Possible Fictional Character Inspirations for Hermione Granger
If it’s not clear by now, I love Hermione Jean Granger. She’s my favorite Harry Potter character, and I can’t imagine the books without her. So how did J.K. Rowling create such an empowering and memorable heroine? Hermione is a unique character, and there’s definitely no one else like her, but the inspiration for her must have come from somewhere. Since J.K. Rowling is such an avid reader, it’s not a stretch to suggest that a few fictional heroines could have inspired her to create Hermione.
The first obvious connection that Rowling has alluded to is Jo March of Little Women. Jo and Hermione share many similarities. Both are hardworking, determined, witty, fierce, loyal outsiders. Both fictional heroines are considered feminist icons for these reasons. Rowling has stated that Jo March is one of her favorite fictional characters, and it’s natural to assume that she drew on her love for Jo when creating Hermione. Additionally, both Jo and Hermione have a thirst for knowledge. While Jo is a writer, Hermione is a reader. Jo and Hermione are both creative, but what’s interesting is how they develop their creativity differently. Jo’s creativity is more artistic as she writes plays, makes costumes, and writes in several different genres. Hermione is more logical and analytical and uses her wit and creativity to master many spells and memorize textbooks. This main difference between Jo and Hermione is what makes Hermione a standout character.
Elizabeth Bennet is another female fictional character that could have inspired the creation of Hermione. Elizabeth Bennet is from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Austen’s most famous novel and her most famous character. Elizabeth Bennet has become a model for the modern woman; feisty and outgoing, Elizabeth is a force all of her own. While the novel is a love story, Elizabeth finding love isn’t the only plot point. Austen takes great pains to develop Elizabeth as a character and make it clear that Elizabeth doesn’t need a man to be happy. Similar to Hermione, Elizabeth is loud, opinionated, passionate, well-read, and beautiful in mind. Also, maybe it’s just me, but the friendship between Hermione and Ginny is almost identical to Elizabeth’s friendship with her sister Jane.
Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz is another female character who reminds me of Hermione. The similarities may not be immediately obvious, but both characters are alike. Like Dorothy, Hermione is suddenly exposed to a world she never knew existed. Both characters are outsiders who go on a journey that helps them to understand themselves. Dorothy and Hermione both end up finding homes that they love; for Dorothy, it’s the rediscovery that her home isn’t a magical land but a Kansas farm, and for Hermione, it’s that Hogwarts is her home too, and she belongs there.
Before there was Hermione, there was Anne of Green Gables. Anne is spunky, resilient, fair-minded, clever, and dedicated to her learning in school. Beyond the character traits that Anne and Hermione share, Anne was one of the first female heroines to not be conventionally beautiful. Her hair is unruly, she has freckles, and she talks a million miles a minute. Hermione is described in a similar way; her curly hair is frizzy, she talks all the time, and her eyes usually look tired from studying all night. Both Anne and Hermione may not be conventionally pretty, but it’s their lovely personalities that make them stand out. Plus, the scene when Anna hits Gilbert reminds me of the scene when Hermione punches Malfoy.
Perhaps one of Rowling’s earliest inspirations is Beatrice from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Beatrice isn’t your typical 17th-century woman; she’s bold, brash, and anything but boring. Beatrice doesn’t want to get married and has no time for men trying to run her life. In this way, she’s a lot like Hermione. Whenever Beatrice and Hermione feel incensed by the patriarchy, they use wit and clever comebacks to clap back. Since Beatrice is a little older than Hermione, perhaps some of Beatrice’s experienced wisdom is what makes Hermione such an old soul.
Sofia in The Color Purple is another strong-willed and independent woman. While not the main character of the novel, Sofia’s presence is felt by her dominating personality. She has a strong sense of right and wrong, just like Hermione does. Sofia and Hermione both stand up for what’s right, and they share the same bravery. Although the plots of The Color Purple and the Harry Potter series are very different, these two women are both empowering and unforgettable characters.
What other fictional characters do you think inspired the creation of Hermione? Make sure to tell us in the comments section.