling him.

  • Subjective Unicorn

    Well from our perspective as readers, I think we see that Hermiony is not really appreciated. We never even see Harry and Ron congratulating her for her birthday , only in book 3 we hear that she has got birthday in September (that is when she get a pet), they don’t even comment on the fact. To us it seems that they do not care much. from her perspective as she is the trio’s oldesr and obviously more mature, maybe she just learned to appreciate friendship for what it is, she understands that Harry and Ron value her in their own way and that is probably enough for her. Moreover I think she is more focused on learning, fascinated with magical studies and interested in doing something good in the world to worry about not being appreciated enough.

  • StoneHallows

    I think in general, particularly at that age, boys are going to bond closer with boys. They think more alike with each other than they do with girls, they are going to find the same things funny or annoying, etc. Harry and Ron connected and bonded almost instantly over sweets on their first train ride to Hogwarts. The girl that they thought was annoying and stuck up is going to have a very hard time competing with that. But that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have her own special place in their lives.

    Humans tend to dwell on what is wrong versus what is going well. So once Harry has ascertained that he is not going to be completely alone in this and that Hermione is going to stick with him, of course that worry is relieved, and other worries – Ron and the deadly tasks – take over more fully.

    I don’t think Hermione is “giving more,” just her way of showing support and loyalty is different than those of the boys. I think it’s fair to say that, in general and not as a rule, girls are going to be more intuitive and sensitive to the feelings and needs of their friends. Many times the guys are just clueless (sorry to the males that aren’t). I think half of the opportunities that Harry misses to support Hermione are simply because he doesn’t see them. If it was Hermione that was always going through these experiences rather than Harry (and if he was observant enough to recognize WHEN he was needed), I would hope that he would step up when needed and do the same for her.

    It’s very hard to tell, since we only see this from Harry perspective, but I feel as if she is the third of the friendship that gives it depth and meaning. Without her, the boys might have always floated on the surface level of sweets and failed homeworks, though this is not necessarily true. I do think that they don’t appreciate her AS MUCH as they should, but they do appreciate her and show their loyalty in different ways than she does.

  • Nicole Marie Smith

    Well seeing as this is from Harry’s perspective, I’m going to say it’s hard to tell. I’m sure the boys appreciated her, however I think Harry and Ron had a sort of “bro-code” deal going on, and Hermione for the most part played on the trope “The Chick”, motherly one, or to basically round out the trio as the brains.

  • Olivia Underwood

    The thing with Harry is, and this point becomes one of the main themes which Rowling explores further in the “Order of the Phoenix”, no matter how much support or friends he has with him, he always ends up feeling very much alone, especially during times when he needs them the most. This has very much to do with the fact that Harry was used to being alone during his early childhood, to looking after himself, compared to Ron who was constantly surrounded by company, living in a very large family. In OotP, it is Luna who reminds him that he isn’t alone, that there are people who not only support him but love him also. In both GoF and OotP, Harry finds himself alienated at school and, in a way, left feeling persecuted. In GoF it’s because people think he cheated the goblet and it’s age line. In OotP, it’s because people don’t believe that he’s telling the truth about Voldemort. In both of these situations, Rowling highlights one of Harry’s greatest flaws: he becomes blind to the goodness that surrounds him and only sees the bad, and rather than reaching out for help, he does the opposite. He becomes introverted, and tries to handle things by himself. I think this is because in a way, he developed a habit of doing so, as he was often treated unfairly by the Dursleys and had no one there to comfort him. GoF is also the first time where someone very close to him critisizes and even doubts him. In the past, for example in CoS, when he was thought to be the heir of Slytherin, and was also left alienated, Ron was there to support him and did not doubt that he wasn’t the heir. But this time, things are different. As for Hermione, it’s not that he doesn’t appreciate her friendship, but like I said before, our protagonist is not perfect, and he is blind to supportive nature. Harry only really starts to overcome this flaw in the final book, when he realises just how many sacrifices his friends have made for not only him, but also humanity in general. During the battle of Hogwarts, Harry sees that even the most dire of situations, the importance of friendship never wavers.

    • DolphinPatronus

      WOW! That was beautifully stated! It brought to mind the moment in DH where Luna, Seamus & Ernie come to help Harry fight off the Dementors & Luna encourages Harry saying “We’re still here, we’re still fighting.”

      • Olivia Underwood

        yes exactly! I think we’re all a bit like that, a little oblivious to just how much support and love we actually have, no matter what shape or form, and I think the only reason why Harry was able to create the protective charm when he sacrificed himself, ( which his mother also did ), was because he finally realized the true importance of love. If there is anything that Jo wants us to learn from the books, it’s that.

  • CharmSky1467

    I agree with most of what Pig-desk and Nymph has said about Harry’s POV and the brother/sister relationship that Harry doesn’t seem to think about. Though I think that it is Ron’s emotional jealousy that gets under Harry’s skin which comes out in his conversations with Hermione. I think the arguement of who is the ‘best’ friend ultimately doesn’t matter because Harry needs both of them.
    On a hypothetical tangent, might it not have been better for Ron if he had never become good friends with Harry? Forgive me if this has been discussed before but let me explain. The only times Ron gets into trouble is because of his relationship with Harry. Ron gets very jealous of Harry more than once. He also has his older brothers actions to live up to and surpass to make his own way. What if Ron had become better with Dean and Neville had taken Ron’s place with Harry and Hermione? Ron might have had a better chance to find his own place. Ron also will abandon Harry again later in the 7th book, I don’t remember why he said he came back. Hermione manages to find her own way and would have even without the boys. Ron on the otherhand is, for the most part, Harry’s sidekick. Harry seems to need someone and Ron fills the role well. Ron’s family is welcoming to Harry and he is treated like another Weasley.

  • Erin Southam

    We were discussing the wand woods revealed in this chapter on the podcast. Though Fleur’s wand-wood, rosewood, is not included in the description of Ollivander’s wands on Pottermore, I did find this interesting bit on the meaning of rosewood, which seems to fit for her:

    Rosewood has compassionate and lovingheart qualities. The energy of rosewood is primarily feminine, and focused on spiritual, intuitive health and beauty. It is spiritual and nourishing. Rosewood is especially effective in spiritual healing. In matters dealing with beauty, rosewood can be very effective. Carried or worn as a charm, this wood will enhance female beauty and feminine grace. Frivolous energies will not be enhanced by this wood.

    • Erin Southam

      Sorry to be off topic from the QotW!

  • thebandthatneedsnointroduction

    Harry and Ron give Hermione what she needs most – friendship, a sense of fun, and getting the job done in the end. Hermione gives Ron and Harry what they need most – brainpower, motivation and emotional maturity. Hermione’s help to Harry and Ron is more obvious and regular, but Harry and Ron’s help to Hermione is just as significant.

    When Hermione comes to Hogwarts, she has no friends and is a stranger to the wizarding world. Ron helps to integrate her into that world and Harry is her companion as they enter that world together. Even in later years, her friendships outside the trio are limited to Ginny and some of the DA. Without Harry and Ron, Hermione would be lonely at Hogwarts.
    Hermione would never take a break, have some fun or take risks if it weren’t for Harry and Ron’s influence. She would never have gone through the trapdoor to get the Philosopher’s Stone, never had a laugh and never taken a night off studying. She is a more balanced person thanks to them.
    Hermione often figures out what needs to be done, but she needs Harry and Ron to do it with her. She needs them to get past the challenges to the Philosopher’s Stone. She needs them to go to the Chamber and rescue Ginny, even though she worked out how to do it. She needs Harry to rescue her and Sirius from the dementors. Her brainpower works out what has to be done, but she needs Harry and Ron’s help to get it done.

  • Cassandra Vablatsky

    Agree with all the comments above re. Harry-Hermione’s sibling bond. She’s the oldest of the trio, mature and (mostly) wise, and does function a bit like a big sister to Harry at times (esp. in the early books), although this does not stop them being equals – and gradually Harry’s role as leader becomes more evident (with Hermione propelling Harry towards leadership of the DA in Book 5).

    Hermione is a great character, IMHO – she’s not always in the easiest position vis-à-vis ‘famous Harry Potter and his faithful sidekick Weasley’ (to quote Snape!) – her own feelings are often overlooked as she generously assists the hero in his dilemmas – but her position does improve. In Book 5, we see that Hermione and Ron are coming together in concern for Harry and in Book 6 and in parts of Book 7, Harry is sensitive to Hermione’s plight when Ron is hormonally challenged. ;)

    What Ron and Harry do for Hermione isn’t always emphasised but I think they do allow her to be herself. It’s interesting that Hermione doesn’t have a close female friend in her own year although she does get on well with Ginny. The boys value her bravery and brains, even if she irritates them at times, and they provide her with the acceptance she’s always been seeking. As Harry ultimately says, ‘One of my best friends is Muggle-born … and she’s the best in our year’ (HBP4). It’s good to hear Hermione acknowledged as a best friend, especially as Slughorn later repeats this to the class (HBP9). :)

  • Amanda Curry

    i think Hermione is definitely putting a lot into her friendship with Harry. I do not however agree with the thought that she is getting little out of it. I think she gets what she needs by being able to take care of Harry. For the moment she is going to be there for Harry when he needs her. It is true that he is brooding over his quarrel with Ron but she needs to be there for him as much as he needs her to be. She is a care taker and in this time is fulfilling the good friend role the best way that she knows how and that is to take care of Harry and be there if he needs her. The subtle things she does are her way of letting him know that when he needs to talk she will be there.

  • ArchdukeSeverus

    I think that Hermione is definitely putting more into her relationship with Harry that Harry is. The same is true for her relationship with Ron. Hermione is very perceptive when it comes to relationships as demonstrated in book 5. Also she values her relationship with Harry and Ron a lot more than Harry and Ron do because they are her only true friends. I’m sure she is friendly with Lavender and Parvati and the other girls in her dormitory but we do see them ridicule her throughout the series.