Hermione Granger Changes the Wizarding World
One of my favorite quotes by Hermione Granger comes from a tense exchange she has with Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour.
‘Are you planning to follow a career in Magical Law, Miss Granger?’ asked Scrimgeour.
‘No, I’m not,’ retorted Hermione. ‘I’m hoping to do some good in the world!'” (DH 7)
At the end of the war against Voldemort, Hermione, along with the rest of the wizarding world, is feeling that perfect blend of uncertainty and hope that accompanies the lifting of a great burden. She and the rest of her generation are left to figure out how to “do some good” in a world that no longer requires them to confront bald-faced evil. Without Voldemort commanding their attention, Hermione’s generation is free to tackle the systemic evils of wizarding society that permitted his rise in the first place.
Fast-forward 19 years, and Hermione Granger – according to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – is just two years away from succeeding Kingsley Shacklebolt as Minister of Magic. Setting aside the raging debate over the canonical status of Cursed Child – seriously, I mean it, set it aside – what might wizarding society look like under Hermione’s leadership? How might Minister Hermione Granger change the wizarding world?
Despite her argument with Scrimgeour, it is fitting that Hermione ends up pursuing a career in magical law. Who better to continue the legacy of the reform-minded Kingsley Shacklebolt than Hermione Granger, a passionate advocate for deep-seated reforms to wizarding society since before Voldemort’s return? Her campaign would dredge up the expected opposition – to her blood status, her gender, her marriage to the owner of a joke shop – but Hermione’s leadership would be eagerly received by a society tired of the old pure-blood guard.
It is not hard to imagine that Hermione began her career at the Ministry fighting for elf rights. Back then, Hermione may have managed to make incremental progress, but as Minister of Magic, she has the power to make substantial change. She sets an example for the rest of wizarding society by refusing to use the term “house-elf” – instead referring to them as “elves” – and by generally treating elves with respect and kindness. She appoints elves to key positions in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Her administration cracks down on elf abuse and lifts restrictions on the use of elf magic. By encouraging wizarding society to treat elves with respect, Minister Granger hopes that elves will one day be able to demand that respect for themselves without fear of brutal retaliation.
Minister Granger extends this campaign for equal rights and representation to other marginalized groups as well. Her administration lifts anti-werewolf laws and makes the Wolfsbane Potion more readily available. She expands the goblin liaison department and appoints more goblin representatives. She lifts restrictions on the habitats of centaurs and mermaids. Through collaboration with Hogwarts, she reforms the History of Magic curriculum to make it less wizard-centric, offers payment to all elves working in the kitchens should they choose to accept it, and makes one year of Muggle Studies compulsory for all students. Most importantly, she sets an example of respect and makes it a priority of her administration to address the needs of magical beings that wizards have ignored for too long.
Most remarkable is the work the Granger administration does to break down prejudice against Muggles and Muggle-borns. Minister Granger appoints Arthur Weasley to cochair (with a Muggle-born colleague) a commission devoted to bringing Muggle culture to the wizarding world. Under Arthur’s guidance, the commission researches Muggle technology and dispels many ancient, prejudiced myths about its incompatibility with magic. In a couple of decades, telephones, cars, and other Muggle innovations are widely available to wizarding households, though the sheer amount of magic concentrated within Hogwarts still prevents any technology from being implemented there. The Granger administration also encourages the consumption of Muggle media, literature, and art – within years, the Daily Prophet has an entire section devoted to Muggle news.
The Granger administration’s reforms make the transition between the Muggle and wizarding worlds smoother for future generations of Muggle-born wizards. No longer are Muggle-borns forced to abandon the lives they knew and completely assimilate into the wizarding world; instead, they are more open to sharing and cultivating their culture. It is a long, painstaking process, but slowly, the wizarding world comes to understand and appreciate Muggles. Incidents of Muggle-baiting and other crimes go down and the voices of the old pure-blood guard fade into obscurity decades later. To future generations of Muggle-borns, Hermione Granger is an inspiration and an idol.
Even with someone as driven and ambitious as Hermione Granger at its helm, the wizarding world does not heal completely during her tenure. Many of the reforms that the Granger administration passes only begin to yield lasting results decades later. Still, she manages to significantly break down centuries of neglect and indifference inflicted by wizards upon Muggles and magical beings. With Hermione Granger as Minister of Magic, wizarding society is truly on its way to becoming a more inclusive and peaceful society.