If you’re allergic to satire, you might want to stop reading now. Over at the site GlobalComment, feature writer Sady Doyle has published an essay titled “In Praise of Joanne Rowling’s Hermione Granger Series.” I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it is an extremely funny and surprisingly biting work about what Harry Potter could have beenâ€”and, like all satire, gives you something to think about. In this case, what if Hermione had been the hero, not Harry? Again, you should really read it yourself, but here’s a short excerpt from the essay:
Hermione is not Chosen. That’s the best thing about her. Hermione is a hero because she decides to be a hero; she’s brave, she’s principled, she works hard, and she never apologizes for the fact that her goal is to be very, extremely good at this whole â€œwizardâ€ deal. Just as Hermione’s origins are nothing special, we’re left with the impression that her much-vaunted intelligence might not be anything special, on its own. But Hermione is never comfortable with relying on her â€œgiftsâ€ to get by. There’s no prophecy assuring her importance; the only way for Hermione to have the life she wants is to work for it. So Hermione Granger, generation-defining role model, works her adorable British ass off for seven straight books in a row. Although she deals with the slings and arrows of any coming-of-age taleâ€”being told that she’s â€œbossy,â€ stuck-up, boring, â€œannoying,â€ etcâ€”she’s too strong to let that stop her. In Hermione Granger and the Prisoner of Azkaban, she actually masters the forces of space and time just so that she can have more hours in the day to learn.
I’m not going to lie to you, folks: I’ve never been a big Potter fan. (You’ll notice that, in the “Goodbye, Harry” post we put up last week, my name is totally absent.) So it’s refreshing to find an author who shares my views on the series, and manages to get across her point in a way both biting and hilarious. What about you, gentle readers? Any closet Harry-haters or Hermione-boosters out there?
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