Hermione Jean Granger’s birthday is today (Sept. 19). Can you believe the fictional feminist Harry Potter character (played by Emma Watson in the HP movies) is just a year shy of 40? This month also marks the 20th anniversary of author J.K. Rowling’s first book in the series. The Muggle-born Gryffindor was there to hold my hand and make life a little more interesting (read: bearable) in my pre-teens and throughout my 20s. True story: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in the series, came out right before I went on a family trip to Costa Rica. I was 20 years old and read it on the plane, in the car from the airport to our hotel, and in bed until I finished it. I laughed, cried, and didn’t say a single word to anyone until I reached the conclusion.
As the strong-willed and clever witch we all wanted (maybe still want) to be, Hermione was Harry’s confidante and advisor, Ron’s loyal friend (and love interest), and a steadfast champion for equality and women’s rights.
She never failed to speak up for herself and others, no matter how much trouble they got her into. Below, I've shared a few things I love, love, LOVE about Hermione.
After all, there’s no way Harry would have survived without her.
"The intense, clever, in some ways not terribly self-aware girl is rarely the heroine, and I really wanted her to be the heroine,” Rowling has said of Hermione, who reminds her of her younger self. The author made a point to highlight Hermione’s integrity, her strong sense of humanity, and her intelligence instead of her physical characteristics. A star student who consistently outperformed boys in school, Hermione was one of the most (if not the most) important characters in the resistance against Voldemort. She managed to save both Ron and Harry’s lives more than a couple times. This all sounds awfully familiar when compared to what’s going on in our society today, am I right?
During last year’s Women’s March on Washington, signs were spotted reading "Without Hermione, Harry would’ve died in book 1" and "When Voldemort is president, we need a nation of Hermiones!" I couldn’t agree more.
We need more girls like Hermione — fictional or otherwise —as constant reminders that anything they can do, we can do better, and that following your brain and heart equally is always the right way to go.
Happy 39th birthday, Hermione!