Hermione Granger And The Goblet of Sexism
The Portkey/The Portkey
Despite what Harry and Ron may have believed, Hermione knew quite a bit about quidditch. Just because she wasn’t interested in playing for the Gryffindor house team, like Harry, or an avid fan, like Ron and Ginny, it was assumed that she wasn’t interested at all and couldn’t follow a game. But she’d been to every school match in all three of her years at Hogwarts, and she’d studied the history of quidditch, besides. She knew, for example, that the Golden Snitch — the tiny hyper-fast ball that zoomed around the pitch requiring a specialized player called a Seeker (Harry’s position on the school team) — had only been added to the game in the eighteenth century, after several bloody bludger accidents. She was certain that Harry had no idea how controversial his role in the game had once been, because for some reason Harry and Ron both had a deep hatred for all things historical. So, despite the fact that she owned no quidditch posters of her own, she was actually quite excited to be attending a match as important as the world cup. It was bound to be fascinating, she thought.
Of course, none of that occurred to her when Mrs. Weasley came in to wake her and Ginny well before dawn the next day. She’d been up late talking with Ginny, who had questioned her repeatedly about if she fancied any boys in her year (she didn’t, and she suddenly found herself wondering, maybe for the first time, why not). She could not remember a time when she’d been this tired.
“Oh look lively, girls!” Mrs. Weasley said shortly. She pulled the covers clear off of Ginny, but thankfully as Hermione was a guest, she was slightly kinder to her. Hermione dragged a jumper over her head in the still dark bedroom, and they stumbled out to the kitchen. Ron, Harry, and the twins were already seated at the table, looking just as bleary-eyed as she felt.
She spotted a pot of coffee on the table, and it was like a ray of perfect sunshine to her.
As she pulled out a chair, Ginny sat down next to her, saying “Why do we have to be up so early?”
“We’ve got a bit of a walk,” Mr. Weasley answered. He was dressed in muggle clothing, as, Hermione noticed, were all of his children. The difference, of course, was that the younger generation seemed to know how muggles actually dressed, whereas their parents tended to throw things together in a hodge podge sort of way.
“What, are we walking to the World Cup?” Harry asked.
“No no, that’s miles away. We only need to walk a short way. It’s just very difficut for a large number of wizards to congregate without attracting Muggle attention. We have to be very careful about how we travel at the best of times, and on a huge occasion like the Quidditch World Cup—”
Just then, Mrs. Weasley shouted “George!” and everyone jumped.
“What?” said George, feigning innocence.
“What is that in your pocket?” said his mother.
“Don’t you lie to me!” and then she pointed her wand at George’s pocket and said, “Accio!” in a clear voice.
Several small, brightly colored objects zoomed out of his pockets, and he, rather foolishly, tried to grab for them in the air as they sped into his mother’s waiting palm.
“We told you to destroy them!” Mrs. Weasley said furiously, and what she was holding in her hand looked to be more of the trick sweets that had caused the row the night before. “We told you to get rid of the lot! Empty your pockets, go on, both of you!”
Hermione didn’t know quite how to feel as she watched the twins give up the labors of their hard work. On the one hand, they were obviously dangerous objects, that much was certain. On the other hand, Mrs. Weasley’s briskness made it easy to feel defensive of the two boys who’d put so much work into the sweets. They were obviously passionate about what they were doing, but Hermione couldn’t understand why, and shook her head to herself. When they set off to leave, Hermione drained her coffee cup and noticed that the twins left the room without saying goodbye to Mrs. Weasley at all.
“I’ll send Bill, Charlie, and Percy along around midday,” Mrs. Weasley said to her husband. The older Weasley children would be arriving by apparition, a sort of magical disappearing and reappearing, and so they had no need to get up and walk so early in the morning.
It was nearly daybreak, the countryside was still and sleepy. A dull, greenish tinge along the horizon to their right hinted at the coming sunrise, and the moon still shone above them. Hermione walked alongside Ginny, while Ron bumbled along in sleepy silence, and Harry sped up to pepper Mr. Weasley with logistical questions.
“So how does everyone get there without all the Muggles noticing?”
“It’s been a massive organization problem,” Mr. Weasley replied, and he did not seem to mind chatting before the sun was up, “The trouble is, about a hundred thousand wizards turn up at the World Cup, and of course, we just haven’t got a magical site big enough to accommodate them all. There are places Muggles can’t penetrate, but imagine trying to pack a hundred thousand wizards into Diagon Alley or platform nine and three-quarters. So we had to find a nice deserted moor, and set up as many anti-Muggle precautions as possible…”
Hermione winced at the term “anti-muggle.”
“…The whole Ministry’s been working on it for months. First, of course, we have to stagger the arrivals. People with cheaper tickets have to arrive two weeks beforehand. A limited number use Muggle transport, but we can’t have too many clogging up their buses and trains — remember, wizards are coming from all over the world. Some Apparate, of course, but we have to set up safe points for them to appear, well away from Muggles. I believe there’s a handy wood they’re using as the Apparition point. For those who don’t want to Apparate, or can’t, we use Portkeys.”
Hermione knew from her studies that a Portkey was an everyday object, which was set with a spell by wizards, to be used to transport people at a prearranged time. But she listened to Mr. Weasley explain the concept to Harry, anyhow.
“They can be anything,” he was saying, “Unobtrusive things, obviously, so Muggles don’t go picking them up and playing with them… stuff they’ll just think is litter…”
She wondered if there ever had been an incident of muggles getting into trouble with Portkeys, and made a mental note to look it up once she had the full use of the Hogwarts library again. As they trudged down the dark lane, she noticed that the sky was lightening very slowly. It really was a very beautiful morning. She smiled at Ron, walking beside her, but he seemed not to noticed. And then the whole lot of them took a deep breath, and started to climb up Stoatshead Hill. It looked to be hard work, but Mr. Weasley said that the Portkey was at the top, and she was rather looking forward to being transported by magic, rather than her own feet, for a change.
Far from a bit of a walk, it was actually a rather laborious climb. She had to use her hands as well as her feet, and her arms and legs ached. The sky was getting lighter and lighter, and she was very grateful for the cup of strong coffee she’d had back at the burrow. Somehow everyone else managed the hill faster than she did, and though she tried to hide it, she found herself clutching at an enormous stitch in her side as she pulled herself up over the crest of the hill. She took a deep breath. She shook off her embarrassment, there was no need for that.
“Now we just need the Portkey,” said Mr. Weasley, replacing his glasses, “It won’t be big… come on…” and everyone spread out to look for a small object that could have been altered, imperceptibly, by wizards. All of a sudden, she heard a shout.
“Over here, Arthur! Over here, son, we’ve got it!” the voice wasn’t any of the Weasleys, nor was it Harry Potter. Hermione was relieved to give up the search, and looked up to see who it was.
There were two tall figures silhouetted against the starry sky on the other side of the hilltop. Mr. Weasley shouted “Amos!” with a smile of recognition, and strode over to them. The rest of the group followed. When they got a bit closer, she could see that the wizard who had called was a ruddy-faced man with a scrubby brown beard, and he holding a very old, rather unclean looking, boot. And next to him, to her surprise, was a young wizard she recognized from school.
“This is Amos Diggory, everyone,” Mr. Weasley said, “He works for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. And I think you know his son, Cedric?”
Cedric Diggory was around seventeen, had blond-ish colored hair, and all of the girls in Hermione’s dormitory found him to extremely handsome. She supposed he was good looking, in a certain kind of way. Seeing him brought back an old worry, perhaps there was something wrong with her, if she didn’t find the right boys attractive? He was also Captain and Seeker of the Hufflepuff House Quidditch team back at Hogwarts. He said “Hi,” in a tentative sort of way.
And with good reason, everyone else said hi back, but Fred and George flatly ignored him. The previous year, Hufflepuff had beat Gryffindor at quidditch, and of course Fred and George had held a grudge. Hermione was proud to be a Gryffindor, as were all of the Weasleys and Harry, but she couldn’t ever quite wrap her head around why the boys placed so much weight on quidditch matches.
“Long walk, Arthur?” Amos Diggory asked.
“Not too bad, We live just on the other side of the village there. You?”
“Had to get up at two, didn’t we, Ced? I tell you, I’ll be glad when he’s got his Apparition test. Still… not complaining… Quidditch world Cup, wouldn’t miss it for a sackful of Galleons — and the tickets cost about that. Mind you, looks like I got off easy…” Mr. Diggory peered good-naturedly around at the small crowd of teenagers; four Weasleys, Hermione, and Harry. “All these yours, Arthur?”
“Oh no, only the redheads,” said Mr. Weasley, gesturing to his own children, “This is Hermione, a friend of Ron’s, and Harry, another friend —”
“Merlin’s beard,” Amos Diggory’s eyes widened. “Harry? Harry Potter?”
Harry looked rather awkward, and from next to Hermione he let out a tentative “Er — yeah…” in confirmation that he was, in fact, himself.
But Mr. Diggory didn’t miss a beat, “Ced’s talked about you, of course. Told us all about playing against you last year… I said to him, I said — Ced, that’ll be something to tell your grandchildren, that will… You beat Harry Potter!”
“Harry fell of his broom, Dad,” Cedric Diggory said in a quiet, uncomfortable, voice, “I told you… it was an accident….”
“Yes, but you didn’t fall off, did you?” and Mr. Diggory slapped his son on the back good-naturedly, blissfully unaware of how tense everyone else had become. “Always modest, our Ced, always the gentleman… but the best man won, I’m sure Harry’d say the same, wouldn’t you, eh? One falls off his broom, one stays on, you don’t need to be a genius to tell which one’s the better flier!”
Hermione could just barely hear one of the twins muttering to the other.
“Must be nearly time,” said Mr. Weasley quickly, before things could get any worse, “Do you know whether we’re waiting for any more, Amos?”
“No, the Lovegoods have been there for a week already and the Fawcetts couldn’t get tickets. There aren’t any more of us in this area, are there?”
“Not that I know of,” Mr. Weasley was checking his watch. “Yes, it’s a minute off… We’d better get ready…”
Her turned to Hermione and Harry, and said “You just need to touch the Portkey, that’s all, a finger will do.” She supposed that his own children must have traveled by Portkey before.
The whole group crowded around the old boot, held by Amos Diggory, all reaching in to touch the thing. They were positively smashed together, and Fred Weasley’s backpack kept jostling Hermione. She was, however, determined not to let it go. Then she heard Mr. Weasley count down, “three… two… one…”
And then it was as though a hook caught just behind her navel, somewhere in the center of her body, and jerked her forward. She felt her feet leave the ground, and she banged hard into Harry who was on her right hand side, while Fred’s backpack positively attacked her on her left. Everything was a swirl of color, but then she closed her eyes hard, so she wouldn’t be sick. Witches, she told herself, wouldn’t panic over a mere portkey.
Then, all at once, she was slamming hard into the cold ground. When she opened her eyes, she was somewhere completely different, and only the two adults and Cedric Diggory had managed to stay on their feet.
A voice called out “seven past five from Stoatshead Hill!”
Deconstruction, Notes On The Source Text
Good morning! Here we have an entire chapter in a Harry Potter book, with Hermione Granger is nearly ever scene. The only part, in the original, that she is not in is the first three pages, because she wakes up in a different room than Harry, and for some reason Ginny and Hermione wake up slightly later than the boys, and stumble into the kitchen only after they’ve already sat down to breakfast. Then, the narrative completely forgets about Hermione Granger, because right now we are telling a story about Harry Potter and his Adventure With The Weasley Family.
I know we talked about this last week, but I just can’t let it go. Not a peep out of our girl, not one. So why the hell is she even here?
I think the answer (from a doylistic perspective!) is that J.K. Rowling needed someone quick witted and thoughtful, who would suss out the details and bring up everything that Ron and Harry are too cool (lazy) to read later on when shit gets weird. Hermione provides an awful lot of exposition, but she needs to be there to do it.
And of course, since we’ve already painted her as a brain who’s not terribly fond of sports, and she’s muggle born, it would make zero sense (from a watsonian perspective) for her to meet up with Ron and Harry at the World Cup. So, we had to do it this way. Ok then.
Except, of course, this way doesn’t make terribly much sense either. Why would Ron, who’s only ever shown an interest in having Harry come and stay, not Hermione, invite Hermione Granger in the first place? And why do the Weasleys, who remember are supposedly really poor, let Ron have two friends come along? They may have got the tickets for free (a perk of being a corrupt low level official for Arthur Weasley!) but they still have to put these children up and feed them. And, hang on, but none of the other Weasley children have guests coming with them, even though the twins and Ginny, at the very least, are shown again and again to be WAY more social than brother Ron. I guess maybe since Hermione is muggle born, and Harry’s guardians are muggles, the Weasley family took pity on them, having no way to attend this historic sporting event independently.
Except that implies that of Fred, George, and Ginny, not one of them has a muggle born friend. That seems rather unlikely, given the prevalence of muggle borns in the books. And remember, the Weasleys are blood traitors, at least according to bigots like the Malfoys. The family is known for sympathizing with muggles and muggle borns (though they still retain a lot of weird prejudices and Arthur Weasley couldn’t even pass a muggle studies exam.
I’m trying to work with what I’ve got here, but I’m struggling to make this make sense in-world. It feels like the author stepping in, and moving the characters around for narrative convenience. Of course Hermione is there too because Harry, Ron, and Hermione, they all go together. They’re like a set! But only… she’s not really there, not exactly. Harry and the Weasleys chat and get on with things. But Hermione does not speak, she may as well be invisible.