Is Emma Watson the Real-Life Hermione Granger?
While reading the Harry Potter series, I always most identified with the spunky little witch called Hermione (or “Her-mee-own,” as I used to say). It wasn’t just her brilliance that I admired, but it was also her ability to overcome stigmatization and her unwavering bravery that really drew me into her character. And as we saw Emma Watson blossom throughout the movies, her life off the set seemed to follow an uncanny parallel to that of Ms. Granger.
A Scholar at Heart
Much like her character in the books, Emma displays the same affinity toward academia. On her first trip to New York, at age 11, Emma did an interview with Regis and Kelly where they discussed her movies as well as her future plans. Not only did Emma already exhibit an impressive level of maturity for someone her age, but she also demonstrated steadfast dedication to continuing her education, saying,
I think I want to carry on in school. I’m definitely not going to drop out. I’m going to go to college.
Staying true to her promise, Emma continued with her studies with a private tutor while filming, taking Mondays off to attend class and completing her homework over the weekends. If that isn’t impressive, Emma achieved eight A*s and two As on her GCSEs and all As in her A-Levels. For those who are not familiar with these tests, they are British standardized exams needed to attend university. After attaining incredibly high marks on her exams, Emma chose to attend Brown, a top Ivy League university in the US, to study literature.
Rising up the ranks to become one of the brightest students at Hogwarts, Hermione constantly faced the pressure of being born outside of magic blood. Some students who believed in the superiority of pure-bloods harassed Hermione, calling her a Mudblood and devaluing her accomplishments.
Similarly, Emma did not get her start in the world of acting because of connections. She did not have famous parents or friends in the industry. The daughter of two lawyers, she launched her career off sheer talent and drive. Both have proved that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from; success can be a result of how hard you work.
Doing What’s Right vs. Doing What’s Popular
For those of us who have read the books, it’s hard to forget the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW), founded by Hermione to promote liberation and rights for house-elves. Thinking it cruel that house-elves were not given wages, pensions, sick leave, and other benefits for their work, Hermione campaigned tirelessly for a change in their working conditions. Although she recruited a few reluctant members, most of Hogwarts thought of the organization was a joke. Despite the lack of support, Hermione tirelessly continued to fight for their cause because it was the right thing to do.
Much like her fictional counterpart, Emma is involved in multiple charitable causes such as People Tree, a campaign for female education as well as fair trade in Bangladesh, and most recently the Small Steps Project, a cause helping children living in trash dumps around the world. Emma is also a public advocate for gender rights. As a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, she delivered a moving speech at the UN Headquarters in New York for HeForShe, a campaign seeking to involve men and boys around the world in the fight for gender equality.
How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation? Men — I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.
Unlike SPEW, the #HeForShe campaign was wildly successful, more than doubling its initial goal of gaining support from 100,000 men via online pledges by the end of 2014. Additionally, within less than two weeks after launch, there were 1.1 million #HeForShe tweets by more than 750,000 different people, reaching 1.2 billion unique Twitter users.
Do you think Hermione and Emma share a striking resemblance? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!