Hermione Granger Chapter 2

Hermione Granger and The Goblet of Sexism

Chapter Two
The Letter / The Scar

 

Next morning, Hermione awoke early, despite having stayed up so late. It wasn’t exactly unusual for her, she’d always been an early riser. Neither of her parents were the least bit surprised to find her in the kitchen, making scrambled eggs, when they made their way downstairs to have breakfast before work.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Granger were dentists, but they didn’t work together, they worked in seperate offices across town. Mr. Granger liked to joke that they were rivals. Mrs. Granger had always said that she wanted to work somewhere where she was considered a dentist, not a dentist’s wife. The Grangers had actually meant in school, and plenty of people had suggested that Jean ought to have dropped out after the wedding (Hermione had heard the stories from her mother many times) but she was firm in her stance. And so, regardless of the fact that Hugh Granger now owned his own practice – Granger Family Dentistry – his wife commuted across town to Happy Smiles Dentistry everyone morning. This meant she had to leave rather earlier than her husband for work, but she never complained about the inconvenience.

“Tea’s already on, mum.” Hermione said as her mothers hand reached for the kettle.

“That smells amazing Hermione!” Mr. Granger sniffed appreciatively in the direction of the frying pan, “I do reckon I’ve finally taught you everything I know! Well, about eggs, at any rate!”

Just then, a large brown owl tapped pointedly on the kitchen window. All three of the Grangers turned to look, but with mild curiosity rather than shock.

Many muggle, or non-magical, families would probably be alarmed to see an owl come right up to their home in broad daylight over breakfast, but in the Granger household it had become a matter of course. Mr. Granger unlatchd the window above the kitchen sink and let the large bird jump down into the basin.

“Looks like the paper’s here for you, peanut!”

Hermione winced at the childhood nickname, but fished in her dressing gown pocket for a couple of bronze knuts. She always kept a few knuts in her dressing gown pocket during the holidays, precisely for the purpose of paying the morning delivery owl. She handed the wizarding money to her father, who put it into a small leather pouch the owl wore attached to one leg. It stood stock still, with wings outstretched, during the whole procedure. He looked rather regal.

Hermione turned the heat off the eggs, and turned to watch her father carefully paying the very official looking owl, who was still standing in the sink basin. On the counter sat Hermione’s morning copy of “the daily prophet,” the wizarding newspaper, the front page covered in black and white, moving, photographs. She reflected that it was probably a very good thing the Grangers never had company over breakfast.

Mrs. Granger was pouring herself tea out of a china teapot, and then she too looked up at the little scene by the window. Mr. Granger was now closing the drawstring of the leather money pouch for the owl. For a moment she looked lost in thought, pouring her tea, but then suddenly her face changed to a rather serious and thoughtful expression. In fact, she nearly jumped.

“Wait a moment! I’ve something to send with that owl!”

Hermione was in the middle if dishing scrambled eggs into a plate for her own breakfast, but she put down the spatula, “Mum!” she said, “you can’t send a letter with that owl, he’s a daily prophet owl and he works for their offices!”

“Oh for goodness said I’ll pay extra,” Jean Granger was running into the next room, presumably for whatever it was that she wanted to send by owl post.

Hugh Granger smiled, turning from the owl to address the kitchen at large, “it’s times like these that I think we really ought to get our own owl, for the house! Might be good for you too, peanut, make it easier for you to get ahold of those friends of yours. And who knows, maybe I’ll take up a correspondence with old Arthur Weasley!” He chuckled to himself, because Arthur Weasley was completely obsessed with Muggles and nearly ambushed Mr. Granger on every occasion that they met.

Hermione chose to ignore the joke.

“But DAD,” she began, “owls are frightfully loud and think of the neigh-” she had meant to say “neighbors” but just that second the large and dignified owl apparently ran out of patience for the whole Granger family. It screetched, flapped its wings, and took off out the window, right as Mrs. Granger came in from the hall holding a small blue envelope in one hand, and several wizarding coins in the other. She looked extremely crestfallen.

Hermione recognized the stationary, it was the very same pale blue notepaper and envelopes that Jean Granger used to send letters to her sisters in the countryside. But of course, if she had been writing to one of Hermione’s aunts, she certainly wouldn’t be sending it by owl post. What on earth was this urgent letter all about? She was holding her plate of eggs, and then suddenly Hermione remembered something her mother had said the night before, while Hermione had been trying to study.

“That settles it Jeannie!” Mr. Granger was using his hand to wipe feathers out of the sink basin as he spoke, “we are getting our OWN owl. It’ll save an awful lot of hassle!”

Hermione was still holding her plate, and set it down on the counter and opened her mouth to – again – attempt to explain how awful this idea actually was, but she never got to speak. At just that moment, a small, fuzzy, something, came zooming through the open kitchen window. It hit the teapot, bounced off, and knocked over the sugar bowl, spilling sugar everywhere. Ever calm and composed, Mr. Granger finished with the sink basin, and then grabbed a rag to clean up the sugar mess.

Hermione stared at the creature before her. It was a very small, very overexcited, owl. She shook herself and strode across the room, to relieve it of it’s letter. It certainly wasn’t her friend Harry’s owl, his was a large snowy owl, and anyways he didn’t write terribly often. And Ron’s family had a very old, much less active, owl. It could be from Hogwarts, she supposed, but in all her time using the school owls (which she always did, not having an owl of her own), she had never seen such a small one. She carefully opened the envelope.

It was from Ron Weasley

Hermione,

I know quidditch isn’t really YOUR THING, but wanna come to the World Cup? Trying to get Harry to come as well. Ginny says if you want to stay til term starts, you can stay in her room.

Love
Ron

Hermione looked up from the letter, to discover her mother leaning over her shoulder. “Well would you look at that!” Jean Granger said, her voice sounding quite pleased.

She didn’t know quite what to think. Sure, she, Ron, and Harry, were all school friends, and had been through quite a lot together. But if she was being completely honest, she always felt that it was more that, well, she was friends with Harry, and Ron was also friends with Harry, and so they were together rather a lot. Ginny was Ron’s younger sister, and while it was true that Ginny and Hermione got on rather well, they weren’t exactly close. Ginny was far more gregarious, having grown up with six brothers, than Hermione could ever hope to be. She had never really expected to be invited to stay with the Weasleys. It was true that Ron had mentioned something about the Quidditch World Cup taking place over the summer, but as he said, she wasn’t very interested in sports. The whole thing seemed rather odd.

With a familiar pang of guilt in her stomach, she realized that this was her chance, her one chance, to escape her parents and get back to the wizarding world a whole fortnight early. Would she take it? Could she take it? Would her mother be heartbroken.

And suddenly, thinking of her mother and the Weasleys, she remembered what it was that her mother had said the night before.

“Mum,” Hermione pulled herself out of the short letter and turned around to face her mother, “I do believe this owl is going straight back to The Burrow, so if your letter is for Mrs. Weasley, you may as well send it now and quit your worrying.”

There was a silence.

“Oh, well,” Mrs. Granger looked awkward, “Now I think of it, it really doesn’t matter, and anyways I’d better be getting on to work.” She turned to trot straight out of the kitchen, still holding the blue envelope, her tea untouched on the kitchen table. Hermione gaped at her. “But you are going, dear?” Mrs. Granger said over her shoulder as she walked away, “I mean to say, the Quidditch world cup! It sounds like a lovely opportunity.”

Hermione was seized but a sudden need to know what on earth her mother had written to Mrs. Weasley.

***

Deconstruction and Notes on The Source Text

This is another all Harry chapter in the original book, and it actually takes place still at night, directly after the dream/vision that he experienced in the last chapter. The basic outline is: Harry Potter wakes up with his scar in extreme pain, remembers the dream, worries about what it all might mean, thinks about who he might be able to talk to about it, and eventually settles on Sirius Black, his Godfather who happens to be on the run from the law. The chapter ends with Harry finishing his letter to Sirius and going downstairs to join his muggle family for breakfast, but I couldn’t think of any good reason to keep our Hermione up all night just to make the times match up exactly.

There is, however, a bit more to discuss here. Because in Harry’s consideration of whom he might talk to about his scar hurting and the seemingly related dream, he does briefly consider writing to Hermione. Hermione has gotten him out of scraps before and is, by all accounts, a brilliant witch, so it’s not a terrible idea.

Here’s the relevant passage:

…What would they say if Harry wrote to them and told them about his scar hurting?

At once, Hermione Granger’s voice seemed to fill his head, shrill and panicky.

“Your scar hurt? Harry, that’s really serious… Write to Professor Dumbledore! And I’ll go and check Common Magical Ailments And Afflictions… Maybe there’s something in there about curse scars…”

Yes, that would be Hermione’s advice: Go straight to the headmaster of Hogwarts, and in the meantime, consult a book. Harry stared out of the window at the inky blue-black sky. He doubted very much whether a book could help him now…

Ok, so it’s probably time to come clean, that Harry Potter is among my least favorite characters in Harry Potter. Why? I don’t think it’s entirely that he’s whiny, or that he has everything handed to him, or that someone else always bails him out. I think it’s actually passages like this. Despite the fact that someone always bails Harry Potter out, and that person has often been Hermione Granger, he won’t go to her for help now.

Why? Because he assumes he already knows what she’ll say. Not only does he know what she’ll say, but he knows that she’ll say it shrilly. Now, bear in mind, that the books are full of both Ron and Harry remarking casually at how they can never predict what Hermione will do or say because GIRLS UGH AMIRITE but somehow in this instance, he just knows.

And he also knows that it will be bad advice, and so is therefore not worth asking for. But actually, when I read the above passage, it doesn’t strike me as bad advice at all. There’s no good reason not to go to Dumbledore with this, except for the fact that Harry never goes to Dumbledore until he’s forced to.

Harry Potter, my friends, is a Leo. You don’t have to agree with or find astrology interesting, many don’t (Hermione Granger, for example, doesn’t!) but I will tell you this one thing. J.K Rowling knows how to write a damn Leo. I’m a Leo, so I’m allowed to say that.

But also I’m just stuck on the fact that he called Hermione – not even Hermione, the imaginary Hermione in his head! – shrill.

He decides that Ron will just want to ask his daddy for advice (can’t figure out where Harry came up with that, it’s not like Ron has been particularly dad-focused in the previous three books) and so he decides not to ask him either. What Harry needs, he thinks, is a grown up. So he decides on Sirius Black. He does not consider asking any of the other adults in his life.

I don’t have the third book handy (I believe it’s at my in-laws due to moving drama from last fall) and the timeline is a teensy bit fuzzy. But. For most of the previous book, Harry believed that Sirius Black, his godfather, was a murderer and a dangerous dark wizard who was trying to kill him. Near the end of the book, that was revealed to be false, and Harry AND HERMIONE saved him from a fate worse than death. Immediately after that, he went on the run. They hardly had time to talk. Presumably, since then, they’ve been corresponding, but it still seems to me that Harry’s feelings about his godfather might be a little conflicted. It’s been what, two months? Maybe three? Harry is barely fourteen years old, and spent the majority of last year certain this man was trying to kill him. There tends to be an emotional kickback from that kind of trauma! But no. It’s all puppies and sunshine, and Harry concludes that this near stranger is exactly the parent-like figure he can confide in.

I dunno, maybe this is supposed to be about him reaching out desperately?

Anyways, he writes the letter to Sirius, mentioning that his scar hurt and he thought that was weird. He does not mention the dream, because this is the Harry Potter series, where characters NEVER EVER EXPECT MAGIC to be the cause of anything, despite the fact that they live most of their lives surrounded by it and are learning new things about it all the time.

“Seeing a thing in a dream that corresponds to a thing that happened in real life?” says the boy who has a magical wand that he can use to create a magical light deer creature that will chase off weird soul sucking demons, “why, that sounds unrealistic!”

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11 thoughts on “Hermione Granger Chapter 2

  1. only some stardust February 3, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I can’t imagine Hermione that shrill, even when reading that imaginary sentence: in fact, it seems worried, but thoughtful and contemplative. Reading this is making me realize just how much I head-cannoned things or ignored things I didn’t like about the books.

    He doubts a book could help him, but he doesn’t bother to actually check; an adult will be the answer, and no adult would /ever/ write down anything useful in a book. Yeah, his logic skills are terrible. I want to say ‘at this age’, but, that would require his logic skills improve at some point.

    That said, it does make sense from a psychological perspective to me that he’d act like this. I like it, even, because it sets up for pay off later when he grows up.

    But.. he doesn’t, that I can remember. Not really.

    And the cling-to-Sirius, well, that makes sense. Harry can be weirdly trusting. A strange giant claims he’s a wizard, knew about his parents, and wants to take him away from his relatives without the slightest supervision by anyone else? No way this could backfire! But to be fair, I doubt the Dursleys ever taught him anything about stranger-danger. And young people do tend to be trusting. When I was his age reading the book I thought contacting Sirius was a great idea.

  2. katherinedmclover February 3, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    oh my god you are totally right! I don’t know enough about child psychology to totally make sense of it, but I mean, the people he SHOULD be able to trust most in the world have been abusing him his entire life… probably any adult who pays attention to him and doesn’t tell him he’s awful seems like a good bet.

  3. Silver Adept February 6, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I’m pretty curious, too, as to what Mrs. Granger and Mrs. Weasley are corresponding about. And whether the Statute of Secrecy covered it, because the Grangers are technically non-magical.

    As for Harry, I think he decides on Sirius because Sirius is the only person in his life who is both an adult and that doesn’t have some sort of authority over him. Based on the way that Harry was raised, I suspect he has a very strong distrust of authority in general, and at this point, he hasn’t had anything really dissuade him from this. So Sirius it is.

  4. liminal fruitbat February 10, 2016 at 6:46 am

    @ Silver Adept – you’d think Harry would have a strong distrust of authority, but this is a series whose resolution relies on the fact that Harry would literally jump off a cliff if Dumbledore told him to.

    I’m surprised he doesn’t think about writing to Hagrid – yes, he’s dangerously reckless and not that bright but he has more life experience than Ron, and he’s the first adult who wasn’t an absolute shit to him. And on the offchance this is something Dumbledore knows about, Hagrid is more likely than anyone else to let something relevant slip.

    this is the Harry Potter series, where characters NEVER EVER EXPECT MAGIC to be the cause of anything

    The decons at Point Stick Vent Spleen pointed out that in the first ten chapters of PS, we only see two spells cast by any members of the trio and neither of them are cast by Harry. Add that to how readily Gryffindors resort to physical violence and all the emphasis on how physically intimdating Crabbe and Goyle are and I sometimes wonder if Rowling forgot her characters were witches and wizards.

  5. Silver Adept February 10, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    @ liminal fruitbat –

    At what point, though, do we see Dumbledore acting like a Headmaster of a school? He doesn’t seem to be all that interested in disciplinary matters or faculty meetings or any of the other administrative parts of the school, and we don’t see him removing points, only giving them in extraordinary circumstances. I don’t remember seeing Dumbledore really exercising his power all that much, even in places where he really should be putting up more of a fight. The way things get written, McGonagall and Snape are the two authority figures, and Hermione is the font of knowledge. Dumbledore doesn’t really figure, except in a way akin to the Mysterious Old Man in Into The Woods – there to provide cryptic help when everyone is truly stuck, but otherwise completely away from the action.

    As for physical violence, I could handwave it by saying it’s not too hard for anyone to trace the use of magic back to the wizard that cast it, but it’s not as easy to say who gave someone a black eye somewhere where there isn’t constant surveillance. (Which I would think Hogwarts has).

    Hermione still has a good relationship with her parents at this point. I’m surprised they don’t get invited, too. This would be one of those things to mention what exactly is covered by the Statute of Secrecy – it’s entirely possible that the Grangers could enjoy the Quidditch World Cup – is not like anyone would believe them.

  6. katherinedmclover February 11, 2016 at 12:17 am

    The Grangers definitely go to Diagon Alley on at least one occasion, though I can’t recall which book it’s in, and clearly THEY are allowed to know that their daughter is a witch and goes to a magic school, but honestly the most that I think about the statute of secrecy the more it falls apart… I just don’t see how you could enforce the statute of secrecy in a meaningful way AND allow muggle borns into your world (unless you required that muggle borns severe ties from their families upon entry, which they clearly don’t). There’s a line in the first book, where all of the new students are comparing their families, and Seamus says “I’m half and half, my dad’s a muggle, and my mum’s a witch. She didn’t tell him until after they were married, bit of a nasty shock for him really.” (that’s my memory of the quote, I don’t have the book in my hand so it may not be exact.) In my head canon, she didn’t tell him because it’s only legal to share your magical status with immediate family – boyfriends don’t count. I suppose Harry’s Aunt and Uncle get a pass because they’re his legal guardians.

    It seems like, in practice, the Grangers get a bit of a pass into the magical world because of their daughter. One has to wonder if the ministry of magic just makes muggle parents super duper swear not to spill the beans to other muggles. And how on earth does that even work? How did it work for Lily and Petunia’s parents, who were “proud to have a witch in the family” but as far as I can tell wouldn’t have been allowed to share that pride with anyone. Anyways, I’m excited by the idea of the Grangers being invited to the world cup, but I don’t think it would really happen.

    Arthur Weasley loves muggles… kind of. He loves to appropriate their things, and to mock them affectionately, and to oogle at how weird they are. Despite being fairly welcoming to muggle born WIZARDS and WITCHES, reading these books I got the distinct sense that this magical world doesn’t see muggles as real people. It’s actually one of the themes I’m most interested in! If Arthur Weasley loves muggles so much, why hasn’t he tried to strike up an actual friendship with any of the muggles he knows? He has seven children who all have at least some muggle born friends. His job requires him to work with muggles on a semi regular basis, and I realize he may not be allowed to befriend the muggles he works with because that could get very complicated indeed. But the man can’t be bothered to learn the difference between “eclectic” and “electric.” It didn’t occur to him to invite the Grangers. Just like it’s never occurred to him to invite them around for tea. When he sees them, he’s delighted by their oddness, but that’s it.
    And how must that work for all of the muggle born witches and wizards at Hogwarts.

    And don’t get me started on Dumbledore’s work as headmaster. Actually, do get me started on it, I have many many things to say, but no time to say them all tonight.

  7. liminal fruitbat February 11, 2016 at 3:45 am

    And how must that work for all of the muggle born witches and wizards at Hogwarts.

    Did Hermione keep taking Muggle Studies after her third year?

  8. katherinedmclover February 11, 2016 at 5:50 am

    Sadly, no. I believe it was one of the classes she dropped due to the time turner not turning out to be a good long term solution. If memory serves, muggle studies, occlumency, and divination, were all in the same class period. Ignoring how much sense that doesn’t make from an administrative perspective, of course our Hermione kept the most academic sounding of the three.

  9. liminal fruitbat February 11, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Do you mean Arithmancy? Not even Dumbledore would have forced Snape and Harry into book 5’s clusterfuck if occlumency was an actual subject.

  10. katherinedmclover February 11, 2016 at 9:34 am

    oops! yes, I did mean arithmancy! clearly 5:50 am after a night of no sleep (cause baby) was not the ideal time to comment!

  11. DawnM February 18, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    I like to think that Jean was writing to Molly because Jean knows how unhappy Hermione is away from her magical world. Hermione wants to hide her unhappiness from her parents, but Jean can see through it.

    I really like your fiction!

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