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04 September 2004 @ 10:00 pm
Rebuttal regarding Hermione's Intelligence  
I just wrote a very long rebuttal in response to the previous essay's claim that Hermione is merely "bright" and is only a "non-intellectual's idea of what a smart person is like", and it's long enough that I'd like to post it here as well. (To be precise, this rebuttal is actually in response to a post that smallcaps linked to, which is here.)

To sum up, the original poster felt that Herione is only slightly smarter than average, and that the fact that she studies so much and constantly must return to the library proves that she certainly isn't exceptional. Furthermore, the original poster felt that Hermione does not show much independent/creative thought.

(The above has been reworded to be more accurate in referring to the OP's statements.)

Hermione WAS suited for Ravenclaw. Remember her saying, during that DADA meeting:
“Well, the Sorting Hat did seriously consider putting me in Ravenclaw,” Hermione said brightly, “but it decided on Gryffindor in the end.”
Taken together with her words to Harry and Ron on that first train ride:
"I hope I'm in Gryffindor, I've heard it's by far the best," I think we can safely say that the Sorting Hat probably put her in Gryffindor as opposed to Ravenclaw because she wanted to be put into Gryffindor.

Second, I think it's ridiculous to think that Hermione isn't smart, and I disagree completely with the points brought up in "Hermione? Brightest witch of her age? Brilliant? Not on your life." True, many smart people spend very little time on schoolwork and manage to (usually) get good marks anyway; I fall into that category myself. Howewever, that is dependent on personality, not degree of intelligence. Hermione's personality is naturally much more organized, much more diligent, and combined with the fact that she seems to lack self-confidence and ability in the social arena and so seems to have turned to academia and her teachers' approval to make up for this, it makes perfect sense that Hermione gives her schoolwork her all. Remember, Hermione is not working hard to get good marks; she's working hard to do ridiculous amounts of EXTRA work. Remember all those extra feet of essays that she does? That in first year, she got 112% on charms? Really intelligent people can get good marks without studying much, but in order to get 100s and above, when there's so much memorization involved - unless they have eidetic memories - they DO have to study. Study habits differ from person to person, but I myself have found through my high school years, and even now in college, that in certain subjects, I can get, say, a 95 with an hour's worth of studying (in high school even less), but to get that perfect 100, I'd need to study for at least double or triple that length.

Third, we have no idea what Hermione's essays look like. It's very possible that they DO show plenty of original thought. In any case, we have seen original thought ourselves. The logical puzzle that Hermione completed at the end of the first book did take quite a lot of intelligence; someone who's just memorizing stuff and spitting it back could NOT have solved that. Same thing goes for figuring out that it was a Basilisk in the pipes; someone without lots of intelligence would NOT have thought to make the connection between murmering that no one except Harry can hear and the fact that he's a Parselmouth.

Fourth, the twins do have a creative genius, but they're certainly not academically brilliant. Remember they only got three owls? That means three owls with a passing grade, not three E's. Really smart kids, even without spending a lot of time studying, should definitely have been able to at least pass more OWLs.

Yes, I agree that the time-turner fiasco was due to the fact that McGonagall didn't realize how much time Hermione would spend on each subject - but Hermione doesn't spend all that extra time on schoolwork because she isn't intelligent, she does it because she's obssessive about being perfect, or better than perfect. Again, really smart people can get good marks without all that studying, true, but in order to get perfect marks, they DO have to study. Not in fields such as Math, of course, or in, say, Vocabulary, but in a field such as History? Depending on how much material is included in the exam, definitely. And consider the subjects at Hogwarts: a good part of what is involved is magical ability, and Hermione isn't necessarily so above and beyond when it comes to actual magical ability; it makes sense that she might have to spend a lot of time practicing if she wants to get perfect marks. As for the written parts of the test, this is magic, not science, and it seems to just be a pretty much random conglomeration of material; doing well in such areas requires, simply put, hours of memorization; intelligence wouldn't help (much) to shorten that amount of time, beyond the fact that the person in question wouldn't have to spend much time understanding the material, just memorizing it.

And personally, I would go so far as to call it absurd to think that Hermione should no longer have to go looking stuff up in the library. Hermione is not a computer! Being smart doesn't equal having a perfect memory, and that library must be huge! I'm sure she did look up some books about curse scars, but remember, the Hogwarts library doesn't have a searchable computer index of books, or even a card index; it seems to just be, pretty much, a jumble of books, maybe sorted loosely by subject, but since there wouldn't be any subject as specific as curse scars, trying to find every book about curse scars would literally be impossible - unless you manually searched through every book in the library. Furthermore, Harry's specific scar is the first of its kind, and she's only a Muggle-born teenager who's missing many basic "premises" so to speak of the Magical world; how can she be expected to "synthesize" this non-existent information to come up with her own explanation/knowledge? In general, the problems that the Trio face each year are so different than each other, and have so little to do with what they're learning in school, that if Hermione knew all this information off the top of her head, and throw down the book in disgust at Rowling's unrealistic portrayal.

I know that the above isn't at all organized, but I hope that I've managed to explain my opinion as to why I most certainly think that Hermione IS smart - despite the fact that I myself spend very little time studying and still manage to get very good marks.

(X-posted to my own journal.)

Edited to change "creative" to "original" in my third point, in response to FernWithy's comment.

Edited again to delete the time-turner example; I remembered the incident incorrectly, as maglor's_finch pointed out.

Edited again (11/21/04) to change essay from an accusatory second-person address to a slightly more formal general address.
Current Mood: argumentative
L: Harry--green eyesallegoricduck on September 4th, 2004 07:22 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you. Great essay. :)
Gemmigemmi_1 on June 2nd, 2005 09:01 am (UTC)
Eeeeeep. Okay, so I'm probably about 8 months to late, but I love your icon! You even got the song stuck in my head again. = ]
FernWithyfernwithy on September 4th, 2004 07:29 pm (UTC)
I was one of the coasters--I admit that with a bit of a wince. I coasted through high school, college, and grad school (undergrad was a rough ride, but grad school... feh).

That doesn't mean that the studious people aren't smart. In fact, the studious people have one major bit of intelligence over we coasters: They know how and when to knuckle down. And you're right, of course--Hermione isn't just trying to pass; Hermione is trying to get 112% on her tests.

I think part of it depends on home culture and school culture. At my high school, all the smart kids were slackers (except for the valedictorian--a dentist's daughter who reminds me a bit of Hermione, in retrospect). When I got to college, though, I met people who were as bright as I was who had gone to schools where they fought tooth and nail for every tenth on the GPA, in order to make a better class ranking and get to better schools, and so on and so forth. The school placed a high value on this, and so did their parents. If Hermione's grammar school was full of people trying to get into good prep schools and her parents were invested in her doing well, it's very likely that she'd develop the kinds of study habits we see. If her parents are meticulous, that would also contribute.

Also, we shouldn't forget her insecurities. She knows that she's an outsider at Hogwarts, and is trying to prove her right to be there. Unlike her classmates, she's going in knowing nothing but what she's been able to pick up in books. I once took a Hebrew class with people who had grown up with prayer-book Hebrew... they went into it with a vocabulary of a few hundred words and a general idea of the grammar, as well as knowledge of the alphabet and vowel system. I went in with nothing except a decent ear for mimicry. The ear had gotten me through high school Spanish. It did not get me through college Hebrew. Because I'm an academic slacker, I dropped it and started messing around on my own, to get to the point everyone else was starting at. Hermione is not. Hermione's personality would demand that she not only pass the class, but prove her right to be in it by being the best student there. She'd memorize vocab lists and practice her alphabet until she was the one correcting everyone else. Why? Because she's insecure. Not because she's too dumb to pick it up.

As to the creativity issue? She's not extraordinarily creative. She's functionally creative and can think on her feet when she needs to. But creativity is only one of many aspects of intelligence.
ReaderRavenclawreaderravenclaw on September 4th, 2004 07:40 pm (UTC)
I agree. A lot of a student's attitude toward schoolwork depends on the kind of school they started off at, as well as the attitude of their parents. (We know that both of Hermione's parents are dentists, so it isn't at all a stretch to say that they probably valued studying and encouraged Hermione to do so.)

As for the creativity issue: Sorry, I wasn't clear. I didn't mean that Hermione is creative; I was trying to respond to the point made by the original poster that Hermione couldn't come up with any ideas of her own, she only parroted facts back to teachers and so forth. By creative intelligence, I didn't actually mean creativity, I just meant the ability to come up with original ideas.
(no subject) - musesfool on September 4th, 2004 07:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Magpie: Mesistermagpie on September 4th, 2004 07:48 pm (UTC)
I thought the original poster acknowleged she was smart, but was saying she wasn't an example of a brilliant mind. I think Hermione's intelligent and is a great deductive thinker, but I don't think of her as having a brilliant mind either. It's not an insult on my part, just saying I tend to get very fangirly over minds and Hermione just seems to give information rather than ever saying anything that makes me think as a reader. I guess that's probably the main thing for me. She's a worthy character in her own right, but it does surprise me to hear her described as if she's a genuius when she never makes me think much as a reader. Actually, more often I tend to disagree with some of the points she makes so maybe that's another reason I don't primarily think of her as being very wise.

I know she says the hat considered Ravenclaw but it never seemed to me like she should be there ultimately--she herself says "books and cleverness" are nothing compared to Harry's type heroics and to me that seems like Hermione all over. (I don't agree with her opinion there, btw.;-)) She seems more interested in practical knowledge, history etc., as compared to theoretical principles. Ultimately, she's a doer, it seems to me. Again, that's not an insult to her intelligence as far as I'm concerned. But if I was asked for a character in fiction who was brilliant I don't think Hermione would come to mind. She's just a different type to me. There are a lot of ways to be smart, but I think if you stuck Hermione in another book with brilliant characters she would seem very diminished.

On her long essays, though, I do have to agree with the original post. Part of an assignment is putting your ideas into a specific space. That seems more about wanting to prove onesself or being insecure than just having too much brilliance to put on two feet.;-)
FernWithyfernwithy on September 4th, 2004 08:20 pm (UTC)
On her long essays, though, I do have to agree with the original post. Part of an assignment is putting your ideas into a specific space. That seems more about wanting to prove onesself or being insecure than just having too much brilliance to put on two feet.;-)

But not having the actual essays, we don't really know what she uses the extra space for. The only real example we have is the essay she has to re-write because she needs to incorporate everything she's learned about French witches and wizards on holiday--to me, that suggests that she is trying to come up with some unified theories, and is open to all kinds of new input.

Now, I disagree with her frequently, too, but I disagree with plenty of people I consider intelligent (including a good handful of my professors). Most of her faults come from being fifteen--"wise" isn't something I'd necessarily consider her, but wise and intelligent have very different connotations. Wisdom is something that's acquired through experience, and she just hasn't had that much of it. Most of her mistakes tend to be in not understanding other people (or creatures), and a lack of wisdom in that area is a direct result of not having a lot of social experience.
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 4th, 2004 08:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sistermagpie on September 4th, 2004 09:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mirabellawotr on September 5th, 2004 05:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 05:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - swatkat24 on September 4th, 2004 10:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 08:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
bethmona_lisa_frown on September 4th, 2004 08:20 pm (UTC)
hmm. It's funny, watching all of these essays about Hermione's intelligence/the different kinds of intelligence come up, since a couple months ago I actually wrote quite a bit about that in my journal--not pertaining to Harry Potter at all, but just the different kinds of smart, etc. I go to a gifted school; everyone there is "smart." But there's such a huge range. You have the "casual brilliants," the coasters, the kids who have an amazing mind but don't care enough about school to bother with it, the ones who are brilliant but lazy, the ones who are brilliant and also work their ass off, and the ones that perhaps aren't a natural genius, but work their ass off anyway. Hermione reminds me of a friend who is extremely bright, but not a true-to-life genius. She wants to go to the best school, get the best grades, get the best job: basically, to succeed. To do that, she's extremely organized and gets amazing grades (although I suppose she differs from Hermione in that once she's got her A, she forgets about school and goes off with friends, or whatever). Very intelligent, very successful, great grades. I know another girl who can pull an essay out of her ass in the twenty minutes before school and does so, constantly. And another who only gets A's in English because she actually likes the literature and the philosophical discussions. If she tried, she could easily get A's in all her other classes, but she doesn't care, so why should she? Complete genius, mediocre grades.

I think it's safe to say that Hermione is very definitely intelligent. As to what brand of smarts she possesses, well....there's plenty of options.
Racheltexasrachel on September 4th, 2004 08:32 pm (UTC)
I actually agree with mirabellawotr about Hermione. And I think most people who are "smart" would also. To me there's a difference between "smart" and "intelligent". Hermione obviously is intelligent, but I don't think she's inherently smart. She works too hard to be naturally smart. I think she's overcompensating for her insecurities by studying so much. She studies so much to try to fit into the Muggle world. She wants to know *everything* because she knows she doesn't fit in.

Here's one of the differences, I think. I cringe to say I'm smart. Granted, I think some of that is just being an adult and not in that awful stage of life called teenager, but Hermione has no problem letting everyone know she's intelligent. She's trying to fit in. No one I knew in high school bragged, as Hermione does, about being intelligent. Almost to a one, the truly smart people were slackers, myself included. I include myself even though I graduated with a 3.9. Yes, with a little bit more studying I could have gotten a 4.0+, but it wouldn't have taken near the amount of studying Hermione does. The smart people were known, but no one made it so obvious as Hermione does.

Another thing, the HP kids get Hermione to do their work, not to explain it to them. If I needed help, I didn't ask the ones who were always studying, even if they had good grades. There were certain people who just seemed to *get* the subject. Those are the ones you ask to explain something to you, not the ones who are constantly pored over a book.

Do I think Hermione has brains? Yes, and she can use them. But it's not a "natural" smart. Not like James and Sirius (who I think fandom has pegged correctly as top of class, but never studying).

Classic case (although I do think she's gotten better with age):

"Stop moving!" Hermione ordered them. "I know what this is -- it's Devil's Snare!"

"Oh, I'm so glad we know what it's called, that's a great help," snarled Ron, leaning back, trying to stop the plant from curling around his neck. "Shut up, I'm trying to remember how to kill it!" said Hermione.

"Well, hurry up, I can't breathe!" Harry gasped, wrestling with it as it curled around his chest.

"Devil's Snare, Devil's Snare... what did Professor Sprout say? -- it likes the dark and the damp

"So light a fire!" Harry choked.

"Yes -- of course -- but there's no wood!" Hermione cried, wringing her hands.


"Oh, right!" said Hermione, and she whipped out her wand, waved it, muttered something, and sent a jet of the same bluebell flames she had used on Snape at the plant.
ReaderRavenclawreaderravenclaw on September 4th, 2004 08:44 pm (UTC)
I disagree that most smart people would agree that Hermione isn't smart. I agree that she isn't a genius, but she is most definitely of above-average intelligence. "Working hard" and "smart" are not mutually exclusive; rather, the attitude that a smart person has - being very studious, "coasting", or somewhere in between - has much to do with their personality, school envioronment, and the attitude of their parents.

Similarly, you say that you cringe to say that you're smart, and since Hermione doesn't, she must not really be smart. I think that has much more to do with Hermione's lack of social graces and her lack of self-confidence in the social arena in general than it does with her smartness or lack thereof. (And where does Hermione brag outright about being intelligent? If you say she does, I certainly believe you, but I can't remember any specific instance. She's a know-it-all, yes, constantly raising her hand and so forth, but I must admit that I was exactly like that all through my childhood and teenage years, and to be blunt (and ill-mannered) I will say straight out that I really am very smart.

The HP kids don't ask Hermione to explain things to them, but neither do they ask anyone else to, either, so how's that a proof of anything? They're just not interested.

And yes, during the Devil's Snare incident she froze, but that's understandable; she was truly frightened. The only thing that proves is that Hermione doesn't think so well under pressure. We have her solving of the logic puzzle, figuring out the Basilisk mystery, and much more to prove that Hermione can - and does - come up with original ideas and solutions.
(no subject) - kitsunelover on September 5th, 2004 12:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
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things have changed for meamethyst__angel on September 4th, 2004 08:35 pm (UTC)
I have to disagree with you. I agree with nearly everything the original poster said, especially about Hermione. Hermione is an average girl who spends more than average time doing school work, and compensates for that by spending less than average time being a normal kid. A truly intelligent person is the kind who can get good marks without having to have too much time spent in the library.

If, within the first few weeks of Hermione discovering magic she already had Hogwarts: A History half-memorized, one would think after five years she should have pretty much memorized the library. Hermione can memorize. She can spit back a fact at you. This is the argument I gave one of my friends, in favor of that essay:

hermione is the kind of person who will ace a geometry test because she knows all the theorems and can parrot them back to you. another person might not be able to parrot the exact wordings of the theorem, but they understand the leaps of logic that were taken to get from a theorem they do know to that one. using this logic, they eventually figure out the correct answers and ace as well. which person seems more intelligent to you?

i just can't agree with you on this. i apologize, but i disagree with you entirely.
ReaderRavenclawreaderravenclaw on September 4th, 2004 09:06 pm (UTC)
Nothing to apologize for, but I'd like to explain again why I disagree.

First, memorizing several textbooks - as fantastic a feat as that is - in several weeks (consider that she probably did nothing but memorize those textbooks during those several weeks - does not mean that she did the same for the entire library, particularly once she was busy with her schoolwork. You're clearly missing the logistics of the situation here. Do you realize how many books a library contains? The bookshelf next to my computer - and ordinary, full-length bookshelf - contains an average of 30 books per shelf, multiplied by 6 shelves. That's 180 books in just one bookcase. The bookcases in Hogwarts are probably at least one shelf taller, considering how tall the ceilings are, so say an average of 200 books per bookcase. Consider how many bookcases there would probably be in a row, how many rows there would be in the library - because the Hogwarts library, being as old as it is - I think it is safe to assert that it contains as many books as one of your local libraries. And do you know how many books your library contains? Hundreds of thousands - at the very least. And as I already mentioned, there's no real system of organization at the Hogwarts libary, beyond sections for different broad "themes" - no Dewey Decimal system, no computer network, not even a card catalogue, if the random way Hermione searches is any indication - and I am sure that if there was a card catalogue, Hermione would use it. It is totally beyond me how anyone could possibly think that Hermione would have - could have - memorized any significant portion of the library - and even, supposing she memorized one tength of it (which I say is impossible; 10,000 books? Yeah, right) - she still couldn't be sure that she had memorized the right books, and that there wouldn't still be other information that would help in solving the mystery.

Second, Hermione is not spending all that time to get good marks - she is spending all that time to be PERFECT. That is not the same thing. I know this from experience; those last five points, from 95 to 100, can easily take double the amount of studying, or more. Furthermore, Hermione is not trying to get 100's - she's trying to get 112%'s and 310%'s. All that extra time she spends is on doing MORE than she has to. It's true that not all studious people who get good grades are smart, but it is extremely faulty logic to extrapolate from that that all studious people who get good grades are not smart.

Your geometry example is no proof at all. Yes, Hermione can parrot back the theorum - but who's to say that she cannot also make those "leaps of logic" to understand how the theorum was created? If anything, all the proof we have through the books prove that she could. Again, I'll repeat my examples: Hermione solving the logic puzzle, Hermione figuring out the mystery of the Basilisk (an intuitive leap; Harry was the only one who could hear the voices, Harry understands Parseltongue, maybe the voice is that of a snake?) Hermione figured out Dumbledore's plan for the time-turner and Buckbeak without him saying anything except (in my own words) "if you hurry, you can save two lives tonight", the Protean charm - yes, she got the idea from Voldemort, but where do you think smart ideas come from? Thin air? No, it comes as inspiration from the world around you.

In summary, I truly think it's absurd that you think that if a person is very studious, they cannot possibly also be intelligent.
(no subject) - maglors_finch on September 5th, 2004 01:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 07:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - conuly on September 4th, 2004 09:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - swatkat24 on September 4th, 2004 10:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
HOT NEW ORC FORTRESS: lilith snarks.unlovablehands on September 4th, 2004 09:10 pm (UTC)
The whole thing clearly rests on what an individual thinks "smart" is, apparently. Or, at least, what kind of intelligence a person values. Honestly, I envy Hermione her work ethic, the same way I envied my first college roommate hers.
Lon Chaney's kid brotheraybara_max on September 6th, 2004 09:57 pm (UTC)
The whole thing clearly rests on what an individual thinks "smart" is, apparently. Or, at least, what kind of intelligence a person values.

That is the best thing I've read in this whole long winded discussion, Thank You! :o)
Amycutensweet23 on September 4th, 2004 09:37 pm (UTC)
Perfectionism should make it obvious...
I disagree with everybody who thinks that she gets good grades because she works hard and is therefore not smart because she's not a coaster. I was in a gifted program for three years where the minimum IQ to get in was 144. I scored 150 at the age of eleven.

We had all the types of people. We had the obsessive studiers like Hermione, we had the coasters who got good test scores but bad grades overall because they didn't do their homework, those that did a combo and balanced life...etc.

One characteristic that showed a LOT with MOST of the people in the program, including half of the coasters, was perfectionism. Yes, I typed that right. There were those that were so obsessed with being perfect that they always studied to maintain themselves at the top, not settling for an A, but wanting an A+. Then half the coasters found failure(for some of them, this was defined as an A instead of an A+) to be so painful that they stopped trying so that they wouldn't have to deal with it.

Hermione is a definite perfectionist. I can definetly relate when I spent over two hours on a question that was intend to be 10 minutes and worth only a few points because I just had to make sure it was perfect. She goes the extra distance to be perfect and was willing to nearly drive herself to destruction using the time-turner.

In my eyes, at least, that's the evidence that she is probably gifted.
ReaderRavenclawreaderravenclaw on September 4th, 2004 10:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Perfectionism should make it obvious...
Exactly - there are many very smart people who still spend very large amounts of time studying because they feel they must be perfect. Thanks for bringing up the example of your gifted program; perhaps with a real-life example, more people will be convinced that just because Hermione isn't a coaster doesn't mean that she cannot still be very smart.
Gvambatgvambat on September 4th, 2004 10:15 pm (UTC)
From experience in a gifted program:

You've got kids who coast and get A's.

You've got kids who coast and don't care so they end up with C's.

You've got kids who coast, procrastinate until the last minute, then work like hell to make up for it.

You've got kids who'll do the minimum necessary to pass.

You've got kids who'll do the minimum, but make sure they did that perfectly.

Then you've got the kids who do the maximum amount of work. Who do all the extra problems and double-check them, pick up every extra credit assignment, then see how many more classes they can take.

And many more besides, but I think that covers the basic spectrum.

They're all smart. Who's smarter? Well, define your terms.

And for the record, before college I turned pretty much every paper in long. Teachers were usually delighted, and page limits were almost always treated as minimums.
Flameo, Hotman!swatkat24 on September 4th, 2004 11:05 pm (UTC)
Dude, you just saved me the trouble of writing an essay, because I certainly was going to do it last night. LOLOL

A lot of this disagreement springs from the fact that there are, in RL, many, many peole who swot hard but aren't really intelligent, and others who are slackers but somehow always manage to slip through (myself included). This has probably given rise to the impression that real smart people never work, and the minority of smart people who *do* work hard - because that's their work ethic - do get pushed backwards and forgotten somewhere in the midst of it all.

Mmillefiori on September 5th, 2004 12:26 am (UTC)
Just my opinion
I think that mirabellawotr's post resonated with me because it explained Hermione in a way that I could understand. She's presented in the books as brilliant because Harry (the POV character) thinks she's brilliant, and fandom seems to have picked that up, talking/writing about her as if she's a genius. But she just doesn't come across as a genius to me. That's not to say she's not smart -- I think she is very smart, and she's definitely the 'brains' of the trio. I think my feeling is that she's not exceptional, if that makes any sense.

To me Hermione's more of a budding Jane Tennison or Kay Scarpetta than she is an Albert Einstein or Steven Hawking. And I apologize for the clumsy mix of fiction and reality there, but those are the most representative examples I can think of.
Agnes Beanagnes_bean on September 5th, 2004 07:29 am (UTC)
Re: Just my opinion
I agree with this. She’s certainly NOT a genius I was going to use Einstein as my example too!). But she is above average intelligence.
Re: Just my opinion - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 07:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Just my opinion - sistermagpie on September 5th, 2004 11:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Just my opinion - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 02:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ex_lonicera600 on September 5th, 2004 12:49 am (UTC)
Then you've got the kids who do the maximum amount of work. Who do all the extra problems and double-check them, pick up every extra credit assignment, then see how many more classes they can take.

And also it's very well possible that she just *likes* studying. She does it to get perfect grades and to overcome her insecurity, yes, I see that as well, but I think that she also is a natural learner, who just loves the very act of finding interesting subjects and gathering knowledge, not only for the knowledge or for the grades, but simply for the process of learning itself. She's a glutton - just of the mind.
Lon Chaney's kid brotheraybara_max on September 6th, 2004 10:03 pm (UTC)
And also it's very well possible that she just *likes* study

Thank you, I think this is a great point that most of the squabblers have failed to mention. Especially the diving into of her textbooks and Hogwarts:A History before school has even started - this lust for learning reminds me of Roald Dahl's Matilda.
kitsunelover: karasukitsunelover on September 5th, 2004 12:59 am (UTC)
How hard Hermione REALLY works . . .
A lot of people here seem to think that Hermione does nothing but study, and are debating that endlessly - "does all that studying make her smart or average?"

Sure, she gets over the top marks such as 112%, but we don't see her studying obsessively in books other than PoA, for which there is a valid reason, and OotP, in which everyone is going crazy over NEWTS.

Hermione actually has lots of free time. Enough, in fact, to puruse a vendetta against Rita Skeeter, carry on SPEW, brew Polyjuice Potion, think about starting a secret DADA club, correspond with Viktor Krum, fulfill her duties as a prefect, and engage in whatever other illicit activities the trio do in any of the books.

While Harry and Ron are sweating over neglected homework, she's chatting with Ginny and knitting hats for house-elves. Rarely in a book other than PoA is she off in a corner studying instead of hanging out with Harry and Ron. Hermione may be a perfectionist, but her essays are usually done long before Harry and Ron even start, and we don't see her obsessing over them to make sure they're perfect. Personally, I don't think she spends all that much more time on her schoolwork than Harry or Ron do(relatively speaking, because she does have one more class than both of them). She gets it done well quickly.

Finally, the extra care Hermione does pay to schoolwork/reading doesn't point exclusively towards her desire for good grades. She genuinely enjoys learning.

I have to admit that Hermione is one of my favorite characters and that I find her very intelligent indeed.
Lon Chaney's kid brotheraybara_max on September 6th, 2004 10:12 pm (UTC)
Politics and Philosophy
Lovely points made, I'm especially glad you mentioned all of Hermione's side projects which it greatly irritates me everyone else chooses to ignore. Hermione really does seem to be the most well-rounded of the children presented... she's insightful when it comes to observing her friends and other students, she is eager to learn more about the wizarding world at large and its various different cultures... in her youthfulness (I hope) she does get a bit self-righteous when it comes to her vendettas and opinions, but still, it is quite unusual especially in her group of friends to have such strong political opinions.

I was going include philosophy in there with politics, but I don't think I'm qualified to do so... her opinions on House Elves and Werewolves probably share an underlying philosophy but as presented she's concerned with law and social reform, i don't know how that ties in with philosophy. She does seem to be greatly interested in the theory behind magic, and that's where I think her extra inches on essays come in - she's genuinely interested in and excited by the ideas behind magic, not just the mundane repetition.
The Despinazoepaleologa on September 5th, 2004 01:37 am (UTC)
I do not doubt Hermione's intelligence, however, I feel a certain amusement when fic writers talk her up into the Wizarding equivalent of Camille Paglia, or Harriet Martineau.

There is no evidence that Hermione reads anything but books relating to her studies - even the sort of extra reading she puts in (undeniably) is study related. I see no genuine intellectual curiosity there at all. In my definition, to define Hermione as an "intellectual" I would expect to see a much wider range of interests, reading, and activity. Which are flagrantly not there.

She is the typical school swot who has ability. That's it. Anything else is fanon, and all too often self insertion (and usually if the writing is anything to go by, outrageous self-aggrandisement on the part of that writer).
ReaderRavenclawreaderravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 08:03 am (UTC)
There most certainly IS evidence that Hermione reads books not related to her studies. Remember that "bit of light reading" back in first year? To quote:

...before she was dashing back, an enormous old book in her arms.
"I never thought to look in here!" she whispered excitedly. "I got this out of the library weeks ago for a bit of light reading."

I think we can safely assume that this practice continued; there's no reason to think that it didn't, after all.

Also, as I remember someone else pointing out in relation to another topic, Hermione takes Muggle Studies solely to see what the wizarding perspective of Muggles is. To me, that seems to be the kind of thing that only someone with a real love of learning and intellectual curiosity would do. Hermione is full of intellectual curiosity.

As for "a much wider range of interests ... and activity" - what exactly do you expect from her? The activities at Hogwarts seem to be limited to Quidditch and individual game-playing and small, independent clubs - there are no debating clubs here, no "future historians" club.... (I honestly don't even know what you mean by a much wider range of interests and activity, but I assume that's what you're referring to.)

I must say, your post comes across as though you have some sort of personal vendetta against Hermione. Why do you find it so difficult to believe the most obvious interpretation of her actions: yes, she does want to do well in school, but she also has a genuine interest - and enjoyment in - learning.

(no subject) - zoepaleologa on September 5th, 2004 08:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 08:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zoepaleologa on September 5th, 2004 09:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 09:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - straussmonster on September 5th, 2004 07:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 07:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - straussmonster on September 5th, 2004 07:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 08:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _onmyvanity on September 6th, 2004 08:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 6th, 2004 02:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zoepaleologa on September 5th, 2004 08:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 09:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on September 5th, 2004 10:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zoepaleologa on September 5th, 2004 12:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 12:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on September 5th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zoepaleologa on September 5th, 2004 01:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on September 5th, 2004 02:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on September 5th, 2004 02:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - readerravenclaw on September 5th, 2004 02:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
a little fun with "magic" and muggles - texasrachel on September 5th, 2004 10:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - earwurm on September 5th, 2004 11:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
Shivshiv5468 on September 5th, 2004 02:27 am (UTC)
There is another possibility that I present. Hermione may well be reading everything that the library contains because she likes reading.

There are a lot of bright people who get turned off schoolwork because it presents no challenge to them, and they are often the people who turn into coasters. I can actually see the Twins as being very bright, just not in ways that the exams measure. But there are also bright people who live for the new idea, the new bit of knowledge, the new thing that lies just over the turn of the page, and who spent their time compulsively learning.

She's been thrown into a new world full of excitement and wonderful new things. I think it's natural that she would want to explore it as much as possible.

And I don't think we can assume that because Harry hasn't noticed her reading fiction that she doesn't. After all, he's a very unobservant little boy, and he's doubtless never asked her what she's reading just in case she tells him.