How Do Emma’s Belle and Hermione Compare?
Next March, we’ll be seeing Emma Watson on the big screen once again in Disney’s live-action adaptation of its classic animated film Beauty and the Beast. However, this time around, Belle is going to be a little different. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Emma stated that some changes had been made to Belle’s character to make her a little more proactive in her own fate. This got us thinking: How much do Belle and Hermione have in common?
No Belle to Hermione comparison would be complete without mentioning books, so let’s just get those right out of the way. Belle gushes about her favorite books and spends much of her free time reading, and Hermione spends more time in the library than probably the rest of Hogwarts combined. These two young women are the cleverest of their age, and they don’t mind letting anyone know it.
Hermione is smart enough to be a Ravenclaw, but she isn’t one. Instead, she’s a Gryffindor. Belle is most often Sorted into Ravenclaw by fans, but couldn’t she also be a Gryffindor? She volunteers to stay in the Beast’s castle in her father’s stead, an act both courageous and chivalrous.
Neither Belle nor Hermione is out to please a man in her story. While both end up with a romantic interest in the end, neither goes out of her way to win a man’s affection. Though they both have their moments in gorgeous dresses (or robes), their end goals in each story are greater than ending up the prize since both of them spend time brushing off the advances of handsome men (Gaston in the case of Belle, and McLaggen for Hermione). Most of the time, Hermione’s hair is in its natural, bushy state, and Emma’s Belle will be dressed in shoes fit for running, with a dress made for keeping tools.
Books aren’t the only things that prove the intelligence of these women. In the Potter series, Hermione excels at almost every subject, achieving only one grade less than an O in her OWLs. She even goes so far as to use a Time-Turner to take extra classes in Prisoner of Azkaban. Emma’s version of Belle also proves herself beyond an affinity for books with her passion for inventing. In this adaptation, it’s Belle who is the inventor, not her father.
Of course, I have to mention Emma, the girl and now woman who has brought both of these terrific ladies to life. Her passion for feminism and strength of character is what makes both of them such wonderful role models for young girls. As someone who works with the UN for their HeForShe campaign and is an advocate for reading with her Goodreads book club, Our Shared Shelf, Emma is a positive force for change in the feminism game, and she brings that passion to life beautifully in both of these characters.
Beauty and the Beast hits theaters March 17, 2017.