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“I think I was always very insecure, a real worrier, but I would put on a show of confidence to mask it. By eleven or twelve, I might just have been a tiny bit Hermione-ish. I always felt I had to achieve, my hand always had to be the first to go up, I always had to be right. Maybe it was because I felt quite plain in comparison to my sister. I probably felt I had to compensate. I did relax as I got older which was a good thing, although I was still--and am still--a worrier.” (Conversations, 23)
Over the course of the book, Harry’s friend Hermione transforms from a bookish teacher’s pet to an adventuress who learns that friendship and bravery are more important than book smarts.
• “We could all have been killed--or worse, expelled.” At this point in the book, Hermione’s priorities are excessively bookish. Contrast this comment with her later statement at the end of the book when she tells Harry that friendship and bravery are more important than book smarts.
• After the troll encounter in the bathroom, Hermione lies to Professor McGonagall in order to protect Harry and Ron. This brave and self-sacrificing move is another step in Hermione’s transformation from teacher’s pet to adventuress. • “The afternoon’s events certainly seemed to have changed her mind about Snape.” Hermione is no longer a teacher’s pet who always trusts professors, as she had demonstrated herself to be before. Recall Ron’s lecturing her (earlier in the book) for always trusting teachers.
• Hermione’s being torn between not wanting to break the rules and her desire to solve the mystery of Flamel is another stage in her transformation from teacher’s pet to adventuress. She’s learning to take risks she wouldn’t have before.
• Hermione’s transformation from teacher’s pet to adventuress continues in chapter fifteen. She undergoes the ordeal of being caught and punished by teachers and will not fear it as much in the future, for nothing is as scary as the unknown.
• Hermione’s statement that friendship and bravery are more important than books and cleverness is the climax of her transformation from a bookworm to an adventuress.
Name meaning: JKR chose the name Hermione (pronounced Her-my-O-nee) from a Shakespeare play, "A Winter's Tale," although she says that the characters are not at all similar. She thought it made sense for a couple of professional dentists to name their only daughter something like that to show how clever they were. But she chose a very unusual name because she worried that, if there were a real child somewhere who was bright and had larger-than-usual front teeth that had the same name, she might get teased. (NPC)
McGonagall, Professor Minerva
Deputy Headmistress McGonagall is, aside from Hermione, the strongest female character in the book. McGonagall and Hermione seem to have a lot in common, a certain strictness about rules for one thing. Both have been described as being particularly clever.
McGonagall’s character is influenced by Rowling’s high school English teacher Miss Shepard - “She was strict, and could be quite caustic, but she was very conscientious... She was a feminist, and clever. She had this incredibly no- nonsense approach... Miss Shepherd was very hot on structure and refused to allow us to be the least bit sloppy.” (Conversations, 18)
McGonagall is an Animagus who can turn into a tabby cat at will. When a cat, she has markings around her eyes similar to the square glasses she wears. The fact that she was first on the scene of the Dursleys after the fall of Voldemort represents her concern for Harry.
Warning: spoiler information ahead. McGonagall will continue to show her softer side. When Harry and Ron told her that they were going to the infirmary to visit Hermione, who had been Petrified, she gave them permission with a tear in her eye. “She found it very touching that Harry and Ron were missing Hermione so badly (or so she thought). Under that gruff exterior, Professor McGonagall is a bit of an old softy, really.”
Name meaning: Minerva McGonagall’s first name comes from the Roman goddess of wisdom and military victory, a goddess who was impervious to the passion of love (Minerva was the Roman version of Athena).